Saturday, October 20, 2012

Quilted Pillow Cover

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I never thought I’d say this, but I love hand-quilting. My very first attempt at quiltmaking came years ago, when inspiration struck me, as usual, in the middle of the night, and I took up a pair of kitchen scissors and cut up all the shirts in my closet into 6” squares.  I just cut out as many squares as I could, ignoring pockets and seams, just cutting and cutting.  When there were enough, I dumped them into a grocery bag and then spent the entire summer piecing them all together by hand, I guess while wearing either pajamas or my bathing suit, until I had a very motley and patchworky quilt top big enough to fit on my bed.  Then I started asking around about how to go about quilting it, and jeepers, the rules!  I went to my grandma’s for the weekend so she could teach me the ropes, and goodness me, her quilting needles were so microscopic, and you had to have a thimble and a hoop and there were marking pencils and stencils and Grandma (she of the perfect triangle points) practically measured my stitches with a ruler, and it all looked so homey and nice, this learning from grandma, but it was also kind of daunting.  Her quilts were so completely perfect, and mine was made of shirts.  Of course I never finished it, or any of the next dozen or so quilts I started, hand-quilted halfway, and then gave up on, discouraged.  (There was one anomaly, the Extremely Hideous Peach and Teal Mover’s Blanket of 1987, quilted by me with a huge needle, through three layers of polyester batting—so ugly.  Just so, so ugly.)  I just hated the hoop and the stencils and the rules.  I’m a seat-of-the-pants kind of girl. 

Anyway,  I got kind of down on hand-quilting.  Until now. 

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With inspiration from Jane Brocket and Anna Maria, I have come back to hand-quilting, and this time I’m making my own rules, and I’m using perle cotton and embroidery needles and no hoops and as many stitches per inch as I want. 

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I turned this piece of fabric—still Loulouthi—into a quilted pillow cover (enough with the pillows, right?  I can hear the kids now...why do we have so many pillows? What is wrong with you?) which is why you can see all the knots in the picture of the back; I didn’t bother to hide them, and I backed it with a piece of salmon-pink corduroy from the stash. 

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The little blue and white one is new, too, made in two minutes from an upholstery book sample and a piece of denim blue linen.  Here’s the full effect:

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There’s really nowhere to sit anymore, but it looks pretty.  Right, enough with the pillows. 

I am a quilting fiend now.  I feel invincible!