Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Playful Pillows

Our Island Batik Ambassador assignment for May was to create a pillow, aka cushion, cover, incorporating piecing or quilting. I had so many ideas! That can be not so good when trying to focus. So I thought I'll let things percolate on the back burner of my brain and work on one of my H2H quilts which were also due in May. This is another item on my Q2FAL list.
And then as you know life threw me a curve ball and before I even got the binding on the H2H quilt, I found myself 2000 miles away and lost nearly three weeks of May. On the way back to reality and home and routine, I knew exactly what I would make for my assignment: I'd recreate the pieced and quilted cushion I made for my mum many years ago.

I really liked the wedges centrepiece, 'Spring in the Woods' I made for Island Batik in March, and thought I could adapt that pattern to a fan shape pretty easily. This is out of Christina Cameli's latest book, Wedge Quilt Workshop. This is a worthwhile purchase, so many ideas are inside! No affiliation, and bought with my own money. Island Batik provided the gorgeous fabrics for the pillow, and Hobbs the batting I used to quilt the front of it. Aurifil thread they provided us was used in the bobbin with the Sulky rayons. It was a great combo.

So it wasn't long before I had a pillow top. The hardest part was figuring out what background fabric to set the fan on. The cappuccino was the first ooh! and even though I tried light tan, and a pale blue, because brown is not in my wheelhouse, I kept going back to the cappuccino and thinking yep!
Cushion cover top done. Isn't that brown just so rich? I'd love to see a quilt with the lime/turquoise batik on the bottom wedge and the brown, think mint chocolate right?

The cappuccino popped the colours the best. There's a bit of a green in that cappuccino batik; it's really beautiful fabric. I also do really like pink and brown together. Outside of two of the pinks, these are all stash builder rolls, rolls of four 5" by WOF strips rolled up and tied with IB 'ribbon'. The other two pinks are from the Galentine fabrics, and the fan base is 'Orchid' from random yardage IB provides. I feel so lucky each month I delve into my IB tickle trunk and contemplate what I could play with for that month's project! WAIT until you see what beauties I get to create with for June. Drool! Swoon! Anyhow, I put the lace on the edges because it hid the appliqué along the top edge, and just gave the fan holder section a little pop, as well as a little femininity, and as you see from the photo below, tied in with the original pillow.

Mum loved fans. Loved. Here is the original fan pillow, second quilted project I ever did, back in about 1990/91:

This will be written about in more detail in this month's Throwback Thursday (TBT) post, which is this coming Thursday. Like the original, I appliquéd the fan onto the brown batik. Unlike the original, I trimmed away the brown from behind the fan, layered it with Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 and then a piece of IKEA muslin, and machine-quilted it. Christina's designs on her quilt inspired some of mine. The fabric itself also gave me the idea for the woven design you see below.
Finally bought a Bernina ruler foot and tried it out for the first time here, pretty slick. The first four large circles were drawn by tracing objects like spools, and then FMQ-ed; the last ones were just freehanded all the way.
I did a different motif in each of the six wedges, and repeated them in the other six.

The stylized 'S' came to me while doodling, as did the stacked triangles. I echoed three times around the fan, and then took a break to ponder what to do in the remaining chocolate background. Mum loved chocolate, dark especially. 😋  Hmm, it didn't hit me the significance of choosing the brown after all until I typed that. And yes, I ate some chocolate while thinking! I do every day, with my afternoon tea.

I love stitching pebbles even though they're time and thread consuming; I love the texture, and the look of varying sizes of pebbles. So that is what I decided to do in the background. They are a good contrast to the lines in the fan, as well as the three echoed lines of quilting, and they also tie in the stacked circles in the chartreuse green sections.

There are the Sulky rayons I used, all 40 weight.

Here is the back:
Yes, I threw in a few double pebbles. I named the cushion 'My Mother's Fan'. I like writing the quilt details right on the muslin backing when I do a cushion, if I have used a muslin.

I did an envelope back. I have not even a 4" strip by WOF left of the brown. I decided to bind it with the pink that has the angled lines on it, and used every last wee bit of it, to the point where I couldn't even mitre the final join of the binding, having to settle for a straight seam there. The pink gives the pillow its playfulness I think.

Here is the envelope back:

and the label, zoomed in:
I stitched the binding to the front, turned it to the back and then stitched it down from the back, using pink thread on top and chocolate thread in the bobbin and trying to stitch as close to the ditch on the front as possible. It turned out very well, nice and even top-stitching along the pink edge, and an almost invisible line of stitching on the front along the binding seam.

I found I can't have a really poofy cushion insert inside the cover or it distorts the fan too much. Therefore, I'll make my own insert with leftover polyester batting pieces so it stays about the way you see it here.

Pillow Stats
Pattern: Original design based on one of Christina Cameli's
Size: 19.5 X 14.5" before quilting, 19 1/8 X 14 1/8" afterwards
Fabric: Island Batik various
Batting: Hobbs 80/20 cotton/polyester
Backing: Cappuccino batik by IB
Quilted: on my Bernina, free-motion and ruler work
Threads:  pieced with Gütermann; quilted with Sulky rayon, Aurifil in the bobbin

In closing, I just have to say that I need to tell you all the second title I have had bestowed upon me, by Rose of Something Rose Made. Kathleen of Kathleen McMusing referred to me as 'such a Shadow Woman!" and now Rose has christened me 'MMM-nabler' because I am pretty good at enabling others when it comes to buying fabric, making patterns, and joining in with QALs, and in general, getting up to mischief. She liked my Plus Playtime quilt assembly so much that she says I should get a Nobel Piece Prize LOL! She's so witty.
So in honour of my new second title, I need to tell you that Craftsy (I know! I haven't talked about them in forever right?!) sent me an email today that says that they are running another free trial (not trail, as two of the three sentences said LOL) for their Netflix-style classes programming. You can follow the trail by clicking the affiliate link I've kindly provided for you below! AND all classes for the weekend of June 8-10 are under $20! That's like having your cake and eat it too right?👅

Craftsy Unlimited FREE 7 day trial at

Linking up
Freemotion by the River
Sew Fresh Quilts
Quilt Fabrication
Busy Hands Quilts
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
TGIFF at Slice of Pi Quilts
Dizzy Quilter for the Q2FAL



  1. Beautiful pillow and the dark brown batiks makes a perfect background!

  2. Since I love batiks...I think your pillows are FANtastic! More, more, more...

  3. Beautiful work, Sandra. It's a pleasure to read how much fun you have doing these things. And I like the MMM-nabler handle; it fits you. :)

  4. It's awesome. The brown and pink look great.

  5. FANtastic!!!! Beautiful, the fabrics, the design, the label in memory of your beloved Mum, truly delightful from start to finish.

  6. Your quilting is exquisite. It really does a great job finishing off the pillow.

  7. I can't make batik work, but you used it effortlessly for this lovely pillow, the quilting is amazing, Sandra!!


  8. A bit of your Mum in a beautiful pillow and the quilting is gorgeous!

  9. Sigh forgot to write the first comment...

  10. What a sweet connection back to your mother. The fan really pops against the rich chocolate brown color, and I agree that a mint chocolate color palette sounds pretty decadent!

  11. Thanks for sharing your design and the story behind it. It is wonderful to bring forward good memories by creating anew.

  12. What a fun project! The colors are fabulous and your quilting makes the pillow so unique. High five!

  13. Beautiful work! Your quilted circles are perfect. They elude me yet looking more like loops. Any advice? My experience with pillow forms is that they go flat quite quickly and I've thought about making my own. How about a tutorial when you make yours?

  14. A pretty pillow with a lovely memory. I agree that the brown background was a good pick! Your quilting always inspires me. And yes, your new name is pleasingly fitting. I think, if we shopped together, we would be dangerous. Haha. Just think how we could help our friends!!

  15. Such a lovely, pillowy tribute to your Mum! That dark chocolate brown is delicious. The big pebbles look like individual candies. We ran out of chocolate provisions about a month ago, so I'm really drooling :)

  16. I really love this pillow, and I adore the way you quilted it. These fabrics are beautiful.

  17. Gorgeous pillow Sandra... the chocolate was a great choice of colour and your quilting finshed it off beautifully!

  18. how lovely that the pillow challenge came about at this time Sandra. Your recreation of your mum's cushion is lovely, and the quilting on the new one is just perfect

  19. Sandra - most of the quilting terminology is over my head, but I sure love the inspiration (your mom) and the outcome (a beautiful pillow). Thanks for your recent visit to my blog and sharing your stories about wildlife. Yes, they can be unpredictable and destructive (in our eyes) but I try to remember that I chose to live in their world! Enjoy your weekend!

  20. Your fan pillows are gorgeous! I love how the brown sets off the colors in your last pillow! How beautifully it closes in the back. For some reason, mine sometimes come out short. The quilting is so pretty - the "pebbles" set off the fan perfectly!

  21. What a good idea to use each blade as a practice (not you of course) for a free motion quilting pattern. Besides I really like the pillow!
    quiltyyladyrr at gmail dot com

  22. The quilting designs fit the fan perfectly! And the brown, well you know how much I love IB fabrics, it's perfect for the background!

  23. Love your quilting designs on your fan pillows. Good job!

  24. A wonderful tribute, but your documentation label is hidden inside the pillow. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  25. Great choice for the background fabric...makes those lovely colours in the fan "pop".

  26. Such a beautiful pillow. I love your custom quilting on it.

  27. The quilting on these is just aces! Love it!


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