Patchwork Pillow Color Study

patchwork pillow
I had temporarily forgotten how much I love patchwork and patchwork pillows. Much like Goddess dressing to my food, I think everything sewn can be made just a little better with patchwork. Patchwork can satisfy my need to buy smallish cuts of pretty fabric, and it creates a brand new piece of fabric that I never get tired of. Fabric that I only like a little bit on its own is suddenly so much better when grouped into patchwork.
patchwork pillow
Malka’s Tuesday Pillow on the cover of the Spring 09 Stitch magazine set me off on a patchwork tangent that still hasn’t quite passed. I follow her blog, A Stitch In Dye, because I love the hand dyed and stamped fabric she creates and love the way she combines them into beautiful quilts and pillows. I misplaced the magazine after I initially read through the how-to for this pillow, so I just did my own thing through most of it, which is why the binding on mine is nothing like her directions (mine came out fine, but different, and I like hers better.) The placement of her fabric strips were based on warm and cool colors, meant to make a “T” shape in one of the corners with the warmer colors. That part I remembered.
To quilt the front, I did a simple straight stitch, starting in the middle of the pillow front, and gradually making larger and larger squares around the pillow front. One day I will plan ahead, make a test piece, and actually give free motion quilting a go. I really like the liveliness of the patterns all together in this one. Ian now owns this one, to prop himself up to read in bed. His room is such an explosion of color, this pillow seems as if it was meant to be in there.
I wanted to try to second version, playing with the color placement a little differently. I cut the strips larger and slightly more uniform for this one, so the log cabin blocks (there are nine of them) came out more uniformly shaped in this one.
patchwork pillow
And then came the third, just straight strips pieced from light to dark, just me playing with colors. You can see the way I quilted all of these best in this photo.
patchwork pillow
Anyone who’s been in our house knows that the family room in the back of our house is kid central. Its where toys and art supplies are kept, where the wii is played, books are read, board games are played, beanbags are plopped down on, and puzzles are assembled. The furniture has been laid on and used as a trampoline for far too long, so these pillows will live here, to help to brighten it all up a bit. These are big, 20″ x 20″ pillows, by the way. Small pillows are meaningless in here. We need big and squishy.
But this is a cautionary tale. If you are thinking of doing patchwork today, beware that your work area will be completely covered in strips of fabric when you’re done. Completely covered.
patchwork pillow

  • Dawn

    July 12, 2009 at 8:54 am

    I love all of them. You must have an amazing home. I also love that you share so much. Thanks and I hope you have a wonderful Sunday with your gorgeous fam. 🙂

  • Erin | house on hill road

    July 12, 2009 at 9:11 am

    these are fantastic!
    i like the warm/cool contrast a lot – i think it might be time to dig through the scraps and do a little color study of my own.

  • Mama Urchin

    July 12, 2009 at 9:23 am

    I love these. I love log cabins so it was a given, bit the colors are wonderful. All those scraps just mean there is more patchwork in your future 🙂

  • Tammy

    July 12, 2009 at 9:53 am

    I love them!!!

  • aud neal

    July 12, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    these are just lovely! I’ve been itching to try some quilting — something I am very very very brand new at, btw — and I think that maybe starting with something small like these pillows is definitely the way to go.

  • The Antidote

    July 12, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    The one in the third picture is my favourite, it makes me think of waves rolling up on a beach.

  • Kelly

    July 12, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    I love these, especially the last one though, it speaks to me and makes me want to try.

  • melissa f.

    July 12, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    you’ve got skillz, lady.

  • Chase

    July 12, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    Wow! Those are all lovely! You are making me want to dive into my scrap basket, but I have baby bibs to finish! (luckily they are sort of patchworked)

  • Wendy

    July 12, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    I adore these pillows.

  • Deven

    July 12, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    Oh, I noticed the new patchwork and it makes me sigh with contentment every time I visit your blog. LOVE it!

  • Shannon

    July 12, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    Really, really lovely. It reminds me of the crazy quilt my grandma used to have on the bed I slept in when I visited her, only way more organized! Love it so much and a fantastic use for all the smallish scraps of fabric I never know what to do with but can’t bear to toss.

  • Rid

    July 13, 2009 at 1:38 am

    Wowwwww! Great!!!!

  • AngieK

    July 13, 2009 at 9:33 am

    Oh, I just love all of those pillows!

  • mjb

    July 13, 2009 at 11:08 am

    Patchwork is the best! Thanks for posting all of this inspiration. I’m always amazed how so many ideas pop into my head for placement of colors and shapes after I start sewing things together and moving them around.

  • Emily

    July 13, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    The last one is perty – such a nice selection of colors! There is a fabric that you’ve used, sort of a dense polka dot that comes in a bunch of different colorways. On the last pillow it’s in beige/gray. Do you remember who makes it? I’d love to know! (Oh, and also the green w/text… I’ve searched a ton for that one!)

  • larissa

    July 13, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    the patchwork is LUSCIOUS. a delight for the eyes. I’m about to make a bag for my sister and I’m so glad I can be inspired by this for the patchwork on the flap.

  • this little light

    July 13, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    I have a patchwork addiction myself. I actually have a patchwork couch…I used two old feedsack quilt toppers as slipcovers for a small loveseat and chair.

  • blair/wisecraft

    July 13, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    the dot you're referring to is actually a gray and white, old Amy Butler pattern. The green with text I saw recently at reprodepot or at superbuzzy, can't remember where. But its definitely out there.

  • blair/wisecraft

    July 13, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    patchwork on a purse flap would be so cool!

  • Heather

    July 13, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    I am in progress on this pillow right now! I love the way yours turned out – specially the second one. Yay for patchwork pillows!!!

  • Rosalind

    July 14, 2009 at 4:13 am

    Those pillows are just too beautiful. The orange with the deep blue contrasts are so memorable.

  • amy

    July 14, 2009 at 6:05 am

    I lurk here a lot and never comment, but I must this time. These are gorgeous!!! (I am especially partial to the bright shades in the first pillow.) I just recently started sewing after a very long hiatus and wondered about doing something similar for a table runner. I have pieced but never quilted. If you have a recommendation for a good beginner book for doing this, I’d love to know. Thanks.

  • Liz J

    July 14, 2009 at 8:18 am

    Absolutely love! Your craftsmanshil combined with a wonderfully intuitive sense of color and pattern makes these super special.

  • blair/wisecraft

    July 14, 2009 at 8:54 am

    I have never really found a good book on beginner quilting and piecing, have learned through playing with fabrics, all trial and error. Perhaps Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson would be a good place to start (it doesn't have a pattern for a table runner in it, but there are some great quilt patterns that could be adapted for a table runner) Quilting a table runner is definitely doable on a home sewing machine, the key is making sure your layers (called a quilt sandwich). are very smoothly pinned together (pinned well!). Then you can just do straight line quilting, nothing fancy is needed really.

  • amy

    July 14, 2009 at 10:20 am

    I actually own that book! I am excited to give it a try. Thanks for the tips and the great inspiration.

  • Molly

    July 14, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Wow, I love your pillows! Any project where you can use multiple fabrics is fantastic:)

  • Peggy

    July 14, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Is it wrong that I’m thinking of forwarding a link to my sister the quilter and asking her to make me a few pillows like this? Those are so beautiful, and inspiring, enough that I’m almost willing to attempt patchwork myself!

  • Rima Aranha

    July 14, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    These are just gorgeous!

  • Jessica

    July 15, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Blair, I always love your patchwork. So beautiful.

  • Toni

    July 17, 2009 at 6:59 am

    Blair, Your pillows are gorgeous! I’m so inspired! I also love that fabulous pile of fabric you got a post or two up. Swooning over here….sigh.

  • amisha

    July 18, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    i know i gushed on flickr but i have to gush again. i LOVE these blair! so beautiful and cheerful and such an incredible mix of colors and prints. i’ve been doing some improvisational piecing lately so my desk looks very similar to yours 🙂 and seeing these really makes me want to try doing a pillow. i’ve been making big blocks (17″) so these smaller squares seem really fun to play with.

  • malka

    July 21, 2009 at 8:30 am

    Your pillows came out beautifully!! I’m on vacation and away from my computer most of the time, but I’ve really been looking forward to seeing your interpretation of the pattern ever since you mentioned it on my blog. I’d love to link to it some time next week when I’m back in the swing of things.

  • blair/wisecraft

    July 21, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Malka, we are thoroughly enjoying the welcome bursts of color those pillows brought to the family room, it is really a fantastic pattern. It's gotten me on a patchwork tangent that hasn't let up yet. Happy travels!

  • Hena Tayeb

    July 23, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    what cute pillows. great job.

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