I am very pleased with how these pillows came out, and they’re super pretty in person. There is a bit of a story that goes with them, however!
It all started when Rachel at Stitched in Color posted a Celebrate Color autumn extravaganza back in September. I love the colors of autumn, so I knew I’d have to enter something! And the event went on for three months, so maybe I could even enter THREE somethings. So I went through my pinterest board to see what inspired me. It was there that I was reminded about the cathedral window pillow tutorial on Moda’s Bake Shop by Angela. I thought this would be a great time to try it out, since the window shapes reminded me of leaves. I immediately envisioned autumn colored petals/leaves with aqua/blues for the diamond shapes. It’d mimic the sky starting to show through the leaves as the trees got more sparse, and it’d be a nice way to capture the changing of the season. Awesome. No problem. Let’s do this!
So, as anyone who knows me will be happy to tell you, I’m a little picky when it comes to pretty much anything visual. Fabrics are no different. Colors especially so. Here’s the problem. This idea I had involved a LOT of colors and a LOT of fabrics. And worst of all, I had to pick a solid background/sashing color. I stood at our local fabric store, comparing Kona Espresso to Kona Snow until I started feeling pretty guilty for taking so much of my friend’s time. Finally I realized that I was going to have so much leftover fabric, I could just make the same pillow twice, each with a different solid! And if I made it the same setup, I’d know at the end which I liked better! Brilliant!
So that’s what I did. Armed with my new fabric, I started following the tutorial (which is really well written!) and got to work. Except that I have the world’s lamest iron, and the first step involved a LOT of ironing. (Seriously, my iron is a small travel iron that is over 15 years old. It’s steam setting means that it dribbles water and then heats it up when the iron hits it. This is the designed functionality, not just poor workmanship.) So I decided to wait until my quilt guild meeting to bust out all the ironing prep work for the squares. No problem.
I got three done. Because it takes. freaking. forever. Of course, there’s not a lot of quilting time at the meetups, so I figure I’d do it at my friend’s house during one of our bi-weekly get togethers. By the time I finished ironing the snow colored blocks, we’d moved into October. Well, i still have two months left, no problem! But then it turned out I didn’t have the right aqua fabrics, so I ordered some online. And then I had to wait. And then I was gone for a couple of week for conferences, and before I knew it, we were into November, and I hadn’t even finished the first pillow, let alone the second one!
I’m fairly stubborn though, so I decided that even though my schedule is a bit beyond hectic, I was going to finish these things. So I started actually sewing, and suddenly everything sped up tremendously! And it was so fun when it came time to sew open the petal parts! And of course, being the engineer that I am, I had to figure out the traveling salesman problem of the optimal path so that I wouldn’t have to start and stop the sewing. I sewed up the backs (my first time trying envelope backs, I learned a few things there…) and added the borders until 2a the night before Thanksgiving. I finished hand sewing the binding on one pillow while waiting for Thanksgiving dinner to cook. And then I tried machine binding for the first time on the second one after dinner. (Much faster, but I’m not that great at it yet)
So now, with one day to spare, I present my two cathedral window pillows, made with the same layout and the same fabrics, featuring different solids (and backs). The difference of the solid is incredible, even more than I thought it would be. I am not sure I could pick a favorite, I love them both for different reasons. The espresso brown one is dramatic but the snow one reminds me of a watercolor. They are so colorful and in the end, I really loved the way the color scheme came together. I think it really captured the look I was trying for of the fall sky and autumn leaves. And I still can’t believe *I* made them.
I shall end with a ton of photos that I took. Most of the sewing happened late at night, so please forgive the cell phone progress pictures.
Thank you Rachel for the creative nudge required to make these!