Teacher Pillows Finished!

The Teacher Pillows are done and wrapped. HOORAY!

I found the cute bags at Walgreen’s, of all places. They are so adorable (thank heaven for no boy teachers this year!) that I didn’t feel bad about not making gift bags for them. I delivered the Principal and Assistant Principal pillows before I left. P will deliver the rest next week in stages.

Now I have to think about next year. St. JCN said that he fact that the project went well towards the end made no difference to her torture threat. She suggested a different project, so I will have to think on that. Suggestions, always welcome, of course!

Teacher Pillow Success

First, some inspiration. I was inspired by Yarnstorm’s photos, so I took my camera with me yesterday and snapped a pic of these roses in my neighbor’s yard.

Now on to the Teacher Pillows.

They are done except for the hand stitching. I am thrilled that I survived. It is always touch and go at the beginning!

Above is the principal’s pillow. St.JCN said the violet was inspired. I thought so and am glad someone agreed. I saw the quilt that inspired the violet yesterday as it scrolled across the screen in my screensaver. I will post it here, if I find it again.

Above is the Assistant Principal’s pillow. I actually think this one came out the best of them all. I think having enough fabric to use on the back is key. I will try to remember that for next year.

Pineapple blocks 11 & 12 are also done. They don’t fit on the design wall properly with all the others so #12 is hanging off. I think they look nice and cheerful. Not so dark as 9 & 10.

And now for a tip. I used the Jacquard fabric (see example in circle above) that you can run through your printer for quilt labels and for the drawings for the back of the pillows. It works because there is paper stuck to the back of the fabric that helps get it through the printer. You have to peel off the paper before you sew. (I suppose you could leave it on, but I don’t) This product works pretty well, except that if you try to sew through it when the wrong side is facing up, it gums up the needle and the stitches get really small. Normally I try to sew with it on the bottom. Today, I wasn’t able to sew with the printer fabric on the bottom for some reason that I don’t remember now. I sewed through it and immediately got stopped. I had a brainwave when I saw a pile of tissue paper. The arrow in the picture is pointing to the tissue paper I put over the Jacquard fabric just along the seam allowance. It worked like a charm. No sticking needle resulting in ugly stitches. I always press this printer fabric with a piece of clean, white printer/copier paper under the sticky part. I don’t let the sticky part touch the iron or my ironing board cover.

This Week’s Progress

If you don’t have time to read much today, here’s the short version: not much.

If you do have time to read the entire post today, the long version follows. πŸ˜‰

Not sure why, but this week seems to have been especially busy. I think I may have accomplished a lot in the realm of quiltmaking and it just may not feel like a lot. Somehow not working on my own project and working on gifts doesn’t feel much like I am making progress. Perhaps, it is just that I am not making progress on my color studies or on my UFO list?

I wanted to put a small border on the above pillow for the Principal, but I was kind of stymied for what color. I originally thought of a strip of white piping, but decided I didn’t want to deal with making one. St. JCN, in all her wisdom, suggested a white strip, but, somehow, that didn’t seem right. As I was drifting off to sleep one night, the little voice in my head whispered: Violet. GREAT! I tried it (see above) and thought it looked good.

The reason I wanted a small border was so that the green border would not “bleed” into the green block. The violet seems to clearly define the block. I am pleased with how it worked out.

I also put a few more rows on to Pineapple blocks 11 & 12. They are getting there. 3 more colored rounds to go. I have the background strips cut for the next round, but haven’t sewed them yet.

Special Whine Redux
Earlier this week, as you probably noticed, I was feeling a bit sorry for myself and the state of my pictures. I went back and looked at Yarnstorm‘s post called Square Dance and the photos she included. I realized that while her photos are totally fabulous, one thing about how she structured this post is that she put up her inspiration and then showed the quilt that came out of it. I really liked that. As a brief aside, I like the quilt-to-be she shows, because it is simple, but not boring. She is working with color in a way that I have been trying to do lately (see Thoughts on Dots and some of the other square pieces I was working on last year). She has done a fabulous job with blues, something that I greatly admire.

The other thing about Yarnstorm’s pictures is she has a great eye and she crops very well.

So, I will stop whining, crop my pictures and keep working!

Teacher Pillows – No Torment

Despite the fact that I still can’t measure, 3 of the Teacher Pillows are close to completion. The machine stitching is complete and I only have some final hand stitching to do on them and, voila, fini!

I thought to myself this morning that I should be able to finish three. I am not sure I really wanted to buckle down and do that many, but it got stuck in my head and here I am.

I don’t normally sew during the week, but I did some stitching on Friday afternoon. I was very slow and deliberate and not out to accomplish a lot. I just wanted to make some progress, no matter how little. I think that short session got me to the point where I could put three pillow covers together today.

Teacher Pillow – Front: I am really pleased with the way this front came out. I was not that thrilled with the Economy Patch that the child chose, but piecing more of the design in a smaller format really made it look good. I also LOVE LOVE LOVE the Flea Market Fancy fabric out of which I made this front.

Teacher Pillow – Back: I am not so enamoured of the back. I ran out of the flower fabric I used for the front and grabbed these fabrics. I didn’t just grab the blue randomly, but I am not sure why I chose it. My SIL came over and suggested yellow or pink (well, DUH! Why didn’t I think of that?), so I added the yellow to the outside. The back isn’t great, but done is better than perfect and, hopefully, she won’t look too much at the back.

The variety of colors, however, illustrate the way I made the back. I made two squares and then added a bit of extra fabric to the top of the front, hemmed it and folded it over. I will hand stitch down the folded over part.

Aide Pillow – Front: I sewed this one last (for the day) and it came out the best. It is small enough so the pillow form fills the entire cover.

Aide Pillow – Back

Resource Teacher Pillow – Front: the red, yellow and green color scheme has always been very appealing to me. I am pleased with the way this one came out although the pillow form doesn’t fill up the cover. C’est la vie.

Resource Teacher Pillow – Back: I had extra space on the drawing, so I added a photo. All the drawings and labels were scanned and printed on an inkjet printer.

The above photos show the different borders I tried for t he Aide pillow. It kind of gives you an idea of my process.

Not trying to make the envelope style pillow cover has been a big help. I have to say that I am still not sure what the right way to make pillows are and, as a result, I am wasting a lot of fabric. Part of hte issue is piecing the back using the drawings. For some reason that step adds enough of a wrinkle to make the project complicated. What I really need is a book like Around the Block that says how to make a pillow cover if you have a certain sized pillow form. Perhaps C&T will add such a book to their “Fast, Fun & Easy” series? That is one “Fast, Fun & Easy” tha I would buy.

Still, it makes me feel good to spread some quiltmaking and sewing out into the world.

Teacher Pillow Torment

I finished piecing all of the blocks, which is great. Above are the block for the Principal and the Assistant Principal, who are both retiring. It is the same block, but Around the Block shows it separately with different names, apparently because the colors go in different places.

My next problem is borders. I made 12″ blocks and bought 14″ pilow forms (aside from the fact that Around the Block does not cover 14″ blocks, what was I thinking???**). As a result, I need to add borders in order to increase the overall size of the blocks. Above is a possible border for the Asst. Principal’s block. It wasn’t my idea, but I like it. It really sets off the cross.

This is what I have already added to the Resource Teacher’s block. I love the dots; they are cheerful (raise your hand if you knew that was coming!).

The good is that part of the back is done. The bad, however, is that now the torment starts. For some reason, I was unable to measure once I got past making the blocks. I wanted to add 3″ borders to the Resource Teacher (RT) block. I got one side that was 3″, two sides at 4″ and one side at 2 7/8″ HUH? I don’t know what is going on with me and this project. As I detailed my sad tale of woe to St. JCN, she said that I had to make this my last year of making Teacher Pillows and if I didn’t she would torment me next year! Dear me! I don’t know what I will do next year, but I have been warned.

Part of what I am doing is trying to get it right: be able to make these in my sleep. It doesn’t seem to be happening and maybe St. JCN is correct in that I should go out in a blaze of glory with these five pillows. We’ll see.

I am taking the week off and then will work on these on Sunday.

**Actually I was thinking about how many extra borders I had to add last year so I wanted to make sure I had enough slack to cut off, if I need it.

I Guess I Do Have a Project

I have been feeling sort of at loose ends since I finished my various projects and took them to the quilter. I can’t decide if I should start the Chocolate Box quilt or just putter around. It finally dawned on me that I do have a project: the Teacher Pillows!

I don’t know what I was thinking, but these Teacher Pillows have turned into a production. This year, I am making 5: 3 for the child’s teachers and one each for the principal and assistant principal, who are both retiring. The latter two are not expected and not as important IMO, though I would like to make the gesture. On the positive side, I decided to start early and make them so I could take my time. The blocks are almost all done, with a minimum of unsewing.

Teacher pillow. This one is done with the Denyse Schmidt fabrics and came out very well, if I do say so. I love the colors and can’t wait to work more with these fabrics.

Teacher aide pillow

Resource teacher pillow. I had to make sure I have enough fabric, because this teacher will be working with the child until 8th grade. She will have a set of pillows by the time the child graduates! I really hope she likes the colors we have chosen.

Principal pillow. The child calls her the Wizard of Oz.

Assistant principal pillow.

I went through two books to see how I could make the rest of the pillow covers so they don’t have Gap-osis in the back. I am thinking of slip stitching them shut so I don’t have to worry about it. The recipients wouldn’t be able to wash the covers, though.

And on other fronts….

The fabric from eQuilter arrived. More dots!

I also worked a bit on the Flowering Snowball (Cross Block). Here is my first test of the new template and some fun [Denyse Schmidt] fabrics. I have since cut a lot of the corner pieces. I cut a piece whenever I have a piece of fabric out. I really need to get some more whites.

This is my wreck of a design wall. There are pieces of fabric and blocks everywhere. The little progress I made on the Cross Blocks (Flowering Snowball) is in the lower left corner. The blocks for the Teacher Pillows are stacked and pinned to the design wall (lower middle). I have no more space and am seriously thinking about what I can do to expand this space. First, I will move the Pineapple blocks up a few inches. That should help. Second, I will finish these Teacher Pillows, which should give me some breathing room. Something must be done, though, as this kind of design wall makes me crazy. I can’t think when it is so full.


Finally, I feel some relief. I have finished the top and back to Sharon’s quilt and it is ready to go to the quilter. As I mentioned, I didn’t feel a sense of euphoria or relief after finishing the Nosegay, but I do feel some of that relief now.

Top: with the border on, it is a little too big for my design wall (what else is new with my work these days?)

Detail of front: this is the label. There was one last pink bordered square that I needed to make the piece complete, so I turned it into a label/wish for happiness for the happy couple.


Detail of back. The pink is a map of Paris and the white and black border has French words on it.

Blurry detail of a batik fabric that I used for the border, then decided I really liked. If you have any, I want more. πŸ˜‰

I looked at my UFO list and it looks like most of the large outstanding projects are out of the way, except the Spiderweb, which is probably next on the list. There are a number of smaller projects, which are more arty that I will have to get back to eventually.

At the moment, the design wall is blessedly empty. Now I feel like I have some brain space and can work on something I don’t feel is hanging over my head. I guess I need to try to finish projects before they get so old that they start shouting at me. I will put the pineapple blocks and the Cross Blocks back up and see what happens with a new project.

On a Tear

I thought I would feel some kind of high and float around for a few days afer finishing the back of the Nosegay, but it is not to be. All I can think about is Sharon’s quilt, so I got the blocks out and put them up on the design wall. I had made a design while I was out and about yesterday, which I used to lay the blocks out.

P=plain block (printed fabric cut out) D=block with a drawing on it.

Sigh! There are just too many blocks to make it work. I, then, put them all up so I could see what I was dealing with.

There are three blocks that aren’t up on the wall and with those I have my entire design wall filled.

I am tempted to be artistic, but the practical side of me is telling me just to sew the piece together and be done with it.