Monday, July 12, 2010

The Birthday Pillow!

I have a friend at school - shock! horror! - and when she told me she was turning thirty this year I was excited.  Like her, I turned thirty in a country far, far from home. It sucked.  I was determined not to add to any of the suckiness of her day.  Enter The Birthday Pillow!

While our building is slowly being demolished and reconstructed all around us (the latest news: just a small vent hole being drilled from roof to floor going right through our room) those in charge refer to this as just a 'post-grad room'.  But it is soooooo much more.  We are an office of highly educated, esteemed, hard-working colleagues who like to practice mandarin orange basketball, cubical 'Tour de France', the occasional 'avoid the hot tea Footy match', and rock out sessions to Jay Z and Alisha Keys.  Nothing gets the blues out faster than a chorus of 'New YOOOOOOOOORK'!

We have several items to make our time in prison working more enjoyable.  This includes several coffee presses, a coffee maker, tea (various varieties), hot chocolate, Nestomalt, long life milk, kettle, paper towels, lots of chairs, several shawls, and The Pillow.  The latter two items are used for cat-napping under our desks.

My friend brought The Pillow in question to school after a particularly long bout of weekend work.  It has sure come in handy; the floors are cold and the desks are hard.  The head should be protected from both whilst resting (on the floor) and thumping (against the desk in frustration).  So while I meditated on something to make her for her birthday (a classic Dilly Dally technique) I saw the pillow winking at me from the corner of my eye.  What a great idea! I'll have a rest and think about it later.  After a 15 minute cat-nap under my desk it came to me: a patchwork quilted pillow cover!

After the last sewing day of the Melbourne Modern Quilt Guild I was emboldened to try paper piecing.  Basically you take a piece of paper with your design on it and sew on the backside.  This is great because any pieces smaller than 2.5" seem to go wonky on me.  My sewing machine may have too Umph?   It was a nightmare to piece the Ohio stars and border on my last project for this reason.

Anywho.  After finishing the drawing I quickly learned a few rules about foundation piecing.  This was essentially a log cabin design.  There could be no hangy-down-bits.  I had to go one log at a time.  And I needed to set my stitch length smaller so  the paper would easily tear away.  For the paper I used some no-name baking paper: great because it can stand the iron and it's transparent.  So when I went 'off pattern' I could draw on one side and see through to the other.  All in all, I really like this way of sewing.  The object under creation has a form and shape that otherwise it wouldn't have and it made sewing a lot easier!

So, I kept building up the logs till the pillow cover was 16" on all sides.  There was one problem though.  And its my favorite kind of problem.  I had run out of fabric!  I needed something for the backing.  As hubby reclined on the couch playing Bejeweled on his ipod (I HATE BEJEWELED) and Hire-A-Hubby drilled though the floor in the flat next to ours (ON A SATURDAY!!! HUBBY GO HOME!!!) I quietly excused myself so as not to arouse suspicion, jumped in the car, and drove to Spotlight.

I love Carnegie Spotlight a little bit less now then I did before.  I blame the ladies at the Guild.  They have introduced me to fabrics and designers I never would have known about before - evil doers!  And so despite the fact I can't afford those fabrics and designers, I feel a bit snobbish about Spotlight now.  That all fades though as I walk past the Quilting Corner.  I am  thrilled when I find some polka dots that will make great backing for the pillow at a really good price. I love Spotlight again!

The next day I sew it all up.  I wanted a quilted look on the pillow so I made a quilt sandwich on that side, practiced some free motion quilt designs, and played with heavily quilting some parts and leaving others as they were.  I used a high loft batting so these un-quilted parts were nice a puffy compared to the rest.  It was great practice.  That's what I am telling myself at least because The Thesis is still hanging over me like an imaginary devil with a sharpened trident.  Whenever I engage in fun and frivolity that little floating bastard pokes his fork in my back and makes me feel bad for what I just did.

The Pillow was a success.  In fact, it was too successful.  It has now been taken from our office and sequestered in the home of the birthday celebrant.  Its a good thing though.  A pillow this cute would wink at me and inspire more sewing.  Bad Pillow!

Time wasted to date: 17 hours

1 comment:

  1. Great pillow! Perfect name for your blog! Not that I've seen you waste time, You don't stop when your at the guild!