If you have followed me long, you may have noticed that I love a good challenge, so when Aurifil offered their Artisans an opportunity to make a project using Anna Maria Horner’s fabric and Aurifil thread, I was excited to sign up! It is hard to commit to a particular project without knowing what exact materials you will be given, but based on Anna Maria Horner’s overall design aesthetic, I thought that a pillow would be a fun project.
Three fat quarters and a spool of Aurifil were provided for the challenge. I had requested 12wt thread because I intended to incorporate some large stitch hand quilting into the cushion. I didn’t even think about the design of the pillow until the fabrics arrived because I knew I wanted the fabric to be the key inspiration for this project. As soon as I saw the large floral inspired print, I was sure that it needed to be the focus of the design.
I had just enough large floral motifs to use one for the center of the pillow and a half motif for each corner. To start, I marked where the center circle would eventually be cut out and placed the corner motifs based on that mark. I then used 80wt Aurifil to hand appliqué the motifs. Once this was complete, I cut out the center circle and machine pieced the center circle into place using 50wt Aurifil. To finish the construction of the top, I placed the central motif and used needle turn appliqué to secure it.
With the piecing and appliqué complete, it was time to begin the quilting process. I selected a wool batting so the pillow top would have a bit of poof to it and really show off the hand stitching. The quilting on this project really embraced decorative stitching, and I used it as an opportunity to try out several different techniques since the back of the quilting would be enclosed in the pillow.
I started by machine quilting around the circle and each floral motif. I had 12wt thread on top and 50wt thread in the bobbin, and I loosened the tension slightly so I could have enough give to the stitching to wrap each stitch by hand with a strand of 50wt thread. This resulted in a stitch that looks like a whipped backstitch, but it took a lot less time!
The rest of the pillow top is quilted using a total of seven colors of 12wt Aurifil that I selected to accent the colors in the fabric. The bronze color was sent for this project, the light green came in this year’s Aurifil Artisan box, and the remaining colors had been used in previous projects.
I used a standard running stitch and several embroidery stitches to quilt the pillow including the closed fly stitch, French Knots, seed stitches, and variations of cross stitches.
The back of the quilted panel shows off how much stitching went into this project.
A yo-yo in the center of the floral motif completed the pillow top. I thought that it would be fun to finish the center of the motif with the background print the motif was cut from!
To make the pillow cover easy to remove for cleaning, I inserted a lapped zipper into the backing fabric.
The final touch that I wanted to add was a piped edging covered with the remaining striped challenge fabric. I love how the bias cut fabric looked with all of the angle changes within the fabric design. This would make amazing quilt binding!
I selected a feather filled pillow form, and combined with the wool batting it creates a delightful feel for a throw pillow.