January Aurifil project ... Snowbird ... behind the scenes!
Gifts of good taste!

Snowbird Pillow!

Snowbird pix
By now, you're probably working on my Snowbird stitching ... it is the the first block in the Aurifil 2012 Designer of the Month project. You can download the pdf at the Aurfil Buzz. I loved stitching this block and didn't want to put it away. So inbetween stitiching another block for the wall hanging, I decided to make a pillow so I could see it every day! If you want to make one too, here's what you do.

Snowbird pattern 1
For the Aurifl project, we were given a Layer Cake of Sassy from Moda Fabrics. Those pretty turquoise blues gave me the right amount of frostiness so I pulled some of them out of the pack for my pillow. For the designer project, we're each picking fabrics to sash around our blocks, and that's where I started my pillow ... follow the directions in the pdf to add the sashing.

I picked two different prints and cut 5 - 4 1/2" squares. You could easily use five of the same print.

Snowbird pattern 2
We're making Snowball blocks ... appropriate! ... so you'll need some corners. I went with this creamy polka dot because it echoed the French Knots on the stitching.

Cut 20 - 2" squares. Draw a line from corner to corner on the back side of each square.

Snowbird pattern 3
Stitch the 2" corners on to all four corners of each 4 1/2" square ... stitching just a thread to the right of the line. That gives you enough allowance for the seam when you press and helps keep your blocks the correct size.

Snowbird pattern 4
So you stitch on all four corners ... rotary cut 1/4" from the stitching line ... then press away from the center. However ... when I started to join the blocks together, I repressed some seams toward the center so that I could nest them. It made those angles line up so much nicer! I finished my blocks with a little spray of Best Pressed to keep them crisp.

Snowbird pattern 5
Join the blocks together ... two on the bottom ... three on the side... then sew them to the stitched piece. When I pressed the seams for the blocks, I pressed them open. But then ... when I added them to the sashing ... I pressed toward the sashing. It was less bulky.

Snowbird pattern 7
Layer the finished pillow top with cotton batting and quilt however you choose. I was going to do a quick machine job with some simple quilting but then that beautiful Aurifil variegated turquoise 12 wt thread kept calling to me ... so I hand stitched. It was fun and so relaxing! Around the Snowbird block I used a running stitch. I measured 1/2" from the seam line and used a Frixion pen to draw a line. They iron out you know!

Snowbird pattern 8
On the snowballs I drew a snowflake that was similar to one in the stitching. Just bigger. Got a little bit close to the seam allowance on this one so be careful! I used a running stitch and French Knots. One little trick I learned after the first one was to start with a French Knot ... do the two short sideways lines ... then do the running stitch all the way to the end and finish off the same way. I like to knot off at each line so that really helped the work go more quickly. The back of the pillow was pretty when I finished! Make sure you trim the batting even with the pillow front.

Snowbird pattern 9
For my pillow back, I wanted to continue using the line of fabric but only had 10" pieces so I sewed some together. You can use a full piece of fabric if you want. We're making a pillow back that has an opening to insert the pillow form. Here's  simple directions if you haven't done this before.

Cut 2 - 10" x 12 1/2". Turn under 1/2" on one side of each piece ... along the 12 1/2" side ... to hem. It will measure 9 1/2" x 12 1/2".

On one piece, press the hemmed edge 2" to the wrong side. Place that piece wrong side up on your cutting board. Lay the second piece over the top ... wrong side up ... so they overlap. Lay your finished pillow top on top ... right side up. You can adjust the backing at this point to make it fit the top.

Snowbird pattern 10
Here's what mine looked like. I trimmed off the extra fabric at the top and bottom. Then I basted in around all four sides with about an 1/8" seam allowance to hold it all together.

Cut binding strips 2 1/2" wide ... enough to go around the entire pillow. I randomly pieced a variety of fabrics ... some were scraps from the blocks. Continue as if you were making binding for a quilt.

Snowbird pattern 11
Sew the binding to the front of the pillow and then hand stitch it to the back. Stuff a 12" pillow form in through the opening and viola ... you have a darling pillow ready to use! I keep wanting to hug it ... another happy little project completed. Enjoy!!

Snowbird pattern 12