This weekend I got a lot of sewing in. Inspired by the Dogwood Medallion center panel I made (from Rachel's handstitched class quilt) I made two more and added some extra bits to make us a couple of pillows for our guest room. They will brighten up my sewing space and also be a nice touch to the room for our guests coming in about a week.
The other thing about this weekend is that our internet was out, so I could not access the class website with the pattern -- I was making these from memory! I've got the mitered corner construction mastered after 16 of them this weekend. By the end of the second pillow center, I was also really comfortable with the hand stitching around the petals. I was really happy with the look of the smaller stitches I used on the pillows compared to the larger, still likeable, stitches I used on the original panel.
After the panels were made, I sandwiched them with some cotton batting and started quilting. I got about halfway through stitching with dark gray thread about 1/4" away from the seams before stopping, deciding I didn't like it, and picking it all out. I went back to white thread and stitched closer to the seams, about 1/8" away, which looks much better. I like the added dimension the quilting gives to the block, but also that it isn't really competing at all with the overall design.
Now, I haven't been much of a fan of the overlapping-pieces-on-the-back solution to pillows because I've had the impression that if you like a firm fit, the back will bulge open. I usually sew them closed or intend (ahem) to put in a zipper. I decided to take the plunge and try it this time, and I have to admit I'm convinced. I could have made my pieces overlap even more to be 100% happy, but even so I'm pretty pleased that the covers fit snugly and the pillow isn't busting out the back or making the opening gape apart.
So thank you Dave for recognizing that I needed to relax and saying "you should sew this weekend"; I love our new pillows!