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Monday, October 3, 2016

40 year old pillows.

I have many times wondered what happened to those quilted pillows I made 40 years ago! I knew I had kept them, but in all of my (many) moves, they got tucked away somewhere, never to be seen again............ until now!  I found them in some tubs my son had been storing at his house in Washougal.. and he brought them down last Thanksgiving... .and I just recently went through them...... and found my beloved 40 year old pillows.....

(and don't ask me how I got on the subject of pillows today..... it just popped into my head that I should share them with you...... )

These were among the VERY first things I ever quilted. I think I had made a "hoop art" hanging thing for my sister, where I appliqued some hearts onto some muslin and then hand stitched around the hearts. That was my very very first attempt at quilting. Wish I had a picture of that, but I don't.

My girlfriend and I (she had never even sewn before!) decided we'd try our hands at quilting. I had made hand sewn clothing for years (I was in my mid-20's then) but had never quilted. In the 70's, I was making alot of long granny/hippy dresses!  .... and of course, loved decorating them with lots of lace.
1973 - one of my long hippie dresses that I made. See all that lace??
I don't even remember what got us on the kick to try "quilting". I think it's because she discovered lace when I wore one of my long dresses to her house... she loved it. We both became addicted to lace! We would follow the "Lace Ladies" around in Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington, as they set up their movable "store" at many different venues, and buy TONS of lace. We were trying to figure out what else we could use the lace for. She wanted to learn to sew, so she could use lace.... so maybe I suggested pillows.. or maybe she did. It seemed quick and simple........ and turned out to be funaddictive.

I think she had also seen a Cathedral Window pillow at a bazaar. She bought it and showed me. Swoon........ we both fell in love with the Cathedral Window design (do you remember it?).  And I think she also got the pattern/instructions from the lady at the bazaar.  Our forms of quilting were more "hand piecing" as we made mostly designs where you sewed a few squares together, and then made some sort of design by turning edges, etc.
Cathedral Window.
We spent MANY happy weekends sewing and making mostly pillows. We became addicted to pillows. My friends got pillows for gifts.. my family got pillows... I kept pillows for me. I wish I had pictures of every one I made. I think at one time, she had at least 25 pillows lined up on the back of her couch. I know I have a picture somewhere buried deep in a tub somewhere.  I wish I had that picture. Unbelievable.

Anyway... here are the five that I've kept all these years. They don't match any of my color schemes now... and I don't know what to do with them... but they are like old friends and I can't part with them.
"String patch" pillow - see the tiny lace around the green ruffle? Sigh.....

"Radiant Star" as it was called then. It's now making a resurgence and is called the Folded Star. I loved making those! And I have MANY more that are made and ready for pillows... or???

Cathedral Window - more lace!

Soft peach full Cathedral Window - peach lace! Swoon.......


I even started a "string patch" vest and never finished it. It's STILL stuffed in a bag in one of my tubs of fabric!

We hand-stitched everything. See (above). This pillow making phase did NOT help my fabric addiction. It was so fun to go to the many fabric stores and pick out different gorgeous fabrics for our pillows. I mean...we went crazy!....... we made the Pineapple Design, the String Patch, the Radiant Star, the Flying Geese, Grandmother's Flower Garden........ the Cathedral Window.... and many more. 
Traditional "Pineapple" pattern. I used some really neat black velveteen with flowers... loved the effect. I think I even made a velveteen jacket out of this black!

Grandmother's Flower Garden. I still have this block but have never made it into a pillow.

I tried my hand at tracing a design onto some muslin, coloring it and then quilting around it. Made this pillow for my mom way back in the 70's.. see all that lace? Oh yes... love it.
Our sewing bees continued over a period of probably ten years... in the 70's and 80's. We had weekend sewing bees, even though we lived 75 miles apart. What fun and what memories........ and I'm glad I have a few old friends pillows left.

Here are some of the Radiant Star blocks that I have made over the years, that are still waiting to be used for "something". Every now and then, I'll pull out my pattern and little bag of pre-cut Radiant Star squares, and take it with me on a trip for some  hand sewing. Sigh.... the Radiant Star is probably my all-time favorite design. I even inset one onto the back of a denim jacket "way back when".... wish I still had that jacket. Maybe one of these blocks will make their way to a denim vest now. What do you think?

I loved pink and green even then.

I was thinking of putting these blocks in my Etsy shop.. but just don't know.... kind of hard to part with these blocks old friends too! See the "2014" copyright? Still haven't made up my mind whether to keep or sell.

If you are interested in making the Radiant Star, I have discovered some good videos and tutorials on YouTube for them. Just search for Radiant Star or Folded Star.

Shabby Fabrics has a great tutorial, How to Make a Cathedral Window Pillow
Her method is a little different than the way I made them (but hey.. I don't really remember now how I made them anyway!).. and she uses more machine sewing.. but the outcome is the same and just gorgeous! 

FOR A FUTURE POST: Another really really fun and neat quilted item my girlfriend and I used to make, was a fabric bowl... very unique and very different.... and I have searched far and wide on the internet, blogs, Pinterest, and Craftsy for the pattern, without success. I couldn't remember how to make it... and of course, I love a challenge.... so have been searching for the pattern for at least the last two years. I'm happy to say that I finally found a pattern (in Japanese) on some obscure website! I'm so happy. Now I just need to make one. That will be a future post hopefully.

OK... that's my trip down memory lane for today. I sure enjoyed it and now am inspired to  make some more Radiant Stars and Cathedral Windows! How about you???

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  1. Good Morning Marilyn,
    What a fun trip down memory lane. I remember all of those and they were so popular in the 70's. I have a king size Cathedral Window quilt that my Mama made and it is a family treasure. She had many hours in that quilt. Also, I am delighted that you posts the stars. I had a girlfriend teach me how to make them, but I never save one and had forgotten how to do it. Your photos brought it all back to me. Thank you so much for sharing.
    Have a lovely week!
    Connie :)

  2. Finding these pillows after all these years must have felt very nostalgic. I love the picture of you in that hippie dress! It certainly brings back lots of memories for me too lol.

    I don't know if I could part with them. Follow your heart.