Tuesday, February 3

L’s Patchwork Pillow

Years ago, I made a friend online – she was a blogger who, like me, had three daughter and, like me, had ties to Singapore (though hers are MUCH stronger) and, like me, loved to make things and blog about them too.


Then when I won some lovely felt food during a giveaway on her blog and she asked for my mailing address, we realized we lived only an hour from each other and soon became friends in real life.


During one visit, I was surprised to hear that while she loved to sew, she’d never tried quilting and didn’t think she’d be any good at it. (Yeah, right!) On my drive home, an gift idea for her popped into my head…


Because of who it was for, I searched for some solids in my fabric stash – blues and tans. And because of who it was from, I had to throw in some prints too.


I cut lots of strips, tried not to obsess too much over which to put next to which, sewed them into blocks, and then machine-quilted each strip with parallel lines.


The top left block was like a quarter of a log cabin pattern. Could make a person think of the letter L.


The top right block was just simple vertical lines. Kinda like a capital I.


The bottom left was similar, just horizontal stripes this time. Reminiscent of the sideways strokes of an E.


And the bottom right was a shallow zig-zag. Sort of like the right part of an R.


And what’s that spell?!? My friend’s Chinese name.


I was SO pleased with how it had turned out. Everything about the pillow made me happy, but especially the graphic “hidden” letters. I sent it off, not even knowing it would arrive just days before my friend’s birthday.


When she told me how much she liked it, I did ask her not to post about it on her blog. I wasn’t ready for the world to see it. On the one hand, I was afraid that people would see it and love it and make their own versions and there would suddenly be “graphic hidden letter blocks” all over the interwebs. I wasn’t ready to lose my idea yet. I hadn’t ever seen anything like it. And it was still mine.


But on the other hand, I was also afraid that people would see it and be indifferent and no one would make their own version. No one would embrace it. No one would take my idea, the one I was so in love with, and run with it. It would die in obscurity. –sniffle sniffle–


So I kept it hush hush and played with the idea some more. Designed a whole alphabet of “hidden letter” blocks. Designed a quilt top for another friend with her last name and the name of every member of her family, even the dog, hidden in it crossword style. But then other ideas emerged, other projects were created, and eventually that little idea of mine – and its associated sketches – was relegated to some backup hard drive somewhere in my house, two laptops ago.


These days, I see the pillow on my friend’s couch when I stop by for a visit. And I know it makes her smile. And that makes me smile.


And now, with this post, my guarded, beloved idea is out in the open. Now, it can flutter off into the great wide world to seek its fortune. And I’m OK with that.


  1. And LiEr LOVES this patchwork pillow more and more with each passing year of our friendship! What a gift you are to me, K!

  2. Karin, it is absolutely gorgeous!! The stylized letters are total genius, but also the choice of colors/patterns, and how you quilted it all together. Even the little tag on the back with the dedication! Lier is very lucky to have such a gorgeous pillow and such a thoughtful and generous friend! :) Lisa

    1. Thanks, Lisa. It was a fun project -- I still remember, all these years later, how everything just came together!



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