It’s inevitable that there will be scraps left over when a quilt is done, they’re the benched players on the sidelines when the buzzer sounds.  Wasted potential, because in my book, scraps an inch above standard seam allowance can excel in the right conditions.

So it was when Ellen came to pick up her quilt featuring her husbands’ Hermes ties.   We were completing our transaction on pretty upbeat terms – how lovely to have a happy client – until she saw the bagged scraps and the trace of a frown began to appear.  The goal had been to put ALL the fabric to use.  What could be done with these leftovers?  Then Ellen remembered  a little “study” I had made for her quilt

and suggested it for pillows — one for each of her four children, and one for her.  Eyeballing the scraps, I was sure there was enough for five, so we were in business.

After scoring polyester pillow inserts from P&S Fabrics in Chinatown (made in Massachusetts, BTW),

The triangles at left are the tie tips.

I spread out all the scraps.  Most were too small for use in the quilt, some were lining, and some were colors or hues that just didn’t show their best or add anything to the quilt as the design unfolded.   I ironed everything, added fusible backing where needed, and using the study above as a starting point, began to cut short bars to join into squares

I decided to use four sets of blocks on each pillow, sashed with the tie linings I couldn’t use the first time around

The bars of color echoed the coin stack pattern of the "mother quilt."

There were a few big pieces left

Hermes tie and a bit of Thai silk

which provided sashing around the inner block of four

I tried to get some Thai silk on every pillow, since it featured so prominently on the mother quilt

By this time the bits and pieces remaining really were not much more than that, so the outer border was literally “strip piecing.”

I sewed bits and pieces together until they were long enough for a border for each side of the pillows, 20 overall.

Ellen had provided a lovely blue queen-sized sheet for the back of the original quilt.  Enough was left to back the pillows.

The patchwork pillow front is 12 inches square. The back is two pieces of blue sheeting 12 inches wide by 7 or 8 inches, overlapping.

The pillow cover and backing are pinned, right sides facing together, and sewn all the way around the square three times.  The overlap in the backing creates a slit to slip the pillow in.

As I finished I stacked them up.

I’d been concerned that one or two might be “nicer,” stand out more somehow from the rest of the line-up …

But I think they ended up as a pretty strong team

*A soft cushion for your head or another part of your body, possibly featuring fabrics that remind you of a special person.

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