The (First) Pibbow

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Have you ever done the quilt-as-you-go technique? I never had. I got this book the other day and decided to try it. I think it came out pretty cute. I used the 2" strips I had left over from Amelia's log cabin quilt. I have a whole basket of them. You can get a feeling for the whole technique from that first picture — you stitch the hearth directly to the batting, then add your first strip (log) to one side. Press that open, and then quilt it (I just stitched parallel to the seam, down the length of the strip a couple of times). Quilt (verb) after every added strip. Didn't think too much about the finished size, so there is one extra strip on two sides of the pillow (because I needed it to fit the pillow form). Mimi loves pillows, just like I do. We talk about pillows a lot, either for ourselves or for the dog or for the dolls. I think we talk about pillows every day. But she calls them "pibbows." Which works. We need some pibbows very badly in our living room. I'm going to make a few. I bought three new pillow forms. I like the bamboo forms. I like flat, hard pillows. I hate super-soft pillows. I HATE down pillows or any kind of pillow with feathers. They give me pillow rage. If I wanted to be jabbed in the face with a thousand little pins while also being smothered, then I would get a down pillow. But I don't.

By the way: The gingham chair (Ikea) is cute but lightweight. When she was smaller, Amelia liked to get up on that chair and essentially hurl herself against the back of it while peeking over the top at whoever was in the dining room. To stabilize it, we put a webbing strap with one of those tightener things around both of the front legs, and put several barbells — hand weights, I guess — on top of the strap. So if she pushed against the back, the weights counterbalanced and held the front of the chair on the floor. They also stay pretty neatly under the chair itself (and the slipcover). Anyway, I just thought I'd mention it in case you have a baby that does the same thing. Most chairs like this one are against walls, I would think, so it's probably not super common to have one like ours, in the middle of the room. But I just saw a little boy tip a dining room chair over backwards at the zoo cafe the other day, so I'm guessing it's pretty common with those kinds of chairs.

Drawing on a domino with a golf pencil (after silently, stealthily stealing my knitting-notions bag, and I'm not even sure why there was a domino in my bag). Wearing a doll stocking on her hand while holding an umbrella. I can't make this stuff up. I love this kid so much. I love her.

I want to make three or four more pillows. I'm not sure what kind I will make. Can you wash the quilt-as-you-go pillow cover if the batting isn't actually backed with fabric? I didn't really think about that. I kind of did, but then I just kept going, because I don't have any time. There's a back to the pillow cover, but not to the quilting part, do you know what I mean? I wonder what will happen when I wash it. We'll find out!

Her dresses: 2nd Birthday Dress (shown here, details in here), Lichen Woods (the Lichen Woods sweater, already way too small!), Lemon Layer Cake. Her sweater: My Cricket. I love this sweater. It fits perfectly and is such a pretty pattern. I love it. Her sleeves are rolled up in the children's museum pictures, but when they're down they are really cute. I must say that I originally got the NatureSpun sport only for my animal kits, but I have used it several times for Mimi-sweaters, and though I was worried that it would be a bit scratchy, it has turned out to be one of my very favorite yarns for her clothes, too. It gets soft and drape-y, it doesn't pill that much, it holds its shape really well, and it's got a really nice sort of rustic quality to it. I don't know. For a long time I was just so into alpaca. Alpaca is soft and smooshy and feels like a dream when you're knitting with it. In practical use, it's not my favorite. "Practical use" is not always my priority, mind you. My own knitting comfort is often the priority, quite frankly, and soft, delicious yarns like alpacas can sooth the knitters soul and the baby's skin. But it tends to pill like hell, and get really distorted with wear. I don't really care about those things that much, until the buttonholes stop working, or whatever. But I'm starting to appreciate the plain, straightforward, hardworking wools I used to pass up.

***Details on my workroom? All here!


Oh how I love those pictures of her with paint on her face!! Sums up childhood for me completely. She has grown so much! I hear you on the whole pillow rage thing. When I was younger I loved feather pillows but now they just make me go freaking insane. My hubby has one and every dang time I take the case off to wash it, it looks like a teenybopper pillowfight from the 50's just took place. Feathers flying everywhere and totally annoying.

Wool is great! Alpaca does feel lovely, but it's heavy and does droop out of shape. Perhaps an alpaca-wool blend like Berroco Ultra Alpaca would be up your alley? There's nothing like a good straight wool though.

I love your street..We live in an old town ..and the architecture pleases me so much.
Her dress is so sweet..smocking..I never learned..but used to save up and buy Polly Flinders for them.
Her hair is her little face.
I used to love the Golden Books w/ the cherub babies..
I think I want a tutu.
So much green much white here.

I learned to quilt from my husband's grandmother, and she shared her Georgia Bonesteel book... Here comes my point! Georgia Bonesteel had great instructions and examples for quilting as you go, but I still haven't tried it! {gee, I made my point but it was almost pointless. Still, the Georgia Bonesteel mention might be a nice lead for someone}. Your pictures and thoughts are lovely and compelling, as always. And funny, too... Who would guess you have an adamant anti-soft pillow stance?? Can we agree to disagree?

I have made several quilts and pillows with the Quilt as you go method - I use a lightweight muslin beneath the batting. Amelia is a doll!
xo jan

How I miss the pink-flowering trees from our life in Tacoma.

I am with you on the yarn. I have scads of alpaca that is so lovely to knit with but in the end, only does well as a scarf. Something that sits against your face but doesn't get a lot of "wear" so the pilling is at a minimum.

I used to use Cascade220 exclusively for felting projects but saw a cardi my grandmother was knitting. She was using a plain-Jane brown Cascade220 and it was lovely! It washes up to be a fabulous, soft, drapey fabric. It also tends to be a really good price. I will probably use it for my next sweater.

Those pink blossom photos are absolutely beautiful. So delicate and Japanese. I know exactly what you mean about feathers. I took a sofa cover off the other day, the living room looked like I'd had a fight with a chicken. Great tip for anchoring the chair. We've had a few tipping incidents here in the past. Have a good weekend Alicia. CJ xx

Ah! Eloise Wilkin, Baby Listens. Your baby girl has reminded me of Eloise Wilkin illustrations all along. Good stuff.

Viewing all the action photo's one after the other, anyone can clearly see how your mothers heart can burst with love.
Miss Mimi is pure love and excitement all rolled into one.

I've done a couple of quilt as you go when my daughter was about Mimi's age. She still has them to this day. She just turned 44 this past December. I like them because they're manageable and don't require a quilt stand.

The Cricket sweater is adorable. Love the color - a true butter yellow.

Ha! Pibbows! My son used to call them that too. Such special memories. Your colorful environment and that little smiling face are so enjoyable to your readers. Thank you!

ahhh-dorable. '26morning2' can see an awesome calf muscle from all those walkabouts you do. my father bought my mum a new singer sewing machine in 1951 after she sewed all of our clothes AND coats by hand. the stool's seat lifted for storage. i spent many hours playing with the contents which were mostly knitting needles. mum's gone, the sewing machine/cabinet were given away, but i kept the stool. her needles are still there. so, mimi, i totally get the attraction. breathtaking post, as always. thank you, alicia. xo

When I see those pictures, my heart aches for the baby days. Enjoy!

oh...feather pillows stink, too.

That pillow is so pretty, I love the fabrics you used. I love all your photos here - the days of small childhood are such a rich and warm blessing, its always wonderful to see a mother delighting in them.

Oh, you just made my day! Love the photo of her laughing and covering her mouth ~ and I love the photo of her holding the umbrella while she's outside and her nose and cheeks are all rosy.

The quilting as you go is so neat, I've never heard of that and can't wait to try it. And check out the book. The pillow turned out great, hopefully it washes ok. We are surrounded by wet blossoms here too, this the season. Have a great weekend.

Love love love all the images of Mimi and your delightful home - inside and out! I made a big red shawl in the Elise pattern using a yarn of 50% alpaca and 50% silk and it's been wearing beautifully, no pilling and is just yummy. I also made 2 shawls of microfiber that are so soft and wear beautifully. I just knew she must have snitched your sewing bag.. I could just see needles falling out and getting loose! You are giving Mimi a wonderful, artistic, adventurous, cozy and loving life..
((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Alicia, Your house is SO incredibly charming. I love everything about it. Every little corner and detail is just so prettily styled and welcoming. What a place to grow up! Lucky girl.

when i make quilt as you go pillows, I usually attach fusible fleece to a scrap piece of fabric and sew my strips on top of that. it gives it the nice squishy feeling of a quilt, and the top fabric doesn't stretch at all. love everything about your post - as always!

I adore your Lemon Layer Cake dress!

A friend had recommended that quilting book to me. It's on my wishlist. I really want to crochet and quilt this year. Now that I type that it seems like mighty lofty ambitions.

I always love photos of your home. I believe it might be the coziest house in all the land. Will we ever, ever get to see pictures of the pantry you did? Fingers crossed!

Oh my goodness! That picture with that darling calico critter sitting so patiently at her very own table! I'm so sad my little girl has grown out of her calico critters. By far my favorite toy she has ever owned! What love and light your home is filled with:)

Hi Alicia
WHat a lovely idea to quilt as you go. I've made a table runner once in the same technique. Never thought of making it with a log cabin layout. I'm tempted to try. I see spring is sneaking up on you slowly.. How wonderful. Enjoy. We still have some snow on the ground.
Best regards
My Rose Valley

Looks like Amelia had her hands on a bunch of double pointed needles---I think she's getting ready to cast on a pair of socks. ;-)

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at