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!


where do you get all of amelia's gorgeous stockings? They seem more substantial than the little girl pantyhose you find in Target - those sometimes rip while I am putting them on my daughter. We would love to buy the lovely ones like Amelia's...please point us in the right direction.

You just never disappoint! Great photos, but honestly how could they be anything else with so precious a subject!? Baby love... nothing like it.

The pillow will be fine when you wash it. My daughter has allergies to unwashed fabrics and the like so when I bring home new yardage I have to toss it into the washer right away. I found a "deal" on some 100% cotton batting and snapped up four yards of it and I bravely tossed it into the washing machine all on it's own and with crossed fingers, I hoped for the best. It came out perfectly! It was not misshapen at all, and wonderfully soft! But I do back my pillow tops with anything I have on hand, like Jan, I use a lightweight muslin or just some extra yardage because more often than not, I am embroidering a pretty here and there or hand quilting, but your pretty little pibbow has me wanting to try the "quilt as you go" method.

When I was a little girl, over fifty years ago, Eloise Wilkin books were my favorite. I still remember the images in her books. So when my babies came along I knew they were a must.

I wish Mimi and you happy, chilly, spring days with flower petal showers!

Amelia will be knitting before too long! As always, love your post! Can you please tell me if the adorable little sweater is not too difficult?? I'll soon be making some of your cute animals for Easter baskets for the grandkids. The months are flying by too fast!

I didn't think your girl could get any cuter but the hand over-the-mouth-whilst-laughing pic, adorable! I love the yellow outfit so much. I have heard of that style of quilting but never tried it. I sounds quite appealing to be but as yet I am still paralysed by fear whenever i contemplate making a quilt. Hey, maybe I should make 'pibbows' too, they would be a bit less scary I think. I am totally with you on feather pillows. We have two on our sofa and I am forever being prickled. Then what do you think I did this this winter. I bought a down filled coat [shakes head].

the front of your house goes so far beyond charming i don't have a work for it. oh, and you've got yourself a future knitter there. that concentration on her face will bode well when she takes on the task....she gets more and more precious with each passing day.

Ugh! I hate hate hate hard pillows! When we pillow shop the softer and the higher the down count the better...although I'm with you on feathers! Viva la difference!

Love looking at the posting about your room Gorgeous! And this wee girl has hand knit sweaters and a smocked garment. What! You rock. And so does she. And who doesn't like pibbows? And Ikea? And knitting,and your beautiful photographs. THANK YOU! Happy early Spring!

paola mollo says: February 28, 2015 at 08:54 AM

beautiful house
and also beautiful girl in her yellow dress
ciao Paola

I do believe that your baby girl is an artist. She is precious.

The pillow is fantastic! I always love, love seeing the photos of your Mimi (I don't think I've ever mentioned it, but M's nickname is Mimi, too -- funny that they have such different names, but we arrived at the same place, nickname-wise). She looks like such a sweet, fun kid!

Love the dresses, love the marks on her face and hope she didn't mess up her adorable outfit. Your post make me want to go back and have my daughter young again so I could dress her like Amelia. So cute!! Can someone that's never quilted before follow the quilt as you go book? I've got a bunch of scraps I need to get out of my basement and would love to do something with them without giving them away.

As a long time reader I just want to say that I am so happy that you are so happy. Blessings always to your sweet family. Enjoy !!

heavenly to see her growing into clothes made with such faith and hope so long ago. and, she's the only white girl i know who looks good in yellow. scrumptious. and, a dream come true. <3

Mimi and the knitting notions! a few posts back she had the hair ties out and was organising them. I imagine the la la la in her head as she decides what task to do next. Recently my granddaughter quietly took herself out of eyesight and posted all the house and car keys from the bowl on the sideboard down a conveniently placed hole. These are very la la la tasks that just need to be done by a busy 2 and half year old! The front of your house is beautiful. I don't think i have seen it before, or If I have, I hadn't realised it was yours. What a lovely front door and window astragals. You must have fallen in love with it at first sight! And all your living room is colours are so good. I really have too much to say about this post but I have managed to contain myself a little :)

Super darling!

Hooray for the little Sylvanian's mommy having a rest on the little table near your chair! Is it your Jiminy cricket?ha,ha!
Mimi looks like a sunshine in the last photos..Hooray for little girls wearing yellow!
And Hooray for no thoughts quilts!

Where oh where did you find that wonderful umbrella? Any hints on how to locate one would be much appreciated.

I really enjoyed reading your blog. Im going to buy the quilt book you mentioned looks like my kind of quilting x

This was an extra beautiful post. I always love seeing your home and what your lovely daughter is wearing. I love the picture from the book. I collect Eloise Wilkin books. They remind me of my childhood. And I was so happy with what you wrote about alpaca. I became allergic last year and had felt very sad about it but I now feel much better. Thank you!

Your photo's are beautiful and your home and street are dreamy. Thank you for sharing your life with us all.

Ok, I just have to say, I LOVE LOVE LOVE your house! We just bought a new (old) house, so I *need* toknow....what is the paint color in your living room, wall and trim??? 💗

Oh my gosh, is there anything cuter than a little girl in a smocked gingham dress? She is just so busy all the time...I love seeing her discover the world, it makes me miss the times when my grown-up girls were wee. :)

I spy with my little eye - a Calico Critter bunny keeping crochet mermaid and Miss Maggie Rabbit company. Ever since you posted about Andy's mermaid for Amelia, I have pondered such a project, but I don't crochet. Inspiration is half the fun though, so .... dare I order her? Sometimes I vicariously accomplish the project just by ordering the pattern. hee hee hee

I laughed when I read how much you hate feather pillows. Too funny! I love feather pillows and have them all over the couch and beds. Your photos are beautiful. I especially love the one with your daughter and the umbrella.

I just jumped over to your site from MMD. I love it! I want to try that quilting technique. Lovely.

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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




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.