Type of item: Functional
Style: Traditional, Outdoorsy, Casual, Classic
Cotton fabric and threads, polyester wadding
What was your inspiration?
During my original quilting course (where I learnt many of the the basics) I bought a book called "Learn to Quilt" by Sharon Chambers which gives instructions for all sorts of very simple and easy quilts, including a quillow. I was intrigued and couldn't wait to try out what seemed like a very interesting and practical idea.
A quillow is a lap-size quilt (this one measures 42 x 54 inches) that folds up into a pocket on the back to make a pillow (or cushion, as we call it in England). I've made a number of quillows now, as they are very acceptable presents for friends and relations and have posted pictures of them on my projects page. I've had some enquiries about them and thought I'd give some more details here of how to make and fold a quillow, as it's very easy. I must apologise for the creased state of this item in the photos, but it lives in the car and is used as a picnic blanket, and I got it out quickly to photograph it!
The quilt in the illustration is actually "bagged out", i.e. it has no binding, but all the others I've made are bound in the usual way. You make a small quilt (about 19 or 20 inches square) to match the main quilt and this will be your pocket. Don't bind the pocket, but use the "bagging out" method to finish it. Both the pocket and the quilt are quilted before the pocket is attached, face down, centred on one short edge of the quilt leaving the end away from the edge of the quilt open. This stitching needs to be done by hand or it will show through on the quilt. The quilt is then bound, enclosing the top end of the pocket.
To fold the quillow into its cushion:
Step 1:, Lay it out right side up and fold the two sides into the middle, level with the sides of the pocket, so that it's one third of its original width.
Step 2: Turn the whole thing over, put your hands into the pocket, grab the top two corners and turn the pocket inside out.
Step 3: Fold up the rest of the quilt twice, tuck it into the cushion, pick it up by the bottom edge, give it a shake and there you are!
You've made a quillow!
What are you most proud of?
I must confess I don't really like this one much - I must have been having a bit of a brainstorm when I chose the material, but I was very inexperienced then, excited and in a hurry to get on with it and couldn't really visualise what the finished item would look like. However, it's very practical and has been put to good use. As I said, it lives in the car just as a cushion until it's needed to cover somebody's legs or wrap up a child and it sometimes comes out to make a blanket to sit on when we have picnics. Not beautiful, in my opinion, but very practical! There's a picture of the back of a bound quilt with my project "Christopher's Quillow".
What advice would you give someone starting this project?
Be sure to do your quilting first before attaching the pocket as you won't be able to stitch that part of the quilt once the pocket is on. Also, ensure that you only sew (by hand) down the two sides of the pocket so that the bottom edge is left open and the top edge is level with the edge of the quilt. Reinforce the corners of the pocket by the open end, as they will need it when you are turning the cushion inside out. Also make sure that you put it face down on the back of the quilt, or you'll find that, when you turn it inside out, you won't see the pretty side!
Good luck - and I look forward to seeing lots and lots of quillows soon!