I really wanted to join an international pillow swap, but I was not sure how to go about getting myself invited to join such a group. Then, I realised I was an idiot and that the best idea was simply to organise one locally among my own sewing group. I asked around, and ten people were keen to take part. We had a pillow swap!
Names were written on bits of paper – along with a few hints about favourite colours and the like – and the bits of paper were put into a hat. We drew names at random; instead of swapping in pairs, we swapped in a crazy, circular, random fashion.
It was agreed that we would keep who was making what for who secret until our end-of-year Christmas party. I asked a friend who was not taking part in the swap to keep track of who chose whose name so I did not have to know. She sealed the list in an envelope for emergencies – such as someone losing her bit of paper and forgetting who she was making for. I did not want to spoil anyone’s surprise, including my own.
I had heaps of ideas for cushions, but when I saw the name (and hints) I had drawn I realised that I had to try to think of what she would like (hints: red, black, white, bold, would look good on her couch), not what I wanted to make (probably bright, pink and floral). I spent a little time scratching my head until I saw Wombat Quilts’ blog post using Piece by Number’s ‘Circle of Geese’ pattern, and I had a plan.
The end-of year party was today, so here is what we made.
A lot of thought, effort and creativity went into everyone’s work. I was impressed by every cushion. Each was tailored to the likes and dislikes of its recipient. I think the swap was a success and people are keen to do it again next year – perhaps we will make bags next time for a bit of variety.
You will notice from the photo that our party was near the water. We had a Christmas picnic by the river. It was a warm and sunny day, and we were visited by dolphins, pelicans, black swans (and fluffy grey cygnets), galahs and kookaburras. In fact, a cheeky kookaburra swiped some terrine and a Christmas biscuit from the picnic table while our backs were turned.
This is what I received in the swap. I am a lucky duck! Made by Denise, it is gorgeous. I could not be more pleased. I was struggling just with the bulk of piping recently, and yet she has managed to sew all that lovely appliqué, and add piping and two layers of ruffles!