Tuesday, March 2

my little Matryona

What could be better than a quilt and a pillow? How about a quilt that IS a pillow!! That's right, and herein lies the genius of a "quillow", which is a quilt with a pouch sewn to the back so if you fold it into thirds it can be turned into a pillow. I like to refer to them as the popples of the quilt world.

This is my first attempt at a "quillow", and I think it has quickly become one of my favorite projects. This was a commissioned piece for a dear friend who gave me full freedom to create a quilt for her daily use. She studied in Russia and has a sincere fondness for Russian history and culture. So when I found this nesting doll (matryoshka in Russian) fabric by the Japanese company, Kokka, I knew I wanted to use it for her quilt.

The design for the project went through several stages, and even I was unsure what it would look like until it was finished. In the end, I cut out eight separate rectangles (4 are larger and 4 are smaller), created borders for them of a dark brown and a teal , and finally placed them alternately in a sea of a cream colored muslin. For the outer border I sewed strips of the colored fabrics at 45 degree angles (as though making a binding). The pillow section of the quillow is appliqued with three dolls I cut from the Kokka print, attached with fusible webbing, and used a simple zigzag stitch to secure them to the fabric.

I think what draws me to this particular design is how it manages to look both old fashioned and modern simultaneously. The colors are exactly the dark and rustic tones I (inexplicably) associate with old Mother Russia, yet the design is simple with straight lines and without too much clutter. The name for it comes from a poem by Teresa Pfeifer called "Matryoshka".