The traditional Zia sun motif was created by the indigenous Zia peoples of New Mexico to symbolize the importance of both the sun and the number 4 in their culture. In keeping with that cultural tradition, here are 4 fast facts about these quilted Zia pillow shams I made for customer Barry L. –
They were a free gift with his purchase of a custom Whimzie quilt… yes, free! (You can find out more about his original quilt in my blog post Big-Hearted Zia Quilt for a Big-Hearted Customer.)
When you request a custom Whimzie quilt, I typically provide 3-4 designs to choose from. Barry had such a hard time picking between his favorite and second favorite designs that the runner up became these pillow shams.
So that they’d coordinate well, all the fabrics for these pillow shams were fabrics also used in the making of his quilt – except one. In addition to two Adobe reds and two turquoise fabrics, the pillow design called for two ocher yellow fabrics instead of the single ocher I used in the quilt so I had to purchase another.
Barry’s was the first request I’ve had for a Zia sun symbol, though not my first Southwest-influenced quilt design. The very, very, VERY first full-sized custom quilt I ever made featured a Southwest pottery fabric and ombre greens. I called it Anasazi Fair because the quilt block is known as a World’s Fair.
This is a photo of a photo of that quilt because it’s been so long that I don’t even have the computer hard drive the image was stored on anymore!
I wanted to practice dense embroidery AND
my friend is into Day of the Dead imagery AND
her birthday was coming up – –
so everything just aligned perfectly in the making of this pillow (figuratively AND literally – the stitching came out great, too!)
‘Til Death embroidery design from Urban Threads
If you follow me at all you know I love to make quilted pillows (and this photo from 2015 shows just the pillows I’d made for myself, the one’s I’ve made for customers number in the hundreds!)
But of all the pillows I’ve made, I never had the opportunity to make some of those super popular reading pocket pillows I see all over Pinterest. Until customer Gus H. asked for a quilt with the names of all five of his family’s grandchildren on it.
5 kids? That meant a gift with purchase of 5 reading pocket pillows!
Searching for reading-themed cotton was harder than I imagined, but I eventually ended up with a cute book worm fabric; additional fabrics for each pillow were in each kid’s favorite color. I embroidered the phrase “Just one more chapter” under each kid’s name on the pocket.
Honestly, just laid out here for the photo, these pillows don’t look as cool as they turned out IRL. With a pillow inside, they are not just adorable, but useful, too! I included the following poem –
Tuck a book in here
and place on your bed.
You’ll never go to sleep
with a chapter unread.
I imagine with 5 different personalities of 5 different kids, not all are going to voracious readers. But at least these pocket pillows will give each one of them a reminder to try to enjoy a good book every night!
A friend of mine writes books about a cat detective named Li’l Tom who lives in San Francisco. You’re probably sold just hearing the words “cat detective” but what I really loved about her first book were the descriptions of SF, one of my favorite cities in the world. And now she has a second book coming out in March 2018 – just in time for my birthday!
Last year, I purchased an embroidery machine. While learning to use it, a promotional bookmark for Angela’s first Li’l Tom book caught my eye and I decided to give recreating it in fabric a shot —
Believe it or not, the eyeglasses and eyes came from an embroidery file for an anthropomorphic school bus – go figure! But that taught me how to select and use different elements from a pre-purchased design. And by playing around with the letters, I learned how NOT to resize fonts and also to make sure any alphabets I purchase in the future include numbers!
I got the pillow finished and sent to her late last month. Who knows? After I read Li’l Tom’s next case, there might be a coordinating pillow, too!
Thank you so much – I absolutely love it. And such quality craftsmanship, as always. It makes me happy that you took inspiration from Li’l Tom. 😻
— Angela Crider Neary
I literally sold this pillow sham just on the idea alone! A longtime customer was looking for “any cute girl pillows” and I mentioned this idea I had been noodling around in my head for a while. The design wasn’t even finished, but she said “Oh that would be perfect”. We both ended up pretty happy with how it worked out!
If you think this would be the perfect cute little girl pillow sham for you, too, I’ve added a second one to my Whimzie Quiltz Etsy store — snap it up before Santa does!
(Tee hee – I’m trying my hand at writing ‘click bait’ titles. I’m thinking of doing a creative exercise poking fun at that trend later this year; thought I’d toss one in here while I’m at it. 😀 )
I spent the weekend adding a bunch of fabulous new quilted pillow shams to my Etsy store and I’ve started updating some listings from the past, too. Oh, and stay tuned next week for even more NEW listings. I don’t want to spoil the surprise – but there’s going to be some awesome items for the holidays available soon!
Here’s what new and in the shop now…
Always be yourself… unless you can be a penguin!
This penguin-themed quilted pillow sham offers great advice for lovers of those whimsical, flightless, tuxedoed birds. From the Antarctic to the North Pole, you won’t find a more positive message — or a more adorable little pillow cover.
This Bruins quilted pillow sham is a game day must have. I mean, you’re all decked out in your Boston jersey, shouldn’t your man cave be geared up, too?
Everyone can use a little encourage”mint” sometimes, right?
Maybe a peppermint-shaped quilted pillow that reads “You Can Do This” isn’t the first thing to come to mind when someone has a struggle ahead of them, but then again, maybe it’s the perfect way to show your unconditional support.
The best part of this Reindeer Names quilted pillow is the bright red button that replaces the “O” in Rudolph. It’s not quite bright enough to guide a sleigh by, but it’s close!
A TARDIS quilted pillow sham in pink? Why not? It’s a celebration of all things Doctor Who – the history, the continuity, the future and the new – all wrapped up in one awesome accent pillow.
This Round Trip Ticket quilted pillow sham is a Polar Express ticket you’re sure not to lose! And every time it’s bell rings, you’ll be reminded to believe in the spirit of Christmas.
This UCLA Bruins quilted pillow sham is a great addition whether you are decking out a dorm room freshman year or have just graduated and want to bring a bit of college with you into the real world.
In my continuing quest to Grinch-ify my house during the holidays as much as possible (see Grinch-y WINQs and “Slipping” Into Something a Bit More Grinch-y and “Whos” Coming for Dinner? among other blog posts,) I’ve just added this pillow set.
The long pillow is based on text from Dr. Seuss’ book. I went for a reversible cover – for most of December I’ll have the first side showing, but come December 25th, I’ll flip it over for the second.
The Grinch character pillow is from Pottery Barn Kids, but I added new, fuller pom pom trim to the outside. Because one should never settle for store bought holiday decor when Whimzie Quiltz can make it better!