Thursday, December 8, 2016

pillow swap four seasons - a wonderful experience

Hi everyone! The closing round of Pillow Swap Four Seasons is coming to a close. All pillows have been shipped and more than half have been received. I have to admit too, I have gotten very sad over the last few weeks, because our group is breaking up. Sandra (hohenbrunnquilterin) and I decided not to extend the swap another year. We had two very successful years of designing and quilting pillows for one another four times a year for two years in a row. Instead of going out with a whimper, we wanted to go out with a bang!

These last two years have been really incredible, too. I never imagined to have met such warm and loving women who share exactly the same interests as I do. I am ever grateful for this exchange of knowledge, skills, friendship, camaraderie, as well as warm hearts and pure love from each and every participant in our group.

It is not easy running a swap. Some of you out there know what it takes to be a swap mama, because you are one. It takes a lot of time, energy, and organization as well as people-person skills and flat out patience. The organization was never really a problem for me, but my soft skills could be better. I am not a fluffy person and sometimes get down to the nitty gritty pretty fast. I know this is a major failure/negative point about me. I know it and try to change this behaviour when I think about it. Sandra, the real leader of this swap, on the other hand has magnificent soft skills. She is what held this group together, especially when my fluttered brain didn't see things clearly, she knew exactly what was going on. An incredible thank you goes out to you, Sandra! Thank you for helping me through these two years by keeping me straight especially when I was wrong.

A big thank you to all of my the people whom I wrongly accused of not shipping on time too or mixing up names of people who sent me a pillow. Man, am I a total idiot when I insult a quilter by thanking someone else; I did that!! Of course I apologized, but it didn't make it any better, from my side that is. I think she took it much better than I would have.

Sometimes I got a little disappointed when I received a brief thank you in the headlines of a posted photograph of my received package. All a lot of thought went into every pillow I designed especially  for each partner I've had. Although I like to incorporate a bit of me into my designs, most of the pillows were truly drawn from the inspiration mosaics from my partners.

Here are all of the pillows made over the last two years for my partners:

Spring 2015 for Dorrie
Summer 2015 for Rita
Fall 2015 for Bettina
Winter 2015 for Rosemarie
I learned how to sew a covered zipper, make covered button, make a double cathedral window, learned about color value, understood the power of scraps.

Then there was 2016....
Spring 2016 for Julia
Summer 2016 for Sabrina
Fall 2016 for Ines
Winter 2016 for Andrea (Stay tuned for more photos.)
I learned my style and how to use contrast to make a design pop. I learned how to make two different kinds of piping - cross grain and bias as well as keeping my stash stocked always have to be ready for the unexpected.

Then I helped making some angel pillows...

2015 for Astrid
2016 for Wendi
I learned the rainbow colors and starting using their color order to influence design.

And then there were those two special pillows I made for Sandra (hohenbrunnerquilterin)...

2015 - Winterverwirrung
2016 - Playful Plus
I learned that I could stitch in the ditch without it looking terrible. And I learned how to make foundation paper piecing to my advantage.

So over the last two years, I have extremely improved my pillow making skills! I even learned how to make buttonholes (but still needs a lot of practice. I learned that I love piping and dislike binding on my pillows.) I also love a covered zipper to keep everything nice and tidy inside. I learned to make a pillow just a little smaller than the size of the insert to make the design stand out better.

Once again...I am going to miss everyone from this group! Thank you for your kindness and your support. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!


  1. Liebe Karen, wundervolle Kissen hast du genäht. Ich könnte gar nicht sagen welches das Schönste ist aber ich kann dir sagen, daß mir das Kissen was ich von dir bekommen habe immer noch sehr sehr gut gefällt und deshalb auch fast das ganze Jahr benutzt wird.
    Danke für die tolle Orga des Swaps und nun
    Merry Christmas and a happy new year.

  2. OMG, you really made me cry when I read your post!!! I am so thankful that we had the chance to host this swap, it was an incredible group and a very talented too! I love the pillows you made for your partners, you have such amazing sewing skills! And of course I love the two pillows you made for me. And to be honest - YOU were the real leader!!!! I am thankful that we had those two years together! It was a wonderful time!

  3. What a great adventure for all involved. Your pillows are just fantastic. I especially like the black and red one Ines received, and am looking forward to the big reveal of Andrea's pillow cover. It looks scrumptious from the sneak peek!

  4. Hi Karen,
    What a wonderful post about the Swap. Thank you for organizing it and also thank you for the great summary of your experiences. This is exactly what a swap means: learning , learning and learning. You have to dip into the world and taste of someone else and try to meet her requirements. I love the pillows you made, they cover such a wide variety of techniques and tastes. Einfach grandios!!!
    Have a great Advent time,
    greetings from Bonn

  5. Oh, they are all wonderful! XO

  6. Hallo Karen,
    du hast einen sehr schönen Beitrag zu eurem großartign Swap-Event geschrieben. Ich kann gut nachfühlen wie verbunden ihr euch in diesen zwei Jahren wart. Und sehr schöne Kissen sind da entstanden. Ich habe euch gerne aus Sandras Blog zugeschaut.
    Viele Grüße

  7. Ich wusste dass Sandra und Du die perfekten Partner sind. Du hast wunderschöne Kissen kreiert und es war immer eine Freude zu sehen was Du designt hast.


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