Quilt-As-You-Go Pillow


Oh Fransson’s QAYG method has turned into a sweeping trend lately, and I’ve wanted to give it a try myself for a while.  I recently saw this pillow by Let’s Eat, Grandpa, and I just fell in love with it, so I decided to try one of my own.   However, I’m just not in love with my finished product.  It’s okay, but it’s not something I’m really happy with. 

I think there are several problems with my pillow:

1.  I think I chose the wrong colors.  It would look like a more natural, fading progression if I put the colors in the order of the rainbow.  If I had done red-orange-yellow-green-blue, for example, it would look more natural.  Instead I skipped over three colors and went straight to blue.

2.  I think I didn’t sew on enough strips.  I got really tired of this technique about the time it switched to blue, so I started using bigger pieces.  It also became increasingly difficult to cover all my raw edges, so it just doesn’t have the same layered look as the pillow I was trying to recreate.

3.  I really didn’t care for this technique, and it shows.  It’s not hard, but it’s labor intensive and repetitive.  You cover up a LOT of your fabric with each new piece, so there’s a lot of sewing work and fabric that you don’t actually end up seeing.  This might be because I’m bad at mental geometry and can’t visualize well where I need to put each new piece.  My not liking it has to do more with me than with the pattern.  I think the end result can be beautiful, but I’m just not sure I have the patience for it.


That said, the individual parts are quite pretty.  I just need to do things differently if I attempt this again.  I made this around the same time I made a small pouch version.  On the pouch version, I used the canvas duck fabric, but I thought that was too stiff for a pillow, so I just backed this one with muslin, which was a good choice in the end.  Perhaps I’ll try this one more time, changing some things and not expecting to finish it in a timely manner.  This might be one of those things that I need to pack up and put away a few times before I finish it.


  1. I bet if you put the pillow away and didn’t look at it for awhile, then got it back out, you’d like it a lot more. I’d never seen it before this morning so it looks great to me! I think your color combo is very modern. And I love all the grey-black prints around the edges. Makes me itch to drag out my scrap bag today (instead of binding a quilt, a chore I dislike!)

    • Putting it away for a while isn’t a bad idea. I’m thinking about donating it to my son’s school auction…haha. Maybe someone there will like it. Good luck binding– that’s actually one of my favorite parts! We all find different things tedious, though. I’ve started working on some cathedral windows, and I just despise all the ironing that goes along with it.

  2. Well, I like it! I really think a lot of the reason you don’t like it as much is because you got tired of making it. I also think the pieces getting bigger as you go out is not a bad thing – it really adds a nice quality to it. It looks like you intentionally started small and got bigger as you went out.

    I started on the ruffle quilt today (bought all the fabric yesterday at JoAnns) – as expected, it’s going to be a lot of work! Nor is it super easy to figure out how to get it going. The method you suggested of forgetting about the gathering/ruffle foot and marking off in eights, forcing the gather and stitching to the back at the same time isn’t going to work. It absolutely won’t go through my 1950’s Singer. However, the gathering/ruffle foot (which, unbelievably, is still with the machine after all these years), actually will gather and sew it onto the back at the same time. It’s a tad frustrating with my machine as it will sort of stop every now and again and I have to turn the wheel by hand for a couple stitches, but at least it will get the job done. The biggest negative to that method is that I have to sew it on with one side of the ruffle unfinished and then hem the side once it’s already on. Plus it sort of wastes more fabric because I can’t completely control where the ruffled part ends. However the machine ruffles it very consistently and evenly. I can already tell that the finished product is going to look really good, though.

  3. I think it´s sad that you don´t like this piece of art!
    I really like it!
    Why don´t you do as Laura says.
    Put it away for some time and I think you´ll love it when you see it again.
    That use to work for me,-)

    • Well, you guys are ego-boosters– thanks. I’m feeling a bit better about it. I still might donate it to my son’s school auction and choose another color scheme for myself, but at least I won’t feel bad about my donation now!

  4. I have been wanting to do this type of QAYG idea too. I appreciate your thoughts:) For what it’s worth the pillow is yours with your branding on it so that makes it special!

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