When we moved to upstate NY last year we knew 4 people. My husband had become really close friends with a coworker in Seattle, who was from upstate NY and left Seattle to move back to NY just months before our move! We also knew our friend's wife and 2 sons, although not very well.
Matt moved out to NY ahead of me and Addy, and stayed with our friend and his family. They were so helpful to him, and very welcoming! Once Addy and I were moved to NY, we all began spending a lot of time together. Nearly all of our holidays include dinner at their house, and they love Addy as if she was their grandchild! They are the closest thing we have to family out here!
I wanted to do something special for them for Christmas, and my first instinct was a quilt. I had shown them the wedding quilt (that I'm still working on) for my sister's wedding, and they loved the design. Our friends are Japanese, and they thought that my design had a very Japanese feel to it. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to make them a quilt. (Christmas of 2013, right?)
I had more or less settled on making them some large, new throw pillows for their living room, but couldn't decide on a design. Then one day I glanced over at a fat quarter set that I had picked up from Purl Soho a few months ago, and I *knew* what to do!
I wanted to chop the prints up so that the pillows were a simple patchwork of 2" squares. That small, simple patchwork has a very Japanese feel to me. (Finished size is 20" square.)
I kept the quilting simple as well with some straight lines 1/4" from the seam lines.
For the backing I splurged on some yarn-dyed linen blend in "denim" (to me, that cloth just oozes Japanese!):
And I finished the pillows off with (sort of) invisible zips!
I really love how they turned out, and I think they were well received! Our friends thought that several of the prints had a Japanese-y feel to them, which was a bonus, since I was winging it a bit!
These pillows reminded me that sometimes it's the simple things in life. They were pretty quick to create, and so simple to stitch up. And yet I was smitten with them the instant they were finished, and they are being very well loved by their new owners!