13 November 2014

Red Hook Wedding Pillow

A few weeks ago my restaurant bosses got married. They've been together for 10 years or so, and now that same sex marriage is legal in NY state they decided to make honest women of each other. As is usual, I was working on a pattern design and decided it would make the perfect gift! In this case, it's a paper piecing pattern for a Red Hook (the unofficial symbol of my neighborhood of the same name). Someday I'll stop experimenting on gifts for people I know...

Red Hook Pillow
Paper pieced Red Hook (Brooklyn) representing in the house! 

I picked up this Michael Miller Tammis Keefe fabric in Austria, and once I thought up this design I knew it was perfect. Red Hook, Brooklyn is a small community, off the beaten path of the rest of the borough. I like how eclectic and artsy it is, and, frankly how underdeveloped it is (still highly industrial), with great water views on many sides. I can even see the Statue of Liberty from my bedroom, when there aren't leaves on the trees! This also made it especially susceptible to Hurricane Sandy, and many businesses are still recovering more than two years after the storm hit. That's what inspired the newsprint fabric, as it's a very newsworthy neighborhood. 

Red Hook Pillow
Cats Cats Cats!
The just meow-rried couple has several cats, so I thought I'd make an Elizabeth Hartman inspired cat patchwork second side for the pillow. I just drafted the cat heads myself, and the stripes across they eyes were actually an accident, since I made a fatal cutting error (fatal to the fabric, not to any of my digits). Not wanting to cut into anymore fabric I just raided my scrap pile and added some nice headbands to the kitties. Make it work, right?

I quilted the cats in parallel lines around each head, and then just along the headband lines. I like how it emphasizes each one and doesn't detract from the fabrics. For the hook side, I left the hook unquilted and used one of the few specialty stitches I've got up my sleeve: the 3-stitch zig-zag. The batting I used is super low loft, so you don't see the impact of the quilting as much. None the less, I like the idea, and hope to try it again on another project. 

Red Hook Pillow
They like wine. Enough said. 

The ladies opened their restaurant with visions of a wine bar dancing in their head. Right now they only serve brunch, but they still have a large wine collection, so I thought I'd give a nod towards it on the label. In addition I put their initials and the year. The other side is my typical label with the cheese stamped in green and my initials. 

Red Hook Pillow
Cat tested, cat approved. 

Daegan enjoyed the photoshoot process, so I thought I'd include a couple shots of him with the kitty cat themed pillow. Hopefully the cats in it's new home will love it just as much! I'm also drafting a pattern for the paper pieced hook and how to turn it into a pillow. If anyone's interested in being a pattern tester feel free to comment or send me an email (link on the right). 

I also get to check this off my Q4 finish along list. Three down, four more to go. 


  1. I think the cats look brilliant with headbands! Nice touch on the label - they are going to love such a personal, thoughtful gift!

  2. Wow, I love the story and impact of the red hook. The cats with headbands work really well, too. I hope they enjoy your gift!

  3. Never stop experimenting on gifts for people! If you care enough about a person to give them a hand made gift it's probably because they appreciate a hand made gift and all the quirks that sometimes come along with them. It's a beautiful design and the story is just as wonderful!


Thanks for taking the time to comment! I usually respond via email, if it's a good question I may respond here so everyone can benefit!