Monday, September 9, 2013

The most amazing llama pattern!

If you are a traditional quilter (or have never pieced a block at all) and have been on the fence about whether to try paper piecing, this pattern should tip the scales in that direction.

I was browsing on Craftsy and putting a million patterns that I don’t have the time or the money for on my wish list, when I came across a Leonard the Llama pattern by Sarah of Sew What Sherlock.  As a fan of The Emperor’s New Groove since (embarrassingly enough) long before I had children, and a woman strangely obsessed with llamas in general, I had to have it.  Come to find out, the original post came out on my birthday, so I feel the universe is telling me this pillow was meant to be.  :)
The original Leonard.  Photo by Sarah of Sew What Sherlock.  Used by permission.  (Look, even her pictures are gorgeous!)
I have to give a quick nod to Sarah, and not just for offering this great pattern.  Once I purchased it, I peppered her inbox and blog with questions and comments.  She was very gracious and took care to answer my questions quickly and offer me some great advice.   She definitely went above and beyond the call of good customer service!
My fabric choices.

I loved the graphic print on Sarah’s llama and wanted something similar.  However, I went to the big box store instead of our adorable local quilt shop, because I am a cheapskate budget-conscious and had coupons.  And, of course, they had nothing close to what I wanted.  But I found a gorgeous blue with a textured print that is so very me, and a similar textured print in a grey-brown.  I knew I needed a cream for the light areas of my llama, which was easy to find.  Originally I planned on using the blue as the background for my ordinary-looking grey and white llama, but that choice never felt quite right.  When I started laying everything out, it finally clicked:  I needed the background to be grey and my llama to be blue and white.  Once I made that decision, I was quite pleased with the result. 

The trim I finally found.
Of course, Sarah’s pillow has adorable aqua pompom trim.  But when I looked at the afore-mentioned big box store, all I found were really big pompoms or ugly colors that I wasn’t happy with.  (Christmas tree green, anyone?)  I was standing in the cut line, resigned to the thought of a trim-free pillow, when I spotted this trim that matched the feeling of my fabrics perfectly.  I snagged barely enough of it (I can’t buy things on a whim because I always buy the wrong amount) and went home to ignore the chores and work on my pillow.
My 20-lb. cat testing out the pillow's sleep-inducing qualities during the assembly stage.

Looks like it is yawn-worthy!

The pattern went together quickly and easily, which was a treat after spending a lot of time on some difficult patterns lately.  Most people, if they have any difficulty, will probably end up having issues piecing the head.  My advice is just to sew slowly and with confidence.  It is actually a fairly simple set of steps, just small.  And don’t worry if the face looks funny at first.  My llama was looking like a Pekingese, and then a rabbit, and it really didn’t look much like a llama until after adding the body.  And do not ask me how I managed to get my pattern put together backwards.  I have mad skills like that.  Fortunately it didn’t matter because it wasn’t a directional pattern, so I did not even mess with trying to reprint as a mirror image or anything technical like that.
Be sure to baste your trim
on to one of the pillow pieces
before sewing your pillow

I am a self-taught sewer over the course of about the last 18 months, so I don't know how one is "technically" supposed to put trim on a pillow.  But I knew it would be easier to sew the pillow together and do my slipstitch if the trim was already attached.  All I did was cut the trim into four pieces the length of each side and baste them to the right side of the fabric of the pillow back with a 1/8" seam.  Then I put my pillow front and back with right sides together and sewed all the way around with 1/4" seams, making sure to clip my corners before turning it.  You may need to adjust your trim placement or seam allowances, depending on the size of your trim.  After putting my pillow together with that beautiful trim, this is what I ended up with!

My completed pillow.

He makes me happy just looking at him.  I think everything in your house should do that.
It’s almost enough to make me want to steam-clean the couch to deserve it.
Almost.  :D

I have several more of Sarah's patterns wish-listed and tutorials bookmarked.  Which one is your favorite?


  1. Ahh your pattern isn't backwards, I reversed it after I made my tester ;)

    1. Well, that is good to know! I was really scratching my head over that one. :D

  2. Also I meant to say you did an awesome job, and thanks so much for featuring my pattern! I love your llama!


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