The X-Factor pillow swap run by Tiina (Cottilello on Flickr) is one of my favourite swaps. This swap works differently from any other swap I’ve taken part in. First of all, each round has a theme. The latest round was all about the drunkard’s path block. The other twist is that partners are not assigned until the end of the swap. Instead, we make our pillows in secret, interpreting the theme any way we like.  We then submit a photo of the finished pillow to Tiina, who posts everyone’s photos to the X-Factor Swap group on Flickr. Once the deadline has passed the participants are invited to rank each pillow. The person whose pillow receives the highest ranking gets their first choice of pillow. The next person gets their first choice, if it’s available, and their second choice if it’s not and so on until everyone has a pillow. It often works out that several people get their favourite pillow.
The best thing about this style of swap is that there’re none of the usual requirements to make to your partner’s preferences, instead you make the pillow you feel inspired to make. I’ve received some incredible pillows in this swap!
It’s been over a year since the last round so I did not want to miss this round. I originally planned to do an improv pillow but as the deadline was fast approaching, I decided to keep it simple and stick with what I know. Super scrappy and super simple. I even repeated the serpentine quilting I’d just used to finish my Sugar Loaf pillow.

I used a favourite fabric from Anna Maria Horner’s Good Folks line for the binding.

And another Good Folks fabric for the backing. I have no idea how it happened but the fabric ended up matching perfectly above and below the zipper. I’m certain I couldn’t repeat this feat again if I tried! As usual, I used Svetlana’s zipper tutorial. Her tutorial is for a 16″ pillow so I adjust the dimensions for a 20″ pillow, usually cutting 11″ and 16″ panels and making sure I have a bit of extra width too (I usually cut my panels 22″ wide).
Two swap pillows hanging out together before being posted off to their new homes.
The theme for the next round is Liberty. I might need to raid mum’s Liberty stash for that one. I already can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with!

Pillow Stats:

Pillow name: Tequila Sunrise
Pillow Size: 20″
Pillow Block: the quarter circles are 2 1/2″ finished, set in a 3″ finished square. Sashing strips are 1″ wide (finished). Finished block size is 4″.
Quilting: Serpentine stitch with a walking foot
Backing and binding: from Anna Maria Horner’s Gold Folks line

15 thoughts to “A drunkard’s path pillow

  • Allison C

    Love this! What size zipper do you use for the 20" pillow? 20"? I've never made a pillow with a zipper and I've been meaning to.

  • DeborahGun

    Love both of your new pillows. I keep meaning to join this pillow swap – I love the idea of voting for which one you like the best!

  • Debbie

    Another beauty!

  • Vera

    You make the best pillows!

  • Wendy @ Wendysquiltsandmore

    They both look lovely. I'm sure whoever gets them will be thrilled because your work is always gorgeous.

  • Lisa

    So gorgeous Rachel! I was sorry to miss out on this swap round but I'm definitely going to try for the next.

  • Baa. xxx

    Wonderful pillow – looks so fresh and pretty.

  • Gina

    What a fun way to run a swap!!!! Your pillow is gorgeous, I bet you got first pick!!!!! I hope your pillow from the pillow fight swap hurries and gets there! I think I know which is yours by process of elimination 🙂

  • Dorrie

    It's beautiful Rachel. I just love your quilty style!

  • jodie


  • Merran

    Very cute, Ive heard of these type of swaps before and cant help wondering are the rankings made public? It would be tough to be the person who gets ranked last 🙁 You would never have that worry of course!!!!

  • Merran

    Very cute, Ive heard of these type of swaps before and cant help wondering are the rankings made public? It would be tough to be the person who gets ranked last 🙁 You would never have that worry of course!!!!

  • Leonie

    Gorgeous – I really really love your use of colour in your various projects. Perfection 🙂

  • joworimakes

    stunning! love your colours and design and everything! as per usual! lol!

  • Anonymous

    Oh my!!!! This is another stunning work of art that you made, dear Rachel! I am in looooooove with it and it is inspiring me to make a pillow for me (since that I was not your partner 🙁 ! ):)))


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