An Old Pillow's Tale

Now is the season of sales–yard sales, tag sales, garage sales–and I can never resist a quick pull-over when I see one. For one thing, I have an interminable curiosity about other peoples' houses and belongings. For another, I am always on the hunt for vintage fabrics, patterns, and especially pillows. I have a weakness for throw pillows that I believe I inherited from my mother, and pillows of vintage eras are especially appealing for their fine handwork.

My fantastic vintage needlepoint find.

Recently, I was driving by a house that I have always admired–a sprawling ranch with a lovely front porch and long, sloping lawn–and I noticed that they were having a HUGE garage sale. When I walked up their wide driveway, I could immediately see that this was a honey of a sale. It appeared the homeowner had run an antique shop at one point and was using this sale as a way to unload stock.

Frankly, between the cast iron lawn chairs and vintage linens and antique lighting fixtures and shabby chic furnishings, I was overwhelmed. I roamed around and poked my nose here and there, but I couldn't winnow my desires down to one or two objects.

Then, I spotted it: a gorgeous needlepoint pillow lovingly made by someone's relative–a relative who had a good bit of needlepointing experience. The flower on the pattern was like a psychedelic rose and would be the perfect complement to my floral slipcovers. I didn't have cash on me, but I asked for the price, and they agreed to hold it until my return.

When I returned, an older woman sitting to the side smiled kindly at me. I didn't ask but I guessed that either she was the author of the pillow or it had been created by someone special to her. I know we can't hold onto our things forever, so it's nice to know when they go to an appreciative home.

I was right. The pillow was perfect in my living room, and this treasure has a new home. All for $5. Gotta love a sale.

Do you love throw pillows as much as I do? We have a great new Stitch eBook on sale, Patchwork Pillows, that is available in the Sew Daily Shop. Each pillow project is so unique and will add that modern handmade quality to your living space.

Do you have a pillow with story, either from your family or someone else's? I would love to hear your old pillow tale.

Happy stitching!



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For the Home

About Amber

Amber Eden is the editor of Stitch and She LOVES sewing and editing Stitch and She also loves dance, yoga, iced decaf triple espressos, and her two golden retrievers. She divides her time between Boston and New York.

3 thoughts on “An Old Pillow's Tale

  1. Amber,
    I don’t have an old pillow tale, but yours is just so wonderful, I needed to tell you how much I enjoyed reading it. The lesson it teaches is so pragmatic as well.
    Thank you. Barbara.

  2. My pillow tale is not so much about an old pillow but an old sweater. Hubby and I had purchased a throwback letter sweater at my daughter’s alma mater when attending a football game one Saturday.(she was a majorette for the band.). I washed it not knowing it was wool. So. . . . It shrank. I cut the front of the sweater off and backed it with a faux leather in brown-one of the school colors. Then put a pillow form in it. It is now a block letter pillow in my daughter’s family room!

  3. In 1984, my children were 1 and 3. I made my mom a batik handprint pillow of the kids hands, by dipping their hands in warm melted wax, pressing them on white cotton fabric and then dyeing the fabric. I used a paintbrush with the wax to put the year under their handprints… I then surrounded the square with peach and dusty blue calico fabric and backed it with the same fabric. Needless to say, she LOVED her Christmas gift that year! When she passed away in 2002, I got the pillow back. It now sits safely out of reach of my four dogs up in a closet and has been admired by both of my children’s spouses. Not sure if this is vintage enough for your stories, but the kids are turning 33 and 31 this year so it’s pretty old to me! 🙂