First, this is probably not eligible for the contest, as the applique and text stitching were done last year. Final assembly of the pillows was, however, done during the challenge period. Anyway...
I had some very heavy fulled white wool fabric from the thrift store, and a bunch of sweater scraps, and ended up making four panels with applique and machine freehand stitched text from Pablo Neruda's Oda a la alachofa
). The text was done using the darning foot on my machine with heavy duty mettler thread on top, and the feed dogs dropped. My machine was not happy with the thread (actually, I think the needles were the issue), and it would snarl up very frequently. The "font" is the better end of my atrocious cursive handwriting, as implemented with freehand stitching.
I wasn't sure what to do with the panels, and they sat around for a long time. Then I found them recently and decided to make throw pillows. The fabric was too thick to turn nicely, so I just hand stitched the forms inside and left the cut edges raw (the fulled wool isn't going to fray).
The appliques were attached first, then I used a disappearing ink pen (the blue water soluble kind) to mark out lines on the remaining open regions. The lines were used like ruled paper to keep from drifting while stitching.
Close up of some of the text:
Anyway, I thought I'd toss this in since it fits the theme even if it isn't eligible for the challenge. Freehand text stitching like this isn't that hard, and might be easier on a machine with built-in quilting modes (instead of the darning foot method). I don't usually write in cursive, or remotely legibly for that matter, but the cursive seemed like the best choice because it would involve the fewest breaks while stitching.