In the interest of creating a hand sewing project for a recent road trip, I put together a small improv appliqué experiment. I cut the appliqué fabric by eye into rough atomic shapes, and pinned them in place. After basting them down, it was just a matter of some leisurely needle turn appliqué in matching 50 weight Aurifil thread. I didn't have 80 weight in the right color, but if you have time to source it, 80 weight is a dream for appliqué.
I wanted to keep the impact of the appliqué shapes, so I chose not to quilt on top of them, echo quilting instead about an 1/8th of an inch from the edge. Then I filled in the background with a free motion figure eight shape to make the appliqué really pop.
I interfaced the back of the pillow and finished it with a lapped zipper, which is my favorite type of closure. The pillow finishes at 18 x 18. It truly one of a kind, although I may be inspired to do a series with slightly different shapes. What a fun way to make appliqué improv. I encourage you to try it, and if you are interested, the pillow is in my etsy shop.