So now that the baby (who I'm sure doesn't use the internet much) has received his gifts, I can show you the pencil pillow I made:
It's from the Readers' Digest Complete Guide to Sewing, and I mostly followed the instructions. I hadn't seen any pictures of it online, so here we go. Sorry there's none with a scale factor, it was just past my waist if I stood it on end on the ground. There's a few mistakes, one of which was me not examining the pattern for what wasn't said carefully enough (there's a trick to turning the point that I forgot about), one was me not thinking when I changed the pattern (no, you cannot do machine top-stitching after you stuff it. Trust me.) One of the problems, however, brings up an interesting philosophical point. The appliqué lettering has issues. Now, had I made the pencil without the letters, it would have been fine. It would fall on the "handmade" side of the "homemade" vs "handmade" dilemma from the knitters' point of view. At least, it could have. But, without the letters, the pencil wouldn't have been quite as good. And the portion without the letters is just as good as it would have been either way. I know that I personally would feel better if I make something simple well, than if I make something fancy poorly, even if I show the same level of skill each time. But when I add something complex to something simple, where does that fall?
And I need to share that having a mechanical engineer around the house is great for sewing, not just for fitting stuff (and knitting). Look at what Allan suggested so that I could more easily do the topstitching:
See that tape? Genius I tell you. (I didn't have a marking on the plate, because I was using the edge of the feed dog, because the topstitching needed to be right at the edge).