Shockingly, the second loopy pillow did not follow my failed-sophomore-effort rule, though this is perhaps because there was enough failed effort involved in the first go-round. I even managed to make the cover a little bigger, though am told by certain significant others that they are still too stuffed. (I don't know what happens, I swear, I cut them out the right size & then the ease just melts away. It's like magic, ruinous, irritating, sewing magic.) Better overstuffed than flabby, I say!
Thank you for all the wonderful comments about my free motion quilting. I'm finding it both easier & harder than I imagined, which is to say that I quickly learned that the whole effort has a lot to do with a relaxed but controlled touch, which is easier said than done. It actually reminds me of spinning, especially the incredibly tense hands & forearms of the novice part. Ow, a little bit. But it's addictive, plus more forgiving than the straight-line quilting I'd been doing on the pillows, so I'm hoping that the more I try it, the more natural it will feel.
Good thing I'm already planning my next one.