Thursday, November 20, 2014

3 Pillows

Actually, that was a slight exaggeration because I haven't sewn the square pillow yet.  But, the two bolsters are done. Finito.
I started with swatches of simple motifs like the braided and honeycomb cables from Alice Starmore's Aran Knitting, Fishermen's Wool and 6"x12" polyester neckrolls from Wawak.  I washed and blocked the swatch and then calculated how many stitches to cast on from the swatch gauge.
For the second pillow, I repeated the braided cable motif as a frame to fill out the central motif from Jess' Birthday Sweater.
Now the couch doesn't look so smooth and shiny.
I wet-blocked and pinned the cable rectangles to open up the fabric.  Then I stitched the ends together for about 1" on both ends.

The ends were surprisingly easy.  I picked up 100 stitches, divided into 10 sections of 10 stitches, and then performed a k2tog decrease every other row.  When I had 10 stitches remaining, I threaded the yarn tail through the 10 loops twice and gave a gentle tug until the hole closed up.  The ends were steam-blocked with a steam iron (above the surface) and then patted into shape.

Each end took about an hour to knit and finish.  Each rectangle took about 20-25 hours.  Sewing the zippered muslin cases and hand-stitching them to the knitted cover took another 1-2 hours.

To the friend who asked why I don't sell these: A physicist ought to earn as much as a plumber, right?  Would you pay a plumber 50 hours for these two bolsters?
I made pillow cases out of unbleached muslin and used zips left over from the days when I sewed dresses for a little girl that wore only pink and purple.  (She wears mainly black, gray and olive drab now.)

Then I hand back-stitched the rib opening to the zipper.  If you have ever hand prick-stitched a dress zipper, you can do this.  Well, your effort might be neater than this.
You can tell the cast on edge from the bound off edge on the honeycomb pillow.  I forgot that cables shrink the width of the knit fabric so much, you need to cast on fewer stitches for the ribbed edge and increase stitches on your set-up row for the cables.  By the time I figured that out, I wasn't going to rip back and redo it.  There's also one place where the stitches were moved the wrong direction.  Oh, well.
The purple zipper tape peeking out of the wavy edge reminds me of the wavy lips of a southern giant clam (Tridacna derasa).
Raveled here.

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed the flooring samples for my new place.  Yes, I will be moving yet again--hopefully to a longer-term place.  Which sample do you like better?


  1. I am so impressed that you figured out the knitting pattern and size to make these gorgeous pillows. The picture caught my eye this morning because I am planing to cut up a huge supply of old fisherman knit sweaters to make similar versions next month. Love how cozy they look.

    1. I love the texture, too. I hope those are very old sweaters with holes that you are cutting up. I can't bear to cut into sweaters otherwise.

  2. I grew up in Ireland, knitting sweaters like this. I love what you did and want to make some similar. Beautiful.

    1. When you do, send me a link to the pictures. I want to see yours!

  3. Love it! Thanks for the in-depth tutorial. I may shamelessly copy these.

  4. I love your pillows! I know what you mean about knitting for sale-I'd have to charge $1000 for a baby quilt and no one would pay that. These pillows look so elegant


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