A Pillow with Possiblities

As I’ve mentioned previously, home decor for Valentine’s Day really floats my boat.  I could also call this time of year, “A Thousand and One Things To Do with Hearts.”  For my next project, I wanted something that was pretty simple, but could be jazzed up.  I settled on a pillow cover for a 12″ x 16″ pillow form.  I prefer rectangular pillows for decorating. I don’t know why- maybe I’m just strange.

Once the pillow cover was knit, I used a chain stitch to embroider hearts on it.

Then I got bored and decided that three hearts were plenty.

I had this little knit heart already made so I sewed it on like an applique piece (I went on Ravelry and searched around for free heart patterns and then just knit it in the same yarn as the pillow cover). I will likely go back and add more hearts later.  It looks….a bit empty. I have some white in waiting to add in a little more contrast and zing.

I used Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino for the knitting and the embroidery.  The pillow cover took 3.5 balls, so what I think I might do is knit another cover from the pink yarn and embellish that cover with the remnants of red from this pillow cover.

I’m already thinking of all the possibilities the canvas of a plain pillow cover presents – shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day, a bunny for Spring, an apple for returning to school in August.  My embroidery skills may need time to catch up with my wellspring of ideas, but I’m sure to get a lot of practice.

Materials:

4 balls of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, color #700

12″ x 16″ pillow form

US 3 needles

Sewing snaps,  contrast yarn for embroidery

Gauge: 6 stitches per inch on US 3 needles

Cast on 99 stitches and work in seed stitch for 1.5″ (seed stitch is *K1, P1* on each row). Change to working in stockinette stitch (knit on the right sides, purl on the wrong sides) and work for 4″.  On the next wrong side row, knit all the stitches, creating a turning ridge of stitches. Continue to work in stockinette stitch until piece measures 17.5″ from cast on edge.  On the next wrong side row, knit all the stitches, creating a turning ridge of stitches. Continue to work in stockinette stitch until piece measures 23.5″ from cast on edge.  Work in seed stitch for 1.5″.  Bind off all stitches in pattern.

Embroider the front of the pillow however you desire.  I used Kristin Nicholas’ videos on the chain stitch for reference.  The back sides will naturally fold at the two purl ridges. Using those as the top and bottom edges of the cover, seam up the sides of the pillow cover.  The seed stitch bands will overlap each other. Sew snaps onto the seed stitch bands.  Insert the pillow between the seed stitch bands and close the snaps.

 

Needle Felt Heart Garland

I think Valentine’s Day is my favorite decorating holiday. None of the pressure of house decorating for Christmas (which I don’t really do).  I don’t even really do anything special for Valentine’s Day – usually we take the dog out for her evening promenade and exchange cook books (I give books on grilling/roasting and receive books on desserts/baking). But decorating is an entirely different matter.

I love the idea of decorating as a variation on a theme – in this case, hearts.  How many different ways and different things can you do with hearts?

A lot.       (Well, your mileage may vary depending on how many different craft-y things you enjoy).  With our latest shipment of roving for needle felting, I decided that what I really needed was a wee bunting of needle felted hearts.

I didn’t even use a stencil to shape the hearts – just smooshed some roving into a shape sort-of like a heart and used the needle felting to create the heart.  They are a bit more organic in nature, since they are all different in size and thickness.   However – if you are new to needle felting, this is a great first project.

The heart shape is fairly simple to achieve, you aren’t trying to sculpt a 3-D object and once they are hanging up, no one will even notice any “imperfections” you might see (I’m all too often my harshest critic).

Once I had my hearts made (each took 45 – 60 minutes – the later ones were much faster), I arranged them in a couple different ways to see the best way to display them.  I decided on a vertical hang rather than a horizontal hang because the hearts weren’t hanging correctly next to each other.  I had some red ribbon on hand and used a hot glue gun to attach the hearts to the ribbon.  Then I used the glue gun to make the hanging loop and added a few extra decorative loops.

Find the needle felting kit here