I’d just like to start by saying that there’s a point to this story I’m about to tell.
This is Cricket. She’s basically my best friend, my four-and-a-half-year-old furry baby who always listens, almost never talks back and will be by my side whenever I need her. I love her so much. But she did something terrible to my sofa a couple of weeks ago and as much as I tried, there was no way to make the terrible-ness of it go away. I had to get a new sofa. So we got a new sofa – and instead of replacing it with a similarly sized 86” sofa, we got a big L-shaped sofa from West Elm (where they were totally awesome and helpful here in town, btw!). My kids are B-A-N-A-N-A-S about the new sofa. They can both lie down without touching each other and can do somersaults and flips on it. And it’s great! It’s just that it’s this huge sea of grey velvet and I feel like it needs some color. I immediately thought to myself “Now it’s time for me to needlepoint some pillows” which I immediately followed with “Oh my god that is going to take forever.” So I had a better thought: I would knit some pillows. (Thank you for bearing with me. I told you there was a point.)
I’ve never knit a pillow before, so I think this new chapter in our life with an L-Shaped-Sofa is a great opportunity to start. I turned to Ravelry and became completely inspired, all thanks to Cricket’s terribly gross accident.
Obviously, there are no limits to how conservative or silly a hand-knit pillow can be. There are heart-shaped pillows emblazoned with “Mom” and pillows shaped like the tooth of a megalodon (something my son would completely appreciate). After combing Ravelry I’ve come away with some quirky, some classic and some other great pillows that I’m inspired to make.
Since I’ve never made a pillow before, I came to my starting point at most knitting-related things: WWJHD? (That’s “What would Julie Hoover do?”, of course!) Since Hoover offers thoughtful construction to all hand-knits, she’s my go-to for guidance as I start this project. I purchased and thoroughly read her Winslow pattern (from BT Kids), a totally adorable pattern with an intarsia penguin on the front worked up in BT Shelter. My big take away is: knit the fronts and backs separately and seam it up, and include a flap with buttons or the likes so it the pillow cover can be removed and cleaned if necessary. (Probably necessary if you have a lovely member of the family like my Cricket.) As far as I’m concerned, I can take these foundations and apply them to almost any pillow pattern if desired. Winslow is not a difficult project by any means, but there are pillow patterns/projects out there that are much less fussy.
Snap, Crackle & Pop is a three-for-one pillow pattern from Lindsay Ingram. In this project she offers three different textures for a standard 16” pillow. The pattern calls for a worsted weight yarn at a gauge of 17 stitches/4” – perfect for SimpliWorsted. This is the yarn that I want to use first for my hand-knit pillows. It comes in countless colors (which I need for that sea of grey) and it can be machine washed. It’s on the heavy side of a worsted weight yarn, perfect for her gauge. Ingram says it well in her description “Make one or make all three. Either way, your couch will thank you for the instant makeover!”
Another good (and free) project from Knit Picks is the Cable Me Cozy Pillow. This one is knit up in a super bulky yarn, so I’m thinking Mirasol’s Ushya or Loopy Mango’s Merino No. 5 for something like this one. This is a lot of reverse-stockinette stitch with a big cable for impact. And of course, I love the buttons for a removable and easy to care for pillow cover.
I promise to veer from Knit Picks soon, but I do feel like I have to mention a beautiful collection they published last year called “No Place Like Home.” It’s filled with striking patterns for any part of the home and there are several beautiful pillow projects. My personal favorite is the Peaks Pillow by Katherine Rollins. I adore Native American art and weaving, and this pillow strongly evokes that aesthetic. Stranded color work makes for a tighter gauge, so don’t be deceived by the gauge on this one. A light worsted weight like Kenzie or Shepherd’s Wool will do the trick on this one. I even think Brooklyn Tweed’s Arbor would be amazing, with it’s incredible potential with color work and it’s strong and varied palette.
Fifty Four Ten Studio is one of my favorite resources for blanket patterns, and she has pillow patterns also! I love her simple take on texture, like on her Bay View Pillow. This is a simple and easy project, knit as one big rectangle and seamed up! Written for a bulky weight yarn, try something like Blue Sky’s Extra, Quarry, Cascade 128 or even Ella Rae’s Lace Merino Chunky (which happens to be on sale at W&G right now).
To get a little light-hearted, I have to admit that I’m a smitten with the Space Rocket and Astronaut pattern. Since David Bowie’s Space Oddity is one of my favorite songs ever and I really am that weird, I would totally put this in my living room. This one is essentially a big softie, and it’s written for a DK weight yarn. But gauge doesn’t matter on projects like this. I’d probably want to go bigger, so I’d go up in yarn weight and needle size to make the duo a bit bigger. Why not?
One more bit of whimsy for you is Ophelia Owl by Noel Margaret. This project can be big or small, depending on the weight of yarn you choose. I can’t imagine anything but a bright duo of colors from Loopy Mango in Merino No. 5 to make cozy friend to cuddle up with on the couch.
I’m not quite sure where I’ll land with my hand-knit pillow adventure, but I’m hoping to choose something silly and something a little less so to start. I’m feeling a huge rush of enthusiasm knowing I’m about to do something I never have before and I can’t help thinking it’s about time I did something like this! Also, I am planning to needlepoint at least one pillow for the sea of grey too! More on that soon!