Category Archives: knitting

A Sweater Vest + Knitting Practice = Pillow

A million years ago, when I had a corporate job and wore heels with nylons and had to get up at oh’ dark hundred, I had a sweater vest. I loved to layer it with a pantsuit and a while collared shirt. Fashion mavens, watch out.

Turns out, I don’t miss heels, pantsuits or getting up at oh’ dark hundred, but I still do like layering. Clearly, I have my priorities. 😉

Somewhere along the way of having babies and owning a business with a “business casual” policy (emphasis on the casual), I realized that styles had changed and this vest wasn’t working with my long waist. However, I loved the colors and couldn’t get rid of it. Again, priorities.

pillow8Half a million years ago (and by that I mean 8 months ago) I wanted to learn how to knit the raspberry stitch. I don’t know what I was thinking. I’ll call it a beginning knitter’s delusion. It took me forever (8 months), partly because my rows were so long and oh yeah, I’m a beginner. Plus, I would often forget where I was in the process and reverse the order of the stitches. I finally decided that I had totally mastered this stitch it was time to move on. My finished product was a little wonky, but it was “finished” darn it! Now, what was I going to do with it?

You see where this is going, right?

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If I combined my sweater vest with my knitting practice, I could make a pillow! Never mind that I’ve never actually made a pillow like this. How hard could it be? Famous last words.

So off I trotted to the craft store to pick up some pillow filler. I considered buying a pillow form, but that would be tricky considering the wonkiness of my knitted piece. So, I decided to wing it with the filler.

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After that, things got crazy in suburbia. I cut the top off of the sweater. *gasp* Not kidding, I did feel a little bad about that.

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In case you’re wondering, this probably isn’t going to be a how-to post. This might be a how-NOT-to post. The jury’s still out.

After that, my plan was simply to sew the knitted piece onto the sweater. But as I sat there for a crazy long time thinking about it, I realized that my knitting was designed to be a little loose and the pillow filler might poke out. That’s when I came up with the brilliant solution of sewing the knitted piece to the back of the sweater so that I would have a liner of sorts. That introduced all sorts of complications that my limited experience with sewing was not prepared to handle.

So, I sat there for an even more ridiculous amount of time thinking about sewing things inside out, right side out, what thread to use, etc. I basically decided that I would have to hand-stitch the entire thing and that I’d need to use regular thread since yarn would be too thick for my sweater vest.

So, I started stitching the knitted piece to the outside of the back of the sweater.

pillow13When that was finished, I had to stitch the back (sweater vest/knitted piece combo) to the front.

Aren’t my stitches pretty? (sarcasm alert) I also happened to have a sweet 4-year-old boy “helping” me with this part. I’d poke the needle through and he’d pull it all the way out. It’s a really efficient way of sewing (more sarcasm). He thought it was the greatest thing ever! It looks like a hot mess, but it held! That’s the most important thing, right? Right?

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When I was finished, I turned the whole piece right side out and using the gap I had left, filled the entire pillow with the pillow filler. I then used my superiorly fantastic sewing skills to stitch the hole closed. I think it would have looked a little better if my 4-year-old helped me with this part instead of pretending to be Power Ranger, but what are you going to do?

I think this is a good example of how even if you haven’t done something before or aren’t good at something, you should still give it a try. You might surprise yourself.

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Honestly, this is the best view of the pillow, but I’m biased. 🙂

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After it was finished and before I took pictures, my son did a test for me. It was the “use the pillow as a sword, a landing spot for falling objects and as a club with which to hit your sister” test. I’m happy to say that the pillow stayed sewed together. Although, it may have picked up a few extra lumps.

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Yes, it’s kind of a funny size…kind of like a lumbar pillow.

Yes, it’s not perfectly square (or rectangle in this case). I contemplated not even showing you the finished product because it didn’t turn out perfect.

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Then I reconsidered because I finished this wacky project and finally finishing something I started 8 months ago makes me happy. No, it’s not perfect, but it makes me pretty happy.

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Oh, and if there’s a next pillow…well, it will be even better! Have you had any perfectly imperfect projects lately?

 

 

 

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Hand-Knitted Dishcloths

This is not a “look at what I can do” post. The actual accomplished knitters out there would bust-a-gut laughing.

This is more of an “I’m learning to knit and you should try it too” kind of post.

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Last year I wanted to learn how to knit. My aunt showed me the basics and then I watched a lot of how-to-knit YouTube videos, which were so helpful. I liked this one from Good Knit Kisses.

I’ve made a couple of headbands, a scarf, a pillow back (more about that in another post) and now I’ve tried dishcloths. This is the first time I’ve used a pattern and I have to say, I liked it! It was helpful for me to know where I was in the process and motivated me to finish when I could see how many rows I had left to go.

I found a cool site called knittingknonsense.com with free dishcloth knitting patterns. I liked the ones that included outlines of the 50 states and the ABCs.

So far, I’ve made a “J” dishcloth…

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I’ve also made a dishcloth with the shape of Oregon on it…

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These are far from perfect. I definitely messed up one line in the “J” cloth – I think I forgot where I was on the pattern and knitted when I was supposed to purl or vice versa. I thought I did the Oregon one pretty well, until I realized that the initials of OR were backwards. So, I’m guessing at some point I, again, forgot where I was and flip-flopped the whole pattern. And, I thought I was doing such a good job of keeping track of which row I was working on. Next time I will do better!

Dishcloths are supposed to be knitted using cotton yarn. I, uh, well, I think I used some sort of cotton blend. Note to self: save the info that comes with the yarn when you purchase it. I have washed and dried the cloth and it did fine, so I’m going to count this as a success and move on. 🙂

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There definitely is truth in the statement of practice makes perfect. I’m slowly getting better, but I have so much to learn. I’m interested in learning more complicated types of knitting and hopefully, someday, I will become faster at this process too!

It makes me happy to have a productive hobby. Instead of having idle hands while I’m waiting in the carpool line or at karate practice, I can pick up my knitting needles. Eventually, I’ll end up with something I can wear, use or gift!

If you have any knitting tips or other places you go for patterns, let me know!

 

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