Sunday, December 29, 2013

Granny's Crochet Pillow

A long time ago, my mother told me that my granny (her mother) loved colors like lavenders, greens, and yellows.  I bought fabrics with an intention of making her a pretty pillow, but never really got around to it (no confidence).  Well, one day I was perusing some of my older yarn and realized I had a beautiful lavender yarn with a matching multi-color.  A trip to the yarn store netted me some lovely yellow and teal to match.

Well, now I need a plan.  I was still stuck on the pillow because pillows can be held, caressed, and held close.  While trying to decide, I noticed a pattern in an old 1980 crochet magazine I had where the center looked like hearts.  But, I couldn't use the pattern because it was very dated looking, and for a bedspread.

I'll design a pattern myself, I said!

Famous last words, the insecure side said.

So, after tucking the insecure bit of myself aside into a wooden box with a lock, I set out to find hearts.  I find a very lovely granny-style heart at the Cherry Heart website.  It's beautiful!  She used it to make a bunting, but I saw it as the middle of my pillow.  It was so easy to follow, and before I knew it, I had my center!

It's funny, I didn't realize that Cherry Heart had written the pattern in UK terms, and followed them like they were US terms. That made the hearts much bigger than the pattern specified, which turned out to be perfect!  After I stitched the hearts together at the picots, I set out to create a "frame" with some not-very-complicated stitch-work.  I can't tell you how many times I ripped out entire rounds, but I finally had a 12" square.

So, I got a burr in my saddle for a giant granny square on the back, and simply created one of those. As is true of all my "big" crochet attempts, it's wavy and out-of-whack, but relatively square.  I am a self-taught crocheter, inspired by my grandmother (father's mother), so I am undoubtedly doing something wrong, but it still gave me what I wanted. 

Don't you just love these colors?  I don't have the sleeves anymore, but it was a baby-weight yard (a 3, for those who buy yarn), so it's very very soft and cuddly.  I did learn something important with this yarn, though.  Not all size 3's are made the same. The yellow is significantly "heavier" and created issues.  I'm still glad I used it because it adds the "pop" I wanted, but next time I'll be more clued in.  

Armed with a 40% off coupon to Joann's Fabrics, I bought a 12" pillow form.  But when I got home, I decided that I wanted to cover it with a pillow case that could be removed and washed.  So, back to the store I went, with another coupon, and picked up a very pretty, very soft color lavender fabric with sparkles!  I love sparkles!  I hope you can see the sparkles in this fabric.  It's really subtle.  It's perfect.  

So, time to make a pillow case! That meant it was time to pull out the sewing machine and get moving.  I haven't used my machine since before we moved, which was more than a year.  Yeah, I know.  Shameful!  Oh, and of course, Ryan had to check out my work.  He's so silly.  He's my bud.  

I found a tutorial online for making pillows, and thought I'd take pictures of each step, but I've decided not to post them.  It's pretty straightforward, so that set of pictures would just be too much!  I did think I wanted to serge the pillow to fix the raw edges, but I found my serger in quite the state, and two hours later it still wasn't working correctly. 

So, the left picture above was the threading (yikes!) and the right picture is how to thread it.  I tried, I really did, but it was pulling in all sorts of strange ways, so I put it back in the closet and used my regular machine and my pinking blade (that I finally did find, yay!) to "finish" the raw edges of the pillow.

I decided on a soft scallop on the pillow edges, and used something I found in a book which, interestingly enough, turned out to be the same pattern as what I used for my mom's hoop!  Same pattern, same stitch count, and everything.  Works for me!  The only picture I have of the crocheted pieces is below when I set up to make the pillow case.  Not a great picture, but it's something.

I left one side of the pillow open to be able to stuff the covered pillow inside.  That meant adding buttons to that side as well.  Praise God I had the *perfect* wee buttons for the task!  So, I sewed them to the back of the pillow, on the outside, and simply used the tiny hole made by the scallop as the "button hole".  It seems to work well, but may fail if stressed.  Hopefully, it won't be stressed.  :)

Can you see the tiny buttons?  They were the perfect size plus they were post buttons.  I didn't have to run out to buy a thing.  I love it when that happens.  

So, this is my final product.  Forgive the background.  I put the table away that I was sewing on, and don't feel good enough to set it back up for one picture.  I threw an old white comforter on my ancient rocker and called it a backdrop!
There are certainly things I'd do differently should I do it again.  And the insecure side of me attacked so often, that it took me nearly 6 months start to finish to complete this.  But, I'm happy with it as my first "made by Kimberly" type of project.  

This is for my granny.  I love her so much, and she's been through quite a lot, especially lately as she's now wheel-chair bound.  But, I have many good memories of her and her home -- the chocolate pudding cooling on the top of the chest freezer, the Siamese cat who came and went, the salmon patties she'd cook when we were hungry, watching her pat out her biscuits into a cast-iron skillet before tucking them into the oven, the warmth of the kitchen.

So, this was my act of love for her.  It's not much, but when I think of how much love she showed us, I feel happy and warm inside.  My gesture is small.  I sincerely pray that she loves this pillow.

And I can't complete this post without giving a TON of credit to the LORD.  I made the hearts wrong, but they turned out perfect.  He pointed me to yarns that matched perfectly to these years and years old yarns.  He pointed me to the fabric, when I'd given up.  He revealed the buttons to me, which were at the very bottom of a button pile I'd decided not to go through.  I just really feel His blessing all over this pillow, and I pray that it brings my granny sweet, happy feelings.

Anyway, thank you for reading!




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