Knitting & Crochet

Knitted and felted flower pillow

Author: Canadian Living

Knitting & Crochet

Knitted and felted flower pillow

No shaping and some very simple colour changes make this project a great candidate for a beginning knitter. The pillow stands alone as an elegant silhouette, or it can be jazzed up with this trio of five-petal flowers, formed using short rows.

If you're a new knitter and find the colour work daunting, skip it, and make three Simple Flowers instead.

Finished measurements
Before felting: 14" (35.5 cm) x 16" (41 cm)
After felting: 13-1/2" (34 cm) x 11-1/2" (29 cm)

Yarn
Peruvian Collection Highland Silk, 80% Highland wool/20% silk, 122 yards (112 m)/1-3/4 oz (50 g)
MC: Mesa Teal 1112, 3 balls
CC: Celadon 2117, 1 ball (divided into 2 balls)

Needles
US #10 (6 mm) straight needles

Gauge
Any worsted-weight wool should yield the correct proportions, no matter your tension.

Other supplies
• 100% polyester fibrefill, 2-4 oz (available at any craft or fabric store)
• Yarn needle
• Sewing needle
• Matching thread
• Straight pins

Plan of action
The pillow is knit in two separate pieces in straight stockinette stitch. The pieces are seamed prior to felting. The short-row flowers are a fast and fun way for a beginner to learn the short-row technique.

Knitting the pillow front
Note: Be sure to wrap the new yarn around the old when changing colours across the rows.

Set up: Using CC, cast on 60 stitches.
Row 1: Knit to end of row.
Row 2: Purl to end of row.
Rows 3 and 4: Repeat Rows 1 and 2 (stockinette stitch).
Row 5: K4 CC, change to MC without breaking CC and K52 MC; change to second ball of CC without breaking MC and K4 CC.
Row 6: P4 CC, P52 MC, P4 CC.
Rows 7: 84: Repeat Rows 5 and 6.
Row 85: Change to CC and knit to end of row.
Row 86: Purl to end of row.
Rows 87 and 88: Repeat Rows 1 and 2.
Bind off.

Knitting the pillow back
Repeat Rows 1-88 as for front.

Knitting the simple flower
Note: The petal shaping on this simple flower is achieved through short-row shaping.

Set up: Using CC, cast on 50 stitches.
Short rows: K8, *turn, P5, turn, K6, turn, P7, turn, K16; repeat from * 4 more times. On the last repeat, end by knitting to the end of the row instead of K16.
Row 1: *P3, P2tog; repeat from * to end of row. You now have 40 stitches.
Row 2: *K2tog, K2; repeat from * to end of row. You now have 30 stitches.
Row 3: *P1, P2tog; repeat from * to end of row. You now have 20 stitches.
Row 4: K2tog to end of row. You now have 10 stitches.
Break yarn, leaving long tail, thread the yarn through a yarn needle, then draw the yarn back through stitches. Remove stitches from needle, and pull tail tight to close (like a purse string). Use the tail to seam flower along side edge to make centre into a circle. Weave in all ends.

Knitting the striped flower
Note: When knitting the two striped flowers, be sure to wrap the new yarn around the old when changing colours across the rows.

Set up: Using MC, cast on 50 stitches.
Repeat Short rows and Rows 1-4 for Knitting the simple flower, with this exception: Use CC for every knit stitch and MC for every purl stitch, even when you are working the short rows. Carry the colour not in use across the back as you work.
Finish as for Knitting the simple flower.

Knitting the striped petal flower
Set up: Using MC, cast on 50 stitches.
Short rows: Repeat Short rows for Knitting the simple flower, with this exception: Work 2 stitches in MC, then work 2 stitches in CC. Continue alternating MC and CC, working all MC with MC and all CC with CC until you complete the short rows.
Rows 1-4: Change to CC and repeat Rows 1-4 for Knitting the simple flower.
Finish as for Knitting the simple flower.

Finishing the flowers
If desired, add French knots to the centres of the flowers. You can pile them up or place one in the middle.

Seaming the pillow
Place the front and back of the pillow together with right sides facing each other, and use matching thread to seam along all four edges, leaving a 3" (7.5 cm) opening at any corner for filling.

Page 1 of 2 -- Find out how to add the finishing touches to your felted flower pillow on page 2
Felting the pillow
1. Felt following "My basic felting technique" on page 2. Place the flowers in a mesh laundry bag or a tied pillowcase so you don't lose them in the wash. Place the pillow directly in the basin. I tend to underfelt this pillow a bit so that it doesn't get too stiff. Pull the pillow out when the stitch definition has mostly disappeared and it is approximately the same size as the finished measurements listed above.

2. Rinse by hand in cool water and squeeze out excess water by rolling in a terry-cloth towel.

3. Lay the pillow flat to dry, which can take up to two days -- less if you place it in a warm room. Don't lay it in the sun, however, as the colours may fade. Make sure the pillow is completely dry before stuffing it.

4. Stuff your pillow with polyester fibrefill, then seam the opening closed.

Sewing on the flowers
Arrange the flowers however you like: clustered to the side, three in a row, one in each corner, or in a diagonal line. Pin in place and attach the flower centres to the pillow using a yarn needle and matching yarn.

My basic felting technique
Legend has it that the Huns discovered felting when they used layers of wool for their saddles. The agitation, heat and sweat generated on an all-day ride produced a felt so tightly entwined it was waterproof. You'll employ a different method for felting. It will be just as effective, but you don't need a horse -- just a washing machine. It doesn't matter what kind of washing machine it is, as long as it runs hot water, has a high agitation cycle, and can be stopped in the middle of the cycle so you can check your work.
 
1. Prepare the item. Begin by preparing your item for felting. Make sure the ends are securely woven down. If necessary, knot the ends on the back so they don't come undone during felting, which will cause holes. If you're working with a seamed piece, make sure the seams are smooth and not puckered before felting.

2. Set up the washig machine. Set your machine to "hot" on a low-water, high-agitation cycle. Let the basin fill with hot water.

3. Agitate and check.
When the agitator starts moving, add the piece. It will take a few minutes for the piece to show signs of shrinkage. Once it does, check it often, at least every one or two minutes. Don't let the piece go through the spin cycle. If the agitation cycle is done and the piece still isn't felted, manually reset your machine to go through the agitation cycle again without letting it go through the spin cycle.

4. Remove when done.
Pull the piece out when it reaches the desired size and texture.

5. Rinse and squeeze.
Rinse by hand in cool water, and squeeze out excess water by rolling the piece in a terry-cloth towel.

6. Shape.
Follow the shaping directions for your pattern.

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Excerpted from Felt It! 20 Fun and Fabulous Projects to Knit & Felt by Maggie Pace, published by Storey Publishing, available in Canada wherever books are sold. Copyright 2006 by Maggie Pace. Excerpted with permission of Storey Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher.

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Knitting & Crochet

Knitted and felted flower pillow

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