Saturday, September 6, 2014

Knotted Pillows

August has been a heavy crafting month. So much so that you, lucky readers, are going to be treated to bonus Saturday posts for the next two weeks. Whoohoo! :)

Turkish head knot (made by Allison & Michelle)
Yellow Celtic knot (made by Nina)
 Blue Modified Celtic knot (made by Andrea & Emily)
Similar to my foray into felting, the impetus for this craft was yet another friend seduced by pretty pictures on the internet and convincing the rest of us to join in the insanity. Knotted pillows are being sold on Etsy for $70-90. At first, I thought that seemed expensive but now, after experiencing first hand how much time, work and material goes into these - that's a steal! :P

My friends and I trolled the internet looking for tutorials but couldn't find exactly what we wanted. Most of the pillows were done with tubular knitting for which we didn't have the equipment. We were going for a cloth sewn tube but none of those tutorials listed all the cloth dimensions. There was a lot of estimation and experimentation involved in this craft and required two intensive sessions to finish. Not for the faint of heart! ;)

My pillow was a blue modified Celtic knot and it has the distinction of being the first successful pillow our group created. Yes, all our pillows were group efforts.

I started with 3 metres of denium linen. I cut a 7 inch wide strip and then sewed the long edges together with an overlap of 1/2 inch. (ie. the final tube had a circumference of 6 inches)

There was a convenient white line for me to follow at the edge of the denium.
This is the tube flipped the right way out - just look at that straight seam!
Next  came the most labour-intensive part: stuffing. Emily and I worked on this pillow together and it took us two hours to get some sort of a technique down. I am so glad that there were two of us - it made the process go so much faster. 

After our 3 m tube was well stuffed, we searched on the internet for a knot to tie. You might remember that I own a Chinese knotting book and originally, I thought to just pick a nice one from there and tie that. Unfortunately, I quickly learned that most of those knots either:
a) Required a longer length of tube than I had or
b) Did not lie flat when tied

That is why I had to resort to the internet. I ended up picking the Celtic knot but I modified it so that my shorter length of tube could still become a decent pillow. (Yep, we discovered that sadly, 3 m is not enough for this project).

It took a fair bit of wrestling get to this point.
Almost there!

I closed the ends by hand with a blind ladder stitch (Thank you, Youtube!) Not the neatest job but good enough. I just need more practice. 

You will notice that I don't have any other sewing crafts on this blog. The reason is obvious - I don't do them. But that may change...

Three hours and a lot of sweat (no real blood or tears...) later: Voila! My poofy cloud-like pillow. It looks great on our ivory leather couch. Our living room is going to look so stylish!

The Front (it took a bit of shaping for it to look just right)
The Back (not as nice but still very interesting)
Allison and Michelle were far more ambitious. They chose a stretchier knitted cloth which ended up thicker than Emily's and my tube when stuffed. They also cut a 7 inch strip but with only 1/4 inch overlap.

Michelle - looking stylish while she works!
Flipping the tube the right way out

I really liked the cloth that they chose. The pattern even matched up where they sewed it together!

Because their tube was thicker, they ended up needing much more length. They had also bought a 3 m length of cloth so they sewed a few more stretches on. Their resulting anaconda of a tube was 9 m long! Stuffing took a week - as you can imagine :P

This is the size of a small rug.
Sewing the ends together with a blind ladder stitch. Allison and Michelle ended up getting more practice at this for obvious reasons. 

It took about half an hour to wrestle that massive tube into a knot and the result is a charming sofa cushion. (Literally, this is thing is the same size as Michelle's sofa cushions.) I think it probably took about 4-5 lbs of stuffing.

They had enough length for a Turkish head knot.

My friend, Nina, joined in the madness on our second pillow crafting day. She chose 4 m of sunny yellow athletic knit. She cut her strip to be 6.5 inches wide and sewed a 1/2 inch overlap.

She completed a full Celtic knot with her tube.

We have all learned how to do the blind ladder stitch thanks to this project.
It took a few days, but we all came away with a pillow each. The Celtic knot was used the most often because it laid out flat and required less length than the Turkish head knot. Because Michelle kept the Turkish head knot pillow, Allison made a second one out of the same cloth and tied it as a Celtic knot. She used only 6 m for this one.

The decor at our house looks so designer now. 

Ivory was an excellent choice for our couch - the perfect backdrop to our accent pillows. 
Emily completed her own pillow with the denium fabric. She also used 6 m of fabric.

Okay, okay... this is what mine was supposed to have looked like but was just too short. Emily's knot is definitely a comfortably sized pillow.

I think I am all pillow-ed out for a little while but I definitely want to do another sewing project in the near future. Skirts and dresses, anyone? :)

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