DIYdiy projects

diy project: chunky finger-knit pillow

by Kate Pruitt


My knitting skills are pretty basic, but I’ve been wanting to expand them, especially for home projects. After a failed attempt at a blanket last winter, I hung up my needles and haven’t really returned to knitting since. This simple knit pillow tutorial is just the kind of project to pull me back, even in the warmer months. Anne Weil of Flax and Twine created an easy-to-follow tutorial for finger knitting, but then decided to make this chunky striped knit pillow DIY as an example of how to use the finger knits.

Finger knitting is a great craft for kids, but as you can see here, the simple knitted strands can be quite sophisticated when used for sewing projects. I love how textural and rich this pillow looks, and I’m picturing tons of great variations: fun color combos like navy and red, pink and coral, camel and bright yellow. I’m also imagining spiral or chevron formations, or even turning the stripes diagonally. It’s hard to go wrong with this simple formula, and Anne has provided such great tutorials to get you started. I’m about to go on a long car ride, and I can’t wait to grab some yarn and get to it! Thanks so much for sharing, Anne! — Kate

Read the full how-to after the jump . . .


Want to achieve that chunky knit-pillow look without actually knitting? A child or adult can learn finger knitting easily — you can find a tutorial I made for the technique here. Finger knitting whips up quickly, especially with bulky yarn. Though typically thought of as a child’s craft, I think finger knitting holds its own beauty. Seeing my children’s (6, 8, and 9) love for it, I wanted to design some easy projects to incorporate something they can do but that are modern at the same time. This project was particularly lovely; I hope you all will enjoy it, too. — Anne

Materials

  • 2 skeins of different colored yarn (I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick in Bold Pea Green and Natural Cream)
  • 14″ x 14″ pillow form
  • 1/2 yard of canvas/duck cloth
  • coordinating thread
  • long tapestry needle
  • sewing machine

 

Instructions

1. Finger knit two skeins of yarn in colors of your choosing. The finger knitting will finish as one long strand.

2. Lay out a piece of canvas/duck cloth that is 20” x 18″, using the 20″ side as your width. Pin the ends of the finger-knitting strands side by side at the top of the canvas.

3. Keeping the strands side by side, bring the lengths of finger knitting across the width of the canvas, turn and bring them back again, pinning the lengths into place as you go. The colors will alternate as you turn the lengths at each side. The front side of the finger knitting has what looks like side-by-side chain stitches; keep these facing up. The back side looks more like a ladder. Keep this side of the finger knitting oriented down to the canvas, so that your strands of finger knitting look smooth, not twisted.

4. Your fully pinned finger knitting should look as follows. In my photo, the canvas extends beyond 20″ horizontally, but 20″ will be enough.

5. Now with a sewing machine, affix the lengths of finger knitting to the canvas by sewing vertically along the edge of the pillow, about 2 1/2 inches in from the side. (A 100 size needle or stronger is best; however, I used a size 90 needle just fine.) Use your fingers to press the finger knitting under the foot of the sewing machine as you go.

6. Your stitching on each side of the piece should be approximately 14.5″ to 15″ apart. Make sure to sew through the finger knitting before the coil starts to turn so that the strands are straight as they go into the pillow.

7. Take another piece of the canvas, at least 16″ x 16″, and draw a 14.5″ x 14.5″ square on it with a pencil or light marking pen (this will be on the inside of the pillow).

8. Place this piece of canvas face to face with the finger knitting, keeping the marked square facing up toward you.

9. Pin the canvas into place, making an effort to place the sewing line at the top and bottom of the pillow such that, a) the stripes come out even, and b) that when you sew along that line, you will be sewing directly through the middle of a strand of finger knitting.

10. Sew along the marked line, leaving a 6″ length along the side of the pillow unstitched to make room to turn the pillow inside out and to get the pillow form inside.

11. Turn the pillow right side out by reaching through the opening along the side and pulling the pillow through. Make sure the lengths of finger knitting and stripes are the way you want them. Now’s the time to adjust stitching, if needed.

12. Turn the pillow back inside out and trim all the edges to approximately 5/8″, clipping the corners of the pillow almost to the seam line.

13. Turn the pillow inside out again, and stuff it with the pillow form through the unstitched opening.

14. After the pillow form is in, hand-sew the opening closed using the ladder stitch. Start the needle and thread by securing it in the opening as close to the machine stitching as possible. Make a small stitch by bringing the needle through the fold of the fabric (as below). Then bring the needle to the other side, directly across from where your needle came out and make a small stitch through the fold on the finger-knitting side. Repeat this stitch over and over until you sew the entire opening closed. Finish off the thread.

15. Now orient your strands of finger knitting on the pillow and tack them down in place using a long tapestry needle. I took long running stitches through the pillow and short stitches in the top so they wouldn’t be seen. Tacking down the strands will ensure the stripes are even and there is no gapping.

That’s it, you’re finished!

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