Thursday, April 11, 2013

Crochet Granny Square Pillow Covers Tutorial

This is a serious project.  It is not for the impatient or anyone seeking instant gratification.  This takes a lot of time and a lot of work but if you stay focused, you'll be very impressed with the results. If you already followed along with my Crochet Granny Square Coaster & Placemat Set Tutorial, you should have your crochet granny square making skills mastered by now.  Here's a fine opportunity to further test your crochet abilities, dust off that old sewing machine, flex some basic embroidery skills and cover up some otherwise unwanted and neglected pillows. 

I made 3 pillows but below are the instructions and materials necessary to make one pillow.  So without further ado, let the tutorial begin! 

What you'll need to make one pillow cover

  • 1 400 yard skein of  100% Mercerized Cotton Giant Crochet Thread aka doily yarn
  • Size O crochet hook
  • Size 10 (1.30mm) crochet hook (this is optional but it's helpful for hiding your loose ends)
  • At least a yard of cotton fabric (this is actually more than enough but you can buy multiple yards of many cotton fabrics from your local craft or sewing shop for only a few bucks)
  • an old square shaped pillow
  • Large embroidery needle
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Basic sewing machine
  • Generic thread
  • Pins
  • a couple safety pins
  • Scissors
Sewing the fabric pillow cover
Step 1
Take the fabric and fold it in half. Center the pillow on the fabric with the folded edge on top. Measure a 1" seam around the pillow and cut the fabric.
Step 2
Starting at either end of the folded edge, sew a 1/2" seam around 2 sides.  You're basically creating a pocket and leaving one side open for you to slip the pillow inside of.  Keep in mind that you're sewing on the "wrong side".

Step 3
Clip the edges, creating a fringe with about 1/4" between each clip.  Be careful not to cut into your seam by only clipping about 3/4" toward the seam.

Step 4
Turn the pocket right side out.  Insert your pillow.  Take the excess fabric on both sides of the edge and turn it in on itself.  Once the edges are matched up and smoothed out, pin them together.  Now you're going to stitch the final edge of the pillow together.  For this final edge, stitch a 1/4" seam, or less.  You're basically trying to get as close to the edge as possible while keeping in mind that the visable seam doesn't really matter as it will eventually be covered up with crochet work.
Now your fabric cover is finished and it's time to get down to the real business.

Crocheting the granny square doily
Step 1
Begin crocheting a basic granny square (following the tutorial from the link I posted at the beginning of this tutorial) with your size O hook.  Use your size 10 hook to hide all of the loose ends.
Step 2
Continue measuring the size of your square against the size of your pillow.  For example, a 25 row square (including the basic circle) fit my 14" x 14" pillow.  When you're measuring against the pillow, make sure your square is pulled as flat as possible. 

Embroidering the crochet doily to the fabric pillow cover

Step 1

Safety pin the doily to the edges of the fabric pillow cover.  Cut about a yard of doily yarn and thread your embroidery needle. 

Step 2
Start at one corner of the edge of the pillow cover and the middle of the corner scallop on the doily edge and connect the two with the thread. Double knot the thread leaving 1-2" at the end of the knot. Hide the excess thread back through the doily.

Step 3
Embroider the doily to the fabric edge using the threaded running stitch.  Insert the needle through the chain of each HDC (half double crochet). 
As you continue along, you'll thread the needle through 3 HDCs and then under the chain that separates the next block of HDCs and so on. 
This is what the underside of the finished edge looks like.
Step 4
Continue embroidering around the pillow cover.  When you get to the end, tie off and hide your loose ends underneath your embroidery work.
Now your beautiful pillow is complete and if you've made it this far, pat yourself on the back.  You deserve it!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Octagonal Origami Boxes

Today was a beautiful and extremely productive day.  The sun was bursting through our windows all day.  We just got a new chair for our record room and I spent the entire morning reorganizing our little cottage to make enough space for it.  The result is that many of my owls have relocated to our living room.

After all of my new space making, I decided to sit down and relax with some origami.

With Mother's Day fast approaching, I often think of my mom, how much she loves holidays and how she's always inspired me to create my own unique packaging and greeting cards for any special occasion.  Over the years I've presented her with any number of origami creations.  Unfortunately, many of these nimbly folded objects don't hold much utility.  One can only do so much with paper shrimp, the complete metamorphasis of a tadpole to frog (in origami) or 1,000 paper cranes (although they might bring you some good luck).

However, origami can be used for more than just folding cute little creatures.  One of the finest, most personal gifts can often be in the packaging in itself.  These octagonal origami boxes are a gift in themselves.  They can be reused and treasured as keepers of special keepsakes.  They are so simple and fun to create.  Once you get going, you won't be able to stop.  You can make them in a variety of sizes and color or pattern combos.  You don't even have to use origami paper to make them; you can use anything, used magazines, newspapers, etc.

There's a quick and easy to follow tutorial HERE.

May your days been filled with many happy folds!