Thursday, February 14, 2013

Canadian Breeze Cushion Cover

45/365 - Crocheted Pillow Cover

Motif:
Modified version of Motif # 106 from Edie Eckman's Beyond the Square.
I worked the pattern as written through third round, following with a round of sc in each stitch (3 sc in corners).

It's not a difficult motif, at all, but BPdc can be a little messy to work, if you're not used to it.  


Yarn:
I Love This Yarn in "Summer Sky" and a variety of unknown remnants.  Medium brown, a dark country blue, a light country blue, and various creams and beiges.


Hook:
4.0mm (G)
This is my favorite-- or at least most-used-- hook, lately.  It has a polymer clay-covered handle.  After getting used to the clay-covered hooks and then switching back to an uncovered hook (because I didn't have a covered one in the right size), I'm pretty sure there is a difference in comfort.  My hand got tired faster with the plain hook, and part of the back of the hook (maybe the very end?) was rubbing against my palm, somehow, and making it tender.  I had to readjust my grip!  I'll definitely be covering the rest of my hooks with clay, one of these days. 

- - -

When I made some of my previous pillow covers, I didn't bother much about weaving in the ends.  I'd read that it didn't matter, since you could just poke them through to the back-- and because I get tired of weaving ends, just like everyone, I wanted to believe. (g)

Unfortunately, wanting to believe wasn't enough.  Sure, you can just pop the ends back inside if they wiggle loose, but it happens more often than I'd realized, and I'm tired of popping them back in!*  Anyway, I've decided that I'd rather take the extra time and trouble during the "making"-- then have it over and done with-- than speed past that part of the process and have to deal with tails sneaking out for the pillow's entire lifespan. 

*(It's possible that the ends that pop out so frequently do so because they were cut relatively short.  Maybe longer tails are less likely to get loose.  However, some of my repeat offenders are at least three or four inches long...)


Crocheted Motifs

I decided that joining these motifs was the perfect time to try out a new-to-me joining method I'd stumbled across online (on Pinterest, probably).  It may have another, more common name, but on the blog where I found it, it was called "the amazingly flat crochet seam".

It's similar to the standard slip-stitch joining that I've used before on afghans.  In that method, you hold the motifs right sides together, then slip stitch the outer loops only of each motif together.  It's a nice, flat join, and the loops left open (not slip stitched together) make a nice little raised outline around the joined motifs.

Pillow Construction

So, like I said, it's similar to that join, but it's done on the right side of the fabric, so that it becomes a design element.  It felt somewhat more fiddly/fussy to work this join than the standard wrong-side slip-stitch, but that may be due to my lack of familiarity with the method.  It probably gets easier and faster with practice.

The results were more than satisfactory.  I really like how it looks, and it is a very flat seam-- much more so than the typical "sc through both loops" method.  Another interesting way to join motifs for the ol' bag of tricks!  ;o) 

- - -

After joining the squares, I tried to sew a pillow in the right size.  (Always tricky, since I'm no expert seamstress.  Sewing a pillow is easy, but getting it to an exact size is another story...)  I used some lightweight denim because 1) it would "go with" the yarn colors, should any of it peek through the holes in the fabric, and 2) I got yards and yards of it for free earlier in the year. 

The pillow turned out close to the size I'd wanted, but when I wrapped my crocheted square around it, the fit was a little tighter than I wanted.  So, either I had to make another pillow or add to my square.  ...Let's add to the square, then.  (g)  I crocheted a border around the square.  Three rounds of single crochet.  (Beige, "Summer Sky", Beige.)

...And then I joined it on the diagonal around the pillow form, using the same "amazingly flat crochet seam" from before.  Crocheting around a cushion is always a bit of a mess, in my experience.  It's simply not the most speedy, joyous type of crocheting-- but it was done, eventually. 

Crocheted Pillow Cover

I think I like the other side (which I am therefore calling "the front") better, but neither of them are bad, imho.  I considered adding a brown pom-pom or something else decorative to the center of the X, but in the end, I think that might just look odd... We'll see.  It's just as easy to add later as it would be to add now.

I found it a little difficult to think about and picture how the pillow would look with the large square of fabric wrapped around it, and as a result, some of the colors were a little less evenly distributed than I usually like, but it's fine.   I'm still happy with it-- especially the front. 

- - -

When I was working on this pillow last night, my husband commented that (based on what I've made so far) I must like this random mix of motifs more than a carefully regimented pattern.  (That is, a certain number of motifs in color-shchemes ABC, DEF, and XYZ arranged in a checkered pattern, stripes, etc.)

That made me think.  I do like the random, scrappy, seemingly serendipitous look, it's true... but there's another part of me that loves well-ordered rows and columns.  So why haven't I ever made a pillow cover or afghan to reflect that?

Part of it probably boils down to habit.  I've done it this way before, so that's the way I automatically do it every time.

Another aspect is that it's just more fun to play around with color combinations than it is to crochet the exact same pattern in the exact same color scheme over and over again.  I want to see what the motif looks like if I put this color with that color-- and then I'm curious about what will happen (visually) if we swap them or add a third hue to the mix.

Then there's my fear of running out of a given color-- combined with my drive to use up every last scrap.  What I mean by that is that a lot of times I want to use a color that I have only a limited amount of and may not be able to get more of (thrift store yarns, unmarked remnants).  If I'm going for "random", it's fine if I use up all of a color.  I'll just use more of the others.  A strictly planned project might be less forgiving of substitution.  --But that's a flimsy excuse.  I can always save the scraps for, well, scrappy projects and make sure there's plenty of yarn before starting something more regimented.

...Anyway, I'm rambling.  (As if I haven't been rambling through the whole thing!)
Just something I'm thinking about.  My next pillow project may be less random than usual.   I know my next afghan won't be, because-- heh heh-- I've already started that. 

More about that next time!