PROJECT – FULLED MANOS PILLOW

Still in hurry-up-and-wait mode, I find myself with a bit of extra time so I extend today’s entry.

Here’s a past project that was quick, easy, and turned out quite nicely. It’s a pillow inspired by a similar one appearing in Shangold’s Design Source book of Home Decor. This pillow is sitting on my daughter’s bed. As you can see,my tween-ager hasgot a starry-night/dragons theme thing going in denim blues and raspberry/magenta.

I liked the idea of a tube pillow secured by six buttons as shown, and I happened to have six large mother of pearl buttons on hand. They looked rather lunar to me, so I thought they’d go nicely with therest of the celestial/mythical beast stuffalready in place. I stewed around on the idea for a couple of days before mentioning it to the Target Kid. She was thrilled so I went ahead. (Major hint: Never knit anything as a surprise for someone between the ages of 9 and 19).

In truth I only had a glimpse of the book and didn’t work my pillowfrom the directions, so I can’t speak to whether orthe inspiring object is also knit in the round, but this is how I went aboutmy pillow.I used two partial skeins of Manos left over from previous projects (the magenta and the pale blue), plus I bought one new skein of the indigo blue. I wanted to do symmetrical stripes, but I didn’t want toweigh my yarn and divide it into equal quantities and/or figure out how big each of the stripes should be, so I took the lazy person’s way out.

I don’t have any working notes, but I believe I used either a US #9 or #10 needle, and gotsomewhere in between 3.5 and 4spi in garter stitch before fulling the piece. (A figure of100 stitches around seems to stick in my mind, but I won’t swear to it.) I started with a provisional cast on, and knit a garter stitch tube using my entire skein of the darker blue. Then I wound my magenta and light blue into center pull balls. I "woke up" the stitches at the bottom of the dark blue stripe, placing them ona secondcircular needle. then using both the outside and inside ends of the contrasting color yarn, I worked the same number of garter stitch ridges of the light blue on both ends of the center, darker stripe, continuing until I ran out of yarn. I repeated this with the magenta.When I was doneI had no yarn left over at all, a dark blue stripe in the center, and equal size stripes of light blue and magenta framing it. Ready to full!

First I tossed the finished pillow in the washing machine and dryer, but my washer is too gentle. Even in a hot wash full of towels not much fulling action happened. I ended up beating the daylights out of the piece by hand, plus washing it at a friend’s house in a washer and dryer that arefar more vicious than mine. That finally worked.

The finished pillow is nice and dense, cushy even. It shrank about 40% in length (that’s the direction across the stripes), but only about 20% in width (the directionparallel tothe stripes themselves). Final post-fulling measurements are about 20 inches around the pillow’s belly, and about 15 inches end to end.

After my tube was as fulled as it was going to get, I bought a standard baby pillow form. That’s a pillow about the size of the small onesfound on airplanes. Most of the crafting websites list 12"x16" as being the standard, but I think mine was either a tad smaller, or was so squishy that it easily wadded up to fit.

I sewed on the first three buttons, taking my fastening stitches through both sides of the tube. This effectively closed off the first end. Then I sewed three oversized coat snaps to the inside of the pillow’s other end, taking care to locate them exactly underneath the spots where I would later sew the buttons. Once I had the second three buttons placed, I jammed the mini-pillow into the tube and snapped the open end closed. All done! One finished pillow; one delighted pre-teen, and something for the stuffed dragon to lean upon.

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