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Sweet Home Sweet Pillow

Not too long ago I was deep in the thicket of the internet, in search of I-don't-remember-what, when I came across the fascinating idea of cross stitching on crocheted fabric. I became totally motivated by the idea. I've probably seen too many episodes of Little House on the Prairie, but undeniably, the self-sufficiency of this project deeply appealed to me. 

Maybe I'm not quite up to growing a field of flax to harvest, comb, bat, and spin into linen, but I could take a small step toward satisfying my wanna-be pioneer by creating my own cross stitch canvas. Never mind that I didn't know how to cross stitch. Just another task in the life of a frontiers woman!

It was Page's daughter, Coco, who unwittingly gave us the perfect phrase to adorn this pillow. She's six now, but at the ripe age of 4, she would arrive home to her front door, and with an exhausted sigh, pronounce, "Ah, sweet, home, sweet...". Coco's malapropism is especially wonderful because it turns on its head a phrase that is at the very heart of traditional needlecraft. And so "Home Sweet Home" became "Sweet Home Sweet" and a pillow was born!

I was so devoted to the idea of this pillow that I was very careful to choose materials that would be true to my mission of simple, rugged beauty. And, so, I called in the big guns: Louet's classically beautiful Euroflax Linen for the crochet, Koigu's KPM Needlepoint Yarn for the cross stitch, and Mary Flanagan's sumptuous hand dyed Wool Felt for the backing. The result is a pillow with a whole lot of homespun charm, just right for life on the frontier! Okay... maybe just life in Brooklyn...

 

The Materials

  • Koigu's KPM Needlepoint Yarn, 100% Merino Wool. I used 3 skeins: 2 of color #2229 and 1 of #2227. If you only want to use one color for your cross stitching or if you want to use two colors more equally than I did, you'll only need 2 skeins.
  • 2 pieces of Mary Flanagan's Felted Wool, 100% Wool. This color is "Smokey Joe".

 

The Pattern

Gauge

6 single crochets = 1 inch 

8 rows of single crochet = 1 inch

Finished Size

14 inches x 14 inches

Crochet

With the Euroflax Linen, chain 86 stitches.

Inserting the hook into 2nd chain from hook, make 1 sc into next 85 chain stitches.

*Turn the work.

Chain 1, make 1 sc into next 85 stitches.

Repeat from * until piece measures 10 1/2 inches from the beginning row.

Turn the work, ch 1, and make 1 sc into next 62 stitches. Place a removable marker (or safety pin or scrap of yarn) on the leg of the 62nd stitch.                

Make 1 sc into each stitch to the end of the row.

Continue to make 85 sc into each row until piece measures 14 inches from the beginning.

Cut the yarn and pull the tail through the last stitch. Weave in the ends.

Cross Stitch

 

The Grid

The crocheted fabric forms the grid on which you will cross stitch. The corners of each "square" (rectangle, actually!) are located on either side of a single crochet, horizontally, and over two rows of single crochet, vertically. In this photo, the red dots illustrate the corners in the grid where you could work your cross stitches.

Cross Stitch Basics

The basic "x" of the cross stitch is made by first bringing your needle up from the back of the work to the front, leaving a 2 or 3 inch tail in the back of the work. (You will work the first several stitches over the tail, checking it often so that you won't have to weave it in at the end! You will have to weave in the end tail by stitching it neatly under a few strands.)

Next, insert the needle into the hole that is diagonal from the starting hole, bringing your needle to the back of the work.

Now bring your needle to the front again through the hole below (or above) the last hole.

Finally, return your needle to the back of the work through the hole diagonal from the last hole and next to the second hole.

Don't pull the thread too tight or leave it too loose. Just stitch with a nice, relaxed hand so your stitches don't distort the fabric and do lie flat.

You can start the "x" in any corner. What's important is that you are consistent. In other words, the first leg of the "x" must either always slant this way, " / " or this way, " ". And the second leg must always slant the other way.

Although some people work the complete "x"s as they go, others work all the first legs in a row and then return back crossing with the second legs. Most people end up using a combination of methods!

Part of the fun of cross stitch is to find your own most efficient course. There is no one right way! For this project, I tended to work the first leg of the "x"s across the top row of a letter, then worked back across the row completing the "x"s. Then I moved down a row and did the same thing. For example, here is how I started the "S":

A few final notes:  Avoid stranding your yarn across too far an expanse in the back. I would say the maximum is about 3 or 4 stitches. If you need to go farther, just cut the yarn, weave in its tail and start with a new piece of yarn.

Also, I used mostly the #2229 yarn, but occasionally switched to the #2227. I did this as a nod to the tradition of beginning cross stitch samplers where matching yarns wasn't as important as learning the technique. Feel free to do the same, to take the gesture a step further or to stick with one color. Whatever you decide, have fun!

To begin this cross stitch pattern, bring your yarn up at the marker you left in the crocheted fabric. Work the letters by following this chart, starting with the orange square of the "S". Each square in the chart represents a complete "x".

And here is the completed cross stitch!

Sew

Cut each felt piece into a 14 x 10 inch rectangle. Square the fabric to one of the 14-inch sides, cutting the 3 other sides but leaving one 14-inch side uncut.

Lay the crocheted fabric right side up, and put one of the rectangles on top of it. Arrange the felt so that the cut sides are along the edges of the pillow and the uncut 14-inch side is in the middle.

Lay the second rectangle on top of the first so that they overlap each other. Again, make sure the uncut edge is in the middle of the pillow.

Pin all of the edges together.

Sew the four sides of the pillowcase, leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Turn the pillowcase inside out, and use a blunt tool, like the end of a pencil, to push the corners out.

Finally, stuff your beautiful case with the pillow form, fluff it up, step back, and admire!

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19 Responses to Sweet Home Sweet Pillow


  1. cruz says:

    This is gorgeous. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Kristina says:

    This is just lovely! Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. Emily says:

    This is fab. I'm a newbie at crochet and a cross-stitcher of several years so I think I've found a new project!

  4. Anneliese says:

    Seriously lovely! I hope I can find the time to try this fabulous idea! I too love Little House on the Prarie!

  5. Natasha says:

    I love this idea and have already started to crochet the front of the pillow. I am however new to sewing and have only just managed to get to grips with my sewing machine. I was wondering what kind of stitch would be best to sew together the crochet front to the felt backing?

    Thanks,

  6. purl bee says:

    Hi Natasha-

    The medium straight stitch on your machine should work fine. If you don't want to use your machine you can hand sew the backing on with a simple back stitch. Here's a little tutorial of that: http://www.purlbee.com/embroidery-tutorial/2007/2/12/backstitch.html

    Thanks for your question!

  7. Martha says:

    Beautiful piece. I just started on this and it is my first crochet project. I did have a question – Did you block the linen before cross stitching?

  8. purlbee says:

    Hi Martha,

    If your linen piece is square and the size you want, then I wouldn't really recommend blocking it. Linen can be a little unruly when it's wet, and you could end up with a piece a bit bigger than you expected!

    If, however, it's uneven or shorter than it is tall or vice versa, then you may want to go ahead and gently block it into shape…

    Thanks for your question and for making the pillow – it's one of my favorite projects ever!
    Whitney

  9. Kristina F says:

    I'll save this for another time. It is beautiful. However, since I don't have a large selection of yarns here, I might have to do it in cotton. We do have some nice ones from Europe. However, can you give me the WPI (wraps per inch) for the linen you used?. I don't think I can go by length/weight, because I think cotton and linen have different densities. The WPI has helped me in the past when I have had to find a substitute yarn.

    Thanks,
    Kristina

  10. purl bee says:

    HI Kristina,

    I'm afraid I don't know the wraps per inch for this yarn, nor does the Louet website give us an answer! But I can tell you that the Euroflax is a sportweight yarn (regardless of the fiber), and that I crocheted it at 6 single crochets to the inch.

    I hope this helps and good luck!
    Whitney

  11. Helmina says:

    This a beautiful pillow and a great idea! The instructions seem clear and easy enough. It's going on my todo-list. I need to get way more crocheting in to my otherwise very knitty life.

  12. Betty says:

    Hi,

    this is absolutely beautiful! I got all the supplies needed to make this and noticed this calls for size “B” crochet hook. It seems really small….Was hoping for clarification before I start on this. Thanks

  13. purl bee says:

    Hi Betty,

    Thank you so much! Yes, I did use a little size B crochet hook because I wanted to create a dense fabric so that the pillow insert wouldn't show through the stitches. Feel free to go up a size or two if you decide!

    Thanks for your question!

    Whitney

  14. I adore this project! Doing both crochet and cross stitch, this is right up my alley! Now, to find just the right saying….

  15. maaria says:

    Fantastic! Love this!

  16. Pamela says:

    This is so beautiful! Do you mind sharing what alphabet you used for the letters? I've done some looking online but I can't find an exact match.

    Thanks!!

  17. purl bee says:

    Hi Pamela,

    I wish I had a better answer for you, but I made up these letters! I'd love to complete the alphabet someday, but alas! so many letters, so little time. Maybe if you graph out the "Sweet Home Sweet" letters, you'll be able to extrapolate the rest of the alphabet fairly easily, or at least the letters you need. Maybe we can eventually crowd source the whole alphabet!

    Thanks so much for asking and please let us know how it goes!

    Whitney

  18. Susi says:

    Made my own version! Thanks for the tutorial!
    https://twitter.com/selbst_mode/status/441957827670994944/photo/1

  19. Julie C says:

    Thank you for sharing this cushion design pattern, I have tried cross stitch on crochet and I love the finish.

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