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A year or so ago I was messing around with the idea of a knit pillow and came up with this. I was really happy with how the concept turned out, embroidered knits, but it hasn’t proved as functional as I would like. The yarn I used was quite scratchy, I didn’t anchor down the embroidery well enough so pieces have started coming loose, and the cover isn’t removable.

Take two. Same concept, just increased comfort and durability with a removable zippered cover. I used all leftovers materials for this one. Turned out to be a great stash bash! I’m not sure where this fixation on needing a removable cover comes from, it’s not like I would throw it in the wash, but that’s basically what this design is centred around.

Button closures on knit pillows seem to be popular, but I wanted the sleekness of a zipper closure. I came up with the idea to sew a zippered lining from muslin, knit and embroider the cover, then sewn the cover to the lining along the zippered opening. I didn’t do any research with this (perhaps I could have found a better solution?) I just got this idea in my head and had to try it. Sometimes to just need to see for yourself, right?

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In a welcome turn of events – it worked! I’m so pleased with the outcome. I’ve been using it for a few weeks now and so far so good. The soft cotton yarn and feather insert makes for an inviting, and durable, little pillow. I’m not worried about squishing it up behind my back because it always regains its shape and looks like new. Living in a small space you can’t really afford to have pillows that are too precious or purely decorative. I need that perfect mix of functional and stylish. I need practical.

If you’re interested in how I made it, keep reading. It’s not a tutorial but between the photos and the blurbs you’ll get the rough idea.


Materials Used

1 skein of Cascades Yarns Ultra Pima 100% cotton
4.5mm knitting needles
Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light 100% merino wool for the embroidery (leftover from this)
Yarn needle for embroidery
12″ x 12″ feather pillow insert
Muslin (enough to cover pillow)
12″ Zipper

zippered-muslin-pillow-liningI first sewed a zippered muslin pillow case for the insert. I choose muslin as it closely matched the yarn I used. It acts like a lining so even if the knit cover is stretched you never see through to the white insert.

attaching-knit-cover-sewn-liningI knit a long rectangle (12″ by 24″) in stockinette stitch to cover the pillow. Given the size of my pillow and the yarn I used I cast on 55 stitches and knit until it reach 24″ in length and wrapped around the pillow.

I pinned the knitting around the pillow to map out roughly where I wanted the embroidery to go.

sterling-silver-needle-caseJust an excuse to show off this beautiful engraved sterling silver box of my Nana’s. I’m not sure where it’s from (I like to think one of my Granddads exotic business trips, could have been the local mall haha) or what it’s for, but I use it for needles.

embroidering-knitting-2I roughly planned how I wanted my design spaced and went from there. I embroidered this double strand. I should admit that I have no actual embroidery experience and didn’t look at any tutorials, I basically just went over individual knit stitches in a design I find aesthetically pleasing.

embroidering-knitting-3The underside. I nearly fell in love with this more than the right side!

embroidered-knit-pillow-cover-1Embroidery finished.

seaming-knit-pillow-coverNext I seamed the sides, making sure the seam was invisible.

attaching-knit-cover-sewn-lining-2Finally, I pulled the knit cover over the pillow and pinned it to the muslin along the zippered opening. Using normal sewing thread and a needle I sewed the knit edge to the zippered edge.

zippered-knit-pillow-coverHow it looks opened.

knit-pillow-zippered-closure-2The thread is essentially invisible, making the closure pretty sleek.

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There we have it! Please let me know if you’ve tried anything like this. And as always, if you have any ideas or improvements please share!

Updated Embroidered Knit Pillow
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