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So I recently decided it was time to change around my pillows in my home. After moving down to Los Angeles we got a new couch and with more of a retro style in our living room, we started to find that our old color scheme wasn’t working for us anymore. Plus, some of our pillows were starting to look a bit worn.
As you may know from my previous article The Only Five Items You Need In Your Home To Do Everything, I don’t like to buy new things unless I really need them. So, what’s a girl to do?
Simple. She crochets a new pillow.
Crochet seems like a strange name. That’s because it’s French for hook. The difference between knitting and crochet is that when you are knitting you use two large needles, whereas in crochet you use one hook.
Getting started, this may seem a bit confusing at first, but with a little practice, you’ll be a pro in no time. I’m going to show you how to make a pillow using a single crochet stitch, which is the easiest stitch there is.
You only need three things for this project: Crochet hook, yarn and a pillow. As a vegan, I advocate for non-wool yarns which are very easy to come by and cruelty free!
If you’ve never seen a crochet hook before, there are different sizes, usually designated by letters. I tend to use H/3 because I find it grabs the yarn easily and still creates a small enough stitch that you won’t see through the cover to the white part of the pillow.
To start off, make a loop. This is easiest if you cross the end of the yarn and pull the shorter end through the hole, not quite all the way. Hold both ends and pull the top of the loop. You should get a nice loop.
Put the hook through the loop and pull on the end of the yarn until it the loop is snug against the hook.
First, and perhaps the most important part of crochet is how you hold the yarn. If you grasp it too tightly your fingers will cramp, too loose and your crochet will be messy. Don’t stress too much, it may take some practice, but you’ll get it! I’m right handed, so I hold the yarn in my left hand. If you’re left handed I would assume you would do the exact same thing in your right hand.
Holding the palm of your hand toward your face, pull the yarn through your ring and pinky finger from your palm so the hook is to the right of your hand. Pull the yarn back around the front of your palm and do the same around your index finger. Cross the yarn in front of your finger and wrap the yarn behind your index finger, coming back out in between your index and middle finger. Grasp the yarn on the other end of the loop with your thumb and middle finger.
This may feel awkward at first, but it will become second nature after a while. Some people like to wrap the yarn around their pinky twice, but I find that strangles the yarn and creates too much resistance.
Next you are going to make your chain. This will determine how wide your cover will be. Make sure to have it long enough so it’s not stretched too heavily and short enough that it won’t leave your pillow limp within. Remember to have a couple of extra stitches for the seam.
Making a chain is rather simple. With the hook end facing you, wrap the yarn around the hook once. Do this by bringing the hook down in front of the yarn, back, and up. Angle the hook down, and pull through the first loop. Voilà! Your first loop! Good job.
Now do this a million more times. Or, just enough to measure out the width of your cover.
Next comes the single crochet. This is going to be the rest of your pillow.
If you look closely at your loops, you will see there is a hole. Squeeze your hook through the first hole so there are two loops on the hook.
Grab the yarn like you did for the chain and pull it through the first loop. You should still have two loops on your hook. Grab the yarn again, and pull through both loops.
We are getting close to the end of this lesson. Once you’ve gone back up the chain and made a single crochet in every hole, you will be at the end. Here you are going to make one chain, a.k.a. slip-stitch. Turn the yarn around as if you are going to start back in the other direction.
You’ll notice that the loops have changed. Now it should look like a chain on the top. This time when you put the hook through the hole, there will be three loops on the hook. This will give you a nice, flat pattern. If you want to play around with the texture of your cover, you can put the hook only in the front loop or only the back loop. This will give indents in the finished pattern.
For now, you may want to stick with the basics. Once again, you will go all the way to the end of the row, create a slip-stitch (single chain) and turn it around. Keep going until you can take the long piece and have the ends meet around the pillow.
Here is a simple version of the directions I just gave:
ch = chain
sc = single crochet
sl st = slip stitch (similar to chain)
For simplicity’s sake, let’s say your cover is 100 stitches long.
ch 101. Turn.
sc 100. sl st. Turn
sc 100. sl st. Turn.
For the last step you will need to sew closed the cover.
You can do a single crochet along the edge from where you ended your cover around to the fold of the pillow. Turn the cover inside out, so no strings are showing. Stick the pillow inside and single crochet the top closed. Make a double knot, then pull any loose threads through to the inside with the hook. Or, if you’re willing to get one more thing for you project you can do a quicker seam with a yarn needle and just sew the case shut the same way you would crochet it.
You can play around with this simple pattern. Make it longer on one end and add buttons. Switch colors for a striped pillow. Have fun with it.
If you found you enjoyed this little project I highly recommend this website. It has hundreds of free patterns, from clothes to doilies. Stuffed animals to socks. Some of the patterns can get a little crazy and you might have to do some research to learn new stitches. But once you have the basics down, the rest should come relatively easy.
Now get out there and start yarn bombing!