Saturday, March 31, 2012

Colour Me Green - Pixel Heart Cushion

Green is my daughter's favourite colour so I couldn't resist the 'Crafty Green' challenge on Colour Me There (the blog formerly known as Li'l Magoolie). And I wanted to get into some granny squares so... here is how I made my pixel heart cushion!

(Note: the amazing map cushion behind it is from my bearded pigeon, check out her store here)

Step 1 - Learn how to make Granny Squares
You only need to be able to crochet three stitches - chain stitch, double crochet (I am used to calling it double crochet from US amigurumi patterns but in Australia/NZ it can be a treble stitch) and a slip stitch. You can learn all from Pip's excellent videos on Meet Me at Mike's.

Step 2 - Pixel Pattern
I sketched some squares and figured I needed 7 squares across to make something resembling a heart, so 7 squares x 7 squares was my plan (49 squares total, 31 in dark green).

Step 3 - Make lots of Granny Squares
I needed a smaller-than-usual square to fit 49 squares on a cushion, so after playing around for a while, I went with this pattern:

{Using 5mm hook, 8ply wool}

Row 1: Chain 6, slipstitch into first stitch to make circle

Row 2: Chain 3 (acts as first double crochet stitch), then 15 double crochets around the circle, then slipstitch into the 3rd chain stitch {so it looks like a circle of 16 stitches}

Row 3: Chain 3 (acts as first double crochet stitch), then 2 double crochets into the same place. This is the first corner. Double crochet x1 in the next three stitches, then 3 double crochets to make the next corner. Repeat around the circle until you have 4 corners, with three single stitches in between each one. Slipstitch to complete the square (which has rounded corners, this doesn't matter!)

Each square took me about 5 minutes in front of the tv (I made half of them rewatching Sliding Doors last week).

Step 4 - Join them up
Ok, I know I said you only need 3 stitches but I also used single crochet to join them together (single crochet tutorial here). I don't know if this is how most people would do it but it made sense to me because you just line up the holes of edges from two different squares and hook through both squares at the same time. It also made it really secure. But you could just sew them together with needle and wool if you prefer.

This is the really time-consuming part (especially threading all the loose ends back into the squares), but once you can see them coming together it will be worth it!

Once I joined them all together, the square was slightly smaller than my cushion, so I did a border of 2 rows of single crochet which made it a more regular shape too. A light iron made it nice and flat and pretty.

Step 5 - Get a cushion cover
You won't really see it, so the crochet can go over any plain-ish cover. I didn't have one suitable so I just made an easy envelope-style - one long piece of material folded so the ends overlap and then sew down the two sides (cushion cover tutorial here).

Step 6 - Join squares to cushion
This was my late night last night - sewing the edges of the crochet close to the edges of the cushion with needle and thread. I don't have a lot of experience handsewing so I just tried to catch every crochet stitch and make extra knots here and there.

And... done! Thanks so much to Maddie for the inspiration to go green and to Pip for the how-to on going granny. Daughter and I are negotiating over where it will live.

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