Pillow Inspo

By Ann Shayne
January 12, 2021

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34 Comments
  • Sent me down another rabbithole! WOW! Can’t wait to see what you do !

  • SUCH a great diversion. –I mean opportunity for serious color study.

    • Ha ha! I like your thinking.

      • Same!

  • Wow, this IS inspiring! Not only the designs, but the color combinations are so great. Thanks for this – I think I need more pillows!

  • Amazing pillows! I just started a Kaffe kit from Ehrman, it’s a blast. But I don’t know how I missed seeing that little video when I got it. When I die, I’ve decided I want to come back as Kaffe Fassett’s cat and just curl up in all that color all day….

    • Which one are you doing?

      • Blue aubergine. It was hard to decide, the flower ones are spectacular. But my sister is a chef so I’ll give this to her.

        • I just bought that one too, after lusting after it forever. Next time, his lemons. Or the cauliflower.

  • Love the pillows! Could you give instructions on how you actually make the pillow cover beyond the knitting? Do you use some kind of stabilizing fabric on the back of the knit piece and if so what do you use? Are these additional instructions in the field guide?

    • Hi Patricia! Field Guide No. 16: Painterly includes instructions for both a knitted back with buttons that makes the cover removable, and also a fabric backing, so you can choose how you want to finish your cushion.

    • Patricia, I had two pillows whose covers were worn out like Ann’s. I hand washed and air dried the worn fabric covers and used them as the stabilization (and the zipper) for knitted pillow covers I stitched onto them (mine were inspired by Field Guide #9 Master Class). Happy to share more— need to get a photo posted on Rav. I’m @knittingniki over there. Enjoy! Niki

  • Funny you should write this. I absolutely love the Villages Scarf and decided to make pillow covers out of it. I’ll be doing 4 houses across. The daybed in our tv room needs a new slipcover, so I’ll be sewing a fairly plain cover for that and knitting some cheery bright pillow covers. That should help pass the time during this pandemic winter!

    • I’m so looking for ways to perk up my surroundings. This sounds like an excellent plan.

      • I’m going to suggest another alternative because we all need those, right. Kaffe’s patterns in both field guides are so adaptable to needlepoint with all the geometric shapes. That was what I did with my coins pillow because I prefer a firmer finished pillow to a softer stuffed one. Premade inserts are just not firm enough for me. I don’t know how to post a photo here so I’ll post it in the mdk lounge thread. Already planning another one with the village chart.

  • Thank you for mentioning Kaffe’s needlepoint. I loved his book Glorious Needlepoint, with those wonderful and innovative projects. I was sort of shocked, when a few years back, I entered a local yarn shop which had an extensive needlepoint section, and found out that the young owners had no idea he had ever done needlepoint. I hope that they took the time to research it. I can’t ask them now because the store no longer exists.

  • I did a Kaffe Fassett Tumbling Blocks pillow last year. It was a free kit that I received as a “gift with purchase” a long time ago in the BC (before children) days. The back, provided with the kit (I know, I am only now appreciating how much of a gift this was) is a Kaffe Fassett cotton stripe in essentially the same colors as the blocks. The stripe works really well with Tumbling Blocks because, for me, it visually resolves the colors of the blocks into an even more structured pattern. Based on this idea, you might want to reconsider using geometrics on all four sides of your pillows. You might play with the idea of taking the colors in different directions, directions that would bring some complimentary contrast to the geometry of Kites and Cityscape. Stripes, of course. Then there are patterns that would scatter the colors–florals like Kaffe’s Cabbage or the Big Flower Chrysanthemum. Or patterns that would structure the colors in softer, rounder, repetitive motifs such as Persian Poppy. Little Circles could be interesting.

    The flexibility of any of Kaffe’s patterns is amazing. You really are creating fabrics that can be used wherever you wish. Anyone who wants to do a garment might consider the Diamonds Tunic from Glorious Knits as a starting point. Kites, especially, seems a natural fit. And Cityscape would be amazing.

    • This is exactly what I was going to suggest! Do a stockinette back in stripes of the same colors as the front, uneven widths or Fibonacci stripes. That would look fabulous.

  • Ooh, I’ve had the Kaffe Falling Blocks pillow in a knit kit for eons now. I’ll have to give it a go soon.

  • I also have an ancient Kaffe tumbling blocks pillow kit. It was the free Rowan subscription gift back in the early 2000s. I’ve been meaning to knit it up for ages, but I’ve been saving it for a rainy day (so to speak). Maybe that day is here. I also just snagged a secondhand copy of Kaffe’s Classics and I love the idea of pulling some of his other motifs into a pillow.

  • On the off chance that someone wants to finish with a square pillow without dog ears, there are ways. You cannot knit a square, stuff it, and retain a square. The stuffing pushes out the middle but the corners, not so much. So you have dog eared corners.

    Your choices: consider them lovable and enjoy your dog ears; knit the middles more than the corners; move the corners in about 1/2 to 1 inch, tapering to the full width 1/4 length of adjoining sides. Short row fans might prefer to prefer to cast on half the bottom stitches, increase rapidly in the first few rows and thereby create the bottom curve and two side curves. 3/4 up the side, you decrease to half the stitches then short row a bit, then bind off.

    The daring can machine sew stabilization stitches then cut off excess corner. Finish by sewing the pillow front to back.

    So the formula to prevent dog ears is move the corner to the pillow middle one half to one inch depending on the pillow size. Taper the new corner back to full width 1/4 the length per side. And your pillow will look square. Or rectangular.

    Try it with cotton fabric for the pillow insert.

    • I wish I were enough of a sewist to understand half of what you are saying!! 🙁 I will come back once my pillow is done and think about it some more. <3

  • Ann–Thanks and “How could you???” for the Kaffe Fassett needlepoint rabbit hole. I kept saying OMG! and “I can’t get into another hobby!” alternately all through the 6 pages of things. So freakin’ beautiful.

  • The last one reminded me of all the 1980s plaid knits, that would definitely work for a panel.

    I love the long view through your house in the first photo. I think you could crop it and sell it as a zoom background 🙂

  • Oooh, you said block printing! Have you tried doing your own? I’ve done a bit, and loved it, and meant to do some before Christmas. But time is fake! Maybe this month.

    Not to send you down *another* rabbit hole! But…

  • Hi Ann, I am still in love with your Big Dotty piano bench cover so I can’t wait to see what you come up with. (Do you still have it? Linen lasts forever, doesn’t it?) The downside of knitting is so many creative rabbit holes. Sometimes I put my hands up to my head and run away screaming. I’m sure your naked pillow forms will be so relieved when you clothe them in Kaffe Fassett glory.

  • I’ve never felt so old reading an MDK post. There is clearly a huge bauhaus trend that I am completely missing out on.
    Normally y’all have me stash diving and wondering how to justify another yarn purchase – now I’m off to the retail therapy rabbit hole. I CANT MISS ALL THIS BAUHAUS.

  • Now what soft yarns will you use?

  • I look forward to your pieces. I have loved the Kaffe Fassett pieces – I remember clearly when I went with a dear friend to hear him talk in Sydney. Not really knitting weather here in our part of Australia but I persist!

  • Glad to know that you’re doing kites pillow. I’m choosing this one also. Can’t start this as I have other projects to do first. Keeping showing your progress!

  • Ann, the textures in that Crate and Barrel design look like they ought to be done like mitered squares or a Log Cabin, not intarsia. It might take some creative construction to join things up without seaming, but it couldn’t be that difficult, could it?