Posts Tagged ‘needlepoint knitting’

Yesterday, I received my order from Knitpicks.   The box contained all the yarns I had recently ordered for the next two pillow tops I have planned.


As you can imagine from my previous posts on ” Needle Point  Knitting,”  I have drawers of Palette colors at my disposal.   So here I sit with still more to stuff in the corners.   But…. this time I am going to be smarter than before.  I have decided to catalog all my colors.  Why?  Using Pattern Maker to create my pillow top charts, requires that I choose  DMC colors for my palette; therefore, I need to be able to cross reference the colors available to me in the selection of Knitpicks “Palette” fingering yarns.    With that in mind, I took the time to make my life easier by taking care of the issue TODAY.

To get started, I picked up a couple of pieces of card stock, grab the scissors, and some school glue.  Next, I pasted some index cards on the surface, one for each category of the main colors, such as browns, reds, greens, etc.

As you can see from the photo, I  wrote the name of the color on the left, and pasted a double strand of yarn to the right of it.  The next step was matching it to the DMC chart, and writing down the number of the corresponding color.

I will tell you that you won’t be able to match them all, but you will be able to match them close enough that when you select the colors to use in PM, what you see will be very close to what you get.

I know this takes a bit of time, but it is well worth it.


Happy Knitting – KT

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I can see from the response to my last post, that I need to write up separate instructions for this process.  This knitted cording can be done on any pillow you are knitting.  Even though I have assembled it with a cloth back, you can make a tubing for one with both sides knitted by incorporating the pick up stitches from the knitted back with the purl bars picked up in closing the tubing as instructed in the tutorial.

However, another option uses the double knitting technique, and a Kitchener stitch closure.  I will work out a tutorial for this soon, as I have a heart shaped pillow planned and this one will require a knitted back.

Knitted Cording Instructions


The next addition to the “Wild Life Series” is a Wood duck.  Vibrantly colored, with defined color changes, it is one of my favorite patterns.  I will be using different stitches to add texture and detail to the finished piece.  My yarn is ordered and I am anxiously waiting it’s arrival.

Hummm…..??????  I wonder what color border I should put on this one?

 Happy Knitting!


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I just finished another Whitetail Buck pillow.  This one has a knitted cording incorporated into the pillow top, along with the seam allowance to help in sewing it to a cloth back.   I even made my own cording.  It was fun!

The picture below is a “snip-it” of a section of the cord that frames the pillow.  Here you see it in contrast with the cloth back.   I have to say that there is no comparison to the commercial cording available.  I have tried finding complimentary edging for this use, but have always been disappointed.  The fillers they use are mostly cotton, and seem lumpy at best, not to mention that they take a much longer time to dry.  That is why I decided on this approach-make your own.  In addition, there is no better match in color than the actual yarn you are using in your project.

I will be adding this pattern to the Pattern Catalog page, so feel free to upload it.  The pattern contains 18 pages of detailed charts and instructions.  You can use Intarsia, Armenian Knitting, and sections of Fair Isle in this project.

The Basics

1.  Knit the Basic chart.

2. Identify and secure all loose stitches

3. Weave in the ends

4. Block pillow top on needles (This works great!)

4. Pick up stitches to begin tube for cording

5. Knit tubing

6. Close tubing, and make button hole opening for cording.

7. Knit seam allowance

8.  (opt)  Secure pillow top to woven fabric.

9. Prepare fabric back, and sew to pillow top, make cording.

10. Insert cording.  Stitch pillow close.  Adjust cording.  Close cording opening.

10. Decide on some of the options I have for making the pillow cover removable for washing.

The pattern walks you through all the above issues.  Wow!!  And that ALL???  I’m tired just making the list.  But trust me, it was worth it.  My friend Deb at Tempting Tangles ( see link on side bar) has given it her approval.

 You will also be given instructions on making your own cording out of poly quilt batting, which, of course, makes it lighter, and easier to dry when washed.  This particular pattern is backed with fabric that has been pre-washed, so the entire pillow can be “dunked” in Wool wash, squeezed out, then air dried without much fuss.

My hope that you will try your hand at color knitting.  I also hope you will take a look at my “Painting with Yarn” E-book when it comes off the press.  The book contains all my color knitting experience on this project, along with detailed illustrations and how to’s, or what I call, “Technical Tutoring.”  I hope to have it available for you soon.  Would you believe it, I am already up to 60 pages!

As a side note, I will be uploading a couple of new tutorials on my “Multi-color Knitting Tips” page.  Check them out.

Happy Knitting!


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I finally finished the pillow.  Even though the stain I discussed last post is still there, it looks quite nice now that it is finished.  I put a fabric backing on the pillow, but will be using a knitted back  for the 16 inch version.

Here it is -flaws and all



I found this lovely washable brush suede at Joanne Fabrics for the back, but before I could do that I had to do some prep work.

First, I select my gold yarn, as it was the closest color to the fabric I had chosen.  Using it, I knitted 4 rows around the pillow, adding one stitch each side of the corner stitches, every row but the last.  After binding off the gold, I steam pressed it out so that it would lay relatively flat.


During the steaming process I made sure that my pillow measured 14 3/4 inches square.   Next, I took a square piece of heavy bleached muslin,(slightly larger than my pillow), and beginning  where the two edges of the squares met, began to pin them together using the line created at the beginning of the salvage edge.

When the pinning was done, I chose a gold sewing thread and stitched through the layers.  That stitching line was my guide when I was ready to sew the fabric back on to the knitted front.  I hand stitched the bottom together after inserting the form.  I have to say that this particular pillow form has a lot to be desired, as the corners were not stuffed very well.

For those of you who might wonder, I did try put a cording on it, but it was not as attractive as I thought it might be.  A knit covered cord might work-I will try it next time.  I also decided not to put a zipper or Velcro closure in the fabric back, as all the parts of the pillow are washable in cold water.  I have found the my Tropicana Rose Pillow washes beautifully right on the poly filled pillow form.


Just an update – KT


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OK!  I finished my Whitetail buck pillow top.  I put in in the wool wash, as I normally do.  Everything looked good.  The colors were sharp, no bleeding,

and then I looked down at the bottom.  Yikes!!!

  What’s this?

There in living color was a lovely yellow stain, just above the scroll.


Yes, I was,  well let’s just say MORE than disappointed, I was crushed!   I worked on it with Woolite, which usually takes out anything, but it would not move.   Thinking back, I remembered the day I brought in the wood, then sat down to work on the pillow.  Bad move-I didn’t wash my hands first.  Talk about dumb, dumb and dumber!   I know better, especially when  working with WHITE.


I can feel OK about this project because I experimented with several techniques, so this latest development is one of many lessons learned working out this pattern.

My husband has claimed it as his own, so instead of my original plan to knit a back, I will get a piece of Corduroy to make the back with.  He says he does not care if it has a small stain, he just likes the picture.  So…. it’s his.

I will call this my “signature” pillow- a yellow signature, that is.

So, on to the 16 inch version.  Only this time I’ll try to remember to wash my hands.

Maybe…..?  If I can remember.


Happy Knitting – KT


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One of the premier lessons in working with color is pre-planning.  Instead of just winging it, I have discovered that a few minutes of thinking through the placement of new colors, saves me lots of stress.   Because I chart all my pictures, it only takes a few minutes to go over the color changes and plan my attack.  My focus is always to eliminate  yarn ends that have to be woven in later, and to reduce as much bulk as possible.  Smooth and flat is the goal.

Below is an example of my thinking process –

Marking up the Chart

First, I look for those spots where I can work my new color in two directions.  The box in teal ( the eye) is a perfect example.

The “V”  indicates where I will make my new stitch by picking up the yarn in the middle of my long strand of white.  I will then have two long tails to work with.  One (A) will be used to go up the right side; and the other (B) will be used to go up the left side of the eye.  The “black” or center of the eye, will be worked with one single strand.  Just by using this method to work the white around the eye, I have eliminated 2 yarns ends that would have had to be woven in when the project was finished.

2.  The box in “yellow” indicates stitches that I have marked to be made later as “overlay stitches.”

3.  If you look closely, you can see two more “V’s” in the antler area.  Yes, I have found a couple of more places to use the double long tails.  I have also indicated the direction that I intend to work those ends.

All this is to say that no matter how you decide to work your color project, you will be much happier with the results if you take a little time to do some planning before you start.


Happy Knitting!


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Working out my “Painting with Yarn” series has challenged me to learn the various methods of using colors.  It is easy to draw the picture, but knitting it is a different story.

Everyone who has knitted Intarsia, and Fair Isle or Nordic knitting, know that it takes practice to get the tension right, especially when  knitting in Fair Isle- keeping those “floats” in the back from getting to tight or causing puckers is a common problem.   The same issues comes up when working in Intarsia, when lifting the yarn from underneath to change color. Keeping the tension on the yarn so it lays flat is the key- at least for me.

All these issues can make it a bit scary for someone who has never worked with color before- that was me about a 2 years ago.  Now, however, I can’t wait to sit down with my charts and knit away.

To that end, I thought I would start a“Colorworks” tip page.  I hope to share my experience with written instructions and illustrations.  The aim is to encourage the timid to give it a try.

Since I am in the middle of working on my Whitetail Buck 14 inch pillow, I will be using that for my illustrations.  When I am done with the project I will put the pattern on my website for you to upload.

OK!  Here goes!!  First tip!

NO- hold it!  I have to clear up a couple of things first.

First off, I dislike using yarn butterfly’s.  I can’t tell you why, but I just do.  I prefer pealing off two arms length of the yarn and just letting it hang around.  I prepare for this method by rolling about 1-1 1/2 inch balls of all the colors I need in the project.  Then I throw them all in a plastic Ziplock bag.

Next- I always use a spit splice to add yarn to my strands if needed.  I do this by unwinding about 2 inches of yarn.  I tear off about 2 inches of one of the plies.  I repeat this with the ends of the yarn I am going to add to.   I wet both ends in my mouth then over lap the two, one ply strands, making sure that they are at least 3/8 inch beyond the tear.  With the strands laying on the palm of my left hand I rub the strands vigorously together, finishing by rolling them in one direction to match the twist of the original yarn.  This method does not produce lumps or bumps that show in your work.  It is worth the time is take to do it.  And… when you get good at it, it just take a few minutes to do.

NOW, here goes!!!

 Colorworks tip #1 –

Let’s start with the scroll edge of the pillow.

The above sample chart is part of the border around the motif.

The illustration above shows how I inserted a new gold strand of yarn, picking is up in the middle to make the first stitch. This leaves two  long tails on both ends ( A and B).  The arrows show how I plan to use the tails to created the needed stitches;  tail A goes up and to the right; tails B to the left.   The White yarn is carried across and worked as needed.    I use this anytime I see that I will be working  the yarn in two directions.  I did this a lot in my Tropicana Rose Pillow. I saved me hours of weaving in yarn ends.

Below is the actual stitch illustration.

(X =The gold strand of yarn that I have been working up the side with.)

B/A = the first stitch of the new strand.

Above is the actual layout of this portion of the chart in stitches.  You can see clearly how each end of the tail of the one strand is utilized, then X finishes off the scroll.

The A and B tail ends will be woven in later.

I posted this just to wet your appetite!

Happy New Year!!!!


PS- That little “PU” in the chart, reminds me to pick up the white yarn to be carried across.

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I have been dink’n around lately with a new wildlife design that I call, “Quail in the Snow.”  The discoveries I’ve made during the process of developing a bobble for the pine cone have been very interesting.  I have already shared with you some of the info in my recent post about “bobbles,”  but further trial and error has brought me to some new conclusions.

1.  A bobble can be made in one stitch and on one row.

2.  Varying the loops can create different special affects.

3.  If you want the knitting to expand for a 3-D look, be gentle, don’t pull them to tight, and knit them with one strand  of yarn.

4.  If you want your bobbles to lie flat on the backside, you need to work your boobles with two yarns- one to make the bobble, and one to knit the stitch in-between.  This second yarn is pulled tight across the back.  It pushed your bobble out front, and helps to retain a proper stitch gauge- very important.

In the picture below you can see the result of the 3-D affect I acheived with my pine cone.  The cone  and snow just above it, was worked with one strand.  The snow on the other branches was worked with two strands, thus putting it in the background.

You can see that the cone it is raised quite a bit above the surface of the work.  To retain the shape, I simply created a web of yarn across the back, weaving it together so that the backside retained the gauge of the entire piece.

Below is one of my new designs, which includes all four charts to play around with.  I am still doing a bit of fine tuning, but hope to have it ready soon.  This particular design was knitted with Palette fingering yarn from Knitpicks.

Hummmm?  A little glitter in the snowflakes might be nice.

This pattern will give you a chance to use Intarsia ( in the round), Fair Isle, bobbles of various kinds, and the experience of creating the pine needles and details with a crochet hook.

It was great fun to do.    Quail Motif – PDF

Have a great day!


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Even though most us today store our treasured photos on CD’s, there is still nothing like sitting down with the old  album and flipping through the family photos and tin types.  With that in mind, I  designed a knitted cover for my daughter’s family album.   It was personalized with her initials, and created in her color scheme.  Now, image your initials and color scheme-  from there the possiblities are endless. 

 I just finished it, and thought I would give you a sneak peak.  I will be offering the pattern sometime in December at my Etsy shop.

For a small additional fee, I will be happy to chart your letters for you. * I have created these initials with Cable Chains, but you can also do them with a crochet hook. 

This pattern is designed to fit over a 12 by 12 post bound album.  Actually measurements are 12 3/4 by 13 1/2 inches.

This photo cover was knitted with Palette yarns from Knit Picks.   It’s construction incorporates Intarsia, and Cable Chains (which are demonstrated in my free tutorial offered on this site).

Below is a peak at the center detail-

 The back construction that holds it in place, provides an extra pocket for pictures that can be placed later.

You can construct the photo album yourself, pad it up, then knit the cover, and you have created an heirloom for your family to share for years.  

Think about it!


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Lately, I have been playing around with what I term as Wandering Cable Chains.   Why this term?  First, the stitch itself appears as if it is a crocheted chain laying on top of the knitted surface.  Secondly,  the method of moving the stitch is similar to when you work a “Cable” pattern; hence the term “Cable Chains.”  The “wandering” part, is the ability to take this chain st anywhere you want. 

 This stitch has enabled me to created many differents special affects for my lastest project-Needlepoint Knitting.  It can be used to outlines sections of any Intarsia design(if you like the smooth edge look),  draw designs on plain stockinette background, and best of all it is a great cover-up st for decreasing a very busy pattern on a raglan sleeve design.   The pictures below show just  a few possiblities for their use. 

This pillow top is one of my lastest Needlepoint Knitting designs. You can see that I have used the Wandering Cable Chain to create an oval frame and textured design around my roses.  Below is a close up of the detail in the frame of my Tropicana Rose Pillow.  You can see the chains forming  lattice work around the oval frame of the design.

 Below is another application of this technique.  This diamond design can be applied to sweaters or any flat surface.  I will be posting this pattern soon. 


Here is a example of how I used this stitch to cover the necessary decreases in this complicated pattern.

 But for now, I decided to post a tutorial that explains the process, and gives you a chance to play around with it.

This sample is just a swatch I played around with.  You will notice that it is not centered, that is because I was indeed just wandering around with my chains.   However, the pattern that I have in the tutorial is centered.  There are 14 pages of  written instructions and pictures,  as well as a chart that will give you a chance to try it out.  The chart on the last page has the symbols that I will be using in all my Needlepoint knitting patterns. 

I hope you have as much fun as I had working with these chains.

Wandering Cable Chains Tutorial

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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