Regular readers of this blog will recall the saga of Leah’s birthday present. Well, it’s finished!
I made her a knitted pillow with the words from Tolkien’s ring (yes, the One RIng to Rule Them All) knitted in gold. I finished the knitting in time for her birthday in December, but fretted about how to sew it to the fabric and how to do the finishing. I am a pretty good knitter, but have little sewing experience. I really didn’t want to wreck it.
You can read all of the posts I wrote about this project here. This was a big step for me in many ways. I am pretty much a beginner at two-handed stranded knitting, so it was a leap of faith. Also, it was my very first time steeking. Bringing a pair of scissors to bear upon one’s knitting, especially a piece so special and time-consuming, is not for the faint of heart. Having put so much effort into the project, I decided not to rush the sewing part, even if that meant Leah having to patiently wait a few more months. I asked for suggestions on the blog and many of you were kind enough to reply. The consensus was to find a professional to sew it for me.
The only tailor I knew in the area was Sally Stevens, who runs a tailoring business out of her home in Berkshire. Sally had done some work for me a number of years ago. I called her and explained what I needed. “Let me send you a link to my blog posts about this, so that you can have an idea of what I am looking for,” I said. The next day, I set off with the knitted piece and the fabric to take it to Sally. I was a bit worried about whether I was doing the right thing. What if she couldn’t envision what I wanted?
When I got there she said “I was up past midnight last night reading your blog posts. I think we need to sew the pillowcase out of a plain cotton fabric and then sew the knitted panel to it. That will reinforce it so that you won’t need to use any facing. Then, we can sew the fabric to that.” The pillow would thus have an inner lining to give some structure to the piece. She also suggested a long zipper along the back, instead of the alternatives of a side zipper or an envelope closing. “Here,” Sally said “I’ve made you a sketch”:
When I got home, Doug said “Do you think she gets it?” “Oh, yes,” I said. “She’s going to to do this just right.”
I don’t know how to say this without gushing. I think this is absolutely the greatest thing I’ve ever knitted. I love it! It’s perfect! I want to keep it! (Just kidding, Leah. Maybe.) I think it’s the greatest birthday present ever.
Every part of making this was fun, from conception through throwing it up into the air for the above photo. Even the steek! (At least, in retrospect.) You can probably not help but notice that this pillow is huge. It is defintiely not a standard size pillow. I spent a long time searching for a pillow the right size to fit this case, and finally found one here. This is a duck feather and down bolster pillow measuring 51x100cm (20″ x 39″).
I love the fabric I chose for the back as much as I love the knitted panel. They compliment each other so well. (In one of the previous posts, see above link, I wrote about finding the fabric; it was a remnant so I have no details.) See how it shines in the sun? And the yellow yarn (Quince & Co Chickadee in Carrie’s yellow), while pale with slightly brownish undertones on its own, gleams against the purple like burnished gold. Leah is a Tolkien fan but also a medieval history fanatic and I love the way this project has a very medieval look to it.