The Posies Pillow began life as a pullover. Back in the 1980s when oversized intarsia sweaters were having a heyday, Michele Rose Orne designed a drop-shoulder pullover in vibrant floral motifs. That sweater was one of many stacked on the shelves that surround the walls of the conference room in the Classic Elite office in Lowell, Massachusetts. Pretty as those sweaters might be in orderly, colorful piles, owner Pat Chew had a better idea for a select few. Why not re-cycle them. Then Joëlle Meier Rioux thought of a pillow and created this beauty.
Initially, it wasn’t easy to bring scissors to a sweaterso much care and work had gone into the knitting. But after the initial snip, the re-binding off and sewing was easy. It was clear that if a floral intarsia sweater isn't quite the look for 2008, it’s quite up-to-date as a pillow. We’ve made a pattern for this pillow so that if you want to start from scratch, you can knit the pillow without having to shape a neckline. And if you’d like to work up the pillow as a sweater, that pattern is still available from your local yarn storeit's #828.
La Gran Mohair 76½% mohair, 17½% wool, 6% nylon
La Gran is mostly mohair fiber spun around a core of mostly wool with a touch of nylon. Mohair comes from the hair of angora goats, small creatures whose fiber was culled and traded in Ankara (a part of Turkey) as early as the 13th century. * Today, South Africa and Texas produce most of the mohair fiber used in commercial yarns.
Read more about mohair.
*I’ve taken the information on mohair from Clara Parkes’ wonderful book The Knitter’s Book of Yarn (Potter Craft, 2007). Read a review in Web Letter #14.
Where to buy La Gran.
Fair Isle and intarsia are knitting techniques for working with more than one color. In Fair Isle knitting, continuous strands of yarn are worked alternately along a row. At the end of a row, from the wrong side, you can see strands of color A (called floats) carried along behind the stitches of color B and vice versa. Fair Isle is used for small repeating patterns such as the patterned yokes on traditional round-yoke sweaters.
Intarsia knitting is used for picture knitting, or pattern designs with large areas of color. Each color section is worked with its own strand of yarnthere are no floats. Although the finished fabric looks complicated, intarsia is a very straightforward process. You need an easy-to-read chart (you can have it enlarged at a copy shop, if need be). A magnetic board or long post-its will help you follow your row on the chart, and a good light on your work helps, too.
Learn more about Intarsia.