|Pillow knit from recyled silk saris|
Garter stitched squares are knit on the bias and sewn together to create this pillow cover. This is a great project for the beginner who’s ready for something a bit more challenging than a scarf. You’ll practice increasing and decreasing. And there’s so much going on with the yarn that your stitches don’t have to be perfectly even, and assembly is a breeze. No neat sewing required!
700 g. Recycled Silk yarn
18” pillow form
1 pair US 7 (4.5mm) needles
16 sts and 14 rows to 4”/10cm
The recycled silk yarn is uneven in both size and color throughout the balls. I prefer to buy skeins (instead of balls) so that I can see the colors and control how the color plays out. If you can’t find skeins, you can either unwind the balls, or, just let the color come naturally and be surprised!
Cast on 3 stitches.
Row 1 (Increase Row): Knit into front and back of first stitch. Knit to last stitch. Knit into front and back of last stitch.
Before turning work, place a safety pin on the first stitch of this row. The safety pin is placed so that you know when to increase. Whenever the pin is on the right-hand side of your work, you increase at each end.
Row 2: Knit across row
Repeat rows 1 and 2 until you have 47 st on the needle (edges should measure 9”.)
Knit across row.
Decrease Row 1: K2tog, k to last 2 st, k2tog.
Decrease Row 2:Knit across row.
Repeat these tow rows until 3 st remain. Pull yarn through 3 stitches and knot.
Make a total of 8 squares.
ASSEMBLY & FINISHING:
Sew together 4 squares for front, and 4 for back.
Block to measurements.
Sew three sides together. Insert pillow, sew remaining side.
I designed this project after becoming fascinated by the yarn, sold by Himalaya Yarn Company. It is a a multi-colored, multi-textured, 100% silk yarn composed of 100% recycled, or more accurately, upcycled, silk fibers from the industrial weaving mills of India. The fibers are handspun in Nepal, supporting a cottage industry of spinners with each one working independently. Therefore, no two skeins are alike and the random color combinations vary widely.
Himalaya Yarn recommends you alternate skeins throughout your multi-skein projects in order to achieve an even effect. it's great fun to knit with as you're always wanting to see what comes next. The striping that occurs from using two skeins alternately is sometimes obvious, but mostly not.
To make the yarn silk scraps are swept up off the floor at the end of the day in the sari mills in South Asia. (So although it's called recycled, it's made from scraps from new saris, not used or old saris that have been cut up.) The yarn is then hand-spun using a drop spindle or wheel. The spinning is often an outdoor village occupation, so there may be bits of leaf or straw caught up in the yarn. The twist is not as even as on yarn that has been mass produced in factories, but that only adds to the charm of your finished item. (I find I have to sometimes stop knitting and let the yarn dangle to untwist.) Making this yarn enables the women to earn much needed income from their cottage industry, and to earn a fair wage.
A number of companies are retailing the yarn in the US now. I've tried quite a few and found varying quality levels. I was excited to see some on ebay selling for about $2.50 a skein, but the quality was awful! The yarn was hard and board like when knitted up and came untwisted and broke apart as I was knitting. The best I've found is from Himalaya Yarn. Although it's more expensive, the quality is so much better that I think it justifies the added expense. I hate to spend all the time it takes to knit something and find that I hate the finished product.