Monday, August 17, 2020

A Wise Gift

My mother has a thing for all things owl. As she says, "They're wise. And they have big eyes." When trying to plan or buy gifts for her, I keep an eye out for useful owl-themed stuff that she would like. Over the years I've given her owl cloth shopping bags, an owl brooch, an owl Christmas tree decoration, an iron owl trivet, an owl tea towel, owl potholders, and a little red owl kitchen timer (you twist the head around to set it). 

When I came across the Oswald Owl cushion cover pattern, designed by Martin Storey, that you see depicted above, I knew it would be just the thing to make for a gift for my mother. It's a relatively simple yet striking design, and it's cute in a polished, adult way.

Here is my version of Oswald Owl. I used Loops & Threads Impeccable in Putty and Walnut Tweed. I was trying to keep it neutral so that my mother could choose where to put it in her house, and while I was making it went through a stage of thinking I'd gone too far on the neutral front, that the colourway looked dull and ugly, but once it was done I didn't mind the look of it. 

The pattern says just to seam the cushion together on all four sides, but I think it's worth the extra effort to put zippers in cushion covers -- it makes washing the cushion so much easier. I would have preferred the zipper to be the main colour of the cushion, but I didn't have one that colour and did have a brown one the colour of the contrast yarn in my zipper box, so I went with it. The one I used was actually one I ripped out of a brown hoodie I made and then had to rip out and knit again as a pullover because a section of it felted -- zippers are tough and durable and it's a good frugal and green habit to salvage them from worn-out or damaged items. 

I think the brown zipper looks all right. It doesn't show when the cushion is standing upright anyway, and it will be standing upright most of the time. I used the zipper installation method I came up with in 2018: make two crochet chains out of the yarn, sew them to the zipper, then use the loops of the crochet chain to sew the zipper into the cushion. (There is an illustrated and more detailed explanation of this method in this post.) 

I sewed my own pillow form out of some leftover ivory linen fabric I had on hand. I find that if you have remnant fabric on hand to serve as ticking, it's slightly cheaper to make pillow forms than it is to buy them (and it takes less time to make one than it does to shop for one), and one can also make them to exactly the size and plumpness desired. 

This cushion was my Mother's Day present for this year (along with two masks and a tissue case), though it was presented in mid-August. My mother wasn't enthusiastic about the cushion, but she didn't seem to actually dislike it either, and with her, that's a win. My sister warned Mum to keep an eye on this cushion when my niece Peaches or my grandniece Cauliflower are visiting her house, as they love owls too and the pillow might mysteriously vanish around the time of their departure.    

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