Whew, this post is pretty late, and I apologize! It’s been a super busy, crazy hectic one of “those” months. I’ve launched a Patreon recently, and have been super busy thinking up ideas, working on cosplay, and doing my regularly scheduled work routine.
This month’s project also had a few hiccups I wasn’t expecting – I’d tested out a new crochet technique of using two colors to make a pixel-art like picture, and it turned out GREAT on my first try of a Zelda Sheikah Eye Pillow:
However, I quickly learned that this technique probably works best on 1) symmetric patterns and 2) low contrast yarn colors. And of course, this month’s project was done with 1) unsymmetric patterns and 2) high-contrast colors! At the very least, this was a good learning experience for me, and hopefully for you lovely readers as well.
So, let’s get started!
This month’s project theme is “Anime April” and there is no better way to start off with one of my favorite anime, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. I got into the series back when the original Fullmetal Alchemist was airing, and quickly got buried deep in the manga, following it monthly until its end. The original anime, while good, ended quite drastically different from the manga, which was still ongoing at the time. We’re talking Edward Elric ends up basically fighting real-life Nazis different.
I was VERY happy to find out the series was being rebooted with Brotherhood, which very closely follows the manga, is a bit longer than the original series and has the same amazing animation and voice acting from the original. Seriously, if you are interested in anime at all and you somehow have been under a rock and not seen this show, watch it immediately.
As Izumi Curtis is my spirit animal (to the point where we both have the amazing skill of randomly vomiting at the worst possible of times – seriously, where’s my ability to transmute from this?), I went with white and black for my pillow colors rather than the traditional red and black of Edward Elric. This matches up better with Izumi Curtis’ white outfit and black Flamel tattoo. The white and black also ended up being great for highlighting how the thread of each color fits into each other to make the pattern.
Here’s the pixel pattern I used, with some modifications that all of the red becoming black and the black and white merging into only white thread. I highly recommend using a cross-stitch or other gridded pattern when making a pillow as it makes it easier to mark off completed rows.
Also note that if you aren’t using a symmetric pattern you’ll need to ZIG-ZAG your pattern with each row end. This means you’ll start off going right to left on row 1, left to right on row 2, and back again on row 3. With a symmetric pattern, you can ignore this.
I used medium-weight yarn from Red Heart brand, but any acrylic yarn will work great for this, and used a G-sized hook, however the hook you use depends on your size/weight of yarn.
For this pattern, I went ahead and chained 35 for my starting row, and worked in single crochet stitches, with each single crochet representing one pixel on my grid. Single crochet also has the advantage of making a tighter knit so that the pillow stuffing inside doesn’t leak out. If you’re not sure how to do basic crochet stitches, YouTube has some great tutorials and it’s super easy.
After doing three full “blank” rows of white, I went ahead and followed my pattern, then finished off with a second series of three “blank” rows to frame it.
To change colors, I’d finish the previous stitch with the new color, work up however many new color stitches I had to do, then finish the final stitch of the new color with the original. I’d then drop the secondary color and pick it up again on the next row where it connected.
(IE if you had 4 white stitches followed by 3 black and 4 white you’d do 3 white stitches, finish the 4th with black thread, do 2 black stitches, finish the 3rd with white, and then finish the row with white as normal -it’s tricky but once you get the hang of it it works up fast.)
A problem I ran into when switching colors that are high contrast is that you can SEE the other color within the stitch of the main color you’re using at that time. With colors that are closer together (IE black and blue) it is way less noticeable.
I then made a second matching square in solid white for the back of the pillow, however if you want a double-sided pillow you can repeat the above process again to do so.
After joining the two pieces together with right sides out, I used my contrasting color to begin the border, using a single crochet in each “hole” along the edge of the pillow.
I then stopped when about a hand’s-width of section remained so that I could stuff the pillow. if you’re crocheting this over a premade pillow form you’ll want to stop with the last section completely open so you can place the form inside.
Once stuffed to your satisfaction, finish the remaining stitches and then complete a second row around to give yourself a nice border and tie up any loose ends.
And that’s it! Sounds a lot harder than it is- it’s mostly time-consuming rather than difficult. Try out the pattern above, or give it a shot with your own inspired pattern (be sure to share your works in the comments!)
For next month, “May the Force be with you!” in our themed craft!