One of my favorite things about Halloween (besides the candy of course) is the abundance of skull-adorned items that fill up the stores. I have an all-year-round attitude towards skulls, but it's fun to find and make new items "for Halloween" that I end up keeping out the rest of the year. The thing that I love about this project is that, not only does it involve cross stitching (which, as it turns out, is so fun), but it's also sweater upcycling as well since you use a knit-based material as the base of your pillow. This is actually the first time I've done anything cross stitch related, so if you haven't tried it yet either, this is the perfect project to start with. So don't throw out that old sweater because we're going to make something new out of it!
We're so excited to team up with one of our favorite go-to stores in town, Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, on this post! They're kind of a dream partner for us, because, well, we go there all. the. time. We'll be working with them on a couple more posts this season, so stay tuned! Be sure you check out Joann.com if you don't have one in your town!
I put a foam core board inside my sweater so it would lay nice and flat while I worked, but a piece of cardboard would be fine too. The great thing about cross stitching is that you can make your design as big or as small as you want just by making each X bigger or smaller. I decided to start with one of the longest rows near the middle of the skull so I could keep each line straight and balanced in relation to that first line. Just get a long piece of yarn threaded through your yarn needle, knot the end, and come up from underneath the sweater so the starting knot is hidden on the back side.
To determine your X size, examine the weave of your knit and see if there are distinguishing marks you can use to measure your X size. For example, I had lots of vertical columns in my knit, so I made all my Xs two columns wide and then made sure they were all the same height.
There's probably a more correct way to cross stitch as far as where you go in and come out of your fabric to make the Xs, but that didn't seem to matter for this project. I just went in and out where it made the most sense and straightened the yarn with my fingers as needed. The back may look a bit messy, but that's OK 🙂
Once your pattern is complete, knot the yarn on the underside and trim the string. Cut two pieces of plain black fabric that are your final pillow size with 1" added for a 1/2" seam allowance. (So my final pillow is 18" square, and I cut two pieces that are 19" square.) Flip your sweater inside out and center one of your cotton squares over your skull pattern and pin around the edge. This cotton will act as a backing for your sweater material. Repeat this step with the back half of your sweater and the other cotton square.
OK, if I'm being totally honest, I was so tempted to just leave the sweater untouched after the skull was sewn on because it looks so cute as a sweater as well. Buuut, then this wouldn't be a pillow project, now would it? Anyway, this turned out so well that I'm planning on making another skull sweater that stays a sweater so I can wear it out and about. I think cross stitching just made a new fan! xo. Laura