This Bright Pillow is sure to brighten up your home during the holiday season! Add it to your holiday décor or gift it to someone special during the holiday season. The front of the pillow is done using intarsia crochet technique for the letters and Christmas lights, while the back can be done in a solid color of your choice. You can complete your holiday décor pillow set by also making the Merry Pillow to display along side your Bright Pillow. Or, as an alternative, you can combine the two patterns and make a Merry and Bright reversible pillow by putting the Merry panel on one side of the pillow and the Bright panel on the other side.
To make the Bright Pillow, you will start by making the front and back pillow panels separately. Then the panels will be crocheted together and stuffed. Finally, the candy cane border will be added at the end. For the front panel design with the letters, I followed a graph that you will see later on in this pattern and used the intarsia crochet technique. This technique is basically like tapestry crochet, however, the difference is that you don’t carry your yarn under your stitches. Instead, you will drop and pick up your yarn when needed (keeping all of the traveling yarn on the wrong side of the project). More details about this are in the “Important Notes” section a little farther down.
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- Worsted weight yarn – I used Caron Simply Soft yarn in White and in fun rainbow colors! The colorways I used are: Watermelon, Mango, Super Duper Yellow, Limelight, Blue Mint, and Grape. I also used Red Heart Soft in Grey Heather for the letters, as well as for the bottom of the lights and the surface slip stitches attaching the lights. You can find this yarn on Yarnspirations or on Amazon!
- 4 mm crochet hook
- Yarn needle for weaving in ends.
- Stuffing – any fiber stuffing such as Fiberfil or Poly-fil
- Ch – chain
- Sl St – slip stitch
- SC – single crochet
- Surface Slip Stitch – I have a video tutorial for this stitch HERE.
- 2 inches square = approx. 5 rows of 9 SC stitches.
- When finished, this pillow measures approx. 14.5” wide by 12” tall, including the border.
- Turned Rows– Each panel is worked in turned rows of SC stitches. At the end of each row, chain 1 and turn. Chain 1 stitches do not count towards stitch count.
- Color Changes – You will be chaining colors often in this pattern. To change colors, complete the last SC in the first color up until the last yarn over. Yarn over with the new color and pull through last step of the SC stitch. So, your SC will go like this: insert hook into last stitch of the first color, pull up a loop, yarn over with new color, pull through all loops on hook. Now you will be working in the new color until you change colors again.
- Intarsia Crochet Tips – For this project, you will be using the intarsia crochet technique for the front panel. When you change colors, you will not be carrying the unused colors along under your stiches. Instead, you’ll be dropping the color that you are finished with (leaving it attached) and picking up the next color, pulling it over to where you are working the stitches. There will be a right side (RS) and wrong side (WS) of this project. You’ll see the color changes and the yarn traveling over on the wrong side (back of the panel that will be inside the pillow), but it will not be visible on the front. You’ll need to make sure you are only dropping and picking up your yarn on the wrong side of the project so it’s not visible on the right side (front). I have a created a video tutorial for showing the color changes and dropping/picking up yarn (using the Bright pillow panel) on my YouTube Channel HERE.
- Size modifications –If you want to make the finished pillow taller, you can do this by adding extra rows of white at the top or bottom. You can also make it wider, by adding extra stitches of white on the left or right of the letters. I’d recommend adding equal rows or stitches on either side (or top/bottom) so that the letters stay centered.
Front Panel Instructions
Below, you’ll see the graph that I created for the front panel of the Bright Pillow. Each box in the graph counts as one SC stitch. This means you’ll be working 61 rows of 72 stitches, following the color changes in the graph.
IMPORTANT NOTE – To read this graph, you will be starting at the bottom right and working your way across in back and forth rows. All ODD numbered rows will have the wrong side of the project facing you, EVEN numbered rows will have the right side facing you.
When you are working on the right side (RS), make sure you are dropping the yarn to the back (away from you) for the color changes. When you are working on a wrong side (WS) row, make sure you are dropping the yarn on the front (towards you) for the color changes. This will ensure that the front of the pillow cover does not show any of the color changes.
On the wrong side, you’ll start to see where you drop and pick up each color, pulling it over to where you need it. Yes, it’ll be messy looking with all the ends and yarn carried across, but it’s the back so you won’t see it once you sew the panels together!
*Note – When working the lights, I used a separate bobbin of each of the colors, plus a small bobbin of grey for the bottom portion of each light. This way I could pick up and drop the colors as I needed them and wasn’t pulling the grey all the way across the pillow. I only used the one ball of white yarn and pulled it across the stitches as needed. Remember to be careful when you pull yarn across a bunch of stitches not to pull too tight or your pillow panel won’t sit flat.
Remember to keep consistent tension, even when working with the different colors. This is so your rectangular panel comes out nice and even on the sides.
I have also provided written instructions below for working all of the color changes in the Bright Pillow graph.
Row 1: In white, chain 73, SC in 2nd chain from hook and in each chain across, ch 1, turn. (72)
*As an alternative to a starting chain, you can work 72 foundation single crochet stitches. I prefer to start my projects with a foundation single crochet. This is because you can work the chain and the first row at the same time, it leaves a nicer finished edge, and it’s easier to add or remove stitches if your count is off in the first row. For this project, either a starting chain or foundation will work. If you are interested, there’s a foundation single crochet video tutorial on my YouTube Channel HERE!
Rows 2-61: SC in each stitch across, ch 1, turn. (72) *No chain 1 and turn after row 61.
See the notes below for the color changes, number of SC stitches in each color, and the direction you are traveling in on the graph. I’ll indicate for each row whether you are working with the right side facing you (RS) or the wrong side (WS). On RS rows (even), drop the yarn to the back of the project when you change colors. On WS rows (odd), drop the yarn to the front of the project facing you when you change colors. This will ensure all the color changes are on the wrong side and the right side is nice and clean looking. See this video showing how to work the color changes and drop/pick up the yarn HERE!
w = white, y = yellow, gn = green, and b = blue, v = violet (purple),
o = orange, p = pink, gy = grey,
← Row 1 [WS]: w72
→ Row 2 [RS]: w72
← Row 3 [WS]: w72
→ Row 4 [RS]: w72
← Row 5 [WS]: w72
→ Row 6 [RS]: w72
← Row 7 [WS]: w72
→ Row 8 [RS]: w8, y, w21, b, w21, v, w19
← Row 9 [WS]: w18, v3, w19, b3, w19, y3, w7
→ Row 10 [RS]: w6, y5, w17, b5, w17, v5, w17
← Row 11 [WS]: w17, v5, w17, b5, w17, y5, w6
→ Row 12 [RS]: w6, y5, w8, gy, w8, b5, w8, gy, w8, v5, w8, gy, w8
← Row 13 [WS]: w7, gy3, w8, v3, w8, gy3, w8, b3, w8, gy3, w8, y3, w7
→ Row 14 [RS]: w7, gy3, w8, p3, w8, gy3, w8, gn 3, w8, gy3, w8, o3, w7
← Row 15 [WS]: w6, o5, w8, gy, w8, gn 5, w8, gy, w8, p5, w8, gy, w8
→ Row 16 [RS]: w17, p5, w17, gn 5, w17, o5, w6
← Row 17 [WS]: w6, o5, w17, gn5, w17, p5, w17
→ Row 18 [RS]: w18, p3, w19, gn 3, w19, o3, w7
← Row 19 [WS]: w8, o, w21, gn, w21, p, w19
→ Row 20 [RS]: w72
← Row 21 [WS]: w72
→ Row 22 [RS]: w72
← Row 23 [WS]: w72
→ Row 24 [RS]: w7, gy7, w4, gy3, w3, gy3, w2, gy3, w2, gy9, w2, gy3, w3, gy3, w5, gy3, w10
← Row 25 [WS]: w10, gy3, w5, gy3, w3, gy3, w2, gy9, w2, gy3, w2, gy3, w3, gy3, w3, gy8, w7
→ Row 26 [RS]: w7, gy9, w2, gy3, w3, gy3, w2, gy3, w2, gy9, w2, gy3, w3, gy3, w5, gy3, w10
← Row 27 [WS]: w10, gy3, w5, gy3, w3, gy3, w2, gy3, w3, gy3, w2, gy3, w2, gy3, w3, gy3, w2, gy3, w3, gy3, w7
→ Row 28 [RS]: w7, gy3, w3, gy3, w2, gy3, w2, gy4, w2, gy3, w2, gy3, w3, gy3, w2, gy3, w3, gy3, w5, gy3, w10
← Row 29 [WS]: w10, gy3, w5, gy3, w3, gy3, w2, gy3, w3, gy3, w2, gy3, w3, gy4, w, gy3, w2, gy3, w3, gy3, w7
→ Row 30 [RS]: w7, gy8, w3, gy7, w4, gy3, w2, gy3, w2, gy4, w2, gy9, w5, gy3, w10
← Row 31 [WS]: w10, gy3, w5, gy9, w2, gy4, w2, gy3, w2, gy3, w3, gy8, w4, gy7, w7
→ Row 32 [RS]: w7, gy8, w3, gy9, w2, gy3, w2, gy3, w2, gy4, w2, gy9, w5, gy3, w10
← Row 33 [WS]: w10, gy3, w5, gy3, w3, gy3, w8, gy3, w2, gy3, w2, gy3, w3, gy3, w2, gy3, w3, gy3, w7
→ Row 34 [RS]: w7, gy3, w3, gy3, w2, gy3, w3, gy3, w2, gy3, w2, gy3, w8, gy3, w3, gy3, w5, gy3, w10
← Row 35 [WS]: w10, gy3, w5, gy3, w3, gy3, w8, gy3, w2, gy3, w2, gy3, w3, gy3, w2, gy3, w3, gy3, w7
→ Row 36 [RS]: w7, gy9, w2, gy9, w2, gy3, w2, gy9, w2, gy3, w3, gy3, w2, gy9, w7
← Row 37 [WS]: w7, gy9, w2, gy3, w3, gy3, w2, gy9, w2, gy3, w3, gy8, w3, gy8, w7
→ Row 38 [RS]: w7, gy7, w4, gy7, w4, gy3, w2, gy9, w2, gy3, w3, gy3, w2, gy9, w7
← Row 39 [WS]: w72
→ Row 40 [RS]: w72
← Row 41 [WS]: w72
→ Row 42 [RS]: w72
← Row 43 [WS]: w8, y, w21, v, w21, b, w19
→ Row 44 [RS]: w18, b3, w19, v3, w19, y3, w7
← Row 45 [WS]: w6, y5, w17, v5, w17, b5, w17
→ Row 46 [RS]: w17, b5, w17, v5, w17, y5, w6
← Row 47 [WS]: w6, y5, w8, gy, w8, v5, w8, gy, w8, b5, w8, gy, w8
→ Row 48 [RS]: w7, gy3, w8, b3, w8, gy3, w8, v3, w8, gy3, w8, y3, w7
← Row 49 [WS]: w7, gy3, w8, p3, w8, gy3, w8, gn3, w8, gy3, w8, o3, w7
→ Row 50 [RS]: w6, o5, w8, gy, w8, gn5, w8, gy, w8, p5, w8, gy, w8
← Row 51 [WS]: w17, p5, w17, gn5, w17, o5, w6
→ Row 52 [RS]: w6, o5, w17, gn5, w17, p5, w17
← Row 53 [WS]: w18, p3, w19, gn3, w19, o3, w7
→ Row 54 [RS]: w8, o, w21, gn, w21, p, w19
← Row 55 [WS]: w72
→ Row 56 [RS]: w72
← Row 57 [WS]: w72
→ Row 58 [RS]: w72
← Row 59 [WS]: w72
→ Row 60 [RS]: w72
← Row 61 [WS]: w72
Fasten off, weave in/tie off all ends.
You are all finished the front panel of the pillow. Next, we will add surface slip stitches to connect the Christmas lights.
Adding Surface Slip Stitches
Let’s add the surface slip stitches to the front of the Bright pillow panel to attach the fun, colorful Christmas lights! Check out the Surface Slip Stitch Video Tutorial HERE.
To surface slip stitch across the pillow panel, please view the video tutorial and follow the instructions below.
Step 1: Make slip knot with your yarn. Choose where you’d like to start making your stitches. Insert your crochet hook through your chosen starting stitch from the right side to the wrong side of the project.
Step 2: Pull the loop of the slip knot through to the front of the panel.
Step 3: Choose the next stitch you will be traveling to. Insert your hook into that stitch and yarn over (yarn over will be done with the hand holding the yarn behind your project.
Step 4: Draw up a loop (there will be 2 loops on your hook now).
Step 5: Make a slip stitch by pulling the second loop through the first one on your hook.
Step 6: Repeat steps 3-5 in working in chosen stitches across your project. You’ll travel up and down as you make your way across each of the lights.
Step 7: When you are finished surface slip stitching across the project, make your last surface slip stitch and pull through your yarn. Fasten off and then weave in ends (on back of project).
Back Panel Instructions
The back panel of the Bright Pillow is worked the same as the front panel, but in just a solid color. Working the back of the pillow in solid red, green, or white would compliment the front side well, or you can choose another color of your choice. When you finish the back panel, it should be the same size as the front panel. Remember to keep a consistent tension so that your rectangle has nice and even sides.
Row 1: In white, chain 73, SC in 2nd chain from hook and in each chain across, ch 1, turn. (72)
*As an alternative to a starting chain, you can work 72 foundation single crochet stitches. For this project, either a starting chain or foundation will work. There’s a foundation single crochet video tutorial on my YouTube Channel HERE.
Rows 2-61: SC in each stitch across, ch 1, turn. (72)
Do not chain 1 and turn after row 61. Fasten off, weave in ends.
Joining the Panels Together
Now we are going to join the panels together and stuff the pillow. First, make sure that all your ends are sewn in or tied off on the two panels.
Start by laying your two panels, one on top of the other with the wrong sides facing each other in the middle and the right sides on the outside.
You will start joining the pillow panels together in the bottom right corner. Rotate your project so that the bottom is facing you and that corner is easier to access. Make a slipknot with the white yarn. Place your crochet hook through the corner stitch, making sure you are working through both layers. Place the slipknot on your hook and pull back through the stitch to join the yarn.
Chain 1 and make 2 SC in that corner stitch. Now work your way up the side of the project with one SC at the end of each row. Make 2 SC in the corner stitch and then continue along the top making one SC in each stitch. Repeat with the next side and then work your way across about halfway along the bottom.
Now you will start adding your stuffing to the pillow. Try to stuff it smoothly and evenly, with no large lumps or bulges. Start by making sure the two left corners are firmly stuffed all the way to the corner, then stuff the rest of it moving from left to right, adding in large pieces of stuffing at a time. Continue crocheting along the bottom, adding stuffing as you go. Make sure your pillow is stuffed the way you like it before you get all the way to the corner. Join with a slip stitch to the top of the first SC. Fasten off and weave in ends.
You’re almost done! We will finish off the pillow by adding a fun and festive candy cane border.
Candy Cane Border
Next, let’s add the fun candy cane crochet border around the pillow! First, attach your red yarn (in any spot) and chain 4. Then take your hook out of this chain and leave it for a minute. Next, skip a stitch and attach your white yarn in the next stitch. Chain 4 then take your hook out of the white yarn chain and insert it back into the red chain you left off on. With the red chain on your hook, skip a stitch after the white chain and make a SC in the next stitch (overlapping the white chain) and chain 4, remove your hook. Now insert your hook back in the white chain, skip a stitch, and SC in the next stitch (overlapping the red) and chain 4. Continue to repeat around, alternating colors.
Around the sides of the pillow, skip stitches between the red and white chains/SC. When you get to each corner, work a SC and chain 4 in each of the 4 stitches around each corner.
That’s it! You’re all finished your Bright Pillow! Are you in the Holiday sprit now?! Remember to check out the Merry Pillow too, so you can have two holiday pillows or one that is reversible.
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