Finished Knit: Really Big Lemon

I feel like this shot has a total 1960’s vibe going on, thanks to whatever combination of Instagram filters I used when I posted this to my Instagram stories yesterday. 

Pattern: When Life Gives You Lemons, by Lori Steinberg

Yarn: Generic Yellow Craft Yarn- Aran weight, bought from the sale bin at Michael’s

Needles: 8mm (US 11)

Mods:  I used smaller needles, changed the shaping at one end (weirdly the pattern didn’t have the same increases/decreases at both ends), and added some soft toy sculpting at the ends for that lemony shape.

My coworking space (you may remember it from this post) is called Make Lemonade, so I asked the owner if she would be interested in a big lemon pillow for the grey, cushion-less couch in the waiting room. She looked pretty excited, so this fulfilled my two qualifying criteria when it comes to knitting for someone else: 1. Always ask first, not everyone cares about hand knits. 2. That the offer is met with genuine interest or excitement.

So, I knit the pillow over a weekend when my parents were visiting to spend time with the kiddos. James ‘helped’ me with the yarn:

It’s not the best shot, but it’s pretty clear that he created a big tangly mess of yarn. I had to cut it and re-attach in order to keep knitting. Fortunately, I had LOADS of the yellow yarn! But even with a minor setback, it was a super quick knit. I held aran weight generic craft yarn double, which worked really well with the 8 mm needles. As I mentioned, the pattern doesn’t have the same shaping from one end to the other so I reversed the shaping at the end to match the start.

To give the ends their typical lemon shape I used this tutorial from fuzzymitten’s blog. it provided the right amount of sculpting so that it was undeniably a really big lemon pillow – which is an odd thing to walk around with, really. Lots of people asked me about it, particularly when I was in line at a cafe to get coffee on my way to Make Lemonade. Maybe you saw the photos on Instagram:

Fun fact: it is impossible to be in a bad mood when walking around a city with a big knitted lemon. I would do that again. It was a great contrast for my recently-finished Heyworth mitts.

Doesn’t it look so great on the couch? Wasn’t that couch just crying out desperately for a big lemon pillow? And the yellow matches the yellow wall perfectly. There’s only one yellow wall, by the way. Otherwise that might be a bit too much.

I’ve been told that they get a lot of comments about the pillow, and it’s only been there a little over a week. I’ve even started to notice that it’s cropping up in photos that are tagged @makelemonadeco, which is fun. I’m glad I’m not the only one who loves to have their photo taken with a big knitted lemon.

Curiously the pattern isn’t in Ravelry, but it is free and available online- I linked to it up at the top if you want to check it out. I made notes on my Ravelry project page for the modifications so they are all in one spot, too- you can find here.


  1. miss agnes   •  

    This lemon pillow is awesome ! Totally agree, that brown couch was crying for something.. it looked so forlorn on its own. The yellow totally matches the wall, and what it needs now is another lilac accessory to match the other wall – don’t you think ? I’m pretty sure your lemon pillow is going to inspire a lot of people, and you might see lemon shaped accessories crop up in your working space. Let me know if that happens.

  2. Loulou   •  

    Haha, that’s just fantastic! I love it.

    Great photos, too.

  3. Di   •  

    You deserve free rent for a month! You are a thoughtful person:)

  4. Linda   •  

    I guess you know that the saying is life gives you lemons you make lemonaide. But I saw a sign at my most fav pancake house: life gives you lemons, make German Pancakes. Old South Pancake in Ft. Worth, Texas make the most addict forming German Pancakes that it is unbelievable!!!!!!

  5. Melissa   •  

    I <3 this lemon and your photo shoot! I think everyone should carry a knit lemon around the city at some point in their lives! Ha!

  6. Anna   •  

    I absolutely adore the lemon. I have always had a thing for lemons…used to love eating them…now my three year old loves eating them. I wrote a short story about a lemon when I was at school. I really want to make this goo.
    It looks great on the couch!

  7. Alina   •  

    This is a genius project, Julie!!! So so cool! I can only imagine how fun it would be to walk around the city with the big handknit lemon 🙂

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