Wednesday 9 April 2014

A striped cushion: cushion makeover part 2

Would you like to see my latest cushion? I've been knitting away like crazy on the beach as I keep an eye on Emi and Maxi playing in the sand.

Tah-dah! Here it is, sitting on that very boring, beige sofa that I was complaining about a while ago:

Do you remember my little Astrakan cushion of a couple of weeks' ago? You can see how I made it here: Astrakan cushion.  I'd always intended to pair it with a matching, contrasting cushion. So what do you think? Don't they look good together? I used the same grey yarn in the grey stripes, so that it looks as though the two cushions were intended to be together.

The good (and, for me, slightly alarming) news is that after two cushions I've still got a shed load of that cheap-as-chips chunky wool. I don't know how many cushions we need on those boring, beige sofas, but, at this rate, I may have to knit a matching carpet as well to use up all of my stash!

Now, if you'd like to make a stripy cushion, the good news is that it's about as easy as falling off a log. No, seriously, you don't even have to stay awake to make this one.

My cushion this time was slightly larger than for the Astrakan, as I wanted it to sit taller and wider with a view to having the Astrakan lean against it, but with both still visible. This cushion measured 25" (64 cm) x 16" (41cm).

I started by casting on 85 stitches on size N, 5.5 mm circular knitting needles with an 80 cm (30") string between the two needles. Given that there are so many stitches it seemed easier to work on circular needles, but using them to do straight rows.

I did 14 rows of plain knitting (garter stitch), but knitting into the back of the stitch to make the fabric, tighter and stronger, in the grey wool to start off.

If you use a different sized cushion I suggest that you cast on the number of stitches you think you need (doing fractions of the 85 stitches for 25" or 64 cm) and then knit a couple of rows before checking that your tension and calculation are actually delivering something the right width. In fact it's a good idea to do this even if you're making the same size cover as I've done here as different people knit with different tensions.

Then I changed to the lime yarn, and carried on with alternating knit and purl rows (stocking stitch), changing colour on a right side row, and darning the loose ends in as I went. Please be careful to always, always change colour on a right side row and start the stocking stitch section on a knit row, otherwise you'll get a funny join row that will look different. A right side row is a row, where the side of the work that will be on show when you've finished is facing you. At the beginning, when everything is just garter stitch, it doesn't much matter which side you chose for the right side (garter stitch is reversible), but it's important to be consistent after that point.

I did 4 rows of stocking stitch (alternating rows of knit and then purl stitches), and then changed back to the grey yarn and did 2 rows of garter stitch (plain knitting). Before changing back to the lime. I carried on in this fashion making random stripes until my work measured 16" (40 cm) and then I cast off. If you plan on doing two striped sides for your cover you should keep a careful note of which colours you use for each row so that you can replicate the same design for the other side - otherwise it will look a bit strange if the two sides' stripes don't correspond. I didn't bother with any note-taking because I'd planned on doing the reverse side plain grey so matching was never going to be an issue for me.

The alternating garter stitch for the grey and the stocking stitch for the lime created a really nice texture, with the grey plain knit stripes standing out, slightly raised from the flatter lime knit and purl sections.

I did the back side of the cover in plain garter stitch, which enabled me to bomb through it really quickly. I cast on 85 stitches and just kept knitting into the back of the stitches, as before, until my work measured 16" (40 cm) and then I cast off.

I sewed the two sides together with the cushion in the middle. And hey presto that's all there was to it. Really easy; super simple!

Happy Wednesday!

Bonny x

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