Thursday 22 December 2016

Super-chunky-knit cushions ...

Super chunky knit cushions - pattern follows : dog - an inimitable one-of-a-kind!

I bought some of this ultra super chunky wool a while ago. I'd noticed that other people were getting into all sorts of knit-something-in-a-day projects, and I was curious to see how it would work out. So I ordered some colours that struck me as harmonious without a very clear idea of what I was going to do with them.

Now I have to confess that this kind of knitting is not really my thing. I'd never advocate using the resulting textile for anything other than upholstery. It produces a knit that's just too chunky and unwieldy for my tastes: think Axminster carpet as opposed to 2 ply cashmere ... . Wear it and you're likely to melt in any environment that boasts even the most rudimentary heating system, and, even if you're as thin as a pencil, a padding of this ultra super chunky knit is guaranteed to make you look like a bear who's ate all the honey and is heading off to hibernate.

But where it does come into its own is for seat cushions. I'm a big fan of sitting outside on sunny days right through the winter months. I love to be outdoors with fresh air and winter sunshine. When I'm skiing I love how they cosy up the patio seating with throws and cushions and padding. And this is where ultra super chunky wool comes into its own: if you're looking for ├╝ber insulation it's the real deal. For seat cushions that are guaranteed to keep your rear end cosy in the depths of winter it's the business. Added to which whatever you make will knit up in super quick time.

I knocked these together in just a few hours. You could have a whole new suite of patio cushions knit and sewn together over the course of a stay-at-home Saturday.

Just read on for the patterns:

Knitting in stocking stitch to cover 42 cm/ 16" cushion pads and knitting on 2 cm / ¾" diameter knitting needles (which felt like broom sticks!) my tension worked out at 20 stitches and 26 rows to cover the 42 cm/ 16" square. Distilled to its simplest the pattern involves knitting a square of these proportions, which on my tension involved casting on 20 stitches and working 26 rows in stocking stitch before casting off. Each cushion took 2, 250g / 17.5 metre skeins of super chunky yarn and knit up to a tension of 5 stitches x 6 rows per 10 cm square.

Along the way I played with the basic square to create different patterns.

1: Aston Villa Cushion

Aston Villa Home Colours Cushion!

As it happens I know less than nothing about football, and my choice of colours here was totally random, but everyone who's seen this cushion has remarked that they hadn't realised I was a Villa fan!

This baby is knit in stocking stitch - starting with a purl row, as the long-tail cast-on creates a first knit row. The colour is swapped every knit row, so that you have 13 stripes that are 2 rows thick.

Beat the blues cushion

2. Beat the blues cushion

This cushion is knit in the same way as the Aston Villa cushion, but instead of changing colour ever other row, I've worked 7 rows in the dark blue, 12 in the light blue, and another 7 in the dark blue before casting off.

Textured stripes cushion

3. Textured stripes cushion

This cushion is knit by changing colour to create 13 stripes of 2 rows just like the Aston Villa Cushion. However to create texture all the pink stripes are worked in garter stitch i.e. both rows of each pink stripe are knit, whilst the yellow stripe rows are worked in knit the first row, and the purl the second stocking stitch. This produces a ridge effect with each pink row sitting slightly proud of the yellow rows.  It's super easy, but quite effective.

Double blue stripes cushion

4. Double blue stripes cushion

Rows 1 and 2 are worked in brown, rows 3 and 4 in blue, rows 5 to 9 in brown, rows 10 and 11 in blue, and the remainder in brown: all in stocking stitch.

Vertical Stripes cushion

5. Vertical Stripes cushion

This cushion is worked in slip stitch stripes. The tension is tighter when you're working slip stitches, so I needed 24 stitches to work a 42 cm square. Cast on in colour A, and knit a foundation purl row. On the next row, k 1 stitch in colour B, and slip 1 stitch (which will slip in colour A) to the end of the row. For the following row, purl back the colour B stitches, slipping the colour A stitches purl-wise as you go. Follow on with 2 rows where you work the colour A stitches and slip the colour B ones.

Finishing off 

My cushions are finished with a flannel-look fleece that I've made eyelets in, and are sewn up with T-shirt yarn using a simple whip stitch.

Here are the tools you'll need to finish off the cushions and back them with a non-fray fleece.

The necessary tools ... from left to right: wash-away marker, seam ripper, wool needles with plastic loop eyes - these are the only things that you will be able to thread with chunky wool. They're made by Pony and you can buy them on Amazon for a few pounds. I totally recommend them for all myopic types (like me) who struggle to get the thread into the eye of a conventional needle. Continuing with the list: eyelet pliers, thick crochet hook and sharp-tipped embroidery scissors.

If you're looking for something warm and cosy that looks like a wool flannel I found a Polarvide fleece blanket measuring 130 cm x 170 cm in Ikea for the princely sum of £3. You can buy it on Amazon for about a tenner, but if you can face the schlep through Ikea they are selling the same thing for only £3, which is a bargain given the quality of the fabric.

To finish off you'll need to weave in the loose ends with a crochet hook. I used a 12 mm one.

Cut out your 42 cm backing squares from the fleece.

Then about 1 cm from the edges you need to mark where you want your eyelets to go. I spaced mine at 2 cm intervals along each side. I marked each spot with my wash-away marker, and then made a small incision into which I inserted an eyelet - with the assistance of the seam ripper where necessary. I used 4mm diameter brass eyelets that did not have backing washers, and squeezed them closed on the fabric with the eyelet pliers.

It takes a while to work your way round - maybe a job to share with a good box-set! I did mine watching Modus <love Scandi Noir>, and reading the sub-titles meant that my concentration may have wandered from time to time ... along with my eyelets ... .

Now you're ready to work your way around the cushion using those cool needles and some T-shirt yarn to attach the backing to your knitted front squares.

Work all the way round and you're done!

All the best and happy holidays!

Bonny x 

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