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Archive entry for March 2018

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March 2018

Spring Cushions

LeafCushions.jpg

Simple yet effective cushions using stylised leaf motifs.
Cushions can be an opportunity to really give full rein to your creative side with little investment risk - in either time or materials. If (like me) you feel you lack a natural artistic streak of your own, you can find inspiration almost anywhere. Any small motifs from embroidery sources can be used for knitting - but make sure you check the tension you need to aim at as it will dictate the resulting size of the cushion.

Instructions.

These cushions are created using a limited colour palette and an intarsia technique. Only two colours are used where the motifs are worked, which is a good idea to start with - both stylistically and technically.

Assuming you are familiar with the idea of working from charts, as usual, the charts show the right, or knitted, side of the work, reading knit rows from right to left; every alternate row worked in purl and read from left to right. The yarn not in use is carried loosely across the back of the fabric all the time, so it will be taken behind the stitches on a knitted row and in front of them on a purled row.

Ideally you need to keep within a maximum of about five or six stitches in each colour so that you don't have to carry the yarn not in use across too many stitches at the back of the work. It is feasible to carry the yarn across a greater number of stitches as long as you don't pull the yarn so tightly that it puckers your work.
[Editors note: When you are making actual garments with motifs, it is not good practice to leave large loops of yarn at the back as they tend to catch on buttons etc as you pull sweaters on and off (ask me how I know). With cushions like this it is less important as the wrong side of the work is enclosed and unlikely to be pulled once finished.]

The completed size of a motif, (and the entire design), will depend on the tension at which you are working. For example: with a tension of 20 stitches and 28 rows to 4 inches (10 cm), a motif worked over 15 stitches and 21 rows will form a square measuring 3 inches (7.5cm) by 3 inches (7.5cm). So you can do some simple working out to adapt any motifs to a design measuring the size you want.

If you are not so familiar with working from charts, this might be a good project to start out with. For consistency, the charts show each motif on a 23 stitch grid; the actual pattern repeat across the cushion is 24 stitches: each set of stitches on the chart is separated by one background stitch. The overall spacing or layout of the motifs is given by a written set-up row for each cushion, which is the first row on the charts.

Cushion 1

Worked in two colours with the same motif repeated evenly all over the cushion.

Using No 9 (3¾mm) needles and main shade (A), cast on 99 stitches, and work in stocking stitch throughout.

Work 4 rows in main shade (A).
Join in contrast colour (B) and start the leaf motifs by working from Chart A - set up the repeats working across the next row as follows:

Next row: k1 stitch in A, k1 stitch in B, (k23 stitches in A, k1 stitch in B) 4 times finishing the row with k1 stitch in A.

There is half a leaf at each end of the row, plus an extra stitch at each end of the work which will be used for seaming. So now continue in pattern from the chart, starting with the seam stitch followed by the centre stitch of the leaf. The overall pattern repeat is 24 stitches, 13 stitches for the leaf and 11 stitches between the leaves at the widest point.

Work the 40 pattern rows, followed by 8 rows in A only, twice, then work the 40 row pattern again followed by 4 rows in A.
[144 rows in all].
Cast off.


Cushion 2

Worked in 8 colours with stripes of colour and repeated motifs in 8 colours (A-H).

Using No 9 (3¾mm) needles and main shade (A), cast on 121 stitches, and work in stocking stitch throughout.

Work 2 rows using A, 1 row using B and 4 rows using A.

Motif stripe 1:
Start the first leaf pattern with a purl row following Chart B, set-up row as follows:

Next row: p12 stitches in A, (p1 stitch in B, p23 stitches in A) 4 times finishing the row with p1 stitch in B, p12 stiches in A.

Continue working from the Chart B until 38 rows have been completed.

Work plain stripes of 4 rows in A, 1 row in C, 1 row in D, and 4 rows in C.

Motif stripe 2:
Start the second leaf pattern with a purl row following Chart C, set-up row as follows:

Next row: p12 stitches in C, (p1 stitch in D, p23 stitches in C) 4 times finishing the row with p1 stitch in D, p12 stiches in C.

Continue working from Chart C until 33 rows have been completed.

Work plain stripes of 4 rows in C, 1 row in E, 1 row in F, and 4 rows in E.

Motif stripe 3:
Start the third leaf pattern with a knit row following Chart D, set-up row as follows:

Next row: k12 stitches in E, (k1 stitch in F, k23 stitches in E) 4 times finishing the row with k1 stitch in F, k12 stiches in E.

Continue working from Chart D until 30 rows have been completed.

Work plain stripes of 4 rows in E, 1 row in H, 1 row in E, and 4 rows in G.

Motif stripe 4:
Start the third leaf pattern with a knit row following Chart E, set-up row as follows:

Next row: k12 stitches in G, (k1 stitch in H, k23 stitches in G) 4 times finishing the row with k1 stitch in H, k12 stiches in G.

Continue working from Chart E until 37 rows have been completed.

Finally, work plain stripes of 4 rows in G, 1 row in H, 2 rows G.
[182 rows in all.]
Cast off.


Cushion 3

Worked in three colours (A-C) with different motifs repeated in bands across the cushion; the background and motif colours are constant, and the motif bands are separated by thin stripes of the third colour.

Using No 9 (3¾mm) needles and contrast colour C, cast on 99 stitches, and work in stocking stitch throughout.

Work 2 rows in contrast C, 4 rows in main shade A.

Motif stripe 1:
Start the first leaf pattern with a knit row following Chart F, set-up row as follows:

Next row: k2 stitches in B, (k23 stitches in A, k1 stitch in B) 4 times finishing the row with k1 stitch in B.

Here again there is half a leaf at each end of the cushion, so the pattern has been set to start with the centre stitch of a leaf, plus the seaming stitch at each end of the row.

Continue working from the Chart F until 38 rows have been completed.

Work plain stripes of 4 rows in A, 2 rows in C, and 4 rows in A.

Motif stripe 2:
Start the second leaf pattern with a knit row following Chart G, set-up row as follows (this set up row is exactly the same as for motif 1):

Next row: k2 stitches in B, (k23 stitches in A, k1 stitch in B) 4 times finishing the row with k1 stitch in B.

Again there is half a leaf at each end of the cushion, so the pattern has been set to start with the centre stitch of a leaf, plus the seaming stitch at each end of the row.

Continue working from the Chart G until the 27 rows of the pattern have been completed.

Work plain stripes of 4 rows in A, 2 rows in C, and 4 rows in A.

Motif stripe 3:
The third leaf pattern uses Chart D which is the same chart used in the second cushion printed above. So follow the Chart D BUT you start with a purl row and the set-up row has the half a leaf at each end of the cushion. So as for motifs 1 and 2 on this cushion, the pattern has been set to start with the centre stitch of a leaf, plus the seaming stitch at each end of the row. Set-up row is as follows:

Next row: p2 stitches in B, (p23 stitches in A, p1 stitch in B) 4 times finishing the row with p1 stitch in B.

Continue working from the Chart D until the 30 rows of the pattern have been completed.

Work plain stripes of 4 rows in A, 2 rows in C, and 4 rows in A.

Motif stripe 4:
The fourth pattern motif is the same one used in the first stripe of this cushion, so follow the same chart F that you used before. However this time you start the fourth leaf pattern with a purl row. Set-up row as follows:

Next row: p2 stitches in B, (p23 stitches in A, p1 stitch in B) 4 times finishing the row with p1 stitch in B.

Just as before, there is half a leaf at each end of the cushion, so the pattern has been set to start with the centre stitch of a leaf, plus the seaming stitch at each end of the row.

Continue working from the Chart F until 38 rows have been completed.

Work plain stripes of 4 rows in A, and 2 rows in C.
[175 rows in all].
Cast off.

Making up

All the cushions are made up of two identical pieces.
Sew two cushion pieces together on three sides.
Insert a cushion pad and sew up the fourth side.

Materials

Standard double knitting yarn in colours of your choice.

A pair of No 9 (3¾mm) needles.

Cushion 1:
200g in main shade; 100g in contrast.

Approximate size:
16 x 16 inches
(40 x 40cm)

Cushion 2:
100g in each of 8 colours.

Approximate size:
20 x 20 inches
(50 x 50cm)

Cushion 3:
200g in main shade; 100g in each of 2 contrast colours.

Approximate size:
16 x 19 inches
(40 x 48cm)

Tension

24sts x 36 rows to 4 inches (10cm) using No 9 (3¾mm) needles.

Abbreviations:

stocking stitch: one row knit and one row purl, ("stockinette").

Disclaimer
(well...almost)

In transposing any pattern it is always a risk that errors will be introduced, in spite of dedicated proof reading.
If you have any problems with this pattern, please and I will try and assist.

© Christina Coutts 2007

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