Hello there, my name is Rachael and as a knitting and sewing enthusiast, I write the odd blog or two for Needlecase and for this particular blog topic, I decided to get my Mum involved as you’ll see a little later on.
So, to give some background on how my mum fits into this post, for those of you who may not know, Judith, co-owner and manager of Needlecase makes a unique range of beautiful cushion kits which she designs, tests and produces herself and are exclusive to the Needlecase store and website (but watch this space as there may be some exciting news on that front in the very near future!).
Currently the Needlecase Knitting Kit range includes the tried and tested: Chain Stripes Cushion kit, which is knitted in pure British Jacob wool, available in 3 different colour ways, and the Heart Cable Cushion kit. Given the popularity of these two products to date, Judith recently decided to design some more cushion kits and given her experience and talent for knitting, it was decided it might be a good idea for someone with a different level of knitting experience to trial run this new design, and this is where my mum, Karen comes in.
Now my Mum was taught to knit as a young girl by my Grandma who is left handed, which made my right-handed mum’s knitting tuition somewhat of a difficult process. Beyond that she’s had no formal training, has taken no knitting classes and just to make things even more interesting, my Mum hasn’t picked up a pair of knitting needles in about 25 years (a suspiciously close number of years to those I’ve spent on this earth). What I hope this will demonstrate when you see the finished result, it that anyone with a basic knowledge of knitting stitches and techniques can take on a Needlecase cushion kit project!
The kit my mum is trialling for Judith is the Petal Catkin Cushion Kit which uses: 2 x100g skeins of 100% Blue Face Leicester, Aran thickness Ecru, Natural yarn and 1 x 50g ball of the same yarn in a golden yellow, which makes a cushion cover for a 16 inch cushion pad, that fastens up with 5 heart shaped, pearlescent cream, shell buttons which are also included in the kit.
(My favourite part about the wool in this kit is that it comes from the West Yorkshire Spinners company, so because our cushion knitting trial is taking place in Wakefield and Needlecase supplies the kit in Tadcaster, everything has been locally sourced and supported!)
So one more thing to note before we move on to the actual knitting of the kit: the eagle eyed among you may notice that the finished cushion my mum produced and the picture of the finished cushion on the front of Judith’s cushion kit box look a little different. Sadly, this is due to a small mishap that occurred at the hands of Judith’s husband, Brian, who managed to put the wrong pattern grid in to our cushion kit! (Below is a picture of the pattern grid we should have had).
(Since then, Brian has been removed from cushion kit assembly and despite the small mix up, we still followed our unexpected pattern grid to produce a lovely, hand knitted cushion that is the right design, with just a little more yellow in it that indented. Thankfully, we had more than enough wool!).
Knitting the Kit
The pattern is ordered so that you begin knitting your cushion cover from the edge you sew the buttons on to, to the edge that has the button holes in it, essentially this means you knit half the back, followed by the front, followed by the second half of the back of your cushion.
To do this, the first stitch my Mum has to do was a ‘moss stitch’. Moss stitch involves knitting two rows in the same sequence (knit 1, purl 1) before alternating that sequence (purl 1, knit 1), and the result is something that looks like this:
The next stage of this knitting project is to begin knitting the first few rows of the pattern itself. The reverse of the cushion uses the ecru yarn only to create a raised self pattern.
My Mum’s favourite thing about this design is that you can knit one full pattern section in just ten lines. So it was easy to pick up and put down her knitting between doing the household chores and going to work, without getting lost among the pattern instructions. Having not knitted in years as well, my Mum quickly became enthralled in the pattern and because you can progress quite quickly thanks to the ten row repetitions, she really enjoyed the project which all in all, took just longer than the weekend to complete. Doing it in fits and starts of course.
With the first half of the cushion reverse completed, it’s time to start introducing the coloured yarn, which is where you need the correct pattern grid to refer to.
Finally, you knit the remaining section, which is the second half of the back of the cushion, again using only the ecru yarn to create that raised, self pattern, followed by the moss stitch edge. After that you just need to make sure you have evenly spaced your button holes, which are created by simply casting off two knitting stitches. Then sew the heart shaped buttons on to the adjacent edge and voila!