Sunday, 2 February 2014

Chunky Fairisle Cushion


A quick to knit, stylish cushion. This would make a perfect housewarming gift. I cheated a little to avoid a jog in the round, so this is perhaps a pattern that fairisle purists should avoid. Rather than steeking, I didn't knot new colours to old as I knitted, but knotted them all up pretty firmly at the end to cinch it all together. I also (and this was very naughty) didn't weave in the fifty odd loose ends, but just trimmed the knots and left them inside the cushion. Please feel free to back away from this pattern in horror, but I think it all looks ok, and for time-poor knitters it'll certainly do the job!

fairisle fair isle cushion knitting pattern


Shetland Heather Aran by Jamiesons of Shetland:

2 balls Gingersnap = C1

1 ball Teviot = C2

1 ball Broch = C3

1 ball Natural White = C4

1 ball Sholmit = C5

1 ball Moorit = C6

1 ball Mooskit = C7

Each ball = 101yds / 92m


To fit a 50cm x 50cm (20” x 20”) cushion


One 5mm / US 8 40”/100cm circular needle.


15sts x 19 rows = 10cm / 4”


One darning needle


With C7, cast on 144 stitches and join in the round, being careful not to twist the stitches.

Work one of the charts below. I prefer working from a colour chart, but have included a black and white version suitable for black and white printing. Bind off all stitches using C7. I didn't knot in new colours as you would normally do for fairisle knitting. After binding off I knotted ends together in pairs as follows. Turn the cushion cover inside out and work from bottom to top, pull the first pair of loose ends farily tight and knot them together using a reef knot, then do the same for the second pair you come to, and keep going until all loose ends are knotted together in pairs. Then I just trimmed the loose ends (and felt guilty).

Now, lay the cushion cover out flat with the beginning of the round at the right edge. Join the front and back of the bound off edge together using the joining method in the “techniques” section below.

Block the cushion cover as follows, or using your favourite blocking method. Soak the cushion in cold water with a small amount of mild detergent for at least 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly, then gently squeeze out as much water as you can. Roll the cushion cover up in a towel and twist it gently to remove some more water. Lay the cushion cover out flat and gently stretch it to 50cm x 50cm (20” x 20”). Leave until completely dry.

Put the cushion pad into the cushion cover and join together the cast on edges, starting from the beginning of the round, in the same way you joined the bound off edge.


fairisle fair isle knitting pattern chart


Joining bound off and cast on edges

This cushion is knit in the round, sewn up along the top, blocked, a cushion pad inserted, and then sewn up along the bottom. I sewed the top and bottom up as follows:

Lay cushion cover flat, with beginning of round at the right. We will join the first stitch at the front right with the first stitch at the back, then the second stitch at the front with the second stitch at the back etc. until all front stitches are joined to the back stitches.

To do this, thread a darning needle with a long thread in colour C7. Secure the thread to the wrong side of the cushion at the beginning of the round by sewing over one spot a few times. Then bring the needle behind the first stitch at the front from right to left, then behind the first stitch at the back from right to left (as you look at it). Pull the thread tight. Then bring the needle behind the second stitch at the front from right to left, then the second back stitch from right to left, pull the thread tight. Keep going across from right to left until all stitches are joined.

grafting knitting tutorial

    1. Thread needle behind a stitch

2. Thread loose

finishing a cushion tutorial

3. Thread pulled tight

knitted cushion tutorial

4. When it's done!

Written instructions are not ideal, so please watch the video tutorial here:

They join two pieces of knitting together, whereas we just have the one which we are joining the front and back of, but the principle holds!

Pattern copyright Littletheorem. Do not reproduce in whole or in part without the author's written permission.


  1. love your pattern. going to start it now. did you make the pattern on both sides of the cushion. Im thinking of making the back plain one colour so I will have to do half the round in pattern and the other half in plain. Do you think this will work? Also Im doing it in shetland wool spindthrift which is like a 4ply so what needle size do you recommend? Helen

    1. Hi there, thanks for your comment!
      Mine is patterned on both sides. Having the back plain would be a bit more tricky, but it's certainly doable! If it was me, I would probably knit the front and back separately and seam it in that case. You could work the back flat, but you would be better to work the front in the round and steek it. Using Spindrift you probably want 3mm or 3.5mm needles, bear in mind your cushion will be a lot smaller too!

  2. Love your pillow! I see nothing wrong with your techniques. The way I see it as long as it stays together and the knots don't poke anyone who decides to actually use it as a pillow then all is good. I am thrilled to say that my family has no problem using the things I make. There are no "good" pillows in this house lol.

    1. Thanks, so glad you like it! It seems to be holding up well so far! :D

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.