Project: Painted felt cushion
The top of this cushion is made with an out-of-the-ordinary homemade yarn: a piece of felt embellished with metallic paint, then cut into one long strip and wound into a ball. The pillow backing is made from the same felt but, in this case, is left in its natural, uncut form. Use this simple technique to create your own personalized yarns of different colors and textures.
Approximately 2 1/4 yards wool felt, 27 inches wide
Fabric paint in complimentary or contrasting color and paintbrush
1 pair of size 9 (5.5 mm) knitting needles
Large sewing needle
Pillow form, 18 inches square
One size (each cushion measures 18 inches by 18 inches)
6 stitches and 8 rows = 4 inches/10 cm in stockinette stitch using size 9 needles. Always work a gauge swatch and change needles accordingly if necessary.
You may find it easier to cut the felt into a few pieces before painting. If you do this, don't worry about getting a seamless join when adding in a new length of yarn as the knitted surface will be highly textural.
Making the cushion back
Cut two pieces of felt 18 inches wide by 15 1/2 inches long. Overlap these two pieces so that they make a square measuring 18 inches by 18 inches. Pin in position.
Painting and cutting the felt
Lay the remainder of the felt out flat. Using a paintbrush, paint horizontal stripes on to the felt approximately 1 inch apart. Allow to dry. Working from right to left, cut the felt into a strip along the first painted stripe almost to the left edge, but leaving approximately 3/4 inch at the right edge. Cut the rest of the felt in this way to make one long continuous length of fabric.
Knitting the cushion front
With size 9 knitting needles, cast on 24 stitches. Continue in stockinette stitch—one row knit, one row purl alternately—until knitting measures 18 inches. Bind off.
Finishing the cushion
Pin the cushion backs to the reverse side of the knitted cushion front. You may prefer the reverse stockinette stitch side to the stockinette stitch side, it's your choice.
Stitch seams all the way around on the right side, either by hand or by machine, to leave a pronounced external seam. Insert the pillow form through the back flap opening.
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Excerpted from Simple Knits with a Twist: Unique Projects for Creative Knitters by Erika Knight. Copyright 2004 by Stewart, Tabori & Chang. Excerpted with permission by Stewart, Tabori & Chang. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.