Issue 12 of Knit Now magazine is in the shops this Thursday, which means that for the first time in a while I can write about a finished item, rather than works in progress- hurrah! These are my ‘Royal Oak’ cushions and as they’ve been quite a long time in the development it’s great to see them out there in the wild at last.
The origins of the textured patterns were in this acorn motif. Developed for a still yet-to-be released project, it uses a combination of simple cabling, moss and knit stitches. It occurred to me that if the motif were to be repeated over a larger space such as a cushion cover, it would create a different effect.
The result reminds me of different things- sometimes the sort of multiple arched windows you see in cathedrals, sometimes honeycomb. I’d love to see the design made up in different colours too- I think natural ‘sheep’ shades would give a different effect again, bringing the texture even more to the fore.
Colour and yarn turned out to be quite a factor in this project. When I originally envisioned the cushions, I thought of them in earthy natural greens or browns. However, working with Knit Now on finding a yarn that had the crisp stitch definition needed, but that made this a reasonably priced project, proved quite a challenge. In the end we decided on Adriafil Stella Alpina (mine was supplied by Purl City Yarns)and, looking at all the colours available, these seemed the best for a slightly vintage, autumnal feel. The stitch definition on this yarn is beautifully crisp and for an affordable wool yarn, it has a lovely feel and depth of colour.
Further development on this pattern included the addition of an oak leaf motif to make a complimentary pair with the acorn. I used a series of single cables to achieve the curves of the leaf edge and oh! the headaches I had over perfecting and charting it, even though it’s not a particularly difficult design to actually knit.
I also tried using a circular method to knit these cushions, beginning with a seamless cast on and working across the patterned front and stocking stitch back simultaneously. I loved doing it this way, as rather than having a great big square of dull stocking stitch to plough through, you get half a round of chart following, then a whizz across the back and the project seems to grow in no time. The fact that there’s no seaming is another bonus- but I’m aware that for some that would be a problem. I’ve heard interesting debates between designers about seamed versus no-seams garments, with one side arguing in favour of the structure and stability provided by seams and the other preferring the ease and clean finish of seamless items. I can therefore understand that for some knitters, seams would be preferable on a cushion to keep its shape, so for that reason there are instructions included for a knit-flat version.
I know I’m biased, but I do think that the collection of patterns in this issue of Knit Now is a real class act (see them here on Ravelry) and urge you to go and check them out!
We’ve been a bit lonely this week as no walkies with our pals (little pal is sick with teethy stuff, poor lamb). It’s also been a bit wild in the weather department. Still, today was slightly milder so I was determined we’d get out and about.
Before lunch I filled the house with the heavenly smell of garlic and tomato, making the standby pasta/pizza/whatever sauce that will be a cornerstone of the Holy Eye Cookbook if I ever get around to writing with it. Must be over 15 years since my first boyfriend’s mother taught me to make it, and it just gets better.
Then off to Bowness on Windermere and a circular walk by Cockshott Point. Pretty views, with just enough sunshine to dapple the fells before low cloud moved in. A little too commercial and, well, civilised, for my taste (I like my nature a bit more natural), but P got some walking and boat/swan watching in and we bought a new folder of walks from the information point- we’ve nearly exhausted the South Lakes opportunities in the original book we got!
Back home and I made Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s gorgeous honey and almond cake (a prized clipping from The Guardian that’s already gaining the sticky spatter marks which signify a good recipe) before tackling the weird, deeply ridged squash that came in last week’s organic box. It was a complete bugger to peel and cube but roasted nicely with chilli seasoning and orange sweet peppers. We had it with goats cheese, bulghar wheat and that warm, nice-to-be-indoors feeling when an autumn night closes in and your family are all together.