Friday 5 January 2018

Backtrack Cushion Knitting Pattern

My companion, Elinor Gotland, turned up again last Tuesday and wished me a Happy New Year.
'You look rough, Beaut. Big party, was it?'
'I stayed home, actually. Would have gone to bed at midnight, only once the fireworks started, the dog went into meltdown and had to be hugged under a blanket til two in the morning.'
'Same social whirl here, then. Ooo, this is new.'
Elinor had settled herself into an armchair and was running a critical hoof over the fabric of my new cushion cover. She frowned. 'Not quite new. I'd guess Christmas knitting with recycled yarn?'
'Got it in one, Elinor. Cup of tea?'
'Don't mind if I do. Nice to be back, Beaut. Always very restful here, if a bit dull. Pass me a book to read, would you?'
By the time I'd boiled the kettle, she was fast asleep. Despite the yarn being a little pilled and felted, I think my new cushion was proved fit for purpose.

The wool was originally handspun from the fourth fleece I ever bought, which was a particularly soft Jacob. I well remember spending ages on my knees sorting out the dark brown and the white sections from the mixed shades and then dyeing the white yarn with daffodils. My Mum died last year and while my sister and I were clearing out her house, I couldn't quite decide whether the Jacob cardigan I knitted for her should go on the chuck or the charity pile. In the end, I brought it home and unravelled it back into balls. The spinning was much too low in twist, felting in the wash is probably what has held the yarn together. Though it is uneven, the thickness averages out around worsted weight or a heavy double knitting yarn.

Backtrack Cushion Knitting Pattern


4.5mm circular needle 80cm cord
a 4.5mm straight needle
tapestry needle to weave in ends
50cm closed end zip in colour to match your choice of yarn B
sewing needle and matching thread to set zip.
Brown (B) 120g approx 240m
Variegated (V) 90g approx 180m
Yellow (Y) 50g approx 100m
Green (G) 50g approx 100m

Note - The dimensions of my final cushion are 50cm by 55cm. If you prefer a square cushion, or you happen to have a 50cm square cushion pad to fill the cover with, knit one less pattern repeat and two fewer plain rounds of brown at both the top and bottom.

In stocking stitch 10cm square is 17 stitches and 25 rows


Cast on 160 stitches in B.
Join to work in the round, placing marker. Knit 10 rounds of stocking stitch. (8 for square cushion)

Pattern seen from wrong side
Note - once you have slipped the indicated stitches, keep the float of working yarn loose behind them when you start to knit the next stitch - I put my finger on the right needle behind the slipped stitches and bring the working yarn out behind it to make sure the floating yarn is slack. 
Once the knitting is washed and blocked, short, tight floats would make the fabric pucker instead of opening out flat to display the ovals.

Pattern Rounds
1 Knit all stitches in V
2 As round 1
3 Change to B *slip 2 stitches, knit 8* repeat to end of round
4 Change to Y slip 3 *knit 6, slip 4* repeat to last 7 stitches, knit 6 and slip 1
5 In Y knit as round 4
6 In B knit as round 3
As round 1
As round 1
9 Change to B knit 5 *slip 2, knit 8* repeat to last 3 stitches and knit 3
10 Change to G knit 4 *slip 4, knit 6* repeat to last 6 stitches, slip 4, knit 2
11 In G knit as Round 10
12 In B knit as Round 9

Slip stitch pattern at round 4

pattern mismatch along line of round marker
Note - At the round marker, a line of slightly disjointed ovals will form. I couldn't get my head round managing a jogless join and I decided it didn't really notice, being on the edge of the cushion. 

Repeat pattern rounds 1-12 a total of fourteen times. (13 for square cushion)

Change to B and knit 6 rounds. (4 for square cushion)

Flip the knitting so that the right side faces inwards. Using a straight 4.5mm needle, make a three needle bind off to close the top edge of the cushion. This is a helpful video tutorial. 

Weave in loose ends of yarn with a tapestry needle.Turn the cushion right side out.
Wash and block the fabric, pinning the width at 50cm.

Lay the cushion cover out flat. At the open end, pin the zip parallel to the bottom edge, with its right side facing the right side of the knitting and sew it to the front layer of the cushion. Flip the zip so its right side is facing you and turn in the bottom edge of the back layer of the cushion to match the front. Bend the fabric on the other side of the zip inward against the folded hem on the back of the cushion and fiddle in a couple of pins to hold it while you unzip the zip and then pin the loose side neatly against the fold at the back of the cushion before sewing it on. Put a cushion pad inside and zip it up.

'You like the cushion, Elinor?'
My companion woke up with a start and scrabbled to switch on her phone.
'Ych y fi, this tea's gone cold. Make us another one and put a drop of sloe gin in it, there's a love.'
From the kitchen, I could hear a flurry of text alerts arriving. 
'Here's your tea plus additives. Aren't you detoxing this January?' I peered over her shoulder. 'Are those messages about auditions for your next role on stage or screen?'
'No Beaut. This year I am resolved to have a bit more fun. Enjoy the good things. Spend time with old friends.'
I beamed at her.
'Oh, I am glad. I was thinking of going into Cardiff shopping tomorrow.'
Elinor tapped away on her phone. She looked up.
'Cracking. You can pick me up a box of patisserie, I've invited some chums to tea.'


  1. Welcome back. Elinor is her usual, hmm. :) Helen

  2. Thanks :) It's great to be getting back to normal.

  3. I'm so glad you're back. I've been checking your blog since last summer for a new post.

    1. Thanks. The dye garden still needs clearing, but I hope to have it ready for a new start in Spring :)

  4. Lovely to have you back xx
    Helen, Kent