Git ‘Er Done
August 1, 2006
I’m in a total flow state with the rocking chair cushions, wallowing in some dorked-out cushion-coverin’, fambly-neglectin’, upholsterizin’ good times. Before I started this little project, I stewed about how to make a cushion without having to get into the hardcore mechanics of cushion making. I didn’t want to be RESPONSIBLE for the structural INTEGRITY of my CUSHION–I just wanted it to look purty, OK y’all?
So I cast about for a likely base cushion. I went through every single home furnishings catalog that I had in the house. I studied the pillow department at Target. At the end of the day (literally–it was late and I was despairing), I discovered a stack of patio cushions SITTING ON THE DECK, just sitting there being annoying because they were all the time getting rained on and every time, I’m sitting down and GYAH YICK DAMMIT again with the WET CUSHIONS.
I drafted them immediately for screened porch rocking chair cushion duty, ending the tyranny of the damp khaki shorts. They looked promising as a core for my knitting project. Not too thick. Knife edge rather than the box edge that so often collapses when a girl sits on it. Sunbrella so they won’t mildew for at least two days. Sturdy ties. And, most important, they were THERE. I didn’t have to go FIND THEM or BUY THEM.
For the technically curious, the cushion is 18″ x 16″. I swatched to figger out the gauge. This is Tahki Cotton Classic, doubled, on a size 10 needle. It took an insane amount of yarn to make this: fourteen skeins. I don’t want to talk about what this cushion costs. Did Vermeer worry about paint costs? OK so maybe he did.
I cast on 77 stitches for the front edge of the top, knitted like a fiend for a couple of days, beginning decreases once I got halfway down the top (a decrease near each edge every inch or so), then cast off once the piece seemed slightly smaller than the cushion. I figured it would stretch once khaki shorts started sitting on it.
I wanted the back to be in one color so that the ends (a gruesome sight down one edge of the front) would be minimal. I picked up stitches along the front edge of the piece using the back color yarn, then knitted a boxy little texture pattern.
The plan is to thread some yarn through the purl bumps to see if it looks kind of decorative. But I reserve the right to take it out if it’s too dumb-looking.
Well, I finished the cushion panel and COULD NOT WAIT to sew it together. One edge made nice late-night mattress stitching. The edge with all the ends?
Kind of like that scene in The African Queen where Humphrey Bogart is dragging the boat through the Amazonian swamp. But if you pay attention to what the stitches are supposed to be doing–if you watch the V shapes and try to keep them aligned, the Big Dotty pattern shapes up passably.
This yucky corner, however, is not what I would call my finest hour. Ah, who cares?
Moving on . . .
As I knitted the top, and the bottom, I kept worrying about the ties. How do you make ties that are not the ooky Sunbrella fabric, but also not an inadequate crummy I-cord deal that will fail after you tie them three times?
Aw, you got it: a tie cozy.
This is six-stitch I-cord threaded over the ties. Weirdly stimulating. Just saying.
I Need Some Advice
Here’s where I really need some help. The opening at the back edge. It’s not really clear to me how best to seal up this little envelope. I’d like to be able to take the cover off every once in a while to clean it, but it doesn’t need to open very often. I put a row of yarnovers along the bottom side, figuring that they would be useful for some kind of fastening deal.
A long tie, whipstitched through the holes sort of like the repair a person makes on a dishcloth? The stitches in the Big Dotty part are loose enough that I could thread a cord through them with a big needle.
A bunch of ties, which would be fiddly to tie but kind of fringily decorative?
Buttons? Incredibly enough, last summer a little girl was selling bracelets she made, and I bought one: Eight buttons which completely do not match the cushion.
But they do have sentimental value at this point. And they have the virtue of BEING HERE. I didn’t have to go BUY them.
So close! Yet so far! The right solution to the back edge will make all the difference. Help meeeee!