“I just want more of her.” A wonderful piece on the late lamented food writer, Laurie Colwin.

What I Didn’t Do on My Summer Vacation

Dear Kay,
Remember when I came home from that trip to the mountains with BALES of stuff I’d knitted, DRIFTS of it, GIANT PILES of huge, ropelike yarn wrought into rectangles and sleeves and trapezoids?
I came home from the beach with this:
benchswatches.jpg
Three squares of Euroflax. Not even afghanalong-sized squares, sad to say. Just about killed me to crank even these out. I was way too distracted by Tropical Storm Alex, playing poker with eight year olds, and making sure Low Boy The Unruly Commode didn’t flap on me.
I’m searching for the right pattern for Big Daddy’s Piano Bench Cushion, and I could use some input. The two stitch patterns are from the Reader’s Digest Undigested Ginormous Compendium of Stitch Patterns; the stripes I kind of ripped off from the general Rowan trend toward random stripes.
benchswatches2.jpg
Here’s what the patterns look like in place on el bench. (I hope this bench appreciates all this heartache I’m pouring on it.)
Big Dot is the easiest slip stitch pattern in the universe, and Dash Dash Dash is equally painless. The Euroflax blocks out to make the smoothsheeniest fabric–I’m loving it. It’s stiff and weird to knit with. I keep wondering how they got that Shroud of Turin put together, what with this odd texture.
I want something really great for this cushion. I’m just not sure these are special enough. I do, however, want to finish this within eight years, so don’t go get that Debbie New book and suggest a 12-color intarsia portrait of Big Daddy or anything.
I’m going to go try some more ideas.
Love,
Ann
PS I’m thinking of doing different patterns on the two sides, to capture the many moods of–ah, hell, to keep from having to do TWO 15 x 36 pieces in one pattern.

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39 Comments

39 Comments

  1. Not the stripes. The other two, especially the Dashx3 look great in that setting.

  2. I vote for the dots and dashes. They almost look like tapestry on that bench.

  3. I love the Big Dot & Dash Dash Dash. Do one on each side. Variety is the spice of life…

  4. I especially like the dots.

  5. The stripes look sort of, well, un-piano-bench-y. The colors are great, and I think they work beautifully in either stitch pattern (or both!).

  6. I vote for the big dots. To me, they are the most visually interesting from a distance and close up. I agree that the colors are perfect.

  7. My six-year-old daughter just stopped by the computer and she says she likes the stripes the best. She went to get her sister, who is four, and without any prompting she also said she liked the stripes the best. So maybe now you know how to appeal to the under-ten crowd!

  8. I like the big dots the best, but the stripes might work if done cross-wise (i.e., vertically as the bench sits in your picture). I like the idea of doing different things on the two sides, and the stripes gives more of a different feel from the big dots than the Morse code does.

  9. i like the big dots, and i love the “vintage” feel of the colour scheme.
    (blush) i have just realized (after lurking around this site for the better part of a year) that the archives on the left sidebar all have their own stories… more knitting stories to read and share!

  10. i like the dots..and btw i found yarn from michigan that i ran short of an afghan for..you shall have your true michigan yarn after all! soon as i rip and reknit it…

  11. Big dots on the front, stripes on the back -that’s my vote. The big dots pattern is very cool and those colours are beautiful together.

  12. Yep
    For me it has got to be the dots!
    Do let us know how to do the pattern?

  13. Stripes. Not the common sentiment around this place as far as I can tell but that’s my pick.

  14. the honeycomb-looking pattern (i guess that’s ‘big dot’) looks fantastic!

  15. Big Dot. I love, love, love it, and it seems like the right scale to have enough, but not too much, visual impact from halfway across the room. Beautiful.
    Your blog is wonderful, I’ve been stopping by for a while, but this is the first time I’ve spoken. Hi there.

  16. I like the stripes but can see why you don’t feel “done” with the swatching. How about something from the Mighty Kaffe? You do have the Pattern Library, right? If not, I think you owe it to Big Daddy to go right out and buy yourself a copy.
    (Shopping. My specialty.)

  17. Circular honeycomb pattern is my vote! Very nice. It’s going to look gorgeous, whatever pattern you choose.

  18. I love the stripes the most.
    xox Aara

  19. Not special enough — those swatches are great! They go very well with the rug below, which I’m sure you thought of. I think the one on the right looks almost Liberty of London-y in the photo, so that’s my favorite. Will it have a foam insert or something? Most inspiring!

  20. love, love, love the variety of swatches….. i’m a bit too functional, and therefore visualize the piano seat cushion getting lots of wear and tear…. so, i vote for the dash, dash, dash, due to it’s textured appearance. had you considered some sort of chevron pattern? …. similar to a more updated needlepointed look, but knit?…. hope you’ll “log-cabin” edges of unused swatches for AFA!

  21. You guys are FABULOUS. Thanks for all the thoughts–I have one other idea I want to try, and will get to that asap so you can tell me what you think.
    Nothing like having such a sage Advisory Board on Matters Pertaining to Piano Bench Cushions.

  22. Big dots – no contest !

  23. Is it too late to belly up to the bar on this one? I like ALL of the patterns, but together i like the dots with the stripes. My design sense though is that what separates the top from the bottom is a swath of the red…to break it up, yet tie the two designs together. Just MHO.

  24. They’re all great but if I were going to choose two from the group to go together it would be the big dots and the stripes. I like how the curvy line movement in the big dots pattern echoes the line movement in the border of the rug. Plus I like Lis’s idea of having a red border to break up the two sides.

  25. I’ve snuck away from the in-laws to have a knit-blog fix. I am quite taken with all of your swatches. I think that Big Dot and Dashy-dash-dash are destined for one another! I think it would be great to make a long narrow pillow with stripes over there… maybe even go as far as a bolster if you’re up to it.
    I hear that the euroflax really softens up with washing and age. I will be keeping an eye on your pillows! I’d better sneak back. ;]

  26. Well, I’ll be in the minority, but I like the dashes best because they seem more of a texture than a pattern, and I’d prefer that for a bench cushion. I like big dots, too. Stripes don’t really move me in this context–I think they look too modern. Great colors!

  27. Ok, why just a ‘flat’ cushion? How a about a box cushion then you could have SIX diferent patterns – yeh I know but you haven’t seen my home:0)
    I’m with the under fives, if made to choose I’d go for the stripes first but would probably want to place the dots n dashes in the middle for the top in a kind of x marks the spot for the bottom kind of way and on the otherside would be the big dots for when rock and roll were played:0).

  28. I like the dashes best, the swatch on the right. It has a lovely texture that goes well with the rug below in scale. I think the circles could work if they were smaller. The stripes to me scream “contemporary” and I’m not sure how they go with the rug. Dashes! Dashes! Dashes!
    Plus, think about this: you could do the music for a favorite piece in Morse code!

  29. Here’s the thing: the Euroflax DOES get very soft with washing, and you have to wash it, to block it (and I know YOU won’t miss a blocking opportunity). I’m afeerd (why am I speaking like Walter whats-his-name–the elderly cook/housekeeper/uncle on My Three Sons?) the fabric will be too soft. Could you mix in a little Cotton Glace for sturdiness? Surely to god it comes in shades that would complement the ones you’ve chosen.
    As for pattern, I love the dashes and the dots and agree with the view that the stripes are too mod for the rug. And it’s all about the rug, no?
    Excellent swatching! xxo Kay

  30. Tiffany and Kay–When I blocked the swatches, I simply soaked them in cold water, then pinned them. They dried to the same kind of stiffness that the yarn has on the skein. I like that stiffness, and because these are going to be cushions, I’m thinking I won’t be washing them much. Do you think over time the fabric will get too wobbly?
    I am subjecting my swatches to a sit test right now; early results (a day’s worth of me sitting on them) shows that they get rilly, rilly flat, so texture stitches aren’t going to be textured for long. More experimenting to come.

  31. I really like the stripes. Very tailored and nice. So stripes get one vote. I don’t really love either of the other two. To be honest. And furthermore it would be even easier if we could see more of the room…ie furniture, drapes. But I shoudl warn you that I’m having a very “Laurie” (from Trading Spaces) day.

  32. I just love the big dots, but also find myself drawn to the dashes. Some how the separation of the dashes by the grey yarn makes it a lovely complement to the rug underneath. The dots and stripes scream the 70s to me, which could be good or bad, depending on your feelings about the 70s.

  33. Definitely the Dots and Dashes – but add a great border.

  34. Are you doing a squarish cushion? (What I mean is will it be foam or something like that with sides? If so, I’d use big dots on the top and bottom, stripes going vertically on the sides and a cool i-cord edging. I am all about i-cord edging since making my silly tea cups!

  35. Oh- the dots are lovely. That pattern would look so pretty with your carpet.

  36. Can anyone send me the stitch pattern for the big dots? I haven’t seen it before and love it!
    PS You could do the two patterns one to a side, and then do a 2″ side of stripe for a non knife edge effect. But it is more work.

  37. How about the big dots log cabinned by the stripes? I also think you’re going to have to do a lining of something that won’t slide around on the bench or cut a smaller piece of that thin non-slip foam you can buy for area rugs to put under the cushion. You can always remove it for Play-Like-Jerry Lee Lewis nites.
    xo, Cristina

  38. Those are some fine-lookin’ squares, Madame.
    Dots and dashes. Yep, definitely.

  39. Wow, those squares look beautiful, and I like the dots too. And what a fun idea for a project! I have an old bathroom stool for a piano bench, so I’m jealous of your bench AND your beautiful cushion to be. I will have to live vicariously through your Piano Bench Adventures.