Double rainbow

One of the many books I have out on, ahem, extended loan from the library where I work is The Gentle Art of Knitting by Jane Brocket. It is a great book, packed full of great patterns and, crucially, lovely photographs. Each pattern comes with a bit of background story on the inspiration and design behind it, and is written with Jane’s trademark familiarity and friendliness which you can also find on her blog. Jane is so nice that, when I emailed her recently with an absolutely bonkers question about an idiot-proof – and rather simple – pattern from the book, she didn’t just ignore my email, or even, with an eye-roll, delete it. No, she replied to me very kindly. Sorry about that, Jane. And thanks!

When I first got my hands on ‘The Gentle Art of Knitting’, I immediately flicked through the pages to find out what I wanted to knit first. It is so jam-packed with loveliness that I found myself, on every other page, saying “I want to make that”, “and that”, “and that”, but, truth be told, it was when I got to this page that I stopped, put the book down and said “I REALLY want to make THAT!”

On a trip to New York last year I had come very close to buying a similar cushion; rainbow-coloured, with black stripes and a black button in the middle. I loved it, but it was just a bit too…flea-markety to justify taking home on a plane with me. So here was my chance to make my own!

This pattern is a lot of fun, and deceptively simple to knit, too. You knit the cushion not from the middle out, but round, like a clock, working in little steps up and down each coloured panel. It’s all worked in garter stitch, and involves simply knitting, then turning, then knitting back down each row. What could be easier! Plus, it’s great for using up those oddments of wool you have left at the end of projects. I didn’t have to buy any wool to complete my double-sided cushion, and when I ran out of the pink I was using, so just used another I had in my stash. I really like the effect, and that it’s not too perfect.

This is a great project to do while sitting in front of the TV, as it doesn’t require too much concentration. And if you decide you’ve had enough after knitting one side, or have run out of certain wool colours, you could always knit the other side in a single colour – or even cut out a circular piece of fabric to back it instead. The possibilities are endless! These cushions could easily take over your living room if you let them. But you want your guests to be comfortable, right!? So put The Gentle Art of Knitting on your Christmas list and get looking through your wool stash for inspiration. I bet you’ll find it.

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