Pair of Big Pillows Using Rowan Big Wool
These cozy pillow covers make your home feel even more homey! Knit both of these pillow covers using one free pattern and one bundle of chunky-weight yarn—a total of six skeins for two, cuddly pillows.
First we knit the color-blocked pillow cover using four colors of a chunky-weight yarn held single. Knit flat in two easy pieces of two colors each, we achieved the graphic effect of intarsia without the need to carry two balls of yarn!
Next, using the yarn left over from our first pillow, we knit a pillow cover featuring four bands of marled color! Knit in the round, we picked a contrasting main color, then—using the yarn remnants—held two colors together as the scrap yarn lasted. The result is like the layered walls of a canyon.
These pillows are quick, fun knits in Rowan Big Wool—a woolly mammoth of a yarn that makes simple stitch patterns really pop! Spun from 100% merino wool, this yarn’s bulk belies an easy-to-work-with softy that knits up any project in a jiff.
Big Color Blocked Pillow
Pillow Cover: Approx. 15 x 15"/38 x 38cm square, after seaming; to fit 16"/41cm square pillow form with a little stretching.
Pillow Cover: Approx. 17 x 17"/43 x 43 cm square, after seaming; to fit 18"/46cm square pillow form with a little stretching.
Big Color Blocked Pillow
4 skeins Rowan Big Wool (87 yds/80m each); 1 skein each in 4 colors.
Or approx. 60 yds/55m each in 4 colors of an equivalent super-bulky weight yarn.
Sample shown in colors 48 Linen, 61 Concrete, 56 glum, 7 Smoky.
2 skeins Rowan Big Wool (87 yds/80m each) in main color (MC), plus 37 yds/34m each in 4 contrasting colors (CC), held double throughout.
Note: We used remainder bits from our Big Color-Blocked Pillow.
Or approx. 50 yds/46m in MC and 37 yds/34m each in 4 contrasting colors of an equivalent super-bulky weight yarn.
Sample shown in colors 48 Linen, 61 Concrete, 56 glum, 7 Smoky, 64 Prize.
Big Color Blocked Pillow version
US 13 (9mm) needles, or size to obtain gauge.
16"/41cm square pillow form.
Marled Pillow version
US 17 (12-12.75mm) 24"/60cm needle, or size to obtain gauge.
1 stitch marker.
18"/46cm square pillow form.
For both: Large darning needle to finish.
Color-blocked version: Approx. 10 sts/14 rows = 4"/10cm with yarn held single in stockinette stitch, after blocking.
Marled version: Approx. 7 sts/10 rounds = 4"/10cm with yarn held double in stockinette stitch, after blocking.
The Free Pattern
See "The Details" for size, yarn, needle, and gauge information.
RS = right side; St(s) = stitch(es); WS = wrong side.
Pillow cover is made from two color-blocked pieces. Both pieces will be seamed, then wrapped around front and back of pillow, centering seams so each side of pillow will show all four colors.
With Color A and using cable cast-on method, leaving a 18"/46cm tail for seaming, cast on 40 sts.
Beginning with a knit row, work 26 rows in stockinette stitch (knit on RS, purl on WS), ending with a WS row. Cut yarn leaving an 8"/20cm tail.
Leaving an 8"/20cm tail to weave in later, change to Color C and work 26 rows in stockinette stitch.
Bind off. Cut yarn, leaving a 18"/46cm tail for seaming.
Repeat as for first piece, beginning with Color B and ending with Color D.
Soak pieces for 20 minutes in tepid water with no-rinse wool soap. Gently squeeze out as much water as possible. Roll in towel and squeeze out more moisture, or place in zippered pillowcase and run through spin-only cycle in washing machine. Lay each piece flat on moisture-safe blocking surface. Pin each piece to 15"/38cm square. Allow to dry thoroughly.
Note: Washable wools have a tendency to slither out of shape when damp. You may need to pin edges first to desired dimensions and then nudge and ‘smoosh’ fabric back into shape. It will regain its resilience when dry.
Place first and second piece side by side with cast-on edges at bottom and RS facing you. Using tails and darning needle, seam together along one edge using mattress stitch, taking a 1-st seam allowance. Repeat seaming with second side edge forming a tube. Leave cast-on and bound-off ends open.
Rotate ‘tube’ halfway so that seams are centered on front and back and all four colors show on each side of pillow. Using tails from cast-on ends, working from center color change to side using matching color, seam cast-on ends taking a 1-row seam allowance (just above cast-on). Turn inside out and weave in all but bind-off tails. Turn right side out and insert pillow form; using tails from bound-off edges, seam as for cast-on edge. Bury tail to inside of pillow cover, bring to outside several inches away, clip close and stretch cover to pop tail to inside.
Yarn is held double throughout; MC is constant while second color (CC) changes. We started with the darkest CC and shaded up to end with lightest.
With MC and one CC held together and using cable cast-on method, cast on 52 sts, leaving a 1-yd/1m tail for seaming. Do not join in the round yet.
Knit 1 row. Join in round, placing marker to designate beginning of round (on following rounds, slip marker as you come to it).
Knit every round until you have 8"/20cm of first CC remaining to weave in later.
Note: Don’t worry if you end mid-round; the effect should be rather random.
Add in next CC, leaving an 8"/20cm tail, and continue knitting every round, bringing in next CC wherever you run out of prior CC. Continue until piece measures approx. 15"/38 cm, or until you have just enough yarn left to complete a round to marker and bind off, ending at marker.
Note: If you run out of CC yarn before you finish, you can continue with 2 strands of MC held together.
Bind off all stitches knitwise.
Block as for color-blocked version; flatten ‘tube’ lining up cast-on/bind-off tails at one side and pin to 15"/38cm square. Allow to dry thoroughly.
With cast-on/bind-off tails still aligned, use one strand of cast-on tails and mattress stitch to seam across cast-on edge, taking a 1-st seam allowance. Turn pillow cover to wrong side and weave in all tails except one long tail from bind-off end. Turn right side out, insert pillow form, and complete final seam as first seam. Bury final tail to inside of pillow cover as for color-blocked version.
Free digital Pair of Big Pillows pattern (Download).