Quick Cushion Makeover (aka The day I turned into my mother)

I've been watching my mother gradually turn into my nan for the last few years. I often laughed about it, until someone pointed out that if it's a generational thing, I would soon be laughing on the other side of my (her) face. Before you start saying how lovely my mother is, that I should be thankful to be like her etc, I have to tell you that I'm not complaining about it as much as making an observation.

When I was a child, I often came home to find rooms redecorated, new curtains made, all the soft furnishings replaced and so on. A few days ago I came home from the afternoon school-run, walked into the kitchen, looked at the cushions on the chairs and had to change them. Immediately. Within ten minutes I'd rummaged through a box of remnants my mother gave me, set up the sewing machine and started sewing. I sat down to dinner that night with a set of (five) new cushion covers, and the realisation that it really is happening - I'm finally turning into my mother. I text her...

Having finished them *just* in time to dish up our meal, I didn't get any pictures before they were sat on and creased, but I can hardly post this without a picture and this gives you a general idea.

They are very basic, but as I'm not exactly an expert sewist I'm pretty pleased with them. I will admit that I had a little help from this Craftsy ebook. If you want a (free) copy, click on the image below to go to the download page.

Of course, my budget (free!) cushion make-over meant that the new covers clashed with the table-cloth so I had to buy a new one of those too. It almost feels like a new room (and EXACTLY the sort of thing Mum would do!). So come on, 'fess up - who are you turning into, and why?

Rock Those Socks Part 1: Stitches, sizing and knitting the foot

This post is part of the Rock Those Socks Make-along. Over the next month I'll be posting weekly instalments of a simple toe-up sock pattern. The pattern is suitable for knitters who can knit in-the-round, and have a fundamental understanding of sock construction. You may find the earlier series on De-mystifying Toe-Up Socks helpful if you haven't made toe-up socks before.

This instalment will take you from casting on at the toe to knitting the foot using the chevron stitch pattern - it is the longest post in the series but stick with it. Once you get to grips with this part, the rest is easy.

Rock Those Socks Make-along: Sizing, knitting the foot, and establishing the stitch pattern using  Scheepjes Invicta

While I'm sharing the knitting pattern, Maria will be publishing instructions on how to make crochet slipper-socks. If you'd like to join us, by making either project (or both), simply tag your WIPs with #rockthosesocksmal when posting on social media, or join the discussion on the Ravelry group. If you missed it, the post with all kinds of introductory information including the list of materials, can be found here.

UPDATED: I did a live Periscope broadcast including some tips for casting on and sizing. The broadcast will be available to replay until 13:00 BST on Thursday 15th October. Click here to view online or use the Periscope app - my username is @Sarah_Knight - note that you will need a Twitter account to log into Periscope, more info here

The stitch pattern:

The stitch pattern I've chosen is a simple and subtle chevron, worked over eight stitches. It's unisex and works well with this yarn, adding just enough interest without fighting the colours. If making the standard size (64 stitches per round) it repeats exactly four times across the top of the foot, and eight times around the leg. The Chevron pattern is worked as follows: 

If you prefer written instructions, the brackets are repeated across the patterned area
Pattern round 1: (P1, k3)  
Pattern round 2: (K1, p1, k5, p1) 
Pattern round 3: (K2, p1, k3, p1, k1) 
Pattern round 4: (K3, p1, k1, p1, k2) 

Extreme close-up of the Chevron Stitch sock, knit on 2.5mm needles using Invicta Colour

The size (and how to change it): 

When you buy socks from a shop, one size fits a wide range of sizes as there is negative ease (ie they stretch). The same is true of hand-knit socks and a bit of negative ease will help them to fit snugly, but we don't want to stretch them too much so that they wear through quickly!

I've written this unisex pattern for an average sized 22 cm foot circumference. Using 2.5mm needles, the sock circumference  is 19 cm on the needles when knit at a gauge of 15 sts and 17 rows to 5 x 5 cm in stocking stitch. You can either change the size by altering the needle size, or altering the number of stitches you use. If you want your socks to fit, it is important to measure your foot and ankle circumference and to make a swatch before you start.  Note that the more your sock has to stretch (and it will stretch quite a lot if it needs to), the shorter it will be, so you will need to add extra length to get a good fit over a wider foot, although you may not need to adjust the number of stitches. Of course, the ideal thing is to try it on as you go!

If using the chevron stitch, you will need to work in multiples of 8 sts. In the illustration below Sock (A) is the size as written, and Sock (B) is a smaller custom size with 56 sts per round. For the leg, that equates to seven whole repeats of the chevron pattern. But the pattern is worked on the top of the foot only (the sole is plain for comfort and to fit better in a shoe) and 28 is not divisible by 8. So for sock (B), you might consider knitting three repeats of the pattern (24 sts), with two plain stitches on either side of the patterned section of the foot. Then simply continue the pattern around the leg at the relevant point, placing a stitch marker at the start of the first pattern repeat, so you know where to start each new pattern round.

If you wish to make a totally custom size (eg for a child, as someone asked already) you can still use the same construction method and knit along with us, but you will need to calculate your own number of stitches for the cast on, the toe, and the length. If you haven't resized a pattern before, you may prefer to knit your socks plain (all stocking stitch) or to use a simple rib, if you don't want to work out how to fit the chevron stitch onto the socks.

Stitches / Techniques:

- JMCO / Judy's Magic Cast On (previous tutorial here)
- K = knit
- P = purl
- M1l = make 1 left 
- M1r = make 1 right
Find video tutorials at knittinghelp.com if you're not familiar with these increases. 


1. Using JMCO, cast on 32 stitches (16 on each needle - the first needle will be the top part of the foot / front of leg and the second needle will be the sole of foot / back of leg)
2. Knit one round, ensuring to work into the back of stitches on the second needle only (to untwist)
3. Work the toe shaping as follows, until you have 64 stitches (32 on each needle) or until the toe is the required size, which should be :
  • Round 1: (K1, m1l, knit to the last st on the needle, m1r, k1) twice
  • Round 2: Knit
  • Repeat 1 and 2 until the toe is the correct number of stitches, ending after round 2
4. With the required number of stitches, work the foot as follows:
  • Needle 1 (top of foot): work in Chervron stitch as per stitch pattern above
  • Needle 2 (sole): knit
  • Continue in this way until the sock measures approximately 5 cm less than the total length of the foot they are intended for (there's more about 'sock maths' in my earlier tutorial) unless you need to knit extra length to accommodate a wider foot (as noted above)
COMING NEXT WEEK: Inserting the afterthought heel place-holder and working the pattern onto the leg. It's a much shorter post than this one, I promise! 


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