A few months ago my mother asked me to knit a cover for her rocking chair. She had seen a woven one on a crafts stall in the local market, and she thought I could knit something similar. At the time I was planning to knit a blanket in chunky wool in a pattern that I have seen somewhere - a blanket (or scarf) knitted sideways each row in a different colour and with the ends tied in a fringe. It would do away with the need to fasten ends, not always easy to hide in chunky wool. So I set to work by looking at the wool I had.
The colours I had planned for my blanket were not to my mother's taste, so I ended up with the Icelandic or Icelandic type wools left over from my Modern Throw. (I haven't forgotten about my Modern Throw. I find it frustrating too that I have not been able to finish it. I'm waiting to get the use of my spare room back, so that I can lay the blocks out in a pleasing pattern before I start joining them.) In the end I left out the whites because I thought they would be impracticable in a cover that was likely to get heavy use.
But there wasn't enough wool left, so I ended up buying more. I spent some time staring at the wool shelves in John Lewis. I wanted a self striping yarn to add some interest. Rowan Colourscape was too colourful to fit in with my grey colour scheme, and too expensive. I chose Patons Shadow Tweed - about 50% wool 50% acrylic. It was single ply and pleasant to work with. My only complaint about it was that the dark sections were too dark and not obvious from balls on the shelf, nor could I see a pattern leaflet with the yarn knitted up. The colour sequences were also a lot longer than I had wanted. I have seen since other balls where the dark bits show more clearly. There is also a little bit of viscose in it in the form of colourful loose threads woven in here and there.
Then I added Rowan wools. I had bought a ball of Cocoon in a charity shop earlier, and I knew how lovely it was to the touch - like unbaked dough. So I bought one more in a greyish colour. I also wanted a lighter shade, and I chose Rowan British Sheepbreeds Chunky Undyed, and it was very pleasant too. It was thinner than the others so I added a strand of the light grey Jaeger Matchmaker 4 ply wool from a charity shop. I am surprised by how much I like these two Rowan yarns. I would be very happy to knit more with either. Earlier I had dismissed the Sheepbreeds yarns as old fashioned, but they feel so unexpectedly nice. Cocoon I thought of as a chunky and therefore not interesting yarn.
I wanted a slipstitch pattern to add bulk and I found it in Montse Stanley's Knitting, woven check or hopscotch stitch. It is so simple, slip every other stitch on the knit row and purl the next row. I wanted to make both edges the same, so I did a crochet provisional cast on for the sideways edge, and then the pattern stitch. It worked well, with long rows, changing colours as I thought best. It was when I got to the middle that it got interesting, because I wanted the colours to be symmetrical from the centre. The Shadow Tweed was worst, and I had to start from the right place in a new ball. I am happy with how it worked out, it is reasonably OK.
Then I did a crochet cast off on both long sides, and turned my attention to the fringe. This is the part that I am unhappy with. I did a moss stitch at the beginning and end of each row, and it was too high next to the slip stitch pattern, so the edges flared. I wanted an even edge, but this was the wrong way to go about it. Doing the fringe helped to some degree, but it is still far from perfect. As I had used the same yarn for several rows I had to add more lengths of yarn to the fringe. It looks untidy. Although all the yarns were new some had curls, and it is not so attractive.
On the whole I am pleased with it. The yarns are nice, and it has a pleasant comfortable feel to it. As a project it worked out, except for the moss stitch sides. If I did it again I would buy all the wool, so I would be able to plan the colours more carefully.
My mother says that it is too nice for the rocking chair, and she uses it as a shawl (or stole?). This view is the cover on an ordinary kitchen chair, as a rocking chair is not to hand in my flat.
Rocking chair cover C11