Frangipani Pin Cushion






I heard someone mention Christmas the other day. “I’ve started  knitting my presents,” said she. What a good idea. I wonder what she’s going to make, this sensible knitter who’s planning so far ahead. It makes sense to knit in summer for winter and in winter for the Christmas holidays but it never works out that way. I’m not usually so well organized. So this year I’m starting early, too.

Woollen gifts seem out of place for our summer Christmas so I though this little hint of the tropics would suit us better and possibly cheer up the dark months for northerners.

A little bird told me recently that intarsia is making a comeback. I hope so. I love the idea of knitting a picture. If you’ve never tried it, or it’s been a long time, you can get your feet wet with simple little motifs like this. Blue Sky Cotton is ideal for intarsia, since its stitch definition is quite forgiving. It’s one of the loveliest cottons around, comfortingly soft, a pleasure to knit and best of all, it comes in a range of stunning colours that work together beautifully.

One thing I’ve learned about intarsia is that it’s easier to work with long ends of yarn than bobbins. Tangles are unavoidable but you can easily pull ends of yarn through the clump and not have to bother with separating the bobbins, which can be frustrating.

Here’s the pattern for this, the first of my gifts. It doesn’t take long. You can complete the pieces in an evening.

Happy knitting!


Blue Sky Alpaca Dyed Cotton; 110g; 137metres/150 yds, 1 hank ea 639-Wasabi and 617-Lotus [2 hanks will make 2 pin cushions]
Size 4.5mm needles
Size 3.5mm crochet hook
Organic wool fibre for filling
2 buttons (optional)

16sts/24rows per 10cm/4”

13.5 x 13.5 x 5cm; 5.25 x5.25 x 2 inches 


Cut 5 lengths of A and five lengths of B, each approx 150cm[60″] in length. 
With A, cast on 23 sts in A. Work chart (below), beginning with purl row. Work flower intarsia style, introducing cut lengths of A or B as needed. Twist the thread around each other when changing colours.





With A, cast on 8 sts. Purl 1 row. *With B, work 2 rows stst. With A, work 2 rows stst.
Continue in stripe pattern from *, carrying yarns along side of work, until piece measures 18cm ending with 1 row in A. Bind off in A.

With A, cast on 23 sts. 
Working stripe pattern as for Side Panel, work 27 rows. Bind off. 




Sew in ends of intarsia and stripes.
Sew cast on edge of Side Panel to Bind off edge (or graft)
Pin one long edge of Side Panel to 4 sides of Striped Base. Sew on WS using a whip stitch, or crochet together on RS.
Fill with fibre.



Pin edges of Top Side with flower to Side Panel. Add more fibre filling if necessary.

Sew using a whip stitch or crochet.





Crochet 2 small circles, one each in A and B as follows:

Chain 3. Join in a ring by inserting the hook to the first chain, making a slip stitch circle. 
Work 8 single crochets into the circle.



Sew the two crochet circles, one at centre of striped base, and one at centre of flower, joining with thread if desired to give a cushioned effect.



8 Responses to “Frangipani Pin Cushion”

  1. Kate Bruning Says:

    Gorgeous and I just checked out the cottons – what gorgeous colours and very much like what I am imagining for summer vests for the boys.

  2. Leslie Says:

    Oooh, that’s lovely.

    Just a thought, you might consider emery powder for your pin cushions as it keeps your needles sharp and rust free. I use it in all my pin cushions now, it adds some weight too.

  3. ssk Says:

    Emery powder sounds great! You’d need to make a cloth lining to contain the powder, then insert it inside the knitted cover.

  4. LauraRose Says:

    Cute! I’ll have to look up emery powder and “frangipani” though.

  5. ina and gumby Says:

    mel … isssss soooo cute!!!! … happy days …

  6. Pinktulipza Says:

    Hi, what a lovely pincushion! Thanks so much for sharing your pattern! Just what I have been looking for. I am making some small items for the church fete and this is perfect!

  7. Diane Says:

    Thanks for sharing this pattern. I would like to ask a question though – seeing the top and bottom squares measure 13.5 x 13.5, that means a total edge measurement right round of 54cm – why do you say to only knit the side panel to a length of 18cm??? That means you are trying to sew a 13.5cm edge to only 4.5cm of the side panel which would force the finished article to be more like a ball. In your pics the pin cushion still looks like a flattish square.

  8. Mel Says:

    Hi Diane,

    Thank you for pointing that out!
    The side panel should stretch around the four sides of the square, lightly stretched.

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