Independence Pillow – Part 1

I’m delighted to return with the summer edition of the Progressive Needles Knit Along debuting our new project, Independence Pillow.  As with all of the KALs, we will combine knitting education and fun with prizes generously supplied by our sponsor, Skacel.  Take a break from the heat and knit this great looking pillow that is chock full of essential knitting techniques.

We begin Independence Pillow with the pillow front.  I have chosen a cable design to grace the front of the pillow.  Cables are classic works of knitting wonder that deceive the uninitiated with their simple construction.  Slip a few stitches onto a cable needle and hold them to the front or the back of the work – voila, cable magic!  What could be simpler?

Actually, cables CAN be made simpler by eliminating the need for the cable needle.  Having been stranded numerous times without a cable needle, I have resorted to using paper clips, bobby pins, toothpicks or whatever I could get my hands on to continue cabling.  It just made sense to explore cabling without a cable needle.  Once I got over the initial fear of live stitches dangling from my work, I was thrilled with the speed I gained.  I ended my dependence on the cable needle and the “Independence” Pillow was born!  I encourage you to watch my video, Cables without a Cable Needle, to explore this slick technique.  First time cablers may benefit from the security of a cable needle which is demonstrated in the Cables video.  Whether you choose to use a cable needle or not, the beautiful outcome is the same.

I have a few tips to share before the knitting begins.  Whenever I cast on for a project that later requires seaming, I leave a long tail at both my cast on and bind off edge.  I use these tails at the conclusion of the project to seam the work.  This trick makes for one less end to weave and provides a sturdier seam.  I recommend leaving the tail 3 times the finished seam length to safely allow enough yarn for the seaming.  In this project, leaving a 36″ tail is more than enough yarn for our future seam.

As always, be sure to check your gauge.  The pillow is knit with a smaller needle than recommended by the yarn to provide a dense fabric that will fit snugly over the pillow form.

Click here for a list of KAL retail suppliers.

  • 2 skeins Simpliworsted, 55% Merino Superwash/28% Acrylic/17% Nylon, 100g/140 yards each
  • US #8 (5mm) or size necessary to achieve desired gauge
  • Cable needle
  • 12” square pillow form
  • 3 buttons, approximately 1”


4.5 stitches = 1 inch in stockinette.

Finished knitted measurements = 11 ½” x 11 ½”.

C4B – slip next 2 stitches onto cable needle and hold in back of work, knit next 2 stitches from left hand needle, then knit 2 stitches from cable needle.  See Cables Video

C4F – slip next 2 stitches onto cable needle and hold in front of work, knit next 2 stitches from left hand needle, then knit 2 stitches from cable needle. See Cables Video

Click here to download printable version

To increase speed, try working the cables below without a cable needle.  See Cables Without a Cable Needle Video


Cast on 62 stitches using Long Tail cast on.  See Long Tail Cast On Video

Row 1. (RS)  Knit.

Row 2.  Purl.

Row 3.  K1, *k2, C4B; repeat from * to last stitch, k1.

Row 4.  Purl.

Row 5.  Knit.

Row 6.  Purl.

Row 7.  K1, *C4F, k2; repeat from * to last stitch, k1.

Row 8.  Purl.


Work above rows 9 times or until Front measures approximately 11 ½” from cast on edge.

Bind off.

Happy knitting!

©2012 Michelle Hunter



23 thoughts on “Independence Pillow – Part 1

  1. The October KAL will be a fun cowl that I think your shop will have lots of fun knitting. It is suitable for knitters of all levels and is full of great tips and techniques.

  2. Joined the KAL to see how this works, as we’d like to do the Fall KAL in the shop (Lost Art Yarn Shoppe)! After months of saying I could learn how to cable without a needle anytime, and not ever DOING IT, I was pleased to learn the technique easily and quickly with the excellent video instructions! Thanks, Michelle! I’m knitting a red pillow for my mom’s living room.

  3. You can try this technique on any size cable. I am knitting a project with 8 stitch cables and I am not using a cable needle. It is a bit more difficult with a wider cable and especially if you are a firm knitter. Give it a try and see what you think. You may resurrect that sweater project after all!

  4. For Heaven’s sakes! I had my doubts when I watched the video, but when I put the technique to work, it was amazing how easy it was to do, and how much faster that row went! I am hooked on this one! Here’s a question: Can we use this with cables that are 6 stitches wide?? I know you felt 4, but, I have this sweater that is currently sleeping(!). It has 25 cables across the front (and back!) and the cables are 6 stitches wide. I am using a size 6 needle. Thanks so much for sharing this great skill! Loving the KAL!

  5. Im behind here…. Since I just discovered this. Do I need to find a participating store to get this kit? I am totally new to these knit alongs… I am in Grand Blanc, Michigan.

  6. Who doesn’t want to knit faster?!? I’m happy to help you on your knitted gift mission. It’s nice to knit with you you again!

  7. Loves using the cable without a cable needle technique! Went so much faster and was less cumbersome. Ready for the next step & thinking what great gifts these pillows could be!!

  8. Wonderful news that you love the new cable technique. I have a new KAL every quarter. The next one will be in October and it’s a fun one!

  9. Ready with the front, ready for the next step! Let me send you a big hug for teaching me to work the cables without a cable-needle – I’m almost a pro! And my pillow is looking very nice from a delicate light blue yarn. It is so much fun! This is the first time I’m doing a KAL, but I hope it will be regular in the future. Do you have a KAL in every month? Waiting for the next clues!

  10. Thank you so much for sharing your story! You mother sounds like a fabulous woman who loves the thrill of learning something new. I aspire to be just like her!

  11. This KAL has gotten my sister and mother in PA and me in Ohio knitting together. My 87 year old Mom has decided that with the help of your on line videos (and sometime side by side help from my sister) that she can indeed learn a new technique. Thanks for giving us a new way to stay “knit together”!

  12. I had been using a different technique for knitting cables without a needle but I LOVE this one it’s great. @ Nicole go for it this is a great way to learn new things.

  13. We would love to have you knit with us! Cabling only looks difficult. I recommend that you watch my Cables video for a tutorial and then you should be able to knit the pillow. Since you are a first time cabler, it may be best to use a cable needle when making the cables. Give yourself a little practice before you go to the next level of working cables without a cable needle. Please let me know if I can be of any help!

  14. What experience level should a knitter have to participate in this knit along? I’ve never done one of these. It it sounds like fun! I am a newer knitter… Never done cable knitting before.

  15. Michelle- I have put the socks aside to try something new and this was a perfect project! Three days and voila! I’m finished part 1 and waiting anxiously for Thursday! Love the yarn (it’s so soft!) and the pattern is beautiful yet simple–a perfect combo! Can’t wait for more!

  16. Lori, I’m delighted that you are having so much fun with the pillow and enjoying Simpliworsted. I used the Standard Bind Off for my pillow and it worked well for me. Looking forward to seeing pics of your finished pillow!

  17. Cast on & have done 2 sets of the 8 rows – woohoo! What a nifty technique!! Though I have to say that when I’m sliding the stitches off the needle there’s a little voice inside my head yelling “NOOOO!” I’ve also got the grip of death on those slipped off stitches, just in case 😀 Your video is great, as usual; the pattern is very pretty & I really like the SimplyWorsted yarn – my first time using it (got it w your Blocks book). Happy!!

    Which bind off method do you recommend for this pattern? Thanks! 🙂

  18. How nice to hear from you! I was thinking of you last week as I moved my daughter to Myrtle Beach. I hope all is well for you in SC. I miss knitting with you!!!!

  19. Hey Michelle! I’m so happy to be knitting with you again. I really miss all of you. Can’t wait to get started on my pillow!

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