Pinwheel Is the New Coins

By Kay Gardiner
January 9, 2020

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  • Will you be able to go back to a single-colored project after the mad affair with color?

    • Magic 8 Ball says: not clear.

      • I’m seeing quilt patterns galore

  • Oh my, I can’t unsee this great idea. I ordered Felted Tweed for a 12 in COIN pillow, now this is drawing me in. I do like knitting the front and back at the same time so maybe I’ll do both and just make it reversible. Thx.

  • Smart you, Kay! The purl rows, like fake seams, is a good one! I just completed my Superscript Shawl in Amores (from MDK), and I think even the I-cord bars would look nice on the side seams.
    Knit on, it’s looking glorious! Sara Denbo

    • Ditto…purl stitches…genius!

  • I remember reading somewhere that the knitter would put a purl stitch up the sides of a sweater that she was knitting in the round. Perhaps it was EZ.

    Love the pinwheel pattern which is reminiscent of the quilt patch design called broken dishes. I think it’s so great how geometric designs can be translated from quilting to knitting to needlepoint, and beyond.

    Knit on!

  • You have done it again – given me a case of IGKT – I’ve gotta knit that! Thanks.

  • I love the idea of a purl stitch up each side as an anchor for your icord.

  • You’re just the best way to start a day!

  • I know you already started but you could have done a provisional cast on and then kitchenered the seam closed. Beautiful pillow cover. Ilove that the back and front are different.

    • I know! I had to save something clever for next time!

  • I’m currently knitting a long pale but boring scarf of Rowan mohair to go with an Eileen Fisher quilted vest but the sight of these pillows and scarves is tempting me sorely. I have the Kaffe Guide, I even have some Tweed yarns squirreled away. . . This Kaffe thing is made for winter days inside in Maine

  • Oh wow! Someone just like me! I’m a sometimes knitter and had never seen the MD Field Guides til #13! Coins intimidated me but after two striped pillow tops, I dove into coins and have been sneaking looks at pinwheel…I’m doing another striped pillow top and as soon as I’m done, will start the pinwheel….I think I have almost all the colors so will prolly ‘have’ to do the long striped scarf too….I love the idea of knitting both sides at the same time! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • I have done those 2 purl stitches when knitting a scarf in the round just to help it drape better. I love the idea of attaching an icord edging or you could crochet around the edge.

  • I made a Kaffe pillow or cushion front in parallelogram shapes. I must have it finished. I thought the back could be in fabric but, you have me thinking it should be knit! My pattern is from Kaffe and Brandon’s book, The Color Boys. It is a beautiful book.
    I also must learn how to post a picture to your site.
    MDK my wake up reading

  • I don’t follow instagram, how could I find Stacy (pinwheel scarf) on Ravelry. do you know her user name. Her work is gorgeous.

    • On Ravelry Stacy is Shutterhoney.

  • I’m in the middle of finishing up the station wagon blanket but I plan to swatch tomorrow to start my pillow this weekend. I was just going to do Circus stripes but now I’m rethinking it…

  • That scarf looks great and I know your pillow will too. Smart cookie to knit it in the round and avoid side seams.

  • OMG!!! I love this and Stacy’s pinwheel scarf. Rather than knit pillows, I plan to knit a bunch of 12″ pillow covers and seam them together into a blanket. I’ve always been leery of fair isle but I think I’m going to take the plunge. BTW, adding a purl stitch on each side is brilliant. Will you do 3-needle bind-off to sew the ends together?

    • I must see this blanket! A sampler of 12 inch sections of these stitch patterns would be so so lovely. You’ve got my mind racing with ideas on ways to do this seamlessly.

      • Thanks!! I’m excited about it. I just have to finish a Peanut vest for my new grandson. I’ll post pix. Looking forward to seeing how you seam the pillow!

  • WOW: I LOVE this idea of the pinwheels on sofa cushions! You know, I bought Field Guide #13 when it first was released, but I didn’t intend to knit from it…..I just love your little books and wanted to have the complete set! That said, when I read your post this morning, I began to think that my sofa can always use more cushions…… maybe when I finish the sweater and 2 pairs of socks that I’m presently knitting, I’ll cast on a cushion or two. I’ve bookmarked the pages in good old #13, so I’m ready! Thanks for further enabling!.

    • That’s how we get you lol! The 12 inch cushion is palette cleanser-sized, honestly. Just a refreshing little blast of color and pattern.

  • I am still on coins and with so many colors to pick, it certainly feels like i could knit coins forever! Coins on everything! But now you’ve got me looking at those beautiful pinwheels and thinking the same thoughts. And then what about the boxes? Stripes?? This Field Guide could keep me knitting forever – in the best of ways.

    • So happy to see these words because that was our specific goal with this Field Guide–a little book of Kaffe goodness that would provide fun knitting for years.

  • Kay! You’ve given me the game plan for my cushion cover. Although I’d love to try the felted steek, your scheme to use the row of purls to attach an I-cord piping is perfect!

  • Working on an 18” coin pillow front now and living it. But, I know my next project will be pinwheels. Thanks for this super idea. Will definitely do the back & front in the round, with the purl stitch “seam”. Not sure what other pattern I’ll use. So many colors, so little time.

  • The Big Floral Damask Thing will love its new cushion! More seriously, those purl stitches along the sides would also be useful for attaching fringe or other trims, if one wishes and/or is feeling the necessary reckless abandon. (Apologies for giving Kay more to dither about.)


      • HA! I just read the post about pompoms as well.

  • I love stranded colorwork but really hate catching floats. On the wide parts of the triangle are you leaving long floats or catching them midway? I’m thinking long floats would be problematic on a sweater or mitten, but maybe just fine on a cushion or tube scarf. Thanks!

    • I’m with you, Amy, I’m letting the floats float without catching them, since they’ll all be inside the cushion for eternity. Of course, this could go wrong if my floats are too short or very much too long, but I am willing to take the risk. I flatten it out every now and then for reassurance.

  • I love this! I have never knit a pillow cover, so may need to do that sometime soon…..

  • Brilliant! I think I need a pinwheel scarf of my own.
    And yes, two (yarn-stranding) thumbs up on the purl stitch “seams”! I have been doing this on all my items knitted in the round. I am convinced it makes them hang nicely once finished.

  • When I get to my Kaffe Knitalong Project it will be pinwheels. They grabbed me the first time I saw them. PINWHEELS FOREVER.

  • What a GREAT idea!!! Can’t wait to see the finished project.

  • Love the idea of adding piping after. I’m beginning my pinwheel cushion today! PS: my local yarnshop is closing. I’m heartbroken. And I’ll be yarn shopping at MDK.

  • I LOVE the pinwheels! I’m still working on the coins cowl, but def going to do the pinwheels next. i remember seeing Kaffe Fassett’s stuff many years ago, before I even learned to knit, and loving the creative use of color. It’s a dream come true to be knitting his designs today! Thanks for sharing this.

  • Dear Kay—

    I’ve been knitting “Garden Lights” sweater by Cecilie Oddenes ( ravelry link: ). After reading your post & knowing your love of Kaffee dots… this may just be the sweater pattern for you. Kaffee like dots with a twist, all bundled in a beautiful snuggly sweater. I can even see this in Rowan Denim.



  • I am so excited to make my first cushion! I just finished a cowl in coins and it came out beautifully. Now I feel acclimated to stranded knitting and ready for a new adventure. I am going to knit mine in the round with coins on one side and a modified caterpillar stripe on the other. I adore working with Rowan felted tweed! Thanks for all the inspiration!