Learn how to finger knit a chunky chenille bolster pillow cover. It’s an excellent handmade gift idea that’s perfect for your first knitting project!
Here’s one of those “only to some people” sort of story … and YES, I’m one of those “some people” just in case you’re wondering. (You too??) It’s not a particularly flattering story but I feel the urge to share.
- Trouble sleeping
- Trouble remembering
- Sometimes, trouble taking a second to double-check things
- And lastly, when things are BIG, I have trouble returning
So one night when I was up in the middle of the night (Trouble 1), I decided to first clean the kitchen and then head down to my studio and get a jump on the day’s emails. There was a great coupon from JoAnn fabric in my email. Yay, right? Often, I use a 60% or 70% off coupon to do a workaround me being too small to get great wholesale pricing. In this case, I decided that I needed to get bolster pillow inserts. So I bought a case of them at a whopping 60% off retail. Whoop, whoop!
The problem came when the next week I received not just ONE case but TWO cases of inserts. What I had forgotten (Trouble 2) was that I hadn’t just checked out the pricing of these inserts a week earlier (Trouble 3), but I had actually bought a case on another night that I couldn’t sleep. The boxes were so big that they increased my embarrassment exponentially by size (Trouble 4) and I couldn’t just return one of the cases (yes, logic doesn’t really play into this story). Now, however, I found myself with a whole lotta bolster pillows.
This necessitated a project!
Finding some Inspiration
On Pinterest, I had seen some finger knitting and I decided that I would learn how to finger knit by making bolster pillow covers using some yummy soft chunky chenille yarn. Now, with many of these pillow projects complete, you get to benefit from what I’ve learned.
This project to learn how to finger knit is a GREAT first knitting project. If you’re like me (in the good ways, not the wacko ways) then you may become curious to learn how to actually knit as well. That will be the subject of more posts and yummy soft scrumptiously textural pillows and throws. I hope this makes you as happy as it does me.
For now, let’s learn how to finger knit a bolster pillow!
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Gathering your supplies & Prepping your Bolster
Fortunately, this project doesn’t take a ton of supplies. This is what you’ll need:
- Chunky Yarn (e.g., Bernat Blanket Big Yarn in Vintage White)
- Optional Accent Yarn (e.g. Royal Velvet™ Yarn by Loops & Threads® in Black)
- Foam Bolster Pillow Insert (e.g., Fairfield Project Foam Bolster 18″ x 6″)
- Sewing Clips
- Long Sewing Pins (e.g., Taylor Seville Originals Comfort Grip Magic Pins Extra Long)
- 1-yard cotton fabric
- 2-yards approximately 1/2″ ribbon or twill tape
- Sewing Supplies or Heat N Bond Iron-On Adhesive
- Yard Stick
- Twist Tie
Since this is a post focusing on learning how to finger knit, for the first part of the preparation, I’m going to send you to see the post on how to sew a drawstring bag. Essentially, you need to cover the foam bolster. You can certainly just wrap it in some fabric OR, by preference, make a drawstring cover.
If you don’t want to sew, you can use the Heat N Bond Iron-On Adhesive in place of all seams. Either option will work just fine. As a note, I’ve made this project using a cover with a drawstring at one end as well as a drawstring at both ends. Both variations work equally well so you can use your better judgment. OR, if you’re like me and have about 20 bolster inserts (sigh) then you can decide by trial-and-error, haha. (I’m actually NOT laughing, it’s more of an uncomfortable and shameful stress giggle).
How to finger knit: off the pillow form
Part of the reason I’ve made SO MANY of these finger knit pillows has been to figure out the easiest way to communicate to YOU each step as clearly as possible. Please, drop me a note if this isn’t understood so I can tweak the phrase a bit.
Let’s start with learning how to finger knit by using some real knitting terminology. This will put us in character, per se. The first phrase I’ll introduce is to CAST ON.
When using knitting needles, to cast on is how you get the yarn onto the needle for the first row. In our case, we’re going to use a length of ribbon in place of a knitting needle.
Step 1: Make lots of loops to cast on
Take out your yardstick, sewing clips, and yarn. Make a loop and clip the top and the bottom where the ends cross.
Repeat this until you have a chain roughly the circumference of your lumbar pillow form. Try to keep the over-under in the same direction for each loop. Pull a length of ribbon through the loops with about 6″ extra ribbon on each end.
Voila! The cast on is complete!
Count how many loops you have.
Write this number down on a piece of paper.
Step 2: Connect the ends
Fold the two end of your first row toward each other.
Secure the twist tie to the loop that IS NOT attached to the ball of yarn. This is your first finger knit stitch.
Take the yarn tail attached to the ball and push it through the loop, from the underside, with the tail that isn’t attached. Make a loop on the topside with a hole approximately the size of your thumb. Move the clip to the top of this new loop. Continue the repetition until you have gone all the way around the chain and get back to the twist tie.
Repeat this for two more rounds.
how to finger knit: getting onto the pillow form
After you have gone around the circle three times (after you cast on to the ribbon … literary license), it’s time to get out your foam bolster pillow. Make sure you have it covered with fabric.
Continue creating new loops of yarn within the existing loops as you have been, with ONE notable new instruction. Instead of moving the sewing clip to the top of the new loop, you’re going to replace the sewing clip with a pin pushed right into the foam.
The first row of pins will go in right at the edge where the side of the lumbar pillow form meets the end.
Do you remember I told you to write down the number of loops you made as you were casting on? That’s because we are going to hold each loop down with a pin. In the end, we want to be 100% sure that ALL PINS have been removed from the pillow form! Therefore, you need to be sure of the exact number used.
Before you go any further, try to space out the loops and pins evenly around the circumference of the pillow form.
How to finger knit: Close the first end
Now we can close up the first end. Just pull and tie the ends of the ribbon so the first row of loops closes on one another.
Styling tip and spoiler alert … there’s going to be an opportunity to add ornamentation to the end of the pillow form. If you want to add something, keep the ribbon ends out. On the other hand, if you want to leave it plain, I would use a coordinating ribbon that won’t stand out. You can just tuck the ends into the center hole.
How to finger knit: continue to loop and pin
Each time you push the yarn through a loop to form a new loop, you’re doing a finger knit stitch! You’re going to keep doing this, gently pulling each stitch taught, all the way to the other end.
This does take a little bit of time but it’s relatively easy to do. Perfect to finger knit as you’re watching TV or listening to an audiobook!
how to finger knit: finishing the end
As the main section of the bolster pillow is complete, the opposite approach is used to finish the end.
To begin, start switching back from pins to sewing clips. It’s also helpful to move the twist tie up to the end being worked on. Remember to count how many pins come out to make sure that it’s the same number that went in!
Continue to make three rows of loop and clip stitches, just as done on the other end.
However, what happens if you run out of yarn?
How to join two balls of yarn
Let’s throw out another knitting term, the SKEIN. The skein is basically a ball of yarn all set up for you to knit.
Do you remember old movies where the child would be forced to hold out his/her hands for grandma to wrap yarn around? That was getting the yarn in an easy to manipulate oblong ball, called a skein.
To connect two skeins of yarn, according to my research and practice, tie a loose knot leaving several inches of tail on each end.
As you continue to finger knit, keep the tails and knot on the outside.
When three rows, or rounds, of loop and clip, have been completed, slide another length of ribbon through the loops. I suggest clipping the first end to a loop (as shown) to make sure you don’t accidentally pull it out as you work your way around.
Notice the knot is still on the outside. Let’s return to the finger knitting. We’ll come back to the knot in a bit.
How to finger knit: close the end
This really can’t be any easier. Isn’t this the best FIRST KNITTING PROJECT! To close up the end, just pull the ribbon and cinch the end loops together!
Notice the red circle? The knot is still on the outside just waiting to be handled.
With the end closed and tied secure, the knot connecting the two skein ends can be untied. Each end is then woven into the surrounding finger knit stitches essentially disappearing.
Can you find the end in the picture below?
Look at the pillow! It looks great, doesn’t it?
If you don’t want to have anything at the end, cut off the yarn leaving a tail of about 6″ excess. Then weave it back into the finger knit stitches as done when the knot connecting the two skeins was untied.
Presto! Project complete.
Unless there’s a need for a little something extra! If that’s the case, then you DON’T CUT THE END. In fact, you don’t cinch either end closed! Leave them open with the ribbons running through the last loops.
adding a little flair
There are lots and lots of ways you can add to this finger knit bolster pillow. The next steps show you just one. Play around and find ways to write words, add stripes, at pom-poms, or whatever makes your heart sing.
This bolster pillow is going on the guestroom bed, which is primarily a black and white (I know, you’re shocked) color scheme. A velour black yarn was selected as the accent.
Weave in the accent yarn
Notice that the end is open and I’ve loosely tied the end of the black ribbons so they aren’t pulled out. That would allow the finger knit stitches to unravel. Also, the chunky yarn is cut but with a tail of about 8 inches long.
After playing for a bit, I decided that I liked the look of weaving the black up and down the length of the lumbar pillow. Going over and under the horizontal connectors that run between your finger knit stitches (the stitches are the “V’s”).
You can choose how you want to handle the ends. In this variation, a tassel is going to be tied off so a long length of about 10 inches is left hanging on both ends.
Close the Ends
When the accent is finished, the end can be closed by tying the ribbon. Cinching the last finger knit stitches together.
Then just tie the ribbon around the accent yarn tails and allow it to disappear in the bunch. It’s barely visible above.
Tie off and trim the tassel
Then, with another length of ribbon, yarn, leather, or whatever material you like, tie a knot around all the tails about 2″ down toward the end. Trim off the loose ends to be even.
Repeat this on each end!
Doesn’t it look great! You have to admit that this will erroneously impress people. Erroneously because you and I know that it wasn’t hard at all. Nobody else needs to know that! What they don’t know, in this case, won’t kill ’em!
Now time for a little relaxation after a job well done!
Love it? Then share it!
If you really enjoyed this tutorial, please comment below and share it on your Pinterest boards! Here’s a PIN all-ready for you … I make it so easy, don’t I?
Do you like the look or comfiness of a bolster pillow but don’t want to knit your own? No judgment! Take a look at some of these options you might like!
If, on the other hand, you can’t get enough of the making life … try these projects on for size:
- How to Thrift Flip a Long Denim Maxi Skirt
- How to Make a Rustic Wreath for Your Front Door
- How to Make a Winter Gnome
- How to Make a Simple Christmas Table Set
- How to Use Scandinavian Decor as Holiday Table Inspiration
Still, want to see more? I have your back. Check out ASC’s Pinterest Boards, where there are always new pins happening! In fact, better yet, follow ASC on Pinterest so you know when I add more to my boards (I find great pins!).
Do you have a question or a suggestion? No problem! Email me with all of it and I’m happy to respond.
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Have a fantastic week! Namaste,