Logs crackling in the fireplace, casting off amber sparks with just a hint of pine forest aroma as the beads of sap pop and flash golden against the hearth; a well-worn leatherbound book flopped open on an even more beloved inherited armchair, maybe a favorite pet curled in your lap or at your feet…what makes the scene complete? A thick, woolen blanket to snuggle underneath, of course.
Nothing says cozy like a knitted blanket, throw, or sweater, especially as the days shorten and begin to get chillier. And while the perfectly placed chair, rustic bureau of books, or fireplace may be more of a romantic vision than a present reality, knitting is one element that can be brought into any space, on any budget, to immediately make you feel a little closer to that cozy Cottagecore aesthetic we all aspire to.
Bringing knitting into your home this season can be as grand as knitting a gorgeous cabled throw such as the Stornoway Throw to drape over your favorite sofa, or a shawl such as the Aspen Snow that you snuggle around your shoulders on the way to and from the tea kettle, to tiny pieces tucked away in the nooks and crannies amongst the artefacts of your life. A garland strung across a curio cabinet, a stuffed squirrel looking out a window, trying to remember where he’s buried his nuts in the snow – one or two well-placed items can have an immediate welcoming effect.
When adding knitting to your home, the two most important considerations to take into account are color and texture.
While color can ultimately matter of personal taste, there are a couple of distinctive ways to make color work for your home.
First, to create a more cohesive palette in which a knitted throw functions more as a background object, neutral colors work wonderfully to create an object that feels timeworn and like it sprouted organically over time from your space. Creams, tans, and light greys and browns work wonderfully in a window seat where winter’s thready sunlight can reflect off the wool to make reading and sewing by daylight easier. Or, if you’re trying to make a seat placed near a window feel more inviting, try a blush pink or deep mustard for a touch of warm that complements neutral palettes well. Darker colors such as deep navy, pine green, or even plum camouflage well in a corner chair or desk you want to keep more private, personal, and comforting, saying “welcome”, while also saying “this space belongs to me”.
A second option, if you want to proclaim your love of knitting, is to choose a more vibrant statement color. A scarlet beanie hung on a hook near your door hearkens to tales of snowy adventures that begin with a bright red cap against the white snow. A blanket knit of yarn with a thread of gold woven throughout it hints at a touch of faery glamour that underlies the magic of your home. Bold knitwear can be a wonderful way to emphasize the little bit of drama and romance alight in all our hearts.
Like color, there are two ways primary ways knitting textures can function in your home: bold or muted. While I will be discussing more specific knitting textures and vocabulary in a future article that will help you navigate the world of knitting to find that perfect piece to suit your home, for today, there are three overarching texture tips I’d like to leave you with:
- Choose simple textures over more complex. Complex stitches are gorgeous and make incredible statement pieces, and if you want a large Celtic knot wall hanging as the centerpiece of your room GO for it! (I personally love them!), but overall, to create a soothing atmosphere and the most functional pieces (no one wants a lumpy throw pillow to lean their cheek against if they doze off mid-chapter that will leave crisscross shapes all over your face!), choose simplicity. Garter stitch and stockinette stitch are quintessential knit stitches and form the foundation of any knitted item. You get to experiment with both stitch patterns yourself below with a fun beginner knitting project!
- Don’t be afraid to mix textures…in fact, mixing textures is one way to make your knits extra cozy! Layer 2 different textured blanket across the back of your sofa; turn one blanket at 90 degrees and drape them in a way that shows off their different textures and colors. It adds depth and a certain “squish” factor that two items with the same texture just don’t have. Find an assortment of pillows with an array of textures to give plushness to your window seat. A plain pillow suddenly becomes much more visually appealing when it is set off against a couple of textured ones.
- Pair textures with their opposites. Looking for a blanket to fold into your floral-patterned chair? Choose a simpler, smoother texture like stockinette so that floral pattern still shines, while adding a layer of comfort. Draping a knit runner over a smooth-fronted bookshelf? Choose something with a bit of lacework, bobbles, or beadwork to dress-up a plainer space. Knits are fabulously versatile and should always be paired according to their, and the object they are adorning’s, best advantage. To see this effect in action, try moving a knit item around your house and notice the different feelings it conjures. Maybe that highly-textured shawl your friend knitted for you years ago looked sad, bedraggled, and unappealing draped over your ornate desk chair. Does it suddenly look warm and inviting, its texture intricate and interesting when hung against a bare wall? Like people, all objects flourish or perish in different conditions!
X-mas Gift Tags
If you’d like to try your own hand at adding knitting to your home, below is a fun project I have designed exclusively for Cottagecore Dream readers: knit Christmas tags.
For each knitting technique used, I have linked a Youtube video that shows how the stitch is done. You will only need to know how to cast on, knit, purl, and bind off to make this quick and cute project!
Time to create: about 30 minutes to knit + time to decorate and personalize
Finished size: 3.5” wide x 5” long
- US Size 9 knitting needles (5.5 mm) – can use larger or smaller needles, but the size of the tag will change
- Worsted weight yarn – about 10-12 yards; lighter colors work best to show embroidery detail (shown in Lion Brand Wool Ease in the Wheat colorway)
- Yarn needle
- Scraps of yarn, thread, beads, sequins, or whatever materials you like for decorating – have fun!
- Cast on 15 stitches
- Knit 4 rows (garter stitch)
- Row 1: Knit 3 stitches, purl 9 stitches, knit 3 stitches (wrong side of knitting)
- Row 2: Knit all stitches (right side of knitting)
- Repeat Rows 1 & 2 10 more times for 22 rows.
- Knit 3 rows (garter stitch)
- Bind off (loosely) and weave in ends.
- Embroider, cross-stitch, or decorate!
Some fun ideas for decorating and use:
- Use embroidery stitches to create trees, ferns, flowers, animals, fungi, or just decorative stitches. Embroidery cotton using all strands, or a finer weight of yarn (fingering weight is ideal) works well for embroidering.
- Personalize it! Names, nicknames, words such as “Peace”, “Joy”, “Love” that capture the spirit of the season
- Add a significant date in that person’s life. Small details like a significant date can add an extra layer of meaning and make the tag more than a throwaway piece of art. It may be something your loved one hangs above their desk, tucks in a favorite book, or turns into an ornament for years to come.
- They also double as ornaments! By changing the number of stitches you cast on, or how many rows you knit, each tag can be easily modified into a square or long ribbon to create a variety of shapes for your tree.
- Turn them into a garland. Embroider a different image on each of them for a fun garland to string across a mantle, shelf, or doorway.
- Advent calendar. Make 7, 12, or even 24, and ring in the holidays with a beautiful knitted garland. Your garland can be as simple as tags of different colors with no adornments added, to tags with numbers embroidered on them to countdown the days, to an image or word on each to capture a different aspect of the season.
I hope you’ll consider adding a little knitwear to your homes this winter and holiday season…and maybe even pick up a new hobby that will add endless hours of light, enjoyment, and creativity to your Cottagecore Dream!
Laura Fox is the owner and creator behind Fox and Honey Fibres, a knitwear design and lifestyle company. Having learned to crochet at 4 years old, wool and yarny fibre arts have been in her life from a very young age. When she found herself needing to keep her hands as occupied as her mind during her Medieval Literature English degree, she took up knitting. Finding in it a new way of storytelling, she has ever since been addicted to the art, and when she isn’t writing young adult fantasy and science fiction books, her hands can usually be found knitting and crocheting her writing frustrations into beautiful creations at Instagram.com/foxandhoneyfibres.
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