Yarn Review · Rowan Big Wool

I’ve always had a ‘thing’ for small cushions. I once found a teeny-tiny cushion in a famous Spanish department store (whose name rhymes with Smell Jordi’s Legs) that was completely cover in bronze sequins and looked like something a Greek god would have in his palace. I was just about to buy it – and fuel my love of garishness – but as it was the same price as a meal for two I quickly put it back. Also, fancy sequinned cushions aren’t such a good idea when you have small children destroying running around your flat.

So, when I spotted some plain miniature cushion pads in the same store I simply had to get them and make a cover for them. That what us makers do.

Loveknitting let me try out and provided yarn support for this project, allowing me to get to know a brand I was yet to use but had heard tons about. Rowan is a UK-based company that’s famous for it’s traditional yet forward-thinking patterns and high-quality yarn. Big Wool, a wonderful wool yarn with merino, is a reasonably-priced chunky yarn that works up quickly on size 10-15 needles. It’s ideal for outerwear and chunky jumpers, but I chose it for my cushion design to show off its range of cosy colours as home decor.

Strong and available in a wide variety of beautiful shades, but low on softness.

I used the shades ‘concrete’ (a classic grey), ‘Yoke’ (a mustard shade to die for) ‘Vert’ (an on-trend emerald green) and ‘Lipstick’ (a festive red) to get a full picture of what different shades were available. The colours are strong and punchy, with a wide variety of gorgeous and inspiring colours available. The tact is quite soft and sturdy, ideal for winter projects, but it wasn’t as soft as I had hoped. I’m not sure just how comfy this yarn would be if worn directly on the skin as a garment or outerwear, and my partner who knows nothing about yarn quality said it felt a bit ‘acrylicy’. Ouch. For a 100% wool yarn that ain’t good to hear, bro. Even so, it has a generous 80m yardage and would be great choice for beginner knitters and crocheters who want to practise their craft on a nice, reliable wool yarn.

All in all, I’d say that this yarn should be your new go-to yarn for interior makes with a touch of luxury (i.e. if you’re tired of using acrylic for your blankets and want something a little posher), but go and test the softness yourself before you commit to a wearable project.

I designed The Cabin Cushion specifically for this great yarn. Inspired by log cabins, Scandi-decor (you know me), ugly sweaters and Grandma-chic, it looks fabulous in any kind of home, from midcentury living rooms to cosy reading corners. It’s huggable and ugly-cute, sweet and subtly Christmassy.

If you fancy making your own Cabin Cushion, check out the free pattern below and don’t forget to use the hashtag #emmaknitty on Instagram so I can take a look!

Rowan’s Big Wool looks fab worked up as cushions, throws and other homeware.

You will need:

  • One pair of 32″ or 40″ circular needles in size 8.00mm
  • A stitch marker of any kind.
  • Three balls of Rowan Big Wool in three different colours.
  • The Fair Isle chart for this pattern, available here.
  • Scissors, darning needle and a 25x25cm/10″x10″ cushion pad.

Level & Skills:Advanced Beginner

You’ll need to know how to: work the long tail cast on, invisible join in the round, knit, follow a Fair Isle chart, cast/bind off, weave in ends, mattress stitch.

Gauge: 11 stitches, 13 rounds to 10cm square.

Notes: Follow the Fair Isle chart provided that shows three different colours. For this pattern, colour one is grey (Concrete), colour two is mustard (Yoke) colour three is green (Vert) and colour four is red (Lipstick). To view the available shades in Rowan Big Wool, click here. This cushion cover is intended as a decorative item, is seamed at both ends and is not intended to be machine washable. If you want to be able to throw the cushion in the wash, choose a machine-washable chunky yarn such as an acrlic or wool blend yarn alongside a machine washable cushion pad, or attach a zip onto one end of the project.


Cast on 65 stitches in colour one (I used ‘Concrete’ grey) and join invisibly. You have now got 64 stitches on your needles and are ready to start. Place your marker.

Knit three rounds plain (knit every stitch).

Start following the Fair Isle chart for 22 rounds. Once finished, work another ten rounds using colour four or until the piece measures 26cm high. Cast/bind off loosely, weave in all loose ends and block if desired.

Seam one open end of the cushion cover and then insert the cushion pad. Move the cover around so that the cishion fits snugly inside and seam the other end.

Here’s wishing you all a warm, comfy holiday season! See you for more creative fun in 2019!

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