Giant’s footstep cushion

It is the old Icelandic inserts in shoes that inspired Mary Hawkins this unusually shaped but beautiful cushion. How did Mary, the editor of Slipknot, the Knitting & Crochet Guild’s quarterly journal, met with Icelandic inserts?

Back to Issue 01 – Autumn 2010


Giant's footstep cushion Pattern*

3 €


*see characteristics & info

The pattern story

The day Mary almost missed her bus

One Saturday, Mary almost missed her stop. She had just bought Hélène Magnússon’s book, Icelandic Knitting Using Rose Patterns, to read on a long train journey she was planning. However, she just couldn’t help herself and started to read it on the bus on her way back home from the bookstore, becoming so engrossed in the history of these shoe inserts she nearly forgot to get off!

She had never heard of these Icelandic inserts before

She had never heard of these Icelandic inserts before and had never tried garter stitch intarsia either (so much easier than any other type of intarsia). The simple shape of the inserts particu-larly intrigued Mary and she soon began experimenting to see what else she could do with it. She came up with a pattern for a small scissors keeper, made out of a pair of inserts, which she used to introduce Hélène’s book to her knitting club. She then made a larger spectacles case. She also knit a single insert with a button at the tip and used it as a mug cosy. She next began to wonder how big she could make these inserts, and so hit on the idea of an unusual but practical shaped cushion. For the finishing, she put into use a lesson she had recently had with Elizabeth Zimmer-mann’s niece, Tricia Holman, in which she learned the secrets of perfect I-cord trim.


The designer

Mary Hawkins has been knitting just about all her life, always reading patterns through first to see if she can adapt them or make them easier to do. She’s done some research into knitting in the United Kingdom for the Knitting & Crochet Guild, and is today the editor of Slipknot, the Guild’s quarterly journal. She does a great job presenting the Old Icelandic tradition of knitted inserts at events in which she participates, thus helping keeping alive a tradition that was almost lost. That was, coinci-dentally, the main aim of Hélène’s book, who is both thrilled and thankful for Mary’s interest.

Follow her blog.



Characteristics & info

The pattern

Size: finished measurements: 53cm/23” by 21cm/11.75” after one wash

Gauge: Not vital. 10 x 10 cm / 4” x 4” = 32 sts and 64 rows after washing in garter stitch on needles 3.25mm / US 3

Yarn: oddments of Jamieson & Smith 2ply jumper weight, pure Shetland wool, 125 yards / 115 m per 25 g, 125 yards / 115 m per 25 g. Total weight approx. 110grams/4.5 ounces, of which the background colour should be approx. half. A total of eleven colours were used in the original.

Needles and notions: straight needles and short double pointed needles (for the I-cord) 3.25mm / US 3; crochet hook size 3.25mm / US 3; non-slip cotton such as calico or similar material for making pad, about 60cm/25” by 60cm/25”; stuffing or wadding of your choice.

Techniques: Icelandic intarsia, attached i-cord.

Pattern: once you've your paiement, you will receive an email with a link to dowload the pattern PDF . We don't send patterns by snailmail.

Errata: no mistake was found in this pattern.