Knitting a Pillow Cover: A Step-by-Step Guide

Knitting a Pillow Cover: A Step-by-Step Guide

Are you looking for a new knitting project to take on? Why not try knitting a beautiful pillow cover from scratch! Knitting a pillow cover is not only a fun and relaxing activity, but it also allows you to customize your home decor with a personal touch. Plus, it makes a great gift idea for your loved ones.

To get started, you’ll need some basic knitting skills and a few materials. First, gather your supplies, including a set of knitting needles, yarn in your chosen color and texture, and a pattern for a pillow cover. While there are many pillow cover patterns available online, it’s also a great opportunity to design your own unique pattern.

Once you have your supplies ready, it’s time to cast on and begin knitting. Follow the pattern instructions carefully, making sure to count your stitches and rows as you go. Knitting a pillow cover usually involves a combination of knit and purl stitches, as well as some basic shaping techniques like decreasing and increasing stitches.

As you progress with your knitting, make sure to take breaks and check your work to ensure that everything is coming together smoothly. Don’t be afraid to undo a few rows if you notice any mistakes – knitting is all about trial and error, and it’s better to fix any errors early on.

Remember, practice makes perfect! The more you knit, the more confident and skilled you’ll become. Don’t worry if your first pillow cover doesn’t turn out exactly as planned – embrace the imperfections and use them as learning opportunities. And most importantly, have fun with your knitting project!

Why Learn to Knit a Pillow Cover?

Learning how to knit a pillow cover can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. It offers several benefits that make it worth the time and effort. Below are some reasons why you should consider learning this skill:

  1. Personalized Home Decor: Knitting a pillow cover allows you to create a unique and personalized piece of home decor. You can choose the colors, patterns, and textures that match your style and preferences. It adds a personal touch to your living space and can be a great conversation starter.

  2. Stress Relief: Knitting has been proven to reduce stress and promote relaxation. The repetitive motions of knitting can help calm the mind and focus attention, providing a soothing and meditative experience.

  3. Learning a New Skill: Knitting is a versatile and practical skill that can be used to create various items, including pillow covers. Learning how to knit not only allows you to make beautiful and functional pieces, but it also expands your creativity and gives you a sense of accomplishment.

  4. Handmade Gifts: Knitting a pillow cover can be a thoughtful and meaningful gift for your loved ones. Handmade gifts have a special touch that shows you put time, effort, and care into creating something just for them. It can be a perfect present for birthdays, holidays, or special occasions.

  5. Budget-Friendly: Making your own pillow cover can be a cost-effective alternative to buying one. Knitting supplies are relatively inexpensive, and by investing in the necessary tools and yarn, you can create multiple pillow covers or even other knitting projects in the future.

Overall, learning how to knit a pillow cover is a worthwhile endeavor. It allows you to express your creativity, relieve stress, and create personalized and meaningful pieces for yourself or others. So grab your knitting needles and embark on this enjoyable journey!

Choosing the Right Yarn and Needles for the Project

When starting a knitting project, it is important to choose the right yarn and needles to achieve the desired result. Here are some factors to consider when making your selection:

  1. Fiber: The first consideration is the type of fiber you want to use for your pillow cover. Some popular options include cotton, wool, acrylic, and blends of different fibers. Each type of fiber has its own qualities, such as softness, warmth, durability, and ease of care. Consider the characteristics you want in your finished pillow cover and choose a fiber accordingly.
  2. Weight: Yarn comes in various weights, ranging from lace weight to super bulky. The weight of the yarn determines the thickness or thinness of the finished fabric. For a pillow cover, you’ll likely want to choose a medium weight yarn, such as worsted or aran weight, which provides good coverage and is easy to work with.
  3. Color: Selecting the right color for your pillow cover is a personal preference. Consider the color scheme of the room where the pillow will be placed, as well as your own style and preferences. Bold and vibrant colors can make a statement, while neutral shades can provide a more subtle and versatile look.
  4. Texture: The texture of the yarn can add visual interest and tactile appeal to your pillow cover. Yarns can be smooth, textured, or have a special effect, such as bouclé or chenille. Think about the desired texture and look for yarns that match your vision.
  5. Needles: The size of needles you choose will depend on the yarn weight and the desired tension or gauge for your project. Most yarn labels include a recommended needle size range. It is important to use the right size needles to achieve the correct tension and ensure that your stitches are even and consistent.

Once you have considered these factors and made your choices, you are ready to start knitting your beautiful pillow cover. Remember to swatch and check your gauge before starting the project to ensure that your finished cover will fit properly.

Casting On: Starting Your Knitting Project

Casting on is the first step in starting your knitting project. It creates the foundation row of stitches that you will be working with. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to cast on.

  1. Hold the knitting needle in your right hand, with the yarn attached to the ball of yarn.
  2. Create a slipknot by making a loop with the yarn, leaving a long tail.
  3. Insert the needle into the loop from front to back, and pull the tail to tighten the knot around the needle.
  4. Hold the needle with the slipknot in your right hand.
  5. With your left hand, take the yarn and loop it over your left index finger, then under your left thumb.
  6. Insert the needle into the loop on your thumb, from front to back.
  7. With your right hand, pull the needle to create a new stitch, slipping the loop off your thumb.
  8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 until you have cast on the desired number of stitches.

Once you have cast on your stitches, you are ready to start knitting! The cast-on row provides the foundation for the rest of your project. Make sure to keep an even tension as you cast on, as it can affect the overall appearance and fit of your project.

Knitting the Basic Stitches: Garter Stitch and Stockinette Stitch

When learning how to knit, it’s important to start with the basic stitches. The two most commonly used stitches in knitting are the garter stitch and the stockinette stitch. These stitches serve as the foundation for many knitting projects, including pillow covers.

Garter Stitch

The garter stitch is the simplest and most common stitch in knitting. It is created by knitting every row. The result is a fabric with ridges that run horizontally.

To knit the garter stitch:

  1. Start by casting on the desired number of stitches.
  2. Hold the needle with the cast-on stitches in your right hand and the empty needle in your left hand.
  3. Insert the empty needle into the first stitch on the right needle from left to right.
  4. Wrap the yarn around the right needle, bringing it from the back to the front of the work.
  5. Pull the right needle through the stitch, bringing the new loop through to the front. Slip the original stitch off the left needle.
  6. Repeat steps 3-5 until you have knitted all the stitches on the right needle.
  7. Turn the work around so that the needle with the stitches becomes the right needle and the empty needle becomes the left needle.
  8. Repeat steps 3-7 until your desired length is reached.
  9. Bind off all stitches to finish the garter stitch.

Stockinette Stitch

Stockinette Stitch

The stockinette stitch is another basic stitch that is commonly used in knitting. It is created by alternating rows of knitting and purling. The result is a smooth fabric with “V” shapes on the right side and horizontal lines on the wrong side.

To knit the stockinette stitch:

  1. Start by casting on the desired number of stitches.
  2. Knit the first row by inserting the empty needle into the first stitch on the right needle from left to right and wrapping the yarn around the right needle to create a new loop. Slip the original stitch off the left needle.
  3. Purl the second row by inserting the empty needle into the first stitch on the right needle from right to left and wrapping the yarn around the right needle to create a new loop. Slip the original stitch off the left needle.
  4. Repeat steps 2-3 until your desired length is reached.
  5. Bind off all stitches to finish the stockinette stitch.

Knowing how to knit the garter stitch and stockinette stitch will give you a solid foundation for many knitting projects, including your beautiful pillow cover. So grab your needles and yarn, and start knitting!

Adding Texture: Incorporating Ribbing and Cables

When knitting a pillow cover, adding texture can elevate your project from simple to stunning. Two popular techniques for adding texture to knitted fabric are ribbing and cables. In this section, we will explore how to incorporate both techniques into your pillow cover.


Ribbing is a common technique used to create stretchy and textured fabric. It is often used for cuffs, collars, and hems. To incorporate ribbing into your pillow cover, you can follow these steps:

  1. Choose the number of stitches for your ribbing. The most common ribbing pattern is K1, P1, but you can also try different combinations like K2, P2 or K3, P3.
  2. Cast on the desired number of stitches using the long-tail cast-on method.
  3. Continue knitting in the established ribbing pattern for the desired length.
  4. Switch to your main stitch pattern or continue with the ribbing pattern for the entire pillow cover.

Ribbing adds a nice texture and elasticity to your pillow cover, making it more comfortable and visually interesting.


Cables are a more advanced technique that creates beautiful raised designs on your knitting. To incorporate cables into your pillow cover, you can follow these steps:

  1. Choose a cable pattern that you like. Cable patterns typically involve crossing stitches over each other to create a twisting effect.
  2. Keep track of your cable pattern by using a cable needle or by cabling without a cable needle.
  3. Follow the cable pattern instructions to create the desired design on your pillow cover.
  4. Continue knitting in your main stitch pattern or switch back to a different stitch pattern after completing the cable section.

Cables add depth and visual interest to your pillow cover, making it a focal point in any room.

By incorporating ribbing and cables into your pillow cover, you can create a textured and visually appealing design. Experiment with different stitch patterns and techniques to make your pillow cover unique and personalized.

Creating Patterns: Fair Isle and Intarsia Knitting Techniques

When it comes to knitting, there are several techniques you can use to create beautiful patterns. Two popular techniques are Fair Isle and Intarsia knitting. Both techniques involve changing colors to create intricate designs, but they have some key differences.

Fair Isle Knitting:

  • Fair Isle knitting originated in the Shetland Islands of Scotland and is known for its distinct stranded colorwork.
  • In Fair Isle knitting, you use two or more colors in a single row, carrying the unused colors across the back of the work.
  • To create the patterns, you follow a chart that indicates which color to use in each stitch.
  • Fair Isle knitting requires you to be comfortable knitting with multiple colors at the same time.
  • This technique creates a dense and warm fabric, making it perfect for making sweaters, hats, and mittens.

Intarsia Knitting:

  • Intarsia knitting is a technique that involves knitting blocks of colors to create patterns.
  • Unlike Fair Isle knitting, you do not carry the yarn across the back of the work.
  • Instead, you use separate bobbins or small balls of yarn for each color block.
  • You start a new section of a color by twisting the yarns together to prevent gaps.
  • Intarsia knitting is great for large, bold designs.

Both Fair Isle and Intarsia knitting allow you to unleash your creativity and make stunning patterns. Whether you prefer the stranded colorwork of Fair Isle or the block colorwork of Intarsia, practicing these techniques will open up a whole new world of possibilities for your knitting projects.

Shaping the Pillow Cover: Decreasing and Increasing Stitches

Shaping the Pillow Cover: Decreasing and Increasing Stitches

Once you have completed the main body of the pillow cover, it is time to shape it by decreasing and increasing stitches. This will give your pillow cover a finished and professional look.

Decreasing Stitches:

  • To decrease stitches, you will need to knit two stitches together. Insert your needle through the next two stitches as if to knit, then wrap the yarn around the needle and pull it through both stitches. This will merge the two stitches into one.
  • Continue to decrease stitches at regular intervals across the row until you reach the desired width for your pillow cover. Remember to follow the pattern instructions for the specific number of stitches to decrease.
  • Decreasing stitches will shape the sides of your pillow cover, creating a tapered effect.

Increasing Stitches:

  • To increase stitches, you will need to make a yarn over. This is done by bringing the yarn to the front of your work, then wrapping it over the right-hand needle and to the back again.
  • On the next row, knit or purl the yarn over as a regular stitch. This will create a new stitch on your needle.
  • Continue to increase stitches at regular intervals across the row until you reach the desired width for your pillow cover. Again, follow the pattern instructions for the specific number of stitches to increase.
  • Increasing stitches will give your pillow cover a fuller and rounded shape.

Combining Decreasing and Increasing Stitches:

If your pillow cover requires shaping on both sides, you may need to decrease and increase stitches simultaneously. For example, you can decrease stitches on one side while simultaneously increasing stitches on the other side. This will create a diagonal line of decreases and increases on your pillow cover.

As you shape the pillow cover, make sure to keep track of your decreases and increases by counting your stitches regularly. This will help you maintain the correct stitch count and ensure a symmetrical shape for your pillow cover.

Once you have finished shaping your pillow cover, you can proceed to the final steps of finishing and adding any desired embellishments.

Finishing Touches: Binding Off and Blocking Your Knitted Pillow Cover

Once you have finished knitting the front and back panels of your pillow cover, it’s time to give it a polished look by binding off and blocking. These final steps will ensure that your cover is neat, tidy, and ready to use.

Binding Off

To bind off your knitting, follow these simple steps:

  1. Knit the first two stitches as usual.
  2. Insert the left needle into the first knitted stitch on the right needle.
  3. Lift the first stitch over the second stitch and off the needle.
  4. Knit the next stitch on the left needle.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 until all stitches have been bound off.
  6. Cut the yarn, leaving a tail about 6 inches long.
  7. Pull the tail through the last stitch and secure it by weaving it in.

Binding off creates a finished edge for your pillow cover and prevents the stitches from unraveling.


Blocking is the process of gently stretching and shaping your knitted piece to ensure that it retains its intended size and shape. Here’s how you can block your pillow cover:

  1. Fill a sink or basin with lukewarm water.
  2. Place the knitted cover in the water and let it soak for about 15 minutes.
  3. Gently squeeze out excess water, being careful not to wring or twist the fabric.
  4. Lay the cover flat on a clean towel.
  5. Use pins to shape the cover to the desired dimensions. For a pillow cover, make sure it is square and the sides are straight.
  6. Leave the cover to dry completely, preferably overnight.
  7. Once the cover is dry, remove the pins and it’s ready to use!

Blocking helps to even out your stitches and gives your pillow cover a professional finish.

With binding off and blocking done, your knitted pillow cover is now complete and ready to add a cozy and stylish touch to your home decor.


Can I knit a pillow cover even if I’m a beginner?

Yes, absolutely! This step-by-step guide is perfect for beginners who want to learn how to knit a beautiful pillow cover. Just follow the instructions carefully and you’ll be able to create your own cozy pillow cover in no time.

What materials do I need to knit a pillow cover?

To knit a pillow cover, you will need yarn, knitting needles, a tapestry needle, and a pillow form. Choose a yarn that is soft and cozy, and the knitting needles should be the appropriate size for the yarn you have chosen. The tapestry needle will be used to weave in the loose ends, and the pillow form will be inserted into the cover once it’s finished.

How long does it take to knit a pillow cover?

The time it takes to knit a pillow cover can vary depending on your skill level and the size of the cover. However, on average, it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to complete a pillow cover. This includes both the time spent knitting and any breaks you may take.

Can I use different colors of yarn for my pillow cover?

Yes, definitely! One of the great things about knitting is that you can use different colors of yarn to create unique and beautiful patterns. Feel free to experiment with different color combinations to make your pillow cover even more special. Just make sure to choose yarns that are of a similar weight and texture so that they knit up evenly.

Do I need any special knitting stitches to make a pillow cover?

No, you don’t need any special knitting stitches to make a pillow cover. The basic knit and purl stitches are sufficient for creating a beautiful and cozy cover. However, if you want to add some more intricate designs or patterns, you may choose to incorporate other stitches such as cables or lace. These stitches can add texture and visual interest to your pillow cover.


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