Kaleidoscope Pillow by Margaret Holzmann

Kaleidoscope Pillow

October 2015
Worsted (9 wpi) ?
18 stitches and 18 rows = 4 inches
in pattern stitch (stranded colorwork)
US 8 - 5.0 mm
255 - 300 yards (233 - 274 m)
18 inch (46 cm) square pillow and 13 inch (33 cm) square pillow
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This pillow cover has a motif of interlinking circles resembling a kaleidoscope. It is knit in the round using the two-strand technique popularized in fair isle knitting. Both sides of the pillow are patterned. One edge of the pillow has a hidden zipper, for removing the pillow cover for washing. Directions are for an 18” (46 cm) or 13” (33 cm) square pillow.

The pillow is worked in regular worsted weight yarn. Any solid color yarn is suitable. Six yarn colors are needed. To make the pillow as shown, 1 skein each of Knitpicks Shine Worsted in colors:

  • Squirrel Heather
  • Camel Heather
  • White
  • Wonderland Heather
  • Rainforest Heather
  • Bark

NOTE: Since 50 yards of each color is needed for the large pillow, and 30 yards for the smaller pillow, there will quite a bit of leftover yarn. In fact, there will be quite enough to make a second pillow.

Any solid color worsted yarn is suitable. Three dark colors should be selected to outline the circle shape and three light colors should be chosen for the background. For the example pillow, the darks are: brown, teal and camel and the lights are white, light gray and aqua. Choose color combinations that compliment your decor. When deciding how to combine the colors, pair each dark with a light that is highly contrasting in order to highlight the circle shapes of the pattern.

The pattern has a chart for the color work and written instructions.
For the 18” (46 cm) square pillow, 50 yards (46 meters) of each of the 6 colors are required. For the 13” (33 cm) square pillow, 30 yards (28 meters) of each of the 6 colors are required.

Equipment needed:

  • Circular, size 8 (5 mm) needles. The length of the cord on the circular needle should be in the range 16-30” for the larger pillow, and 14-26” for the smaller pillow.
  • Tapestry needle
  • 8 knitting markers
  • some straight pins
  • sewing needle


  • Sewing thread
  • For the 18” (46 cm) pillow: a 16 inch (40 cm) zipper, and a 18 inch (46 cm) square pillow form.
  • For the 13 inch (33 cm) pillow: a 12 inch (30 cm) zipper , and a 13 inch (33 cm) square pillow form.