Rainbow unicorn cushion by Vikki Bird

Rainbow unicorn cushion

December 2017
Aran (8 wpi) ?
18 stitches and 25 rows = 4 inches
in stocking stitch
US 8 - 5.0 mm
871 yards (796 m)
One size (43.5 cm square)
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Unicorns are currently everywhere, and this is my cheerful take on the trend. The cushion, featuring the silhouette of a unicorn’s head, is knitted in a bright rainbow palette of self-striping yarn. The unicorn motif is added using a combination of intarsia and stranded colourwork in order to maintain the stripe pattern across the whole unicorn head. If you can’t get hold of any rainbow striped yarn, of course you could work the unicorn head in a single colour, or devise your own stripe sequence and use several balls of yarn.

The cushion is 43 cm (17.25 in) square, designed to fit an 46 cm (18 in) square cushion pad with 3 cm negative ease. The cushion is knitted in one piece and fastened with six 18mm (0.75 in) buttons across the back on a ribbed button band. Half the back is knitted, then the front, then the second half of the back and the side seams are then stitched.

Instructions for the intarsia section are provided both as a chart and as written instructions.

Tension: 18 sts and 25 rows = 10 cm (4 in) in st st worked on 5 mm (US 8) needles after wet blocking, or size needed to obtain correct tension.

Size: One size: 43 cm square (17.25 in square) to fit a 46 cm (18 in) square cushion pad


  • 5 mm (US 8) needles
  • Aran weight yarn (ideally a plied wool or wool/acrylic blend):
  • MC (cream): 415 m/450 yds
  • CC (rainbow-stripes): 80 m/85 yds – if you prefer, you can use a single colour yarn for the unicorn or use a few balls of yarn and work the unicorn head in stripes
  • Yarn bobbins
  • Chart row marker
  • Tapestry needle
  • Stitch markers × 2
  • Removable stitch markers × 4
  • Buttons × 6 [18 mm (0.75 in) diameter]
  • 46 cm (18 in) square cushion pad

Pattern notes
The unicorn design is worked in intarsia as it has long stretches worked in a single colour. However, you should use a single ball of the rainbow yarn and strand it between areas of the same colour within a row in order to maintain the stripe pattern.

The sample is knitted in West Yorkshire Spinners Aire Valley Aran [75% wool, 25% nylon; 200 m (219 yds) to 100 g; MC: Cream, 010 and CC: Rum Paradise, 822].

This pattern was first published in Issue 4 of Essential Knits magazine.