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Sling Chair

Annie Modesitt demonstrates how to knit a sling for a sling chair.

Annie Modesitt, the author of Confessions of a Knitting Heretic, demonstrates how to knit a sling for a sling chair. Knit a sling chair? Maybe that sounds like something you'd never dream of tackling. Well, you may want to rethink your opinion, because here's a knit chair that will have you sitting pretty in no time!

Knit-O-Meter Rating: Beginner

Materials and Tools:

730 yds/2,200 ft of any of the following fibers: Hemp6; 16-ply cotton shipping twine; 16-ply cotton cooking twine; #36 nylon masons twine*
chair frame: any sling chair frame that is sturdy, with canvas seat removed
US size 9 (5.5mm) needle, or size to work well with your fiber
darning needle
measuring tape
pencil and paper
*Twine available at hardware and home-supply stores

Chair Seat

Preliminary Steps
1. Measure the chair and create a schematic:

  • To determine the size of the knit chair seat, open the frame and measure across the top support. This will be the width of the seat.

  • Measure from the top support to the bottom support, and multiply that number by 1.25 for the length of the seat.

2. Calculate yarn quantity required:

  • Work up a swatch in the fiber you've chosen to determine your gauge; make a note of it. Then measure the entire area of the swatch (for example, a 4"x5" swatch would be 20 square inches).

  • Cut the yarn ends close to the swatch, then rip out the entire swatch and measure the yarn used to make the swatch. (In the example, this is the yarn required to create 20 square inches of finished fabric.)

  • Divide the total chair seat area (length x width) and divide that figure by the area of the swatch. Multiply this figure by the number of yards determined in the preceding step. This will be the minimum amount of fiber you should purchase for this project.

3. Calculate number of stitches to cast on:

  • Multiply the chair seat's width by the stitch gauge and round up to the next even number. This will be the number of stitches to cast on.

Knitting Instructions
With a single strand of fiber in color A, and using whichever cast-on method you prefer, cast on total number of sts determined in previous step.

To keep the chair seat edges from rolling, work the outer 5 sts on either edge in a seed stitch as follows:
Right Side Row: k1, p1, k1 p1, k1 knit to last 5 sts, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1.
Wrong Side Rows: k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, purl to the last 5 sts, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1.
(Sometimes it's helpful to separate the edge stitches from the center stitches by using stitch markers.)

Work in stockinette stitch until the piece measures the length determined in step 1. Bind off all sts loosely.
The following 24 rows make up the stripe pattern shown on the sample chair. You can devise your own stripe pattern, or use different-colored fiber in a random manner. Strand colors up the side for skips of less than 4 rows, otherwise cut the yarn and weave in the ends on the wrong side of the fabric.

14 rows - work in St st in color A.
4 rows - work in St st in color B.
2 rows - work in St st in color C.
4 rows - work in St st in color B.

Figure A

When adding a new color, knit the first stitch of the row in the new color (figure A).

Figure B

Then knit the second stitch in the row with the tail of the new color (figure B).

Figure C

Knit the third stitch, and all subsequent stitches, with the live end of the new color (figure C).

Sewing Chair Seat to Frame

Fold the top edge of the seat over the top support. Use a darning needle, threaded with the twine, and the stab stitch, to sew the seat to the frame, matching the stitches in the cast-on row with stitches in a row on the front of the chair seat, sewing into every other stitch.

Note: To work the stab stitch, pass the needle from the wrong side of the work through to the right side of the work, draw thread over one stitch and push needle back to the wrong side of the work.

Repeat for the bottom of the seat.

Care of Chair Seat

The best way to care for the chair seat is to spray it with the garden hose when it gets a little dirty, and spot-clean with a gentle soap or a dab of shampoo on areas where there may be extra dirt.


    • Hemp yarn from LanaKnits
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