As is customary of "The Treadler" I do have my yammerings to share but FIRSTLY, Let's have a go at this pattern shall we?
One upright, (squarish) naked tissue box in need of cozying.
U.S. size 5 / (or 40 cm) 16" Circular knitting needles OR a set of 5 double pointed knitting needles OR well, you know, there are a great many ways to knit in-the-round so choose your favorite and follow me.
Crochet hook size 1/2 .75mm to embellish the top (optional).
Yarn: By the new weight standard you want to use #3, Light Weight (the old alias for this yarn size is DK Light-Worsted.) At this point I've made 3 cozies and none of them weigh more than 2.5 ounces. You can safely complete a cozy with less than 3 oz. of yarn.
4 place markers (I just use scrap yarn in a slip knot) One should be of a different color than the others to mark the beginning of each round.
NOTE: The above boils down to, "use the needle size and yarn that gives you approx. 21 stitches per 4 inches across. You will control the height as you knit. AND, remember you are dressing a tissue box. It is not going to refuse to wear your cozy or complain that the cozy is too baggy or too tight, makes it look fat, etc...
I spin my own yarn so...no particular brand endorsement from me except to say, "Come on and start spinning! You'll love it!" Also, you can use wool so that if the cozy is too big for its box there's the option to felt it down a bit.
CAST ON: You'll be knitting around to make a square. Cast on 88 stitches. There are 4 sides to the tissue box so that's 22 stitches per side. (We'll use the stitch markers to tell us where the corners are.)
Round 1: Place a marker at the beginning (It should be a different color than the other 3) and join your stitches. Be sure that your cast on stitches aren't twisted or you'll be in MOBIUS land. (K 22, place a marker) 3 times then K22 = 88 total stitches.
Round 2: (This round is what you will be doing most of the time)
(K 4, P 2, K 4, P 2, K 4, P 2, K 4) Repeat 3 more times, or at the start of each marker, all the way around.
Repeat all of round 2 four more rounds.
Cabling Round: (Time to make the pretty twisties.)
*K 4, P 2 (Slip next 2 stitches onto cable needle and hold them behind your work, K 2 stitches, now K the 2 stitches from the cable needle, P 2) Repeat everything in parenthesis once more, K 4. One side is complete
Repeat from * all the way around (3 more times). If cabling is new to you check out this link:
Note: You don't need a special cable needle, you can use a dbl pointed needle OR, be a brave little soldier and try this flying trapeze method:
This is fast and easy but, can be a little scary for folks afraid they might drop a stitch.
CONTINUING ON: For the entire body of the pattern you will knit Round 2 Five times then complete a cabling round. Keep doing this until your knitting will cover the height of the box. Depending on your particular knitting style the number of rows will vary. Your tissue box is about 5.5 inches tall (14cm) so be sure your knitting is just a little bit longer than that. Now you are ready to decrease at your 4 corners to knit over the top of the box and to the center opening.
DECREASING ROUNDS (In essence you are starting at a corner):
(K 1, K2tog, K to the last 3 stitches before your next corner marker, Slip one stitch as if to knit, slip the next stitch as if to purl, slide the left needle back into them and knit them together from the back, K last stitch) Repeat 3 more times all the way around your box.
Questions about decreasing? Here's a good link for ya: http://www.knittinghelp.com/videos/decreases
These decreasing rounds are pulling in the 4 corners of your box. You are decreasing two stitches at each corner or 8 stitches per round.
First round of decreases will take you from 88 total stitches to 80
the second round will bring you down to 72 and so forth.
I like to complete 7 full rounds of decreases for all my tissue box magic. IF you are using a circular needle for your work you will want to switch to double pointed needles as the project shrinks down.
By the end of the 7th round of decreases you will have a total of 32 stitches left. Bind off these last 32 stitches but do not break the yarn.
CROCHET Embellishment for top (This is optional but, really jazzes up the top of your box with a ruffley opening for the little tissues):
ROUND 1: Place crochet hook in that last bound off stitch and ch3, Double stitch all the way around in each of the bound off knit stitches and join.
ROUND 2: Chain 3 and *Dbl crochet in first stitch, 2 dbl crochet in next stitch, repeat from * all the way around. You have increased your stitches dramatically (every other stitch) creating a bit of a ruffle in this opening. Join.
ROUND 3: Ch1, sc in first stitch, (*ch3, sc) Repeat from * all the way around.
Bind off and work in all the loose ends. Mission accomplished!
And there you have it! A lovely, free pattern just in time for allergy season! Whoah! I may have just had an epiphany whilst typing this. What say you to a fair Isle tissue cozy? Would that not be the coolest thing ever? Bohus cozy? (Clearly, we will be needing more tissue boxes.) To the Spinning Wheel AWAY!