Category Archives: blanket

FREEBIE Moorland Inspiration

Cascade Ultra Pima Moorland Palette.jpg

Today I’m feeling inspired by Attic24’s Moorland Blanket … pictured above is Cascade Ultra Pima (on SALE until the end of July) in the following colours:

  • Upper Row, left to right: 3716, 3809, 3766, 3762, 37613746, 3734, 3774
  • Lower Row, left to right: 3733, 3732, 3725, 3726, 3772, 3777, 3708, 3709

I should warn you, the colours aren’t exact pairings with the original pattern, I’m not canonical about these things (and I like the blues more than the greens, they’re better at binding together the palette). That said, you could use this palette to make any of Attic24’s Blanket patterns, they’d all look great, I think the Hydrangea Stripe would look amazing. 16 skeins of Cascade Ultra Pima is enough to make a large throw blanket (I’d normally use about 10 to make a lap blanket).

 

FREEBIE Cabled Throw

 

 

Chunky Aran Cabled Throw

Whenever clients come into the store wanting to make a blanket or throw I always recommend this pattern, the Chunky Cabled Aran Throw. I have several clients who have made it with Berroco Vintage Chunky, it always comes out beautifully and they are always thrilled with the results. The yarn is soft, easy to care for (machine washable), easy to work with, and affordable. This is definitely a project that will be treasured!

Popular Colours

People usually make of this blanket in neutrals (especially when they are making them as gifts), but if you want another colour and we don’t have it in stock just contact us and we can order more for you!

Size

  • 50″ (127cm) wide x 55″ (140cm) long

Materials

Shop Online Button Turquoise 250w

 

 

 

 

KNIT HACK Stash-Busting Sock (Part 3)

 

Crochet Blanket Swatch BLOG.jpg

For all the posts in this series, you can go HERE!

Swatching

Before you start your project I urge you to swatch, especially to find the right needle or hook size. For crochet, holding one strand of sock weight yarn, a 3.5/E hook is generally good (if you are a tight crocheter, if you are loose go down). For knitting, holding 2 strands of sock weight yarn together, 4.5mm/US7 or 5mm/US8 needles should be good. Everyone’s tension is different, so play around to find the size that you are comfortable with.

I always keep track of my choices in my Ravelry Projects, it’s a great place to keep your notes because they never get lost and you can look info up from your smartphone.

Now, everyone emphasises how important swatching is for the success of your final project, and I can’t *make* you swatch, but I think I can motivate you to swatch. I made a small swatch and am glad I did, as I found out several VERY useful things …

I made a smallish swatch (see picture above), about the size of a blanket for a doll, and am glad I did, as I found out several VERY useful things … knowledge is power! 

Hook Size

I preferred a 3.25mm crochet hook since my crochet tension is on the loose side. I also found out that I have two D hooks made by the same company (in different styles) that are actually different sizes: one is 3mm and the other is 3.25mm. 

Project Changes

I wasn’t loving my yarn worked up in a log cabin style, it didn’t suit the predominantly smooth texture and mostly variegated colour ways. I am changing to a granny stripe blanket .

Enjoyment

I found the granny stripe blanket quite easy and simple. I thought I might find it a bit boring, but I think it’s actually kind of zen, and frees up my mind to play with colour.

Accurate Measurements

I now have a more concrete tension measurement. The pattern is a multiple of 3 plus 2, so I swatched with a chain of 41 stitches, which measured approximately 8.5″ (I laid it flat on a table and measured with a ruler. I did not get around to blocking, but for a true gauge measurement you really should, as textiles can loosen up). Your tension will not be the same as mine, you need to check yours for an accurate measurement.

Project Size

I have a lot of yarn, but I’d like to finish this project this summer, so I’ll make it a lap blanket size, approximately 6 feet or 1.8m (182cm) wide should be sufficient. A chain of about 348 should be right. The pattern is a multiple of 3 plus 2, so 347 would be the right number.

Alternate Techniques

I followed the pattern and did not enjoy the long chain that you start with (the prospect of 347 wobbly chains doesn’t appeal), or how you have to enter the stitches in the first row. I’m not a novice, so I’m going to try starting with a “foundation since crochet” (FSC) chain. I like the idea of starting with an FSC because it gives me a good idea of how wide my work will actually be (unlike a regular chain, which really isn’t helpful in that department), and it will be easier to work the first granny Row into. I’ll swatch this first to make sure I like the look and the technique works for me (no point in making 340 stitches and finishing out I don’t like it). Before I start the real project I’ll also have to decide if this is the colour I want the first border to be. And of course, I have to practise the FSC, it’s been a while since I’ve done it and I need to consult a tutorial for a refresher (The best instructions I’ve ever come across is in Jennifer Hansen’s Broomstick Lace Craftsy Class, but Purl Soho has a decent tutorial on their blog).

NOTE: after a practice go I also found that the FSC was tight on a small hook and should be worked on a slightly larger hook, I’ll try a 3.25mm or 3.5mm next time. Oh, and if you go with the FSC, most tutorials will tell you to put a pin in at a specific point -DO THIS, especially if you put your work down in the middle (otherwise you’ll never find where you are supposed to pick-up).

Colour Choices

I’ve been sorting out my approach to colour and experimenting as I swatch ….

1. The first aesthetic choice was to evict all of the muted colours. They weren’t making me happy blended in with the more saturated colours, so they are outie and can emerge at a later date in another project. The second colour issue I found was that I am very uncomfortable with the random look.

2.  I found that I am very uncomfortable with the random look.

3. The granny stripe pattern works with two rows per colour, but I like one row, it looks scrappier.

4. I like the occasional row of semi-solid colour, I have a lot of  yarn with complex colouration and the solids seem to break up the business of the variegated colours.

5. I like alternating between a dark/muted colour and a light/bright colour.

6. I think I will cycle through a row of each type of colour: red, orange/peach, yellow/gold, warm green, cool green, turquoise/aqua/teal, blue, cool purple warm purple, light pink/dark pink.

Fibre Choices

I’m enjoying the multi-ply yarns more than the single ply yarns. I don’t think I want this particular project to be a melange of different textures and just kind of stick to playing with colour.

 

Choosing a Colour Palette

If you are NOT artsy

If you are bad with colour and not very artsy, the most expedient choice would be to work with an ombre or a gradation. This means working through your colours in the order of the rainbow or something similar (see the colour wheel below for an idea) and within each colour group from light to dark. I like the KISS principle: Keep It Simple Sister! Another approach is to browse through other people’s projects on Ravelry.com, Pinterest, or instagram and find something that you enjoy – there’s no sense in reinventing the wheel, right? 

If you are KIND OF artsy

You have a choice to make: do you prefer chaos or control? Do you want your colours to complement each other and be harmonious and designy, or do you want them to clash and look random and scrappy?

colour wheel 1

Harmonious

If you want it harmonious consider placing cool colours (green, blue, purple) next to each other and warm colours (red, orange, yellow, pink) next to each other. Hold colours next to each other and squint your eyes (or remove your glasses) to get a better idea of whether they blend or clash.

Above is a colour wheel, which is kind of mysterious to people who have not been to art school or taken art classes. The colours opposite each other in the circle are a VERY high contrast and make each other ‘pop’ (it’s a bit of a harsh combination to my taste, I don’t really like them together). Colours next to each other in the circle are blendy. The colour next to the one at the opposite end of the circle often look nice

Clashy

If you like it clashy, combine colours that are opposites. Put bright or light colours next to dark or muddy colours. Place warm colours (red, orange, yellow) next to cool colours (green, blue, purple). Use a random number generator app (available free in your phone or tablet app store) to help choose the next colour group.

Personally, I like a controlled chaos. I’ll use a random number generator, but if I don’t like the choice I’ll run it again (and again, and again) until I come upon a colour combination I like.

If you ARE Artsy

You don’t need my help, you’ve already got it goin’ on.

FREEBIE & Canada Day Weekend Hours

 

Canada Day Weekend Store Hours

Friday June 30:  11 am to 6 pm

Saturday July 1:  CLOSED

Sunday July 2:  CLOSED

Monday July 3:  11 am to 6 pm (Stitch ‘n Bitch 12 to 4 pm)

 

 

Hudson Bay Inspired Baby Blanket

I love the simplicity of this blanket, for either a baby, throw, or a bedspread – plus it’s a super simple project for beginners.  There is a great tutorial on weaving in ends on garter stitch HERE. 

We recommend using a basic, superwash Peruvian wool yarn like Cascade 220 Superwash,  or if you want something a bit fancier, we like the super soft, plush and machine washable, hand dyed merino Malabrigo Rios – both are available in our bricks & mortar and online store.

Yarn Options

  • Cascade 220 Superwash: 6 ball 817 Aran, and 1 of each: 1950 Hunter Green, 877 Golden, 893 Ruby, 885 In the Navy (or for a slightly brighter palette try 864 Christmas Green, 821 Daffodil, 809 Really Red, and 885 In the Navy)
  • Malabrigo Rios: 6 skeins 063 Natural, and 1 skein of each: 033 Cereza, 096 Sunset, 128 Fresco Y Seco, 150 Azul Profundo.
  • Berroco Vintage: 6 skeins 5101 Mochi, and 1 of each: 5151 Cardinal, 5121 Sunny, 5152 Mistletoe, 5143 Dark Denim.
  • Cascade Avalon: 6 skeins 01 White or 30 Ecru, and 1 skein of each: 38 Deep Blue, 04 Crimson, 10 Artisan’s Gold, 13 Treetop.

Other Materials

KNIT HACK Stash-Busting Sock (Part 2)

For all the posts in this series, you can go HERE!

On Tuesday I talked about blanket projects that are perfect for sock weight stash-busting. Today I’m going to help you make your blanket look GREAT!  In 2014 I ploughed through my stash of bulky weight yarn and made my parents a magnificent house-warming blanket, and I’ll share my system with you.

NOTE: If you don’t have suitable stash yarn but want to make a Granny Stripe or Corner to Corner blanket (or something along those lines, I suggest using Cascade Ultra Pima and a 4mm hook (you’ll need at least 10 skeins for a lap blanket)

What You’ll Need

  • Large table or flat surface to work on
  • Large Ziploc bags, about 10 to 20
  • Masking tape & permanent marker
  • Digital kitchen scale (optional)

blog scrappy blanket 4.jpg

Preparation

1. On a large table or flat surface lay out your stash and group yarns by colour: pink, red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, blue, purple, brown, cream, grey. Personally, I have broken my stash down into subsets: light pink, dark pink, red, orange, peach, yellow, warm green, cool green, green-blue, turquoise & teal, blue, cool purple, warm purple, brown, cream, light grey, dark grey.

2. If you have variegated colours that you don’t know where to put them, hold them next to each colour group and choose the one it blends with. If it doesn’t match anything (I had one odd-ball), you can either keep it as a wildcard or leave it out of the project.

 

blog scrappy blanket 3.jpg

3a. Bag your colour piles. Each subset gets it’s own bag.

 

blog scrappy blanket 2

3b. If your project is going to be a gradient or ombre, label each bag with it’s order of sequence (1, 2, 3, 4, … etc) with masking and a sharpie, and leave space on the label to write the weight later.

Blog scrappy blanket 1

4a. Weigh each bag and write down the weight on the bag. I recommend using metric measurements (grams) if your sale allows, it is precise (you can always convert to imperial measurements afterwards) and I round down.

4b. Add up the total weight of your yarn, and subtract about 50 to 100g for good measure. My total is around 3800g, which is probably enough to make a Queen sized bedspread. This doesn’t mean I *will* make a queen sized bedspread, I may not use ALL of my yarn, I might get bored with some colours, or only want to use a portion of them because I have so much (I’m heavy on the greens). About 1000g is ok for a lap blanket.

5. Evaluate your spectrum for gaps. You may or may not have noticed that I have next to no red in my stash, so I’ve bought myself a skein of red Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 in Ruby. I don’t have much yellow, but that’s ok, it’s kind of an accent colour, so I won’t use a ton. I also don’t have much in terms of a medium ‘pinky’ pink, just light and dark pinks, but I think I can live with that (if it starts to bother me I’ll buy some).

6. Wind up skeined yarn, but keep the label with them. If you don’t end up using that skein you’ll want to know what it is and how much of it you have.

7. Choose a project and/or method, for example:

Crochet

Knit

OK, I think we’ve done enough work for a day, in upcoming posts I’ll discuss strategies for combining colours and swatching. I know, swatching is a total turn-off, but my suggestions are sincere and come from my own, actual experience – it’ll be fun and EXTREMELY helpful. Seriously, I promise, it’s so, so, so useful. So good.

 

Blog scrappy blanket COMBO

FREEBIE Busting Sock Stash (Part 1)

For all the posts in this series, you can go HERE!

 

If you have a bit of a sock yarn (or fingering weight yarn) collection (and by collection I mean a hoard) you are in good company. Most of us are guilty of picking up something pretty on a whim but never getting around to using it. And then somehow that skein multiplies, and somehow you find yourself with a very large collection of pretty skeins. How many small shawls can a person wear? Do you really see yourself making that many pairs of socks? There are certainly people who can and will made those socks and shawls, but for the rest of us, we need an alternative.

The option I propose – a project that will utterly deplete your sock yarn stash and rid you of stash-shame – is a scrappy crocheted blanket. It’s simple, mostly brainless, and satisfying. The granny stripe version has been very popular on Instagram lately and I think it is a brilliant idea (plus, the people making them seem to be very happy and satisfied with their projects). You can also find ideas under the following hashtags:

How Much Yarn?

A lap blanket uses approximately 1000g (1kg) of yarn (the average skein of handpainted yarn is usually 100g, so you would need about 10 skeins).

Stash Busting Protocol

This type of project will use up a large portion of your sock/fingering weight stash, and banish stash-shame. That said,  many people (including myself) usually end up coming into the store for an extra skein or two of yarn to complete their project. Don’t feel bad, it’s very normal, your stash probably won’t have the full spectrum of colours you want to use, or you might not have quite enough yarn – whatever, it doesn’t matter because you get a gold star for using up your stash!

Hook Size

For sock weight yarn use a 3.5mm/E crochet hook.

Crochet vs Knit

I prefer crochet because it is faster, you weave in the ends as you go, it doesn’t require any seaming, and the aesthetic is well suited to a scrappy aesthetic. That said, you can certainly knit your blanket too … see our Easy Baby Blanket Pattern (a Corner to Corner style blanket) for an easy knitted option. To expedite the project I would hold 2 strands together and work with a 5mm/US8-36″ (or longer) needle.

Granny Stripe COOMBO 2

Granny Stripe Blanket

Attic24’s Granny Stripe Blanket is a great way to use up sock stash. If you have a really, really big stash you can group the colours before starting and create something in an ombre or chromatic style (above right, Scrappy Granny Stripe Blanket by louisap).

If you like a totally random, cottagey aesthetic, just go with the flow and grab whichever colour you like (above left,Molly Weasley Cozy Scrappy Granny Blanket by StitchingPlaza). When I do things like this I usually put colours together that have a high contrast, in both colour and intensity.

 

C2C COMBO

 

Corner to Corner Blanket (C2C)

A Corner to Corner type blanket is a great alternative to the Granny Stipe, especially if you don’t know how large you want your blanket to be. Like the Granny Stripe, you can organise your stash ahead of time and create a chromatic look (above left, Gradients C2C by GameCakes), or make it a bit more random (above right, Corner to Corner Stashbuster by coxabey).

granny stripe COMBO

Photos: Judymac21 and coxabey

 

 

KNIT HACK Communal Blankets

Communal blanket projects are extremely endearing ways to share your love with a friend, especially if they are ill or a new baby is on it’s way. A communal project generally involves a bunch of people who each knit at least one piece, and then all the pieces are joined together into a blanket. I’ve been involved in two communal blankets, and  after stumbling across a post on marthastweart.com on a communal baby blanket I thought this might be an excellent opportunity to discuss the ins & outs of this very unique type of project.

Expectations

Set realistic expectations. You’ll probably be wrangling a bunch of people who are at completely different skill levels and knit at different tensions. No matter what you do, or what kinds of constraints you impose, their pieces are probably going to come out looking completely different; the size, tension, thickness and shape will all probably be unique.Trying to get a bunch of knitters to follow instructions and make perfectly uniform squares is like herding cats. The aesthetic of you communal blanket will likely be kind of “wabi-sabi”, and I suggest you surrender yourself to the process and let go of any dreams of perfect little squares – it is what it is, and you’ll only be making yourself frustrated otherwise.

Yarn Suggestions

Cascade 220 Superwash Solids & Cascade 220 Superwash Heathers

Berroco Vintage

Malabrigo Rios

Cascade Avalon

 

Guidelines

You need to set some project guidelines, otherwise you’ll end up with a bunch of pieces that are impossible to cobble together. If you can, I would choose one yarn and have everyone work with it on the same or similar needle size.

Yarn Size

Choose one size of yarn and stick with it. I suggest Worsted, it’s easily available at every level of retailer, in all kinds of different fibres, and is easy for everyone to work with.

Needle Size

Instruct your knitters what size needles to use: 4.5mm/US7 is usually safe for worsted weight yarn. Unless you are working with a group of established, avid knitters, most of your contributions are going to be coming from people who really don’t know anything about tension or needle size, and they need direction.

Fibre

As I said above, if you can get your knitters to use the same yarn, but in the very likely event that this is not possible, make sure they choose yarns that are Machine Washable. Don’t fret too much over what kind of fibre they choose, the thickness is what matters when it comes to assembly.

Colour

Colour is up to you. If you can wrangle your knitters to all work in the same colour palette it would definitely look neat. For example, different shades and textures of the same colour yarn (a monochromatic palette) would be really nice. I’ve noticed over the years that colour is very subjective, and people think about colours in very different ways, which are very hard to communicate. If you are going to ask your knitters to limit themselves to specific colours, I’d keep it simple, stay with colours that are easily communicated, that everyone understands, like white, red, navy blue, black.  Don’t ask for ambiguous or overly specific colours (for example salmon, mauve, mustard, royal purple), your knitters are most likely not going to be able to come through. If possible, I’d stick with solid and heathered colours – variegated do not play well with others and when mixed in don’t create any kind of aesthetic harmony or balance (ie. they look like a dog’s breakfast).

Cast On

It’s a good idea to suggest the number of stitches to cast-on. Your knitters’ work will still come out at different tensions and sizes, but they’ll be somewhat similar, and you’ll have a good idea about how many pieces you need to make the blanket. The standard tension for worsted weight yarn is 5 stitches per inch, multiply that by the number of inches wide you want the square to be:

tension of 5 stitches per inch  x  6 inch square = 30 stitches to cast on

  • 4 inch square = cast on 20 sts
  • 5 inch square = cast on 25 sts
  • 6 inch square = cast on 30 sts
  • 8 inch square = cast on 40 sts

Don’t bother suggesting the number of rows to your knitters, their row tension will be unique and depends on their stitch pattern and personal tension. You can suggest the type of shape you want (square 6″ x 6″, rectangle 4″ x 6″, etc), but you’ll probably only get an approximation anyway.

Stitch Pattern

I wouldn’t bother asking for anything specific, mix-n-match patterns look cool in a patchwork, and being able to try different stitch patterns will keep your knitters entertained.

 

baby-blanket-martha-stewart-3
Photo: marthastewart.com

Logistics

Size

Before you start, decide approximately what size you want your blanket to be. Based on this you’ll need to figure out what size you want your squares should be. Say we want to make a baby blanket approximately 32″ x  32″, find a number that divides easily into the length of one side, and that can be the size of a square (32 divides nicely by 4 and 8):

Length of blanket / Length of a square = number of squares you’ll need to make that side

32″ Blanket / 4″ square = 8 squares on each side.

To find the total number of squares required:

8 squares up the side  x  8 squares along the bottom = 64 squares total

64 squares seems like a lot to get people to make, and also to assemble. That might be a bit ambitious. Let’s try again with the other number that worked with a 32″ length, 8″ squares:

32″ Blanket / 8″ square = 4 squares on each side.

4 squares up the side  x  4 squares along the bottom = 16 squares total

16 squares sounds much more manageable! You could also used 6″ squares to make a 36″ x 36″ blanket (you’ll need 36 squares that are 6″ x 6″).

Allotment

Now that you have an idea of how many squares need to be made, finalize the total number of knitters. Don’t give more than one square to your less experienced knitters, unless they want to. It’s a lot more work for them than it is for a seasoned knitter.

Ends

Regardless of how you plan to join your squares, ask your knitters to leave nice long ends! If you’re going to crochet around the edges and then join the pieces you only need about a 6″ end to weave it in. If you are going to seam the pieces together with the ends, ask your knitters to leave the ends about 3 times the length of the square (this is a pretty generous approximation) – and don’t forget to ask for a long cast on strand too (although they may not have the skill to do this, so you might not get your wish). That said, I think it makes life easier to weave in the ends and join the squares with a separate strand of yarn – if you have to undo your squares and take things out it will make life MUCH easier. You can ask your knitters to weave in their ends, but they may not know how, or at least how to make it look nice, so you might want to do it yourself.

Scraps

Extra yarn can be extremely useful when it comes time to assembling the blanket. You may need to crochet around the edge, add an inch in length, or make a whole extra square to make the composition look balanced. Do not be shy about asking your contributors for the leftover yarn from their square/s.

Blocking

You’ll need to block your squares before assembling them. I suggest you wash them in Eucalan or Soak and lay them flat to dry. If some of the stitch patterns naturally contract (like ribbing) you might need to pin them down to really flatten them out. Ribbing, cables and lace all need to be blocked to get their true size and shape.

Joining

Lay your squares out on a flat surface (table, floor) and get an idea of which square fits where. The pieces probably won’t line up exactly. It’s not actually a bad thing if they are very wonky, you can always knit some pieces to fill in odd spaces. Otherwise you can crochet around the edge of a piece that is too small to bring it up to size. Once you’ve got your pieces laid organized, take a picture of the arrangement as a reference (you’ll have to reclaim the table at some point).

You can join your squares in a number of ways:

  • To create some uniformity, crochet around the edge of each piece and seam together using Mattress Stitch (use a single crochet stitch, the crab stitch won’t work well here since we are joining the pieces). You can use the same colour for the crochet edge or a bunch of different ones, it’s up to you and the aesthetic you’re going for (this is a great way to use up scraps!)
  • For a fast, easy, but slightly raised seam, you can use a Slip Stitch Crochet Join.
  • If you want a simple, flat seam use Mattress Stitch. With mattress stitch you can also try to stretch your squares into shape and try to force them into a space. One caveat, I don’t feel they really ever truly submit – if the square is strained or compressed it’ll always look that way (poor little square).

Border

You don’t have to make a border around the entire blanket, but it will unify the piece (as much as it can).

You can do a few types of edges:

  • If you joined the pieces using a slip stitch crochet you might want to continue with this look. For a slightly more substantial border you can also do a row of Single Crochet after your slip stitch row.
  • You can pick up the stitches along the edge, knit a few rows of garter stitch, and cast off. It is easiest to do this one side at a time, log-cabin style.

Whatever techniques you use, you’ll be picking up stitches and you’ll have to eyeball your tension to make sure your piece isn’t buckling in places. It’s more art thank science – c’est la vie.

baby-blanket-lucy

Above is my Niece Lucy’s communal baby blanket. My brother commissioned it as a gift to my sister-in-law for the birth of their first child. I advised on the project, their extremely generous friend Heather put it together, and the squares were made by a broad group of friends and family (the duckies were made by my mom, the log cabin pieces are mine, and I think the little sail boat and sheep were Heather’s. As a baby Lucy loved looking at all the different pieces (especially the big duck – score one for my mom).  Lucy’s dolls still enjoy and use her blanket.