I made a blanket for Christmas. An entire blanket.
Yes I did.
I am not a knitter. I have no idea what I was thinking. I only did it because no one stopped me. There was no experienced knitter around to say “Are you crazy? Stop that!”
Because a blanket takes lot of knitting. About 31,250 stitches. I calculated.
Has anyone else on the planet ever calculated how many stitches you have to make to knit a blanket? Probably not. But I did. And I’m glad I did it after I finished, because I would have stopped after 5 stitches if I knew I had 31,245 stitches to go.
I knit the blanket for my oldest girl who is away at university. Because I figured she needed some love to wrap herself in. 31,250 stitches of love.
I got the big idea over a year ago when we went to a yarn tent sale. Don’t ask me why I was at a yarn tent sale. I think it was because the girls decided they wanted to knit some scarves for Christmas. The youngest came through and knit furiously and made gorgeous cowls for just about everyone on her list. The oldest was a little ambitious and make the colossal mistake of knitting with normal sized needles, breaking the family rule of only knitting with HUGE needles that knit FAST. So she’s still working on her Christmas gifts from last year.
I saw some wool on sale, pretty cheap. My oldest was going away to school, and would no doubt be missing her mom EVERY SINGLE MINUTE. A little tiny picture of a blanket started to form in my mind. Of course my daughter needed a blanket from me. And that’s what I decided to do. Knit a blanket with wool and love and tears. Not tears because she was leaving. Tears because a blanket is so darn huge and takes forever.
This is what we left the yarn sale with.
Crazy, I know. Mainly because we’re not really knitters.
And this is what finally happened about 14 months later:
It didn’t actually take 14 months to knit. That’s what a sane person would do. A slightly deranged procrastinator would wait 13 months until November and knit all their 31,250 stitches furiously in 1 month. That’s what I did.
I actually decided to give up after the first square, when I calculated I had 24 squares to go and how much time that would actually take. I did a lot of calculations while making this blanket.
But when I told my youngest I was never going to finish, she gave me a pep talk. Actually more like a direct command to stop complaining and FINISH THE BLANKET. She takes Christmas seriously, and was having none of my bad attitude.
So I went on. And on. I knit through doctors appointments, and volleyball tournaments, and visits with friends. I was a little worried when my oldest came home around mid-December for Christmas holidays. How was I going to keep this thing a secret?
Well, I figured kids her age are pretty oblivious and self-absorbed. They don’t really care why their mother is knitting until her fingers bleed. I just told her I was knitting a surprise scarf for her sister. She barely glanced up from her computer.
I knit all my 31,250 stitches in time for Christmas day. Every so often, my youngest would come over and command me to keep going. It worked. The blanket of love got done.
Olivia loved it. It’s cozy and comfortable, and the whacky colour scheme suites her perfectly. It’s got a bit of a retro-hippie-granny vibe. It’s the kind of blanket you would use if you were driving across the country in a Volkswagen bus. Which I intend to do one day. Probably with a blanket just like this. And probably when I am a granny.
And now that my fingers have healed, I am here to tell you that you, too, can knit a blanket. Really you can. If you need some support, email me and I’ll yell at you every so often to keep going.
Instructions below. Adding love is optional.
Tips On How To Knit A Colour Block Blanket
1. Needles, Wool, And Pattern
The pattern for this blanket is from The Yarn Girl’s Guide To Beyond The Basics by Julie Carles and Jordana Jacobs. I used Patons Classic Wool with 11 mm needles because I wanted a soft and loose feel. And 11 mm needles knit FAST. I doubled the wool, so I knit with 2 strands of wool. This was no problem at all, even for a beginner. The gauge was 11 stitches to 4 inches.
2. Basic Construction:
This blanket is made from 5 strips that each have 5 different colours. Each colour is knit in the same pattern throughout the blanket, so you are using 5 different patterns. It is essentially like knitting 5 long scarves and sewing them together. Each square is about 12 inches long and 8 inches wide.
3. Colour Selection:
The colour choice here will determine the look of the blanket. I went with lime, light blue, purple, orangey red, and army green. Kind of a wonky mix, but the combination worked well. I wanted a bright mix-and-match look, and the addition of army green toned it down a notch and sort of grounded the colours. You could go with neutrals or different tones of the same colour. It’s really about what you like.
4. Patterns And Repeats
If you give each yarn colour a number, the strips are knit in the following order. Strip 1 is in order 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Strip 2 is in order 2, 3, 4, 5, 1. Strip 3 is in order 3, 4, 5, 1, 2. And so on.
You can see the different patterns in the photos. The red has a simple cable running down the center. The blue is knit in a seed stitch. The purple is knit in a stocking stitch with a contrasting square in the middle. The lime is a stocking stitch with accent rows pearled. And the army green is knit in a repeating square pattern. These are all very simple patterns to follow, even for a beginner.
The 5 strips are sewn together in the order they were made. I used purple thread for this because I liked the stitches to show. After the blanket was assembled, I knit a border around the blanket in garter stitch using a variegated colour. This was done by picking up stitches along each edge and knitting 6 rows in garter stitch. I started with the top and bottom borders first, and then did the 2 sides.