I have often been asked the question ‘how much yarn do I need for a blanket?’ To which, of course, there is only one reply, ‘depends how big your blanket is going to be’.
Then of course the next question is usually, ‘how big does my blanket need to be?’ Sounds silly, but there are no fixed rules about how big a blanket should be, just make it to the size you want.
OK, so that sounds like a bit of a slack answer I know.
I have done a little bit of digging to find out what sort of sizes people generally consider to be standard. Or standard-ish at least. Some people have their own personal set of sizes that they tend to work to and others like to make it up at random. I know I have a rough guide in my head and I tend to vary it depending upon the project.
One thing to bear in mind, if you are making a blanket for a bed, UK bed sizes and US bed sizes are different!
So most of you will have at some point made a baby blanket I suspect. The sizes do vary a little bit, but most of them out there seem to fit into the same categories and approximate sizes.
Not necessarily for adults, but it just gives a different category from babies. These can vary quite a bit more, especially between the continents! So, I had a look at the bed sizes first as the standards seem to vary slightly. Here is a comparison between the USA and the UK. Obviously there are many other variations around the World, but there is a limit to how many I can list and these two seem to be pretty common.
When it comes to the blanket sizes, as oppose to the actual bed sizes there seems to be a lot more discrepancy as to how a blanket should fit a bed. Should it just reach the edges? Should it overlap the edges and drape down the sides? Should the top be long enough to cover the pillows? Is it just a decorative thing?
I still believe it’s all just personal preference. There are no right and wrongs, but here are some guidelines to what appear to be the most common blanket sizes out there. Most of them allow for some drape over the sides of the bed. This is NOT a definitive answer as to the size a blanket should be, NOR is it an instruction that you must create your blankets this size. It is simply what my research has found…
I hope these help some of you a little bit. If not my advice when making blankets is to make them big and just keep going until you’ve had enough of making it and then it’s big enough.
There are loads of lovely books containing patterns for blankets out there, but these are a couple of my favourites: (click on them to look inside and check out the latest prices)
OK, so I admit, I really enjoyed making my Moroccan Desert Blanket sooooooo much that I have made a new version. I couldn’t help myself. I wasn’t entirely sure what size it was going to be when I started, or how the colours were going to work, but just had to start it.
This new one was a little bit quicker though and grew so fast that I didn’t have much chance to think about the colours.
For starters it was made using chunky yarn and it’s only baby/toddler sized. Hence, it didn’t take me twelve months to make it, it took less than two weeks.
It was still very addictive to make though, I could happily have made it bigger!
The stitch I used is the same as the stitch used in the Moroccan Desert Blanket, Houndstooth check, in three colours. The only real difference is the yarn and the sizing. I have written up the pattern for this one too though, for those of you who prefer quicker projects!
As this blanket grew, I realised that the colours were getting very bright. Probably too bright for most adults. But for kids it’s perfect. Eventually the colour pattern started to look a bit like a rainbow and my kids love it so much that I am now pondering making one for them. Which of course would turn into two blankets for them as they fight over everything.
I do love working with bright colours, it’s a bit frivolous, but is really good for cheering you up on gloomy winter evenings.
The yarn I used is Schachenmayr Boston Sun, a chunky blend of cotton and acrylic and it gives the blanket a wonderful, slightly heavy, floppy feel to it. It’s not a commonly used yarn, but I would recommend you give it a go if you haven’t tried it before. Youcould of course make the blanket in whatever you fancy. But, chunky works well, as it grows so fast!
Here it is in all it’s finished glory!
Here is the yarn, Boston Sun, which I used for the blanket and a couple of alternatives. (click on the images to find a price)
So, Christmas is over and like many of us you might have spent the last few months knitting Christmas presents for friends and relatives. It’s something we all do from time to time when we feel the need to be creative and need an excuse to make things. Plus, it’s nice to give presents that you’ve made. But then suddenly, after Christmas, you have fulfilled all your gift requirements and no longer have any projects to make. Panic!
You need a new project, fast. But what?
Well, nobody you know needs anything and you already have a full wardrobe of woolly goodies, so how about making something for somebody unknown? Somebody who needs anything you can give because they have nothing. Or, somebody who needs a bit of a hand up in life. After all the excesses of Christmas maybe a bit of charity would be good for the soul.
Knitting, or crocheting for charity is a lovely thing to do. There is nothing more soothing when you’re in a bad place than something warm and cosy, handmade by somebody else and filled with love. It offers comfort and sometimes a bit of hope that the future is not always going to be bleak. Plus of course, the good feelings and sense of well being that it generates for you. Sometimes you can be in need of that warm cosy feeling just as much as the person receiving your knitting, you just don’t realise it. Like I said, it’s good for the soul.
So, there are many different ways you can join in. Blankets, hats, clothing, twiddle mats, toys to name but a few. There are lots of organisations out there asking for donations and it’s up to you to decide how you think you could best contribute, but here are just a few things to consider before you go leaping in headfirst.
Check your Charity. By this I mean do a bit of research and find out about the charity that you are going to donate to. Make sure they are real, that their motives are genuine and that all your hard work is going to get to the people that need it the most and not be wasted or worse. Most organisations have websites and you can also check their status using the charities register and similar.
Make sure that the charity wants knitted or crocheted items. (Some don’t). Look for any specific requirements they have for particular items or sizes and make sure that what they want is something that you want to make. Don’t put yourself in a position where the making suddenly becomes a burden for you. Also check if they have any specific yarn requirements, such as acrylic or machine washable or similar that you need to consider before starting.
Lastly, be aware that they are not going to pay you to donate your work to them. You are going to have to cover the cost yourself. Don’t set out to create a pure wool blanket for refugees in Syria for example, without taking into account not only how much the yarn is going to cost you, but also any postage costs you might have to incur to get your item to the charity! If you’re lucky you may be able to get somebody else to donate you some yarn. Local businesses or a friend who has her great grandma’s stash in the loft but never learnt to knit maybe. Don’t be afraid to ask around, give somebody else the chance to get in on the act and you may be surprised how many people will want to contribute. You could also team up with others, spread the cost and the work and make it a group project!
So, if you fancy a go, here are a few ideas for you to think about and websites that you might find interesting.
This is a great organisation, which I have worked for on several occasions. They always have lots of projects on the go, for a large variety of different causes, often with patterns available for you to use for free and loads of interesting stuff on their website. I can highly recommend going and having a peek. It might just spark your interest with projects you never knew existed.
The knit a square group is a great one to get involved in if you would like your projects to be really quick and simple. Lots of my regular customers from the Wool Monkey shop used to bring me squares on a regular basis to send away to these guys. They have ladies who then sew all the squares into blankets to be sent away and handed out in places where they are needed. They also have requests for other items too, always with instructions and patterns to help you get started. This is a great project for beginners, knitting squares is a good way to practice.
Loving Hands is a bit more of a forum type group, who focus onbringing like-minded crafters together to create for charities. They aim to make sure that all handmade work goes directly to the people/animals who need it. They have lots of information on local groups, free patterns and projects to join in with.
I could go on listing all the charities that need knitted items all day, but then this blog would become rather long. But, you get the idea, that there is more out then than what you perhaps first thought. A simple google search brings up hundreds of different ones. Or, you can visit the UK Hand Knitting Association website, where there is a list of charities for you to have a nosey at.
Whilst visiting a friend recently, over the other side of the Pennines, I went for a visit to a local yarn store. This was the first time I had been in another yarn store since I had closed my down and it turned out that the lady was closing hers down too.
The yarn store was Yarnbirds in Whaley Bridge. It was such a lovely shop, with oodles of beautiful yarn and a shame to see it close, but the owner, a lovely lady called Claire, had her reasons. Anyway, we had a good old natter, as you can imagine yarn shops owners are good at chatting and before I left Claire very kindly gave me a ball of Caron Simply Soft yarn, for free, to try because I had mentioned that I had always wanted to try working with it.
It was baby pink. So, what to do with it?
I pondered the idea of a baby blanket. I wondered if you could squeeze a whole blanket out of one ball. They are 170g afterall. I thought it might be pushing my luck, as it is aran weight and probably won’t go that far. But started crocheting anyway. As usual, I changed my mind several times about the size and the shape and the stitch. I didn’t get far that night.
I thought a really simple pattern would be nice, which focused on the texture. A little bit old fashioned maybe, but with a bit of a modern edge to it. Next morning was knit and chat morning in the cafe, so I took it with me and things progressed a little faster.
I think I probably spend too much of my time in the cafe, eating cake, drinking coffee and knitting or crocheting. It’s a bad habit.
It made my blanket grow faster.
Unfortunately it made me use up all the yarn really quickly too. It turns out that you definitely can’t get a whole baby blanket out of one ball of Caron Simply Soft. (Unless you want a rather small blanket). So, then I had to go on an internet search for more. Which also means that my experiment was no longer a free experiment!
So, a few days later, my yarn turned up and I could continue. I was rather surprised to find that it was vacuum packed. I have heard that lots of sellers are doing this to ship yarn these days, but I hadn’t actually seen it for real. Until now.
It was flat. Totally flat.
It was almost fun opening it and watching it grow before my eyes, like one of those expanding fish toys for kids that you soak in water over night and they quadruple in size.
I was pleased to find that it returned to it’s normal shape with absolutely no sign whatsoever that it had been squashed flat. (I must make a mental note to ship stuff like this in the future).
So, back to work and two more evenings and the blanket was finished. Did I mention that it is quite a quick pattern?
The stitch I used is sometimes called a V stitch, as it looks a little like rows of Vs. To be honest, I really, really like the effect it gives. I think it’s a great texture for a baby blanket and would work with any colour.
The Caron Simply Soft worked really well too. I don’t normally like acrylic yarns much, but this one is lovely and soft. It has a gentle sheen to it too and is quite heavy, so the blanket has a lovely floppy drape to it. You don’t often get that with acrylics, I think they can be a bit rigid when crocheted sometimes. So, all in all, it cost me money in the end, but it was a fun experiment and I have now written the pattern up to share with the World.
If you would like the pattern, it’s called Sweetie Pie and it’s available from my Etsy shop. Of course you can crochet it in whatever yarn you like. It would be interesting to see it done in something else.