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)
Sometimes the old fashioned stuff just works the best.
Just a simple granny crochet poncho, with a little bit of detail.
I created this little poncho number whilst I was running my Wool Monkey shop as I had a high demand for poncho patterns one winter. I thought there was a need out there for a really simple, kids, crochet poncho. I never expected it to be such a hit, but it has turned out to be one of my most popular patterns ever since.
I think on this occasion I owe a fair amount of credit to my youngest daughter. She chose the colours that I used to make the poncho and she did a very good job of modelling the poncho for me once it was finished. She looked super sweet and posed like a super star. Sometimes she is good like that. Sometimes she is far from it!
She has become quite accustomed to modelling things that her Mummy has made now, although often she thinks she will get to keep them afterwards. (This is not usually the case). Sadly she’s getting bigger though and even though she is still, in my eyes at least, very cute, she is far from being a photogenic toddler anymore! I could do with a replacement. That most definitely does NOT mean I will be having anymore children however!
I think I have made this poncho several times over now in many different yarns and colours, for many different children. It turns out that even boys quite like ponchos too.
It’s also quite an easy one to adjust the size too, just keep crocheting until it fits. It really is very simple. I guess it is still true that simple things often work the best. It’s been a while since I made one now, maybe that’s what I shall do this weekend. If you would like the pattern to make your own, it is still available on Etsy and hopefully will be for a long time to come.
About this time last year, I had finished all my crochet projects and was looking for something new to do. So, I thought, I know I’ll do a new blanket, (I like making blankets). A nice quick stitch, so it doesn’t take too long. Maybe I’ll have a look at what random colours I have lying around and see what matches up…
I found that I had loads of colours that when put together reminded me of Morocco.
The colour palette looked like it had just come straight out of a desert bazaar. I decided upon an old fashioned hounds tooth stitch in three colours and thought I might do a kind of gradual colour progression. Shouldn’t take too long.
Famous last words.
As ever I didn’t bother with a pattern, I just make it up as I am going along. I wanted a nice big blanket, so I did my foundation chain nice and long. Ooops. Perhaps a bit too long this time. Nevermind I thought, I ‘ll carry on anyway and make this a really big blanket! I was enjoying the simplicty of it and the three colour, changing pattern was working well.
And then of course, other projects interfered. So the blanket got shelved temporarily. This seems to happen to me a lot when I am making blankets. Quicker shorter projects, usually requests by other people always have a habit of taking priority over what I really want to do.
So, late spring came and went and then finally, during the summer I had a few weeks of working on my blanket again. It grew quite quickly too, considering how wide it was. When I sat on the sofa working on it, it almost covered my feet now. This would have been great if it was winter and it wasn’t making me so warm!
And then the inevitable happened and it got shelved again. There was a small part of me that was starting to wonder just how big this blanket was going to end up. I really had done the rows far too long and at the moment it was a long thin rectangle. I was going to have to do soooo many more rows to make it balance out. Hmmm. More yarn was going to be needed.
Well, suddenly it was December and miraculously I didn’t have any other projects to work on. None. I was down to just my blanket. This is a true rarity as I usually have at least four projects on the go. So, one final push and I thought I could finish it by Christmas. I’d forgotten how big it was. After a week or so of working on it I needed more yarn. Which I promptly used up. It wasn’t big enough. So I found some more yarn. Still not big enough.
Eventually, the week after Christmas I made a decision that enough was enough and once I had finished the colours I was using that I would stop.
Sometimes it’s hard to stop when you’re enjoying making a blanket. The temptation to make it just a little bit bigger creeps up on you…
I’m not sure what it is about this blanket that I love, other than that it has kept my legs warm throughout December, but I think it is going to become one of my favourites. The texture is really lovely. It doesn’t feel like a crocheted blanket, it feels like a woven blanket, with a dense and fabric-like structure to it. The colour patterning is so simple, yet looks really effective.
So, now it’s January and I have finally finished the blanket. Time to measure it. It’s somewhat larger than I originally envisioned, being 175cm wide and 150cm long, but that’s a bonus as it fits a double bed comfortably and you can get several people under it at once on the sofa. Then I had a thought about the number of stitches. It’s not something I normally think about, but I got curious about how many stitches there were in my blanket. So I worked it out. I thought there might be quite a few but I wasn’t ready for 84,900. (give or take a couple). Wow! That’s a lot of stitches. In fact that’s a seriously large number of stitches. Makes it sound really impressive. Made me wonder how many stitches, crochet or knitting, I do in a year. Think I’ll leave that calculation for another day.
Here it is, the finished item. I have called it my Moroccan Desert Blanket.
It’s definitely my favourite so far and very easy. I might have to make another one.
If you fancy making one, I have put the pattern on Etsy and there is a brief video tutorial on the hounds tooth stitch in my tutorial section.
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.
Sometimes I have to invent a new blanket, just to try something out that I haven’t done before. Sometimes I have to invent a new blanket just to try out a certain set of colours.
I have crocheted plenty of hexagons before, but can’t remember making them into a blanket before. To be honest, I think I just got the urge to make a big hexagon blanket in repeating colours for a change.
So, I started making hexagons. Then I continued making hexagons. Then I made a few more hexagons. Then I had a pile of hexagons.
I had reached that point where you start to think to yourself, ” shall I sew some of these together now, so that I don’t have to do them all at once at the end?”. This was closely followed by wondering if I should block the hexagons first. It would make it easier to sew them together. But then, wouldn’t it be better if I could block them all to be exactly the same size. Imagine how much more straightforward that would be!
I was considering a polystyrene block and some cocktail sticks. I thought I could pin them out on the block, one after the other, leaving the sticks in place so that each one ended up the same size. The only problems being that I didn’t have an appropriate piece of polystyrene and it would probably take longer to block the hexagons one by one than it was going to take me to crochet the whole blanket. In the end I had to ask my ‘other half’ if he had any polystyrene, which then meant that I had to explain to him what I was up to. That’s not usually a good thing. He gave me that look that seems to imply that he thinks I am embarking on yet another mad, destined for disaster scheme. Then he told me to wait a couple of hours and he would find something.
A couple of hours later, plus a bit and look what I had!
My very own, custom made, hexagon blocking device. With bamboo skewers instead of cocktail sticks and hard MDF board with ready drilled holes instead of polystyrene. The best bit too, is the fact that I could block a dozen hexagons all at once. Woohoo!
My blocked hexagons were perfect.
All I need to do now is drill a few more holes in my new toy and then I can block other shapes and sizes too. I had never seen anything like this for sale anywhere before and thought that there could be a market for them out there somewhere… Well, maybe one day, but for now you have the idea, so at least you can make your own if you want to try it out.
Well, time to get sewing hexagons. 31 hexagons to be precise. It was surprisingly quick and enjoyable once they were all so neatly blocked. Happy blanket making!
If you are interested in the pattern for the blanket, it will be available on Etsy fairly soon. Alternatively, the blanket itself is now for sale.
A little while ago one of my close friends decided to use up all her oddments and leftovers to make a blanket. She didn’t make the usual granny blanket though, she just made a really simple blanket in rows, it turned out to be a really lovely blanket. She decided not to keep it though and sent it to the refugees in Syria. I thought it was a lovely gesture and very generous.
It got me thinking, (as most things seem to).
It was a really quick blanket, really easy and a great way to either use up loads of leftover yarn, or to create a blanket with a multitude of different textures. So I created a pattern, similar to what I thought my friend had created. The beauty of it being that it is a great pattern for a beginner, fast to finish (for a blanket) and also really, really relaxing to make. Plus, you don’t get bored as you change yarn and colour every row!
So, if you fancy giving it a try, then go and find yourself a whole heap of random yarns. You can colour co-ordinate them or just use a complete mixture of colours, it’s up to you. You will need at least 1500g OF YARN. The more wool and natural fibres you include, the more warm and heavy your blanket will be, but also the more yarn you will need. Try and stick to a mixture of DK, aran and chunky weight if you can, but with a mixture of different textures, fluffy, shiny, cotton, smooth, wool etc. etc. The DK is worked using 2 strands together to create the thickness required to work with the other yarns. You can always use 2 different strands together to create different effects if you wish.
You’re also gonna NEED a 5.5mm crochet hook.
Your TENSION should be approximately 9 or 10 treble stitches per 10cm using a 5.5mm hook. The tension is not crucial for this blanket, it will still work fine if you are a bit loose or a bit tight, but it will end up a slightly different size to what is stated.
The FINISHED SIZE of the blanket should be approximately 120cm wide and 150cm long, but it’s not an exact science. It will vary according to your tension and the type of yarns your use. The width can very easily be changed by increasing or decreasing the number of starting chains. To create the length you want simply keep working the rows until you reach the size you want.
Let’s have a look at the pattern.
FOUNDATION ROW Using a 5.5mm hook, make 142 chains.
It is absolutely essential that you do not make your chains too tight or the edge of the blanket will be tighter than the rest and look pulled. Your chains should look nice and loose. Don’t worry if you don’t have the exact number it will not affect the pattern, just the size of the blanket.
SET UP ROW
Working back along your foundation row, miss the first 2 chains, then do a treble crochet into the third chain. Follow this with 1 treble stitch into each chain to the end of the row.
Change to a different yarn. I picked my yarns blindly from my bag to make sure my blanket had a certain amount of randomness to it, but you can choose your yarns however you like. Bear in mind that because your yarns are all different some will go further than others and you may run out of some well before others too.
Using your new yarn, work 2 chain stitches, then turn your work. These will count as a treble stitch at the beginning of the row.
Work 1 treble stitch between the posts of the first and second stitches on the row below.
If you are worried that you are going to have lots and lots of yarn ends to sew in after you have finished your blanket then you can work the ends in as you go. Hold the end of the yarns you need to work in above the row of stitches that you are about to work. As you crochet a stitch make sure that you work around these strands and that they are incorporated inside the stitch.
Continue along the row, working 1 treble stitch between the posts of each stitch on the row below, to the end of the row.
The ends of the yarn you are working in will disappear into the centre of your stitches as you go.
Repeat Row 1 for every row of your blanket, changing to a different yarn for each row and preferably working the ends in as you go.
When you have finished your blanket it is up to you whether you put an edge on your blanket or not. If you do want to edge your blanket I think the easiest way is to do a round of double crochet stitches all the way around.
Choose a yarn, join your yarn to one corner of your blanket, do 2 double crochet stitches into the corner then double crochet stitches evenly all along the edge. When you get to the next corner do 2 double crochet stitches again and then double crochets down the next side. Continue in this way until you have worked all the way around the blanket then slip stitch to join the end of the round and fasten off your yarn. You’ll have to sew the end in this time though.
So, then the only remaining question is what to do with your finished blanket?
Did you make it with a purpose, for a friend or relative? Or just to use up your oddments?
I wrote the pattern and have made it freely available in the hope that people might decide to use up their oddments for a good cause, but if you make it for yourself that is perfectly ok by me.
If you don’t really have a use for it and just made it for the sake of making it, then why not donate it to a worthy cause? Refugees, homeless, elderly, orphans – there are lots of people out there in need of warm blankets and it’s a little bit like giving a complete stranger a massive hug. It’ll make you feel all warm and cosy inside too knowing you’ve done something nice. Either way, get in touch and show us your finished blankets, it’s always nice to see what folks have created.