How To Knit And Block A Giant Blanket in 47 Easy Steps

1. Spend 2-3 years knitting a giant blanket.

2. Feverously finish the last 50+ rows and bind off in a month.

3. Decide you need blocking wires to stretch the blanket to its max.

4. Research rigid and flexible blocking wires. Order the flexible ones in hopes of making all future blocking easier. 

5. Impatiently wait 3 weeks for blocking wires to arrive in the mail. 

6. On the day you're going to block, remember that you still need to weave in ends. 

7. Weave in ends. 

8. Decide that filling up the tub would probably be overkill to soak the blanket. Plus, you really don't want to scrub the tub.

9. Figure out that the kitchen sink is probably big enough.

10. Do the dishes so you can scrub the sink. 

11. Scrub the sink. 

12. Get wrapped up in a bunch of other tasks. Decide the sink is clean enough so you don't have to scrub it again. 

13. Fill the sink almost to the brim with cool water and a few capfuls of Soak. 

14. Squish the blanket under the water.

15. Let it soak for 30 minutes. Try to figure out how to squeeze all the water out of it so you can haul it to the bedroom floor to pin it out with dripping a river behind you.

16. Watch a few last minute videos about using blocking wires.

17. After the timer rings, go pull the stopper out of the bottom of the sink. Squish as much water out of the blanket as possible.

18. Take the blanket out of the sink and plop it down in the middle of a much smaller towel.

19. Haul the blanket burrito to the bathroom and drop it on the bath matt. 

20. Make lunch. 

21. Spread out a sheet to keep any bleeding dye and loose fiber out of the carpet.

22. Go back to the bathroom and step on a soggy matt to pick up the blanket. 

23. Gently spread out the blanket on the floor.

24. Carefully uncoil the blocking wires so you don't wing yourself in the face with the tips.

25. Pick a corner and gingerly thread the wire through one edge while hunched over the floor. 

26. Screw that. Sit on the floor and drag the blanket into your lap to thread the wire.

27. Halfway through the first edge, realize you should have started a podcast or music or something to keep you company. 

28. Finish wiring the first side, get up, grab your phone, come back, start a podcast. Not a podcast about knitting though because that's what got you into this mess.

29. Uncoil another wire and start the second edge. Repeat for the third and fourth sides which only take 15 minutes each instead of 20. 

30. Get out from underneath the giant blanket to start spreading it out.

31. Prick your fingers taking t-pins out of the bag. 

32. Stick one pin in a corner and begin smoothing things out. 

33. Start stretching and pinning with what might be described as reckless abandon. 

34. Stand up and check out your handiwork. Notice the blanket looks lopsided.

35. Sigh.

36. Go track down a tape measure - but not the the puny one that you keep in your notions bag - the big metal one. 

37. Stick a pin the blanket's cast on (in the center of course). Measure until you find the longest distance from pin to side. 

38. Take out pins and readjust, readjust, readjust all they all have the same measurement. Also, make sure the corners are about 90 degrees. Smooth, pull, and sweet talk the knitting as necessary. 

39. Somewhere in the middle of this, run out of pins. Get up to look for more and find absolutely zero. Bah.

40. Move pins around until all the edges are straight-ish.

41. Measure one more time just to be sure.

42. Stand up and survey your 2 hours of work. Yay! It's not lopsided anymore. 

43. Go do anything else while the blanket air dries with the help of several fans pointed directly at it. 

44. Keep waiting. All night and the next day if you have too. 

45.  After poking at it a million times, find out that it’s finally dry! Time to celebrate by pulling out all the t-pins without poking yourself and pulling the wires out of the edges. 

46. Stand up and swing the blanket around your shoulders like a cape. So warm and comfy!

47. After doing a happy dance with your blanket/cape, go find someone to cuddle with underneath it. Done! 

Feel free to skip a few steps. I personally recommended not stabbing your fingers with t-pins, pinning the blanket lopsided, or running out of pins. 

Joking aside, I’m so glad this blanket is finally done. It was one of the few things I hauled cross country in the trunk to Los Angeles. Didn’t work on it much more before I moved to San Francisco, but Ididn’t want to move again with it still on the needles. Part of the reason Norma took so long was because I wanted to use up 4 skeins of Lion Brand Nature’s Brown Fisherman’s Wool. Knitting all 1860 yards meant I worked the expanded chart available on Ravelry before charting out an additional 24 rows and then working the edging. Having to bind off 820 stitches was definitely worth it. 

An overwhelming urge to finish all the things helped push progress along too. I knit 2 rows or more a day for weeks until it was finally done. It became one of my daily rituals and I almost miss working on it. Almost. I’m much happier that it’s done and looking forward to snuggling up underneath it for years to come. 

Pattern: Norma by Meghan Jones

Yarn: 3.9 skeins (1813.5 yds) Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool - Nature’s Brown  

Final Size: 60” x 60”

Needles: US 7 (4.5 mm)

Dates: December 25, 2012 - October 22, 2015

@Ravelry

April is for Blankets: Recap

NormaBlanketWIP6.jpg

Every month I’m picking one skill to practice everyday for a month and updating my progress every Monday. I call it Project Incremental. Read up on how it all got started. 

| - | - | - |

When I started daily knitting on the Norma Blanket for April’s Incremental Project I knew I wouldn’t finish. My goal was to just make progress. So I took the blanket on car trips and knit through numerous movies, podcasts, and anime series. Most days I just knit one round. Some days I knit 2, 3 or even 6 rounds. Then there were a few days when I didn’t knit at all. Now that April is pretty much over, there’s definitely not going to be a special twist ending where I’ve suddenly finished blanket in the next 2 days.

Since I’m being honest, I have no clue when I’ll finish this blanket. It’s not called the Couch Monster for nothing. Over 650 yards have already been knit and the blanket is just starting to look squished up on the needles. There are still over 930 yards to go knit. I have this vision of the blanket sitting nonchalantly on the couch and waiting for a victim. Once said victim, probably me, is comfy and distracted by a digital box, the Couch Monster makes its move and completely envelopes his meal in a wooly maw. No evidence is left behind and blanket awaits his next victim. At least I’ll be cozy and might be able to distract the beast with animal crackers.

NormaBlanketWIP7.jpg

A few statistics for April’s Norma blanket knitting:

  • Knit a total of 44 rounds with minimal ripping and should add 2 more before the month is out.
  • Worked a grand total of 19,584 stitches so far.
  • Used up over 200 grams of yarn.
  • Add 8” to each ever increasing side. Safe to say I’ve knit most of the blanket this month.
  • Managed to finish the first charts and put a good dent in 3 and 4.

NormaBlanketNotes.jpg

This next part might be a little odd but I’m going to keep tracking the stitch count yardage on a round by round basis. Hear me out. I have a lot more yarn than the pattern calls for and I want to use it all up. Gathering all this data will make it easier for me to chart out more rows and figure out just how large the blanket can get. Spreadsheets are being put to good use tracking yarn per row (the average is 5g at the moment) and the increasing number of stitches per row (currently 508 and growing). Fear not math and data for they will save your knitting butt. 

NormaGraphs.jpg

Now that May and the next Incremental Project are almost here, I’m going to miss knitting on the blanket everyday.  Maybe I’ll keep going. A giant wool blanket isn’t a bad thing to have in your lap when the air conditioner is raging.

April is for Blankets: Week 4

GiantYarn.jpg

Every month I’m picking one skill to practice everyday for a month and updating my progress every Monday. I call it Project Incremental. Read up on how it all got started. 

| - | - | - |

3 weeks down with 1 week until May and I’m still enjoying this project. Measurable progress probably helps. Oh, hitting a major milestone every so often is great too. Last week, I finally knit through the entire 465 yards in the first skein of yarn and started on the second 465 yards. Feels good.

NormaBlanketWIP5.jpg

I prefer not to think about the fact that after I finish the second skein, there’s still another 465 yards to go. I’m also doing my best to ignore the fact that the final rounds of this blanket have over 700 stitches each. Instead of focusing on the sheer number of stitches ahead of me, I’m keeping what I’ve accomplished in mind. Last week I knit 10 rounds and 4,280 stitches and the week before saw 14 rounds and 5,320 stitches. That’s over 9,000 stitches (9,600 to be exact). All those stitches are adding up. 

Wonder how many rounds and stitches I’ll knit this week. 

NormaBlanketWIP4.jpg

April is for Blankets: Week 3

NormaBlanketWIP3.jpg

Every month I’m picking one skill to practice everyday for a month and updating my progress every Monday. I call it Project Incremental. Read up on how it all got started. 

| - | - | - |

And the month is half over already. Funny how that happens. Here I am, just going about my own business, and time is flying by without one bit of concern for any deadlines it’s bringing closer. Ah well. I was able to put some of that time to use by testing out my theory about sneaking up on finished projects one row/day at a time. 

During the past week I knit 14 rounds and the great bulk of the work, 6 rounds, happened Sunday. Managed to get all wrapped up in watching a new to me anime and couldn’t stop until the last episode. What better thing to do with my hands than knit? Somehow managed to not scare away the finished project by knitting so much at one time. Still looking forward to today’s and tomorrow’s rounds so the theory stands strong. Giant, bound off blanket, you shall not escape me.

LionBrandFishermansWool.jpg

I’ve managed to to finish the first 2 charts and start the next 2. After knitting 14 rounds, there are 404 stitches on the needles. The grand total of stitches knitted last week is 5,320. There are 82 rounds left assuming that I don’t chart out any more repeats - the jury is still out on that - and not even I am going to bother doing the math about how many stitches are left. That is not information I care to know until after I’ve bound off, blocked the blanket, and am cozy underneath it. Then the stitch count will be a point of pride or insanity. Haven’t decided which. 

NormaBlanketChart.jpg

April is for Blankets: Week 2

NormaBlanketWIP2.jpg

Every month I’m picking one skill to practice everyday for a month and updating my progress every Monday. I call it Project Incremental. Read up on how it all got started. 

| - | - | - |

Thanks to constant rain and all encompassing clouds of pollen, the first week of April has been full of good reasons to stay inside and knit. I did brave the outdoors and cross other things off my to do list but I always made time for a few stitches or a few hundred stitches from the Norma Blanket.

On some days I knit one row and was completely happy with it. On other day I knit 2 rows and that was great. Either way, I’m slowly sneaking closer to a finished blanket. I have this theory that if you try to tackle a large and cunning project all at once, it’ll see you coming and make a great escape; however, if you sneak up a row or two at a time, the wily stitches won’t notice you until they’re already bound off. Then you’ve won and your project can’t escape to the bottom of the work in progress basket for a year or two. 

Testing is ongoing but the results look promising. During the last week, I knit 10 rows which equals 3,320 stitches. The blanket, or the Couch Monster as I’ve started calling it, does not see me coming. 

April is for Blankets

NormaWIP1.jpg

Every month I’m picking one skill to practice everyday for a month and updating my progress every Monday. I call it Project Incremental. Read up on how it all got started. 

| - | - | - |

Well, specifically, I’m only going to be focusing on one blanket this month. No, this is not an April Fool’s prank though I am annoyed that I didn’t remember to come up with one this year. Oh, but my yearly PSA for April 1st still stands, trust next to nothing on the internet today. Not even the Google Nose Beta. Now down to the serious and prank free matters at hand. 

I am really making my Incremental Project for the month about knitting a blanket. The Norma blanket to be exact. I cast on last Christmas as a present for myself and made some good progress for a bit.  I’ve stalled out on on Row 75 of the first chart which means I have a long way to go. The blanket has been sitting none to quietly in its bag and mocking me about it’s unfinished state. Knit me, it says. I have fun lace and long repeats to keep you interested. Knit me before Summer comes and you burst into flames as soon as I’m in your lap. Can’t argue with that logic. 

StitchMarkers.jpg

The plan is simple. Knit 1 row everyday for the entire month of April. That’s 30 days but there are more than 30 rows before it’s time to bind off.  Not a problem. See, this month’s goal isn’t to finish but to move forward. That’s the important part and I’m more than ready.

Anyone else care to join me in tackling a giant project?

Another Year, Another Blanket

NormaWIP1.jpg

I love knitting blankets. I love casting on a few stitches at the center and slowly multiplying them to hundreds upon hundreds of stitches at the border. I love watching blankets grow from the size of a hat to something I could snuggle up under. So, as a Christmas gift to myself, I took a swan dive into the stash and came up with 4 skeins of Lion Brand Fishermen’s Wool for the Norma Blanket. The pattern had been tempting me since it was released and seeing a friend’s finished blanket pushed me over the edge. 

I’ve been adding rows every few days and the lacy goodness is slowly growing. It’s bigger than the crown of a hat but not large enough to cover my lap or fill up a whole circular needle. I’m in no hurry though and completely enjoying this bit of selfish knitting. I’ll be back to knitting things for others soon enough. 

Anyone else enjoying a break from knitting for others?

Just a giant bit of awesome

Technically, this bit of awesome comes to us from September but I feel no shame in still basking in the glow of a completed 5 foot square blanket in October.

Concentric2Blog.jpg

This blanket began about a year ago when my Mom gave me a bit of yarn she wasn’t going to use and my Dad got a new chair. The large part of my brain dedicated to knitting decided that Dad should get a nice new blanket to go with this chair. It also decided that Christmas would be a fine deadline. The remainder of my brain thought the Christmas deadline was insane and couldn’t we aim for Father’s Day instead? It was outvoted 51 to 49.

Now the 51% of my brain devoted to knitting, started sketching, plotting, researching, and even doing a little swatching. Then I bought what I hoped would be enough yarn (spoilers:I’d have to buy even more) and cast on. The center square and the first few stripes went quickly but when my knitting brain figured out this wasn’t going to be bound off by Christmas, it went into hibernation. Once the holidays had passed, I’d knit a few rounds every so often before getting bored and shoving it back into a bag.

After a few months I got tired of the giant, bulging knitting bag mocking me every time I sat next to it. So, I knit stripes at knit night. Then I knit more stripes through several seasons of Buffy, lots of movies, and who knows how many podcasts. When the last grey stripe took almost 4 skeins of yarn, I decided it was big enough. So, time for the border. It wasn’t till I was half way through that I had some idea of how large this blanket really was. My calculations predicted 60” but I was still shocked when it covered most of a double bed. In the end, I didn’t bind off by Christmas 2010 or even Father’s Day 2011. It will make a lovely birthday present though.

Concentric3blog.jpg

 Sometimes, when I finish a project that I designed, I’m ready to move on to the next big thing; however, this giant blanket still intrigues me. The beginning criteria - knit in the round from a center point, no picked up stitches, stockinette and garter stripes, and a “knitted on” border - are still things that intrigue me. I’m tweaking all of these details and making the pattern better. A bit of this process and the swatches will be popping up over the next few weeks because I just can’t leave it alone. It makes my knitter’s brain and my problem solving brain (which are really the same thing) happy.

ShadowandBlanket.jpg

Shadow seems pretty happy with it all too.

Pattern: An Octopus No More!

Hemlock4.jpg

Hemlock Ring by Jared Flood | Ravelry | with my own Extended Chart | Ravelry | download |

Cascade Eco+ in Highland Green (2.75 skeins)

US 10.5 (6mm) needles

August 9, 2009 - June 3, 2010

@Ravelry

Hemlock5.jpg

uzzah! My blanket actually looks like a blanket and not a very hungry octopus. mostly... Getting it that way was a long and drawn out process that involved a bathtub, a 8' x 6' swath of insulating foam, a few hundred pins, string, several hours, and a good portion of my living room floor. Blocking and the waiting for the blanket to try was definitely worth the time and effort since, in the end, I had a warm, cosy blanket that's big enough for a queen sized bed. I can see this being the only blanket I'll need for the rest of the summer.

Blocking and finishing aside, I've spent a lot of time working on this blanket. While I'm glad that it's finally completed, I also miss it since I can't knit on it anymore. It's not like I don't have several other large projects to fill that hole with - a super long Dr. Who scarf, or that other blanket I just started. Ahem... Eventually, I'm going to give Girasole a chance to fill that hole too and it's much larger than a Hemlock Ring.

Hemlock3.jpg

Part of the reason I spent so long knitting this blanket was because I wanted more than a lap blanket. I wanted it to be big enough for a bed. So, once I'd finished off the existing increases, I figured out how the pattern worked, made up another chart, and got back to my knitting. From my wanderings over Ravelry and interwebs, I know I'm not the only one who wants more than a lap blanket. At the top is my extended chart for your own giant Hemlock Ring or giant, hungry octopus. Have fun.

It Waits...

Hemlock1.jpg

...like a hungry octopus. I just know that it's waiting for the perfect time to pounce and gobble me up. There will be no escape either since there's no way I'm going to risk snagging, or worse - cutting, all that knitting. There is hope though since I'm going to try and get him first. Tomorrow I'm going to the nearest big box building supply store for enough foam to hold him. Then he'll be wrangled into the tub and stretched to within an inch of his life. Here's hoping I survive that long.

Hemlock2.jpg

Hemlock

Hemlock_WIP2.jpg

I started knitting my first blanket, Stadium Blanket, in January 2009 and finished it that April.  While I wasn't all that fond of the yarn, the finished project was warm and the perfect size to keep a lap warm. It wasn't long before I wanted to make another one.  So, Giant Miter cast on to be both a gift for my mother and a stash busting project. At 40"x40", this single mitered square definitely ate yarn and I had to get several more skeins to finish it.  The end project was definitely worth the work and the extra yarn. My mother was shocked when I surprised her with it one night.  It shocked my dad too since, at first, he couldn't believe I had made it because it was so large.

Hemlock_WIP4.jpg

Despite finishing and gifting the mitered square monstrosity, I still wanted to knit another blanket and I spent hours on Ravelry looking at patterns.  Eventually, I settled on the Hemlock Ring Blanket by Jared Flood.  This pattern is quite beautiful but, when I first saw it last year, it didn't leap on to my knit list.  It was pretty but not my style. However, in addition to being beautiful, it's also quite popular and I kept seeing them popping up on blogs. After seeing all that woolly, lacy goodness, the pattern definitely grew on me I couldn't help but want one for myself.  So, when my birthday came along, my boyfriend gifted me with the yarn to make it in an earthy green.  I've been off and knitting ever since.

Hemlock_WIP3.jpg

Officially, I started Hemlock, 3 days ago and it is such a fun knit besides from a couple of times when I had to tink back a couple rows because I forgot a single yarn over. I did eventually learn my lesson and started using stitch markers to distinguish repeats. Also, counting.  Lots and lots of paranoid counting before starting the next row.  Anyway, the Cascade Eco+ is working up wonderfully with softness and nice stitch definition.  Its also stood up well to tinking.  Hopefully, I won't have to do anymore of that.  

Hemlock_WIP1.jpg