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

The Almost Finished Norma Blanket

It was the first weekend of October. There was sci-fi on the TV and I’d grabbed a comfy seat on the couch to finish the last few rows of my extra large version of the Norma Blanket. It takes a long time to knit a row that’s 820 stitches around so I settled in for the long haul with snacks and a drink. Thankfully, knitting garter in the round is still faster than working lace. Even though I was keeping track of each row as I knit it, the bound off row snuck up on me. I even double checked that I’d knit the right number of edge rows before starting. 

Instead of a complicated bind off requiring lots of yarns overs or a tapestry needle, the pattern recommends the simple purl two together bind off. Not only is it stretchy, it moves really quickly once you get into a rhythm. I expected to be up half the night just binding off. Nope. Less than an hour after starting, the Norma blanket was off the needles. I took a lot of breaks stretching it out as I bound off each side. 

I had some idea of how big it would be while it was bunched up off needles, but seeing it spread out was something else entirely. The blanket is about 47” across unblocked. It’s bumpy in the middle and lumpy in the way that lace is when it’s fresh off the needles. The edging waves back and forth with thepattern repeats and almost looks too big for the center. Almost. I’m not worried though because, when I stretch the blanket out over my knees, the lace grows and opens up. It’s going to need all the room the edging can give it. 

Blocking has been on hold for the past three weeks while I non too patiently waited for a set of blocking wires to come in the mail. They finally arrived yesterday! Today, I’m taking over the bedroom carpet and stretching the Norma Blanket to its limits. 

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?

Little Things

StitchMarkers.jpg

Little Things: Celebrating the tiny, sudden joys in life

Last December, after all the Christmas hubbub was over, I got an unexpected gift in the mail. Inside was a collection of handmade stitch markers from a far away friend. One set looked like obsidian and the other is painted green glass. The markers use flexible wire instead of jump rings to hang on to the needles which, after using them on my Norma blanket, I put my knitter’s stamp of approval on. Now I want to make some too. 

Besides from being really helpful and snag-free, the stitch markers make me smile because a friend made them just for me. A friend who is really busy making games and going to school and being completely awesome took the time to make me some stitch markers. I love that. I appreciate that. I can’t help but be happy and smile whenever I see them arranging my knitting. 

All the markers fit in the palm of my hand. They may be small but they do big things. 

What little things are making you happy today?

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?