Monday, March 21, 2016

Belleview Blanket Knitting Pattern - New!

I'm excited to announce my newest blanket knitting pattern...the Belleview Blanket!  The pattern is available on Ravelry, Craftsy and Etsy.

This is my fifth blanket pattern designed with super bulky yarn.  It is fun to knit a blanket with super bulky yarn because it knits up very quickly and the finished blanket is so warm and cozy.

Belleview Blanket by Fifty Four Ten Studio
The Belleview Blanket is named for a street in the neighborhood where I grew up in Kansas City, Missouri.  The design reminds me of the charming 1920's homes lined up in an orderly fashion on the streets of the Brookside neighborhood in Kansas City.

I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick super bulky weight yarn in the color 'Glacier' for soft blue blanket above and below.  I love this icy blue color!

This pattern will work with many super bulky weight yarns.  I recommend Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick (available at many craft stores in the U.S.) or Loops & Threads Cozy Wool which is sold at Michael's Craft Store in the U.S.

I recommend solid color yarn for the Belleview Blanket so the texture of the pattern will show up in the finished project.

Belleview Blanket - Instructions for Five Sizes
The Belleview Blanket is knit with super bulky yarn and knit flat, back and forth on US size 13 circular knitting needles.  You will need to know how to cast on stitches, knit and purl confidently, read a row by row knitting pattern, cast off stitches and weave in ends.

The pattern includes instructions for FIVE sizes:

XL Blanket: 48" wide x 49.5" long
Large Throw: 37.5" wide x 49.5" long
Small Throw: 37.5 wide x 38.5" long
Crib Blanket: 35" wide x 36" long
Baby Blanket: 27" wide x 27.5" long

Sizes are approximate dimensions after blocking.  I recommend blocking your finished project for best appearance.  Blocking this blanket pattern helps the border and the center pattern settle out nicely and improve its appearance.

Work in progress - before blocking.
After blocking - knitting looks more polished.
If you have not blocked a finished knitting piece before, it is not that hard.  However, with super bulky yarn I have found it's good to be cautious in how much I soak my finished knitting.  Each yarn reacts differently to the water in terms of how much it soaks up.  With super bulky yarn, the finished knitting can become heavy and stretch more than desired if it soaks up too much water.

I found that Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick yarn does not soak up too much water and the knitting did not stretch after being soaked in a sink full of water.

On the other hand, Loops & Threads Cozy Wool soaked up too much water and became very water logged and heavy after I soaked it in a sink full of water.  It did not ruin my project but the blanket did stretch to a little larger than intended.  Next time I block Loops & Threads Cozy Wool, I will go back to the technique I used with my Brookside Blanket and hold the blanket under cold running water to slightly dampen it.

If you would like more info on blocking, read on...

Blocking Belleview Blanket Knit with Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick:

First, I cleared off a flat, water resistant surface large enough to accommodate the size of my finished blanket.  (Don't block your knitting on a wood table!  To protect your surface you could use either blocking mats (or children's play mats) or perhaps a plastic tablecloth.)

I used my work table that has a Formica surface. The dimensions were the perfect size for my blue blanket.  I folded up my blanket and put it in my (clean!) kitchen sink.  I ran cold water over the blanket.  I noticed that the water sort of repelled from the Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick yarn so I decided to try soaking it in a sink full of water.  This worked fine for this yarn since the yarn did not completely soak up the water like a sponge.

Run water over blanket in the sink.  This blanket knit with Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick yarn.
I left the blanket in the sink for a few minutes to allow excess water to drain out.

Press out excess water and allow blanket to sit for a few minutes to drain in the sink.
Then, I placed the wet blanket on an old towel and gently pressed out excess water.  I tried not to wring or twist the knitting!  Then, I placed my knitting on my water resistant work surface and carefully spread it out...flattening and adjusting the knitting to line up the stitches evenly.  I used a measuring tape to adjust the knitting so that all of the edges were as straight as possible.

I looked at the blanket from each side and adjusted the knitting as necessary.  I did not have blocking mats when I blocked this blanket.  I found that pins were not necessary for the super bulky yarn.  The knitting stayed pretty much in place over the course of drying.

Carefully spread out blanket on water resistant table.

Blocking Belleview Blanket with Blocking Mats:

I recently purchased a set of mats to use for blocking, as well as a box of  rust resistant T-pins.  I purchased two sets of POCO-DIVO "child play mats" on Amazon.  Each set includes nine 12" mats that fit together like puzzle pieces.  I purchased two sets so I'll have enough pieces to make a mat large enough to block large blankets.  I set up nine of the mat pieces on my work table to block my baby size blanket made with Loops & Threads Cozy Wool in the 'Mushroom'.  

When I put this blanket in a sink full of water it soaked up the water like a sponge.  The last time I blocked a blanket with this yarn, I held it under the water and did not allow it to get overly wet.  That is what I would do the next time.  Soaking the blanket in the sink made the blanket far too wet and heavy due to the thick yarn.  It stretched a bit more than I wanted it to...but it did not ruin the project.  That's the great thing about blankets...the finished size does not have to be exact!  

Blanket knit with Loops & Threads Cozy Wool - it soaked up too much water.
After squeezing out the excess water in the sink and on an old towel, I carefully spread out the small blanket on blocking mats.  Then I adjusted the knitting so the edges and knitting pattern in the center of the blanket were straight.  I used rust proof T-pins to pin the edges of the blanket in place.

Blocking with mats and rust proof T-pins.
It took about three days for my tan baby blanket to dry but it was well worth the time.  Yes...the knitting stretched a bit after I soaked the blanket in water.  But, after drying it looks lovely.

After Blocking - Loops & Threads Cozy Wool yarn - Belleview Blanket Pattern.
I love how this baby size Belleview Blanket knit with Loops & Threads Cozy wool in the color 'Mushroom' turned out after blocking.  The knitting shaped up beautifully!


Summary - Blocking Super Bulky Yarn/Knitting:

Blocking super bulky weight yarn in not hard.  As with all yarn, each yarn will react differently to being blocked.  Some super bulky yarns can soak in so much water that the knitting becomes very heavy and the knitting can be overstretched when you spread it out on the work surface (see my tan blanket above).  The knitting just needs to be very damp...not soaked...to have successful blocking.  If you are nervous about the knitting getting overly soaked, just hold your knitting under gently running water so it gets moderately damp.

Thank you so much for your interest in my knitting patterns!  Happy knitting!

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