Wednesday, January 25, 2017

New Chunky Blanket Knitting Pattern: Over the Rooftops

I'm so excited to announce my new blanket knitting pattern called "Over the Rooftops".  This chunky blanket is quick and easy to knit with super bulky yarn.  I really enjoyed knitting this blanket!

Over the Rooftops blanket knitting pattern.
The pattern is available on Ravelry, Craftsy, LoveKnitting and Etsy.

If you are a fan of the movie Mary Poppins then you have probably guessed the inspiration for the name of this pattern.  One of my favorite scenes is when Bert (played by Dick Van Dyke) and the chimney sweeps dance to the song "Step in Time"...which includes the words "over the rooftops".  I love watching them dance across the rooftops of London. The texture of this blanket reminded me of city rooftops!

Over the Rooftops - chunky texture with super bulky yarn.
I love knitting blankets with super bulky yarn.  For this blanket I used Lion Brand Hometown USA super bulky yarn in the color 'Dallas Grey'.  This yarn is very economically priced so you can knit a blanket without spending a fortune!  The yarn is very soft and cozy. I really enjoy knitting with this yarn.

One thing to know about this blanket...I highly recommend blocking the finished blanket!  The stitch pattern in the center of the blanket tends to pull together ribbing style if it is not blocked.

Here's what my blanket looked like before blocking...

Blanket before blocking...knitting bunches together in the center.
Notice how the center of the blanket bunches together. Taking the time to block the finished blanket makes a huge difference in the appearance of this design.  Blocking your knitting is not hard!  Allow about 20 - 30 minutes for setting up the blocked blanket and about 2 to 4 days for it to dry.

Here is the same blanket after blocking...

Over the Rooftops blanket - after blocking.
How to block a blanket...

1. Soak the blanket for several minutes in cold water in the kitchen sink.  (I cleaned the sink first!)

2. Pull the plug to allow the water to drain out.  Let the blanket sit for a few minutes to allow excess water to drain off a bit.  Do not wring or twist the knitting.

3. Set the blanket on an old towel for a few minutes to drain off excess water.

4. Set up blocking mats on a carpeted or water resistant floor (don't set up on hardwood floors!).

Last year 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 have two sets so I have enough pieces to make a mat large enough to block large blankets. These were the most inexpensive option I could find when I purchased them.  There are other similar products available...this set with grid lines and included T-pins looks very nice.

5. Carefully unfold the wet blanket and spread it out on the blocking mat.  At first your blanket will likely look a bit messy and uneven...

6. Spend some time carefully adjusting the blanket.  Use the edges of the mat and a ruler as a guide to make the edges very straight.  Check the stitches in the center of the blanket and adjust as necessary to make the rows straight and even.  Use rust resistant T-pins or other blocking pins to pin the edges in place.  Here's what my blanket looked like after I pinned it to the mat...

I usually set up a fan next to the wet blanket to try to expedite the drying process.  It can take 2 to 4 days for a large blanket to dry depending on the yarn, air temperature, etc.  It's worth the wait!

Here's another photo of the blanket after blocking...

Over the Rooftops blanket - knit with Lion Brand Hometown USA super bulky yarn
The pattern includes instructions for five blanket sizes.  Approximate sizes after blocking:

XL Afghan: 57" wide x 60" long
Large Throw: 48.75" wide x 48.75" long
Medium Throw: 43" wide x 45" long
Small Crib / Lap Blanket: 37.25 wide x 40" long
Baby Blanket: 31.25" wide x 35" long

Any of the blankets may be made longer by adding additional pattern repeats.  In the pattern I have included estimates for additional yardage needed to make blankets longer.

This pattern will work well with many super bulky yarns. As noted above, I used Lion Brand Hometown USA.  Other options include Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick or Lion Brand Thick & Quick Bonus Bundle (100% acrylic yarn).

I recommend using a solid color yarn so the texture of the pattern shows up best.

This is an easy pattern to knit.  Even with an easy pattern, stitch markers are helpful for keeping track of the pattern changes. The green circle markers shown in the photo below are Clover Jumbo Ring Stitch Markers.

Stitch markers are helpful even with a fairly easy pattern.
I started designing and knitting this blanket over the New Year's weekend.  I really enjoyed knitting this design and I am thrilled with how the blanket turned out.  It's super soft, chunky and cozy!

The Over the Rooftops blanket knitting pattern is available on Ravelry, Craftsy, LoveKnitting and Etsy.

If you enjoy knitting chunky blankets with super bulky yarn you might also like my other blanket patterns including Third Street Blanket, Westport Blanket and Belleview Blanket.  You can also see all of my blanket patterns on Ravelry.

Thanks so much for reading!  Happy knitting!

Mary Lee
Fifty Four Ten Studio

Ready to weave in ends on my new chunky blanket design.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

January: Knitting, Reading & Early Spring Cleaning

I'm working on a new blanket design this week.  I can't show too much of the design yet but I'm really pleased with how it's coming together.  I'm nearly finished knitting the blanket so I hope to be ready to share more details in the near future.

I'm using Lion Brand Hometown USA in the color 'Dallas Gray' for this new blanket.  Here's a sneak peek...seed stitch border for the blanket...

This week: knitting, reading & drinking hot tea.
UPDATE: The project above is my Over the Rooftops blanket knitting more about it on my other blog post.  What a pleasant surprise that it became one of my customer's favorite knitting patterns!

I often use favorite objects from around my house in my knitting photos.  In the photo above there's an old 8 oz. weight that brings back fond memories of going to antique fairs with my dad.  I include this weight in many of my photos...I just love the simple, round shape and the way it anchors the white background. The old mason jar has an assortment of buttons...some were my grandmother's. 

I've been reading "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" by Susan Cain.  I highly recommend this book!  The section about the power of working alone and how it sparks creativity is especially interesting to me.  If you are an introvert, live with an introvert, work with introverts, are the parent of an should check out this book. (Just a coincidence that the book cover matches my yarn perfectly!)

Westport Blanket - an easy to knit blanket.
This month I'm also trying to get caught up on sorting through piles of stuff that accumulated over the holidays (and for months and years before that!). 

The photo above was taken in the now peacefully organized guest room in our house.  I painted this room last fall so that forced me to empty everything out of the room and carefully evaluate what would go back in. (Within the next couple months I hope to do the same to at least one other room!) 

The gray blanket in the photo is my Westport Blanket knit with Lion Brand Hometown USA in 'Dallas Grey'. I love how this soft, chunky blanket looks tossed at the end of the bed.  

And, in case you are wondering, the white duvet cover and pillow shams are from IKEA (purchased fall 2016).  I made the Peace Pillow when I designed my "Peace : Love : Home" pillow knitting pattern a couple years ago.  The pillow cover is knit with super bulky yarn. The letters are cut from felt and stitched on with DMC embroidery floss.  

If you like seeing behind the scenes photos like the ones included on this post, follow me on Instagram.  

Happy knitting!  
Mary Lee
Fifty Four Ten Studio

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

My Favorite Knitting Pattern Highlights from 2016

Today I'm reflecting on all that I accomplished and enjoyed in 2016.  It was a great year!  I enjoyed many fun times throughout the year with my family and dear friends. I did pretty well keeping up my goal of walking every day and trying to reach 10,000 steps each day.  My FitBit does a great job of motivating me and keeping me accountable on that goal!

In the knitting department...2016 was a record year for Fifty Four Ten Studio!  My pattern sales for September thru December were outstanding!  I really appreciate all the purchases of my patterns and the kind feedback I have received from customers.  I recently celebrated my third year of designing knitting patterns.  I love what I am doing and feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to publish my patterns online.  I'm old enough to remember the days of relatively limited choices in knitting patterns which were primarily published in knitting magazines, yarn company pattern books and hardcover craft books.

I published nine new knitting patterns in 2016....eight easy to knit blankets and the Side Line Cowl.

These are three of my favorite easy to knit blankets from 2016...

Easy to knit blankets!
Top: Third Street Blanket - my best selling pattern in 2016! I knit this blanket with Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in 'Glacier'.

Middle: Stones in the Road Blanket - knit with Loops & Threads Cozy Wool in the color 'Mushroom'.  This yarn is sold exclusively at Michael's.

Bottom: Westport Blanket which I made using Lion Brand Hometown USA super bulky yarn in the color 'Dallas Grey'.

All of these blankets are knit with super bulky yarn and are very easy to knit.  All of these blankets have directions for five sizes so it's easy to make a baby blanket or a large throw.  These patterns are available on Ravelry, Craftsy, LoveKnitting and Etsy.

In 2016, I also enjoyed knitting a few items using my previously published patterns.  I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in the lovely color 'Glacier' to make The Parkway Pillow.  I love how it turned out!  (See more about this project on my August 2016 blog post.)

The Parkway Pillow knitting pattern is available on Ravelry, Craftsy and Etsy.

The Parkway Pillow made with Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in 'Glacier
In this first week of January 2017, I'm catching up after a fun holiday season.  I'm carefully packing away my collection of Christmas decorations.  All of my homemade ornaments get packed in a special box.  (If you missed it...I wrote about my homemade Christmas ornaments in December.)

Also, I am making lists of things to accomplish this year.  There's a few house projects on the list such as cleaning out all of the kitchen cabinets and painting a couple rooms.  I told my family my new year's goals are to read more and knit more!  Right now I'm reading "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking"'s very interesting!

My list of knitting project ideas for 2017 is pretty long! This week I started working on a new blanket design.  I'm using Lion Brand Hometown USA super bulky yarn in the color 'Dallas Grey'.  I'm looking forward to sharing more details as the pattern comes together!

May 2017 Update: The design shown in the photo below is now available and has quickly become one of my most popular blanket patterns! Read more about my Over the Rooftops blanket knitting pattern here on my blog.

New blanket design in progress with Lion Brand Hometown USA yarn.
I hope the new year is off to a great start for you!  Thank you so much for reading!

Happy knitting in 2017! :)

Mary Lee
Fifty Four Ten Studio