Thursday, April 27, 2017

North of the River - New Chunky Cable Blanket Knitting Pattern

I am so excited to announce my newest blanket knitting pattern - North of the River.

This is an easy to knit chunky blanket that features big, bold cables.  Knitting this blanket with super bulky yarn gives these classic cables a modern look!

The North of the River cable blanket knitting pattern is available on Ravelry, Craftsy, LoveKnitting and Etsy.

North of the River - chunky cable blanket knitting pattern.

I have been wanting to design a new big chunky cable blanket for a while now.  I decided to use a dark color yarn to see how that worked to show off the big cables.  I am thrilled with how this blanket turned out! I used Lion Brand Hometown USA super bulky yarn in the color 'Chicago Charcoal'.  I'm crazy about this rich dark gray!  The yarn has a subtle heather quality to it that gives the color depth and a rich quality.  

North of the River blanket features big chunky cables.
If you are familiar with my knitting patterns, you probably know that many of my pattern names are inspired by streets and neighborhoods in my hometown...Kansas City.  The name for this new North of the River pattern is also inspired by Kansas City.  The city was founded on the Missouri River and over the years the city grew to the south and to the north of the river.  I have lived south of the river my entire life.  When I was growing up we would use the phrase "north of the river" to refer to the northern half of the Kansas City area. "North of the river" has almost always been a fun destination for me...picking up a friend at the airport, going to a party at a friend's house, camping, sailing at Smithville Lake, shopping at a unique store...or driving further north to go on a family vacation...all good memories! 

Of course, you can guess the bold cables in this blanket design made me think of the wide, flowing Missouri River.

North of the River - pattern includes instructions for 3 sizes.
The blanket is knit flat in one piece, back and forth on long circular knitting needles.

Instructions for Three Sizes:

The North of the River pattern includes instructions for three sizes.  I made the large throw size blanket with five cables across. The medium size would work well for a cozy throw blanket, lap blanket or for a young child.  The small blanket size has three cables and would work for a lap or toddler/crib blanket. 

Large (5 cables): 45" wide x 56" long
Medium (4 cables): 37.75" wide x 49" long
Small (3 cables): 30.5" wide x 42" long

Any of the blanket sizes may be made longer by adding cable pattern repeats.  Each pattern repeat adds about 7" to the length of the blanket.  My pattern includes estimates for additional yardage needed to make blankets longer.

Super Bulky Yarn:

Large: 925 - 975 yards
Medium: 700 - 725 yards
Small: 475 - 500 yards

This pattern is designed for use with super bulky yarn (knit single strand).  You could also experiment with knitting two strands of worsted or bulky weight yarn together....just remember you will need about double the yardage.

Cable Knitting Experience Recommended:

This blanket is easy to knit but I highly recommend having some basic cable knitting experience. Knitting these chunky cables is not hard!  However, I would not want anyone to invest in the yarn for a big blanket unless you are confident in working a basic cable.  I used a cable needle designed for bulky weight yarns.


I use a clip on marker to mark the first stitch when I complete a cable.  Placing that one marker on the first cable in the row helps me easily identify where I worked the cable so I can count the rows and know when to work the next cable row.  These Clover jumbo locking stitch markers are very handy!


Blocking of Finished Blanket Recommended:

I highly recommend blocking the finished blanket. Taking the time to carefully block the finished blanket really makes a difference in the appearance!  If you need some tips I wrote about blocking and included a lot of photos on this blog post and this blog post.


The photo above shows my blanket pinned on the blocking mats.  I spent at least 15 - 20 minutes carefully arranging the blanket on the mats, straightening the edges and center cables, and pinning the edges in place.  It took about three days for this big blanket to dry...it was worth the wait!

I really loved knitting this blanket!  Did I mention that this yarn is incredibly soft?!  Lion Brand Hometown USA is 100% acrylic...it's incredibly soft and silky to the touch.  (It's also a very economically priced yarn.)  Though this is an easy care yarn that says it is machine washable...I would not put this big blanket in the washing machine.  I think my washing machine would be really hard on a hand knit blanket...especially of this size...and I would choose to hand wash this blanket and lay it flat to dry on blocking mats.

I absolutely love how this blanket turned out!

Big chunky cables add texture to any room.
My new North of the River blanket knitting pattern is now available on Ravelry, Craftsy, LoveKnitting and Etsy.

Thanks so much for reading!  Happy knitting!

Mary Lee
Fifty Four Ten Studio

Friday, April 7, 2017

Spring Knitting...Lots of Projects in the Works

Spring is here!  After about two weeks of off and on rain everything looks beautiful again in Kansas City!  Last weekend I cut a few branches off the Royal Raindrops Crabapple trees in our backyard.  They only lasted for a couple days in the vase but I loved how they brightened up my messy studio table.  (In case you are wondering, I purchased the vase at IKEA in March 2017.)

Cuttings from our crabapple trees.
We've been working on a lot of projects at our house this past month...knitting, sewing, woodworking, gardening...and more.  Something about spring arriving really gets us motivated to do projects and make things!

For about two weeks I have been working on a chunky cable blanket design.  First I did a test knit using some leftover yarn.  It's Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in 'Glacier'.  I love using this leftover skein over and over for testing out pattern ideas because it's one of my favorite colors...and the lighter color really shows off the pattern details well as the design comes together.

Test knitting with Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick 'Glacier'.
After I established a plan for this big chunky cable blanket I cast on with the dark gray yarn I picked for the blanket. The photo below is from last weekend when I was working on this big blanket. I finished knitting the blanket yesterday...so watch for an announcement about this pattern in the next couple of weeks.  (It takes a while to finish the final steps...block the blanket, let it dry, photograph the blanket and finish all the details writing the pattern...and then the pattern can be published!)

  

I love how the pink Crabapple blossoms look with the rich dark gray yarn! The yarn is Lion Brand Hometown USA in 'Chicago Charcoal'.  This yarn is incredibly soft and I love how it worked with this chunky cable blanket design.  More details coming soon!

A few weeks ago my in house woodworking team (husband & daughter) built a headboard for the guest room at our house. They painted it a medium/dark gray....Sherwin Williams 'Software'...and it looks fabulous next to the white bedding (from IKEA).  I love how my Westport Blanket adds texture to the room!  (And...that's my Peace Pillow knitting pattern adding a comforting message.  The design includes felt applique letters.)

Westport Blanket knitting pattern - along with new headboard!
When my daughter was on spring break we pulled out the sewing machine and dug through all the fabric in the house and made a big stack of dinner napkins.  We love how they turned out and the assorted fabric patterns remind us of past projects.  And...we're using a lot fewer paper napkins!

We used the directions from this Craftsy tutorial.  Learning to do the mitered corners was the trickiest part of this project but my daughter figured that out!

Homemade dinner napkins made with stash fabric.
It took a lot of hours to make this stack of napkins!  The first challenge was finding stash fabric with big enough sections to cut 18" x 18" squares for each napkin.  We washed, dried and ironed all of the fabric because some had been stored in plastic bins for a long time. We wanted it all to smell fresh and clean.  Then we cut fabric, marked fold lines, sewed the tricky little corners for a professional border (this part took a little practice), used a knitting needle to poke out the corners carefully, ironed folds again and sewed down the final edges.

Marking fold lines.

A knitting needle is helpful for adjusting the corner seams.

All of the fabric was from our stash - leftover from quilting, sewing class projects, etc.
We worked on this project for several days!  It was a fun project to do together and the finished napkins look really cheery at dinner time.

Earlier this week I stopped in at Yarn Shop & More....a LYS in Overland Park, Kansas.  This cute shop is located in Downtown Overland Park....or some call it "Old OP".  It's a quaint, small town feeling shopping district in a suburb of Kansas City.  Yarn Shop & More has a beautiful assortment of yarns!  It's fun to step in the door and see the yarns arranged by color on the shelves...like a rainbow...

Yarn Shop & More in Overland Park, Kansas

Even though the bright colors were very tempting, I ended up purchasing a lovely neutral colored yarn by Blue Sky Fibers...it's Organic Cotton Worsted in the color 'Drift'.

Blue Sky Fibers - Organic Cotton Worsted in 'Drift'
I splurged on this gorgeous yarn to knit a blanket for our house. I tested a few stitches with the yarn and I fell in love with how it looks in a simple garter stitch.  So...this new blanket design will definitely have a wide garter stitch border...


Look for more photos on this project in a future post. :)

Thanks so much for reading.  Hope you have a fabulous day!

Happy spring!

Mary Lee
Fifty Four Ten Studio