That 70s Blanket: a quick tutorial

I don’t even know if that name makes sense for this blanket, but this reminds me of some of the yarn and popsicle stick craft stuff we did all the time back then. Made this one with scraps of wool and cotton from my bins and shared by friends. And in that communal spirit, I just used a simple bias square construction that has been around forever.

Okay if I babble through this? This is NOT a pattern. This is how folks used to share knitting ideas back in the day.

new blanket

1. Gather up a ton of yarn. Look up knitting terminology if you need translation.
2. CO 4 st.
3. sl1wyif, kfb, k to last st, ktb
4. Repeat step 3 until the side length is the final length desired.
5. For two ridges (four rows): sl1wyif, k to last st, ktb
6. sl1wyif, ssk, k to last st, ktb
7. Repeat step 6 until only 4 st remain.
8. Bind off.
9. If desired, add an applied i-cord.
10. Snuggle up.

That 70s Blanket

It’s a quite versatile way to design a blanket. I knit my squares for 52 ridges to the center diagonal before step 5, for an eventual total of 104 ridges per block. With my worsted weight yarn on US6 sticks at my personal gauge, that made approximately 16″ squares. There are lots of ways to lay out sixteen of these; I went with the one that resembled the 70s yarn craft mentioned above. And, of course, you can be less scrappy and improvisational about it. Plan your colors and knit with more similar striping in each block for a tailored result.

That 70s Blanket

The slipped stitch selvedge makes seaming a breeze. I use a crochet hook with yarn of the same weight as the pieces (worsted here) and use slip stitches (NOT crochet stitches) through the back loops only. This is a rough description not meant to be instructive. You can see how the back looks with flat, not raised, seaming.

That 70s Blanket

The front then has this clean abutment of blocks that I prefer.

Oh, and I weave in ends as I knit, not using a darning needle. It’s a technique similar to tacking down floats in colorwork. Again, I don’t want to get into details here. But I just wanted to mention this to indicate that weaving in ends is a non-issue. It is quick and easy and need never be a reason not to use loads of colors in a project. And then…theoretically I’ll clip off those ends after blocking. But my true confession is that, demonstrating my odd form of laziness, my most recent few blankets still have their ends. Let’s just say they add a layer of insulation? Yes, that’s why.

Ahem.

Where were we?

Oh, yes, and then an applied i-cord edging. On bigger sticks (size US10.5 here) I do a 5-stitch i-cord with a provisional cast on and kitchener at the end. To avoid curly corners, when you get to a corner do a couple of rows of i-cord WITHOUT attaching to the blanket and then resume as usual. It needs room to make the turn.

That 70s Blanket

Now, knitting applied i-cord makes me very twitchy. You’re knitting 5-stitch rows so it feels like it should be quick, but there’s a lot of transfer of stitches from stick to stick and it advances like a turtle on benzos. I kept getting up to see if the cookie fairy visited the kitchen (he didn’t) and taking long breaks for sanity. No, it doesn’t matter what’s on the teevee. The only redeeming quality of the i-cord edging is the smooth and sturdy finish to a blanket that took forever to knit too.

Shall we turn down the AC and snuggle up now?

That 70s Blanket

The Details

Materials: worsted weight yarn scraps
Techniques: improvisationally-knit bias squares
Finished size: about 64" square
Started: March 2015
Finished: July 2015

at Tallgrass Arts

…last weekend was super fun! The Park Forest folks at Tallgrass Arts are super sweet and very into art. It was lovely to meet the curator and other leaders in the organization after a year working with them from afar.

Members of the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild (CMQG) showed up in full force on Saturday for the artist talks and then took us out for lunch. We missed out on deep dish, but the pizza was still good. These are some wonderful quilters and I wish I lived close enough to become one of them. Thanks, friends!

The trip ended with flight cancellations due to a monster storm, but that’s the kind of delay one can understand…for safety. Although the Chicago trip was better than expected, it’s great to be back in the groove at home and plotting the next thing.

Here are some photos from the show. A couple of quilts in the shots are new. Will post them in usual style later on.

At Tallgrass Arts
— With CMQG members Emily and Holly

At Tallgrass Arts
— Giving artist talk; photo courtesy of Holly

At Tallgrass Arts

At Tallgrass Arts

At Tallgrass Arts

At Tallgrass Arts

At Tallgrass Arts
— With Alex on opening night

At Tallgrass Arts
— With Eileen, Donna, Sarah, Holly and Emily

this week…

come see me here!

Upcoming exhibit

all done…

…well, except for a sleeve. You can see this quilt and many others at Tallgrass Arts in the Chicago area during June 19-July 25. I’ll be there for the opening on June 19 (7-10pm) and for an artist talk on the morning of June 20.

Quiltin'.

Six sleeves need to go on, actually, and some last minute photography needs to happen before shipping. It’ll be a long weekend of handwork and chasing good natural light.

See ya!