I used to think that a blanket was a lot of knitting. But it's not necessarily that much more knitting than a scarf, and the finishing is easy, unlike a sweater.
A blanket is not a bad knitting project for any level of knitter. You can choose to knit an elaborate king size blanket, or a simple garter stitch rectangle for a doll. It's also a good project for kids learning to knit who want to make something, but who don't want to make a washcloth or a scarf.
I think a knitted blanket was my very first project, even if I didn't plan it that way; I was six years old, and my knitting tension went from very very loose on the first few rows, to very very tight on the last. It was a garter stitch triangle of many colours that became a doll's blanket.
There are a lot of lovely knitting patterns for blankets out there. Here are 3 free patterns for blankets that are very sweet: Super Easy Baby Blanket from Purl Bee, Tree of Life Knitted Afghan from Lion Brand yarns (you need to register on the website), and the Chevron Baby Blanket from Espace Tricot.
But you don't need a pattern to start a blanket. All you need is a stitch pattern and a simple recipe.
Recipe 1: a simple garter stitch blanket
Step 1: Calculate your knitting gauge in stitches per inch. If the finished size of your blanket isn't crucial, use the gauge suggested on the yarn's label.
Step 2: Decide on the width of blanket you want to knit.
Step 3: Multiple your gauge by width. Cast on this many stitches.
Step 4: Knit every row until the blanket is the desired length.
Example: Doll Blanket, 10 inches wide, with a gauge of 4 stitches per inch. 4 sts per inch x 10 inches wide = Cast on 40 sts.
Sample dimensions (These are only intended as a rough guide. If you're planning on making anything larger than a baby blanket, I recommend reading a few patterns first for more guidance.)
|Type of blanket||Width (inches)||Length (inches)|
|Very small doll blanket||10||12|
|Barbie-type doll blanket||14||18|
|Small lap blanket or wrap||24||48|
|Medium lap blanket||30||50|
|Large lap blanket||50||60|
|Twin size blanket||68||86|
Recipe 2: a more challenging blanketGarter stitch is easy, but can get boring to knit. It's also compressed vertically, which means you have to knit more rows than other with other stitch patterns. Here are some other non-curling, simple, knitting stitch patterns that would work well in a blanket:
You will have to take the pattern repeat into account when calculating your cast on.
Step 1: width in inches x stitches per inch = approx cast on
Step 2: approx cast on ÷ pattern multiple = approx number of pattern repeats that fit (if result is a whole number, skip to step 4)
Step 3: round off number of pattern reps to nearest whole number
Step 4: (rounded number of pattern reps x pattern mult) + plus sts = cast on
So for example, for a 25 inch blanket at 4 sts per inch in Dewdrop Stitch, which has a multiple of 6 sts plus 1:
Step 1: 25 x 4 = 100 sts (approx cast on)
Step 2: 100 ÷ 6 = 16.66...
Step 3: round up 16.66... to 17
Step 4: (17 x 6) + 1 = (102) + 1 = Cast on 103 stitches."