A knitted dog blanket, and a sort-of pattern

Please don’t judge me on the colour scheme. My yarn choices were very limited!

Don’t get excited anyone, this is not a proper professional pattern post. More of a ‘this is how I made it work for me’ kind of thing.

A little while ago I posted about making dog blankets for Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. Well, I started the blanket pattern that could be downloaded from their site, but I was having some issues. My ‘squares’ were anything but square and the different paw patterns were yielding different sized rectangles. Obviously I assumed it was my fault, that my tension was off, or varying wildly. Also perhaps the cheap acrylic (Battersea state they want acrylic) was not helping. It felt like the thickness varied a bit. But, seeing as I was going to have to sew the 25 knitted squares together, quite large discrepancies in size was going to be tricky.

Then the amount of sewing involved was putting me off a bit. I wanted a kind of ‘zone out’ project, where I could just knit and get back into the rhythm of needles and knots again. Without wishing to seem uncaring towards the eventual owners, I would rather be able to make three ‘no brainer’ blankets than one thing of beauty. Bearing in mind the thing of beauty might only last a week or two, it might be chewed, or thrown up on…well it seems to me that less finagling and more bulk would be a better option.

After speaking to my mum, who had already made the paws blanket, I found out she had exactly the same issues and, coming to the same conclusion, had made a simpler striped one as her second.

I decided to make a striped one too. And I wanted a border around it, to stop that curling up thing that happens otherwise. Please remember here that my knitting knowledge was never vast, and it is old and neglected. But, in a rare moment of knitting optimism, I decided to work it out for myself.

So, here we have the blanket that I actually wanted to make, if you ignore the colours that were dictated by the minimal array of shades in the shop.

Not many close-ups as my edges were a bit dodgy at first!

Now, I can’t write it up as a proper pattern, but should you want to make such a thing yourself, this is what I did, and what I used.

5mm needles

Baby yarn (thinner than DK, that is all I can tell you): two 50g balls of white, and three 50g balls of other colours. You will have plenty left over and don’t need two full balls of white, but my method of knitting made it easier. If you don’t know how to work different coloured yarn in, it is probably best if you go find out from a professional. YouTube will do the trick. Basically I just wrap the two colours of yarn around each other either side of the changeover stitch.

Cast on 100 stitches*

K rows 1-10 in white

Row 11; K8 in white. Work in colour choice as described unhelpfully vaguely above. K to last 8 stitches, change to white and K last 8

Row 12: K8 in white. Work in colour choice and purl to last 8 stitches, Take a second ball of white yarn, work in as per intarsia method and K8 in white.

Continue rows 11 and 12 until work is desired length, ending on a purl row of colour.

K 10 rows in white and cast off.

Weave in all ends.

That is pretty much it. I just changed the colours and stripes as I fancied – basically trying to make it a bit less like an object that can be seen from space. They will have no problem finding this blanket’s pooch in a power cut!

*As for the number of stitches, I was being guided by the paws blanket which knitted up to 50x50cm sq. I figured this must be a minimum size requirement for Battersea so just aimed for something a bit bigger. The finished blanket is 62x55cm so I could have used less stitches.

I will still finish the knitted squares blanket, as it is a nice diversion and the paw pattern does look really cute. I am in no way criticising it, this is just an honest opinion. I think it is brilliant that the designer allowed their pattern to be used in this way. I thought the intention was to give knitters an interesting project achievable for all skill levels, and it definitely is.

I have now come across a few more proper patterns so am going to use up the rest of the yarn. Maybe I should include some sunglasses when I post them off?

Finally, a gratuitous picture of my lovely Photographer’s Assistant, having a quick bit of shut-eye in the props after a hard afternoon napping…

riley in blanket

 

 

I have a knitted FO!!

Had to type that title carefully…

Some of you may remember that last year, mostly from reading other blogs and drooling over the beautiful creations, I finally decided to pick up my knitting needles again. Well actually I had to buy a set, because I had given all of mine away in a random act of tidying up, but you know what I mean.

So far, I have started four projects, and finished one. Doesn’t sound too promising, does it? But, actually it is fine. Two of the unfinished ones (scarves) are almost completed, just a row or two to go and then working in the ends. I wish I had done that as I went along, but I just forgot.

The fourth project is one I have only just started – a blanket for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. I found out about the project from Kick Arse Crochet (what a great name!) a little while ago. Thanks to her mentioning it on her blog there will be a few blankets heading their way as my mother has already made two, a friend’s mother is mid-knit and I have bought enough cheap (they specify it needs to be acrylic) yarn to make maybe three. Battersea is a very worthwhile cause, although it would obviously be good if there was no need for it to exist because every animal had a loving home. I like to think that a dog will look so adorable on their nice new blanket that it might help get them a new family. Even if they just chew it to shreds, I don’t mind really! There is a downloadable pattern for the blanket and cat toys, plus a list of other items they can use here. Again, thanks to Beth at Kick Arse Crochet for her original posting of this.

Anyway, the finished object is not for me, but a gift for my mum, which is why I have actually completed it. Only a scarf, and a simple free pattern which I found on Ravelry, but I enjoyed making it. Good job too because I had to start it three times. Due to still not having mastered the art of tinking (I really need to watch those YouTube clips again), every time I made a mistake, I was stuffed. I think it is the ’yarn forward’ that throws me. I kept ending up with significantly less stitches than I should have. So I just gave up, unravelled it and started again! Third time lucky. Also I got a much neater (or less hole-y) cast on edge the third time – I remembered about doing it with your thumb instead of a knitting needle. I couldn’t actually remember how, though…After many fumbled attempts I got it. I guess knitting is nothing like riding a bicycle. I have since found out when I mentioned the ‘thumb method’ to my mother and sister that we each do it differently!

And, although I had ditched my needles, for some reason I kept a bag of this yarn. Probably because it is Rowan, wool and cotton mix, and cost a bit at the time. But now, I have a nice lightweight scarf, pretty much for free! And also another project in the queue as my sister would like one too…