The new and improved Yarn of the Month Club provides enough yarn for two 5x5 blanket squares...
The patchwork blanket may have started as a quilt, but knitters have definitely welcomed the technique as their own. From projects in major magazines to books (like Debbie Abrahams’ 100 Afghans Squares to Knit) to classes in LYS’s across the country, patchwork patterns abound — a testimony to the popularity of these projects. And it is not too hard to figure out why. We all have bits and bobs of leftovers stuffed in nooks and crannies around the house and patchwork projects are an obvious way to stem the tide. Squares are also great projects for our on-the-go lifestyles: while it is hard to drag a partially finished one-piece blanket to a child’s basketball game, a few patches fit easily into the space and time allotted. Lastly, it’s a great way to try out stitch patterns or a new yarn (right, members?).
Then, of course, there is the clear aesthetic appeal — or, more precisely, the vast variety of aesthetic appeals. Depending on the design employed, a patchwork project could be sleek, folky, luxurious, traditional, abstract...you get the idea. And as Yarn of the Month Club members begin receiving their new packages, it’s a great time for us to discuss some design options. By the nature of the club, we know we’ll have yarns of different colors, textures, and even weights.
For a more traditional blanket, you can sort the yarns into separate projects and use the more standard textures and mid-weight yarns together (and save the more daring, super thick and/or super thin yarns for other blankets or other projects). Then you can supplement the different yarns with a skein or two of a unifying yarn to tie it all together. In this case, you will probably want to arrange your squares in a regular pattern; one of the traditional quilt designs would be great. To really bring this design home, you might not want too many stitch patterns. Perhaps all the squares from the unifying yarn could be seed and all the YotM squares in a variety of stitches, or vice versa.
A more exuberant look will come from mixing random colors and/or textures together in one blanket. You can include all the samples into one fabulous mix of solid color squares by knitting each sample into a seed stitch square and arranging them randomly. Or go one step farther and work some or all of the squares in color patterns (like January’s project stitch pattern) for a really fun blanket. In this scenario fine weight yarns can be knit together with something a little more robust, adding to the color texture.
Of course, there are a number of options along the spectrum between these two. Your designs will depend on your aesthetic, your stash reduction needs, and your desire to invest time or money. Whatever you choose have fun with it!