As I’ve said before, I like to have a baby blanket project going to occupy my hands while I watch TV or listen in on conference calls. Having something to do with my hands really does help me focus on what’s going on. I would knit in high school classes (yes, I’m that person) and college, where it was slightly more acceptable to be that quirky knitting student. Most teachers and professors were supportive, but they all were a bit skeptical that I was paying attention.
I created my go-to baby blanket pattern when I was about 15 and still make 2-3 a year. This pattern looks nice, is easy to pick up and continue after you put down the project for months or years, and is super simple. Recipients also tend to be impressed because you hand-knitted them a thing.
I like using Caron yarns because I love their colors, they come in large skeins, and they become nice and soft after washing. Also, machine wash and dry. Why would you give a baby gift that isn’t machine wash and dry?
Easy, Yet Impressive, Baby Blankets
This pattern creates rectangular stockinette sections (20 rows) with garter stitch borders (10 rows between and 10 stitches at either end of the row). It’s forgiving for beginner knitters who often struggle with keeping even tension since the garter stitch breaks up the stockinette.
Using medium or worsted weight yarn, cast on any number of stitches between 150 and 250. I prefer wider blankets these days, but I tend to get bored and cast off too early. This often results in a slightly awkward size that bothers me, but literally no one else seems to notice, even when I point it out.
Rows 1-10. Knit 10 rows of garter stitch (knit both sides).
Odd Rows 11-30. (Note: odd rows are your right side) Switch colors if you are using multiple colors. Knit. If using multiple colors, attach a second ball of yarn when you have 10 stitches left and knit the last 10 stitches with that color.
Even rows 11-30. Knit 10 stitches. Purl until you have 10 stitches left. Knit to end of row.
Repeat until you have as many rectangles as you want. 10 is usually a good number, but 7-10 works as well.
Tip: If you’re using multiple yarn colors, carry the yarn between stockinette sections by wrapping it around and behind your working yarn as you pass it. Warning: if you’re not careful to untangle every row, you can have an awful mess on your hands real fast.
This blanket was probably not the first blanket I ever knitted of this type, but it is one of the first. My cousin found it when she was Konmari-ing (if that’s not already a verb, it should be) her house. I’m happy to say it sparked enough joy to avoid the donation and trash piles. Or so she says.
Knitters will note uneven tension. I also switched colors for the garter stitch borders on the even rows instead of the odd, which made the transitions messier than I prefer. Also, I may have been using knitting needles that were too large for the yarn.
Not bad for a 15 year-old, though.
Tips and Variations:
- Use bright colors, don’t be limited to “baby” colors. I knit a red, yellow, and orange baby blanket (red borders) when I was 16. It is still well-loved by both the original recipient and her sister who was born 9 years later.
- Use variegated or patterned yarns. You can pair them with solid colors for borders or with other variegated yarns. Or you can just let the yarn shine on its own with a little bit of texture. The world is your oyster.
- Hogwarts house-themed blankets. I made a Ravenclaw blanket for my bestie’s baby and a Slytherin blanket for Zee.
- Vary the number of stockinette rows between the garter stitch borders if certain numbers are more meaningful for you or your recipient. For the Ravenclaw blanket above I did 18 rows between instead of 20. In Jewish tradition, 18 symbolizes life and I wanted to wish this baby a happy and long life. I wish I’d thought of that sooner, but I will definitely do this for all baby blankets going forward.
So there you have it – meaningful and beautiful baby blankets you can knit while watching TV.
Yarns used in these projects:Ravenclaw blanket: Slytherin Blanket: Similar variegated yarn: