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POP!! blanket tutorial

May 30, 2012

MMMmmmm polka dots on the brain!  Do you want to join along with me and knit yourself a POP blanket?

Did you download the pattern only to find that it is gibberish to you? Are you are getting ready to send me a nasty email about how you don’t know any of the techniques required?

Please don’t send me that nasty email.  Or do if you like!  I will be sure to read it and respond by politely referring you to this tutorial.  So if you would like to knit this Norolicious polka-dot blanket of happiness, then grab some beautiful yarn [requirements here], your needles of choice, download the pattern if you haven’t already, and knit one or 20 squares along with me.  You will learn some great new techniques and we all know that practice makes perfect!

Because the squares are all made the same way, you can use weight of yarn (and needles to correspond), and your squares will all turn out the same size.  For example, Alexa used leftover sock yarn, held double, to form the polka dot.  The blanket is a great pattern for using up colourful leftovers!


Are you planning to knit POP in a different weight, or make the pattern into something other than a blanket?  I would love to hear all about it: send me an email or share it with me on ravelry!

Seeking moral support and solidarity?  Join in with the Knit-A-Long (KAL) on the Tin Can Knits Ravelry group forum.


OK well enough prelude – lets get down to business.  How is POP constructed?

Pop Blanket Process

Start by casting on a few stitches at the very centre… then increase as you knit in the round to form the CC polka dot… then switch to the MC and work one corner at a time… then bind off and block your square… then make a bunch more the same… and finally sew them all together!  It’s not so hard, really.

We can take a closer look at how a single square is constructed:

Pop Blanket Techniques

SO LET US BEGIN (at the beginning)

Using CC (Contrast Colour) yarn, you will do the pinhole cast-on.  Don’t know how to do a pinhole cast on?  Check out the full tutorial [HERE]

After casting on you will work the square in the round, following the pattern.  To knit in the round, you can use DPNs (double pointed needles) or a single long circular needle (and the magic loop technique).  If you are using DPNs, you will transfer the stitches you just cast on onto DPNs before proceeding to knit in the round following the pattern.  If you are using a single long circular needle and the Magic Loop technique, you can keep the cast-on stitches on the needle that you cast onto.

POP blanket - pinhole cast-on

Don’t know how to knit in the round? In future, I will develop a tutorial illustrating various ways to knit in the round;  however, until that time I refer you to the videos at knittinghelp.com [HERE] and the magic-loop tutorial by Leah at Knitting Giraffe [HERE].

POP blanket - starting out

Follow the pattern to work the polka dot, switching from CC to MC when indicated.

POP blanket

If you are working on DPNs, you will have started out on 3, and after you have a few more stitches, you can transfer your stitches onto 4 DPNs, in preparation for working the corners.  Then you will reach the point where you must turn the circles into squares.  This is done by working short-rows at each corner.

POP Corners diagram

The pattern indicates how markers should be placed to indicate the corner locations.  If you are knitting on DPNs, you probably won’t use the markers, but will instead have your stitches divided into 4 equal sections, each on a needle, with the start of round  at the end of one needle.  The corners will be at the gaps between needles.

POP blanket

Each corner is worked the same way, one at a time, following the pattern to work a series of short rows.  When working short rows, you work part of the way to the end of a row or round, but instead of completing it, you stop and turn the work, and work back in the opposite direction.  In order to avoid having holes in the work where you turned, you make a wrap around the base of the stitch next to your turning stitch.  Later, when you come to work that wrapped stitch, you pick up the wrap and knit it together with the stitch that it was wrapped around.

Don’t know how to work short-rows?  See a great tutorial at The Purl Bee [HERE]

If you are using the magic loop technique, you can pull the cable out wherever is convenient to allow you to work the short-rows back and forth on the needles.  If you are using DPNs, you can either add in another needle to work the short rows on, or else just use the needles that you have in the work already.  After you have worked the set of short rows, you will have formed one corner, and you will be at the start-of-round marker, which also indicates the first corner location.

POP blanket square

To work the next corner you need to knit around until you get to the next corner location.  On the way, you will come to the wrapped stitches created by your short rows.  As the pattern indicates, you will ‘pick up wraps and knit them together with the stitches they wrap.

You do this by inserting the tip of the LH needle under the wrap, and then through the wrapped stitch itself, then knit these 2 together with one stitch.  Confused about how to pick up the wraps?  Again, I suggest you consult the fabulous tutorial at The Purl Bee [HERE].

Once you have reached the next corner, you simply repeat the series of short rows again, and proceed to the next corner, until you have worked all 4.  After the fourth corner, you work half way to the first corner, and that is the end of the knitting.  Then you proceed to bind off.

POP blanket square

In order to achieve a good end result, and have a blanket that can be neatly seamed up and completed, you must use a very stretchy bind-off method, so that the squares can be blocked out nice and flat.  The one that I recommend is as follows:

k1, *k1, insert LH needle tip into fronts of 2 stitches on RH needle, and k2tog-tbl, repeat from * until all sts have been bound off.

During your bind-off round, you will come to stitches that are wrapped.  In this case, when you knit them, pick up and knit the wraps together with the wrapped stitches (then bind them off as per the bind-off above).

OK so you have completed your first square!  Congratulations.
Weave in the ends (except the last BO end) and block the square.  I have created a tutorial on how to wet block [HERE]

Once the square is dry, you can assess whether you like the way it turned out.  Is the bind-off stretchy enough to allow the square to lie flat?  If not, you should try binding off on larger needles, with a looser tension, or another bind-off method entirely.

POP blanket squares blocking

Once you have created all of your blocks, you can decide how you want them to go together.  When I was laying out my POP blanket, I considered 3 different layouts:

POP blanket layouts

In the end, I chose the random option, because both Alexa and I liked it best.  This is a fun part, so take your time, and consider your options!

To sew the squares together, I used a slip stitch crochet seam.  Don’t know how?  Check out the full tutorial [HERE].

Finish by working a round of single crochet around the outside edge of the blanket, then block it once more to get a nice flat and consistent fabric!  Then drag it around with you everywhere to show everybody you know what a pretty thing you’ve made!

POP blanket by Emily Wessel

Like this?  Share on Facebook and get our email updates! Thanks for your support, ♥ Emily & Alexa

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19 Comments leave one →
  1. August 8, 2014 3:15 pm

    Hello! I’m nearing the end of the knitting part of my 120 square blanket and am considering adding a backing fabric. Do you have any suggestions for what type of fabric to use and how to sew it on? Will a sewing machine work?

  2. Susan H permalink
    June 21, 2014 7:00 pm

    So I downloaded the pattern and have made it to my first short row corner and something is confusing me. The pattern says ‘knit 4, w&t, purl 8, w&t…’ And so forth. How is it that I only knit 4 on the first part, especially when I turn and have to purl 8? Is there a correction I don’t know about? Shouldn’t I knit 10 first in order to purl 8? Or have I missed something? Help! :) I’ve made it this far. Thanks!

    • Susan H permalink
      June 22, 2014 12:04 pm

      Never mind. Figured it out. But it sure was confusing. :) For newbies to magic loop {such as myself}, you might put in bold letters the statement of adjusting your cable in order to do the short rows. I had done short rows before but not with magic loop. Or maybe not this way. Whew. I finished my first square but I feel like it was a well-worn battle to get there. Lol. I looked at this pattern and my knitting forever before it clicked. I’m almost scared to try again. But I will. ‘Cause I’m super stubborn. 😉

      • June 28, 2014 11:40 pm

        The first time you make one of these, it takes a bit of a mental leap! But you get a lot of practice when you’re making a blanket with 20+ squares! ~ Emily

    • June 28, 2014 11:42 pm

      Just follow the pattern as written! You will k4, then w&t, and when you are purling 8, you have to purl PAST the corner marker (slip it, leaving it in position at the centre of the corner). Hope this helps!

  3. Vicki Grierson permalink
    June 1, 2014 1:40 pm

    I really love this pattern which I saw made up last week in Baa Ram Ewe on Otley Road in Leeds. I I’m enjoying the challenge of knitting the squares and know it will be perfect when completed as a buggy blanket for my new grandson. Thank you for a wonderful design and the very helpful blog!

  4. Cynthia permalink
    April 24, 2014 4:22 am

    Why don’t you weave in the yarn end at the end of the bind off? What do you do with it? Is it crocheted into the slip stitches?

    • April 24, 2014 11:21 pm

      If you leave a good sized tail you can use it to seam up your squares (makes for fewer ends if you use them for seaming too!)

  5. Kathy Adin permalink
    August 23, 2013 9:33 am

    I’m at 110 of 120 blocks, and have started making strips to combine into rows. All looks very good EXCEPT despite having blocked each square carefully, they have lost their flatness and the circles are popping up. Is this how it should look, or do I need to wet block it? My LYS has sen me through the project, and thinks the 3D effect is what it should be. She thinks just spraying the seams will be all that is needed. Help!

    • August 23, 2013 11:06 am

      Hi Kathy – I’d suggest blocking the finished blanket – soak it in the bathtub, wring it out gently, get it as dry as possible by rolling in towels, then lay it out somewhere for a couple days. You could also put it through the washer if you have a ‘spin cycle only’ setting to get most of the water out. The more dry you can get it before you lay it out the faster it will dry all the way through. If you have a spare bed in the house, strip the sheets off it and lay out the damp blanket on it (that’s what I do). If not, perhaps there’s a rug? My blanket, after some time, ‘popped’ a bit (the central circles pop up a bit, it’s not 100% flat), but I think it kind of adds to the charm :)

      Hope this helps –
      Emily

  6. Geneva permalink
    June 21, 2013 5:44 pm

    Being a relatively new knitter, I taught myself last summer, I was rather challenged by the pattern for this awesome blanket. But, the owner of the yarn shop that I frequent was making it and I wanted to try! I have gone from reading the instructions step by step, checking and double checking my process on the tutorial to making square after lovely square without even looking at the instructions! A big thank you to helping in my knitting success!!!

  7. Janet Hopkins permalink
    March 17, 2013 1:08 am

    I bought the “Pop” blanket pattern at The Edinburgh Yarn Festival yesterday at The Drill Hall ( a great day, please repeat ). It looks an interesting “challenge – now I have read your DIY page I am going to try it one quiet weekend- use up my stash of odd balls of wool.thanks Janet.

    • March 17, 2013 9:42 am

      Good luck with it! If there is anything you still don’t understand from the tutorial, be sure to let us know! It was lovely to meet so many knitters! ~ Emily

  8. January 31, 2013 8:16 am

    The POP Blanket is a Winner! I loved making the individual squares, it was almost a mantra at the end, as if I could not end the day without having made another module! Baby Axel, now covered with this blanket, certainly wears a big smile when he sees the colorful circles! Well written pattern, very easy to comprehend. I knitted the corners knitting forward and backward so I did not have to change DPNs, easier with circular needles :-).
    Thanks again for this very nice design.

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