Fly Away Blanket : tips and techniques
The Fly Away Blankie is a great big simple and satisfying knitting project. The pattern is VERY simple, but I’d like to share a couple tips and tricks to share which should make the project go more smoothly.
First gather up your yarn. I recommend using a single main colour for the background of the blanket, but you can use odds and ends for the contrast colour stripes. Or splurge out and order a custom-designed kit from Rainbow Heirloom.
The blanket was designed in a heavy DK / light worsted weight yarn but it can be knit in any weight of yarn, as it is a modular design. If you knit it in a different weight simply use needles appropriate to your yarn, and knit a square or two to test what the finished size of the squares will be, and the yardage required for each square.
Top Tips for the Fly Away Blanket
- Leave long tails for seaming at start and end of each square, and at the CC stripe.
- Weave in the other ends as you go to make for less finishing at the end!
- Play with the blanket layout before starting to seam it together
- Sew the blanket squares together kinda loosely, with RS facing
- Pick up along the edges (rather than picking up and knitting) for a tidy edge
Get Started Knitting Your first Square
You knit in MC yarn to a certain point, then change to CC yarn to begin the stripe. Leave a 6 inch tail on the CC yarn, and as you knit the first row in CC, weave in your MC yarn tail while you are knitting.
How To Weave In Yarn Tails as you Knit
Insert the RH needle into the stitch on the LH needle. BEFORE you wrap the working yarn around the RH needle tip to knit the stitch, you will throw the yarn tail OVER the working yarn (so it wraps around the working yarn). Then complete the stitch. Repeat, always throwing the yarn tail over the working yarn before working each stitch.
I usually do this for 10-12 stitches, or a couple of inches, before dropping the yarn tail and continuing to knit normally to the end of the row. Then I cut the yarn tail fairly close to the work. Voila – one less tail to weave in later!
When I complete the CC stripe, and switch back to MC yarn, I weave in both the MC and CC ends at the same time. Upon completing the square, I leave a long tail for seaming.
The result is a square with a long MC tail at start and end, and a single CC tail at one side. The CC tail is useful if you are seaming CC to CC, because then the seaming yarn doesn’t create a contrasting line.
Choose a Blanket Layout
You may have already developed a concept before you began to knit, but if not, get started playing around with your squares, arranging them into different layouts. There are a wide range of designs that can be created. If you take photos of each before you rearrange the squares, you can look back and compare one layout to another.
How to Seam the Garter Stitch Squares Together
To seam the squares together, I laid them out and sewed the squares into pairs first, then sewed the pairs one to the next.
Use a blunt yarn needle, and the long MC yarn tails that I had left at the start and end of the square. With the right sides of the work facing, simply insert the needle under a purl bump on one side, then the corresponding purl bump on the other square. Tighten the seam up gently as you go, leaving it somewhat loose. When seaming a CC stripe to another CC stripe, use the CC yarn tail.
How to Pick up Stitches along a Garter Stitch Edge
To work the edging, you will use a really long circular needle (or two shorter needles if you don’t have a really long one), and pick up stitches along each square. I suggest you do this without the working yarn, just using a needle. This technique is called ‘picking up’, rather than the technique used more commonly, which is called ‘picking up and knitting’. Work from left to right along the edge, inserting the LH needle tip through the purl bumps at the edge of each square.