Knit a little bit at a time with modular afghans
Continuing with our recent theme of leftover yarn knitting, I thought I’d make a leap from some of the small projects (bookmarks, coasters) to… afghans! Yes, that’s quite a leap. But when a passing mention of a modular blanket pattern in a recent Knitting Nuggets Newsletter brought a slew of questions from readers, I felt like maybe I had touched on something!
I can absolutely understand the appeal of modular/join-as-you-go blanket patterns. As much as I love knitting all-in-one afghans (in fact, I’m working on one right now), such a blanket pattern requires a lot of forethought — and, often, a lot of cash expenditure. You really have to buy your yarn all at the same time to guarantee that the dye lots match. And afghans require a lot of yarn.
That is one of the joys of the modular blanket. If you have a bunch of yarn in odd colors, you have all you need to knit one of these babies. It’s my opinion that some of the most beautiful afghans have a ton of different colors, stitch patterns, stripes, and so on. They explode with joyous color.
I believe that quality also makes them exceptional choices for both charity knitting projects and gifts. The variety of colors and styles make them obviously homemade, which makes them more personal than purchasing a so-called “perfect” machine-made blanket. If you’re seeking a way to make your knitting touch someone, a modular blanket is a wonderful way to do so.
And, of course, another great thing about the join-as-you-go blanket is that you don’t have to worry about sewing together a ton of squares or strips at the end. Since you’re connecting the pieces as you knit, at the end what you have is a finished blanket rather than a bunch of sewing ahead.
So, let’s say I’ve convinced you and you’re ready to dive into a modular blanket. Now you just need patterns. No problem! I’ve collected a nice large selection of modular blankets of all sizes and shapes (you’ll see what I mean). Just pick your favorite, gather a bunch of colorful yarns, and start knitting!
Free Modular Blanket Knitting Patterns
Moderne Baby Blanket: This pattern was designed by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne of the book Mason-Dixon Knitting. Note that while the general blanket pattern is free, the mitered border pattern is not; it appears on page 75 of the previously-mentioned book. (However, you can easily nab a copy at your local library.) Also, you’ll find the original Moderne Log Cabin Blanket in the pattern PDF. It’s the same pattern but a little bigger, more like a throw blanket than a baby blanket.
Sock Yarn Blankie: I keep referring to this pattern because I’m absolutely fascinated by it! Anyone who loves to knit socks or scarves and has a ton of leftover sock yarn as a result will find this to be an utterly delightful pattern.
Dicke Decke/Big Afghan: This pattern is available in both German and English. I just love how the squares are knitted diagonally.
Paintbox Log Cabin Blanket: I love this clever idea for an afghan: take the Log Cabin blanket referenced in the first pattern, condense it into small squares rather than an entire blanket, and voila: a gorgeous blanket that uses up your yarn and creates a stained glass look.
Four Corners Baby Blanket: This adorable blanket can be knitted in just the four colors as referenced in the pattern, or you can use many different colors if you prefer (or if that’s all you have). Take a look at the “projects” tab on the Ravelry project page, and you’ll see how other knitters have made this pattern their own.
Baby Shane Blanket: This multiple-striped pattern is beautiful and clever.
Ten-Stitch Zigzag: This is another pattern I can’t stop linking to, as I’m fascinated by how it just glows and radiates with color. I love the zigzag pattern, and I love that you don’t have a bunch of zigzags to sew together at the end — it’s fully join-as-you-go.
Ron Weasley Blanket by Penguineer: This pattern is exquisitely detailed. The designer actually spotted this afghan in three Harry Potter movies, and she painstakingly recreated it in pattern form. Whether you like Harry Potter or not, this is a truly remarkable way to use up leftover yarn. You don’t have to follow the pattern colors exactly, of course; that’s the beauty of this pattern!
Cousins’ Mitre Square Baby Blanket: Self-explanatory: this is a baby blanket created by making mitered squares in multiple colors. Very simple and very pretty.
Easy As Pie: How beautiful is this blanket? It’s made up of a bunch of colorful circles (pies!) which are set in squares. There are a few advanced techniques involved, so if you’re up for a challenge, try this blanket out!
Hexa-ghan: Perhaps circles aren’t your thing. Perhaps you would prefer… hexagons! That’s what comprises this blanket, to beautiful and charming effect.
Happy Blanket: Just see if you don’t smile when you take a look at this work of art. It’s an amazing way to use up leftover yarn.
Parcheesi Afghan: Here’s another log cabin blanket variation. What makes this pattern special is not only its uniqueness, but also that its designer has requested that, in exchange for the pattern, you donate to Heifer International, which is a fantastic worldwide hunger/relief/rebuilding organization.
Illusion Cube Blanket: This is another hexagon-based blanket, except that each hexagon is built in a multi-colored garter stitch configuration. It really does create an eye-popping 3-D effect.
Patchwork Knitting: I love the almost haphazard look of this modular blanket. It truly looks like a labor of love and is a brilliant way to use up leftover yarn.
Are you inspired? I know I am! Let’s gather those oddball yarns and start creating something spectacular with some leftover yarn knitting!