It’s been a while! I could have lied and said it’s because I’ve been busy writing my thesis (wish that was true), but really I’ve just been kinda down for the past weeks due to 1) lack of sunlight and 2) overexposure to sad British music from the early 90’s. But: today the sun is shining! So I finally found the energy to share a DIY from January: a chunky knit blanket! Anyone who’s been on Pinterest at any point during the past couple of months must have seen these in their feed. I tried to come up with a way to make one on my own without spending my entire salary on yarn for 50€/ball (!), and ended up buying some IKEA fleece blankets which I cut into long strips. I wasn’t able to find any needles thick enough to fit the size of the strips as well as long enough to hold all the loops, so I first tried arm knitting (i.e. using my arms as needles), but I wanted the holes in the blanket to be as small as possible so I searched the basement of our building and finally found a dusty old broomstick in a corner which I *magically* turned into a pair of needles. DIY from scratch! Detailed instructions below.
- large quantities of fleece blankets/other fabric that can conveniently be cut into strips
- some kind of long wooden stick, of desired thickness
- a saw
- a knife for carving
- sand paper
- something to stick to the ends of the needles, e.g. some small pieces of wood
- a week off
- strong shoulder muscles
“Yarn”: If you’re rich: skip this step and buy super thick (and super expensive) yarn instead.
First, cut off the fringe (if there is one) and then go on to cut each blanket into a single, long strip (I made mine approx. 7 cm wide). Start at the outer edge, making 90° turns as you get close to a corner, and round the edges to avoid having little snippets of fabric sticking out of your blanket here and there. When finished, nicely ask an S.O./friend/dad or similar to roll the strips up into balls of yarn for you, so you can head on to cutting the next blanket (this step takes time).
Don’t bother too much about getting the width perfectly even everywhere, mine was quite carelessly cut but it just gives a nice, uneven texture to the finished product.
Needles: Take your stick of choice, measure it, make a mark at the middle and saw it in two. My saw was so dull that I couldn’t get all the way through the wood, so I got annoyed and ended up breaking the stick with my hands after a while. It needs to be polished anyway so it doesn’t really matter. It’s also not the end of the world if the two sticks don’t turn out exactly the same length, it’s only knitting needles. Use your knife to sharpen the edges, and then your sand paper to smoothen the surface. Make sure to go over the entire surface of the needles, not just the ends – you don’t want any splinters sticking out. Last but not least, you’ll need to stick something to the back ends of the needles in order for your loops to stay on it. I was lucky to find some wooden candle holders on sale at my nearest craft supply store. They even had properly sized hollows in them, so I just removed the metal parts, carved a few mm off the edges of the back ends of the needles, and stuck them in. If you’re not as lucky as me, you’ll have to drill the hollows in your wooden piece yourself. If needed, use glue to attach the ends and wait for it to dry before you start knitting.
My broomstick was about 25 mm across, which worked out great.
Knitting: When you’ve come this far – just knit as you normally would. Well… it gets about a million times heavier than a mitten and you’ll look absolutely ridiculous, but the technique is the same as ordinary knitting. I just did a basic stockinette stitch, knitting and purling alternate rows, but I suppose you could use any knitting technique.
Tips: I pulled and stretched the yarn a bit, making the edges curl in so it would look smoother and more yarn-like. Whenever there was an angle, I twisted the yarn a little so that the extra fabric wouldn’t stick out so much. Also, whenever I came close to finishing a ball of yarn, I layered the last 30-or-so cm with the beginning of the next ball, so that there’d be 4-5 stitches with double yarn to hold both ends in place. It looks a bit bulky but I don’t mind, I prefer it to having the ends visibly tucked in into the stitches.
I gave the blanket to my sister for her 25th birthday last month. She named it Blanky. I asked her to send me some pictures of it in its new home:
Mini schnauzer for scale.
It’s made of fifteen (!) IKEA blankets and it’s so fucking heavy – 7,6 kilos according to my sister. 1,5 times the body weight of the schnauzer. At least it turned out pretty!
Now please excuse me as I go back to my bubble of Scandinavian winter depression, accompanied by Brett Anderson’s falsetto.