We often have knitters stopping in seeking a pattern for a basic baby blanket.
Here’s how to create an easy baby blanket pattern that can be adapted to any gauge yarn!
Make a gauge swatch
Take your yarn of choice, cast on 20 stitches, and knit 20 rows, using needles in a size recommended on the yarn label. For a worsted weight yarn, a 4.5mm or US7 usually works best.
Do you like the fabric? Is it so tight that it can double as a bullet proof vest? If yes, go up a size and repeat the process. Is it so loose that it flops around and looks more like lace? If yes, go down a size and repeat the process.
Once you’ve found a good yarn/needle size combination, count the number of stitches per inch in the resulting swatch and fill in the equation below.
Counting stitches in a swatch
Put a ruler across a section of the swatch and count the number of stitches across 2". Divide that number by 2 and that's how many stitches you have per inch!
Here's a tip - take a picture of the swatch with the ruler on it with your cell phone and enlarge the picture to do the counting. This is especially helpful with dark color yarns that are hard to see.
Now lets do some simple math:
_____ stitches per inch x _____ blanket width in inches = #_____ stitches (A)
That’s how you calculate how many stitches are needed to make a blanket in the size you want!
Next, pick a stitch pattern. There are a multitude of stitch dictionaries in the local library, and you can find them on Pinterest as well.
How many stitches are required per repeat?
_______ (stitches from A) / ____ per repeat = _______ # repeats (B)
If B is a whole number, you’re good to go! That’s how many repeats you will have across the width of the blanket!
If B has a remainder, then you have that many extra stitches that need to be either removed, or worked into the pattern. (See more info in example below).
Now add some edging. You probably want a simple seed stitch along the edge to keep it from curling. If you want an edge of 1" around all the sides, then add double the number of stitches that you get per inch.
A typical stroller blanket is 30" x 35"
Subtract the 2" (8 stitches) that you're reserving for the edging. That leaves you with 112 stitches to use for the stitch pattern repeat.
If the stitch repeat is 8 across, then:
112 / 8 = 14
Perfect! You'll cast on 120 stitches, knit your edge stitches, plus 14 repeats of the stitch patttern, then knit the edge stitches at the other end.
But what if your stitch repeat is 5?
112 / 5 = 22.4
Drop the fraction.
22 repeats x 5 stitches/inch = 110 stitches
Add your edge stitches (4 stitches per inch x 2) = 8
Cast on 118 stitches.
Here's the pattern!
Seed stitch for 1" for the bottom border.
KPKP, [stitch repeat] x number of repeats, KPKP
Continue until the blanket is 1" shorter than the desired length.
Seed stitch for 1" for the top border.