Some patterns make their way into knitting legend and the Vivid Blanket from Tin Can Knits is one of them. I have wanted one since I first saw it on Ravelry & the many gorgeous incarnations of it on Instagram, Facebook & Ravelry. I had made a number of false starts but now I have finished my first 25 square one (and am completely addicted!) I'd like to share some aspects of it to help other people on their journey to creating their own gorgeous blanket!
I chose WY Spinners Signature 4 Ply because, quite simply, I love it! I have made many knits in it, it washes really well and I love the colours! The blanket in the pattern was knit in Jamieson & Smith 2 Ply Jumper Yarn, which I haven’t used but looks gorgeous as well.
My original plan was to do it in just Sour Apple & Bubblegum as I had left overs of those from other projects but then by happy accident the Peacock I had left from socks happened to appear on my desk one day (from the ‘organized’ chaos that is my own stash) and I started a square and it was love at first self-striping! Every square in Peacock is different to the others but a perfect match. Blankets in plain colours or with different garter edges are magnificent but I think the self-striping adds another dimension again.
One yarn, lots of different but perfect squares #effortless!
Tin Can Knits are one of my favourite designers because while they show their patterns in particular yarns, they recognise that people will want substitute so they provide yardage per square for 4 Ply, DK & Aran and recommended needles for each.
For 4 Ply, 3.75mm needles are recommended but I chose to knit my squares on 3.25mm needles as I find this needle size has worked well for me with the WYS yarn. It meant more squares of course so I echo the recommendation of the pattern to try and find a size of needle that gives you the result you like.
My squares blocked to about 14.5cm squared & the finished blanket is approx. 75cm * 75cm (25 squares).
For blocking out, once I had one square to the size I liked, I got a piece of card that size to make sure all the others matched - without having to use the other squares as guides. That may be useful for you if you don’t have one of those gorgeous boards for blocking squares (One of them is on my Christmas list, that is for sure!)
A little gentle blocking
The cast on
I won’t lie, the Pin Hole cast on almost meant I didn’t knit this. I found it very fiddly. It took me three squares to get close to correct but it didn’t get any more fun! I knew I wanted to persevere, because the squares, after the initial tongue-out-needles-resting-in-lap-look-of-almost-crazy-concentration moments, looked so great.
My first attempt ... not pretty!
Then I was saved by Pinterest! A link to an i-Cord cast on appeared!
iCord cast on! (Image from BusyHSMom on BlogSpot)
And best of all - it had a matching tutorial on the Busy HS Mom blog!
Once I tried this cast on, I was in! It not only meant I could knit this but also that I will do a lot more knitting from the inside out. It does look a little different to the Pinhole cast on but the overall impact on the squares is minimal. The cast on itself does vary depending on the direction you pick up the stitches up when you are removing the i-cord provisional element - as I discovered after I picked up the first two differently but it's quite negligible. It may seem fiddly as well so it's best to pick the cast on which works for you.
A marginal difference in iCord cast ons, depending on how you loop through the stitches
The pattern is very clear on this – the cast off has to be loose! I tried a regular cast off and a stretchy cast off on my first square and it was very clear that a regular cast off, even on bigger needles, was not going to work for me. The loose cast odd I used is what I think of as a 2Tog Cast Off but I’m not sure what it’s technical name is. VeryPink Knits has a great tutorial on YouTube!
Now I thought this was going to be an absolute pest but no! As the squares are identical in size after blocking and with a stretchy cast off like the above, and with the corners so well defined, I followed the method described in the pattern, butted the edges up together and stitched them together through the top loops of the cast off stitches.
Stitching through the top loops is a very visible way of sewing together, particularly if you don’t do all the garter stitch edges in the same colour, but you can make a great feature out of it! I used the green yarn when sewing up the strips so it stands out really well – if I had my time back, I’d have used it even in sewing the blue to the bird yarn as it would have been even more of a statement but there is always next time!
I love the contrast of the green sewing!
Get ready to be addicted! One of the best things about knitting this is that you can start with only a couple of balls and then add more as you go as colour batch shouldn't show on different squares as they are separated by others. I got 9 squares from each ball of Signature 4 Ply but that will vary depending on needle size.
Also, the Tin Can Knits tutorial is available on their site. Even if you aren't going to knit this, their site is well worth a visit as they have gorgeous free patterns as well.
For me I am going to knit a square in Gold Finch and Mallard as I have some left over from socks & scarfs. I will resist the calls of WYS Rum Paradise to be paired with Sarsaparilla to become the ultimate in Barbie like Blankets as I think my next Vivid is going to have to be in Dovestone Aran because it’s almost as additive as the squares! Now … where did I put those needles!
I may go for a full bedspread size!
As always, if you have any questions about this, please drop by our Contact Us page and get in touch!
And perhaps a matching cushion cover?