I just wanted to take a moment to talk about how cool my pal Sheila is… Although she won’t admit it, she’s is an amazing knitter. So much so that her original design submission just took 3rd place in a yarn-battle. She is so sweet to share her award-winning pattern with us along with all the fascinating details. She is truly a crafts(wo)man. Great job, Sheila!!!! ~L
So last year I decided to enter the Patternworks Challenge contest, in hopes of winning some knitting supplies for my favorite knitting charity, the Women’s Justice Program, run through the Cook County Sheriff’s office. Chicago social worker Jo Anne Smith began this program of teaching knitting and crochet to female inmates at the Cook County jail a few years ago; I heard about it through my local yarn shop, Loopy Yarns, which holds an annual knit-a-thon fundraiser for the program and donates a lot of yarn and other supplies for it as well. (Loopy will gladly accept donations of yarn and money for the program as well; email firstname.lastname@example.org for details).
Patternworks is one of the oldest mail-order yarn retailers around; theirs used to be my go-to knitting supply catalog before the days of the internet. (Yes, I am nearly 200 years old). They have an annual baby-blanket design contest with gift certificate prizes for their favorite five entries; at the end of the contest, the blankets entered in the contest this year were donated to Bob’s Blankie Brigade (unless the makers asked for them back).
I sent away for my “challenge pack,” and received six skeins of Berocco Comfort DK in different colors, and a handful of knit and crochet stitch patterns to choose from in making my design. It was permissible to add as many additional skeins of the same yarn in any color as I wanted to complete the design, as long as five of the six of the challenge pack skeins were used. I chose the butterfly stitch pattern and an additional 4 skeins of dark teal blue to be the dominant color in my blanket, since I thought it would coordinate with all of the colors in the challenge pack.
I was still in love with making mitred squares, a technique I had learned making dishcloths over the summer, and thought that a motif-based blanket would be the best way to combine so many different colors. A Google search turned up Cheryl Brunette’s easy-peasy method for joining mitred squares as you go. (The whole video is worth watching if you’ve never made mitred squares before, but the joining technique begins at about the 8:40 minute mark).
My blanket won third place in the contest (you can see all of the winning entries here), which includes a $100 Patternworks gift certificate for the Women’s Justice Program and the year-long display of the blanket in the brick-and-mortar Patternworks store in New Hampshire. (Who knew they even had one? Maybe I’ll make a pilgrimage the next time I visit my SIL, who lives in beautiful Bedford, NH). And, the most exciting prize of all for YOU, dear reader: Since it was only third place, I’m allowed to publish the pattern here! (Patternworks retains the rights to the first- and second-place designs).
So here you go! I strongly encourage you to watch Cheryl Brunette’s tutorial for what to do when I blithely tell you to pick up stitches along the edge of the previous block. (The only difference between her technique and mine is that I leave that last stitch of the block on the needle to count as the first cast-on stitch of the next block). See also the illustration at my previous dishcloth pattern post if you’re not sure how to twist the yarn to carry the alternating colors up the back of the work.
This pattern is for a 32” (81 cm) square blanket. To make it larger, use heavier yarn and needles, or simply add more blocks. The block pattern itself may be scaled up too; add any even number of stitches and work the butterfly portion as written when you have decreased down to 37 stitches in the row.
Mitred-Square Butterfly Blanket
Gauge: 22 stitches per 4” (10 cm)in garter stitch
Needles: Size 5 (3.75 mm), or size needed to match gauge; one pair any length for blocks, plus one of same size long enough to hold 32” (81 cm) of stitches for border
Yarn: Berroco Comfort DK (50% Nylon, 50% Acrylic; 178 yards/50 grams)
Color A: Aegean Sea (4 skeins)
Color B: Barley (1 skein)
Color C: Pimpernel (1 skein)
Color D: Sunshine (1 skein)
Color E: Crystalline (1 skein)
Color F: Seedling (1 skein)
Color G: Filbert (1 skein)
Sl1-k2tog-psso: Slip one stitch purl-wise, k 2 tog, pass slipped stitch over k2tog stitch
Sl5wyib: Slip 5 stiches purl-wise with yarn in back
BF: Pass needle underneath horizontal floats from the bottom to the top, knit next stitch bringing new stitch back out in front of these floats so they are caught in the stitch.
M1: With left needle, pick up the strand between the stitches on the left and right needles from back to front, K1 in front of stitch.
Set up rows:
With color A, cast on 49 stitches using long-tail cast on.
Knit one row in A.
Begin working in alternating garter stripes, making sure to pick up new color from underneath old at the beginning of the row to make a neat border at the back of the work.
(Rows 1-47 are charted here if you prefer working from charts.)
Row 1: With color B, K23, sl1-k2tog-psso, K23
Row 2: K
Row 3: With color A, K22, sl1-k2tog-psso, K22
Row 4: K
Row 5: With color B, K21, sl1-k2tog-psso, K21
Row 6: K
Row 7: With color A, K20, sl1-k2tog-psso, K20
Row 8: K
Row 9: With color B, K19, sl1-k2tog-psso, K19
Row 10 (Beginning of Butterfly Stitch): P1, sl5 wyib, P5, sl5 wyib, P7, sl5 wyib, P5, sl5 wyib, P1
Continue knitting with Color B only, twisting it with Color A at the beginning of each RS row to carry it up to the next section.
Row 11: K18, sl1-k2tog-psso, K18
Row 12: P1, sl5 wyib, P5, sl5 wyib, P5, sl5 wyib, P5, sl5 wyib, P1
Row 13: K17, sl1-k2tog-psso, K17
Row 14: P1, sl5 wyib, P5, sl5 wyib, P3, sl5 wyib, P5, sl5 wyib, P1
Row 15: K3, BF, K9, BF, K2, sl1-k2tog-psso, K2, BF, K9, BF, K3
Row 16: P6, sl 5 wyib, P11, sl5 wyib, P6
Row 17: K15, sl1-k2tog-psso, K15
Row 18: P6, sl 5 wyib, P9, sl5 wyib, P6
Row 19: K14, sl1-k2tog-psso, K14
Row 20: P6, sl 5 wyib, P7, sl5 wyib, P6
Row 21: K8, BF, K4, sl1-k2tog-psso, K4, BF, K8
Row 22: P
Return to alternating garter stripes
Row 23: With Color A, K12, sl1-k2tog-psso, K12
Row 24: K
Row 25: With Color B, K11, sl1-k2tog-psso, K11
Row 26: K
Row 27: With Color A, K10, sl1-k2tog-psso, K10
Row 28: K
Row 29: With Color B, K9, sl1-k2tog-psso, K9
Row 30: K
Row 31: With Color A, K8, sl1-k2tog-psso, K8
Row 32: K
Row 33: With Color B, K7, sl1-k2tog-psso, K7
Row 34: K
Row 35: With Color A, K6, sl1-k2tog-psso, K6
Row 36: K
Row 37: With Color B, K5, sl1-k2tog-psso, K5
Row 38: K
Row 39: With Color A, K4, sl1-k2tog-psso, K4
Row 40: K
Row 41: With Color B, K3, sl1-k2tog-psso, K3
Row 42: K
Row 43: With Color A, K2, sl1-k2tog-psso, K2
Row 44: K
Row 45: With Color B, K1, sl1-k2tog-psso, K1
Row 46: K
Row 47: With Color A, sl1-k2tog-psso. Leave Color A stitch on right needle, break off Color B.
Attach 2nd Motif
Turn work clockwise, pick up 24 stitches along the left edge of motif with right side facing, then cast on 24 more stitches by the knitted on method; 49 stitches counting stitch left on needle from previous motif. Knit back. Work next motif with Color C beginning with Row 1.
Continue in this manner following color schematic until 6 motifs have been worked. Break off Colors A and G.
Begin next row of motifs
* With color A, Cast on 24 stitches by long-tail method. Pick up 25 stitches along the right edge of the first motif with right side facing in Color A (49 stitches). Knit back across picked up and cast-on stitches. Work 1 motif with Color D as shown in schematic, leave last color A stitch on needle as before and break off Color D. Pick up 24 stitches along left edge of motif just worked with right side facing, pick up one stitch from corner of 1st motif worked, pick up 24 stitches from right edge of 2nd motif of first row with right side facing (49 stitches), and work motif with Color E. Continue in this manner until 6 motifs have been worked following schematic. Break off both colors, begin again from * until 4 more rows of 6 motifs have been completed. 36 motifs total.
Along one of the edges formed by Color A cast-on stitches, with right side facing pick up 152 stitches in Color F (25 stitches per motif plus one extra on first and last motif)
With Color F, K1, M1, K150, M1, K1.
Change to Color A.
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: K1, M1, K to last stitch, M1, K1
Repeat rows 1-2 in the following sequence: G, A, B, A, C, A, D, A, E, A. Carry Color up along back of work, break off contrast colors at the end of each row. Bind off using I-cord bind-off.
Repeat along 2nd Color A cast-on edge.
Along each of remaining two edges, with right side facing pick up 150 stitches in Color A, then K1, M1, K148, M1, K1. Join Color F, and complete as for previous two borders.
Sew seams at corners using mattress stitch. Weave in ends. Give to baby.