How to Make a Comforting Blanket and Reduce Waste Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

How to Make a Comforting Blanket and Reduce Waste

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If you are a knitter and/or crocheter, then you may find that you have leftover oddments of yarn when you have finished a project. Here is one idea for what to do with those oddments, to reduce waste and provide a comforting blanket for yourself or for others.

Step 1 - Make Squares

There is flexibility about how you make squares for the blanket - there are various patterns you could use to crochet or knit them - and flexibility about how big the squares are. For example, you might choose to crochet lacy squares 6 × 6in (15 × 15cm), or use a circular knitting loom to create squares in ribbing pattern, but for the purposes of this Entry we will choose simple knitted squares 5 × 5in (12.5 × 12.5cm).

Using 4mm knitting needles (US size 6) and approximately 15g (½oz) of double knitting (light worsted) yarn, cast on 30 stitches and garter stitch (knit every row) until the square measures 5in in length (approximately 50 rows). Cast off.

If you have 4ply/fine wool, use two strands and check the width (you may need fewer than 30 stitches for 5in). If you are using Aran wool (worsted) then 25 stitches should be enough.

If one remnant ball of yarn is not enough for a whole square, simply join in a new colour when the first one runs out. Alternatively, knit two rows from each ball alternately to create a striped square.

Sew in the ends, but don't throw away any reasonably large strands of leftover yarn, as you can use them in the next step.

Step 2 - Sew the Squares Together

There is flexibility about how many squares you include in your blanket. For example, you might choose squares 6 × 6in and lay them out as 6 × 6 squares, or you could make a bigger blanket 6 × 10 squares. With 5in squares, 7 × 7 is a good size, perfect for covering someone's legs.

Lay out the squares first, to ensure the colour combinations are pleasing; for example, it is better if two identical squares are not placed side by side. Colour clashes are less of a problem; for example, bright orange next to pale blue will look eye-catching in the finished blanket.

Using the strands left over from making the squares, over sew each square to its neighbours until all the squares are attached.

Step 3 - Add a Border

A border in a single colour adds the finishing touch to neaten the edge of the blanket. If you are a knitter, you can pick up stitches evenly around each edge and garter stitch 6-10 rows before casting off.

Alternatively, if you can crochet, a scalloped edge looks pleasing on a crocheted or knitted blanket. First go round the blanket using loose double crochet (US single crochet), to create a blanket-stitch effect. Then on the second round, work 1 double crochet, then 6 treble (US double crochet), then 1 double crochet - repeat this all the way round the blanket, and then fasten off. Sew in the ends and your blanket is complete!

Step 4 - Give the Blanket to the Recipient

If the blanket is for yourself, simply snuggle into it after you have finished Step 3. If it is for someone else, arrange to visit them to give them the gift. This Researcher's blankets have been especially appreciated by older people. The various colours and textures in the blanket provide a talking point, and the blanket will do a good job of keeping an older person's legs warm, especially on a cold day.

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