I have a fair amount of crocheting experience but no knitting experience whatsoever; I want to make something for my cousin’s new baby in time for Christmas, and I think a nice, simple baby blanket would make a good first knitting project. After doing research, I purchased some supplies, and I found some good knitting tutorials online—the latter of which brings me to my question.

Obviously, common sense dictates that a stitch called the “blanket stitch” would probably be ideal for making a blanket, so that’s not really much of a question. My question is whether or not the blanket stitch is a suitable technique for beginners; should I go ahead and attempt it, or should I do some additional research and find a more appropriate stitch for my experience level? My cousin (the baby’s mother) is very dear to me, and I really want to do something special for her first child—any advice that could be offered would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much in advance!

  • 1
    Can you give us an example/link of what you mean by "blanket stitch"? That's not a common term, except as the sewing stitch for finishing hems.
    – inkista
    Nov 29 '19 at 1:17

As mentioned in 111's answer, a blanket stitch is not a knitting technique to create blankets.

The biggest risk in your plan is time. Babies often decide they want to see the world before doctors decide it's time for their birth. You should finish the blanket at least 2 - 3 weeks before the scheduled date.

If you are quick and comfortable learning knitting, you can use any stitch or technique you'd like. I found Youtube videos extremely helpful and did learn complicated patterns that I wouldn't have understood otherwise. But you should experiement and create small test pieces of your blanket before knitting the whole thing and then realizing that the corners roll up and it's impossible to actually use it as a baby blanket.

And that's where the time requirement comes in: If you don't have experience with how certain knitting pattern react, you need more time to experiment. You can knit an entire blanket with just stockinette stitch, but it will roll up at the sides and won't lay flat. You could knit it with a ribbing stitch (usually found in knit cuffs, because it prevents rolling), but you'll need to knit it wider than intended because the finished piece contracts some and is narrower than it was on the needle. There are very beautiful and easy cable patterns, but if you cannot "read" the stitches on your needle it's very easy to make mistakes.

Additional hint: the "continental" knitting style is faster than the "english" style, but they both produce exactly the same patterns by the exact same needle movements. I highly recommend learning contonental style from the beginning.

If you fear you won't be able to finish a knit blanket in time, crochet it instead.

  • 1
    Ha! Second the “learn continental”. Anecdote: During a long train ride through the US, I was first watching and then talking with an elderly lady who was busy knitting and clearly experienced and used to knitting. We started talking about the differences in style and she doubted that there would be much of a speed difference. She handed over her work so that I could show her how I knit. Suffice to say that I spent the next few hours teaching her continental - at her request.
    – Stephie
    Nov 22 '19 at 15:50
  • @Stephie I honestly don't understand why english style is still taught to children and students. It's so cumbersome and slow that I would expect it to be a lost and forgotten technique by now...
    – Elmy
    Nov 22 '19 at 18:04
  • Not her fault at least ^_^. I guess it’s classic case of “we did it always like that” or “that’s how Granny taught me”. With “always” being since WWII.
    – Stephie
    Nov 22 '19 at 18:45

A blanket stitch is used only for finishing the edges of a blanket, not for knitting a blanket. The basic stitches in knitting are the knit stitch and the purl stitch. Is there another name for the stitch you are calling a blanket stitch?

For a beginning knitter I would suggest using only the two basic stitches, or just the knit stitch alone. It takes a bit of time to learn those two stitches accurately. They may seem simple and easy, but once you start knitting, it can become confusing if you have no previous experience. It also takes some time to become comfortable casting on and binding off stitches. Basically you could learn many stitches, but just like many things in life, you need to have a solid foundation first.

To be successful and happy with your results, you need to have enough practice time to develop the tension you are comfortable with and comes most naturally to you. Working with the tension of the yarn in knitting is different than with crocheting, because you are using two needles and not just one. Most people starting out knit some stitches looser and some tighter, making the result inconsistent in the same piece, making one side longer than the other and/or rippled. Another thing many knitters experience is dropped stitches and unintended increases.

This may seem like a simple thing to control but it happens even with experienced knitters and becomes more likely when working with increasingly complicated patterns. So I would suggest starting with a simple project (a blanket or scarf is perfect) as a new knitter, plan for success and not for frustration. Good Luck

  • Just for clarification, where you say “stockinette stitch”, did you mean “knit stitch”? The two basic stitches of knitting are the knit and the purl. Stockinette stitch involves knitting on the “right side” and purling on the “wrong side” when knitting back and forth.
    – Laurent R.
    Nov 30 '19 at 16:32
  • Yes you are right, I should have said "knit stitch"
    – 111
    Dec 1 '19 at 17:24
  • Actually just using the knit stitch back and forth (front & back) creates the garter stitch which i find is the easiest and fastest way to knit something IMHO. 🧶 Dec 14 '19 at 17:04

OK, you have yarn and needles, and you have YouTube. Most importantly you are a crocheter, so you’ve got this! You know your way around a pattern and you know how to wrangle yarn.

What you need are two things: comfort with The Knit Stitch, and a recipe for making a blanket.

I grew up knitting English style (“throwing”) and decided phooey on that at some point, and locked myself in my craft room for three days with YouTube, and emerged knitting Continental like a pro! YouTube is awesome for learning to knit, you can play the demo back a million times, even in slo-mo, until the light bulbs are going on in your brain and your hands.

So while it is true that the Blanket Stitch is actually a sewn edging stitch, not a knitting technique, yes you can totally accomplish that. I just reviewed some of the top YouTube hits on how it is done, and they are very clear. But first you need a blanket to perform the Blanket Stitch upon!

My advice would be to focus on one thing, the knitting stitch. You can make an entire blanket with just that stitch: knitting back and forth, using the knit stitch for every row both front and back. This is called “Garter Stitch”. The beauty part of Garter Stitch is it will not roll. It makes a very cozy fabric that lays nice and flat. It would look glorious with a contrasting Blanket Stitch edge!

Here is a lovely tutorial offered at “All About Ami”, in which Stephanie walks you through casting on and working Garter Stitch. Her finished project is a gorgeous oversized Garter Stitch scarf, so you can see how pretty it knits up. Also for your consideration, here is her free “Simple Garter Stitch Blanket” pattern!

Another potential resource to get you off on the right foot is this tutorial by Vickie Howell, in which she offers step-by-step instructions on how to knit a blanket from a “recipe”. In other words, you don’t really need a pattern, it is just a square or rectangle, so there is no issue of it being a certain size or proportion in order to fit properly. She walks you through how to create a “Gauge Swatch”, which gives you data on stitch and row counts. These numbers help you cast on the right amount of stitches for the width of your blanket. Then you knit it until it is the length you want, and Voila!

There is some math involved, but Vickie Howell makes it very easy with a convenient “Blanket Recipe Worksheet”, which she walks you through. I would recommend just keeping things super simple with straight Garter Stitch and no borders, then Blanket Stitch the edges...

(It would be awesome to see a photo of your finished project!)

Happy Knitting!

  • 1
    I want to second everything Laurent R. said. Dec 9 '19 at 5:13

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