I recently rediscovered the joys of knitting, and get just as much pleasure from browsing yarn stores – online and in real life – as from the actual knitting itself. The gorgeous colours and sumptuous textures of contemporary knitting yarns are a brilliantly uplifting source of colour therapy at this grey, dark time of the year.
Sadly, my past efforts at knitting garments weren’t too successful. As a result, I now stick to knitting items where fit and size aren’t critical. Having completed various scarves and cowls (during the warmest winter in recent memory – great timing, huh?) I’m now considering a knitted blanket project. Now, that’s a big commitment, but the secret is to make the knitting just challenging and interesting enough without being too complicated. Should I go for cables? Lace? Textured basket weave?
At least the weather is finally seasonally cold and crisp enough for snuggly blankets, so I’ve been seeking inspiration and rounded up my favourite cosy, knitted blankets that have a real hand-knitted look.
I love this contemporary colour-blocking using cerise pink and turquoise – it’s a great way to work with colour. The Knapdale Throw by Bluebellgray is made from 100% cotton and available at John Lewis.
These soft, knitted lambswool throws from Nkuku feature a lace pattern design that’s simple enough to look very contemporary, especially when teamed with modern neutral shades. I’ve just discovered lace knitting and with two lace-knit scarves completed I very much like the idea of this kind of stitch for a blanket. Some very complex lace patterns are actually quite simple to knit … but on a piece this size there’s still lots of scope for going very, very wrong.
Fabulous, subtle chequer-board texture and a bright burst of colour from The Funchal collection at Urbanara (my latest online interiors discovery). Made in Portugal by a small, family-run manufacturer specialising in cotton weaving and knitting the Funchal Blanket is finished with a deep ribbed border and also comes in charcoal and light grey.
Also from Urbanara is the 100% alpaca Nevado Blanket with it’s thick, sumptuous basket weave knit that was created by a Fairtrade Peruvian textile group.
The cotton-rich Dimus Throw from Lombok also offers lots of contemporary texture, and I think this may be more my level – a simple garter stitch design can look incredibly striking and stylish in a heavy, quality yarn.
More colour blocking with the bold Crossing Wool Blanket by Roberta Licini who worked as a knitwear designer in the fashion industry before creating her collection of home textiles “created in carded wool, cotton/cashmere and cotton, and made with intarsia, jacquard, and stitch point techniques”. I think I’ll leave this one to the professionals.
Sweetly simple in stockinette stitch, these super-soft and cosy alpaca blend Chunky Knit Throws by Idyll Home are made in the UK by Tweedmill Textiles in Denbigh on the edge of the Clwydian mountain range.
My only attempt at an aran jumper, back in the day, was a disaster, but I do love a nice bit of cabling, and as long as there aren’t neck and arm holes to consider I think I’d be safe. These Chunky Knit Lambswool Throws from Soak and Sleep come in aubergine, navy or grey.
And finally, by Wool Couture, this must be the most epic of all knitted throws. With a single stitch measuring a massive 5 cm long, they say their Giant Hand-Knitted Super Chunky Blanket is a “a real show stopper and conversation piece”. Made from pure un-spun merino wool, it takes “chunky” to a whole new level. This is one I definitely won’t be attempting.
Images: stores and brands as credited above