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How-Tuesday: Hip Hop Blanket

Jan 11, 2011

by Julie Schneider

When was the last time you picked up your knitting needles? The new year is still fresh and you have plenty of time to grab 2011 by the horns (or knitting needles?) and make good on goals to learn a new skill or try a new project. So, why not round up a pair of circular needles and try out this cute-as-a-bunny blanket project, suitable for knitters of all levels, perfect as a baby gift for new parents or a cozy little throw. This project, designed by Jennifer Lippman-Bruno, is an excerpt from the latest book by Debbie Stoller, editor-in-chief of BUST Magazine, knitting whiz from a long lineage of Dutch knitters, and author of the popular Stitch ‘N Bitch knitting book series. Without further ado, a word from Ms. Stoller herself!

Intarsia is a knitting technique that gets its name from a type of wood work in which blocks of different colors of wood are pieced together, puzzle-like, to create an image. In intarsia knitting, you are doing sort of the same thing — knitting blocks of different colors to create an image — but unlike the woodworking technique, you don’t use glue to hold the pieces together. Instead, you hook the different blocks of color together while you are knitting them.

In my new book, Stitch ‘n Bitch Superstar Knitting: Go Beyond the Basics, I devote an entire chapter to explaining the ins and outs of this method, but I’ll give you a few basics here. Intarsia is a pretty easy technique that can be accomplished by even a knitting newbie. It doesn’t require that you hold your yarn in any special way, and it’s almost always done in plain ol’ stockinette stitch: knit one row, purl the next. It’s fun, too, because you can create really cute images with this method, like the bunnies in the Hip Hop Blanket shown here. There are two main things, however, that you need to master when learning intarsia. The first is how to deal with hooking your different colors together. The other is how to manage a number of different colors of yarn at the same time.

Stitch ‘n Bitch Superstar Knitting is available from Amazon, Workman, and an independent bookstore near you.

Intarsia Tips

The idea of intarsia is to make it look like your yarn magically changed from one color to the next in your knit row. What you’re really doing at these color changes, however, is knitting a number of stitches in one color, then dropping that color and picking up another color yarn to knit the following stitches. With intarsia, you never carry any yarn behind your other colors, which means if you are making a complicated image, you will end up working with quite a few different colors of yarn at the same time. Imagine, for instance, that you want to knit a red circle in the middle of a blue background. The first few rows you would simply knit in stockinette, back and forth, using the blue yarn. Then when you get to the first row where the bottom of the red circle is going to begin, you need to knit with a piece of blue yarn until you get to the red circle, then knit the stitches for the bottom of the red circle with a red piece of yarn, and then use a second piece of blue yarn to knit from the bottom of the red circle to the end of your fabric.

So how do you deal with all that yarn? You could use three different balls of yarn – two blue and one red, for the above example – but you’d be kind of crazy to do so, because managing a bunch of balls of yarn at the same time can be as challenging as juggling. So some folks like to wind off some yarn onto what’s called yarn bobbins. They’d wind two bobbins full of blue yarn, and one full of red, to knit that red-ball-on-blue-background image. Bobbins aren’t as big as a full ball of yarn, so that’s a bit easier. I, however, hate using yarn bobbins because I find that they still manage get tangled up like yo-yo’s hanging from your knitting. Instead, I prefer to use what I call the “infinitely long piece of yarn” method. This works if you are using 100% animal fiber yarn, like wool, and one that isn’t superwash. All you do is cut a length of yarn for each color you need, in this case that would be three, two blue and one red. I like to use a “wingspan” – that is, as long a piece of yarn that can reach from one hand to the other with your arms stretched out to your sides. I knit with these lengths of yarn, because even if they get tangled together it’s super easy to just pull the one you need free from all the others.

Then, when my yarn is getting too short and I need more, I just spit-splice another wingspan’s worth onto it, as so: I wet the ends of the old and new piece of yarn by sucking on them (don’t worry, it’s not that gross). Then I overlap these ends in my palm and rub my hands together quickly for about 10 seconds, so that I can really feel warmth in my hands. These three ingredients – warmth, friction, and wetness – combine to magically felt the two ends of the yarn together. When I open my hands, the ends have fused together to become one, and I can go on knitting.
  
The only main challenge with knitting intarsia is linking your different colors of yarn together. If you don’t do that — you just knit with one color, then knit with the next, and so on — your different areas of color won’t be attached together and the sides of that red ball will be free and flapping in the air like a fish’s gills. You link the two colors like this: when you get to the last stitch of blue before the red starts, you take that blue yarn, and bring it up and to the left. Then you take the new, red yarn, and bring it up and underneath the blue yarn. Then you make your new red stitch. You do the same when you get to the end of the red yarn and want to start knitting with the blue: bring the red yarn up and to the left, then bring the blue yarn up from underneath and begin knitting with it. In this way, you’ll link the sides of the stitches together at these color changes, which is really quite a bit like two people linking arms.

There are a bunch more tricks that I discuss in my book, but this is basically all there is to intarsia. Now let’s get hopping on this blanket!

Size:
Finished width: approx 29″
Finished length: approx 29″

Materials:
Karabella Aurora 8 yarn (100% extra fine merino wool; 50g/98 yd)

  • A: 10 balls #18
  • B: 2 balls #1364

S. Charles Collezione Micio yarn (60% nylon, 40% wool; 50g/110 yd)

  • C: 1 ball #01 white

US 10.5 (6mm) 24″ circular knitting needles
Stitch markers

Gauge:
14 stitches and 20 rows = 4″ in stockinette stitch using 2 strands held together

Abbreviations:
CO = cast on
WS = wrong side
RS = right side
P = purl
K = knit
STS = stitches
BO = bind off
PM = place marker

Directions:
Note: Entire blanket is worked with 2 strands held together. Bunnies may be knit using the intarsia method, or background yarn may be stranded behind bunny motif catching every other stitch for added strength and to avoid creating loops.

With A, CO 100 sts.
Work 9 rows in garter st (k every row).
Row 1 (WS): K7, p86, k7.
Row 2: Knit.
Repeat rows 1 and 2 until piece measures 3″ from beginning, end with a WS row.
Next row (RS): K9, pm, work chart 1 over next 64 sts, pm, k to end.
Continue in pattern as est, working remaining 54 rows of chart between markers. Remove markers when chart is complete.
Repeat rows 1 and 2 until piece measures 19″ from beginning, end with a WS row.
Next row (RS): K32, pm, work chart over next 61 sts, pm, k to end.
Continue in pattern as est, working remaining 34 rows of Chart 2 between markers. Remove markers when chart is complete.
Repeat rows 1 and 2 until piece measures 261/2″ from beginning, end with a RS row.
Work 9 rows in garter st.
BO.

 

 

 


Thanks to Debbie Stoller and the good folks at Workman Publishing for sharing this project with us. For more knitting patterns and tips, check out Stitch ‘n Bitch Superstar Knitting.

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85 comments

  • leilalou

    leilalou said 7 years ago

    Fabulous...love the theme, may just dust of the needles!

  • Earleyimages

    Earleyimages said 7 years ago

    great products

  • Powerofflower

    Powerofflower said 7 years ago

    Lovely :) very cute

  • AWishForYou

    AWishForYou said 7 years ago

    You are kind to share the bunny - it being the year of . . I have tried many methods over the years to manage different yarns without a total mess - the little weighted 'bead buds' I bought for beading now do the trick for me !! A truly crafty article - wonderful - many thanks.

  • madebynanna

    madebynanna said 7 years ago

    Soooo cute

  • odiliafu

    odiliafu said 7 years ago

    The blanket is really cute! The bunny theme is lovely.

  • studiopainters

    studiopainters said 7 years ago

    lovely stuff. cute design. feel soft and warm.

  • JanJat

    JanJat said 7 years ago

    Too cute! Makes me think of digging out those old needles :) Thank you!

  • GinaMicheleEco

    GinaMicheleEco said 7 years ago

    Adorable blanket! I learned how to knit from reading Stitch 'N Bitch. Thank you Debbie ♥

  • bowlabeau

    bowlabeau said 7 years ago

    That blanket is so incredibly cute! I wish I was better at knitting and could master it!

  • rarebeasts

    rarebeasts said 7 years ago

    I love this, the fluffy little tails are so cute.

  • grandmamarievintage

    grandmamarievintage said 7 years ago

    Adorable blanket and baby. Doesn't get much cuter!

  • firuzangoker

    firuzangoker said 7 years ago

    such sweet items

  • Verdurebydesign

    Verdurebydesign said 7 years ago

    I admire people who can knit. Great products.

  • brienna

    brienna said 7 years ago

    love all things bunny, and the tip about hand-felting two ends of yarn together through friction is fantastic!

  • heatherstreasure

    heatherstreasure said 7 years ago

    Ooh gorgeous, I want one of those!! that baby is just adorable! ;-)

  • busterandboo

    busterandboo said 7 years ago

    SO CUTE!!!

  • croseco

    croseco said 7 years ago

    Now I have to find time to break out the yarn. So sweet.

  • beliz82

    beliz82 said 7 years ago

    Very cute !!!

  • DecadesOfVintage

    DecadesOfVintage said 7 years ago

    You have been teaching me since your first book. Thank you. A vintage seller and an avid knitter.. Nancy

  • Feille

    Feille said 7 years ago

    Great article! And the good news is the chart can be used for crochet too!

  • ZellerZazzles

    ZellerZazzles said 7 years ago

    That blanket is precious!!

  • MegansMenagerie

    MegansMenagerie said 7 years ago

    Adorable!!!

  • myvintagecrush

    myvintagecrush said 7 years ago

    I want to learn how to knit, seems relaxing! And this would be a great project for a first timer like me!

  • vKnit

    vKnit said 7 years ago

    i LOVE my debbie stoller books! knitting and crochet - both are just fantastic! they explain everything in a way that helps you remember. thank you to you and Etsy for this article! - i love the bunny blanket! :) xox

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 7 years ago

    Lovely blanket and baby!

  • PattiTrostle

    PattiTrostle said 7 years ago

    Beautiful items!

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 said 7 years ago

    So sweet! I admire those that can knit and crochet.

  • DalkullanJewelry

    DalkullanJewelry said 7 years ago

    That bunny blanket is too cute! Love the fluffy little tails on the bunnies.

  • MFcrafts

    MFcrafts said 7 years ago

    How adorable, marking this to make later.

  • JudiPaintedit

    JudiPaintedit said 7 years ago

    OMG!!! I just want to scoop that baby up and squeeze him!!!

  • LittleWeeShop

    LittleWeeShop said 7 years ago

    I have a little one at home and this would make a sweet spring blanket. Her grandmother knits I'll be sure to pass this how to onto her. I've never heard of Intarsia before, thanks for the new word of the day!

  • e5jewel

    e5jewel said 7 years ago

    I just love the little white bunny cove photo! So incredibly adorable is that face!! All the photos are just too cute!! (and the knitted bunny cove. :)

  • e5jewel

    e5jewel said 7 years ago

    oops! Coverall hat! :)

  • TerraRed

    TerraRed said 7 years ago

    Cool!!!

  • daydreamjewels

    daydreamjewels said 7 years ago

    Very cute blanket, thanks for sharing!!!

  • MrsCraftyRVing

    MrsCraftyRVing said 7 years ago

    I am so new to the knitting world.... I love love because of you, the changing of colors... Up until now everything is one color - cute but sometimes boring... maybe now I can get more sales...

  • OhhSoSweetBowtique

    OhhSoSweetBowtique said 7 years ago

    Adorable blanket! What a perfect baby gift!

  • renegadeperceptions

    renegadeperceptions said 7 years ago

    Oh I love this! My mom themed everything with bunnies when I was a baby... I had bunnies stenciled all over my room. This reminds me of it! I really think this knitting technique is interesting...

  • zoegirldesigns

    zoegirldesigns said 7 years ago

    I love her books! They are so detailed and easy to use. Thanks so much!

  • goldcrestbags

    goldcrestbags said 7 years ago

    Great article. Never had heard about Debbi Stollar, but I sure am going to look for her books.

  • SugarCubeVintage

    SugarCubeVintage said 7 years ago

    i can never get enough bunnies! so cute! cheers!

  • MandyMcDee

    MandyMcDee said 7 years ago

    Love the title of the book - I need to find my knitting needles!

  • Nikifashion

    Nikifashion said 7 years ago

    nice interview

  • Jewelry4Change

    Jewelry4Change said 7 years ago

    Great blanket! Looks so soft and cuddly.

  • khobkhuncraft

    khobkhuncraft said 7 years ago

    so cute :)

  • blissfulbathandbody

    blissfulbathandbody said 7 years ago

    Love, love, love it!!! Maybe someone on Etsy will make one so I can buy it! ;)

  • ChayaGallery

    ChayaGallery said 7 years ago

    This is wonderful - now all I need is some time !!

  • bloomangels

    bloomangels said 7 years ago

    I love that~♡

  • AccentsandPetals

    AccentsandPetals said 7 years ago

    Very cute bunny design. Thanks for sharing.

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 7 years ago

    So cute! Love this and very seasonal being the year of the rabbit in 2011 and all...

  • askartelija09

    askartelija09 said 7 years ago

    Cute blanket, love all things!

  • MelsKreations

    MelsKreations said 7 years ago

    Cute blanket and a different idea. Would love to try and make one.

  • theearlygirl

    theearlygirl said 7 years ago

    You make it sound so easy.... I'm tempted to give it a try.

  • Fibrillaria

    Fibrillaria said 7 years ago

    Cute blanket...just need to finish those socks and then on to the fun stuff!

  • LucentJewels

    LucentJewels said 7 years ago

    I recently bought Debbie's new book and have been immersed in it ever since! Her knitting instructions are the clearest and easiest to follow I've ever seen, and the projects in the book are amazing. There are some great Etsy bunny finds here too - some new favourites for me!

  • beachglassshop

    beachglassshop said 7 years ago

    beautiful items!!

  • TheVinylChalkboard

    TheVinylChalkboard said 7 years ago

    This is so neat! I have never been into knitting before, but I think I am now!!! Thanks!

  • HinaStar

    HinaStar said 7 years ago

    Sooooooooo cute! I like Hip Hop Blanket. Thank you for sharing:)

  • MaineHarbour

    MaineHarbour said 7 years ago

    this is so cute! i'm going to attempt it! even though i'm not that great at knitting... haha.

  • BlkSheepProductions

    BlkSheepProductions said 7 years ago

    Thanks for the detailed information! Knit on!

  • betsylou

    betsylou said 7 years ago

    Ooh, I love knitting projects, but I need to get a little bit faster. I'm kind of a slow knitter.

  • InspirationsbyMelani

    InspirationsbyMelani said 7 years ago

    Absolutely adorable! I just love it. Looks so soft. Perfect for little ones.

  • FamilyOfKnitters

    FamilyOfKnitters said 7 years ago

    So adorable love it!!

  • RomanceCatsAndWhimsy

    RomanceCatsAndWhimsy said 7 years ago

    Love the bunny blanket. thank you for sharing the information!

  • vintagenelly

    vintagenelly said 7 years ago

    Too darn cute!!! I crochet, but don't knit - always admired people who knit, it seems harder than crochet for some reason. Thank for sharing!!!

  • kadydesigns

    kadydesigns said 7 years ago

    What a cute blanket! I love to knit and have read some of her books. Currently working on a scarf with cables in it. Can't wait to finish it and start something else! Maybe this blanket!

  • sunkae

    sunkae said 7 years ago

    ***So cute!***

  • SpindlingSpiderwebs

    SpindlingSpiderwebs said 7 years ago

    Cutest baby ever on the top :)

  • Steampunkitis

    Steampunkitis said 7 years ago

    Wonderful! Thank you so much.

  • lauraprentice

    lauraprentice said 7 years ago

    so soft and fuzzy!

  • PetersenDesigns

    PetersenDesigns said 7 years ago

    I love Stitch n' Bitch! Thanks for the great How-To Debbie!

  • scarves123

    scarves123 said 7 years ago

    What a cute blanket!Scarves Scarves those pictures are so beautiful! hope you have a great 2011.

  • TheWinglessDesigns

    TheWinglessDesigns said 7 years ago

    This bunny blankie is SO cute. I want one!

  • hingmade

    hingmade said 7 years ago

    Cute blanket^^ Thanks your sharing!

  • 4gottntreasures

    4gottntreasures said 7 years ago

    I love this, and would love to make one. But I can't use knitting needles is there a way to do it on a loom..thanks

  • antoniyakoleva

    antoniyakoleva said 6 years ago

    Just wondered what to knit next, might as well try this, looks so cute and warm :)

  • TheLaughingButterfly

    TheLaughingButterfly said 6 years ago

    I love knitting but only know how to knit rectangles...I've made loads of scarves! I will have to give this a go.

  • amysfunkyfibers

    amysfunkyfibers said 6 years ago

    I have always wanted to try intarsia, this may just get me motivated!

  • takokids

    takokids said 6 years ago

    This is great!

  • ShowYouKnow

    ShowYouKnow said 6 years ago

    This is absolutely gorgeous im adding this to my list of projects to complete. Wooly bunnies :D

  • EGFashion

    EGFashion said 6 years ago

    I was looking for htt://www.hiphopknit.com and saw this how cute Thanks for sharing.

  • EGFashion

    EGFashion said 6 years ago

    http://www.hiphopknit.com

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