Question for Knitters

Updated on November 14, 2013
M.S. asks from Bellevue, WA
7 answers

I am going to knit a medium sized blanked/throw for my 11 year old niece's bed, for her birthday in February. My niece's mom had promised to do this for each of them when they turned 11, but their mom died several years ago, so I am going to do it for the girls instead. I've already decided on pale green and yellow, as those are my niece's favorite colors.

Here are my questions: What are your favorite yarn brands, and do you have any suggestions for what size needles I should use for a blanket? I'd like to get a good yarn without it being horribly expensive. Also, I'm not sure how much yarn to get. The blanket doesn't need to be as big as a twin size bed, just the size of a nice sized throw. I've never done a blanket before, I've only done smaller projects like scarves and one pair of gloves. My niece has hinted that she wants her blanket to be "bulky" so she can cuddle up and read in it.

I know I can do this project, in fact, I'm really excited! Thanks for your help.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I'm glad she is interested in bulky because you'll use bigger needles, thicker yarn, and it will knit up much faster for you.

I would recommend that if you are not already a member, you join There you can look for a pattern and it will give you an idea of what kind of yarn, what size needles, and how much yarn you will need. By narrowing the search to knitting-bulky-home-blanket-throw there are 422 options to pick from. Yarn companies also offer patterns on their websites.

I have gotten away from acrylic yarn for scarves, cowls, and shawls, but I think acrylic would be more economical for a throw. I detest Red Heart and prefer the feel of "Simply Soft'. I would imagine that they have a bulky style.

Have fun!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

I'll second the recommendation to get on Ravelry. There are loads of free patterns and pictures of things people have made, comments, etc. that will help you decide what to do. Another good resource is, and believe it or not, youtube has loads of knitting how-to videos if you're trying a new technique.

As for how much yarn you'll need, that depends largely on what the thickness of the yarn is and what stitch you're using. Something lacy (which doesn't need to be complex or scary - there are simple lace patterns you can make with bulky yarns that knit up quickly) will require less yardage than something dense and chunky, such as seed stitch.

Given that you've not knit a throw before, I'd suggest finding a pattern you like and working from there. That way you get some guidance as to what needles to use, how much yarn you'll need, etc. In addition to the resources I mentioned above, Vogue knitting has free patterns online, including some old ones from their Knit Simple magazine. It may also be worth looking in knitting books and back issues of knitting magazines at your local library. You don't have to use the exact yarns called for in the pattern - I've had good success substituting more economical ones that have similar characteristics and knit up to the same gauge as the ones called for in published patterns.

Some friendly advice about swatching - if all you've done so far are smaller projects, you may not have needed to worry much about doing gauge swatches. For a larger project, it can be really helpful, because it's no fun having to go out and try to track down yarn from the same dye lot because you've run short. (You probably don't need to ask how I know this...) If your gauge is too small or too large, you can adjust by changing needle sizes up or down. Personally, I have learned that I usually need to go up a needle size to make gauge, unless I'm cabling. Then I need to go up 2 sizes. The only way to learn what your personal gauge adjustments need to be is to play a little with the yarn.

As for what yarn to use, I'd steer away from most 100% acrylics because they tend to pill and really aren't that warm. If I'm looking for economy and easy care, I tend to go with washable acrylic/wool blends. Then you get the warmth, breathability, and hand of wool with the easy care and price of acrylic. If you decide to use cotton, double check and make sure it's an easy care cotton. Some cottons are hand wash.

I hope that helps. Feel free to PM me with questions if you'd like.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

You can find a pattern that you like. If she wants it bulkier, you can double up and use two strands at once. (It will cost more.) Try to find a brand or color that feels good to you when you use it so that it glides through your fingers when you knit it. If you find a color that you like, try to contact the store or the company to get the required amount from the same dye lot.

Also, since you are make a larger project, find a circular knitting needle to use as it will ease your work while knitting a large number of stitches at once. You can use the circular needle the same as two straight needles -- the extra stitches stay in the middle and don't come off as quickly (as me how I know that one).

Enjoy this experience and bonding time with your niece.

the other S.

PS I am knitting a cap for my grandson with week on five needles, talk about a bit of a challenge to make it one piece with no seam.

Have fun!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Good advice below. I'm also a fan of the Lion website :-)

When you do buy the yarn that you've chosen, I would suggest in-store rather than online, but only because I've read that they won't guarantee same dye-lots.

This may or may not be important to you, but I'm picky. :-)

Happy knitting!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

Lion has some really nice yarns, as well as free patterns.
You can order their yarns online or find them at most craft and fabric stores, and you can download free patterns from their website.

Stay away from Red Heart yarns. They're cheap, but rough and scratchy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

I knitted a bit in high school but haven't knitted recently.
What sort of fiber does your niece like?
I'm not a fan of wool myself.
I like cotton, bamboo would feel nice but be more expensive.
Acrylic is popular.
Pick something that's easy to wash.

I'd consider using a knitting loom.
They have a knitting loom that can knit an afgan 60 inches wide.

There are free patterns available if you look for them.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

I am not a knitter. I'll be up front about that. My mom knits some though. And crochets. And sews. And does needlepoint and cross stitch and crewel.

I grew up watching her doing a lot of that stuff. What I would recommend is that you find the pattern/instructions for the particular throw/blanket you are preparing to make first. And from that, you should be able to discern how many skeins of yarn you are likely to need. If I recall, most "patterns" will tell you how many. But that may vary slightly depending on the type of yarn/size of needles, etc.

Always buy extra though. :)

Good luck. And kudos to you. Very thoughtful of you to do in your sister (SIL?)'s memory.

1 mom found this helpful
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