In this tutorial I’m going to show you how I make a blanket while working from 3 skeins of yarn – by holding two strands together for the first and last stitch of the row you can easily create a simple edging and reduce the color differences between skeins. This technique works for any flat knitting project – scarves, shawls, throws etc. (Read more about the background here).
Here I’ve labeled my 3 balls of yarn as A, B and C. To start the blanket we’re going to do a regular long-tail cast on while holding A and B together as if they were one strand. C is going to be the ball we measure the ‘tail’ from.
1. Hold strands A and B together.
2. Pull a length of strand C to make the ‘tail’ of the long-tail cast on – i.e. measure out about 3 times the final width of the blanket. Strand C goes antiparallel (now that’s a great word from molecular biology!) – which is to say, parallel but in the opposite direction of the other strands. The only reason for this step is to put a strand of yarn in place on the right-hand side of the blanket so it will be ready and available to work the first right-side row.
3. Make your slipknot using all three strands. As you can see in the photo, A and B are going to the left back to the balls. C is going to the right back to it’s ball. Don’t include this slipknot in your stitch count – it’s too bulky to stick around and you’ll get rid of it at the end of the first wrong-side row.
4. Now everything is set up and ready to start the long-tail cast on. Strands A and B are held together and go to your thumb. Strand C goes to your index finger and will be the strand that wraps around the needle.
Slipped Stitch Edges (aka Chain Selvage)
Now we get to the stitches that will travel up the sides of the blanket. This is just a chain selvage while holding two strands together. If you’d like to see what this looks like with one strand check out my post here. The basic instructions are:
RS: Slip first stitch knitwise with yarn in back … knit last stitch.
WS: Slip first stitch purlwise with yarn in front … purl last stitch.
1. The first row in all my blanket patterns is a wrong-side row (WS). Slip the first stitch (C) as if to purl, while holding both strands together (AB) in front.
2. Work across the WS with the next strand – here I’ve used strand B so that that I can follow a ABC sequence for the rest of this example. When you’re using 3 skeins of the same color you can go in any order you like – just make sure you’re using them up at an even rate so that you don’t run out of one early.
3a. Purl the last stitch while holding two strands together (BC). Pull out the slipknot and get rid of it whenever it’s convenient.
3b. So here is what our first WS row looks like: the first stitch was slipped so it’s yellow (C), the rest of the stitches are pink (B) and the last stitch is made up of two strands (BC).
4a. For the RS, slip the first stitch as if to knit while holding the two strands of yarn (BC) in back. Then work across the RS using C.
4b. Knit the last stitch, holding the two strands on that side together (CA).
5. Continue slipping the first stitch of each row while holding two strands together. Here is start of the next (WS) row:
Once again, hold two strands together to work the bind off row. I always switch to a needle two sizes larger as well. When the instructions specify to bind off “in pattern” it means knit the knits and purl the purls.
1. Continue holding the two strands together (in this example: CA). Slip the first stitch and knit the second stitch. Pass the first stitch on the right needle over the second.
2. The next stitch in my example is going to be a purl, so purl this stitch with both strands. Then pass the first stitch on the right needle over this new purl stitch.
3. Continue to the end.
That’s a lot for one tutorial post – please leave any questions you have and I’ll be sure to get back to them!