Malia Mosaic Knitted Blanket: New Pattern Release
In the middle of the first year of the pandemic I designed and knitted one of my favourite patterns to date: The Malia blanket. Everything had been feeling very heavy in a year that had a huge impact on most people’s mental health. I, like many others, found it extremely difficult to focus. Every time I sat down to do something creative thoughts of the unknown consequences of what was unfolding crept in and took up all the space that was usually reserved for invention, imagination and creativity.
Luckily, I had conceived the idea for and cast on a big but simple blanket project some months before, and due to the nature of the pattern I had written (a mosaic knit that required only knitting with one colour at a time and very simple short pattern repeats that even my distracted mind could remember on every second row) it became a wonderfully absorbing bit of escapist knitting, and backed up with an audiobook or TV show it gave my brain a rest from trying to calculate all of the ‘what ifs’.
I knit this blanket as both an exercise in and an object of comfort and protection, so I made it big enough for our family to all sit beneath, but there are options for other sizes too, including a baby blanket measuring 75x100cm (30×40”), a crib blanket measuring 90x125cm (35×50”) and a long throw that measures 125x190cm (50×75”).
Due to the nature of the simple pattern repeat it can also be resized infinitely to suit the dimensions of your chosen size as, knit at the recommended gauge, each pattern repeat measures 9.7 x 11.25cm (about 3¾ x 4½”), so you can calculate how many repeats it will take to meet your favoured size and then just knit to the length given. A simple swatch would allow you to calculate the blanket for other yarns and gauges too, increasing the versatility of the pattern even further. The border instructions remain the same and will work for any size of blanket that you decided to make, at any gauge.
Knitting & Styling
The central panel of the blanket is knit in a mosaic pattern finished with a few simple rows of garter stitch that frame the piece. Because both the main body of the blanket and edging are knit in a form of garter stitch the blanket lays completely flat, even without blocking. As the main body of the blanket is knit in a garter stitch variety of mosaic knitting, every row is knit, with no purl rows, which will increase the speed of the knit for a good number of knitters.
Mosaic knitting also allows you to create intricately patterned pieces whilst never using more than one colour for any given row. You work two rows (front and back) with yarn A, then two rows with yarn B throughout. The patterning is created through simple knit stitches and slipped stitches alone. Another benefit of using slipped stitches to work this pattern with only one yarn at any given time. This means you are never ‘carrying’ an unused yarn, so there are no floats on the reverse of the blanket. This makes the Malia blanket perfect for babies, children and any high use area of the home as there are no loops on the reverse side to pull or get snagged, or to tangle around tiny fingers or get caught on your keys or a pet.
The edging of the blanket is kept purposefully simple to elegantly frame the central patterning. Knit in garter stitch and with a simple mitred corner it is clean and modern, and very easy to achieve.
This blanket is one of my favourite knitted projects to date, and provided me with some much needed balance in my life when everything in the world felt out of kilter. Though the world is far from healed, sometimes a pattern that is meditative and that you can knit your love into can help keep you grounded.
I actually released this pattern a year ago, but didn’t post about it at the time as I had my head down in the world’s troubles. I was thinking a few days ago of the things that helped me last year, and knitting this pattern was definitely one of the things that helped most, and so I have decided to give the pattern the release and support I think it deserves. Maybe it will bring someone else the solace of calm knitting as it did me.