We always love seeing what our customers are making - and when Anne showed us her projects we were thoroughly inspired! Anne has developed a whole new concept with her unique and beautiful blanket designs.
Blanketscapes, as the name suggests, is a way of capturing a landscape in the form of a blanket - and Anne has made the idea work beautifully! We just had to share the fun with our customers by planning a knit-a-long! But before we get to that let's introduce Anne and hear a little more about her designs!
Hi, I'm Anne! My Mum taught me to knit when I was little, she made toys for charity sales, so that was how I started too. Even though I learnt to knit when I was little, it wasn’t until my friends starting having babies that I started knitting again. My favourite thing then was to dig out my Mum’s patterns from the 1970s and find the most retro items to knit for my friends’ kids, whether they liked it or not. Of course, now I have to say blankets are my favourite thing to knit!
I came up with the Blanketscapes concept when I was knitting a blanket made of squares as a project while I was traveling around Scotland. I was buying wool as I went and one ball of wool I bought knitted up squares that were the same colours of a stormy Hebridean beach.
I thought it would look great as a whole blanket and started thinking about how I could incorporate the textures of the beach too. I have always liked taking photographs of patterns in nature, so it was a logical next step to combine all these factors into one project.
I started at Dawlish Warren, which has a wide variety of beach patterns available. I spent some time wandering the beach taking photos and inspiration from the patterns I found. I then experimented with designs in a spreadsheet, test knitting them up and modifying them as I went, until I was happy with a pattern. It often didn’t knit up quite how I expected so I went through quite a few designs.
The key to me is the connection with the landscape and the environment, noticing the details, as well as how they make up the whole landscape. Much like painting, the process made me slow down and consider all the elements of the landscape rather than just rushing through it. The project gave me motivation to get out and about into the landscapes - in all weathers, but also gave me a project to work on when I was at home.
The patterns & textures in the landscape are the part that inspires me, and are also the thing that make the blanketscapes. Without the textures in the blankets they are just coloured blankets! The concept is really endless, I plan to work on other landscapes, and incorporate more advanced techniques beyond just combinations of knit and purl stitches.
Soon after seeing Anne's designs we found ourselves daydreaming about Blankescape possibilities! Being surrounded by the wool the shop we naturally started noticing possibilities in the different yarns that we stock. Of course we could knit one for ourselves, but we then thought; even better - let's also see what everyone else would do! Luckily for us Anne was happy to help with a Knit-a-Long and below she gives us some helpful tips!
What advice would you have for others who would like to plan a unique Beachscape blanket based on your idea?
Just go for it! If you’re not sure, making up some of the squares in the colours you are thinking of using gives you an idea of how it might look before you launch into making a large blanket in one piece.
How easy do you think it would be to adapt your blankets to make a cushion?
It would be easy to adapt the patterns for a cushion, in fact one of my friends’ Mum did just that with the left over wool from the blanket she made, so had a matching cushion to go with their blanket.
Are there any factors to consider when choosing a yarn?
Consider the purpose for the blanket when choosing the yarn. If it is for a baby, then a soft, easily washable acrylic is a good way forward. Otherwise, just go for something you like the look and feel of, there is no restriction in the type of yarn or weight.
Do you have a favourite blanket?
I think my favourite blanket is the Vatersay baby blanket, using the Sirdar Pattercake yarn cakes*. The colours are great and the yarn is super soft, and it evokes happy memories of my trip around Scotland.
*we will have this yarn available instore for the Knit-a-Long!
Do you have any blanket-making tips such as favourite ways to join squares?
Not really - just do it, I’m not very fastidious about these kind of things. Don’t worry that something has to be perfect, just enjoy the process.
You can find out more about Anne's Blanketscapes and view the patterns on her website.
Anne will be joining us in the shop with her blankets all day on Friday 7th October. We will have patterns, advice, and yarn ideas - all ready to start the Knit-a-Long! Please join our Facebook group to see and share posts about this Knit-a-long! If you're using Instagram please tag your photos with #blanketscapes so that we can find them!
All photos are copyright of Anne used with permission