Is Giant Knitting Really That Great?
Ok, so I may be a little bias but I'm really going to try and think objectively here to give you a fair view. I think it's safe to assume that if you've found yourself here then you, like me, are a fan of giant knit blankets. If I may say so, I think they look lovely - they are a Hygge dream and I love the texture and wow factor they bring to a cosy home... but let's talk more about the kitty gritty (couldn't help myself) of actually knitting and the blankets themselves.
Like all things, giant knitting has pro's and con's. It's not for everybody and let's face it, it comes with a high price tag so if you're going to give it a go it's best to spend a few minutes considering whether or not you think you'd enjoy it.
To really consider it from different points of view I thought I'd answer a few of the questions I get asked a lot and if you have any more, feel free to ask them in the comments section below.
1. Is it difficult?
If you already know how to knit then no, technically it's not difficult at all - it's exactly the same. You can make it as simple or as complicated as you like with different stitches and techniques but personally I think that when you've already got the drama and impact in the size, the simpler the stitch, the better (but that's just my preference) Sometimes it feels a bit clunky and clumsy compared to smaller knitting but you do get used to that quickly and then the only thing to remember is to keep your tension really loose.
If you don't know how to knit you can easily learn there's plenty of videos on You Tube and I'll be making my own soon to help you. Once you get the hang of 2 simple stitches you'll be away!
2. Is it heavy?
It can be. It really depends on the size of the blanket you want to knit. A small blanket up to 3kg is quite quick and light. If you want to make a really large blanket you might use around 6-10kg and this can get heavy. The key is to rest it on your lap so that your legs take the weight instead of your arms. I'm honestly the weakest person I've ever met and people often say to me 'I bet you have amazing arms' No. I really don't. This isn't me just being coy and humble, I seriously have no muscle and the bingo wings are starting to set in...because they aren't taking any of the weight of what I'm knitting. So yes, it can be heavy, but if you set up correctly and rest it on your legs then your arms don't need to suffer.
3. Does it take ages?
In comparison to 'normal' knitting no, because of the huge size it knit's up far more quickly - in fact i'd say that's both a positive and a negative. I can knit a Lap Blanket in about 30 minutes which, compared to the little 12mm needle baby blankets I used to make that would take month,30 minutes is both amazing and very satisfying. The time consuming part comes later when you process it ('at home' instructions are included as part of the knit kit for processing and also help with the Care which is covered in Q6)
However, if you're after a decent knitting project that will last you a good few weeks then you'll need a lot of wool. Large blankets can take a much longer time, not only because there's obviously more knitting involved but because of the weight of them, it turns into a slower process in itself and more breaks are needed. It is possibly to knit these in one sitting but if you're not in a rush and have space to store it then I've known customers take a month or so to finish large blankets.
4. How much wool do I need?
This is a question I get asked all the time and again it depends entirely on how big a blanket you want to make. As long as you keep your tension loose when knitting it works out to 0.5 square meters of knitting per 1kg of wool - The quickest and easiest way to figure it out is to decide on the approximate measurements you'd like, calculate the square meterage and then divide that by 0.5 ie. for a blanket 150cm x 100cm = 1.5x1 = 1.5(m2) / 0.5 = 3(kg) ...so you would order 3kg. You can always email me with your measurements though and i'll help you work it out :D
5. Why is the wool expensive?
I only use Merino wool, partly because it's the best, partly because i'm allergic to other wools and to be honest - partly because there's not much more available. Merino wool is beautifully soft, amazing quality and thankfully, hypoallergenic. All of these qualities impact the price and by the time it's come from the sheep, through the mill, to arrive with me it costs quite a lot of money. Not only that but it dyes beautifully so is available in heaps of colours and frankly, it's one of the very few materials that can keep it's amazing size... and the only other ones I'm aware of aren't nearly as nice and cost just as much. So, it seems, this is just the cost of Giant Knitting as we know it. It can be expensive but it does earn it's keep by offering so many advantages.
6. How do I care for it once I've knit it?
Again another popular question that has both positives and negatives. Because we currently only have this 1 type of wool to work with, and it was never designed to be used in this way - it's meant to be spun, tightening and locking the fibres together, turning it into 'normal' knitting yarn - it means that there's a bit of a compromise which makes the blankets a bit high maintenance.
Giant knit blankets are soft, warm, beautiful creatures that add texture and drama to a room, a real WOW factor that most people just *need* to touch. All of these amazing elements come from Giant Knitting but we need to remember it's not what the wool was made for so it doesn't quite know how to handle that. With friction, the loose fibres get pulled out and create little balls aka pills. As I always say, pilling is not a defect, it's a natural result of friction and shows that the blanket is loved. Pills can easily be removed simply by pulling them off with your fingers and smoothing the wool down. The more you use the blanket, the more it will pill so the more frequently you'll need to do this to begin with. But on the plus side - this will also begin to felt your blanket meaning that it will start to lock those fibres in by itself and in time will then pill less. Don't be afraid of using it and don't be afraid of pills, as long as you're willing to care for it then your blanket will be gorgeous for a long long time.
Without wanting to turn al salesy on you - The blankets I make are all hand processed after they've been knitted to partially felt them and begin that process this does reduce pilling and extend their lifespan. and as mentioned above, there is also an 'at home' version of this process in the knit kits if you want to do it yourself.
In Summary, the things to consider seem to be - Can you knit or would you like to learn? Do you want a quick or a lengthy project? Have you calculated the amount of wool you need correctly and are you comfortable with the cost of Merino wool? and finally, are you up for showing your carefully crafted blanket a bit of TLC once it's been made?
If the answer to all of the above is a 'Yes' then I firmly believe you and giant knitting are a match made in heaven (sorry, I appear to have gone all cosmo quiz on you) and if it's a lot of no's then ....well.... you know I sell ready made blankets right? Equally you don't need to buy anything at all, you could simply keep me company and hopefully enjoy the Chunky Knit spam I'm bound to inflict on you for a while yet.
I hope that helps if you're currently contemplating to go giant or not. Any other questions either comment below or whizz me an email. If you'd like to have a gander at the knit kit's or wool you can do so here.