b r o o k l y n t w e e d
  Knitted Garter Stitch Blanket (AKA Big Squishy Lovefest)
Of all the things I've knit, I can't remember a time when I've been more smitten with a project. Sure there may have been things that we more exciting or eventful to work on but nothing (and I mean nothing) is better for wrapping yourself up in than this. (I realize the timing of this post is absolutely ridiculous as I'm writing in the middle of this summer's first heat wave, but there it is)

Lovefest Realized (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

Pattern: Knitted Garter Stitch Blanket in Sheepsdown (Ravelry)
Source: The Opinionated Knitter by Elizabeth Zimmermann
Materials: Cascade Eco Wool (100% undyed Peruvian) #8063; yarn held double
Amount: Just over 9 skeins; approx. 4500 yards, 5lbs (!)
Needles: US13 circulars (although straights will work too)
Finished Dimensions: 80 x 53 inches

Started: October 2007
Finished: May 2008

Squishy Lovefest (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

Here is another example of how far a simple, clever design can go. The pattern originally appeared in Elizabeth Zimmermann's 9th Wool Gathering Newsletter in the Fall of 1962. It is available now in The Opinionated Knitter (a collection of Elizabeth's newsletters) with both the original texts (typewritten and all) and diagrams alongside Meg's present-day suggestions and updates to each pattern.

EZ Garter Stitch Afghan (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

The original pattern calls to be knit in Sheepsdown, Schoolhouse's super bulky, lightly spun, undyed wool. Gorgeous stuff, and I had grand plans of knitting with it before I got economical and turned to my stash to find a plethora of Eco Wool begging for attention. Holding Eco Wool double gave me a bulky gauge (not as bulky as Sheepsdown, but close) and a wonderful squishy, cozy fabric that seemed like a dream to work up a whole afghan with.

Wooly Lovefest (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

Now, about the simplicity and the genius: the entire blanket is composed of four interlocking pieces, all of equal width, which are formed by simple mitered corners. The beauty, to me, is that throughout the entire process you always have 24 stitches on your needle. Always. And there is nary a purl stitch to be found. Netflix Knitters Dream Project? Yes.

EZ Garter Stitch Afghan (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

Because my gauge was 3 sts per inch and the pattern calls for 2sts per inch, I upped my stitch count from 24 to 36 in hopes of having a very large, very substantial piece of knitting upon finishing. Another benefit of the design is its complete ease in resizing - because the only shaping involved is a mitered corner and you only have one number to worry about (24sts), you can essentially knit this in any weight of yarn at any size depending on how many stitches are cast on. I think a baby-blanket version in a nice soft DK weight wool would be lovely.

EZ Garter Stitch Afghan Edging Detail (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

Whenever there's this much garter stitch, and this much weight, stretching and distorting of fabric can become a valid concern. Another built-in advantage of the design is that the fabric's consistent directional changes due to the mitered corners gives more structure while mainting wonderful stretchiness. The addition of the I-cord edging also frames the entire piece with added structure to keep everything in shape, and I think cleans up the design for a very nice finish. The I-cord edging is a suggestion from Meg, and one I definitely think is worth the extra time at the end - I love how it turned out.

Wooly Lovefest (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

The directional patterning also makes a wonderful texture and a wonderful play with light and shade, as different parts of the whole catch light differently (see photo below). The finished dimensions on mine came out to about 80"x53" - nice and big, and fits perfectly on the surface of a queen-sized bed. Also a favorite for snuggly folks on couches.

EZ Garter Stitch Afghan (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

Finishing on this one is a big job and also entails some important decisions. There are many ways to seam up garter stitch, and I tried different methods to see what I liked best. I first tried an invisible garter graft, which looked nice on the RS, but not as nice on the WS, and was too weak in my opinion to hold this beast together. I decided in the end on using a single crochet chain seam to join all the pieces. The crochet seam has some major advantages here: first and most important, because the geometry is strong and completely carries the aesthetic, I wanted a visible seam that accented the construction in a clean way (and had an acceptable WS look). Aside from the aesthetic aspect, a crochet chain is strong and can really take a beating without a flinch. Because this thing weighs about 5 lbs (!) a strong, sturdy seam is essential.

As I mentioned above I trimmed the whole thing with a 3 stitch I-Cord, both for looks and structural help. After all the pieces were sewn together, I knit up one stitch for every ridge and attached the I-Cord all the way around, grafting the first and last row together invisibly.

Wooly Lovefest <3 (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

Another quick tip: I recommend a sewn bind-off on all pieces. It keeps the ends of each piece stretchy and matches the cast on (I did a long-tail).

I'm totally enamored and think this is a lifer - good sturdy wool in a good sturdy pattern is sure to hold up for the long haul. I want to thank my models, Ryan and Joelle, for being total champs and swathing themselves in this thing during 96 degree heat without complaint. That's a feat unto itself.

And although you're folded up for summer, dear blanket, when September rolls around again you'll know how truly loved you are. Happy knitting one and all.

Edited to Add: Oops! Looks like I forgot to take a picture of the beast in its entirety! Had to strap on the wide-angle lens and clear out the living room... but I got it. You can see the full shot here.

Oh my goodness! This blanket is awesomely huge and elegant at the same time! And those pictures!!!! Thanks for all the technical details! I know how to invest my time today!
You rock!

FANTASTIC post, as usual. I love your blankie. (small typo in the title of this post - I think 'Stith' s/b 'Stitch'). Please never stop knitting, designing, and blogging.

I curse you for being so talented and for making want to cast on for this in this tortuously hot weather.

I'm almost done with my slightly smaller version.. and have blogged about it a couple of times, but I am SO glad you talked about joining, since I had worried about how to do that since I finished part B for the second time. Your pics are great, btw. I ended up with 30 stitches because I wanted light and easy as opposed to heavier. Debbie Bliss chunky alpaca. Not my favorite yarn, at least one knot per ball, but it feels like heaven and I love the color. Thanks for the inspiration!

This is fantastic. I love the effect of the directional changes. Pure EZ genius.

That's just perfect.

Ouf! 5 lbs? Not my cup of tea, no matter how beautiful.

I do think it's lovely and I'm glad you're happy with it.

Amazing blanket, elegant and snuggly... well done! This makes me want to cast on for a blanket too, even in the Texas heat.

I can't believe your models sat under it in this heat! :)
The blanket is wonderfully gorgeous, and an inspiration! I am just finishing up a garter stitch baby blanket, and I've been wondering how to finish the edges and sew the pieces together. I love your seams, and I'm glad I can now refer to your post! Thank you!

Absolutely gorgeous.

I have to tell you that, the other day, my four-year-old said, out of nowhere, "Mom, boys don't knit." (This from a girl who has been taken care of by her stay-at-home dad since birth and has never shown any indication of caring at all about that kind of nonsense!) So of course I had to educate her by showing her this website and telling her that you are the best knitter I've seen...AND you're a boy! My husband was looking over my shoulder at the time and spotted the first and only garment that he's ever ASKED me to knit for him! So I guess you've changed some minds in my household lately without even knowing it!

Wow! You have some good friends to model a 5 pound blanket during a heat wave. The blanket is simply gorgeous, and the crochet seaming really does make the design pop.

Wow! Any chance of one big complete picture? I'm dying to see the geometry of it... I always love your photos, but this thing deserves one clean shot of its being!

Great job, as usual! I was going to ask the same thing as the last commenter- can you post a photo of the complete blanket? I don't knit a lot of EZ because it's hard to see a good photo of the completed work, and I'd love to see what your blanket looks like in its entirety!

Nice work! It is gorgeous. You'll love it this fall when things cool off.

That project sounds like just what the doctor ordered...I've been craving more garter stitch.

Beautiful blanket! I love the way garter stitches catches the light.

The blanket is beautiful. :)

When the bold branches
Bid farewell to rainbow leaves...
Welcome wool blankets

Absolutely gorgeous! I don't know if I would have the fortitude to knit a full-sized blanket, but I love the idea of a baby blanket in a lighter yarn. I have a number of babies to knit for, so this might make its way into my queue soon!

Very very elegant !! Good job !

Gorgeous pictures of the cozy couple wrapped in the snuggliest blanket!

Oh, my goodness . . . So beautiful . . .

I agree with Stacey, elegant it is, even if that's about the last thing you would think this beast to be..

That's fabulous! And since it's snowing here today, I could use a nice snuggly blanket.

The blanket is beautiful.

I love your interpretations of EZ's designs. I've done a few myself as well as a few of Meg's. I've done 4 versions of Meg's Puzzle Pillow Blanket, 1 for each of my children when they went off to college (in their chosen college colors, of course) and have had my eye on this one as the next blanket project when I'm ready for one of those again.It's wonderful to see EZ's designes actually knitted up and you always do a wonderful job. Please keep blogging and photographing as it's a great inspiration. Unfortunately I don't have a blog, but love to read yours.

Fandamntastic, Jared. I've been waiting for the reveal on this one, and, as usual, you did not disappoint. You've once again succeeded in getting me obsessed with yet another EZ pattern. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

Oh Oh Oh! I so want this! It's freezing here in June-uary! This is just amazing.

OK this clinches it. I've got every EZ book except "The Opinionated Knitter". WOW At first I assumed it was a Badger, but now I know better and will being buying the book ASAP. As usual your work is breathtaking.

Wow - just wow. I can only imagine how warm and smooshy that blanket must be! It's gorgeous!

What an awesome blanket! I will have to queue that one up.

Another thank you for sharing your beautiful work. I too plan on getting the opinionated knitter (and what a great title!)

Oh......my.....God, Becky....did you see the size of that guy's blanket! It's so BIG!

And gorgeous and beautiful, and it makes me green with envy!

What a wonderful blanket! You did a great job and love the idea of the Eco yarn doubled and highlighting this terrific pattern. I just ordered the book! Happy Knitting,

Wow! You are king of the EZ blankets! This one is so stunning in its simplicity. A garter stitch dream!

Your work is so precise, it is a
pleasure to look at the pictures.
EZ would be proud. gloria

Delurking to express my enthusiasm! This is a really lovely object!

It's weak of me, I know, but I crave a view of the whole thing--the glimpses in your photos suggest that I'm actually not picturing it accurately...

Absolutely Divine.

Feel free to post it to me, and I'll brave an Australian Winter with it!

Well done - it truly is gorgeous.

Leah xxx

I'm so glad you blogged about this project. I've been looking longingly at that pattern for wuite some time now. Seeing how stunning yours is may motivate me to get to work on my own, once it is cool again.

Gorgeous! Gorgeous! Gorgeous!

Just beautiful, you're really a knitting master
just love it


Wah! so beautiful.

I know it would be really inappropriate to propose marriage to someone in a blog comment, but, between this and the vest you posted the other day, if you should ever feel like marrying an Australian, do let me know.

Thank you for such a wonderful lot of knitting and photography.

...or knit one more for a german girl, who is truly your biggest fan ;)
joking aside- this is a wonderful blanket, i love it. looks like ingenious design, klaro, Elizabeth forever!
thank you for inspiring, again and again and again and...
best wishes from cold germany, rainy, oh what wonderful blanket weather ;D

Oh, it came out WONDERFULLY! I used mine so much this winter - it's fantastically warm! Yay!

Stunningly beautiful. A timeless classic. You have such a great eye for yarn/stitch/colour combination. It's a visual pleasure visiting your blog.

This blanket is absolutely beautiful.

I'm in awe...

Gorgeous. I wish I had thought to make my current blanket out of a more monochrome palette. It just ups the sophistication level up a few notches. Of course, my blanket, built from leftovers, has the sophistication knocked down a few notches because of the truly random color choices...

Love it!! Love it even more after I saw the blanket in its entirety.
Love the pinwheel effect.

There is a spot in your post where you say something about it being all seamed up, but in fact you are ONLY crocheting it together, right?

Sorry to be nitpicky....I just want to make sure I understand you right.

I am not sure you can accommodate my next request...but taking the picture of the whole blanket, could you put in little arrows to indicate where the blanket started, and where it went after that, etc.? Or at least show where the squares are that you had to put together?

Thanks so much.

Have a good day!

That's is amazingly beautiful!

it looks amazing!

Thank you for the full shot! I tried to find others online... I only saw one and it DID NOT do this blanket the justice that yours does! PS - if you moved back out the WA way you'd be able to get plenty of use out of it right now. It's been miserably cold.

Garter heaven.

The blanket is amazing. How long did it take you? I wish you would write a book: A Translation of EZ!!! It would sell a million copies. Her patterns scare me, but every time I see something you've made, I want to begin immediately! Thanks for the wonderful shots and information! What's next?

I'm sure you've been asked this a million times, but how long have you been knitting and how many hours a day do you put in on these luscious creations??
..and I'm sure you've been told this a million times, but one more time can't hurt...you are AMAZING!
thanks so much for your inspiration.

you reign supreme as THE garter-stitch connoissuer (spelling). Fabulous!!!
thanks for sharing...the pictures are also, as usual, better than most magazine shots.

stunning. simple. beautiful.
(and as always, inspirational)

That one MUST now go into my cue!

So pretty, pretty! I love the pic in your apartment... You just want to lay down on it and roll around. I think we have the same exact rug in our dining room... Ikea? Wonderful, beautiful work, as usual :)

wow. i love it. this will def become a project for me.

have you ever considered posting videos on youtube on some of your techniques? please consider it. i have only been knitting since sept and some of the seaming and i cord techniques are foreign to me. thank you.

The 2nd best part of coming by to see your FOs is finding all the great detail that comes with it - your descriptions of the journey through each project make it possible for any of us to jump in and try this too.
Sharing is caring, eh?


I've been spinning pencil roving into a bulky two-ply for one of these blankets. After seeing your pictures, I'm going to kick it into overdrive! Thanks for posting about the seaming and edge, too.

Beautiful, classic, inspiring.

Simplicity at its best and absolutely lovely! Looking at the large picture, you would swear it looks like a quilt but done in knit. I agree that this will be a great cold weather blanket.

why am I not surprised that yet again you have created such a piece of beauty that you make me want to knit 24/7. Your photos are inspiring and the blanket in its entirety is stunning. Kudos!

Love the blanket, and I'm very tempted to make one. I do have a question about it, though. How do you plan to wash the beast? I wash my hand-knit wool sweaters using the machine (fill; stop; soak; spin; repeat for rinse, if needed; lay flat to dry), but doing so with something this large and heavy (5 lbs!) could be really...difficult. I'm trying to imagine how much it will weigh when wet. So, seriously, am I thinking about this too hard? Practically speaking, how does cleaning this thing work?

Absolutely GORGEOUS, of course, but I should add that it's been cloudy and very cool in Seattle lately - so if you want to send it to me I promise to keep it in good use until September in NYC... :-)

OMGosh, that is absolutely gorgeous Jared.

Looks like I'm adding another EZ book to my library.

Wow! That is amazing. I love the geometric-ness of it, particularly the way the changes in direction create all those little trapezoids (I think that's the shape... geometry never was my strong suit) in the middle. Good to know the details on the finishing, too--that makes all the difference in the finished product!

Beautiful Jared. As per your usual!

I am a frequent visitor here, but this is the first time I've felt I just had to comment. I am almost as enamored of EZ as yourself, but with much less ambition. However, this blanket may just be the motivation I needed to take on something bigger than a pair of socks for a change. Bravo, it is gorgeous! (As a fellow photographer, I also love your work. If you have a chance, I'd love it if you stopped by my blog and checked mine out!)

It is absolutely beautiful. It is winter in Melbourne, Australia now and I can just imagine how it would feel wrapped up in this blanket!!!

your garter stitch is perfect both in tension and definition! That blanket is exquisite Jared, you are amazing, both in your knitting and your photography!

WOW! another spectacular creation!

Unbelievable! Who knew plain, old garter stitch could look this fabulous! Your photo documentation is noteworthy in itself.

Wow. Just wow. The blanket, the story, the photographs. Your projects are just mind-blowing. Thanks for sharing.

Hmm yes, my favourite photo is the last one, the one that was forgotten. I love the way the light acts on the different angles of the garter stitch.

Well hurrah for you, Joelle and Ryan, between you, a cosy mid-winter vibe is conjured up.

It's beautiful, and so beautifully photographed. As others have commented above, the light on the different stitch directions gives the blanket so much dimension and depth. Such an inspiring project- it's winter here and I'm sure we'd be able to make great use of one... Will have to add it to my queue. I'm currently in garter stitch mode on my first BSJ.

Either your brother and sister-in-law owe you big time or they realllllly really love you for posing in a wool blanket in the summer! Beautiful work and photos, as always.

beautiful! and you post was lovely to read as well.

Well, I thought that was you and Mrs. B. Tweed, but alas, realized it was not. ( and I was sooo excited about this, the helpless/hopeless romantic that I am...)!

Beautiful blanket, beautiful photos, beautiful work and very lovely descriptions.

Well done.

Jared, Jared, Jared.... you've done it again. You've given me pattern envy. Every time you post a new project it somehow makes me want to put aside whatever I'm currently working on and start on a new project. I already have the Swallow Tail shawl going, along with the Hemlock Ring Blanket and the Striped Noro scarf. Your blanket is absolutely beautiful. Congrats on another gorgeous product.

That is insanely gorgeous.

Thank you for being such an inspiration!

magical and tempting me to cast on such a warming piece of fabrice in this 90+ degree heat. did it ever get tedious though?

The blanket is gorgeous!

Gorgeous! Love the sturdy look of it.

As Linda, I'm very curious about how large wool blankets can be washed.

Thanks for the inspiration, I finished mine last night. Smaller than yours, both weight-wise and overall size, but the clue about using crochet to put them together was great. Thanks for the distance help!!

Honestly, nobody photographs action shots of knits as beautifully as you. Of course the subjects don't suck either. Very nice work.

With all the babies hatching around these days, this seems like a perfect choice for sizing down to the baby blanket you mentioned. I love yours, the color, the clean lines, the squishiness, but something that big, I'd never seam it, never I-cord finish it. And that would be a shame. I'll be envying you in late fall when I want to watch a movie with my DH. ;^)

Jared, do you have any special tips on how to do the crochet seaming? I can't get it that beautiful and neat myself (mine ends up looking what I euphemistically call rustic). Thanks so much for your inspiring blog!

Your work is so precise, organic, tailored, and so beautifully photographed. I fall away from knitting when it feels too casual and homegrown looking. I can always come back to your blog to get inspired and reminded that knitting is beautiful, functional, and artistic. I'm glad I found your site - thanks for sharing what you do. :)

What a lovable hunk of wool! What size crochet hook did you use for the seaming? I'm assuming from the photos that you single crochet seamed with the right sides together, correct? Thanks!

dude. until i started reading your blog i had had *zero* interest in ever knitting a blanket-like object. between this one, and the hemlock ring, i now want to quit my job and just knit stuff all day. stuff like blankets. the ez blanket even looks as if one might be able to work on it productively while enjoying a beer or other adult beverage, and chatting a bit..

also: one variant of this blanket may be found in 'vogue knitting american collection', which was recently available as a remainder for about $7 in hardcover. (i recommend *not* paying full price. examine a copy at the library, and see if you don't agree with me.)


So gorgeous! Your posts make me want to try everything you do!!!

Holy Moly! My sister wants a "couple's" snuggle blanket. Something like this would be absolutely perfect! And she especially likes the heavy blankets because she gets so cold so easily.

Hmmm, you've given me great inspiration...should I make this instead of the one I was going to make, which will most definitely not be nearly as big? What to do now!

It is beautiful! I love the way you've brought out the hidden pattern, it wasn't obvious to me looking at the design.

How did you manage to do the mitered corners so beautiful, without holes? Even using short rows w. wraps, I get pretty big holes.

Thanks again,

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I like the photo of the blanket on the floor. It would make a beautiful area rug. I recently knit a rug made out of four inch tubes woven together, for my daughter's dorm room. It was quite the hit. Now that her friends know I knit, there are lots of suggestions for hats, scarves and socks. It warms a mother's heart.

i soo love the genius simplicity. also great colour choice and great photos

just came back to see the whole thing again. i am in love. just a stupid quesion from someone who is just learning the english terminology for crafts - "single crochet chain seam" means you hold the pieces together and crochet them together with sc? i guess so... oh i so need this one.

I really love the way you have made this blanket, and the yarn is just beutifull as well!

I couldn't get the yarn here in cold cold (just now)Norway were I live, but YarnCountry could help me :)
So thank you so very much for the inspiration, I just love your blog.
Best regards, Tone M in Norway :)

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