Thinking Outside the Swatch (Plus, a free pattern!)

Motifs are more often used in crocheting than in knitting, but why should crocheters have all the fun?

The Round Flower Medallion
from Knitting Outside the Swatch

Talented designer Kristin Omdahl explores knitted motifs—and all of the wonderful things you can do with them—in her new book Knitting Outside the Swatch. She's created flowers, circles, squares, and other shapes, and then combined them to form amazing garments. Kristen tried various knitting techniques to design her motifs, including lace, short-rows, and cables.

Some of my favorite projects are the fabulous afghans that are created with a bunch of different colored motifs. But they're almost all crocheted, and my crochet skills aren't up to snuff, to be honest. But now I can knit motifs and make one of those show-stopping blankets!

I love Kristin's Round Flower Medallion, and it would be a beautiful building block for a blanket. Here's how you knit it:

Round Flower Medallion
By Kristin Omdahl

This medallion can be knit with any weight yarn. Just pick needles that go with the yarn (for example, 7s or 8s with worsted-weight yarn), and knit! If you don't like the size medallion you end up with, go up or down a needle size and yarn weight.

Using double-pointed needles (dpn), make slipknot, knit into front and back of loop until you have 12 sts. Divide sts over 3 or 4 dpn, join without twisting, and pm for beg of rnd.

Rnd 1: Knit.

Rnd 2:
*Yo, k1. Rep from * around—24 sts.

Rnd 3 (and all odd-numbered rnds):

Rnd 4:
* K2, (k1, yo, k1) in same st, k1. Rep from * around—36 sts.

Rnd 6:
* K3, (k1, yo, k1) in same st, k2. Rep from * around—48 sts.

Rnd 8:
*k4, (k1, yo, k1) in same st, k3. Rep from * around—60 sts.

Rnd 10:
* Yo, ssk, k6, k2tog. Rep from * around.

Rnd 11:
*Knit into front and back of yo, k8. Rep from * around—60 sts.

Rnd 12: * (Yo, k1) 2 times, yo, ssk, k4, k2tog. Rep from * around—66 sts.

Rnd 14: * (Yo, k1) 5 times, yo, ssk, k2, k2tog. Rep from * around—90 sts.

Rnd 16: * (Yo,k2tog) 5 times, yo, k1, yo, S2k2p. Rep from * around—84 sts.

Rnd 17: Knit.

Rnd 18: Purl.

Bind off loosley in knit.

(S2k2p: Slip 2 stitches knitwise, one at a time, knit 2 stitches together, pass slipped stitches over k2tog.)


Swagged Flower and Starburst Circle motifs from Knitting Outside the Swatch

It takes a lot of medallions to make a blanket, but one of the benefits of knitting a blanket made up of motifs is that your project is totally portable. You can slip a bit of yarn and your pattern in a Ziplock bag and slip it into your bag. Small projects like this are completed quickly, too, so there's a sense of accomplishment there. And knitting the motifs in different colors keeps them from becoming monotonous.

One of the other pluses is that you can use up your stash for a blanket like this. Several years ago, I knitted a striped sweater out of a wool-cotton blend. I have many half-skeins left from this project, in bright colors that I would love in blanket-form. I know you probably have bits of yarn left from a stripe project, too, and here's how to use them up!

Order your book today and start Knitting Outside the Swatch!


P.S. Have you knit a motif blanket? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

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