knitting a giant fleece blanket -- for less than $50 ! | Erin Kate Archer | Skillshare

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knitting a giant fleece blanket -- for less than $50 !

teacher avatar Erin Kate Archer, art & illustration

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      making the yarn


    • 4.

      casting on


    • 5.

      arm knitting !


    • 6.

      casting off


    • 7.

      project / outro


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About This Class

have you seen the gorgeous giant blankets floating across the internet & then had your giant plush dreams ruined by finding out that the materials cost $500+, they're unwashable, and a pilling nightmare?

there's a solution: create your own yarn out of perfect-for-blankets fleece fabric!

this class will walk you through everything from where to purchase the highest quality fleece for the cheapest price, to how to create your own mega-bulky yarn, to arm-knitting the blanket from start to finish (for less than $50!)

Meet Your Teacher

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Erin Kate Archer

art & illustration


erin kate archer is a new york-based artist & illustrator with an ethereal, magical style. her work aims to calm, comfort, and transport. from immersive fairytale landscapes and glowing high-key celestial pieces, to charming flora & fauna and children’s book illustrations – erin makes what was once a static image a tranquil visual journey. 


erin has illustrated children's picture books; was selected for the sing for hope NYC piano painting project; is a skillshare top teacher, and has created work for a number of consumer brands. 


follow along with her on instagram, check out her portfolio for some finished projects, and visit her etsy shop to purchase prints... See full profile

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1. trailer: Have you fallen in love with a gorgeous giant blankets floating across the Internet only to have your giant dreams ruined by finding out that not only are they unwashable and appealing nightmare, but the materials cost $500 plus? There's a solution. You can create your own yarn out of perfect for blankets fleece fabric. This class will walk you through everything from where to purchase the highest quality fleece for the cheapest price, to how to create your own mega bulky yarn, to arm knitting the blanket from start to finish, in less than three hours and less than $50. So if this sounds interesting two you, enroll now. 2. supplies: Hi, there. I am Erin Kate Archer. I'm a watercolor illustrator and knitter. Let's get right into the class. So we're going to go over supplies first. The first thing that you'll need will be your pattern. I have uploaded the PDF of this really simple pattern here, but I recommend that you watch the entirety of the class, and then take any notes that you have or know which way you're going to go, because I have a few different finishing methods, different ways to make the yarn, and then going back and working step-by-step with the pattern. Next we'll need scissors, of course. If you're not confident in your skills, you can get a scrap piece of fabric to practice making your yarn with. Then we'll need a needle and thread in the color of your fabric. Finally, you need your fabric. This is 15 yards of anti-pill fleece that I bought from It's really great because it's just a continuous strip of fabric, there isn't just a few yards and then cut off, which is really nice. I bought this from and it only came out to be $47 even with shipping, which is great. I actually reached out to the people at and they provided a coupon code for you guys. So with that coupon code, you will get 12 percent off of any non sale orders, and free shipping over $50. So if you want to get a couple of different fleece to make a few different colors of blankets, then you can have free shipping on that, which is amazing. You can also buy fleece fabric at your local fabric store. So now that we have everything, let's move on to making the yarn. 3. making the yarn: To start out with making the yarn, I'm going to use this little scrap piece of fabric because the actual fabric that I bought, the fleece fabric is just about as long as my entire apartment. So it's really hard to see, but I will go through on this little piece so that you can see how it works and then show you on a life-size version. The first way we're going to seen is creating a spiral pattern. So imagine that you are creating three and a half inch strips, which is what you'll do when you're making your real blanket. But in this case, I'm doing it mini sized. So you go ahead and cut on the short sighed and then wait until three and a half inches imaginary to the end and then cutting around on the other side. If you're brave, you can rip it as well. If you're not brave like me, then you can just cut. Although I did end up ripping sum of my large actual size fabric because it really is so much quicker and when you want to knit your blanket, the yarn isn't as exciting. So you just go ahead and you go around the entirety of the square. You want to make sure that you don't cut too far. Because if you cut through it, then you'll have to sew the two strips together, which isn't a big deal. You can definitely do that, and I will show you that too. But it's a lot easier and it takes a lot less time to just cut it in a spiral in the first place. Just to note that this is scrap fabric and the little shedding pieces that you see everywhere is because this fabric is not anti pill and it's not self-healing, so you need to hem it. But don't worry, your fleece, if you get it from your or if you get it from Joanne's or anything, it won't be doing this kind of thing. Then once you get to the end, you can just cut down towards the center and the leave that one last piece as a shorter strand of yarn. Now we have these square edges, which aren't a huge deal, but they're not the most beautiful thing and they're really easy to get rid of. Actually, you just can round them out with your scissors. I'm going to go ahead and show you that here. Just take the scissors and turn it into a round shape instead of a square one. It's still not the prettiest thing ever, but it really helps blend in with your yarn. Even though you can see the bend once you start knitting it, it really goes away and you can't notice it. I'm just going to go through and do each piece. When you're doing it life-size, you can do it as you go or you can hold and do them all at the end. I'm just going two go ahead and go through all of these. This is essentially how you create your fleece yarn. It's really simple and using the fleece fabric that we've bought. You can watch this. You can really be a little bit rougher with it than the Merino blankets that you might have seen around the Internet that are really popular write now. Also they're really soft and they're heavy, which is really nice to especially once you have the finished blanket. So I'm nearing the edge of my fabric and I'm just going to go ahead and wind this guy up into a little ball. This is great too, if you want to practices making your yarn before you go into your big roll of fabric. This is much less expensive. You can give it a little tug too. It doesn't really work with the scrap fabric, but on the fleece it has it fold in on itself and we create a rounder strand rather than a flat one. Here I have a little yarn bawl. The future ones going to be a bit bigger, but this is a good example. If you don't like the spiral method, there is another way can create yarn out of your fabric. You can use just big strips that you cut from it rather than going around in a spiral, just going up and down the length of your fabric. Then once you have your strips, you will have to sow each of them together. So you want to get thread that is the same color very similar to your fabric and then thread a needle. I'm just going to tie a not at the end hear. If you have to lick your fingers to do it, that's what you got to do. I don't known if it really helps, but it does seem to. Then you are going to hold the ends of your fabric strips together and insert your needle through both of them. Then we're going to do what's called a whip stitch. We're just going to whip around and go back and through the other side and then do this all the way down the strip. Keep in mind that when you're actually cutting your strips on the life-size blanket fabric, you are going to cut these strips to be about three and a half inches. So it'll take a little bit longer than my example here, but this will help you get the gist of it. Then once you get to the end, you can just snip off and tie a knot here. This will keep it secure. Usually I do a double knot just to be safe. Although honestly, once you knitted up into the blanket, it's unlikely to become unraveled here. Then you snip away any excess threads. This creates your yarn. You can see it really does create a pretty flat edge, and I made another blanket using this method and it worked just as well. Now we're going to move into the life-size version. This fabric is literally the entire length for my Brooklyn apartment. So there will be a little bit of me missing through here and you'll see my bunny hopping in an hour. He was very curious about this situation. But the first thing I'm going to do is take all of the fabric and lay it out so it's all flat across the entirety of my floor. I'm going to this in high speed so that you guys are laboring over this. But then I'm going to cut the strips just like I showed you on the scrap fabric, but I'm doing it a three and a half inch width. If you're nervous about those, you can totally draw a line here. But I found it just as easy to just go along a line. Oh, Pip. He's so excited about this. So then once I got back to the edge, I sat down for a little bit and started rolling up the ball. You can see how it starts to grow quickly. If I came into any parts that had a little bit of a hanging edge, I would just trim those and trimming the corners as I went. Here I've decided that ripping actually went a lot faster and helped me create a cleaner edge, so I just cut. So I had the three and a half inch width and then ripped along that edge all the way down to the edge of the blanket and that worked really great for speeding things up. That way you can stand up too because crouching down to create this giant ball of yarn does get a little taxing in the end. You can see too, I'm giving the fabric a tug as I go along and it rounds the yarn up. So it's less of an effect strip of fabric and more is a little bit of a tube. So I go through like up and down about 10 times. So with this 15 yards of fabric times the 2 sides plus a little bit for the short ends, I'm going to guess that I got about 350 yards of yarn here. If you're going to use this method, just arm knitting and creating your own yarn from something else or you are just going to bought really super bulky yarn, that should give you a good starting point, about 350 yards. Here's the finished ball of yarn. I love it. It's so giant and it's actually pretty heavy. I weighed it and it's almost 20 pounds, which is crazy. But it's soft and pretty and let's start knitting with it. So let's go cast it on. 4. casting on: First things first, we need to known how long of the tail to make. I'm going to go ahead and wrap this yarn around my arm 10 times and then I'm going to take that length of yarn and double it to get our 20 stitch worth length. I'm going to add a little bit extra just to be safe. But you don't need to, I'm just a little tiny, bit paranoid. Then once you get to the end of the yarn, this is where we're going to make our slip knot. This will be our first stitch. Well, let's not get ahead of ourselves. I'm going to go ahead and show you a slip knot a few times so that we can get the hang of that. Just grab the yarn with both hands. Take both ends of the yarn on your left-hand, twist your right hand, and then grab the yarn that's inside of the loop and pull it through. That's the slip knot which will be your first stitch. You can see you can pull it so it's really loose, so you can tighten it up or you can just pull through and it'll be gone. Let's go through it again. Grab it with your left hand, twist, and then pull through. One more time. Give your left-hand some yarn, twist, and pull through that loop. Beautiful. Now, we're going to put this on our arm and this is going to be our first stitch. For casting on, we're going to do a long tail method which will be familiar to you if you are a knitter. But you basically will take your finger and your thumb and loop up the way I've just done here with the yarn so that you have a loop hanging down in front of your thumb and behind your thumb and around your pointer finger. I'll show you that again. You just loop up through that piece of the stitch with your thumb and your pointer finger. Then what you're going to do is the loop that's closest to you, you're going to stick your hand through there and the one that's in front of your pointer finger, you can just stick your hand through there and bring it through and put that loop on your right hand. So that is your second stitch there. You're going to take the yarn again just like we did before with the two loops, one around your thumb and one around your pointer finger. Then bring your hand through the first loop, the one that's closest to your body and then through the third loop, the one that's in front of your pointer finger. Don't drop that loop, just leave it right on your wrist. This is casting on. This is the general gist of it and you will cast on 20 stitches if you're following my pattern. A good thing to remember is to just make sure you don't tighten the stitches too much because this can seriously cut off your circulation. So you want to make sure that you leave enough room for your fingers to move and you can't knit if you lose all of your fingers, so we want to make sure we keep those guys on. I'm just going to go ahead and show you all the way how I cast on my stitches so that if this is still looking like a foreign language to you, you can get the hang of it. I'm just pushing the stitches down my arm as I go to make room for the rest of them. Once you get towards the end, it gets a little bit tight because you start to run out of arm space, but you can just bring them right over your hand because we'll start knitting them soon. But after you have 20 stitches on, it's time to start knitting. 5. arm knitting !: Now we're ready to start knitting. We have all of our stitches here on our right arm. Don't worry, this process takes less time than it does to cut all the yarn, so you can really breeze through this part. You're going to take this long strand of yarn, which is the working yarn, and then pull the loop that's closest to your hand over. Then this new loop that you've created, we're going to put on your left hand. Let's do it again. Take the yarn with your right hand, use your left hand to pull the yarn through, and then this new loop slip over your hand. Another the time. Going to grab the working yarn, pull the stitch over, and pull this loop right back on our other hand. This is the essentials of our knitting. We will go through this whole row and I'll just go ahead and show you how I do it so that you can keep watching and we haven't quite gotten the hang of that yet. You can get a good look at what the muscle memory is going to look like. I tried to do it really close up so that you could see how you're actually going to be seeing it when you do your own project. Grabbing the yarn, pulling it through, pulling old such off and putting the new stitch on to the other arm. You do have to move the stitches around a little bit to make sure that you have enough room, but you get the hang of this fairly quickly. You can see to how I'm speeding up as I go along, it really becomes second nature once you get the hang of it, after you do like the first stitch, you get the pattern down. All right, we're almost there. Then we have our final stitch. I'm going to just tighten it up a little tiny bit, so that I can see how we're starting gets good length. Now we're going to do the other side. It's basically the same thing. Separate arm reversed. First I'm going to loosen the yarn above the ball so that I could do it without having to roll the ball everywhere. But we're going to take the working yarn so the long and make sure you don't knit with your tail. I'm going to grab it with my left hand, pull the stitch over. This new loop that I've created put on my right hand. Left hand grab the working yarn, pull the stitch through, and put the new stitch on the other hand. Left hand to grab the working yarn. Pull it all the way through. Then new stitch on your other hand. You can see already how are getting even more length. Even after just two rows, we're getting really impressive stitch definition and really bulky, great blanket material. Again, I'm just going to go through and so you can get an idea of how it will look when you're doing it yourself. Make sure you don't knit too tight or too loose, this is something that comes with practice, but if knit too tight, it will cut off your circulation, if you knit too loose you'll have a blanket that's a little bit too holey. Although I don't mind a little bit of the holes because I feel like it gives it a little bit more of a handmade look, but it's really personal preference too there. Just make sure you don't cut off your circulation. I guess that's the most important part. Now I'm going to quickly take you through knitting the rest of the entirety of the blanket just so you can see what it looks like. It's pretty fun to see the yarn ball diminishing see pip in high-speed running around. But one note I have for you is if you are looking at the sides of your blankets and you feel like the edge isn't very clean, I actually have a solution for that. If you are knitter, you have probably done this before in other projects. But you can see here that instead of knitting the first stitch, I'm just flipping it over and I will just show you that in slow motion here. Here's where I am so far. After a few rows, it's already looking pretty good. Here is the edge of the blanket. You can see I have this nice like braided look. It's really easy to accomplish this, you just have to, instead of knitting your first stitch, you just push it over without bringing any yarn through and then you can knit the rest of your stitches. You literally just take one stitch and put it over onto the other hand and don't do anything else before that and that gives you that nice edge. All right, back to high-speed. I'm just going to go through and I think I did maybe about 30 rows, but the trick really is to knit until you have about 10 or so feet left. A good trick for knitting is that you need about three times the width of whatever you're casting off, of yarn in order to make the cast off work. I did about that, but it's always better to leave a little bit extra so you don't want to be left with a couple stitches left on your yarn. I will leave you to watch this high-speed knitting extravaganza and I'll come back to cast off. 6. casting off: Great. Now we've got our beautiful blanket. We're ready to cast off. Everything looks really nice and I'm just making sure everything looks even and it does. It looks great. I can't wait to use it. What we're going to do first is knit a stitch, just the way we've always done and then another. Then we're going to take that first stitch that we knit the one that's closest to your body and pull that over the first stitch. Let's see that again. You just knit one more stitch, put it on your left hand so you have two stitches there and then take the first stitch the one closest to your body and pull it over and let it hang off. Knit two stitches pull the first over the second. Let it hang off and see this creates this nice edge and we'll just do that all the way. Knit a stitch, put it on your left hand, pull the first stitch over, then a stitch, pull the first edge over. Now that we're at our last stitch, you go ahead and pull it through and you don't pull out this loop. We take the remainder of your yarn. You should have a bit of a tail and just pull it through that last stitch and then pull it tight. Now we go. Here's the finished blanket all knitted up. Nice and comfy. Then the final step we have is just to weave in the ends. You just take one of those ends and weave it through the stitches and then use your needle and thread to tie it inside of the stitch to make sure it doesn't go anywhere or you can just trim it off. It's really up to you. 7. project / outro: This is the finished blanket. It's really giant and squishy. I really love it and Pippin (phonetic) does, too. He can't stay off of it. For the class project, it's to show your own knitted blanket. Whether you use the fleece yarn like I have or if you use just a giant yarn that is commercially available, I want to see your creations especially if you wrap your pet up in them and send those pictures. Send me your puppy pictures with your blanket, and I'll see you in the next class.