Sleepy Monkey Blanket, a reversible stranded baby blanket knitting design

Monkster has something he’d like to show you:

Sleepy Monkey Blanket by Mary Ann Stephens 2009

Sleepy Monkey Blanket by Mary Ann Stephens Copyright 2009

That’s my Sleepy Monkey Blanket which I designed for the Spring 2009 edition of Twist Collective.

Sleepy Monkey Blanket - yep, it's reversible!

Sleepy Monkey Blanket - back Copyright Mary Ann Stephens 2009

No, that’s not a second blanket – it’s reversible!

Sleepy Monkey Blanket

Sleepy Monkey Blanket Copyright Mary Ann Stephens 2009

Nifty, huh?

My 3 boys aren’t babies anymore.  These days, they’re far more apt to take a touchdown pass than a nap.  But as I was knitting this blanket, it was fun to think of how they would have enjoyed it when they were little.  I imagined naptime, when they might have “read” the blanket as they sat on my lap: “Look!  There’s that silly winking monkey!  And there’s that sweet little kissing monkey!  But where did my sleepy monkey go?”  Surely, they would have named each of those monkeys.  Hopefully, they would have picked a favorite – a funny little friend to guide them off to Dreamland.

We’re still not sure if those are Life Savers, Jelly Rings or Fruit Loops on the back.  But, I am pretty sure it would have been fun to pretend my monkeys and I were gobbling them up.

With any stranded project I do, one of the hardest things to get past is picking just one colorway to knit first.  Since this was designed for a publication, there were other opinions to consider, too.  First and foremost, it seemed only right to start with a unisex colorway.  I’ve always adored monkeys and I kind of suspected there might be some calls for some more “girly” options.  (I think the first one came about 15 minutes after the new edition went live!)  So here are a couple of my favorites:

Two of many alternate colorways for the Sleepy Monkey Blanket

Two of many alternate colorways for the Sleepy Monkey Blanket

The final, chosen colorway used Valley Yarns Superwash Merino.  The “virtual swatch” on the left used colors from Valley Yarns Sugarloaf Merino/Acrylic.  Both of those yarns are available through WEBS.  The “virtual swatch” on the right used colors from Dale of Norway Freestyle 100% washable wool.  That yarn is available from…hey, that one’s from ME!

Wow!  In no time at all, I’ve had quite a few requests for more Freestyle colorways.  So, at the bottom of this post, I’ve added a few more “virtual swatches” (colorized charts, not knit samples) based on Freestyle colors.

If you like to knit in the round, you might like to steek your blanket, as I did.  (There’s a mini-tutorial on this topic within the blanket pattern.  You can also read my detailed article on steeks here.)  If you’re using a soft, superwash yarn, you’ll want to machine-sew your steeks – soft yarns are too slippery for crocheted steeks.  If you’re using the same motif layout shown in the example, you’ll want to use worsted or aran weight (4 to 4.5 sts/inch) yarn so that your squares’ circumferences will be large enough to wriggle through the machine. (Of course, if you add a(n) extra repeat(s) of the monkeys across your blanket, you can get away with steeking a finer gauge yarn.)  If you choose to knit your squares flat, by machine or by hand, there’s no circumference to reinforce and open up, so you can use any gauge your heart desires.

Whatever your choice, I hope you and your mokeys have endless fun. And in case those rings on the back turn out to be Jelly Rings, save some for me!

Aubergine, Neptune, Fuchsia, Red & Orange

Aubergine, Neptune, Fuchsia, Red & Orange

Aubergine, Shamrock, Wildflower, Fuchsia and Horizon

Aubergine, Shamrock, Wildflower, Fuchsia and Horizon

Dark Taupe, Neptune, Petal Pink, Fuchsia and Horizon

Dark Taupe, Neptune, Petal Pink, Fuchsia and Horizon

Dark Taupe, Spring Green, Natural, Poppy and Horizon

Dark Taupe, Spring Green, Natural, Poppy and Horizon

Navy, Shamrock, Pastel Blue, Red and Cornflower

Navy, Shamrock, Pastel Blue, Red and Cornflower

Aubergine, Shamrock, Yellow, Red and Orange

Aubergine, Shamrock, Yellow, Red and Orange

Aubergine, orange, pastel blue, red, cornflower (Freestyle equivalents of original colorway)

Aubergine, orange, pastel blue, red, cornflower (Freestyle equivalents of original colorway)

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About twostrands

Knitting designer, retailer and instructor specializing in Fair Isle and Nordic design. Website = kidsknits.com Blog = twostrands.com.
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5 Responses to Sleepy Monkey Blanket, a reversible stranded baby blanket knitting design

  1. Tracey says:

    it’s gorgeous! can’t wait to knit it. 🙂

  2. Tracey says:

    thanks so much for all the color samples. i’m eager to make this blanket. it’s super cute. would the # of balls be the same for the freestyle with the slightly smaller yardage/ball?

  3. twostrands says:

    That’s a good question! DofN Freestyle has 80m in a 50g ball; the VY Superwash I originally used has 89m in the same, so we’re talking about a 9 meter per ball difference between the Superwash and Freestyle. Colors D & E (red/crimson and colonial blue/medium blue in the original) use just 2 balls each, so in those cases, you’re only talking about an 18m difference, or about 1/5th of a ball. I think it’s pretty safe to say that, if I had ended up with just 1/5th of a ball of any given color, I probably would have suggested a 3rd ball, for you never know how much folks might use up in swatching, loose ends, etc. But, I didn’t, so, I think you’d be safe sticking with 2 balls for those colors, for you only need a little bit of wiggle room and it’s probably safe to say that’s already built in. On the other hand, for colors A & B, which use 5 & 4 balls of Valley Yarns Superwash respectively, the difference (5 or 4 times 9) could add up to about half a ball. Now, if I had half of ball of a color left over, or even a good bit less, I’d say that would be a fine amount of leeway and I would not have raised the suggested amount. So, in those cases, we might not have as much wiggle room as you need (5 or 4 x 9m). While I can’t swear it will be necessary, I’d recommend getting an extra ball of each A & B if you switch to Freestyle. And for Color C, I’m on the fence, but I’d lean toward going for the extra ball since that’s the background color and a change in dye lots would be particularly noticeable there.

  4. Sara says:

    Omg this is so cute!!
    May I ask, that is a cute jumper the monkey is wearing as well! Did you design it/how can I get my hands on it? 🙂

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