Monday, May 08, 2017

The Big Easy Blanket

Our Big Easy Blanket is the Figheadh Pattern of the Month for May!
This prompts me to say a bit more about it. Well, it turned into more than a bit, but Big Easy is the star here, so let's investigate.

The BEB was released in early 2009 and was our second stand-alone blanket pattern, after the Fir Cone Blanket. We also had two baby blanket patterns that were each part of a set, and they have each since been released as stand-alone patterns, too. Why? Because blanket patterns seem to be a favorite. I'll bet I know why. No shaping and hours and hours of easy, fun knitting!

That is certainly true of the Big Easy. Back in 2009 I wanted to add a pattern for beginners, as I stated in this blog post, and what could be easier than a mix of knit/purl patterns in a big rectangle? It is composed of three reversible stitch patterns alternating with garter stitch and also edged with garter stitch. Once you knit through one set of all the stitch patterns, then you're good to go. They are EASY. Thus the name.

Another reason for the name is because I was working on this pattern when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast and I wanted to use the pattern to throw some love and support to New Orleans especially. As you all know, New Orleans is known as The Big Easy. The first few years after this pattern was released, all the profits from the pattern went to an organization named PNOLA. This organization was especially attractive to me because they hosted groups of young people to help rebuild the Lower Mid-City area, one of the worst hit by the storm. A few years ago, however, the organization changed hands and we changed our charitable focus, but I am still so glad we got a chance to contribute hundreds of dollars to this worthwhile project. So did many of you with the purchase of this pattern from early 2009 until about 2012. 

But who really knows why a pattern becomes such a favorite? It continues to sell very well and I keep seeing gorgeous blankets being knit with the help of this pattern. There are 41 projects on Ravelry for The Big Easy! It's in fourth place for projects and first place for sales of all Figheadh patterns. This makes me so happy!

The Big Easy is knit in worsted weight yarn, here shown in Cascade Greenland, a yarn of theirs that was so lively and springy, but has been discontinued. Greenland was a heavy worsted weight, so an Aran weight yarn works great for this blanket, and makes it a pretty quick knit. Many have also used regular worsted weight yarns. Here's the Ravelry lineup of all the yarns used by members to knit the Big Easy. (I just love this Ravelry feature and have used it myself at times to get ideas for yarn substitutions.) 

The BEB has a gauge of 4 stitches and 5.75 rows to the inch, but this can be fudged a bit because a blanket doesn't need to fit a body. The pattern has specs for making a lap blanket of 36" by 55.5" or a larger blanket of 46" by 60". I have been asked about making the blanket bigger and I usually say that the easiest way is to just add more rows of garter stitch. Each of the non-garter-stitch patterns are 16-row repeats, so if you start doubling those you could be looking at a house-sized blanket. We don't need that, now, do we? 

The stitch patterns change often enough to make the pattern fun and they make a mesmerizing geometric fabric. Each of the three interior stitch patterns is charted and written out, and there is an organizational chart which helps you to easily keep track of the order of the stitch patterns as you go. 

Now is the best time to try this pattern if you haven't already, because it's 30% off all month long! 
Try the Big Easy Blanket, and if you do, please post your project on Ravelry for us all to admire. I will be featuring your blankets later in the month. I can't wait!

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