Avatar: The Last Airbender Blanket

Avatar Front

This project took place from February 2011 to November 2011. It was my first big knitting project, and I learned a lot from it. I’m not huge on posting patterns, simply because I draw them on graph paper and transferring that to a digital form may not be the easiest thing for me. Plus, this design has been done by so many people already, it’s super easy to find the element patterns elsewhere on the internet. So for now, I’ll just describe my method and what I learned from the project.

The finished product is 62″ x 49″. It’s double knit in 13 individual pieces, all mattress stitched together.

Distortion

I vividly remember finishing the first panel, looking at it, and being very disappointed. It was supposed to be a square, and it came out like this:

Water Square

As evidenced by the dimensions of the finished product (and knowing that my initial pattern was a square), knit stitches are significantly wider than they are tall! Luckily for me, the eye is very forgiving and doesn’t necessarily notice this at first glance, but it’s something I now try to keep in mind. So definitely take into account whether or not you can live with a distorted final image from the beginning.

The Mattress Stitch

I remember searching the internet, trying to find some way to attach these pieces when I came across the mattress stitch. I saw pictures of how it looked in the end and couldn’t believe there was a way to connect knitting and make it look that good. But it’s real! The only thing you can tell about it is that it leaves a slight bump in the knitting along the line where it’s made. And you kind of have to make something up like it when you’re attaching things vertically. But overall, it’s by far my favorite way to attach knitting. For reference, here are outlines of the 13 individual pieces that went into the final blanket, in the order I knit them:

Avatar Grid

If you’re surprised that those are the divisions, that’s the magic of the mattress stitch!

Double Knitting

What I really like about double knitting is it gives the final product a very clean, finished appearance from every angle, and it has even tension throughout. What I mean by that is that if you tug on it in any direction, it feels the same as a normal, one-color, stockinette piece would (as opposed to, say, fair isle, in which the piece always feels tight and unnatural. For me, anyway). Plus, the back is just as fun to look at:

Avatar Back

As for the downsides, it will feel like it’s taking twice as long to knit because you are knitting twice as many stitches. And, most importantly, you can only knit with two colors at a time (as far as I’m aware). So if you want to work with more, you’d better use a different style. Or make up some cool new way to use double knitting (and let me know).

Borders

Sometime around the end of the summer, I was just done with this project. It was taking too long, I didn’t want to work on it anymore, all the fun element squares were done, and I just had the boring border to work on. That was no fun, so I jazzed up the border! I gave myself something to look forward to by putting words on the border, rather than just solid color. And as it it worked out, the border is now my favorite part of this entire project. So keep thinking outside the box! Don’t feel like you’re trapped into a pattern just because you started it. The beauty of a project like this, which is done in pieces, is that it can be changed all the way up until it’s stitched together.

Well, that’s what I’ve got for this project. Thoughts? Questions? Leave them below!

“Life happens wherever you are, whether you make it or not” -Iroh

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3 thoughts on “Avatar: The Last Airbender Blanket

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