Presenting the Little Tern blanket and two provisional cast ons...

Welcome to August! This year is just flying by, and I'm still pinching myself that it's so much fun. A Year of Techniques has been a massive project for us, but now that the proofs are about to go to press I'm feeling a little sad that this is the last monthly pattern release! The anticipation each month has been brilliant. When we post the next pattern photos it will be the end of the month and we'll be on the countdown to the release of the whole book. There are still so many things to share...

So on to this month's pattern, which is an absolute stunner. Tin Can Knits have (again!) knocked it out of the park with a beautiful, beautiful blanket: Little Tern

 The Little Tern blanket was designed for A Year of Techniques by the fabulous Tin Can Knits. Image © Jesse Wild

The Little Tern blanket was designed for A Year of Techniques by the fabulous Tin Can Knits. Image © Jesse Wild

Little Tern features a textured chevron pattern on the body of the blanket and two lace chevron edgings - one at each end. The chevrons have inspired the name of this sweet baby blanket, as the little tern has a beautiful grey plumage and a chevron tail.

Emily Wessel and Alexa Ludeman are the creative team behind Tin Can Knits, and I look forward to catching up with them in more detail later in the month. They are well known for their extensive range of patterns for the whole family, including a number of show-stopping blankets (Vivid, Pop and Fly Away all spring immediately to my mind!). And I'm so thrilled with their creation for A Year of Techniques - I'm well on my way through my Little Tern blanket, and I can't wait to be snuggling under it - possibly with my cute niece who helped us to model the photos...

 The chevron lace edging is knitted on to the body of the blanket, allowing you to practise June's technique. Image © Jesse Wild.

The chevron lace edging is knitted on to the body of the blanket, allowing you to practise June's technique. Image © Jesse Wild.

The blanket comes in 4 possible sizes, ranging from a small baby blanket, perfect for buggies, up to a larger lap blanket for snuggling on the sofa in front of a good film. If you have a Summer Kit for A Year of Techniques, you have enough yarn to choose between the first three sizes (we were aiming for flexibility!). If you'd like to top up your yarn to make the largest size, we have some skeins of Fyberspates Vivacious DK in Pebble Beach available in the shop. The Vivacious DK is a plump round merino yarn which gives amazing stitch definition in both the texture and lace pattern stitches. It really is the definition of a bouncy, squishy merino yarn - perfect for a snuggly blanket!

 We had fun playing Sleeping Rabbits with my niece Honor for the photo shoot! Image © Jesse Wild.

We had fun playing Sleeping Rabbits with my niece Honor for the photo shoot! Image © Jesse Wild.

This month's techniques are two provisional cast ons. It's a bumper month, with a full photo tutorial on the crochet provisional cast on, as well as how to unzip your crochet chain ready to work the cast-on stitches. There are also instructions on Judy's Magic Cast On, both in its traditional use as a cast on for the closed base of a tube (like you would use for a toe-up sock), and two different ways it can be used as a provisional method - for garter stitch, or stocking stitch and textured projects. There are two video tutorials this month (for the crochet method and Judy's Magic Cast On) and as usual, they can be found over on Mason Dixon Knitting.

Provisional cast ons are such a versatile tool to have in your knitting skill kit. They allow you to get going on a project whilst leaving many choices open. You can cast on for a sweater without deciding how long it will be or what type of edging it will have - perfect if your yarn is in short supply and you want to stretch it out, or might need to use a contrast colour.

The pattern instructions for the Little Tern blanket include both options for your provisional cast on method, as well as the option of working from either charted or written instructions for both the texture and lace patterns. And at the end of the project you get to practise June's technique: knitting on an edging.

Massive thanks to Emily and Alexa at Tin Can Knits for their gorgeous design, as well as to Ed for lending us his home and daughter, and to Honor for being such a good sport in the face of all those flashes and strange requests! Thanks as always to Jesse for his great photography.

Please do come and join us in the knitalong threads over on Ravelry, where there are prizes on offer for participating (just join the group and post a work in progress photo to the thread - it's super-easy!). We are looking forward to seeing your blankets!