Checkerboard Baby Blanket

Tuesday, May 08, 2007
This was knit for my newest niece, who lives in Maine. I usually do green blankets, but seeing as I'm behind in my knitting the baby's been born and we're sure she's a girl... I therefore broke out of the mold and went with various pastels. While the Caron Perfect Match was pretty and gave the blanket a nice drape, it was murder on my hands. I never believed people who complained about acrylic before... I bought it because a: it needs to be run-over-with-the-minivan-durable, b: it felt soft in the skein (and, actually, is pretty good knit up), c: was cheap and so am I, and d: came in the colorway I wanted. This pattern, however, will work with any worsted-weight yarn, so substitute at will.

This blanket is now available for $5 in PDF format (pay by PayPal).  The Chessboard Blanket pattern has instructions for two weights of yarn and two sizes, 20x30 and 30x40in.

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  • I love this pattern! I have a nephew on the way and would like to try this blanket. About how long did it take you? You can email me at any time. Thanks!!

  • KT

    Hi there - It took about a month to knit - but I didn't work on it exclusively (I believe I finished the washcloths, the racing stripes scarf, and the boucle hat/collar during that month too!). It would probably not take so much time if you were only working on it. Will email you this too.

    Send me a photo when you're done and I will post it to the blog - I really enjoy seeing what people do with my patterns!

  • This was just the pattern I was looking for. Thanks!!

  • This is Melikecoldplay07 again. Just curious--About how long do you think it would take to knit this pattern with size 6 needles? I did the math and proportioned it so that the whole thing is 176 stitches across with a smaller border and different sized squares. Any idea?

  • KT

    Hey there -
    OK, I'm assuming that at your gauge you'll need approximately 385 rows to complete approx. 40" of blanket. I needed approx. 280 rows at my larger stitch gauge. If you estimate that the larger gauge blanket took about 36,000 stitches, and the smaller gauge one would take about 68,000 stitches, the smaller one would in theory take just under twice as long to knit as the larger gauge one. Of course, this will depend on how comfortable you are with switching between the squares - but with a smaller border (which slowed me down b/c moving from k to p takes time, even if not much) you'll make up for some of it.

    This explains why I knit in worsted-weight or MAYBE sport, and hardly ever in fingering. Too many darned stitches per inch = too darned long per project.

    On another note, I just read SP-McFee Casts Off... you're one of the "traveler" types of knitter: "A traveler says: I'm making the same one, except I'm shortening the arms, making the body longer.... Her stuff is just great, isn't it?" Don't worry, this describes me too!

  • Okay - I really like the look of this pattern, but you've made it seem so simple that I'm confused!! Can anyone clarify rows 2 & 4 of the border. It says to knit the knit rows and purl the purled rows. So for rows 2 & 4 do I K2, P2 or do I P2, K2???

    Help please!!!

  • KT

    Hi dlm -
    When you see "knit the knit stitches", you should take a look at the stitches as they hang on your left-hand needle. If what you see are two knit-like stitches (you see the V look), then knit two knits. If you see two purl stitches (bumps facing you), do two purls.

    For this particular blanket the second row will be (K2; P2) across, and the 4th row will be (P2; K2). The challenge is that once you get into the body of the blanket you have to be able to look at your work to determine what the border stitches should be.

    Let me know if you're still confused and I'll try to help! :) KT

  • KT,
    I love this pattern! I am newer to knitting,and am having a little trouble on the border. Would you consider this an advanced project? It seems that I always get off by one stitch. I can reduce the stitch, but then the border does not seem right. Does this border have a diamond look to it? Any words of wisdom for me? I like knitting, but sometimes I get very frustrated! My first loves are sewing and leather tooling. So this is a whole new venture. Thanks

  • KT

    Hi there -
    The border should look like little rectangular boxes, with each "box" being two stitches wide and two rows tall. Make sure you have an even number of stitches, and that you're doing two knits and two purls each time. Without seeing what you've got it's hard for me to diagnose further - sorry!
    - KT

  • Tarah

    i like the simplicity of this pattern. this will be my first full scale project so i'm anxious to work my way through it! however, I have a question, since i'm a beginner, it was recommended to me to use a larger needle (10 or 11). how will this affect the type of yarn or the project in general? please e-mail me at Thanks! :)

  • What a lovely pattern! I'm confused on the instructions for the Body, though. Do you mean repeat Row 15 (rather than Row 1) 13 more times, 14 total? You don't mean to do Row 1 27 times and Row 15 only once, right???

  • KT

    Yes, thanks for catching that. Each "strip" of boxes should be 14 rows total. I've fixed it in red in the pattern instructions. KT

  • KT

    Sorry not to reply sooner, but here are my thoughts:
    1: I knit pretty loosely, so you can probably go to a US 10 without too much trouble if you're the type of knitter who either knits to the standard ball-band gauge or knits tightly.
    2: In general, with things like blankets you have some wiggle room with the size of your needle. I happen to like my 9s, and like the drape they produce, so use them. You may be happy with the drape at a US10.
    3: Remember that the stepwise difference between one size needle and another isn't that big!

    The size of the needle has a direct correspondence with the size of the "holes" created in your knitting. In general, smaller holes = firmer knitting, and bigger holes = looser knitting.

    Another way to do this would be to double up the yarn - knit with two strands at once - and using 11s or even 12s. You'll need to decrease the total number of stitches across, and you'll use up a lot more yarn, but it'll go faster! If you like this option let me know your email and we can take the discussion off-comments. KT

  • A Louise

    I LOVE this pattern. My little sister
    is having a baby, and I'd love to
    knit this, but I've never used
    circular needles, would you be
    able to use this pattern with
    straight needles?


  • KT

    Amy -
    You can use straights, but you'll need to get the longest ones you can find. Knitting will usually compress up to 1/2 its width on needles, so for a 30" wide blanket you need needles that are at least 16" long each (to allow for some space at the tips to put a block to keep the stitches from slipping off).

    However, if you're likely to be knitting things like baby blankets and sweaters, I strongly recommend circular needles. Not only do they hold wide things better, they allow you to fold the work and tuck it away when not in use. For really wide, heavy things, I think they're more comfortable too.

    Some people hate circs, though, so you should (of course) do whatever makes you happiest. You don't want to be grumpy while knitting a baby blanket, after all. We are all good fairy godmothers, right? :)


  • I would love to try and knit this blanket but need 36" x 39" How many stitches should I add and I would just work the extra stitches in the center? Thank you. Joanne

  • KT

    Joanne -
    I think if you add a 7th repeat across of the pattern into the middle of the body (cast on 146 sts) that you'll end up with something close to 36inches wide. Of course, you'll just knit the length as written. Note that this will increase your yarn consumption by 16%, so you might need a fourth skein...
    - KT

  • fab pattern so relaxing to be able to knit something that is so easy to do but is so beautiful on completion

  • This pattern was great! I just finished it and it looks fab!

  • KT

    Thank you for the happy comments! I'm glad you enjoyed this pattern - and I'm sure the babies (and their parents) will love the blankets! KT

  • Unknown


    I would like to figure how many skeins I need of a different worsted weight yarn. Do you know how many yards the yarn was that you used?

    Thank you!

  • KT

    Hi Melissa -
    The blanket took not quite all four skeins of yarn - I would estimate I had under 1/2 of the fourth skein left. So I would estimate I used between 1200 and 1300 yards.
    - KT

  • I would like to make your Checkerboard Baby Blanket but I am not sure where to find the corrected pattern (re: to comments posted on 10/15/07 and 10/16/07).
    Thanks, Susan

  • KT

    This is the corrected pattern - I fixed it back in October. The PDF is also correct. KT

  • I really love this pattern! Is there any way I could compress it into a slightly smaller size (is there a fewer amount of stiches I could cast on)? If that's too complicated, don't worry about it. Thank you!

  • I was surfing the net today and found your blog. WOW. What a great resource.
    I have a site where I provide baby blanket gift ideas. I thought it might be mutually beneficial if we swapped blogroll links.

    Please take a look at my site and see if it's something you might be interested in. If you are at all interested please shoot me an email and let me know the text you want me to use in your link. I'll get it up right away and then send you the text for my link.

    Look forward to hearing from you.


  • JakkiMitch

    I've been looking for an easy, but interesting baby blanket pattern for my DD to use. This looks perfect! Now I'm off to buy the yarn!


  • Knitter T

    I found this pattern during a Ravelry search. We are expecting Grandbaby #2. Our granddaughter loves her "soft blankets" from Nanny. This looks like a winner to me!

  • Kate,

    This will be my first blanket. I know this may be a simple question, but when I get to the body and K9 P9, on my 2nd row of the body, do I still K9 P9? If so, that would mean that I am knitting my purls and purling my knit stitches. Is this correct?


  • KT

    Hi MM,
    Yes, row 2 is (K9 P9) repeated. When you turn the work to go across the backside, the stitches that had been purled on the front look like knit stitches from the back, and vice versa for the knit stitches from the front. Hopefully that makes sense - the first two rows are harder to see than subsequent ones!

  • Hi,
    I love this pattern and would like to make it out of some Plymouth Dreambaby yarn that I have. It is a dk weight so can you tell me how many stitches I would need to have to keep it close to your size and what size needle to use? Also, how many yards would I then need?

  • Hi KT,
    I wrote you last night and waiting to hear back, but in the meantime I've been trying to figure this out myself. I think I can do the blanket on a size 6 needle and I'm thinking that if I add two more repeats of the pattern it will make the blanket close to the 31" wide. Is that correct? Now, my next question is, how much yarn will this take if I add two more repeats because Im not sure how many more rows I will need to add. Can you help me with this. I have 10 skeins of this yarn (about 1800 yards) and I just want to make sure this will be enough to complete it. Thanks again!

  • KT

    Hi there -
    The best option for you is to knit a gauge swatch, and then measure the stitches per inch gauge and weigh the swatch.

    The stitches per inch measurement will help you figure out how many additional repeats to include across. Without knowing your gauge I can't help you estimate how many stitches you need to have.

    Here's how I calculate yardage:
    1: Take the weight of your swatch and figure out how many yards it is. Do this by comparing the weight of your swatch with the weight per yards on the yarn label.
    2: Divide the yardage of your swatch by the area of the swatch in inches (length times width).
    3: Multiply this number by 1200 (the approximate square inches of the blanket). The resulting number is the yardage needed to make a 30ish by 40ish blanket at your gauge.


  • Unknown

    I just found out that I'm going to be a grandmother for the first time. I have made more baby blankets than I can count, but suddenly couldn't find a pattern I liked, until I found this one, I cannot wait to get started on it. Do you have a website of your own with other patterns?

  • KT

    Hi Laura -
    I'm so glad you like this pattern! I don't have a standalone website - but you can see the free patterns on my blog at Free Patterns, and I have both a Ravelry and an Etsy store (see sidebar for links) with for sale patterns. There are two baby blanket patterns for sale, with two more in the works!

  • Hi! I just finished your blanket pattern for my daughter, it was the first blanket I have made. I'd love to send you some pictures, if you feel comfortable sending me your e-mail address. Mine is Thank you!

  • diapers

    I have a niece too, but it seems like she loves knitted baby blankets in pink, thanks for your post, really helpful.

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    All content in this blog, including patterns and photos, is the intellectual property of Katherine Vaughan. All rights under US Copyright Law are reserved. Teachers, please direct your students to download/print out their own copies of patterns used in class. You are, of course, welcome to use items knit from any pattern for charity or sale, with the statement "design by Katherine Vaughan" appreciated.