Motif Knitting: Great for Knitted Baby Blankets, Knitted Accessories, and more!

A friend of mine recently had a baby—well, back in April, she had her baby. Time is blurring together for me this year. I had in mind to knit a baby blanket for this new arrival and I just started on it. See above, re: blurry time.

I’ve been in love with Heather Zoppetti’s Tamarix Quilt since it first arrived in our offices back in 2010. The bold colors and clever design, knit with motifs that are either sewn together at the end or joined as you knit, is a great gift (you know, if you start it early enough to give it as a gift…).
I wanted to knit this blanket for my friend, so I started it last week. I’m using Berroco Vintage, a great superwash yarn that holds up nicely to whatever babies can throw at it. My color scheme is wildly different than the original, but I chose colors I know the new mom will love.
This is my first time really working with motif pieces like this. Motifs can be anything, really—small colorwork repeats are motifs, same with lace and cable repeats, and I’ve done projects using all of those. But the act of knitting separate pieces that are joined is new to me. I can already see how it would be beneficial—here I am, knitting a baby blanket, but I’m only knitting one square at a time, so this project is portable and feels fast (she says, 12 squares out of 100 into this blanket).

I also think motif knitting would make for great stashbuster projects. If you’re not tied to a particular color throughout an entire project, the color combinations are endless! This blanket uses four colors, but what if I had partial skeins of eight colors? I could just go crazy, mixing and matching colors and making things work. There are a couple of finished projects on Ravelry where people used more colors—there’s even one with ten colors!—and they are all unique and amazing.

Since I’ve had motifs on the brain, I used that inspiration to create a new pattern compilation, called Interweave Knits presents 5 Accessory Patterns for Motif Knitting. The Tamarix Quilt is not in this collection, as I was trying to keep the projects small and relatively manageable, but we do have an all-new version of our incredibly popular Ojo de Dios Knitted Shawl pattern! Vanessa Ewing at Plymouth Yarn worked with me to create a pattern for Plymouth’s Gina Chunky yarn, for a more substantial shawl made up of motif triangles and a garter stitch body.
ojo de dios chunky
Also in this pattern collection download is the Gingko Counterpane Shawl from designer Paula B. Levy. I’m imaginging knitting this shawl in some leftover yarns I have—I went through and sorted leftover sock scraps into color families, and I think this would be amazing in my blue and purple color palette.
Daniela Nii’s Bistro Lace Stole is a great summer accessory—the light and airy open work means you won’t get too hot, and there’s plenty of options for customizations.
Two patterns that are simpler motifs, worked in one piece, are Quenna Lee’s Linocut Beret and Grace Akhrem’s Mama’s Socks. The Linocut Beret features a lace motif, similar to a counterpane pattern, and is knit from the brim up. Mama’s Socks are a great introduction to basic colorwork, using a color changing yarn to do all the work in a small heart-shaped motif.


To coincide with the launch of this eBook, we also have an Ojo de Dios Chunky Shawl Kit! In this kit, you can get the yarn to knit the Ojo de Dios Chunky Shawl and the eBook with all five patterns.
Ojo Chunky bonus 2Ojo Chunky bonus 1

I’m really excited to have worked with Vanessa Ewing on getting the Ojo de Dios Chunky knitting pattern created for this eBook! The colors for this kit are a nice blend behind the desert-inspired colorway of the original Ojo de Dios shawl kit and the beautiful jewel tones version we also published. Vanessa was gracious enough to share some of her tips for working motifs and specifically the Ojo de Dios shawl, so I’ll be back later this week with more about this beautiful, versatile shawl. In the meantime, grab your kit and get ready to knit!

Other Things You May Like to Check Out:


Accessories, Afghans and Blankets, Knitting Socks, Shawls