i adore blanket stitch. it's simple with so much rustic charm. (and i just realized my muddled mommy brain has been inexplicably calling it "backstitch" for a few days - why, oh, why?) it can be used to edge many types of projects, not just blankets, and also for decorative effect on flat items like applique, but that will be dealt with at another time. here's how to blanket stitch an edge, like on my 4sq baby blankets.
a this point, if you notice your thread is not inside the loop being created, stop and pull your needle through the loop or you will miss the stitch. this can happen when you don't keep the thread all to the side you are moving toward as you start your stitch.
if you somehow missed and didn't catch the stitch, you can loosen the botched stitch up a bit and run the needle under the stitch, making sure to catch it and correct the miss.
when you have a little more than one needle's length of thread left, tie off and bury your knot. this is not a time to be frugal with your thread. quite often i try to eek out a stitch or two more past where i know i should stop, and i always regret it. you need enough thread left to work with, especially to bury the knot. otherwise you will find yourself very frustrated and spending a lot of extra time repeatedly rethreading increasingly fraying thread and trying desperately to get it tied off. no fun. go ahead and "waste" that last few inches of thread.
my method of tying off is not the best, but i know of no other. please, anyone enlighten me who knows a better way. here's how i do it:
to start up the next length of thread, tie off the end with a knot like you did in the beginning and bury the knot as before, inserting the needle an inch or so back from the end of the last stitch.
OR insert your hand into the hole left open and place your needle in position from the inside.
now just pick up where you left off, stitching as before.
don't forget to hold down that thread along the seam in the direction you are moving and to keep all the thread to that side of the needle.
for how to turn a corner, go here
once you get the hang of blanket stitch, it moves along nicely, falling into a wonderful rhythm. i like to edge my 4sq blankets when i'm at my kids' after school activities, while talking to friends, and i've even started watching a movie or two with the kids when i need to get some stitching done. then again, it's a nice way to busy my hands while my mind roams free, contemplating life and the cosmos. simple but deep stuff!
please let me know if this tutorial made sense to you, how your blanket stitching adventures go, and ask any questions you might have. i'll sure try to answer them.
next up will be a full tutorial on the 4 sq blanket, as requested by shannon. i just got an invitation to a baby shower next week and will be making a new blanket for the occasion, so i'll photograph as i go and get the tutorial posted shortly there after.