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16 Free but Insane Blanket Knitting Patterns for When You Need a Challenge

Are you looking for some serious brain exercise? Flex your concentration muscles with one of these insane blanket knitting patterns

Insane Blanket Knitting Patterns

Do you ever get tired of simple, easy knitting patterns? Do you ever itch to set aside the “mindless” projects and get the urge to tackle something more complex?

If that’s not you… if that’s never you… then move along. Nothing to see here.

If, on the other hand, you’re ready for a true knitting adventure? If you’re hungering for a challenge, a chance to test your concentration and your knitting skills?

Then you, my friend, are in the right place!

Welcome to the Insane Blanket Knitting Pattern Collection.

The Inspiration for the Insane Blanket Knitting Pattern Collection

I was inspired to gather this collection by a friend of mine, who alerted me to one of the most insane items ever knitted.

Behold: the Super Mario Brothers Blanket.

The person who posted the photos of this blanket said that it took about 800 hours to knit this project, consuming a total of 6 years. Can you say WOW!?

Inspired by this blanket, I decided to look for the most insane free blanket patterns online.

How do I define “insane”? An insane knitting project is the exact opposite of “mindless.”

Individual blocks sewn together are not insane. An afghan that’s knitted all in one piece, without any opportunity to get into a rhythm, and requires intense concentration at every step? Now, that’s insane.

(Please note that I ditched this idea almost immediately–that is, the idea that a blanket knitted in separate blocks and seamed together couldn’t be insane. Two of the patterns on this list are created like this… but I think you’ll still agree they’re insane!)

Even if you’re not ready to knit one of the projects on the collection that follows, I hope you’ll be inspired to consider one of them for the future!

(Hint: Pinterest is a wonderful thing…)

16 of the Most Insane Free Blanket Patterns Available Online

An African Adventure: Right away I’m throwing at you an afghan that maybe should be disqualified because it’s technically knitted “in blocks.” Okay, so look at the photo of this pattern below and tell me it isn’t insane. I’ll wait…

An African Adventure - insane blanket pattern
An African Adeventure
Photo: Femminista on Ravelry

Ravelry user Femminista, whose gorgeous photo you see here, points out that this would make a terrific group charity project.

Blanket Puppy: You gotta love a pattern that no one has ever knitted (as far as its Ravelry page says) but exists solely in some charts and a bit of detail as to using said charts. The scary thing is I might actually try this. My daughter LOVES dogs…

Doctor Who TARDIS Afghan: Perhaps a testament to how beloved Doctor Who is, is that this pattern has been attempted so frequently. Notice I said “attempted.” As of this writing, out of the 203 projects listed on Ravelry, only 25 have actually been finished! So try it if you dare…

Game of Thrones Blanket: This project is pretty incredible. It isn’t knit all in one piece, but it’s knitted in 3 pieces and then seamed. Oh, and you’ll find intarsia, cabling, AND embroidery. This is an insanely wonderful blanket.

Garden Fantasy Afghan
Photo: Lion Brand

Garden Fantasy Afghan: You could say this pattern is the result of blocks sewn together. However, some of them are squares, some of them are triangles. Oh, and then you’ll create separate appliques and sew them on. Don’t forget the edging you’ll work after it’s all done! It’s beautiful, but it’s also time consuming and painstaking.

Harlequin: Anytime you get one of these circular, super lacy, super-complex blankets like you see with this pattern, you can pretty much just turn off the TV and make sure you have no distractions whatsoever.

Knitted Coverlet: This exquisitely detailed and incredibly intricate pattern is so vintage that it’s possible no one in living memory has tried knitting it. It’s beautiful, but it’s one of those patterns that makes me say “NOPE.” Meaning “Nope, I know that one would just end in tears and tragedy.”

Lily of the Volley: This may as well be called “A blanket pattern for someone with way more patience than Nicole has.” It is fully charted and knitted from the inside out in a series of lacy circular panels. It is beautiful. It is insane.

Moominblanket: This is a stranded-knitted, charted blanket with steeks. These contribute to its difficulty, but I’m thinking all you’ll have to do is take one look at this blanket and you’ll know it’s a pattern that you should undertake with great care!

Reversible Celtic Patterns Baby Blanket - insane blanket pattern
Reversible Celtic Patterns Baby Blanket
Photo: Kathleen Sperling

Reversible Celtic Patterns Baby Blanket: I used to think double knitting was difficult. It’s not, but… let’s just say you probably don’t want this to be your first double knitting project. The intricate charts you’ll follow require a lot of concentration.

Scampers: This is really cute – a lace baby blanket worked in the round with some cute little “footprints” knitted in. It’s a challenge, sure, but it sure is tempting with that adorableness!

Storyteller’s Afghan
Photo: Lion Brand

Storyteller’s Afghan: Okay. Now this pattern looks beautiful. How do you make it?

1. First, you make one enormous rectangle out of 100% wool and basically use up all your yarn. Next, you felt said enormous rectangle.

2. Then you cut out octagons and squares from the huge felted rectangle. Next, you embroider the designs of your choice onto the octagons and some of the squares.

3. You will then sew all the octagons and squares together, and to finish, you’ll embroider blanket stitch along the outside edge of the blanket.

If all of that didn’t make you feel like lying down on a firm surface with a cold compress on your head, congratulations! You may have found your next pattern.

Tree of Life - insane blanket pattern
Tree of Life
Photo: Lion Brand

Tree of Life Afghan: This pattern definitely qualifies as “insane”; even so, I’ve wanted to knit it for years because it is so beautiful. I also love the “tree of life” motif.

Nicky Epstein designed this pattern, and by the way, if you’re looking for a really challenging knit — blanket or otherwise — you should definitely check out her collection of free patterns here.

If you love the “tree of life” motif like I do and would prefer to start on a smaller scale, consider trying Baby Tree of Life — it’s half the size, but equally challenging.

Winter Rose: Here’s a complex circular blanket with tons of lace in various styles. The result of all this lace is breathtaking. 

Wonky Log Cabin: This earns its “insane” grade in a different way. The way the blanket is constructed — freeform, improvisational, letting your intuition and creativity take center stage rather than following a pattern — may strike many knitters as “insane.”

But if you have the urge to try something out of the ordinary, this just might be the project for you.

Wonky Log Cabin - Insane Blanket Pattern
Wonky Log Cabin
Photo: anatsaciaknits on Ravelry

(Note that the link on this pattern’s Ravelry page won’t take you to a specific pattern, but rather a blog page that is marked with the tag “improvisational knitting.” That should give you an idea as to what you’ll be working with here!) 

You Can Do It Afghan: You could also call this the “Rosie the Riveter” afghan, as it has that iconic image on the front. On the back it reads, “You Can Do It!”

Yes, that’s right: this pattern has a back and a front that are sewn together. The front is made up of 15 different charted blocks that are then sewn together before sewing to the back. It takes a knitter up for a huge challenge to tackle this pattern!

And that’s all, folks! I hope you’ve not only enjoyed looking at all these crazy-awesome-insane-no-thanks-well-maybe free knitting patterns for blankets. And I hope you’ll consider trying just one…or two…maybe even more!

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  1. Please, when you are considering yarn for a baby blanket, don’t choose a fuzzy yarn. Babies tend to put things into their mouths, including their blankets. Wet fists can carry the fuzzy part of the yarn into the baby’s mouth and cause coughing or choking. Putting a blanket into a mouth can do the same thing.
    And when you are choosing the pattern, consider not making an open or lacy pattern. Baby fingers can get caught in the lace, and baby may not be able to get those fingers back out. It could be dangerous.