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Knitted Afghan Patterns: What's the Difference Between Afghans, Blankets, and Throws?

Yes, each term means something different, but does it really matter? Read on to find out!

Updated September 07, 2018
Whats the Difference Between Afghans Blankets and Throws

You probably hear the terms "afghan," "blanket," and "throw" all thrown (excuse the pun) around in the knitting world, and probably interchangeably. The truth is that the distinction between these three covers has been muddied with time, but there are still important differences between the three. Before you hunker down to complete any knitted afghan patterns and throws, it's best to understand what makes one type of covering different from another, so you don't get started on an afghan when you meant to knit a throw blanket.

The blanket is but most typically made from a single piece of fabric and is made to match any standard bed size, such as a twin, queen, king, etc. You'll most often find blankets made from fabric such as cotton or fleece, but many knitting pattern designers are moving towards calling their yarn-constructed creations "blankets," as well.

A throw's construction doesn't really matter—it can be made from fabric or yarn—but they're much less standardized than the blanket. Like their name suggests, they're typically intended to be "thrown" over something, such as the arm of a sofa or the end of a bed, as additional, spontaneous source of warmth. Throws are additionally smaller than blankets, and quicker to knit up.

Finally, the afghan is almost always a crocheted or knitted item, and got its start with granny squares or other types of motifs joined together. However, it is not at all uncommon to see afghans made in one large piece. As you probably could have guessed, afghans originated in Afghanistan, but can now be used to describe just about any knit blanket.

To summarize: blankets aren't typically knit (but can be) and are bed-sized, throws are knit or sewn and are smaller, and afghans are typically knit or crocheted coverings of any size. If you're ever unsure of what to call your knitted cover, an "afghan" is a safe term for anything, a "throw" is even better for a smaller-sized item, and "blanket" is probably the least accurate, but still widely accepted, especially by the layman.

For some visual examples, check out some knit blankets, throws, and afghans below!

Knit Blanket Patterns

Though blankets typically aren't knit, many designers and knitters alike are moving towards using "blanket" as a catch-all term for any knitted cover. While not standard, any bed-sized knit cover could be considered a blanket. Check out some of our favorite knit blanket patterns!

Knit Throw Patterns

Throws can be either knitted or sewn, which makes it a perfectly accurate descriptor for any size of knit cover smaller than a twin sized bed. Throws are perfect for tossing over your desk chair or loveseat to snuggle up under while you're reading a book or taking a cat nap in front of the television. These throw patterns are perfect for any home!

Knit Afghan Patterns

The afghan is a solid catch-all term for any knitted cover, but you most often see afghans as collections of motifs pieced together, much like granny squares. In crochet, where granny squares are much more popular, traditional afghan patterns are everywhere! We gathered some great afghan patterns—some of which are also collections of separate knitted pieces—for your knitting pleasure.

Have you knit a blanket, afghan, or throw lately? Tell us about it and post a picture!

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Fascinating! I never really knew there was much of a difference

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