FREE Knitting Patterns, Yarn Reviews, Tutorials, Magazines

Home » Yarns » Knitting a play mat for baby with Clean Cotton Big yarn

Knitting a play mat for baby with Clean Cotton Big yarn

by Cynthia MacDougall

In this series of posts, I’m reviewing Clean Cotton Big by Universal Yarn. It’s a bulky tape-style yarn that knits up quickly on size BIG needles.

Speaking of needles, I’ve also been reviewing Knitter’s Pride basix circular needles. You can read more about them in earlier posts in this series, and I’ll say again that I’m really enjoying the smooth, clear birch tips. They’re long enough to rest in my purlicue (honest, that’s the name for the space between your thumb and forefinger! “purl”icue – how appropriate is that?) and long enough to allow me to throw my yarn around the needle tip, as I do.

Clean Cotton Big comes in 8 solid colors and 8 marled colors made up of 1 strand each of 2 of the solid colors. I’ve chosen bright red and white to make this series’ Gingham Baby Play Mat.

Red, white, and red-and-white yarn will be used for our baby play mat project.

I’ll keep with the gingham theme I did in my sampler from my second last post. Originally I was going to make a tote bag, but, fully loaded it would make a heavy load, so I’ve switched gears to make a play mat with corner “flanges” that can be buttoned shut when the mat is folded.

The mat uses the intarsia technique, as our sample did, but the sample was made with size 15 [10mm] needles, and I’m going to make the mat with size 17 [12mm] needles.

With the former, I achieved a tension of 4⅛” [10.5cm] over 8 sts, and with the larger needles, I got just shy of 4½” [11.5cm] over the same number of sts.

Knitting intarsia can create quite a rat’s nest of yarn!

Clean Cotton Big Baby Play Mat



Clean Cotton Big, 7 oz. [200g] ball, 56 yd. [50m] per ball
4 (5) balls in Daiquiri (red) Col A
5 (8) balls in Sailboat (red and white marl) Col B
2 (4) balls in Sunscreen (white) Col C



  • 5 large buttons 1⅜” [15mm] diameter
  • tapestry needle

finished measurements

  • for 7 x 7 block mat, 33″ x 35″ [84 x 89cm]
  • for 9 x 9 block mat, 42″ x 49″ [107 x 125cm]

Instructions are given for the smallest size. Directions for the larger size are inside (brackets).


7¼ sts and 10½ rows to 4″



With A, cast on 28 sts. K 2 rows.
Buttonhole row: K2, yo, ssk, k8, yo, ssk, k8, yo, k2tog, k to end.
K 1 row.

Gingham block 1

Row 1: With A, k12, join B, k8, join another ball of A, k8. *Join another ball of B, cast on 8, join another ball of A, cast on 8; rep from * once (twice), join another ball of A, cast on 8 sts (60 (76) sts)
Row 2: With A, k2, p6, *p8B, p8A; rep from * once (twice), p8B, p6A, k6A
Row 3: K12A, *k8B, k8A; rep from * 2 (3) times
Row 4: As Row 2
Repeat Rows 3 and 4 4 more times, breaking each yarn after knitting the last row except for the last 12 st section of Col A

Gingham block 2

Row 13: With A, k2, yo, ssk, *join B, k8, join C, k8; rep from * 2 (3) times, join B, k8
Row 14: K2B, p6B, *p8C, p8B; rep from * once (twice), p6B, k2B, k4A
Row 15: K4A *k8B, k8C; rep from * 2 (3) times, k8B
Row 16: As Row 14
Repeat Rows 15 and 16 4 times breaking yarn after working the last row, except for Col A

Gingham block 3 looks like Gingham block 1, but the buttonhole is placed on Row 5. Join in and end off yarns as needed from here on.

Row 25: K12A, *k8B, k8A; rep from * 2 (3) times.
Row 26: K2A, p6A, *p8B, p8A; rep from * 1 (2) times, p8B, p6A, k6A.
Row 27: As Row 25
Row 28: As Row 26
Row 29 (buttonhole row): With A, k2, yo, ssk, k8k *k8B k8A; rep from * 2 (3) times.
Row 30: As Row 26
Repeat Rows 25 and 26 twice.
Row 35: With A, cast off 4 sts. *k8A, k8B; rep from * 3 (4) times, k8A (56 (72) sts).
Row 36: K2A, p6A, *p8B, p8A; rep from * 1 (2) times, p8B, p6A, k2A.

Gingham block 4

Row 37: *K8B, k8C; rep from * 2 (3) times, k8B.
Row 38: K2B, p6B, *p8C, p8B; rep from * once (twice), p8A, p6B, k2B.
Repeat Rows 37 and 38 5 times.

For 7 block blanket, skip to Gingham Block 7, where the top button band starts.

Gingham block 5

Row 49: *K8A, k8B; rep from * 3 (4) times, k8A.
Row 50: K2A, p6A, *p8B, p8A; rep from * once (twice), p8B, p6A, k2A.
Repeat Rows 49 and 50 5 times.

Gingham block 6 (Rows 61-72) – repeat Gingham block 4

Gingham block 7 – begin button band

Row 73: *K8B, k8C; rep from * 3 (4) times, k8B, cast on 4 sts (60 (76) sts).
Row 74: K6B, p6B, *p8C, p8B; rep from * once (twice), p6C, p6B, k2B.
Repeat Rows 73 and 74 5 times.

Gingham block 8

Row 85: *K8B, k8C; rep from * 2 (3) times, k8B, k4A.
Row 86: K4A, k2B, p6B, *p8C, p8B; rep from * once (twice), p8C, p6B, k2B.
Repeat Rows 85 and 86 5 times.

Gingham block 9

Row 97: *K8A, k8B; rep from * 3 (4) times, k12A.
Row 98: K6A, p6A, *p8B, p8A; rep from * once (twice), p6B, p6A, k2A.
Repeat Rows 97 and 98 4 times, then work row 97 once more.
Row 108: K6A, p6A, break yarn, p8B, break yarn, p8A, DO NOT break yarn. Cast off rem sts purlwise in pattern to maintain color blocks, breaking off the yarn at the end of each color block. (24 sts on needle).

OK. There was a clinker in my thinker, and I somehow messed up my plan for buttoning up the mat for easy travel. To remedy it, I took a short length of the yarn and made a loop in one corner so that when the blanket is folded and buttoned closed, the loop can be wrapped around the corner button to keep it from flopping around. I think I should have put both edgings on the bottom edge of the blanket, instead of kitty-corner to each other.

Top border
With RS facing and ColA, k 5 rows. Cast off all sts and weave in all ends.

Fold blanket into half lengthwise, wrong sides together, then fold in half widthwise. Match edges and mark button placement on the top edge. Sew buttons on securely. Add a corner loop to the exposed section.

I absolutely LOVE the buttons the sponsor sent me for this blanket. They remind me of ice cubes, which is perfect for a summertime playmat! Ask your retailer to order product number 057018LB.

In my next post, I’ll wrap up the series with some clever adaptions to our knitted gingham you can use to make household items from Clean Cotton Big.

Imagine your little one playing on this mat in the shade of the crab apple tree! I made my mat 9 squares wide by 7 squares deep to ensure I had enough of the marled yarn on hand. The 7 x 7 version would be perfect for a small baby, and the 9 x 9 would be big enough for a child’s picnic blanket.

This is part 4 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 3: What to know about weaving in ends with Clean Cotton Big yarn

Go to part 5: Four more ideas for Clean Cotton Big yarn


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.