I’ve always loved making things for babies. It’s such a joy to celebrate their arrival and a great opportunity to surround them with our love in the form of woven/knitted/crocheted snugglies. Baby things are usually quick and for weavers a baby blanket is the perfect palette to play with design and color ideas and sure to get oohs and ahhs from the new parents. We just received Tom Knisely’s lovely book Handwoven Baby Blankets. Tom has created a soft and cozy collection of beautiful, colorful designs with projects for both 4- and 8-shaft looms. He also covers what size to make, materials and finishing. The blanket drafts cover a wide variety of structures and most could easily translate to larger throws.
We’ve got some great drafts designed for our Valley Yarns line as well. One of the recent baby blankets was designed by Lisa Hill using our 6/2 Unmercerized Cotton. XOXO Baby Blanket (Draft #87) is a deflected doubleweave that creates sweet circles of color and a squishy softness that is perfect for babies. Each side of the blanket features a different interplay of the colors and the yarn is machine washable, making it perfect for the on-the-go life with children.
Another favorite draft is the Bouquet of Hearts Blanket – 40th Anniversary Draft #12 woven on a rigid heddle loom. Lace heart motifs are created using a simple technique called Brook’s Bouquet and the blanket is woven in two panels that are then sewn together. We have a video tutorial for the Brook’s Bouquet to make it even easier to pick up. The blanket is woven with Valley Yarns Longmeadow, another machine washable cotton blend that is cushy soft. The blanket is soft and cuddly and the lace creates a great texture for tiny fingers.
Rounding out our picks of the baby blanket drafts is Barbara Elkin’s Blooming Leaf Baby Blanket – Draft #59. A 4-shaft pattern in Shadow Weave, this blanket is woven with 5/2 Cotton and creates a beautiful heirloom blanket with classic appeal. As with the other drafts, different colorways can be chosen to highlight bold, pastel or neutral tones.
It seems like babies come in waves; suddenly 3 friends, a neighbor and a nephew are all expecting a new addition to the family. Blankets are so quick and easy – add an extra yard of warp and weave a second blankie to have on hand for the next little bundle. One of my favorite things to do when giving handmade baby gifts is to tell the parent it comes with a string attached – they have to send me a picture of the baby wearing or wrapped in the present. That way I get a lovely picture of the baby, plus a picture for my weaving archives.