Grand Blankets for Wee Ones

Most of us fiber folk find our fingers itching when we hear about new babies coming. There is something exciting about creating a gift to celebrate a baby’s birth. Of course, if the baby is a new addition to your own family – well, all the stops come out!

When my daughter announced she was expecting, she made me promise I would not knit anything for the baby out of cashmere. “Wool is fine,” she said, “as long as it is machine washable.” My plans dashed (I had just the cashmere), I decided I would knit something that would have a longer life than a baby sweater set. After browsing through stacks of pattern books and magazines, I chose a pattern from a Dale of Norway magazine.

The pattern was unusual.  It was knit in a single piece but consisted of a series of 24 patterned squares (6 of each pattern: single heart, tulip, butterfly, and eight little hearts) laid out with 4 squares horizontally and 6 rows of squares vertically.  In between each vertical row is a 19-stitch lace pattern.  A picot row separates each horizontal row.  A simple crochet lace edging borders it.

Many non-fiber people were horrified I chose to knit a baby blanket out of wool. They argued it wasn’t soft, it would scratch the baby, it couldn’t be washed, etc.   But we fiber folk know better: Merino is a very soft wool; it would be warmer than any other of his blankets.  Many wools are processed so they are machine washable (though I recommend always flat drying).  Best of all, use a high-quality wool and it will last and keep its shape very well.

My grandson came home wrapped in the blanket.  It was the blanket my daughter used to tuck around him in the jogging stroller on cold mornings.  Though he doesn’t use it often now, it is always folded on the foot of his bed.

His blanket is now seven years old; it has gotten a lot of use and is still fine. Not a rip or hole in it!   Here he is modeling his blanket.  (He can be a bit silly.)

I knit it out of Dale of Norway’s “Baby Ull” – a machine washable merino wool. I knew my daughter wanted something colorful and away from the pink-blue dichotomy that was popular with earlier generations. So I chose this color I think of as “Granny Smith Apple” green.

When his sister joined the family two years later, I knit her the same blanket out of the same fiber but this time in a strong raspberry color.  A very vocal four-year old, my granddaughter still calls the blanket her “mi-mi” – why, I have no idea.  As it’s not English, Norwegian or Arabic (she has a paternal grandparent from Lebanon), I guess it’s just child-speak. 🙂

If you are a new(er) knitter and reluctant to knit a baby blanket out of wool, remember wool is a wonderful natural fiber for babies.  Making a blanket or layette set out of a wool spun for baby yarn will ensure the baby stays warm and comfy.  And as long as the yarn is machine washable, the new parents will be happy too.  (I also suggest that when giving your hand knit gift, include a little card explaining the wool you selected and recommended washing!)

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About sweatyknitter

Fiber art devotee, author, and amateur artisan bread baker.
This entry was posted in Crocheting, Knitting, Weaving and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Grand Blankets for Wee Ones

  1. And hopefully he’ll give it to HIS child! 🙂

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  2. This is so cute… 🙂 When I was a child I had one fluffy blanket knitted from my grandmother… I kept it and when my son was born I gave it to him…

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  3. Time and patience and you’ll get there! Encouragement and praise from other knitters always helps too. 🙂

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  4. Pingback: Wow For Knitted Baby Blankets « KaliTimes Growing Lunacy

  5. It was from an old Dale magazine … I will check and see if I still have the magazine. I have a hunch it’s long out of print. But my knitting notebook has copies of the graph patterns (in addition to the one I posted, I have the graph for the vertical lace borders) so I could e-mail those to you. I will check and get back to you.

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  6. And, if you use a lacey pattern, they go fast too! 🙂

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  7. I had no idea! Thank! Yes, very fitting!

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  8. I have no idea if I even have the old magazine it came from. I will check. The graph I posted I scanned in from my knitting project notebook. (In my notebook I’ve also got the graph for the vertical lace borders.)

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  9. I really liked the blanket design so it worked perfectly. The color for the second blanket I wanted was no made by Dale, but I called one of my favorite shops – Webster’s in Ashland, Oregon – and they tracked some down for me!

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  10. I understand the weight issue. Here’s a tip: Use circular needles for blankets and other larger/heavier projects. That way the weight of the project is in your lap. 🙂

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  11. I am glad you find the card idea useful. In fact, you could design little “created by” (etc.) cards very inexpensively through Vista Print and then, on the back of the card simply write in the care/washing instructions. 🙂

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  12. Lucky you (and babies) … my daughter put the kabosh on using any other than wool (or cotton) … I would have LOVED to use cashmere and/or alpaca! So soft and snuggly for the little one. (By the way, is “rug” the New Zealand term for any blanket or just small blankets?)

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  13. Yes, the washing/care card is invaluable for non-fiber folks and – hopefully – allows the recipient to, as you note, USE the gift! And I commiserate with you on your last thought! 🙂

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  14. I am preparing to knit a baby blanket and that pattern looks just my style. Baby blankets are the best project during hot summers.

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  15. Pingback: Grand Blankets for Wee Ones | The Sweaty Knitter, Weaver and … | Knit4Profit

  16. ordinarygood says:

    I’ve had a google and quick ravelry search but can’t find the pattern you used. Do you have a reference for it please? I keep picturing those lovely shades you chose.

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  17. Claire says:

    these are beautiful blankets. also, some african languages, including amharic,use mi-mi to mean baby. rather fitting.

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  18. Curls & Q says:

    Beautiful! Is that a pattern you can share? I’ve always knit baby blankets out of wool. I’ve never heard any negative comments about doing so. 😎 LVE the model! a Typical boy!! 😎

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  19. Paula says:

    What sweet blankets, I love that you made them both from the same pattern.

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  20. I never have the patience for baby blankets – invariably either too much seaming or too much knitting of straight lines. The weight of the one-piece blankets tends to get to my wrists too. I bow to your superior blanket skills!

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  21. minaandme says:

    That is such a sweet little pattern 🙂 Your grandson looks quite orny under his blanket like that. I’ll need to include a “care card” next time I do a blanket. Great idea!
    ~Lacey

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  22. ordinarygood says:

    I love the pattern and colours you used for the baby rugs. New Zealand is full of wonderful woolly sheep so lots of babies here get beautiful pure wool rugs to tuck around them in their car seat capsules or their stroller.

    I used Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran for one baby rug and a variegated 8 ply merino wool from The Wool Company for the other rug I knitted for my first grandchild.

    For the next baby I knitted a rug in cream coloured 4 ply alpaca yarn.

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  23. Pingback: Grand Blankets for Wee Ones | The Sweaty Knitter, Weaver and … | Knitting Instructions

  24. A little washing instruction card is a great idea. It’ll definitely help avoid the “well, if I don’t know how to wash it, I’d better not get it dirty” *item gets rammed in the bottom of a drawer* problem.

    Now all I have to do is actually knit something for someone who isn’t me. 😀

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