Tuesday, August 26, 2014

She's Crafty | Blankies!

Did you have a blankie when you were small? You know, the one that went everywhere with you, a couldn't-sleep-without-it kind of blanket? Chances are, if you did, it was handmade. Malia had just such a blankie I made for her. First, I painted a scene from Sesame Street on a white cotton crib cover with ball-point-tube fabric paints I got from the same party-plan folks I got the preprinted cover from. Then, I took a heavy flannel sheet and cut it to the right size, got some cute fabric for the back and quilted around the painted design to hold all three layers together. I remember the binding was bright yellow, to go with Big Bird. 

When she learned to talk, Malia called it her "street blankie."And, she did take that thing everywhere--I remember at least one time we had to go back somewhere to get it before she could go to bed that night (I was so thankful it was still there!) It was hard, sometimes, to get the blanket away from her to wash, but I must have been successful many, many times, because it's formerly bright colors faded to soft pastels over the few years it served duty as Malia's "best friend."

Quilts make fine blankie status blankets. They range in size from receiving blankets, just big enough to wrap a newborn snugly,  to crib blankets large enough to cover a five-year-old for a nap. The one I made Malia was a whole-cloth quilt, I suppose, because its top was all one piece. The most popular quilts, though, are patchwork, in which smaller patches are sewn together to make the quilt's top and then quilted along the patch seams once filler and backing are in place. Our library has lots of books on quilting, including these on quilting for babies and children:

Crochet is another technique which lends itself well to blankie making. Of course, many folks think of the popular granny-square afghans when they think of crocheted blankets, but there are many other stitch patterns in crochet which would make wonderful blankets for children too, from delicate-looking (but strong!) lace to heavier wind-blocking patterns, all of which can be soft, snugly and colorful. Have a look at some of these books in our library for some great blankie making options:

I've made and given a few crocheted baby blankets in my time, one or two of which may have achieved blankie status. The main things in making one, I think, are to remember to use a soft, washable yarn and make your stitches fairly loose, so the blanket can snuggle and drape around the baby in soft folds. Also, don't let the old-fashioned colors in some of our library books keep you from trying what may turn out to be a great pattern. You can always choose updated colors for the yarn. Why not choose the baby's mother's favorite colors, for instance? Chances are, if mother and child both like a blanket you've made, it will become a blankie someday. What an achievement for the maker of a handmade blanket!

Due to a power outage at our main branch yesterday, Malia gets a reprieve on having pictures of her blankie published for all to see. Maybe I will be able to talk her into sharing another time. Meanwhile, we would love to hear about your blankie experiences. Have you made a blankie for someone? Or, maybe you have fond memories of your own blankie. Leave us a comment and tell us about it.

Stay crafty until we meet again--
   Kaye and Malia


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