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Submitted by Anonymous on Tue, 01/26/2010 - 23:28
Hi, I was hoping to get some advise on what kind of fiber to use for weaving baby blankets. We are going to be Nana and Papa to 3 more babies this year. So I really have to get busy. I would love something soooo soft. Any ideas????
Hi Tracyjayn - in one word......WASHABLE! by machine!
Seriously, there are some nice cottons and cotton blends that don't contain wool or mohair, and if they are used in a waffle weave that will help keep the little ones warm. There are some lovely synthetic yarns around that are also easy care. You will need to check the machine-wash-ability of the yarns you are looking at, because many of the modern synthetics and cottons are as fussy about washing as wool is.
There is also superwash wool - I know its used for knitting, many of the synthetics are too, but with a cotton warp it would make up into a lovely snug rug and it would be washable too.
You have quite a variety of yarns available to you, and you can test how soft the knitting yarns are by the swatches they put on display in the yarn shops. As long as its easy care and can be put in the washing machine, and dries quickly, you won't go far wrong.
One word of warning - if you use a couple of different brands of yarn, space them evenly across the warp and weft because they may stretch, or they may shrink, when washed, and you need whatever they do to be uniform and less noticeable.
Have fun, there are some fabulous new yarns out there, and please post photos so we can see how you go!
Another caution is flammability - unfortunately many of the synthetics and cotton aren't great (and some are horrendous) unless specially treated. Do a melt/burn test on whatever you are considering to see if you like the results.
Long floats are not good with little fingers - another consideration when picking a structure and grist (diameter of yarn).
I made a baby blanket for my best friend's daughter from a sport-weight cotton chenille (I think it was the Casco Bay line. I bought it from Halcyon Yarn). It is very soft, completely washable and is holding up very well after 2 years of daily use. I used a Swedish lace pattern from Marguerite Davidson's book. I can't remember the specific type...but the finished product looks like Xs & O's.
Congratulations on the 3 new grandbabies!
If you choose to make baby blankets with cotton, which is pretty flamable (although nothing like synthetics!!), you might want to consider adding a card with the laundering instructions to apply the following treatment to help with flame retardancy:
Mix together nine ounces 20 Mule Team Borax and four ounces boric acid in one gallon water. If the article is washable, soak in the solution after final rinsing, then dry. If the garment is not washable, spray with the solution. This solution, recommended by fire departments, may wash out of clothing and should be used after each washing or dry cleaning.
Boric acid may scare you, but the stuff available as roach killer is not harmful to humans......you can do some research on it on the internet to find acceptable levels, but know that common aspirin has more boric acid in it than the roach killer.....<G>
I used to weave baby blankets by the 100's per year and I treated all of them with this solution. The solution washes out, so must be reapplied after each laundering, but it is not hard to do for the peace of mind it offers....
Su, does it leave any "feel" on the blanket? I'd read about it, but never tried it.
HI Laurie.....no, it leaves no detectable residue or change in hand.....people use Borax for washing anyway, and it leaves no traces behind....adding the boric acid is simply adding an element that coats the fibers and helps retard flame.....but you cannot feel it, it doesn't slough off, and it is safe to use around humans.....dare I go so far as to say it is an organic flame retardant??
By chance, does anyone know the name of the cotton used for baby blankets by the student weavers at Berea College in Berea, KY? It is soft as a cloud. I would love to have some. I left a message with the director of the weaving program but have not heard back.