I’m having so much fun with the Nikki, In Stitches Top 10 Countdown. Each time I look at the list to see what’s next, I think about how much I loved each of these projects. These backed and quilted blankets are still so popular, here on my blog and on Ravelry. When people inquire about handmade baby items, this is the first place I lead them. The blankets themselves are so easy to knit or crochet, and the backing and binding just somehow give them that something special. Maybe they look more finished or polished? Maybe it’s the combination of the knit/crochet fabric with the soft minky and silky smooth satin? I’m not sure, but they are my favorite thing to give to friends that are welcoming new babies into their lives!
Nikki, In Stitches
June 16th, 2009
I love making baby quilts for my friends when they are expecting a new arrival, but sometimes there is just not enough time. I have so many projects that are unfinished, so many ideas for crafts I could do to decorate my new house, not to mention chasing my son and dog around most of the day, that making a quilt sometimes just isn’t in the cards, but I still want to make something special. There is something about receiving a homemade gift that is different. You can feel the time and love that went into it. And, I want my friends to know that I cherish them enough to make them something from my heart.
My solution was to crochet or knit a blanket. It went faster, baby yarn was relatively inexpensive, and it was more portable than a quilt. I could take my project on road trips with me, and I could sit in front of the TV and work on it when I wanted to spend time with my husband. But, no offense to any crocheters or knitters out there…it was just missing something.
I think I found an even better solution.
I turned my knitted or crocheted blankets into “quilt tops.” First, the “top” needs to be blocked. Depending on which stitch type you use, this is more or less important. The knitted, Entrelac blanket shown above needs to be blocked very well. The tendency of the Entrelac stitch is to stretch rather easily and you will notice your backing will pucker a lot, and your quilt will not be anything close to square, if you don’t take the time to block it. The crocheted blanket pictured here needed minimal blocking just to square it up. I then back them and bind them just like they are a quilt. There is no need for batting. The heaviness of your knitted or crocheted top usually ensures the blanket will be warm enough. I use minky fabric for the backing, and flannel lined satin for the binding. These are the perfect combination for a baby to snuggle up with. I do tack the backing and top together in a few spots just by hand with a needle and thread. I cut my binding very wide (sometimes up to 10”), which makes it quite difficult to work with, but I like the look of the wider binding, and it gives the babies more to hang on to. I attach it exactly like a typical quilt binding.
Problem solved! These blankets are quicker to make than quilts, they are less expensive (although in the Entrelac example I did splurge and buy very nice, but kind of pricey, yarn), they are easier for a beginner crafter or nonquilter, and they still have the same something special about a homemade gift. The perfect quick weekend “quilt”!
Questions and comments are welcome as usual. I’d love some feedback on these blankets. Also, if the demand is out there, I’m considering putting together a tutorial on Entrelac knitting. Let me know what you think!
Nikki, In Stitches
Added Later: When I wrote this post, I thought the “quilted” aspect of these projects would be the main focus. I am so happy so many of you like this idea. Thank you for all of your emails and comments. I am surprised by the overwhelmingly large number of requests for patterns for these blankets. It means a lot to me that so many of you enjoy my projects. Please check back for them soon. I am starting the pattern writing process within the next few days, and hope to get the instructions up soon after.
Added Even Later: If you’d like the pattern to knit the Entrelac Blanket shown above, it can be found in the following post: You Asked For It. The crocheted blanket pattern can be found in: Crocheted “Quilt”…Sorry for the Delay!