I am at an age where many of my friends are already married and a handful are having children. This spring, I have 3 friends expecting babies and I wanted to do something special for them.
A few of my friends have already had children and for them I always try and make something by hand. I made a hat for one baby, a quilt for another and a little cardigan for another. This cardigan I must say, never made it to the baby because I couldn’t get past a final step and so it sits at the top of my knitting pile staring me in the face whenever I open up the box when I feel “crafty”.
I really like the idea of gifting a baby a homemade blanket and how, many times, blankets are articles that the child will take with them or can offer comfort. You don’t really outgrow a blanket in the way that you would an article of clothing, though most people stop carrying around their blankets once they start pre-school. That is, unless you are like Linus and carry yours with you wherever you go.
I was excited to go to the fabric store and pick out 2 coordinating fabrics for the 2 babies I had in mind and I quickly found out I was in over my head. I had a cart heaped with 8 different fabrics and each aisle I walked down, I found another that I liked. After lots of debating I ended up with the patterns I liked but was clueless about what type of thread, scissors, cutting mats…the whole nine yards. I ended up with some modest purchases and due to the sales felt like I did well. I set off for home with my bounty and determination to actually make my ideas into these blankets.
Now, my Mom can sew anything so when I lived at home, many times we would see something in a store and she would go home and make it. From scratch. I was gifted a sewing machine something like 10 years ago and even though I can’t remember ever using it, it has followed me through five moves and a storage unit and most recently landed in my attic. After retrieving it and dusting it off I sat staring at it and wondered where to start. Luckily there were some instructions that came in the box but it still took me about 30 minutes and a YouTube video to figure out how to thread the machine. After a few practices, it became second nature but then I had to figure out how to thread the bobbin. This was much more fun because you get to throttle the gas pedal (I should look up what that part is actually called) and the machine winds up a little bobbin perfectly with your chosen thread.
After reviewing the instructions which seemed simple enough I set about my process. Along the way, I found out that it is hard to get two different types of fabric to line up with each other and it can be very difficult to sew them together if one is stretchy and the other is not. I wrestled with this fabric for a while and vowed never to use the polka dot nubby fleece again as it crinkled along the edges as I sewed. I also learned the value of ironing the fabric for crisp edges and smoother sewing. This was my first time using fusible webbing and I’m now addicted. I love how easy it was to use and will have to incorporate it into more projects.
I completed one blanket one day and the second one another. If I had planned ahead I could have cut them both in the same time period but I realized that I improved my method the second time and the second blanket ended up a lot neater and precise. I even decided to look up some quilting techniques and embellished the blanket with thread ties. I’ve now completed two blankets and today I got to give the first one to the mom-to-be at her baby shower. It was such a treat to see how happy she was and it made me happy to think of it providing some comfort for her new baby. I don’t think that I will be setting up an Etsy shop for baby blankets but I do plan on making a few more of these for other babies.