Ah, the classic baby blanket. It’s not a baby shower cliché; if you make it, you can make it a keepsake.
I’ve blogged about the simplest blanket pattern ever, the one that follows the classic dishcloth style. Anyone who can knit can make this blanket, no exclusions. The fact that you made it, not bought it, automatically makes it a heartfelt gift and should ensure that it’s loved forever, but there are a few things you can do to make sure it will always be cherished.My mother is an avid knitter and created blankets for almost all of the new babies in her extended family. I still have the one she made for me and I know many of my cousins have theirs as well. In fact, one cousin became so attached to the handmade blanket that he carried it with him everywhere and slept with it when he was a child. My mother had to knit patches to mend the holes that resulted from the blanket’s heavy wear. Part of the appeal of these blankets, the part that kept us interested even after we outgrew our cribs, was their size. You might think the most useful size for a baby gift would be about the size of a receiving or swaddling blanket. Fair enough, those blankets are the most used for babies. The blankets my mother made were bigger, mine covers from my lap to my feet when I’m sitting. I can still use the blanket today because it still fits me, unlike any receiving blankets I might have had as a newborn. The blankets were big enough that my young cousin could cover himself in it for naps, wear it as a cape, and spread it out on the floor to play on. It’s easy to become attached to a blanket that you can use so often. While becoming the next Linus could be problematic, there’s something very comforting about taking a nap with your baby blanket covering you. I make baby blankets the same size as I make for my own use. During the first while of a baby’s life, the blanket can be used for “tummy time” and later to play on. As the child gets older it can be used during naps, and then as an adult it can warm laps while watching TV. Size really does matter, you can’t do those things with a receiving blanket.
The color you choose can help the blanket have lasting power. I tend to stick to typical baby colors when I give blankets as gifts, but my mother chose colors that were different but not too far from the norm. She made my blanket in grey and pink. Pink kept it typical baby, but the grey gave it a little bit of grown-up edge. She made my cousin’s blanket in teal and grey, a beautiful combination that normally wouldn’t appear at a baby shower but works well for a child, teenager, or adult. I’ve been itching to make baby gifts in red, coral, purple, and teal, but I chicken out and go for the stereotypical colors. If in doubt on what color to knit with, ask the parents-to-be what colors they’re using for the nursery.
While the recipient may want the blanket to last forever, you need to make it from something that will last forever. A well-loved blanket needs to be washed often so pick a yarn that will wash well. If you pick a delicate yarn that needs to be washed by hand, a parent may be tempted to leave the blanket on the shelf so they don’t have to use their precious, scarce time to wash it in the sink. Watch out for wool as some children may have allergies or sensitive skin. I know acrylic worsted weight yarn can have a bad reputation, but you can’t argue with it’s washability.
Good luck making a beloved blanket, you can do it. It’ll be timeless, beautiful, and cherished. Have you made a long-lasting, long-loved blanket you want to brag about? Do you still have a blanket a loved one made for you as a baby? Gush about it in the comments section!