Thursday, July 26, 2007

Reflections on the Baby Blanket

The acrylic baby blanket is done and my computer has returned to me. I am celebrating with some pictures, and also with some reflections. Above is the blanket, folded. Below is a detail of the crochet border.

And I just couldn't resist posting the picture of all three blankets my daughter will get, as well as an afghan I knit for the baby. The other two blankets, by the way, are in cotton. I do hope she will be pleased. It should be easy to guess that this will be her first child and my first grandchild.

Now to some reflections on the baby blanket. They center on the finishing. I do like the way the crochet edging turned out. However, the way I prepared the edges with just plain zigzagging on the machine created a small problem. I found it difficult, if not impossible, to remove every little tuft of fiber that broke loose when I simply zigzagged those edges.

Next time, I think I will try a two-step process. First, I will straight stitch the edges on the sewing machine. I will cut as close to that stitching as I dare. Then I will use a stitch on my machine that mimics a serged edge, making sure that the needle actually goes off the edge of the fabric so that, hopefully, every last tuft will get enclosed before I start the actual crocheting.

I could also just fringe the blanket. But fringe is dangerous for infants. And fringe wears thin with wear and constant washing. I do hope these baby blankets will be used all the time, I trust they will be washed frequently!

I could twist the fringe ends as many people do. I have done that, but never have been happy with either the process or the results. I think twisted fringes can look quite elegant on silk scarves. But there is a sameness to them that I do not like. So, when I do finish off a fringe, I use a braided fringe. My braids are not terribly even, for I don’t get the practice that would be needed for really even braids. But they have, in my eyes, a unique look not possible with the polished finish that twisting the fringes gives. Braiding fringe, for me is is not unlike dyeing my own yarns. And there are so many different ways of braiding! It is always fun to try something new. And, perhaps most important to me, it is nice to feel the yarn in my fingers as I braid.

Here are my two favorite books for fringe designing:

Finishes in the Ethnic Tradition by Baiserman and Searle

Finishing Touches for the Handweaver by Virginia M. West


Donna said...

Peg, that’s a lovely stack of cushy, soft blankies for the new baby! Baby & Mom are sure to love them.
I’m intrigued with your crocheted edging. The problem you mention is the reason I’ve not yet tried to finish a blanket with crochet. Thanks for posting the obstacles and possible methods of overcoming them. Crochet is preferable to either fringing (you post another safety reason that I was not aware of) or binding, imho. I couldn’t agree more with your comments on twisted fringe for the wee blankies – it just doesn’t seem fitting.
PS the plaid is very nice, indeed!

Leigh said...

I suppose this is why weavers invest in sergers. I really like the crochet finish. Since I am in the throws of afghan weaving at the moment, these are things I think about as I weave. Some of them will be left with fringe, but I want to try a crochet finish as well. The thing that I don't like about twisting or braiding fringe is that it takes so long to do!

Nancy said...

Thanks for posting this information. I am getting ready to warp a baby blanket right now and struggling with a plan to finish the edges. I love the look of the crocheted edging and will give it a try.

Peg in South Carolina said...

You are welcome, Nancy