Braided Baby Blanket

My niece is having a baby. Her first. It’s a girl. Sure I could have gone to Babies R Us and bought something off her registry, but I didn’t want to do that.

I’m a weaver. I wanted to weave her something. No not something, I wanted to weave her a baby blanket.
super close handweaving
I do have a small supply of baby blankets in my inventory, but none of them were what I wanted to send her. I wanted to make a new one.

And I wanted to make a cotton one. Now, I’ve made other handwoven baby blankets from cotton, and I’ve not been overly happy with the results. I like the way they look, but I haven’t liked their softness and drape. Actually, their lack of both.

Jillian's blanket draft

It was time to try again. I figured what the heck? Since it wasn’t expected, if I wove it and hated it, I could throw it away — the materials wouldn’t be too costly — and go to Babies R Us as a default. Safe enough.

So I warped the Macomber loom for an 8 harness braided twill in 5/2 cotton. White warp, pink weft, what could be simpler?
handwoven baby blanket on the loom

I liked the way it looked on the loom. But then again, I almost always do, so that wasn’t really meaningful.

handwoven baby blanket detail

While I was weaving, I decided on a different course of action than my usual. Usually I weave, sew on the binding, and wet finish with a hand wash. This time I’d try another way. After all, that old saying that is if you do what you’ve always done you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. Plus, I still had that throw-it-away-Babies-R-Us default option.

So I took it off the loom, went upstairs to the sewing machine, sewed not one, not two, but three rows of machine stitching on each end, went down to the basement and tossed it in the washing machine. Then without looking at it I tossed it in the dryer.

My thinking is that the cotton would shrink however much it was going to, and if the blanket was still alive when I took it out of the dryer, that was the time to sew on the polyester satin binding.

Well, I took it out of the dryer and LOVED it! It was soft and sweet, not a bit of stiffness left in it!

finished handwoven baby blanket
Went back upstairs to the sewing machine, sewed on the binding, shot a few pix, and sent it off to baby.

I will definitely do this again. And will probably use the washer to wet finish all my cottons from now on. I’ll still hand wash all my rayons and bamboos, though.

I have so much to learn. That’s one of the things I love about weaving. As soon as I have one thing mastered, there are a dozen others waiting for me.

Back to the loom!

11 comments to Braided Baby Blanket

  • Barbara

    congrats on the baby blanket and the lesson learned about machine washing your handwovens.

    I strongly suggest that you go ahead and try machine washing and drying a sample of a rayon or bamboo handwoven. I’ve found that it’s the perfect finish. I tumble them almost dry and then do a hard press to complete the drying process.

    • Peg Cherre

      Thanks, Barbara. Because my rayon & bamboo are scarves & shawls, I think I’ll stick with hand washing for now. One step at a time! :^)

  • I machine wash all my cotton towels and throw them into the dryer. Things like scarves and shawls, table runners and the like, I hand wash. I press all for presentation.

    You baby blanket looks soft and inviting!I’m sure it will be much appreciated. I just woven up three crib blankets and three receiving blankets for my new grandson and from the pictures I get, I can see they are in daily use which makes a weaver feel great!


    • Peg Cherre

      You know, Susan, it was your latest blanket that inspired me to try cotton again. I paid attention to your sett, and decided to use 15 EPI for the 5/2 cotton I was using. I think this was the perfect sett.

      I, too, machine wash towels, but not scarves & shawls.

      I love reading your blog!

  • Dot

    That is a beautiful blanket! I just found your blog after enjoying reading your guest post on Meg’s Unravelling blog about why you weave.

  • […] I had all the yarn in house, I was in the middle of weaving the pink & white baby blanket, so my Macomber was already in use. Another […]

  • Eva

    Your baby blanket looks just great.
    Was that perle 5/2 cotton or unmercerized?
    What was your sett?

  • Pegi

    Beautiful blanket, Peg! What was the size of the blanket on the loom as opposed to after you washed and dried it? Thanks!

    • Peg Cherre

      Gee, it would be nice if I knew the answer to your question, Pegi. Unfortunately I don’t. Sometimes I take those measurements, but often I don’t, I just sort of guesstimate what I think the shrinkage will be. Of course it all depends on the fiber, the size, the weave pattern, the beat, just about everything.

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