Weaving Baby Blankets Part 1b

I’m on a mission. I’m wanting to try out different types of yarns and weave structures to come up with several go-to baby blanket patterns I can use. During this process I’m actually learning a lot about how different types of fibers work. One of the big unexpected surprises I encountered was using acrylic yarn purchased at a craft store in weaving. You have to be so careful in your yarn choice to make it work. This blog post is titled “Weaving Baby Blankets Part 1b” because it’s a slight variation of my first baby blanket. Here’s a picture of that first blanket:

Generally, I kind of liked how the blanket turned out, but there were some issues. What I liked was the variegated yarn I chose as the main yarn. Although it’s not very evident in this picture, there are two accent yarns I also used in the weft. These yarns were too stretchy and staticy (not a real word, I know) and they were difficult to work with. Because I matched the variegated yarn too closely, you can’t really see the contrast that I was originally going for. This is a mixed twill pattern from The Handweaver’s Pattern Directory and although I like the pattern itself on the front side, the back side looked squishy (take a peek at the lower right corner). Actually, what happened was that I was beating too hard. What I have since learned is that when using acrylic yarn (yarn with a stretch) is that you have to beat more lightly than what you’d usually beat as the warp yarn is under tension and you have to account for that stretch to make the warp and weft more equal. I wove this blanket at 8 epi because in my samples, I thought the 10 epi sample was a bit stiff.

So that blanket just sat for a bit. It’s okay, but not good enough to gift to an expecting parent. Since I really liked the yarn and the overall effect, I wanted to see if I could fix those issues and come up with a blanket I loved. So here’s the plan:

  • Keep the variegated yarn and switch out the accent yarns
  • Choose accent yarns that match, but have more contrast for the warp
  • Change the pattern a bit to add more accent yarn strips in the warp
  • Bump up the sett to 10 epi
  • Beat lighter and more consistent
  • Make the blanket slightly wider and longer
  • Do a better job on my hemming 🙂

Since I’m sticking with the Lion Brand Ice Cream as the main yarn, I needed to find two accent yarns that match, but also aren’t too stretchy. Since my first yarns didn’t work (Feels Like Butta brand), I thought I’d give these Baby Bee colors a try. I chose the Violet and Pooltime colors. I purchased these yarns at my local Hobby Lobby.

I created the pattern on my iWeaveIt software. There are 360 total ends plus two floating selvages. 70 variegated, 50 Pooltime, 20 variegated, 20 Violet, 40 variegated, 20 Pooltime, 20 variegated, 50 Violet, 70 variegated. Here’s a picture of the warp on my loom.

This blanket measured 36 inches in the reed and 34 1/2 inches on the loom when taking into the account the take in. After washing the dimensions of the blanket were 32 inches wide and 32 1/2 inches long. So, that was a 4 inch difference in the width when accounting for take in and shrinkage. In terms of size, this blanket was a little larger than the first and I prefer this size.

I like this blanket so much more than the first attempt. I think it’s gift worthy! I was able to fix many of the issues of the first blanket. I found that using the 10 dent reed was just fine. The blanket was a little more firm than the one woven at 8 epi, but it was still super soft. Since I used my AVL dobby loom with the auto cloth advance feature, I was able to keep the beat consistent (set it at 10 picks per inch) and this made the back side of the blanket look much better. The only change I would make to the blanket is changing out the Pooltime yarn for one that is darker and maybe a pink if it’s available in that brand. The green was not my favorite color and it’s difficult to see the contrast I was going for in the blanket.

Items and Resources Used in this Project

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