Comfy Blankets

by | Mar 7, 2021 | Uncategorized

Terry’s baby blanket

This post is about comfy blankets. For some they conjure up cozy nights in front of the fireplace.  For others they are a traditional welcoming present for a new baby.  Whatever your approach, there are a lot of options with regard to purpose, size and materials.  

There are baby blankets, elegant throws for the sofa, the classic “car blanket” or cozy afghan, large ruanas that can double as a blanket, lap blankets for wheelchairs, and full size blankets for a bed.  They can be made from practical washable yarns, luxury fibres or sweater weight wool.    

There are a number of ways to weave a blanket depending upon the equipment you have and your ingenuity.  The major issue is how to create a long rectangular piece of cloth that is wide enough to serve as a blanket.  The major limitation is the width of the loom on which you plan to weave the blanket.
What follows are two examples of equipment extremes.
Linda’s blanket warp on 60″ loom

Our guild is lucky enough to have a 60″ wide counter balance loom.  It is ideal for weaving a wide blanket in one piece.  The photo above shows a multi-coloured wool warp wound on the loom’s sectional beam.  The warp was the foundation for a man-sized blanket.
At the opposite end of the equipment spectrum we have the baby blanket wrapped around the teddy.  It was woven with a washable synthetic yarn on a 20 inch rigid heddle loom in 3 panels.  The panels were joined by a decorative herringbone stitch.  The challenge with this approach is to weave the pattern consistently for the length of the warp so that you can match it across the 3 panels.  You can also add interest by highlighting the join with hand sewing.  
Mary’s blended colour blanket

  

 Mary’s large blanket is another example of a pieced blanket.  It has muted stripes symmetrically arranged around a panel of blues.  The middle panel was woven separately and added as a design feature.  It also avoids any irregularities in matching the two sections that were woven on the same warp.

     
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Throws, afghans and lap blankets are often narrow enough to be woven as one piece on a 45 inch or even a 36″ loom.
 
The blue throw with fine stripes of textured thread is an example of  designing the cloth “in the reed”.  This designing technique starts with a number of small warps, each consisting of a different yarn.  The order of the yarns in the warp is determined as you thread them through the reed.  This is a great way of using up small amounts of fancy threads.  The throw was a cooperative effort by 3 guild members.  Pauline and Myrtle designed the warp and Kathy wove it on one of the studio looms  
Mixed warp throw
The plaid mohair afghan was also woven in one piece on a 45 inch loom.  On a loom 45 inch loom you can weave a blanket that is 40 inches wide in one piece.  The blanket will be brushed vigorously to bring up the mohair nap which helps to trap heat.
Jackie’s mohair blanket

If you loom is too narrow to weave a blanket as one piece you can always try a double weave technique.  With this technique you weave two layers simultaneously.  If those layers are only joined on one side then the resulting cloth is (almost) twice as wide as the warp.  It takes some practice to make the joined edge invisible in the final cloth but once mastered the technique is fast and easy.  It avoids problems with matching patterns.  With 8 or more harnesses you can make a patterned blanket without the worry of matching the patterns.
The cotton carriage blanket was woven on a 36″ loom in a plain twill.  The weft was a variegated yarn the same thickness as the striped warp.
double weave carriage blanket

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