Friday, June 1, 2012

latvian baby blanket

I've been working diligently on the latvian baby blanket for, well, awhile...  The one thing that bothered me about the pattern was the lack of detail, or really any instructions at all, when it came to putting on the backing.  And you know what? I wanted a border, too.  Of course I know absolutely nothing about  blanket sewing (quilting?) but hey, I can sew right?  How hard can it be?  So for posterity here are a crap ton of photographs and a general outline of how I did it.

Of course I knit, I sewed, I cut.  This blanket is knit in the round and steeked, which means that everyone who asks what you're knitting looks at you like you're crazy when you say a blanket.  They look at the long skinny tube, and look at you to see if you're brandishing those knitting needles in a manner they should worry about, then they back slowly away.

But forget about those people.  You can see that in this pattern the steek stitches are purled.  Since there are quite a few all white rows I like this method because it helps keep the steek stitches distinct.  It makes it easier to see what you're doing when you get going on the sewing machine.

And from the right side.  You can't see too well but I used yellow thread for some contrast; you'll never see the steek reinforcement on the finished object anyway and it helps my sanity.  I use two lines, again for sanity.

This is the part I should've done differently.  I laid out my entire 1.5 yards of fabric.

Then laid the blanket out on top of it.  By the way, that bump in the middle is from the blanket being folded during blocking because I'm a good little knitter and block before steeking.  I had to steam the creases out, but they came right out.

I actually got down on the floor with the iron and steam blocked the blanket to have straighter edges.  What I should've done was cut the fabric to some predetermined dimensions and then steam blocked the blanket to those dimensions.  Unfortunately I didn't think about it until it was far too late.

I pinned the edges together and cut the fabric to size.  Ignore the pin in the picture, after I took it I went through and repinned the edges the normal way with pins perpendicular.  Since it's knit I used a zigzag stitch, due more to habit than any better reason.

As I stated, I wanted a border.  I actually went and bought a fat bias tape maker (I think it's called quilt binding?) as I already had the perfect fabric in stock.  It's a thrifted sheet and the only upcycled material in this entire blanket.  I feel like things either end up being all new or all upcycled, so here's to bucking the trend.  I pinned and sewed along the crease..

This is a horrible depiction of how I did the corners.  I basically sewed up to where I wanted the corner to turn and backstitched then moved that big fold of fabric around and started sewing again, pretty much picking up in the same spot.  After you sew and press and fold the binding around to the other side it should look pretty much like this:

Once all the seams were sewn I folded over the binding, pressed, and pinned.


Tucking in the excess on the corners is a bit easier on this side, and they should look like this:

Daunting as it was, I then slipstitched the binding all the way around.  That took the better part of my time at home yesterday.  Of course we also went to the zoo and made cookies and did some other stuff, so I'm satisfied with that.  In fact, it wasn't nearly as horrible as I expected.

The finished blanket in all it's glory =)  It takes more than wrinkles to get me down on the floor at all of 35 week pregnant, so pardon the sad looking pics.  It's pretty awesome in real life (though I may be biased somewhat).

How unbearably cute is that fabric?  It's got little owls and other birdies in bright colors all over it.  I have enough extra to do a matching baby dress.  I wish I had enough to make a, well, a something for myself but the pragmatic side of my brain has (fortunately) persuaded me against it.  But still...  can a grown up wear rainbow bird clothing?  A dress perhaps?  Or a top?  Shorts?  Or is this overly cutesy print only appropriate for pajama pants at best?


  1. Loved your description of the people viewing your tube and then backing away, I could totally sympathize so this made me laugh.

    Thank you though for the detailed instructions on how you attached the backing fabric and things. This helped me a lot, because I'm also at this stage now. I tried attaching the fabric after ironing my blanket, but turned out that the wool returned to its former self and the cotton fabric is not as stretchy -> wrinkle alarm!. Now I have to open it back up. Did you run into the same problem?

  2. Did you prewash your fabric and blanket? I did steam block the blanket very gently just to straighten up the edges a bit. Since I didn't pull it too far out of shape though it didn't spring back a whole lot (I know what you mean though about the wool not holding it's shape). I was actually surprised in retrospect that it came out so well but there's no noticeable wrinkling or puckering. I did decide not to quilt the two pieces together though so that probably helps since the pieces can wsrp a little but still lay flat together. Hopefully some of that made sense and helps!