Sooo many babies around lately! It seems like every single one of my friends and family members has had a baby in the last 3 years or is currently pregnant. Needless to say, this has meant a lot of baby gift making in recent years, and more in the near future.
One gift I have really enjoyed making for expecting friends is a blanket and burp cloths set. Jessica at Juicy Bits has written a great tutorial for these. (Off-topic, check out the amazing birthday parties she designed for her kids too! Whoa!)
Angel, do you remember when our group of mama friends decided to send homemade baby gifts to our friend Kelly? She had just moved to Colorado before the birth of her baby girl, and homemade goodness seemed like just the perfect comfort at such a stressful time. For my gift to Kelly, I made my first experiment in blanket-making. I mixed the Juicy Bits tutorial with a pattern for the Garter Stitch Blanket from the fabulous book Special Knits for Baby by Debbie Bliss.
I knit the "body" of the blanket according to the Super Knits pattern, and added a border according to Jessica's tutorial. You can see my little homemade mish-mash notes above. With hindsight, this combo blanket may have been a tad ambitious, as I had never done binding on a blanket or quilt before. Working with knit material isn't the simplest thing, and the results were slightly horrifying for my detail-loving self. I made the burp cloths straight from the tutorial, thank goodness.
Having never dealt with binding or mitered cornered, I ended up stitching twice around the seam between the blanket and border, since the first time around didn't catch everything. My sewed lines were not straight, and neither were the edges of my knit blanket -- loads of fun. The off-kilter lines of stitches made me blush with embarrassment. But, by that point I had worked so hard on this gift that I decided to send it anyway. I kept my fingers crossed that Kelly wouldn't look too close and that it would keep her new baby girl warm in the Colorado winter!!
I have to admit I really loved knitting that blanket. It was the perfect mindless TV-watching activity, and the result was cozy and substantial. I really enjoyed the process and, now that I have more experience binding, will probably try it again in the future.
Those little burp cloths are super easy to make, and come in so handy when babies are spitting up 30 times a day, that I made some for my sister and for you too when Silas was born. (These were meant to accompany the little grandpa sweater I knit for him but that's a whole 'nother post.) I am not sure what possessed me to top-stitch in red. Not sure that was a good idea either, considering my trouble with stitching corners. Oh well. I hope Silas got the chance to spit up all over them!!
Finally, last month I got to work on another set of blanket and burp cloths, this time for our friend Ginger who is expecting a little girl. Following my resolution to use stash fabric, I selected a sweet pink flannel for the backing and a combo of butterfly/flower fabric I love. I think I bought those prints at Hobby Lobby a couple of years ago and have used them for several little things. The blanket is a good project for featuring some pretty yardage.
I followed Jessica's tutorial to a tee this time, with much nicer results. Oh wait, I did substitute flannel for the minky she uses in her tutorial, and I added a layer of flannel in between for bulk.
Once again, the burp cloths were easy-peasy. (Notice how I pin everything backwards? I just realized that. I think it's because I'm left-handed. Maybe.)
As for the blanket... Let's just say I still have a lot to learn about properly attaching my binding. Paying close attention to the Juicy Bits instructions for pinning helped me quite a bit. But, sewing in the ditch is much harder than it sounds. Again, I can't seem to sew in proper straight lines quite yet. Does one ever master this?! The corners were okay, but kind of messy. I need to pay closer attention to the color of my threads, the corners should probably have been sewn in a matching fuchsia.
Overall, I was pretty pleased with the result. I think I would have liked to receive this blanket and burp cloth set as a gift. I hope Ginger gets to use and enjoy it with her soon-to-arrive baby girl!
Wow Jenny! I can't believe how productive you have been. I am inspired. I love the "girl" fabrics so much! We have gotten a lot of use out of the burp cloths you gave Silas, they also work great as a small changing pad so I usually stick one in my bag with a few diapers if I'm going out with the baby. I love the knitted/cloth blanket concept, I am going to give that a try next time I have a baby to "make" for!