Weaving Through Thick and Thin

Right now I’m in a bit of a pickle. I’m working on planning a very important project, but while I know generally what I would like to weave, I can’t bring myself to make decisions on the specifics. I don’t think I’ve ever had this problem before. In the past, choosing the right color palettes and weaving patterns has often seemed easy, almost like the project told me what it should be. But this project absolutely refuses to talk to me about what colors I should use or what draft I should follow.

So what is this important project I’ve been vainly trying to plan on and off for four months, give or take a week? Well, right now I’m working on designing my first baby blanket, for my first baby.

When choosing weaving patterns for a baby blanket, remember that the colors are for the parents, not the baby!

Tom Knisely suggests choosing the color scheme of a baby blanket based on the parents’ preferences. Get the draft for this cute blanket in the new Handwoven!

I realize deep down that in the grand scheme of things, whatever I make will be just fine. Babies, adorable though they are, manage to produce a fair amount of mess. So, as long as the blanket is durable, washable, and woven in a sensible structure (no Leno lace, extra-long floats, or fringe) everything will work out. I know this deep in my heart of hearts, and yet the project remains unplanned.

While editing the most recent November/December issue of Handwoven, I found some sage advice on this very topic from none other than two-time grandfather and expert baby blanket weaver, Tom Knisely.

In his Notes from the Fell article, Tom wrote of designing and weaving a baby blanket for his second granddaughter. He includes the advice that the “traditional” rule of blue blankets for boys and pink for girls can be thrown out. In fact, the tradition is really a 20th-century invention. Babies, as Tom points out, can’t even see colors in the first few months. Even then, it takes them a while to get a handle on the full spectrum. In other words, the color palette of the baby blanket is for the benefit of the parents.

This advice, combined with the reveal of Tom’s favorite yarn for baby blankets, has me excited once again about designing and, hopefully, weaving the blanket soon—ideally within the next 5 months, give or take.

In the meantime, if I need some more inspiration before I buckle down, there’s plenty to be found elsewhere. The November/December issue is devoted to weaves that combine thick and thin yarns. We play with everything from crackle to diversified plain weave to classic miniature overshot. The weaving patterns and the color palettes are spectacular.

Gorgeous Weaving Patterns from Handwoven

The eaving patterns from Handwoven November/December 2016 make use of thick and thin yarns used together.

Weaving patterns from Handwoven November/December 2016. Left to right: “Discovery Towels in Thick & Thin” by Karen Isenhower (4-shaft), “Wearing Purple” Crackle Runner by Linda Gettmann (4-shaft), and  “Thick and Thin Bed Rug” by Marty Benson (6-shaft).

In fact, the thick-and-thin plain weave towels by Karen Isenhower featured on the cover would look beautiful translated into a baby blanket. Or perhaps I’ll let my unabashed love of purple take over and use Linda Gettmann’s “Wearing Purple” crackle runner as my guide. Better yet, I might take the Cat Track and Snail Trail design, woven by Marty Benson in her beautiful thick-and-thin bed rug, for the baby blanket. In fact, Marty tells a story about the design having been used in a coverlet found at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History. Perhaps I might start a new trend and weave a baby coverlet.

Whatever I end up weaving, I know it will be used and it will be loved. Of course, once I’ve got the blanket woven, I’ll need to design a baby wrap. But that’s another weaving for another day.

Happy Weaving!

P.S. Order your print copy of Handwoven November/December 2016, or download your digital copy here.

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