Sunday, February 21, 2010

Alphabet blanket

I'm still here. Or maybe I should say that BOB is still safely tucked indoors all cosy and warm. Joe's told me (read 'ordered' ;0) that I sit back and take it easy now. So that means lots of crafty time for me, and consequently a finished alphabet baby blanket for the nursery!

Alphabet blanket in the nursery

The inspiration for this baby blanket is Debbie Bliss' Alphabet Blanket from The Baby Knits book. I used her lacy alphabet charts to create the intarsia alphabet squares with Rowan 4 ply cotton, and needle size US 4.

When the blocks were completed and sewn together it looked a tad small. And a little unpolished. So I pulled out some Rowan Cotton Breeze in a lovely bright pink to add a crochet border around the entire blanket - 4 rows of double chain and then one row of scallops using a 2.5 hook (I'm a self-taught crocheter - don't inspect too closely!)

A glimpse of the backing

So far, so good. Except I was thinking of little baby fingers plucking at the back of the intarsia squares: it could really do with a backing. Which is all well and good except 1) I have no clue how to do that and 2) there isn't a functioning sewing machine in our house. So I trolled the Internet for adding a backing to knit fabrics, by hand. I came across various different techniques, and am thinking I might have employed them all (and a couple I'd made up too!). Whatever works I say - and it seems to.

Blanket laid out in the crib

In case you are interested in the backing details:
I washed both the knit blanket and the flannel first, to make sure that any shrinkage happened before the 2 were permanently attached. Once dry, I laid the knit fabric out, taking care not to stretch. And then measured the dimensions of the blanket minus border. I then cut and hand tacked a piece of the cotton flannel to match this size.

Next I added a blanket stitch border to the cotton flannel, using the same pink cotton yarn that I'd crocheted around the entire border - I used this as an 'anchor' to crochet the flannel and the existing border together. But before crocheting, everything was pinned in place, including the intersection of every block to the backing (later I hand tied some of the pink yarn at each intersection). After all of that was done, all that was left exposed was some of the blanket stitch border on the flannel and so I added another couple of rows double crochet to cover that up and backstitched the edge of it to the flannel backing.

Flannel back of the blanket with crochet border

It was quite the labour of love you could say! And any experienced sewer/crocheter may be shaking their head in disbelief! But it all worked out, and at this point I have nothing but time on my hands as I play the waiting game! Oooh I'm happy to have this done before the wee one makes her arrival.

14 comments:

Stacey said...

It turned out great Sam! How do you not have a sewing machine? Ummm...that needs to be on the next birthday/christmas list. :)

Donna said...

Looks great Sam. You really need to get a sewing machine. You can borrow mine next time you need one.

Oiyi said...

It's an amazing blanket.I think the border helps pulls everything together for a professional finish. Thank you for describing how you did the backing and border. I saw it on Ravelry and knew you did a lot work on that part.

Judy said...

The blanket is wonderful. Sounds like you did a great job with the backing. I will keep this in mind fr future. I want to make one of the zig zag like you got. Enjoy these last days of peace.

Ivy said...

It looks lovely! Very impressive.

StarSpry said...

Your blanket looks wonderful, Sam!! I love how the border turned out and the flannel backing is perfect :) Thanks for sharing how you put it all together.

At Home Mommy Knits said...

ADORABLE blanket!! Too cute.

amanda said...

BOB is so cherished already! This is stunning Sam.

Bea said...

This is awesome. I'm impressed. I haven't tried intarsia yet. I'm a little intimidated.

Rima said...

This is a work of art. I showed it to my husband, and he wants me to make one for your daughter. Well. Gee.

Knitting by the Pond said...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! You did a great job and the backing is so adorable!

Kristina Knits said...

I love this blanket! It's so beautiful and perfect for little Naomi. Joseph says to give his little girlfriend lots of hugs and drooly kisses :)

WandaWoman said...

Love, love, love the blanket. It's so cute and you finished it just in time, eh? Can't wait to see you and BOB!

fridica said...

You did a wonderful job! Totally inspired me to do baby blankets for my friends... By the way, I just wandered over from Joli House to your blog and I love it! Went straight into my RSS feed subscriptions... Congrats on the new baby and I hope you'll still find time to craft and blog :)
Ivana