So, about the baby blanket. As I mentioned earlier, I had a few gifts to make for people that were having babies, and this is the last of the gifts in that series. It is for my niece, who is expecting her first child, my sister’s first grandchild, and my parents’ first great grandchild. Something special was needed, and once I found out that she is supposed to have a little boy, I could start picking out a project and colors.
I went to the Homespun Yarn Party hoping to find something that would appeal to me for a baby project. I wound up heading over to Sheila‘s booth and ordering her superwash worsted weight merino. Having all of her colors there in front of me was extremely helpful, and I ordered two skeins each of “Horse with No Name”, “Scarborough Fair”, and “Blue Bijou”. With all of the confidence that I have in putting colors together, my question to Sheila was, “Do these colors look okay together?” Guess what her answer was….
Emily at Sip and Knit asked me if I was going to weave with the yarn. My answer then was no, as my big loom was still in the process of being dressed for the rug that I started three years ago, so my initial intention was to knit a baby blanket with the yarn.
But the more I thought about it, the more I thought that I had given enough time to the rug trying to get on the loom and I should give another project a chance on the loom.
So the rug yarn with the reed came off the loom, and I started to wind the warp for a baby blanket. I decided on a 2×2 twill plaid sett at 8 ends per inch. The warp would be 36 inches in the reed with each color stripe in the plaid being 4 inches.
All was going pretty quickly, until I got to the last weft stripe. That is when I realized that I was too skimpy in calculating loom waste when figuring out how long to make the warp. It wound up that I still had three inches to weave, but not enough room to weave those three inches in. I actually had to weave those last few inches because the symmetry of the blanket would be totally thrown off if I had just to decided to leave it as is.
To solve the problem, I got some left over yarn of similar weight and started winding a dummy warp to tie onto the blanket warp and weight in the back. I threaded two nuts (the kind that goes on bolts) onto a dummy warp thread, and tied the dummy warp thread onto two blanket warp ends. This gave a pretty good, though not perfect, even tension along the blanket warp.
It was not enough weight, though, to create the same kind of tension on the warp that I used for weaving the bulk of the blanket. Since I have a sectional warp beam on my floor loom, I took the two inch sections of dummy warp, with nuts attached, and tensioned the back by making a half-hitch with these threads onto the pegs used to divide the sections. From here I was finally able to weave again. And this pick is of the dummy warp threads after the blanket was cut off the loom.
Like I said it gave a good, but not perfect, tension across the blanket so that I could weave the final three inches. Since the tension was not perfect, I had to use a tapestry beater that I happened to have when putting in the last of the weft.
With Maryland Sheep and Wool coming up, and this blanket being all wool, I figured I would enter it. With only a few days to go before I had to have my entry in, I just did an overhand knot to tie off the fringe, ran it through the washer on handwash cycle, hung to dry, and trimmed the fringe for this.
I entered it in the Mamie Francis category for baby blankets. When I arrived at the festival on Saturday, I was greeted with congratulations from the knitting group that was making camp at the hospitality suite. They told me that I got a first and a second for my baby blanket, which confused the hell out of me since I only entered the one baby blanket. As it turned out, the first was for the baby blankets in the Mamie Francis category, and the second was for all of the blankets that were woven from commercial yarn.
I must say, I am pretty proud. And the first place prize for me was a $100 gift certificate for Harrisville. I still have to figure out what I am going to get with the certificate.
After getting the blanket back on Sunday evening, I went to work of re-doing the fringe. Since this is something that is going to be going through the wash (spit happens!), a blanket twist fringe will wear better, especially on a superwash yarn. (Being superwash, the wool doesn’t have its little hooks anymore, so it will want to separate in the wash rather than stick to its closest buddy.) After the change to the fringe, it got another wash and another trim to look like this.
And here is a close up of the fringe.
The blanket is now in the hands of my niece, as I gave it to her on Mother’s Day. She was very surprised and grateful.
Copyright 2010 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com