I’ve not had a chance to make lots of things for Baby Sophia yet, but when my bump started to get so big that standing for a long time was hard, I wanted to work on a project that I could do in the evenings that would be pretty easy to do while I was sitting down and knitting seemed like the obvious choice.
I think making a baby blanket is a really lovely thing to make, as they won’t grow out of it so quick like clothes and it can be cherished for a lot longer.
I had been inspired by the Liberty range of things at Mamas and Papas and of course thought I’m not paying those prices – I’ll make it myself!
So here is how I made my knitted Liberty trimmed comfort blanket. If you are a knitter and want a mindless knitting project to while away the evenings then great!
But, if you aren’t – or just don’t have that much time – you could easily customise one of the plain baby blankets you can buy with a lovely pretty trim!
The knitting stitch that I used creates a sort of looped effect on one side which I think is really nice and a bit more interesting that plain garter or stocking stitch.
The finished size of my blanket is 38.5 “ x 23” (the section that I knitted was 35.5’ x 20” and the fabric border is approx 1.5”).
I must admit – I had intended on it being bigger but the baby was due any time and I might have started to find all the simple knitting a bit boring so it ended up being smaller. If you wanted it bigger then its really easy to adjust things – I’ll show you how!
Yarn – I used 5 x 50g balls of Rico Essentials Cotton DK in natural. Or you could buy a plain blanket instead.
Fabric – I used 40cm of Liberty Tana Lawn. I think the light weight of the lawn is perfect for this but you could also use a medium weight quilting cotton instead.
Wadding – I used just 20cm of Warm and natural cotton wadding – but as its so wide I had lots left over.
*I recommend pre-washing your fabric, wadding and once you have knitted your section – pre-wash that too in however you plan to care for it afterwards. You can wash the Rico Cotton at 30 degrees in the machine so that’s what I did.*
3.75mm circular knitting needles - with a 60cm cord (the blanket isn't actually knitted in the round - you just need the length of the cord as there are so many stitches)
Wool needle (for sewing in loose ends)
Cast on 221 stitches onto 3.75mm circular needles. This gave me the width of 90cm.
Row 1 – Knit 1, Purl 1, repeat to end of row
Row 2 – Purl 1, slip 1 with yarn in front, Purl 1, repeat to end of row
Repeat above 2 rows until you reach the desired length.
I kept going until I had used 5 balls of yarn – but you could just keep going if you wanted a bigger blanket.
To increase the size of the blanket I created a fabric border that has wadding on the inside to pad it out a bit. This is how to add an extra border to the blanket that is approx 1.5”
From the wadding, cut out strips that are 1 ¾” wide. For each side of the blanket you will need a strip that is the length of the knitted section plus 4” (this is to allow for the turning at the corner).
From the fabric cut out strips that are 4 ¼” wide. For each side of the blanket you will need a strip that is the length of the knitted section plus 4” (this is to allow for the turning at the corner).
This width of fabric will allow for a ¼” seam allowance when you sew it to the knitted section, 1 ½” for the front of the fabric border and 1 ½” for the back, ½” seam allowance when you have to hand sew it down at the back and ¾” for variations in seam allowance and turnings as you are folding the fabric around the thickness of the wadding. Any extra can always be absorbed into the seam allowance at the back anyway.
As you are sewing something knitted to something woven, its important to stabilise the knitted section to avoid it stretching out of shape and making the blanket contorted against the stable fabric border.
To do this, use your ironing board to pin the edge of the blanket at the set length/width it should be with the right side of the blanket facing upwards.
My knitted section was 35.5’ x 20”, so using a measuring tape, and working on one side at a time, I pinned it to the ironing board at that set length (so two sides were 20” and two sides were 35.5”).
Make sure that the knitted section is evenly stretched out and not bunched up in some parts and really stretched in others.
Mark the centre and quarter points of that edge with a pin or chalk.
Next, place the fabric strip right side facing down, on top of the blanket with the wadding strip on top. Measure 2 inches in from each end of the strip and mark it with a pin or chalk. Also mark the centre and quarter points so that you can easily match them up with the knitted section.
With the edge of the knitted section lined up with the edge of the fabric and wadding strip, pin the layers together and sew with a ¼” seam allowance on the sewing machine.
It’s easier if you have a walking foot for this step, but I tried with the regular machine foot and was able to do it ok. You might need to hold the strip at the back of the machine as its feeds though to make sure the knitted section doesn’t get stuck on the feed-dogs.
Press the fabric and wadding strip up away from the knitted section and then turn it over so the back of the fabric and knitted section is facing you.
Fold the 2” section that is at the corner up at a 45 degree angle. You may want to trim back a section of your wadding at this point on that 45 degree line if it is a thick bulky wadding.
Along the side edge of the fabric strip, fold in about ½” and press in place.
Fold the top edge of the fabric strip to create another 45 degree angle and a point as shown in the picture.
Fold the top section of the fabric strip over the wadding and tuck the seam allowance under. The seam allowance will be bigger that the ¼” you used at the front but as we are going to hand sew it in place, its easier to handle if it’s a big bigger. Press everything in place and repeat at the other corner.
Hand sew the fabric to the back of the blanket using a ladder stitch. Repeat for all the four sides, leaving the pointy corners loose. Remembering to pin out your knitted edge to stabilise it.
Once you have all four edges on the corners will still be loose and moving around. Hand sew the seams (that are at the 45 degree angle) with a ladder stitch to finish the blanket off.
I’m really pleased with the blanket, it’s really simple but I think it looks really pretty and Sophia seems to love it too!
Happy knitting and sewing!
Image credit to Victoria Beddoes Photography