Thursday, January 13, 2011

Anatomy of a Blanket Design

If you've checked out my little business venture, Cozy Baby, you may have notice that there are no warm and cozy blankets featured. Hats, the occasional bootee, yes. But Blankies, nope. I used to make blankies for all my friends having babies. But then I had my own and there's just no time for that. Blankies take forever. But I recently had a client request two special blankets. One was a duplicate of her son's favorite. It wasn't my pattern and not really my design aesthetic. It's perfectly lovely little blanket, soft, warm and sweet. And I know her son is going to cherish it. But I must admit to being pretty bored making it and anxious to complete it.  Of course, knowing that I was going to get to do my most favorite thing, create an brand new design, when it was finished made me even more anxious to get it done.
The finished blankie. 

I am so excited to finally get to work on this project. And I invite you to follow along as I create my first baby blanket design.
Here's the tentative layout. It shows the colors and shapes (you can barely tell the textured squares are the variegated yarn) but it doesn't show the texture of the stitches yet. The 3 gradient filled blocks-center top- are satin ribbon woven through the knitted block. It will also have a border of the solid green around the whole thing.

There are many great patterns out there so I want this design to be unique. For the client I want the blanket to be something cozy (of course!), interesting for the baby, sturdy, durable and functional for the mommy. For myself I want the pattern to be simple, have mass appeal and be unique enough for others to want to make.  I've settled on a patchwork design so that I'm able to finish a portion every day- short attention span theatre over here. And it will have a modern color pallet of green, brown, beige and a variegated green.  I'm using worsted weight acrylic for this project. It should get softer with each washing and hold up to many, MANY of them without losing it's shape.

I'm using a combination of knit and crochet. Here are the blocks I have completed so far:
4 green granny squares,  4 small single crochet rectangles in beige, brown and variegated green,  1 large brown knit rectangle and 1 beige knit rectangle with brown satin ribbon woven through eyelets.

This is the detail of the beige ribbon rectangle. It's knit and folds in half with wrong sides together so the blanket doesn't have a right or wrong side.  It curls now but when it's sewn together it will be flat and the ribbon is centered, although with the rolling it doesn't appear that way. 

4 Single crochet small rectangles and a close up of them.  Still need to weave some ends in. They'll lay flat when they're sewn together too.

4 green crochet granny squares. The border and stitching will also be this solid green.

Some of the pieces laid out in the layout drawn out above. 

I still have a long way to go. I haven't decided exactly what stitches to use on all the blocks yet either.  I've been wanting to give cables a try and some of the small blocks may be just the right place to work on that.  I'm writing the pattern as I work and hope to submit the finished design for a design contest as well as put the pattern up for sale on ravelry.  I welcome your comments and suggestions too!

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