Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cashmere baby blanket

Is it just me or can making be stressful as well as enjoyable?!  I think in a perverse sort of way I thrive on the stress of my projects. This particular "make" had its fair share of said stressful situations, from start to finish. So bare with me, it could be a long & rambling post.....

I wanted to make a something for a friends baby and as its number 3 thought I should try something different.  I saw this baby blanket and this one made from recycled cashmere jumpers and decided this was the project.  My Mum has an impressive collection of cashmere jumpers, several of which she has had since I was young so I can confirm the durability of cashmere. And I have always loved and appreciated the kitten softness of the yarn.

I picked up 3 cashmere beauties from my local Goodwill, all moth free (do you get moths in California?) and a not too small, for a bargainly sum of 17 bucks. I know! How good is that?!!  I washed them in the machine at home & laid them to dry flat.

So came the first stress of the project.  Should I felt them? Will they all unravel when I cut them up? How should I cut them? Can I really cut up precious cashmere jumpers?! After much googling, which seemed to suggest that I DID need to felt them I decided not to. I wanted to preserve the integrity of the wool to optimise the cuddliness of the blanket.  So here is my first piece of advice - you do not need to felt woollen jumpers if you want to cut them up. They do not unravel!

I cut the jumpers into 4 - 2 arms, a front & back. Then into strips of even width.

Onto stress no.2 - how to sew knitted pieces together.....A consultation with my talented crafty friend Nicola at a pip and a peach concluded that a zig zag stitch was not necessary, a shorter stitch length of a regular stitch would do the job.  After laying out the design I machine sewed the pieces together to form one large blanket sized rectangle

After ironing the seams did sit flat (unlike in the picture!).  I attached the backing fabric, Heather Ross 'Far Far Away', by pinning good sides together and sewing 3/4 of the edges then turning right side out. By now it was starting to resemble a finished blanket.
Simple job of sewing on the bias binding and one finished blanket, right? Oh no! Mega stress time! Let's just say bias binding is a skill I need to work on....I followed this youtube clip which got me through it but I'm not sure its the best method to use.

To join the two sides of the blanket I discreetly stitched the inside woollen seems to the orange long john's.  Hooray! One finished blanket. Its not a perfect but I am sure its new owner will be happy to dribble all over it.

Sewing, stressful, never...

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