Handwoven Blankets for Babies

Handwoven baby blankets are for cuddling babies. It is a pleasure to weave a baby blanket for a dear friend’s first grandchild. As long as I’m dressing the loom, it makes sense to weave more than one. So the second baby blanket is for cuddling my own grand-babies when they come to visit.

Double weave baby blankets. Cutting off!

Double weave baby blankets unrolled from the cloth beam, ready to be cut off.

Hemming double weave baby blanket.

Double weave top and bottom layers are stitched together by hand at the hems. Contrasting thread is used for a decorative embroidered look.

Embroidered edge of handwoven baby blanket.

Whipstitch in contrasting thread.

Handwoven baby blankets super soft for baby's skin.

Blankets are triple washed for softness. Ready to touch baby’s skin.

Double weave baby blanket.

Double weave has reverse pattern on the back.

Double weave baby blanket.

Same warp, different weft.

Handwoven baby blanket for newborn.

Meet Julian, my friend’s new grandson, wrapped in love.

Handwoven baby blanket. (Resting on his great-great-grandmother's quilt.)

Meet Benjamin, our newest grandson, wrapped in love. (Resting on his great-great-grandmother’s quilt.)

A resting baby is a picture of hope. Hope for the next feeding, hope in the mother’s tender love, hope in the father’s secure arms. No arrogance, no illusion of grandeur. Just quiet rest. Hope in the Lord looks like this. Hope for today, the future, and forever. My soul is at rest—in complete rest and trust. Like a resting baby in his mother’s arms. Like a baby wrapped in a blanket woven especially for him.

May you find rest.

Blessed,
Karen

22 Comments

  • Cate Kauffman says:

    These are really wonderful. Curious to know what kind of yarn/thread you are using to make these? I was introduced to double weave last year and plan to tackle a small project in the coming new year (once I finish the overshot table runners I’m working on now). Your blog is a regular inspiration to me, both in spirituality and productivity. Thank you.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cate, I’m so happy to have you here. If you find something that inspires you, I’ve accomplished my purpose. Thank you!

      I used Bockens 8/2 cotton in warp and weft for these blankets. I like the feel of washed cotton.

      I’m sure your overshot table runners are lovely!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Wow! They are beautiful, Karen! The blankets and the babies. What a great use for double weave.

  • Annie says:

    I haven’t tried double weave yet, but these blankets definitely make me want to try! Unfortunately, all of my grandchildren are too old for swaddling blankets. Guess I will just need to make bigger ones!

    Thank you for the inspiration, both spiritually and weavingly.

    Many blessings,
    Annie

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, The baby stage doesn’t last very long, does it? Because of the double layers, a double weave blanket would be good for any age. I wouldn’t mind having one my size!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Joan says:

    Beautiful- What size do you make your baby blankets?

  • Andrea Bakewell says:

    Hi Karen,
    These are lovely and looks like a great project to learn double weave. Is there a pattern you used or just made it up as you went along? I like the short and long boxes 🙂

    Beautiful work!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Andrea, This is a draft from The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell. I varied the pattern slightly from the pattern in the book to give the design some of my own details. You’re right, this would be a super project to learn double weave.

      Thanks so much,
      Karen

  • Martha says:

    What wonderful love filled blankets to cuddle the wee ones. Nice choice of colors – Lovely weaving as always. The hand made quilt is extra special too!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Martha, My friend helped choose the colors for her grandson’s blanket. I like her choice!
      I enjoy keeping my Grandmother’s handmade quilt where I can see it and use it every day. I’m fond of connecting the past generations with the present.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Susie Redman says:

    Dear Karen,
    These are stunning! I’ve done a double weave project in a class using an 8 shaft table loom but I’m not at all sure how to dress my Glimakra floor loom for double weave. Did you use an extra beam ?
    Would be great to see how you dressed your loom for a double weave project.
    I followed your advice on sorting out the length of my treadle cords to improve the shed – worked a treat – thank you.
    Susie

    • Karen says:

      Hi Susie, Great question! There wasn’t anything unusual in dressing the loom for this project. No second beam, since both layers are the same plain weave. The double weave is simply set up in the threading. You can find this draft in The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell.

      Thanks for letting me know the advice about treadle cords worked for you. That makes me very happy!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • D’Anne says:

    Your lovely handwoven baby blankets for adorable Benjamin and Julian are destined to become family heirlooms just like your grandmother’s quilt. Wouldn’t your grandmother enjoy knowing you are using and loving her quilt!

    • Karen says:

      Hi D’Anne, I’m sure my grandmother never imagined how much her handmade quilts would be enjoyed! It’s a sweet thought that my woven blankets could become heirlooms like that.

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • Tobie says:

    Beautiful! and what a good idea for double weave.

  • Michelle Simon says:

    I truly enjoy reading your blog and the comments. My newest grandchild is only 3 months old and the double weave blanket is a great idea! Many thanks for your thoughtfulness! I, too, enjoy connecting the generations and have been delighted to see in photos my granddaughters with the quilts I’ve made for them–and items I saved from their mother’s childhood being used again!

    Happy Holidays!

    Michelle

    • Karen says:

      Hi Michelle,
      I enjoy reading the comments, too. I’m thrilled when the conversation keeps going.

      Yes, those handmade articles, like your quilts, are threads that make memories and help tie families and generations together.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Inga says:

    Hello Karen,
    Your little blankets are just delicious! I was wondering how many epi you use with 8/2 cotton. In the book they used 8/4 (12 epi), and on other similar project with double weave with 8/2 epi is 25 which I find too dense for a soft blanket. I was thinking more like 18 per layer. Please, let me know. Thank you. Inga

    • Karen says:

      Hi Inga, These baby blankets are a very loose weave, almost like gauze, which is nice for a baby blanket. With 8/2 cotton, I used a 50/10 metric reed, so my sett was 5 ends per cm each layer. I think that would be about 12-14 ends per inch each layer. I think 18 epi per layer would come out about right for a soft blanket.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Hint of Shadows

I hope this isn’t cheating, but I added a teeny bit of embroidery to the finished bluebonnets. One thing I learned with this transparency is that an image that looks flat can be improved with a hint of shadows.

Woven transparency just off the loom.

Wide casing at the top and bottom of the bluebonnet transparency make it easy to hang for display. I envision it hanging from a stripped and polished cedar rod, harvested from our Texas hill country property.

I’m thankful for my husband’s artful eye. He helped me identify the “off-screen sunlight” that would produce natural shadows. I am adding a few darker stitches to the right-hand side of some of the lighter areas, and a touch at the sides and lower end of the flower stems. My hope is to give the picture a bit more depth.

Embroidery added to finished woven transparency.

A single strand of mora wool in a darker shade is used to embroider some outline stitches on the right side of some of the bluebonnet petals.

Shadows tell us something: There is a light source. Find out where the light is coming from. That is what it’s like for those seeking God. There are shadows everywhere you look. We see the shadows–the effects of a shining light. And we want to find the source.

Texas Bluebonnets transparency. Karen Isenhower

Hint of shadows helps give shape to the otherwise flat transparency.

Go on a search and exploration expedition. Start with small shadows that you see, the circumstances and blessings that hint at an outside light source. Such seekers may discover that God is just off-screen, waiting to be found.

May you follow where the shadows lead.

With joy,
Karen

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Little Chapel Tapestry

This little chapel tapestry is growing line by line. I am weaving from the back, left to right, a single line at a time, following a cartoon. I create shades of color by blending three strands of soft Fåro wool in seemingly thousands of combinations.

Weaving small tapestry while traveling.

Weaving small chapel while waiting for my delayed flight at the airport. Chapel steeple in cartoon presents a challenge.

I knew all along that the slim spire of the steeple would be a challenge. Will I have to leave off the uppermost thin line and cross? Honestly, leave the cross off the chapel? I don’t think so. Maybe wrap around a single warp end with half-hitches, and weave the short horizontal line over just three warps… Hmm, that doesn’t work–too robust for this little chapel spire.

First steeple cross attempt fails.

First attempt to weave the steeple cross. Bulky and distracting.

Take it out.

Working on the steeple cross.

Black yarn that formed the cross is removed, leaving a gap.

Weave through the empty spaces.

Undoing part of the tapestry.

Some of the sky is removed in order to sufficiently weave over the gap.

Weaving small tapestry from the back.

Closing the gap by weaving existing threads across, and weaving removed threads back in.

Study the scene…

Adding a cross to the small chapel steeple.

Chapel steeple without a cross.

Aha! …Embroider a single-thread cross.

Embroidery on a small tapestry.

Single strand of Fåro wool is used to backstitch a cross on the steeple top.

Yes, that works.

Small tapestry chapel. Karen Isenhower

Elevated cross on the chapel’s steeple gives meaning to the woven scene.

Keep your eyes on the destination. If a cross is needed on the tip of the spire, keep trying until you find a way. With your heart set on the destination, the Lord gives strength for the journey. Don’t give up when things are not working out. Take a step back to view the whole scene, and you will see how the cross completes the picture.

May you have strength for the journey.

With love,
Karen

11 Comments

  • Liberty says:

    Hi Karen,
    I love this one! Step back for a minute and you will see a different way that works better!
    Thanks,
    Liberty

  • linda says:

    This is meant as helpful……Your yarn is too heavy. Next time use 1 one strand. Takes longer, but the finished product is more realistic, because the weaver can actually make the colors look like they’re not stepped. There is a technique for rounded edges that lays in a thread along the color change edge to make it look smoother. Your answer to the cross problem is great.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda,
      Thanks for your input. I could use one strand of Faro wool if I started with a finer sett. I might do that next time. Or I might choose a picture that doesn’t have as small of detail as this one.
      Karen

  • linda says:

    Hi,There is no “rule” and if you do the church in fine and the trees or sky in heavier it should work just fine. The sett need not be changed it will just take more “shots” for the fine wool of the church to catch up with the trees/background. Play with it. love ya, linda

  • linda says:

    Karen: are you using slit technique? Do you know shared warp? It doesn’t have to be every row; you can skip a couple of rows then share that warp. It really works well especially if one of the wools is fine. The heavier wool becomes the dominate and hides the fine. If the line of fine wool is only one warp thread wide than share on either side unevenly. Start as slit, share one warp on left then on right continue slit for 3-4 rows then share.

    —- ~ —– ~ = fine —– =other
    —- ~ —-
    —-~~ —-
    —- ~~— linda

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda, for the small tapestries I use slit technique primarily, but I can see how shared warp would help on scenes like this. I know that technique, but I haven’t used it enough to be “fluent” in it. Thanks for the suggestion.
      Karen

  • Karen Reff says:

    I’m so impressed with your tapestry! It looks like it’s painted with yarns instead of with inks!

  • Kimberly Stevens says:

    Hi Karen,
    What loom is this? I like the metal pins for holding the warp threads.
    Blessings, Kimberly

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