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Wool or acrylic for "heirloom" blankets?

(60 Posts)
WhatWouldLeslieKnopeDo Fri 08-Jul-16 20:16:05


I wondered if anyone could advise on the best type of wool to use for blankets that will be kept for a long time. (And also any tips on how best to prepare them/store them would be appreciated.)

Sorry, it sounds a bit gloomy, but basically I have incurable cancer. I want to make some blankets for my sister and cousins, in case they have children after my death. The youngest is ten so they'll potentially be stored for quite a long time before use.

Thank you in advance for any advice smile

PolterGoose Fri 08-Jul-16 21:59:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WhatWouldLeslieKnopeDo Fri 08-Jul-16 22:05:51

Thank you. I'm happy to spend a bit extra on something that will last well.

I hadn't really thought about colours. I was wondering about just sticking with cream or white, but I suppose that's not so practical for babies! smile

I make Woolly Hug squares so I don't know why I didn't think about those wools blush sorry, I'm not really thinking clearly at the moment. I suppose they must last well or they wouldn't have been chosen.

TheFurryMenace Fri 15-Jul-16 22:41:03

OP, that is a beautiful thought, and I'm sure your sister and cousin will cherish the blankets in the future, and a lovley way to pass on your love. flowers

JoffreyBaratheon Fri 15-Jul-16 22:46:34

WhatWould, for heirloom quality wool (not machne washable but you could include care instructions), how about Jamieson & Smith of Shetland?

Pure Shetland wool, in various weights, a spectacular colour choice...

People have been using their yarn for decades to make things of heirloom quality. Maybe not great for babies (that said, my eldest now 26, had a little gansey jumper I made from J & S and it went on to be worn by my 4 other sons....and was still going strong after No 5!) But it would be great for something special like a christening shawl or special occasion thing? And would be nice for the adults...

It's a lovely idea and whatever you make will be loved and cherished.

WhatWouldLeslieKnopeDo Fri 15-Jul-16 23:05:37

Thank you Joffrey those wools look lovely smile I might order some to make myself something lovely!

I think maybe something machine washable would be best for most of them, especially as they'll probably get thrown up on. But maybe I will make something extra special for my sister and closer relatives.

It's hard to know what people will want so far in the future, if they even have children! I don't want to annoy people from beyond the grave grin

WhatWouldLeslieKnopeDo Fri 15-Jul-16 23:06:35

Heirloom probably wasn't the right word. I don't necessarily want them to become heirlooms, or at least I don't want people to feel obligated. But it was hard to think of a suitable name for them that didn't sound too gloomy smile

KittensandKnitting Fri 15-Jul-16 23:11:04

flowers so sorry to hear this OP, but what a beautiful thing you are doing X

I'm a terrible knitter the name really needs to change but love quilting and whilst I have zero advise on the wools, could help if it was quilting batting materials I just think this is a lovely thing to do and think your loved ones will see these as heirloom blankets and treasure them

Ouch44 Fri 15-Jul-16 23:18:21

Most blankets I've made have been done in acrylic stylecraft special Double knitting. Seen it recommended for lots of blankets including Woolly Hugs, baby blankets etc. It is about £2 a ball though so pretty cheap and might not be good enough for an heirloom blanket. Does wash well though.

Sorry to hear this, but what a lovely idea. These blankets will be treasured

WhatWouldLeslieKnopeDo Sat 16-Jul-16 08:54:10

Thank you Kittens. I struggle with sewing, and abandoned my only attempt at a quilt so I'm rather impressed by anyone who can quilt smile

Ouch I love Stylecraft Special DK and use it for most things too. I wasn't sure how it would store though. I don't know what I'm imagining will happen to them grin I just didn't want people to unwrap their blankets in 10/20/30 years time and them being ruined!

I'm just bumbling around really trying to work out WTF to do! Thank you all for your comments. It's really helpful and given me things to think about smile

JoffreyBaratheon Sat 16-Jul-16 09:35:13

WhatWould, whatever you make will be treasured and kept. Good idea about making yourself something with the J & S!

SleepyForest Sat 16-Jul-16 09:50:15

Hi Leslie, I did this for my nieces as I wanted them to have something to remember me by. I used style craft special for mine. It has washed well and is soft and warm after a couple of years use. I made three single bed sized blankets for longevity but it took me ages. I have also done cushion covers for older relatives. I have got better at it as I have gone along.

I understand the urge to leave something tangible, I have always treasured a doll that my nana made for me and a cheesy sequin art picture my grandad made when he was recovering from a heart attack. They will be junk after I go.

KittensandKnitting Sat 16-Jul-16 14:18:48

I'm very very impressed by anyone who can knit items smile my mum makes beautiful things with wool I've made a few scarves and knit a lot of holes confused did try a blanket once took me forever, over a year to make and then my ex put it in the washing machine and it became a cat sized blanket

I'd love to know how you go about knitting these blankets and assembling them if you would be happy to share?

tribpot Sat 16-Jul-16 14:51:06

Jamieson & Smith is gorgeous and very hardy, although not necessarily soft enough for blankets for newborns. I would probably opt for something like Cascade, either Heritage (4-ply) or one of the 220 ranges, also masses of colour. On the other hand, Stylecraft will have the advantage of not attracting moths and other pests, but I don't know how whether acrylic yarn will start to degrade over the course of 20 or 30 years.

The key thing is storage, though, and I'd be tempted to try and get some specialist advice on this from a textiles museum, or indeed J&S themselves. Instinctively I'd suggest vacuum packing them but I worry about the plasticky smell they might have when they come out. A bit of googling suggests acid-free tissue paper is a must.

In terms of colours, no I wouldn't use white or cream. For neutrals I go for yellow, green, grey or purple.

ChickyDuck Sat 16-Jul-16 15:16:58

My mum uses rowan wool cotton. It's so snuggly and nice and not scratchy, and machine washable! She made me a blanket 5/6 years ago and it still looks brand new.

KittensandKnitting Sat 16-Jul-16 16:09:11

How do you actually set about knitting a full sized blanket? Wise knitters smile

I am feeling inspired to try again grin

Last one I knit two very wide scarves... And sewed them together, is there a better way?

storynanny Sat 16-Jul-16 16:14:15

You could knit a square abd then pick up side stitches to knit on another square and turn and repeat for ages til you get the suze you want then not too much sewing up
I would then crochet a border

KittensandKnitting Sat 16-Jul-16 16:20:11

confused shock

I am off to google this sounds very complicated to me! But thank you so much maybe I will give it a try

No idea how to crochet blush

PolterGoose Sat 16-Jul-16 16:44:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LegoCaltrops Sat 16-Jul-16 16:48:34

For a blanket, I use circular needles. like these.

KittensandKnitting Sat 16-Jul-16 16:49:42

I didn't mean to derail at all, the OP post deeply moved me and felt inspired to try again.

I'm sorry if I upset anybody especially the OP

LegoCaltrops Sat 16-Jul-16 16:53:18

You can also get extra long knitting needles if (like me) you usually hold one end under you arm.

For baby blankets (assuming you can afford it), I'd go for a cashmere merino blend. Wonderfully soft, I made DD's baby hats with this.

WhatWouldLeslieKnopeDo Sat 16-Jul-16 17:41:59

Kittens it's perfectly fine smile I'm not upset at all. It's lovely that you're considering trying again. Personally I find it so relaxing, either knitting or crochet. I feel like it's quite a good two in one hobby really, as I get something to do and then at the end I either have something for me or as a gift. Most of it goes to Woolly Hugs so then I get the extra bonus of feeling I've done something to help someone.

I haven't really got far with the planning. I will probably knit some and crochet others. If you haven't tried crochet, then you could have a go at that instead? Lots of people find it easier than knitting. You might be better off starting a new thread just so you get replies which are more relevant, as people might not see your post here, but in a mo I will post a couple of helpful links.

Knitting I'd either a) make separate squares and sew/crochet them together, b) make long strips and do the same, or c) knit on large circular needles.

I often knit larger items on circular needles even if they don't need the length, as then I find it easier to let it sit on my lap than having the weight lopsided on the needles if that makes sense.

Thank you all for further wool ideas. Lots to think about!

Yes, storage is a big concern. That's why I wonder about using wool as obviously it's been around a lot longer so there's more knowledge about how it will last. I'd probably wrap in tissue paper and then maybe in a cloth bag. I will look into something to repel moths.

I hadn't thought about asking a specialist, thanks I will look into that tribpot smile

SoupDragon Sat 16-Jul-16 17:49:15

You should use acid free tissue paper for storage rather than just ordinary tissue.

WhatWouldLeslieKnopeDo Sat 16-Jul-16 17:49:28

Kittens if you want to try crochet instead, this blog is really good: Cherry Heart crochet. At the bottom of that page, there are stitch and basic square tutorials. They are all in UK terminology. (There's US terminology too, which complicates it a bit!)

Someone at my knit and natter is doing a log cabin blanket, which is similar to what storynanny describes. You knit a strip, then cast off and pick up stitches along the side and knit a bit more. She is doing small squares and putting them together, but you can also knit a whole blanket that way.

There's a free log cabin pattern here on Ravelry, but I'm sure there are loads of others smile you could probably just enlarge that technique.

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