Make & Hue

A Blanket of Many Hands

When we were expecting our youngest, Nina, we were lightheartedly forewarned by other sleep-deprived (and possibly bitter) parents that “nobody cares when you have your second baby”. The idea being that everybody fawns over you and your first child, asking how everything is going, how you’re feeling, if you’re nursing, if the baby is sleeping, and on and on… but that it’s no big deal when the second child arrives. I casually braced myself for indifference.

A few weeks after Nina was born, I received a visit from my former spinning and weaving teacher, Irene Weisner, and our now spinning teacher at the SweetGeorgia studio, Katrina Stewart. I was overwhelmed. They presented Nina with the most wonderful blanket handmade by nearly twenty spinners and knitters in our community, both here and abroad. Each person contributed a handmade square for the blanket — most were handknit, many were also handspun, and much of the blanket was made from our SweetGeorgia yarn or fibre. And Katrina took on the great task of squaring up and joining all the blocks together, adding on a picot edging of deep magenta handspun yarn.

The blanket was accompanied by a stash of notes and good wishes from each of the knitters and spinners, welcoming Nina to our family. It is overwhelmingly beautiful — not just the blanket itself, but the sentiments from all these wonderful friends. I absolutely treasure this gift and everyone’s kind words. One day, I’ll share these notes and thoughts with Nina when she is older and can understand all the caring people that welcomed her into the world so warmly.

A handmade baby blanket is a funny thing. I’ve started and stopped no less than four knit or crocheted baby blankets. The first was in a lovely butter yellow cashmerino wool from Debbie Bliss knit mostly in stockinette with a seed stitch border. Then there were a few hand-dyed yarn blankets that I tried to knit diagonally from corner to corner with two strands held together to make it go faster. Finally, there is my epic collection of tiny crocheted granny squares that I have yet to piece together. I think I must have at least 80 squares by now. 

Here’s the thing. Despite their relatively easy, straightforward nature, a baby blanket is a weighty commitment. Considerations of fibre content (cotton or wool? or cashmere??), stitch pattern (will baby’s fingers get stuck in those yarnovers in the lace?), and colour scheme (vibrant and fun? or are dyes not good for a baby? should it be undyed and all-natural? organic or not??) will have your head spinning. And for someone who loves to knit the most “potato chip” knitting projects while Netflixing, why has it been impossible for me to finish a single baby blanket?

Enter the knitting community.

When I thanked and chatted with a couple of the knitters who contributed squares to Nina’s blanket, they chuckled a bit because they didn’t know what the final blanket would be like. Everybody just designed and created their own square, to their own liking, with their own message. Some knitters also spun the yarn for their square. And some knitters used one of our SweetGeorgia yarns that had meaning for them.

And each knitter was responsible for that single work of art. When combined together, this blanket carried a greater message. 

See, when it’s just me knitting a baby blanket on my own, there’s so many decisions to make. Perhaps my logic is flawed, but when you are part of a collective, there’s no need to overthink it. Just contribute your voice and what you want to say, and it becomes a choir. Knitting something together with a circle of friends to give to someone who needs healing, rest, comfort, and love is such an incredibly special and powerful offering.

I’m thankful for the community that created this gift for my second baby. She’s just as precious as the first.

Thank you to Irene Weisner, Katrina Stewart, Rachel Smith, Charlotte Lee, Laura Baiani, Diana Twiss, Ruth Hawke, Anita Lee, Heather Johnston, Tina Chau, Judy Garren, Deborah Woodcock, Lisa Luft, Valerie Norquay, Greta Cornejo, Lisa Lints, Tracy Frazer, Terry Villeneuve, and Joan Taylor for all your beautiful handmade contributions to this very special blanket!  

Thank you to Irene Weisner, Katrina Stewart, Rachel Smith, Charlotte Lee, Laura Baiani, Diana Twiss, Ruth Hawke, Anita Lee, Heather Johnston, Tina Chau, Judy Garren, Deborah Woodcock, Lisa Luft, Valerie Norquay, Greta Cornejo, Lisa Lints, Tracy Frazer, Terry Villeneuve, and Joan Taylor for all your beautiful handmade contributions to this very special blanket!

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About Felicia Lo

founder + creative director of SweetGeorgia // designer + dreamer // wife + mama // dyer, knitter, spinner, weaver, youtuber + author // been writing this blog about colour and craft since 2004 // see what I am making @lomeetsloom and @sweetgeorgia.

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