Right after all of my holiday crochet gift-making was done, I got to work crocheting a baby blanket for my cousin, Crystal, in Gary, Indiana who was about to have a baby.
I didn’t want to use my “go to” yarn, Red Heart Super Saver, because I wanted a softer yarn for this project, but it had to be acrylic. I prefer to use acrylic yarn for afghan projects because I can’t imagine hand washing one, even a small baby blanket. And for busy mothers on the go, having something that can be thrown into the washing machine and dryer is a big time saver.
Finally, I wanted to use a textured stitch to create a somewhat dense fabric to keep baby warm.
Finding reasonably priced yarn in Hawaii can be a challenge sometimes, another reason why I use Red Heart so much; it’s readily available here. So I was happy to find Red Heart Soft Baby Steps yarn at my local big-box craft store. I decided to use an I (5.5 mm) crochet hook with this yarn.
The Stitch Pattern – Basket Weave Stitch
Back sometime in the 1980s, I crocheted a jacket that used front and back post double crochet stitches. It was one of, if not the, warmest fabric I’d ever crocheted, and I thought it would make a great afghan fabric. A few years later, I crocheted an afghan using these stitches, and yes, it’s the warmest afghan I own.
So I immediately thought that some kind of stitch pattern, using front and back post double crochet stitches would be great for a baby blanket. And because the Red Heart Soft Baby Steps yarn is extremely soft (aka limp), I settled on the basket weave stitch as one that would give the blanket a texture thick enough to keep a baby warm on those cold Indiana nights.
I used a four-by-four basket weave stitch pattern for this blanket. That’s four rows of four front post double crochets followed by four back post double crochets. Then, for the next four rows, you do the front post double crochets over the back post double crochets and the back post double crochets over the front post double crochets. To this, I added one regular double crochet stitch at the beginning and end of each row.
Basket Weave Baby Blanket Recipe
You really don’t need row by row instructions to make this blanket for yourself. Here’s how I did it.
- First, I needed to figure out how large a blanket I was going to make. According to my Crocheter’s Handy Guide to Yarn Requirements , a baby blanket is typically 30” x 30” (I’ll explain why my blanket turned out to be 28” x 28” in a moment).
- With the size blanket I wanted to make in hand, the Yarn Requirements Guide told me how much yarn I’d need, in this case, around 1,211 yards. Since the Soft Baby Steps yarn contains 256 yards per skein, I needed five skeins to get the 1,211 yards of yarn the blanket required.
- Next, I did a gauge swatch in the basket weave stitch pattern to determine the number of chains I’d need for the foundation chain. I wanted the basket weave portion of the blanket to be 26” x 26, to which I would add a two-inch border. I probably needed one more block of basket weave stitches (i.e., four extra post stitches) to give me that width, because the basket weave portion of my blanket turned out to be only 24” wide. Adding a two-inch border to that gave me a 28” x 28” blanket, so I wasn’t going to quibble over two inches.
- Then, it was a simple matter of crocheting in the four-by-four basket weave stitch pattern (with one double crochet at the beginning and end of each row) until the length measured 24 inches.
- Finally, I was going to do several rows of single crochet for the border but decided instead to add some longer stitches so that crocheting it would go a little faster. The border on this blanket consists of [2 rounds of single crochet followed by 1 round of half double crochet] repeated two times, and ending in 2 rounds of single crochet.
Crochet design doesn’t have to be complicated. The great thing about this recipe is that you can use it to create a wide variety of blankets and afghans, simply by using different textured stitch patterns.
The Yarn Requirements Guide for determining how much yarn your project requires and a decent stitch dictionary like Robyn Chachula’s Crochet Stitches VISUAL Encyclopedia are all you need to start designing your own, unique crocheted afghans and blankets.
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