Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Baptism blankets: fishing for ideas

I'm looking for a little help from the audience here; I really hope you'll all chime in with your comments and/or emails. Here's the story:

I've been asked by the folks at my church to design a "baptism blanket," which would be a special blanket given by our church to the parents of infants and young children who are baptized in the parish. (It would be part of an organization they're trying to resurrect called the Guild of the Christ Child, which in our parish would involve sponsors following the families through the infants' first three years and then helping them enroll in Church School.) The blanket should be about the size of a receiving blanket and labeled with the name of the child and the date of the baptism, but other than that I've been given no guidelines.

Here are some ideas I've had, and the problems I've encountered:

  • I have a pattern for an "eyelet bound carriage blanket," but it calls for "blanket fabric" which is impossible to buy by the yard at any local store, and although the book suggests cutting down an actual blanket, it is also impossible to buy a decent blanket for a reasonable amount of money. I have found some white wool flannel online that looks interesting, and if it felts well it will be washable (which is an unwritten requirement), but several people have told me that wool is out because they are allergic to it, because it is itchy, or because it is not washable. I kind of think I'd like to see the fabric before I throw out this option because it is the most "traditional" baby blanket I can think of.
  • I could make a simple two-layer cotton flannel receiving blanket with a "St. Mary's Blue" binding. (Another suggestion I've heard is that the blanket should include our "signature" royal blue in some aspect.) I would think some embroidery would be appropriate on the front layer to make the blanket look "special" enough. I don't have much experience with embroidery but I feel confident that I can learn to do it; or there will be ladies in the parish who have sewing machines that can do embroidery -- or possibly we could work something out with an applique. I know a woman on the altar guild who will probably have a book on church sewing and embroidery that I can raid for ideas.
  • I could make a patchwork quilt with all white-on-white prints and a white (or blue, I guess, but I kind of think that would look weird) binding. That has the advantage of being soft and washable.
  • I could use a crochet pattern that I used in making one of K's baby blankets, that would make a very nice baptism blanket, and just sew a patch to the back for the label -- we'd probably get those printed anyway. Depending on the type of yarn used, both soft and washable. (When I mentioned this option to my friends, they didn't think it would be washable, but I have tossed K's blankets in the wash over and over.)
Thoughts on these ideas? Other ideas? My mind is wide open at this point. I'm going to compile every possible option and make some test blankets, and then see where I am. I'll be sure to keep you posted.


  1. I used a very soft crocheted shawl when my first baby was tiny. It was made of very fine yarn--I don't know how hard it would be to work with. And I don't know where it is now--

  2. I like the white-on-white quilt, and the crochet options best. Applique sounds too fussy. Maybe with the quilt, one square could be the "St. Mary's Blue" and leave the rest, and the binding in the white/creme/grey family? There are also lots of great, lacey (or not lacey) knitting patterns out there that would likely be quick to work up in the Baby blanket size. It also sounds like more of your fellow parishiners need experience with washable wool, soft acrylic, and cottong yarn!

    Totally washable, sheesh. Good Luck!