Find out how to crochet a baby blanket.
Learning how to crochet a baby blanket is often one of the first endeavors of beginning crocheters. It's a simple project that is flexible enough to allow for experimentation with different types of stitches and techniques. With such flexibility, the project can keep the attention of beginners and experts alike. There are many baby blanket patterns available for a wide range of skill levels. In addition, with its simple dimensions, it's easy to create a pattern from scratch once the basic components are understood.
The basic materials needed for crocheting are yarn and a crochet hook. Crochet hooks come in plastic, metal and wood. According to the Craft Yarn Council of America, diameters range from 2.25 mm to 19 mm and are labeled from smallest to largest with the letters B through S. The size of the hook needed is determined by the gauge of the yarn used and the crochet style of the crafter. A recommended size range will be indicated on the yarn label, along with the number of stitches needed to achieve four inches of single crochet stitches.
A baby-friendly yarn should be chosen for the project. Yarns come in different gauges or weights determined by the diameter of the yarn. The gauges usually recommended for baby crafts are super-fine or fine gauge, denoted by the numbers 1 or 2 in the standard yarn weights system. These gauges allow for smaller stitches and a softer finished project. Often marketed as baby yarn, they also tend to be made of cotton or other non-irritating materials, which are gentle on a baby's sensitive skin.
The amount of yarn needed varies depending on the gauge of the yarn, the hook used, and the type of stitches. Skein sizes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. However, 3, 6 and 8 ounces are the standard skein sizes available. When not working from a pattern, 18 ounces of fine-gauge yarn should be sufficient to make a 30-by-30-inch, double crocheted baby blanket.
Every crochet project begins with a foundation chain. As the name suggests, this chain will be the base for the rest of the project. The other basic stitch that's in most crochet projects is the single crochet. All other stitches such as the double, half double and triple crochet are a variation of this stitch. The chain and single crochet alone can create any number of baby blanket patterns. The number of chain stitches in the foundation chain determines the width of the project and the number of rows of stitches determines the length of the project.
Once the basics have been mastered, adding a few variations can dramatically change the look of the baby blanket. One common variation in baby blankets is the ripple pattern. While this effect is achieved via various stitches, they all involve creating hills and valleys. The hills are created by crocheting multiple stitches in one stitch -- a technique known as increasing. The valleys are created by skipping multiple stitches -- a technique known as decreasing. Other interesting variations include the basketweave, popcorn and cables. Instructions for these stitches can be found at tutorial sites such as Woolcrafting.
The addition of edging is a variation that adds a finished look to the blanket. This is done by crocheting one or more rows of stitches along the outside edges of the blanket. Creating this edging in the same yarn used for the rest of the blanket gives the edging a seamless look, while edging the piece in a corresponding or contrasting color can add a visual distinction to the piece.