How to knit a receiving blanket

Written by colette larson
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How to knit a receiving blanket
Hand-knitted receiving blankets can be used to swaddle an infant, or may be used as a cover while the baby issleeping. (Marc Debnam/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

A receiving blanket is an all-purpose blanket that is used to swaddle infants. The receiving blanket keeps the newborn's environment warm and tight, similar to that in the womb. Swaddling a newborn also prevents him from waking himself with sudden, jerky limb movements that caused by his startle reflex. A hand-knitted receiving blanket can be made from simple, beginner instructions or from a more complex blanket pattern for more experienced knitters.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Size 10 or 11 knitting needles
  • Baby-weight or sport-weight yarn
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Tapestry needle

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  1. 1

    Choose a pattern, or simply what type of stitch you will use to knit the receiving blanket. contains a directory of links to several dozen receiving blanket patterns. Beginners may want to consult a stitch dictionary to knit a simple one-stitch pattern. Garter and stockinet stitches are popular stitches for beginners when knitting a receiving blanket. The garter stitch results in a fabric that is bumpy on both sides, and provides some extra cushion under the baby, while the stockinet stitch results in a receiving blanket that is smooth on one side and bumpy on the other. A receiving blanket generally measures approximately 30 inches up to 36 inches square.

  2. 2

    Select your yarn. If you are using a pattern, the instructions will specify the proper type and amount of yarn that are needed to complete the blanket. While there are no hard and fast rules to yarn selection, there are some simple guidelines to consider if you have opted to knit a one- or two-stitch receiving blanket that does not follow an established pattern. Softer yarns are more suitable for infants than coarser yarns. Thicker or chunkier yarns require larger needles, require fewer stitches and will knit up into a receiving blanket more quickly. Some parents appreciate natural cotton or wool fibres, while others prefer the easier care of artificial fibres such as polyester. 340gr. of a sport- or baby-weight yarn will be sufficient to knit a standard-sized receiving blanket.

  3. 3

    Select the appropriate size of knitting needles. The yarn wrapper generally recommends the appropriate sized needle for the type of yarn that you have selected. Size 10 or size 11 knitting needles are appropriate for a baby or sport-weight yarn.

  4. 4

    Knit a gauge swatch, or test swatch, of 4-by-4 inches with the yarn and needles you have selected. If you are using a knitting pattern, the pattern will specify how many stitches and rows you should have in your knitted swatch. Adjust the size of the needles by repeating the test swatch until you have the correct number of stitches in your gauge swatch. For example, if you are knitting a 4-inch square test swatch with a pair of size 11 knitting needles, and the end product is a 5-inch square, you need to repeat the test swatch with a pair of size 10 knitting needles. Continue this process, adjusting the needle size downward until the test swatch is a 4-inch square.

    If you are knitting a one-stitch pattern of your own design, adjust the needle size until you are satisfied with the appearance of the stitches. Once you like the look of the test swatch, count the number of stitches and rows in a 1-by-1 inch square within the swatch. Multiply the number of stitches and rows by the width and length of the finished blanket to determine how many stitches should be cast on to begin the blanket, and how many rows need to be knitted to complete the blanket.

  5. 5

    Cast on the appropriate number of stitches as directed in the pattern. If you are knitting a one-stitch pattern of your own, cast on the number of stitches you calculated from the gauge swatch. 120 stitches should be an approximate count of the number of stitches to cast on.

  6. 6

    Continue knitting across the first row, following either the pattern or stitch you have selected, until the row is complete. Turn your work. Continue knitting rows until the receiving blanket has reached the desired length, usually between 30 to 36 inches.

  7. 7

    Bind or cast off loosely. A simple way to cast off is to knit two stitches. Use the needle in your left hand to gently remove the bottom stitch on the needle in your right hand up and off the needle, until it drapes over the other stitch. Knit an additional stitch from the left needle so that there are two stitches on the right needle. Move the bottom stitch up. Place it over the top stitch. Take it off the needle. Repeat this process until each stitch has been cast or bound off. Pull the end of the yarn through the last stitch.

  8. 8

    Thread loose yarn ends through the eye of the tapestry needle. Weave the ends into the receiving blanket. Cut off the extra yarn to complete the receiving blanket.

Tips and warnings

  • The completed receiving blanket can be lightly steamed to remove any wrinkles. Be sure that the iron does not touch the fabric.
  • Purchase additional yarn if you want an extra blanket, or to have on hand in the event of making a mistake.

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