Some time ago we learned that a congregation in Jerusalem made blankets when a baby was born in the congregation. From that moment, about 5 years ago, we started to do this tradition in our congregation also with great joy. A blanket is made for every newborn baby. I have taken on this project to coördinate and finish the blanket.
Now I will tell you about the process of how this blanket is assembled. First I approach the mother to be and have a little talk with her. In this conversation I tell her about the baby blanket we as congregation would like to make for her baby. I ask her when the baby is due and what colours she would like the blanket to have. It is not always that she already has a colour in mind but that’s ok she can tell me when she knows.
When I know the colours the mother like for the blanket I go and buy the cotton. In the beginning we tried to knit with wool, but because pure wool is really expensive we decided to use pure cotton instead. After I buy the cotton I divide it in small portions en distribute it among the women in our congregation who can and want to knit.
We ask women of all ages in the congregation through email and the information board in the building to participate in this project. Mostly the project takes about 8 weeks. But what do we do actually. The women get a little bag containing a small amount of cotton from which they can knit or crochet about 10 squares size 10 X 10 cm / 4 x4 inch. The women are free in how these squares are made: simple, complex, single or multi colour.
For me the real fun starts when I have collected all the squares from the knitters. It’s puzzle time. I lay the squares on the table en seek for a balance. We have women with such a wide range of artistic skills that it is a real thrill to assemble the blanket in a nice balanced composition. After the composition of the blanket is beautiful the squares are either stitched or crocheted together. Then the blanket is pressed with a damp cloth and a warm iron.
Now the time has come for another great pleasure: to crochet a lining around the blanket. Because of the varieties of stitches it is difficult to chose what stitch to use and I also have to take in account whether the mom to be is modern or romantic. Now the blanket is almost finished. The blanket is lined with cotton jersey so it’s on to the store or market. Then the cloth is cut to the right size and sewed by hand. At last the blanket is pressed and finished.
After this a greeting card (or two) is bought and a nice bag to present the blanket to the mother. All the women of the community sign the card whether they have participated or not. The idea is that the project is a joint venture from all of us women. When the parents present their baby for the first time in the congregation, the baby blanket is presented to the mother with all our love and wishes.
In the near future we will have a workshop about knitting and crochet. This way we hope to improve our skills, learn from each other and find new ideas for the baby blankets in the future. From the time we started until the moment of writing as community we have made already 12 blankets. Here are some pictures of our finished blankets.