Sunday, 5 July 2015

"How Long Does It Take To Make A Blanket?" - Part 1

This is, by far, the most common question I hear when a person first looks at a blanket.  They probably notice the size of the blanket and all the fibre interlacings and are amazed at all the time that must have gone into it.  I really appreciate their realization of the work done to produce that single item.

My quick answer is usually something like "Only a few hours, but there's much more done before and after the weaving."  I thought I'd write a blog on this ... then I planned the outline and my answer to this simple question quickly expanded to five parts!

To begin my answer, weaving a blanket does not equal making a blanket.  The actual weaving is not that long, but the complete making is far more extensive. First, the project requires adequate time for planning: the colours, weave structure, fabric design and purpose of the completed items.  I arrange the proposed cones or skeins on the floor or my work table and let them sit there as I work around them on an earlier project.  I often make changes, yanking out one colour and replacing with another, or getting some better ideas from the initial inspiration.  That process usually takes at least a few days, sometimes weeks and sometimes longer.

Along with the planning are the important calculations of how much yarn will be required for the project.  I need to confidently know if I have sufficient yarns on hand or if I need to order more.  If some of the blankets will have handspun weft, then I need to see what I have available and whether there will be enough for what I'm intending.

The planning stage needs to incubate until I'm satisfied that the ideas I have will work.  This stage cannot be rushed.  Not only will I undoubtedly find some errors or poor colour combinations, but the germination process often improves with time.  And besides, it's a big part of the fun.


  1. Thank you for sharing your knowledge I'm going to be getting into the alpaca business how is weaving alpaca different from other fibers and do I need to add different fibers with it to make it more manageable

  2. Hi, I only use alpaca as weft for blankets, spun by hand or machine. Alpaca is a rather deluxe fibre in my opinion! Some people prefer it to wool because it is non-allergenic, I believe because it lacks lanolin. But it doesn't 'full' after washing though so a pure alpaca fabric would have to have a denser sett so that the fabric has some body to it. At a regular sett for wool it would be too slippery, I think. I'm no expert on alpaca though.
    If you want to discuss more, please feel free to contact me at cariboojane "at" Thanks for your comment. :-)