Every winter there's a project to get people to knit blankets for charity from synthetic novelty yarn. Every winter I'm more
Making blankets for babies is a good thing: it's pretty damn cold out there, and lots of babies don't have enough keeping them warm. Making these blankets from some laughable, flammable, plastic, flammable, novelty, flammable yarn - that's not okay.
Why would you give people things you wouldn't use yourself?
Why not make these blankets from wool?
Wool is biodegradable. It's something we do actually produce locally, though we seem to export most of it. It's warmer than acrylic yarns. It doesn't burn easily and doesn't melt if it does burn - I stress this because blankets for charity are presumably intended for use in homes where candles and paraffin lamps and stoves are not uncommon. It soaks up water - the blanket gets wet, not the baby inside it, at least up to a point. It doesn't attract dirt, unlike acrylic yarn - hello, miracle microfibre cloths that magically clean with only water (what a stroke of rebranding genius that was....) It doesn't need to be washed as often as acrylic, which is convenient in cold, rainy winters. It wears very, very well. And it's a pleasure to knit with.
A ball of wool costs perhaps R40, and there are cheaper. That's quite a lot of squares. That's also a cup of coffee and - oh, you know how much R40 is!
I can afford to buy one ball of wool every few weeks. I can knit a square when I'm between other projects. Or when I'm stuck and need daylight and a clear head to figure out why the stitch count on a current project isn't coming out right. Or if I want to try out a beautiful stitch pattern I saw on Pinterest, like Herringbone (knitting) or Crocodile (crochet). In fact, I'll break out my stitch dictionaries and work through them. I'll carry some wool and needles in my bag for the next time I have to wait 45 minutes for a train. I'll give Fair Isle a go. I'll buy some lovely local wool. I'll buy colours I love but would never wear. I'll make a cardboard loom and learn to weave some patterns. Or finally unpack that Milnerton market knitting machine and learn how to use it.
And when there are enough squares, I'll sew them together and donate the blanket. And start another one. No deadline, no target.
If you'd like to join in, please do. If you don't feel up to making a whole blanket, why not make a square or two (10cm x 10cm or 20cm x 20cm) from wool and I'll add them into one of my blankets? And if you've always wanted to learn to knit or crochet, here's a purpose for your practice squares. (Hint: it's easier to learn to knit with nice wool than with creepy bobbly stuff.)
Let's give blankets that will last, and provide real protection. If we're going to give, let's give properly.