My name is Rhonda and I am a yarn snob.
I might as well come clean about it, now, because I've recently taken on knitting two baby blankets, and bumped up against the place where luxurious knits meet family-friendly knits. If it were my choice, I would knit Jared Flood's baby blanket patterns in a yarn that's cloudy and wooly and tweedy, and then handwash and block the heck out of them to create a work of art.
Instead, I have to actually consider the moms who will be using and washing these blankets. They will want to just throw them in the washing machine every time the baby gets it messy (whether with food or barf or something worse) so a luxurious heirloom in hand-wash-only wool isn't really reasonable. One option would be to find a superwash wool to make it with, but aside from being a bit more expensive, the options I found for superwash worsted-weight didn't appeal.
The obvious choice is simple and inexpensive and easy to find: 100% acrylic.
When I started knitting, I used acrylic almost exclusively. It was a while before I discovered the wonder and perfection of wool and other natural fibers. Over the years, I've obviously become a yarn snob, since I don't even want to admit I made this blanket from acrylic. Sadly, I can't really block it, so the lace, while lovely, will never quite be as beautiful as it could be, were it washed and stretched out flat and opened up. Nevertheless, I am very satisfied with this blanket, and I think the recipient will like it, too. I am hoping that it will be barfed on and snuggled up to and carried around until even workhorse acrylic can't hold up to the abuse.
Etsy Update! Thursday April 27th
1 hour ago