Introduction to Blankets

Although some definitions of blanket define it as a large, rectangular piece of woven material used for warmth, especially on a bed, blankets do not have to be woven – their construction depends on the type of material they are made with.

Blanket Materials

Blankets may be made from natural materials such as cotton, silk, wool, and (surprisingly) down. A down blanket is very much like a comforter or duvet, but it has satin binding at the head and the foot, relating it to this traditional element of blankets. Some of the types of wool used in blankets include lamb’s wool, merino wool, cashmere, mohair, alpaca, and llama.

Synthetic fibers are also used. These include nylon (Vellux), polyester, and alternative down which is used in “alternative down blankets,” which—like down blankets—feature the typical blanket satin binding.

For fibers that can be woven, certain weaves are typical for blankets. These include:

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    chenille—which features pile.
    fleece—which features either a pile or napped surface.
    velour—a dense pile.
    waffle or honeycomb—a weave designed to allow air circulation.

Sizes of Blankets

Like sheets and mattress toppers, for example, blankets are sized to standard mattress sizes, allowing for overhang to tuck in. One exception is the throw blanket, which is meant to be tossed over something, rather than tucked. There are bassinet blankets and crib blankets for babies, and for adults, there are blankets to fit twin, double/full, queen, king, and California king-size beds, as well as special blankets made for the extra long mattresses.

Special Types of Blankets

Electric Blankets

An electric blanket features a heating element and a control, and in this way is similar to a very large heating pad. It allows the user to set a steady temperature that is maintained even if the room temperature changes. Some electric blankets heat different parts of the body differently, and some allow two people sharing a bed to make separate adjustments.

• Throw Blankets

Made for tossing over one’s lap while in a chair or on the couch, or over a person who lays on top of the bedspread to grab a catnap, throw blankets can double as stadium blankets and car blankets. Multifunction is encouraged by the variety of sizes, fibers, and decorations, which include seasonal prints and the logos of many, many sports teams.

Baby Blankets

The American Pediatrics Association (APA) has recommended that there be no soft bedding in a crib. It is recommended that babies be put to sleep in a warm sleeper instead of using a blanket. If a blanket is used, it should be thin and it should be tucked around the foot of the crib mattress, allowing it to extend no further than the baby’s chest. This technique will help make sure that the baby’s head remains uncovered during sleep.

• Ethnic Blankets

In the United States, Navajo blankets and serapes (also spelled sarape) from Mexico may be the most familiar kinds of ethnic blankets available to us.

Written by Mary Elizabeth

Related Home Institute Articles

  • Introduction to Throw Blankets
  • Introduction to Featherbeds
  • Organizing a Linen Closet
  • Introduction to Mattress Toppers
  • Introduction to Laundry Care Products
  • Bed Sheets Buying Guide
  • Introduction to Dust Mites
  • Bed Pillow Buying Guide