Photos by Debra DiPaolo

Small, needy people appreciate the tactile. In fact, the smaller and softer you are, the more likely you will respond to the feeling of a silk blanket, especially when it’s just your size and even has the occasional padded bump for the extra snuggling. And when your tush has been powdered and you’re ready for a
cuddle, why not cozy up with a coverlet that makes a statement?

Ruth Steinberg’s baby blankets are not only works of art, many in striking, glamorous colors and patterns not normally seen in a layette, they appeal to an infant’s burgeoning sense of exploring textures. After designing a successful line of clothes for kids, Steinberg, originally from South Africa, decided baby blankets were the way to go. “Making clothes became very dull, the construction of it all. Working on blankets is fun,” she says. “I like the flatness of it, like a canvas. It’s more like painting.” She started creating the baby blankets for family and friends. “Everyone started begging for them,” so she decided to make them for the public, naming the line for her grandmothers, Betty and Esther.

“Babies love texture,” she says. “I think about babies when I’m making them. I see babies scurrying around.” The blankets incorporate lots of silk; one side may be a single fabric, and the other appliquéd with whimsical images made of contrasting materials — chenille with flannel, for example. Botanicals and butterflies are a popular theme. Some are quite dramatic, in deep hues of silky red and maroon — picture Rita Hayworth as an infant. Others are more traditionally cuddly, in thick terry cloth and stretched cotton. And then there’s the rock & rollin’ green leopard print with a hot-pink furry flipside, fit for the spawn of Kid Rock and Pamela Anderson.

Although the blankets aren’t cheap, they are an excellent buy when you consider that baby items generally have a short window of usability, and a good blanket should last for years. And these can be passed down from one generation to the next. Steinberg will even customize them with baby’s name or a special design. “I get so much joy from seeing my little nephew run around with his blanket,” she says. And yes, for all those emissions that tiny, cute people like to surprise us with, the blankets are most certainly machine-washable.

LA Weekly