The Difference Between a Blanket and a Throw

You may have heard the term’ throw’ used to describe what you thought was a blanket, or purchased what you thought was a blanket only to find that it was too small for your bed. While the exact definitions of blankets, throws, and other coverings are still subject to discussion, there are some general guidelines for the terms.


A throw is smaller than a blanket. According to eHow Home, it usually comes in one size, about 50 inches by 60 inches.  If the size varies greatly from this, it should be indicated on the packaging. Throws have several intended purposes. Often, the primary purpose is decoration. Many throws have beautiful patterns or intricate, tapestry-like designs that can be displayed in a living area. Throws can be draped over couches, chairs, the end of beds, hung on blanket racks or even hung on a wall. Throws are also used to provide warmth and comfort while relaxing on a couch or chair.  They are made from a wide variety of materials. Fleece throws are very popular for warmth and comfort. A simple fleece throw can be made by tying together the fringed edges of two pieces of fleece fabric. Detailed instructions on how to do this can be found here.


A blanket is intended for use on a bed. A blanket typically comes in cotton, wool and even a light down. It is used for soft texture and added warmth, in addition to a decorative comforter. eHow Home indicates that a blanket’s sizing matches those of sheets. So a blanket will usually be sold in twin, full, queen or king sizes. Blankets are often crafted and sold for practical daily use rather than decoration.


An afghan usually refers to a knitted or crocheted blanket. Wikipedia describes a true afghan as hand-made, either by piecing together squares of knitted or crocheted warn, or simply knitting or crocheting the entire piece. An afghan makes a beautiful and useful family heirloom, and cozy, cuddly baby blankets.

Now that you are familiar with the terminology, you can find exactly what you need. If you need an extra layer of warmth on your bed, you can shop for a blanket. When you order a throw, you know that it will be small in size.  And, when you knit a beautiful blanket for a friend, you are making an afghan. What’s your favorite material to relax with?


Photo “Spring Blanket WIP 2” courtesy of Vickey Sorsby

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