Monday, December 22, 2008

Last Minute Holiday Gift - No Sew Fleece Blanket

Today we were pretty busy running around grocery shopping and stopping by Costco to pick up the last few odds and ends for the various Christmas celebrations we're going to. We stopped at one of my favorite stores, J. Jill but I still can't find anything I want to wear to the baptism and baby shower we have coming up the weekend after Christmas. Which means I'll be running around in a panic right before the event trying to throw an outfit together. This always happens to me, I wait too long and then can't find anything that fits and looks good. I can't believe how fast December has flown by, every year I say that and every year it goes by quicker. I finally started wrapping our gifts during nap time and got about halfway through so I feel a bit calmer about getting everything done.

I thought I'd share a quick craft I did a few weeks back. If it hadn't gotten so cold here in MI earlier this month, it would've been a Christmas gift for ER. It would also be a fun gift for anyone on your list when made with patterns and colors that the recipient likes. There are so many choices in fleece you can get patterns and colors to match anyone's interests or decor, and everyone can use a new throw for the couch. I finished mine during ER's nap time and still had time to do some cleaning. I think it took me maybe half and hour to forty-five minutes to complete. I bought all the materials at Joann's and made it in the same afternoon.

I'm actually glad we needed a "big kid" blankie sooner rather than later, because it was fun and interesting shopping with ER. I let her pick out the patterned fleece and was surprised by her choice. It's actually the one I'd have chosen, thought for sure she'd pick the princess themed one. I have a thing for fruit prints; she has a myriad of strawberry, apple, tropical fruit, etc. printed clothes. I just can't resist. I guess my love of strawberries has rubbed off on her!

Begin with two different types of fleece. You can do one patterned and one coordinating solid or two patterns. I think it might be fun to have two completely different looks in one reversible blanket, but I would try to get two different prints that have similar colors or colors that look good together because you will see both prints in the ties, which are seen no matter which side you're using. The important thing is to get two different types of flat patterned fabric. Don't make the mistake I did, the strawberry fleece we used is an embellished fleece, meaning the strawberries on it are like patches on top of pink fleece. Whe you cut through the strawberries there is some fraying. The strawberries themselves are not fleece material. I don't think my blanket will hold up to as many washings as it should because of this. Get the kind where the design is printed directly onto the fabric.

I got two yards of each fabric. I had the lady at the fabric counter lay the fleece down on the counter and then show me what one, one and a half, and two yards would look like. Then I chose the amount I thought I'd need to give ER plenty of space to lay completely underneath and still have room to grow. Lets just say two yards is plenty of fabric, I can lay under it on the couch with her and cover myself from neck to toes and I'm 5'2".

Lay the two fleeces on top of each other, wrong sides together. The lady at the fabric counter shared this trick with me, the end of the fleece will roll under toward the back or wrong side of the fabric. Not that it really matters with fleece, just pick the sides you want to look at and make sure they are on the very top and very bottom of the stack of fleece before you start.

Trim along all the sides to even out the edges. Make a five by five square template out of scratch paper. Lay the square down on each corner of the blanket. Cut out. Starting next to where you cut out the square begin making cuts five inches into and about an inch to an inch and half apart from each other. Cut through both layers of fleece at the same time. Your cuts will begin to look like fringe. How far apart you make your cuts will decide how big you want your ties to be. Go from one side of the blanket to the other. Then go back and begin to tie each top and bottom together. I double knotted mine to keep them from slipping out. When you wash your blanket for the first time it'll set the knots and make it hard to take them apart. Go all around all four sides, one side at a time. Give each of the four corners a bit of a tug to help the blanket regain it's rectangular shape. Then snuggle and enjoy your blanket on a cold winter's night!

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