Saturday, June 2, 2012

No Sew Blanket

I like to think I'm crafty. I'm into DIY. Maybe not as much as some, but I like it. Husband may dispute my claim on craftiness considering there are some unfinished yet to be completed projects strewn about the house. But I have finished some stuff too.

This post is about my unintended craft.

I have lots of weaknesses. One of those weaknesses is craft stores. I don't know what happens to me when I walk through those doors but I never leave one without buying something. Sometimes I need it. Sometimes those doors shut behind me and I look in my bag wondering "What am I going to make with that?". I really need a chaperon. On Monday (after our photo shoot with Elizabeth) I stopped at JoAnn Fabric. I went in for floral pins and pipe cleaners. Do you know what I left with? Pipe cleaners, two sheets of scrapbook paper (they have a purpose!)...and stuff to make a blanket. Let me explain because, you know what? When you get done reading this, you're gonna want to make one too.

One of my most used baby gifts is a blanket made by my cousin's wife, Melanie. She made Grant this adorable fleece blanket with a monkey pattern on it (referred to as The Monkey Blanket). To this day it is one of only three blankets he will sleep with. Typically the blanket stays at day care and comes home on Friday's to be washed.

Grant sleeping with The Monkey Blanket (4 months old)
I've noticed in the past few months how much smaller the other two blankets look that Grant has been sleeping with. But when I try bigger ones, he cries until he gets his other blankets. So I made a mental note at some point to check out fleece to possibly make a bigger version of the blanket Melanie made for him.

Flash forward to my trip to JoAnn Fabric. Grant is in the cart and I see a huge section of fleece. I grab a bolt of fleece and say out loud "Oooh what's this?" I hear Grant gasp really hard. I look up and he is pointing at the fabric, mouth hanging open, not breathing. The fleece was monster truck print. It's like they knew I was coming.

So here's what you need:

I laid a sheet down on my living room floor to work on
this blanket so it wouldn't be covered in dog hair
before Grant ever got to use it.
 A pair of really good scissors (Warning: if your scissors kinda suck, you will regret starting this project less than half-way through!)
  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Two coordinating pieces of any fleece
                   - for a baby or toddler, buy 1 to 1 1/2 yards (in each of the two fabrics)
                   - for a child, buy 1 3/4 yards (in each of the two fabrics)
                   - for a teen or adult, buy 2 yards or more (in each of the two fabrics)

Most of these directions are copied directly from my instructions. Please note that any comments in red are from me and not the instructions :) Also, for Grant's blanket, I used 1 yard of each fabric. So for a baby blanket, I would think 1/2 yard of each would be perfect. But what do I know, this was my first blanket. 

And here is what you do:

1. Cut off the rough selvage edge on both sides. (This is the side that is machine finished, not cut. I only knew what they meant by this because mine said Made exclusively for Joann Fabrics alone one side.) Trim only as much as necessary, usually not more than 2 inches on each side. At this point, make sure that your cut sides are relatively straight. (They don't have to be perfect!) Do this on each piece of fabric.

2. Lay your fleece wrong sides together, with edges matching up (do this as best you can, mine did not lay perfectly together and when I finished you couldn't tell). Often times with fleece it's hard to tell which side is the wrong side and it often doesn't matter which side you use as the front or back.

3. Cut a 4x4" square (or a 5x5" square for longer fringe) - I did 3 1/2" for Grant's - out of each corner (through both layers of fleece) and discard. If you want longer fringe (not recommended for a baby or toddler), make your square bigger. It really does help to cut out your square from each corner before proceeding.

4. Cut all 4" (or 5" - or 3 1/2" like I did) strips into fleece at 1" intervals around all four sides.

You start cutting and you think "Cool, I'm making a blanket!"

You keep cutting and you think "I may never finish this."

Then you're all done cutting and you think "Holy crap, it's only half finished."
Then you tie over hand knots close to the blanket edge by using one strip from the front and one strip from the back to create the finished fringe edge. Repeat around all four sides. Then sit back and pat your crafty self on the back. You just made a blanket.

Tying the knots.
OMG it's done!

 Showing both sides. I love how they look together!

 Notes/Suggestions from the instructions:
  • To help make your strips approximately 1" wide (again, it doesn't have to be perfect), you can use a tape measure across the top of your four inch section so that you not only make your cuts about 1" apart but also only four inches deep.
  • To make the tying look more even, tie every other one, all the way around the blanket then flip the blanket over to tie the rest. That way neither side is really the front or the back.
  • Experiment with the way you tie the knots for different looks. You can make the knot show in either fabric as well as the fringe in either fabric. This one made no sense to me but I figured I'd include it in case it makes sense to any of you craftier people.
  • The nature of fleece makes two of the sides stretchy. Don't fear! Just be gentle when tying those sides (the selvage sides) so that your fringe isn't stretched out of shape. the knots do have to be tight to remain tied and keep the blanket together.
Notes/Suggestions from me:
  • I totally didn't read far enough in the instructions to get to the above notes or I would have done the flipping thing. I started with the corners (just because it made sense in my head) and worked my way around. Sometimes I skipped around because I thought if I crouched in one spot for too much longer I would, in fact, die like that.
  • My blanket is a bit of an awkward shape - long and skinny. That was unintentional but has worked out great because it perfectly fits in his crib, which is where I was planning to use it most anyway.
  • Melanie's blanket (very first picture in the post) has a solid "back" which made the fringe stand out more. Because of the fabrics I used, the fringe kind of blends in. So I guess if you want that part to stand out more, don't use two busy fabrics like I did.
  • I started this blanket with scissors that I thought were really good. Guess what? I was so wrong. Make sure you have good scissors. Buy a new pair if you have to. You'll be happy you did.
  • If you have any questions or something doesn't make sense, let me know. If I don't know the answer to the question, I can find out for you :)
Reading I love trucks and happily enjoying his new blanket made by Mama :)


  1. It looks great!! I've always wondered how people made these blankets....thanks for sharing!


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