I love these things
Yesterday, Mom and I went out to JoAnn's fabric store for some edging for the veils we're sewing like crazy this morning. The no-sew throws were in big wire baskets at the choicest of places for their 50%-off signs to catch the eyes of shoppers, like me. I love these blankets because they're warm, soft, cozy, and like my friend Madeline says (in regard to our lazy role-play plots, but I'm using it for this), they give you a "sense of accomplishment with half the work."
So, I shifted through the mountain of kits (you can buy kits or choose equal-sized pieces of your choice of fabrics) to find one I liked. After grabbing three, I made my decision on one, and we bought it.
The kits have instructions on the inside of the paper wrapping, but I've always cared less about preciseness and more about just enjoying the process and getting myself a new blanket. Most people know about these blankets, but before I saw a friend doing one, I didn't...so I figure there might still be some out there who could benefit from finding out about them.
I'll tell you about the basic steps below:
First, clear a space that's big enough to lay out your fabric completely. Carpet is the best, but grab one or two (or three) pillows if you have to do it on tile. It'd be really difficult to match the pieces if they are on a table and aren't flat on the floor. Smooth out your first piece of fabric. Then, spread out the second piece and lay it over-top the first, back sides together. Get them as even as you can, but it's impossible to match the pieces edge-to-edge (which I've finally gotten over. After all, you're just going to tie the edges together), so don't worry too much about that.
At each corner, cut out a square of fabric. Go about five to seven inches diagonally into the fabric to get this square (but I always thought seven was a little much, it just depends on how long you want the tabs of fabric to be when you tie them. The longer, the easier, but the shorter your blanket will be).
Start cutting flaps of fabric into the edges of the blanket, keeping the pieces together. You want them to be about an inch wide or a little wider, too thin and the flaps might wear down more quickly. Make the flaps 3 1/2 to 4 inches into the blanket, or longer if you like. Keep in mind that, like any fabric, fleece has a grain to follow, so even when you cut the flaps as evenly as you can, two sides will be more stretchy than the others. That makes tying those un-stretchy sides a little more difficult, because the flaps aren't as obedient. Not troublesome, but more difficult.
Once you've cut squares into the four corners and cut flaps into the edges, begin tying the flaps of the bottom and top pieces of fabric together. I find that holding down the flaps ahead of the ones you are currently tying (with a foot like I do, or something else heavy but easily movable) will help keep the fabric more even for tying the flaps that come after. The corners always get puckered and scrunched, but other than that, things mostly stay flat. (A little tip: when it comes to corners: Tie the flaps directly in front of the flaps edging the cut-out square on either side of the square, because that will make tying the pieces on the edges easier; they won't get as puckered and scrunched and difficult to distinguish from the other knots.)
Wrap your dog up with you on the floor and watch Stargate SG1 with Dad (and miss Daniel and wish Jonas hadn't replaced him).
For a quick project, these are always worth it. If you decide you need more blankets for your cold feet and something to numb your brain with, they're waiting for you. It's also easy, so doing it with younger kids or siblings (or cousins, nieces, etc... :P ) will make them feel included and like you're doing something as a family.
Just don't let your mom mess up the even pieces while she's trying to take pictures of you. ;)
Anyone have a godly, good-looking, traditional Christian son who is preferably within the age range of 17-20?