Papercut and colored pencil art by Sheryl Aronson X 5

Monday, June 14, 2010

Blanket the World with Fleece (Ahhhh!)

Project Linus is a national organization with a mission to provide blankets and afghans for seriously ill children. Yesterday I was involved with a blanket making session at out Temple. I enjoyed many pleasures from this event.  The pleasure of working on a group project, socializing and interacting with other people, the pleasure of the soft, warm fabric we were working with, and, of course, the pleasure of making something that will benefit someone else.  

To get involved with Project Linus, you can look at their website for a chapter near you, or, if there isn't one, you can start one.  If that sounds like too big a challenge,  there are patterns and info on the website, you can make blankets on your own or with a friend or two and mail them to Project Linus.  They accept all types of blanket-like items, as long as they are homemade, washable, free of pins, and come from smoke-free environments due to allergy reasons. They have distributed over 3 million blankets since they started in 1995.

Here are instructions for making the fleece blankets that I was making yesterday.  Note that there are 2 fleece blanket patterns on the Project Linus website, this is different from either of them.  If you need a visual, look at the 'No Sew Fleece Blanket' instructions  (I haven't learned how to post patterns yet, that skill is coming soon).  These instructions are similar to mine. 

Buy 1 1/2 - 2 yards of fleece, any pattern you like, the length depending on how big you want the blanket to be.  To make an extra thick blanket, buy 2 pieces of fleece the same size, either the same or coordinating colors or patterns.  One pattern and one solid color look nice.  The blankets we did yesterday were one piece of fleece, I have a blanket of the same style which is 2 pieces back to back which I love. 

Cut off the selvage edges (the raggedy or printed edges from the manufacturing process).  Even up the other edges if needed to make a nice rectangle. Cut a 6" x 6" square out of each corner of the cloth.  So far, this is the same instructions as for making the 'No Sew Fleece Blanket', which is on the website, except they just cut a 4" square off each corner.  The size square you cut off determines the length of your fringe.  The tying method used in this pattern uses up more of the length of the fringe than the method used in their pattern, hence the larger squares.

Cut fringes along each side of the cloth, 1" wide and 6" long.  Make sure that there are an even number of fringes. (As you approach the end of each side, count how many fringes there are so far, and  adjust the width of the remaining fringes, if necessary, to make an even number.)  If you are making a double thickness blanket, you need to make sure that there are the same number of fringes on each pair of edges.  (i.e., if you have 62 fringes on the first edge of cloth 'A', cut 62 on the first edge of cloth 'B'.) 

After cutting the fringes, start at one corner, and tie the first 2 fringes on one side in a square knot. Don't pull it too tight.  You want it tight enough that it won't fall out, but loose enough that it doesn't bunch the fabric around it. If you are making a double thickness blanket, lay one cloth on top of the other, edges matched up.  Instead of tying the first 2 fringes of one cloth together, tie the first fringe of cloth 'A' to the first fringe of cloth 'B'.  Continue tying knots, either with the next two fringes on the side for single thickness, or the next fringe of each cloth for double thickness.  Continue tying your way to the end of that side, then do the same with the other three sides.  Spread out the blanket to see how it lies.  You may need to adjust the tightness of some of your knots to make it lie smoothly.

Congratulations!  You have made a blanket.  You can make a blanket (or two or ten) for Project Linus, for a gift for someone you love, for yourself, or all of the above.  These blankets are fun to make, and don't have to be done all at once.  You can do it sitting in front of the TV, or they are even more fun with a friend, one cutting, the other tying.  As I said above, I have a double thickness blanket which I absolutely love.  In winter, I don't tolerate cold well, and this blanket keeps me warm.  It is so soft and cuddly that it makes me feel loved.  (That is why they are perfect for Project Linus).  Happy Blanketing!

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