Did I mention that I have a new addiction? I have been making boatloads of these lovely tied fleece blankets. I’ve made them for all my family members and we’ve made about 200 of them at our #GivingTuesday events, so I’m feeling like a bit of an expert on them now. So I thought I’d share an updated step by step tutorial on how to make them.
|This is the heaping HEAP of blankets my friends and I made for #GivingTuesday.
Yes, I have a *little* experience with making these!
Step 1: Choose your fleece fabric. These are really popular right now, so all the stores are carrying a great selection of fleece – JoAnn’s seems to have the best. This blanket was for a 3 year old neighbor of ours who lost his beloved grandfather this year, so I thought this monster print was a perfect choice. You can do two patterns if you’re feeling bold, but I prefer a solid contrasting color for the background like this royal blue.
The fabric usually comes in a 60″ width, so you will need about a yard and a half of each. You do want to feel the weight. Some of it can be a little thin and some of it is thick like felt – both are hard to work with. I prefer this medium weight. If you want to prewash the material – go ahead, but I’ve not had any problems with these blankets shrinking.
Step 2: Gather your tools together. This year I have switched to a rotary cutter – as long as the blade is nice and sharp, it’s more accurate and more comfortable than traditional scissors. Although if you do go with scissors, these Fiskars no-handles style are a nice choice. I’ve gotten blisters on my thumbs more than once from the handles of traditional scissors. You’ll also want a yardstick and some pins. The blue thing in the center is a basic paper napkin. I use it for a template to miter the corners. You’ll see in a minute. You’ll need to trim it slightly to a 5-1/2 square.
Step 3: Cut off the selvage (raw edges) of your fabric. Along two edges of the fabric will be the bits where the fleece was attached to the loom. As you can see, it has a row of tiny holes and it bunches up a bit here. Take the two pieces of fabric and lay them out as flat as you can. Fleece doesn’t have a right or wrong side, so it doesn’t matter which way you do it, although in this pattern, there is lettering, so I needed to make sure it was right side up for the letters. It’s OK if your fabrics don’t match exactly, because you’re going to trim them to fit.
You can pin it if you like. I’ve done so many, I don’t always bother to, but it does help keep the layers from shifting around and if the selvage is really curly, it helps it to lay more flat.
Now that you have your fabrics lined up, you are going to take your rotary cutter and cut off the selvage edge. Hold it at a nice angle, just like you were drawing down with a pencil. Make sure you don’t run out of mat underneath or you will cut your table (yeah, I did that a little!). Pull out the pins as you go or you will dull your cutting blade. Try to keep it in a straight line – you can use your yardstick or the lines on the mat as a guideline. Cut in long sections – about a foot at a time. The idea is to have one long thin strip cut off when you’re done. Well, two strips since you are cutting through both layers.
Be sure you don’t throw these edge pieces away. I’ll show you something fun to do with them when you’re all done. Once you’ve cut off the selvage edges, you may need to trim the third edge as well – just to make sure that your two layers are nice and even on all four sides.
Step 4: You are going to miter the corners. Don’t panic, it’s super easy. Now you should have two nicely matched layers of fabric, one laying on top of the other. The next step is to cut a chunk out of the corners so the two edges don’t have to be tied all around a corner. That’s where the napkin comes in handy.
Happily, this blanket making is not an exact science. I make my edges anywhere from 5-1/2″ to 7″ depending on what kind of knots I’m going to tie and how tightly I want to tie them. In this case, we’re going to make them 5’1/2″. So, you lay the trimmed napkin right on the corner and pin it in a couple of places and then pin the other three corners.
Then you take your rotary cutter, or your scissors and just cut that part out. Easy peesy! Lather, rinse, repeat on the other 3 corners.
When your corners are all done, you should have 8 nice little pieces just like this. And again, don’t throw those scraps away. They make wonderful dust cloths, dolly blankets, or scraps to use for other projects.
Step 5: Stop for a cookie break – you are halfway done! See, that was easy. You now are ready to cut and tie your blanket. Here is where your yardstick comes in handy. Lay it at the top edge of the corners and then put in a few pins just to mark how high up you are going to cut the fringes. Do that all the way around. All done! Now we are going to start cutting.
Step 6: Cut the fringe. You are going to make the cuts for the fringe approximately every 1-1/2″ to 2″. If you’re on the OCD side, you can measure and pin them to get it exactly, but I’ve done so many of these, I just eyeball it. See, some are a smidge fatter than others, but I don’t think a 3 year old is going to care one way or the other. Don’t forget to pull out the pins! I did that once and I stuck myself the first time I went to use the blanket!
Step 7: Okay baby, it’s KNOT time. There are several different types of knots and loops you can use. They all look pretty and it’s just a matter of personal preference which one you prefer. Try each one and see what you like best.
These are the overhand knots. I think they are prettier with the contrasting fabic, but they are kind of a bugger to tie. You just curl it around in a circle and pull it the end through the hole, kind of like with a bread bag. Then pull it gently to even it out. You want pretty, fluffy knots, not hard, tight ones.
|Since I didn’t have a picture of a cute little boy with his Monster blanket,
here is my cute friend Lindsey with our blankets from #GivingTuesday instead!