I want to share a really good project for December's Making Winter post. For the past few days I've been making two sorts of winter blanket - the blankets sit piled up on the arm of the sofa, waiting for someone to curl up under them for some TV watching, or colouring, or knitting, or drumming. In the summer they will come camping with us. We all have quilts, but the quilts tend to just live on our beds - these blankets are more portable.
In an ideal world I would live in a place which is home to a choice selection of charity shops which sell old 100% wool blankets for just a few pounds. The reality is that I live in a big city where the charity shops specialise in nasty poly-cotton duvet cases from 1988. No vintage or thrifted wool blankets round here sadly.
So I raided my airing cupboard for old baby blankets instead. I had two cotton aircell blankets bought for C over twelve years ago, and hardly used (I was a dedicated fan of Grobags when my children were babies). To turn these baby blankets into something suitable for winter warming I simply added bias trim to them. One in a selection of leftover pastel prints and the other in deep purpley pinks and dark blues.
It is extraordinary how the trim changes the whole appearance of the blankets. They are proving very popular.
The other blankets have been made from fleece. Ikea sells plain fleece throws in a few different colours for just £1.59 each. These throws are perfect for all kinds of sewing projects. I've used them several times as both wadding and backing for quilts, I've used them as backing fabric for babies' bibs, and I've made cushions from them. The simplest thing to do though, is to applique onto them. For C's and O's Christmas stockings I've made them each a quick and easy blanket, using the Ikea fleeces as a base.
For C, who loves dogs, I cut out the pictures from a piece of dog fabric I had been hoarding, and simply stitched around the dogs onto the fabric with my machine. For O, whose preferred colour of the moment is purple, I cut out long oval shapes from all my scraps of purple fabric and attached them as flower petals.
If you are lucky enough to have vintage 100% wool blankets in your airing cupboard or your local charity shop, then either of these methods would work very well with those. Neither type of blanket takes very long to make - the whole point of these is that they can be whipped up in a couple of hours, unlike a quilt which can take weeks, months, or even years to complete.
You don't want to hang around when people need to get cosy on the sofa as a matter of urgency.