Monday, 12 December 2011

Winter blankets

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. 

Bias trimmed air-cell blankets

Bias trimmed blankets

It is extraordinary how the trim changes the whole appearance of the blankets.  They are proving very popular.

Blanket, fancified with Kaffe Fassett bias trim

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.

Cam's fleece dog blanket

Purple and blue flower blanket for Livvy

Livvy's flower blanket

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.

Cam's dog blanket


  1. Love them all! I shall be attempting a sort or quilt backed with red fleece this week!!

  2. oh wow, I love how the binding transforms the cot blankets. K used to have a gorgeous yellow one, I gave it to my niece and am now regretting it.
    those ikea blankets are great aren't they, that's what E's scout camp blanket was made from, and they embellish really well.

  3. Great blankets! (& thrifty too...). Thanks for adding the link to the Making Winter bloghop.

  4. What a transformation, and a thrifty one at that. Love 'em!

    Don't get too excited at the prospect of 100% wool blankets ... my mother gave me four vintage cream beauties to protect the leather sofas from the dogs and the blankets shed more than the dogs do! We are seriously looking for alternatives.

  5. I find real wool blankets really scratchy; I have an inherited one from my grandmother and it is warm and heavy but not comfy to cosy with.

    A few years ago we had wonderful thick 100% cotton blankets in a holiday cottage we stayed in; heavy, fluffy, soft and utterly gorgeous. I have searched in vain ever since.

  6. These blankets are wonderful - I especially like the fabric edges. It's great that they were in your cupboard but are now used regularly. It's a perfect project for Making Winter.

  7. Oh! if only I had kept my children's blankets, but they are 39 and 36 now!! An inspirational post, thank you, I know what I will be buying on my next trip to Ikea.

  8. The binding gives the blankets a very different feel. I reeeaalllly like them. I would've never of thought of doing I wonder if I have any baby blankets stashed away somewhere. x

  9. Cotton blankets are so soft and drapey - what a great way to dress them up for the living area. The binding looks so cheerful.

    I will have to see if Ikea in the US has those fleece throws.

  10. I love cotton cell blankets anyway (my 'blankie' as a little girl was a scrawny bit of one - I actually still have it for times of desperate need!). The binding gives it a whole new look, very clever idea. My littlest, and last is still using them (on top of a growbag as its so cold just now), but once she's finished I know what I'll be doing with them now.
    I've used ikea fleece blankets too. They are great value. Juliex


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