Down to the wire

We leave tomorrow for my cousin’s where we’ll spend Christmas and start Hanukkah, so today I absolutely had to get the last of the presents sewn.

My cousin’s husband is getting this blanket, pretty much exactly the same as the tutorial version, except I changed the binding to chocolate brown.

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I forgot to take a picture of the finished blanket before my son whipped it out of my hands and wrapped it up.  In fact, I made it in such a rush, the two pictures above are the only two I remembered to take of it in progress.  You’ll just have to imagine the knot tying and the ironing. I’ll have to add the final shot after he unwraps it. But it really does look just like the one in the link above, except the binding color.

Well, and the fact that I did a fairly bad job of sewing on the binding.  I’m not used to working with either faux fur or suede-like fabric and I struggled a lot with sewing all those thick layers evenly.  It looks fine on the suede side, but the plaid sherpa side has a very wavery edge.  In a perfect world, or one with a couple more weeks until Christmas, I’d rip it off and redo it, but he’s unlikely to be highly critical, and the time is gone.

I did really like the suede fabric, despite the difficulties in both sewing and ironing, and I can see making something with it again.  Probably not with the sherpa fabric though.  Maybe on the back of a crazy quilt?

My other finish today was a couple of sets of felted coasters to give as stocking stuffers.  These started as a scarf, abandoned unfinished years ago.  I started throwing it in with loads of laundry until it was thoroughly felted.

Then I cut it into squares and did a blanket stitch around the edges with yarn, and viola, a couple of presents where a guilt inducing WIP used to be.

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Now, if we can just fit all the presents and six people in our car, we’ll be all set . . .

Saga of the Christmas wedding blanket

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The centerpiece of our recently completed finishing weekend was Seattle Leslie’s blanket.

Or rather, her sister-in-law’s partial blanket.  Intended as a wedding present for a son, it was handed to Leslie as a pile of red, green and cream rectangles after Leslie made the strategic error of saying she’d finish it up when her sister-in-law hit a time crunch.

So Seattle Leslie’s big goal for the weekend was to get all those squares sewn together.  And hey, Portland Leslie and Paige like (don’t hate) seaming.  So while I spun and embroidered, the three of them sewed many rectangles together.  Some of those rectangles were rather rough, and the sizes were more “identical” than identical, but they plowed through, and the blanket grew.

So did the doubts about the back and edges.  They just did not look good, and no one was happy about it as an intended-to-be-cherished wedding gift.

Which is when we came up with the idea to add a fabric backing, to treat it as a quilt and hide all those uneven edges and knots and yarn ends in the middle of a yarn and flannel sandwich.

Leslie and I hit the nearest fabric store Saturday evening, where I promptly freaked out at the thought of paying $15 a yard for flannel – it isn’t woven with real gold thread! it’s freaking flannel! – and dragged her to JoAnn’s where the magic of sales and phone coupons turned the $75 price for backing at the first store into $18.

And it was a lovely soft and cuddly flannel after its trip through the washer and dryer for pre-shrinking.

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We seamed to get a wide enough piece, then spread it out on the floor for pinning and folding.  We cut it about two inches wider all around, then folded in the fabric edge and folded that over the blanket edge.

I zig-zag stitched all around to anchor the binding, and we all took turns knotting yarn through the intersections of knit rectangles to finish it off.

Leslie was so happy to have it done and without having to crochet edges or worry about the back.  We were all pretty happy with the finished blanket, and I am pretty sure I’m going to make one of my own someday.