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I am terrible with going to the post office. There is no good alternative in my area, I always feel they are going to be rude and annoying (which they often are, but not always to be fair), and it usually requires an extra trip just for that. Unlike most people, I don’t begrudge the wait – I have long ago made my peace with waiting in lines and I just take the opportunity to people-watch, day dream, and look around for inspiration. There is always inspiration, if you give yourself time to let it rise in your mind, so waiting in lines is the perfect time pocket for doing just that.

The reason I mention post offices is that I have to go to one, as I have 4 packages with gifts for people that I haven’t mailed to them in weeks (okay, months… *blush*) One of them contains a tag blanket for my lovely niece, who turned 1 in August. She was my original inspiration, as my brother mentioned that she likes to stick the tags from toys in her mouth, and so do my boys. A light went on in my head, and I understood the purpose of tag blankets. I had seen them, and tutorials for how to make them, online, but always thought they ‘d be kind of a boring thing to have around. Obviously, I have a long way to go before I think like a baby. The boys looooove theirs, and enjoyed being the product quality control team for the first one I made (see photo above.) They grab the tags, stick them in their mouths, they play with the applique, and V plays his favorite game, which is to put the blanket on his face for a few seconds and then lift it up – is it a form of κου-κου τζα (peekaboo) or does he get something else out of it? I so wish I knew! Maybe I should try playing the game myself 🙂

There are several tutorials online for how to make them, which were very useful in some respects, but of course I did mine a little differently, to suit my preferred way to work / fabric selection etc. I used solid-color flannel for the soft side, and an equal size cotton fabric (from fat quarters) for the other side, plus a little more for the matching applique. For the tags, I used my stash of ribbon from gift wrapping and ribbon (my mother would be proud of me for holding on to them all these years!) A word of caution: if your gift ribbon is “wired” to help the bows hold their shape, make sure to pull that wire out before attaching to the blanket.

The process itself was very easy and fun:

  • Cut two pieces of fabric at a square of your choice, estimate how many tags you ‘d want for each side, and cut as many in equal sizes. You can embroider, applique, use patchwork pieces or use whatever other embellishments you like for the fabric pieces.
  • Fold tags in half, and pin on the right side of one of the two fabrics, tags’ folded end facing the center of the fabric, and edges sticking out just a little bit from the fabric edge.
  • Lay the other piece of fabric on top (right sides facing each other with tags in between them) and sew all around, leaving an opening for turning inside out.
  • Turn inside out carefully (lots of pins inside!), remove all pins, and top stitch all around to close opening and give a finished look to the blanket.

I washed mine a couple of times before giving it to the boys, to make sure all the colors and other nasty stuff from the tags were washed away.



Make a blanket out of them, and snuggle with it!

I sort of followed instructions found in the Cashmere Patchwork Quilt tutorial by Instructables. I used 5 sweaters of relatively the same weight, and 1 full skirt I had cut up for re-purposing, made of a very thin gauze fabric. I had to add a small patch in one corner where I run out of fabric, but I think it looks nice this way. I reinforced the seams with fusible webbing, and it was the first time I ever used iron-on webbing. I liked it, especially as it made sewing the two layers together much easier, and the blanket does feel more sturdy after sewing twice over each long seam.

Would I make another blanket like that? I think yes. I do have more sweaters to use up, and of course more always come around if one is looking for them. There are certain parts in the process which I wasn’t very pleased with, such as the fact that the knit fabric would stretch and then end up either ruffly, or doubled-up in parts where I was attaching it on the cotton backing. I also messed up quite badly on the border binding, but I ‘m not showing you this!

For a long time now I have wanted to make a blanket out of old sweaters. With this in mind, I  gathered old sweaters that would felt, I washed/felted them, and kept them aside for the stars to align. Finally, on the third snow day of the year, the time was right. Five sweaters produced enough pieces for a generous t.v. blanket-for-two.  Or a siesta blanket for one+kitties. 🙂

As always, I was drawn to the greens and blues. The next step is to sew with a zig-zag stitch around the edges of each piece, to reinforce them. This may take some time – I am halfway through the second row.

In my defense, the progress was slowed because last weekend I was spending time near another kind of green-blue surfaces, on a quick trip to Florida. heh…

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