Some Blanket-Making Tips From Project Linus National Headquarters:• Make blankets from NEW, CLEAN, WASHABLE materials in infant, child or teen friendly colors. These blankets are meant to be colorful, cheerful, and cuddly. • Project Linus donates blankets to children, infants through teens. Many sizes are appropriate depending on the local chapter needs. Blankets can be as small as 36" x 36" but the majority of Project Linus blankets are about 40" X 60", or what is called "crib size." Many chapters accept blankets as large as twin size for teens. Local chapters may have certain preferences depending on the facilities to which they donate. Please contact your local chapter before you start just to make sure that you will be making a blanket they can use. • Crochet, knit, quilt, or tie your blankets—or neatly finish the edge on polar fleece. • Make blankets from 100% cotton fabric, flannel, polar fleece, or acrylic yarn. • Check your blanket carefully for straight pins. • Please be sure to cut off the selvage (rolled) edge of fleece before making your blanket. • Please do not make your blankets out of tapestry, burlap, upholstery fabric, 70's type double knit, felt, vinyl, wool, or wool yarn. Please do not use fabric that has been stored in a damp area or has a musty smell. Mold spores can cause an allergic reaction in a child and are very difficult to remove from the fabric. Blankets that smell of smoke cannot be accepted.We hope these guidelines will help you with your blanket making. We know that our blanketeers want to make blankets that can be used at the Project Linus facilities in their local areas. Thank you!  For more information see www.projectlinus.org 
How Can You Help?  If you knit, crochet, quilt, or sew you can help.  Simply make a machine washable and dryable blanket of any size in “kid-friendly” colors.  All blankets must be new and have some feature that is hand made.  Avoid use of beads, buttons, fringe or other choking hazards.  Avoid knit or crochet patterns that have holes large enough to catch little fingers, toes and medical equipment.  Please do not expose your blankets to cigarette smoke, animal fur, mold and other allergens.  Sizes needed for our chapter are:
  • 36" x 40" toddler / pre-school children
  • 40" x 50" elementary & early mid-school
  • 42" x 54" older mid-school
  • 50" x 60" (or longer) high school
  • 30” x 30” or 30” x 36 newborn babies  - listed last due to abundant supply
 
Want to help but don’t have the time?  Consider making a donation; see below.  Many of our Blanketeers are on fixed incomes; they’ll  gladly do the work but need help with cost.  Need materials and can't afford them, let us know and we’ll try to help.  
 
We welcome donations of:
  • 100% Cotton fabric for quilts
  • "Low loft" cotton batting for quilt linings
  • Fleece fabric, prints and/or solids
  • 100% Cotton flannel fabric
  • Machine washable/dryable yarns for knitted or crocheted afghan (acrylic)
  • Gift cards from Jo-Ann’s, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Hancock, etc.

Even small amounts of yarn and good quality fabric can be utilized to make some child in need a brightly colored blanket.  The most important features are that materials be in good condition, machine washable and dryable, fire resistant, free of pet hairs, dander and odors such as mold or cigarette smoke. 
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FLEECE BLANKET WITH CROCHETED EDGING

You will need:
Good Quality Fleece; don’t try to skimp on this as you will be unhappy with the result.  Fleece is usually sold in widths of 50-60”.   Purchase 1 yard minimum or whatever you will need to make a blanket in your choice of size.  
See suggested blanket sizes above.  Kids come in all sizes.  Minimum size requested is 30" x 30".
You will want to pay attention to the orientation of patterned fleece.  Will the autos, cats, children be going in the right direction when you have cut and trimmed the fabric to the size blanket you want to make?   If you buy a patterned piece of fleece 1.5 yards long that has cars that are positioned with the front of the car facing the selvage side you will not be able to produce 2 infant size blankets or larger.   Purchase an amount that is appropriately sized for the print and for the age group.  
If you’re buying a solid color fleece keep in mind that infant and toddler-sized blankets should be bright or soft pastels.  Save the dark colors, whether solids or prints, for kids that are age 8 or older, elementary size.   
Other Supplies:  
A yard stick or ruler or any straight-edged cutting guide.  Note:  A yard still will allow you to work a greater length of fabric without moving and repositioning it.
Scissors, good quality, sharp and clean.  Scissors used in a kindergarten classroom, etc., will not produce a happy result.
OR a 45 mm rotary stitch with a nice sharp blade in place.  
A 9 inch plate for use in cutting rounded corners.  Paper plates come in sizes that work.  
Tailors chalk or marking pencils, both light and dark; for you’ll find out why later.
A few safety pins to mark start and stop locations when making holes to accommodate the foundation row for the border.
Two crochet hooks, 1 size G or H, 1 size I or J.
Worsted weight machine washable and dryable yarn (acrylic) to coordinate with your fleece.  You will need varying amounts depending on the size blanket you are making.  Here are some estimates for a 3-row border based on blanket sized as follows:
Infant 36" x 36" – about 3 ounces
Toddler/Pre-school 36” x 40” – about 4 ounces
Elementary school 40" x 50” – about 5 ounces
Teens 50” x 60” or more  – about 6 - 7 ounces
A 45 mm small-toothed skip stitch blade which can be ordered from the Skip Stitch website or local fabric and craft stores. Be certain the blades you purchase are compatible with your rotary cutter. 
If you don’t want to invest in a rotary cutter and skip stitch blade you can use an awl, ice pick or tiny steel crochet hook such as is used for crocheting lace borders on hankies; steel size 0, 1, or 2.  This puts all the responsibility for maintaining uniform distance between holes on you.  
In order to create a blanket you will be proud to give as a gift, you are encouraged to:
Read through this pattern completely before doing anything. 
Follow each step in the order given
Keep the pattern handy at all times when working on your blanket until you become familiar with the process.
Instructions for Basic Crochet Stitches, indicated by an asterisk (*) - see below:  
single crochet
half double crochet
slip stitch
chain

Okay so now you have purchased your fleece and your yarn and have all the supplies and tools you’ll need.  Let’s get started.

Cut off selvage edges. This is the edge that has tiny holes in it, may have text such as a brand name or proprietary wording, and appears on two sides only. 
Trim the other two edges of fleece to make certain that you are starting off with 4 straight sides.  Make certain you now have a piece of fleece that will fold neatly into quarters with all the cut sides evenly together.  
Trim off all four corners so that they are rounded.  You can use that 9 inch plate as a cutting guide.  You’ll be glad you did this as crocheting around square corners is very challenging and produces a less smoothly flowing border.   Note:  If you are planning to crochet small pieces of fleece together do not make rounded corners. 
Now you’re ready to begin making the holes that will allow you to crochet your foundation row.  
Holes should be placed about 1/2 to 1 * inch from the edge of the fleece and about the same distance apart.  If you’re accustomed to using a rotary stitch now is the time to remove your fabric cutting blade and insert the Skip Stitch blade.  This blade will assure the correct distance between holes.  * Note:  Some people like to fold the fabric over to make a stronger edge.  In this case you will need to make your holes 1 inch from the edge.  
Using whatever straight edge guide you have chosen you can begin making your holes. You need to keep track of where you begin and end a row of holes.  This is where the tooth picks or colored marking pens come in handy.  When going around the rounded corners you can either use your plate or “eyeball” it taking care to keep the hole line the same distance from the edge of the fabric as on the straight edges.  
If you don’t have the Skip Stitch you will be making your holes with an awl, ice pick or tiny crochet hook.  It is strongly recommended that you use your straight line guide and tailor’s chalk to mark a hole-punching line.   Again it is important to keep the holes about 1/3 inch apart and in from the edge.  
Once you have holes all the way around your fleece you are ready to crochet your foundation row.  This is done by using your G crochet hook to make a “blanket stitch” or single crochet. 
Making certain that the right (front) side of the fleece is facing you, insert your hook in any hole, front to back, along a straight edge of the prepared fleece.  With good quality fleece it’s really hard to tell, in which case don’t worry about it.  
See page 3 and 4 for Basic Crochet Instructions.
Holding the yarn in back of the fleece make a single crochet* pulling a loop through the fleece.  Take care to make the loops long enough to allow fleece to remain flat between the hole and the edge of the fabric and to avoid side-to-side bunching between stitches.  
Going around corners you will need to pull slightly longer loops to keep the corners of the blanket flat; in other words to avoid having the corners curl up.  
When you have worked your foundation row all the way around to the beginning join the end to the beginning with a slip stitch.*    
Now that your foundation row has been established you can begin building a more decorative border.  
First of all, switch to the larger size crochet hook.  
One simple but attractive border has a row of half-double crochet* and a finishing row that is comprised of a half-double crochet followed by a slip stitch.  Here’s how to do it.
After completing the slip stitch chain* 2 and then make a half-double in each stitch of the foundation row.  When you come to the rounded corners it is a good idea to do 2 half-double crochets in every other foundation stitch until you return to the straight edge.  This will keep your corners from curling up.  
When you have worked your way all around the blanket join the last half-double to the first using a slip stitch.
Now let’s have fun.  Turn the blanket over so that the wrong side of the fleece is facing you.  
In the very next stitch of the previous row begin a half-double crochet but stop when you have 3 loops on the hook.  With all 3 loops on the hook, yarn over and pull through all 3.  Insert hook into the next stitch of the previous row and make a slip stitch.  This will produce a tiny ripple or flourish on the right side of the blanket and will be appropriate for either a feminine or masculine blanket.  As with the previous 2 rows take care going around corners to prevent a cupping effect.
Try to end this row with a slip stitch (this may take a little finagling) and cut the yarn leaving a 4 or 5 inch tail.  Weave the tail in and voila, you’re done!  There is no need to make a knot but if you just can’t do that you can make 2 or 3 neat, tiny knots along the way as you weave.  
Take a photo of your completed blanket so that you can add to your scrap book.  

BASIC CROCHET INSTRUCTIONS

Note:  If you are right handed your will be working from right to left.  If you are left handed you will be working from left to right.

*  Single Crochet  =  sc
Insert hook into designated chain or hole.  Yarn over hook from left to right (or front to back) and pull through stitch or hole.  There are now two loops on hook.  Yarn over and pull through both loops.  

*  Half-Double Crochet  =  hdc
Yarn over. Insert hook into next chain or hole.  Yarn over hook from left to right (or front to back) and pull through one loop on hook.  There are now three loops on hook.  Yarn over and pull through all three loops.
*  Slip Stitch  =  sl
Starting position will be the loop already on the hook.  Insert hook in next stitch.  Yarn over hook from left to right (or front to back) and pull through both that stitch and through the loop on the hook.  No new stitch will be made.  

*  Chain  =  ch
Starting position will be the loop already on the hook.  Yarn over and pull a loop through the already existing loop.  For chain 2 repeat process 1 time.  For chain 3 repeat process 2 times, etc.  

Helpful Links:  
To purchase Skip Stitch blades enter skip stitch blades in your browser and follow the site instructions.  This author recommends using the medium-teeth blade.  
Project Linus Chapter links – Chapters are listed by state and there is no way to know at this level whether or not you will find a chapter with its own website nor whether they will have patterns on their site.  If you get lucky and find something helpful make a note so you can find it again.   For instance http://www.linusidaho.org/finishafleeceblanket.htm has lots of ideas for making fleece blankets.  Try also http://projectlinusfairbanks.wordpress.com/2011/01/29/crochet-edge-fleece-blanket/ 
There are numerous free websites and videos (many of the latter on You Tube) that demonstrate how to do the above basic crochet stitches.  If you don’t have access to the Internet you can get books at the library or in Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, JoAnn’s or the Internet to name a few.  
Edgerydoo – this site has many photos and instructions for making crocheted borders on fleece.  
Contact caroldriscoll01@comcast.net if you need help with this pattern.

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QUICK AND EASY ISOLETTE COVERS FOR THE NICU

  1-5/8 yards medium-to-dark solid colored fleece   
  1-5/8 yards brightly patterned fleece      

This will make an isolette cover that meets the needs of the UNM NICU.  Sizes can range from:
  • 48" x 54" minimum
  • 48" x 58" 
  • 48" x 66" maximum

 This pattern uses NO BATTING!

  •  Use a 45 mm rotary cutting blade to trim fleece to desired dimensions.
  •  Place fleece fabrics wrong-sides together, pin all the way around. 
  •  Stitch ~5/8" from the edge all the way around.  Use walking foot as fleece will stretch. This can be a  straight or decorative stitch. 
  •  Either tie layers of fleece together with bright colored embroidery floss  or do 2-3 rows of stitching  across cover to hold the layers together.
  •  Using a “pinking” blade in your rotary cutter to give the edges a more finished look.
Tied Fleece Blankets - please see Index page. 
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