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.
•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 Sue at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help with this pattern.