Winter is upon us and as the nights get cooler, it has prompted me to finally pull out my collection of wool jerseys and turn them into the warm patchwork blanket I had in mind when I started collecting them in the first place. It will be an amazing asset for when I hit the road with my Mobile, not only for warmth but as a display of my wares.
I have not finished mine as yet, due to the wool stitching taking a lot longer than I anticipated, but when I look at it… what on earth did I expect? To finish it overnight?? So, I decided that I needed to document mine and write about it while it is fresh in my mind, so if you wish to make your own wool jersey patchwork blanket for the winter months, you can follow my lead…
FIRST – You Need a Collection of Wool Blend Jerseys
You can do this by asking your friends for any that they have any they no longer require due to shrinkage etc or pick them up from the local Op Shop for a steal, as this is how I collected my assortment. I took no notice of what the colours or thicknesses were as I just wanted enough to choose from when the time came to make one.
NEXT – Preparing your Jerseys for Use
If you have managed to collect jerseys that have already been shrunk then that is great. If yours have come to you in good order then you need to SHRINK them ready for use.
To do this all you need to do is wash them on a HOT wash as the heat and agitation will cause the wool to matt, which is exactly what you are after. Then I threw them in the dryer to finish them off… Perfect for what I needed. This step is critical for the longevity of your blanket if ever it needs to be washed at some stage of its lifecycle.
As I had a variety to choose from, I sorted them into their different thicknesses before choosing the jerseys I wanted to work with for this particular project, not knowing at this stage if the colours would work well together or not. But to be honest, this was more an experiment for me, patchworking with something so thick.
It time to Cut!
Or is it? What size do you want the end product to be? is it for a bed, single, double, queen? or just a knee rug? Before you continue, you need to decide as that will decide what size squares will work for your desired finished look. Mine was for me for bed so ideally I just wanted one for on top of the bed for extra winter warmth.
After a bit of Google research, I opted to make mine with 10.5″ squares and 5.5″ squares (x4) to make a larger square to use up the smaller parts of the jersey and give the blanket a bit of a pattern. My made up blanket was going to consist of 6 x 7 10.5″ squares with 1cm seams anticipating a finished product of 60″x 70″ which will fit nicely on the top of my queen sized bed. Therefore I needed 42 assorted squares to complete my blanket.
I made myself a cardborad pattern and pulled out the roatary cutter and cutting board,
AND now the fun begins…
FLUFF & DUST EVERYWHERE!!!
Choosing Your Design
Your overall design will be yours but will be dictated by the amount of each colour you have managed to acquire out of each jersey. I was fortunate to have managed an average of five-plus in each colour as well as a numerous amount of smaller squares (x4 combined with making one large square) to be able to attain my 42 square quota without having two colours side by side.
You will need a place to be able to lay out your pieces out until you can sew them together and secure them. For this, I used my old cut out cardboard sheet on the lounge floor and was happy with my second attempt of colour combination. I also opted to make it the same each end having a centralized point to work with and a middle row (row #4) being the transition of the pattern.
Although I was happy with my pattern layout at this time, I must admit, it was not looking too pretty to me just yet!
Let the Transition Begin
That is exactly what it ended up being as I started on the sewing machine with a slight zig-zag stitch to allow for a little stretch in the fabric, as this was my main concern. The last thing you need is to complete your blanket, then start using it only to find that your stitching starts to snap as you put a little pressure on the seam…. Prevention is better than cure!
It has taken me a while to put this blanket together as my biggest concern was how I was going to join the seams. Strangely enough, I had a mental picture in my head of how I would expect one to look, but to transform that image into a usable, durable reality had been my biggest challenge.
Start by taking a photo of the design you have chosen… just in case!
– Don’t just assume that the child or family pet are going to behave just because you have your layout within their reach. Plan in advance and take a picture on your phone to be on the safe side.
If needed, pin your pieces together as you go, completing one row at a time making sure your seams are flat, as you continue throughout the entire blanket. This will save your bacon if you chose to use a cover stitch on the seams as I have chosen to for strength but mainly for the finished visual effect.
I then worked through my first three rows and then put a duplicate of the pattern on top and made another three rows exactly the same – except for the motif that I found of my Old High School and a local RSA, so I kind of mirrored those within the pattern as best I could.
Upon completion of the two sets of three rows, I now needed to make sure that the middle row did not clash with any of the finished pattern, which it did and then I preceded to rectify to suit my requirements according to what I had left in the way of large squares. Then once this was completed, I joined it to the middle of my patchwork blanket, which I now need to admit, is looking pretty cool!
Four Days Later
Wow, what a mission this has turned into. I must admit it is looking great, but it is very time consuming if you are planning on finishing off your seams with a wool cover stitch as I have. The benefits of doing this far outweigh the time it is taking me to complete. but on these cold nights, it is just fabulous having such a warm blanket on me while I continue one stitch at a time.
The wool too was one of those finds at the local Hospice Shop with a lot of secondhand unraveled wool that has been fantastic for this particular job especially since it is consuming a lot more yarn than I had initially anticipated.
I look forward to showing you my finished product as I have yet to decide on a backing and hope that this choice just falls into place as has everything else with this warm winter project for me for a change.
Oh have I told you that I made my own slippers last week, best slippers ever – oh so warm!
Director: Learn to Sew at Home with Jo ‘n’ Sew