Sunday, July 14, 2013

Best 4th of July Picnic Blanket

Fireworks, friends, face paint, family LOVES to celebrate the 4th.  We have some generous friends who have invited us to their “3rd” of July party the past couple of years and it is cray-cray.  Seriously, they have a bounce house, live music, catering, drinks, and a raffle.  At the end of the night we watch the professional fireworks show from their front yard.  It is amazing and a new treasure in our lives.  So, how do you go to such an amazing party and not do something to show how much you appreciated their hospitality?  Well, I just can’t help myself...I must sew!

I’ve seen blankets like this and I thought it would be a perfect gift, a patriotic colored picnic blanket to watch fireworks on.  And don’t worry, it’s beyond easy.  I whipped this puppy out in a grand total of about 5 hours.  Here we go...

What you need:

-6 blue handkerchiefs
-6 red handkerchiefs *I looked high and low for the best deal and and found that Reams carries the best variety with the best price.  Other wise any craft store also carries them.
-Batting (my handkerchiefs were about 22” square so I made sure my batting was at lease 66”x88”, but you may need to adjust your measurements for your size handkerchiefs)
-Denim for back and ties (your backing needs to be 4” wider than the front of the blanket all the way around)
-White quilting yarn

Lets Get Started:

First you are going to sew your handkerchiefs together 3 in a row alternating colors.  You will end up with 4 strips.  Be careful to match the colors so they alternate not only across but also down.

Now sew your strips together.  What?  The front is finished!

Lets prepare the backing.  I cut my piece in half and sewed it salvage sides together to make the right dimensions to match the front with about 4" extra on each side.  

Let’s tie it!  Lay your backing right side down.  Next lay your batting on top.  Last lay your front on top of the batting right side up.  Using a heavy needle and your yarn make a tie in the middle of each square.  Go down on the top and up again very close to where you went down.  Leave about 3” of yarn to tie.  Cut your yarn and move onto the next square.  When all of the squares have a tie knot each of them.  

Now you are ready to sew the sides.  Trim the batting to match the front of the blanket.  Trim the backing to two inches wider than the front of the blanket.  The way to finish this blanket is to work one side at a time.  Fold the backing in 1” and again 1” so the backing overlaps the front of the blanket.  Use a zigzag stitch and sew one side all the way from top to bottom.  Next sew the opposite side in the same manner.  Now finish the last two sides folding the same way.  

You can totally stop here and be happy with your results, but why not add straps for easy transport?  I created mine by using excess backing.  I cut them about 4” wide and long enough to tie around the rolled up blanket.  I created mine the same way you make your own bias tape.  I ironed the strip in half, opened it and folded each side into the middle crease and ironed them again.  Last I folded it in half again and pressed.  I simply folded in the end to avoid frays and do a straight stitch all the way down.  You only need two strips.

Next fold your blanket up the way you like (I folded it long ways 1/3 in and then 1/3 again and then rolled it up).  Find the middle of each strap and pin the straps to the back of the blanket at the top of the strip, making sure to pin the strap right in the middle.  To secure it just do a quick zigzag stitch across each strap.  I tried to line the zigzag stitch up with the one that was already there from finishing the edges, and you are FINISHED!  <3, Sharla