Patchwork Blanket

Jan 14 2008

Don't you love having a long stretch of time to engage in your crafty pursuits? I know I do! Over the holiday break, I took on this little renovation project. In case you would renovate lightly, beware that renovation usually takes longer than it would to create that project from scratch.

the patchwork comforter my mother made for me when I was 9, now renovated to last for 29 more years
the patchwork comforter my mother made for me when I was 9, now renovated to last for 29 more years

Case in point: this patchwork comforter. My mother made this for me when I was 9 years old, about the same time she and my grandmothers introduced me to knitting, crochet, embroidery and the whole lot.

Over the years, this blanket had become quite tattered, the more loosely woven or more worn woolen squares had given up threads until eventually some panes were indeed like windows. Mom told me that its wool scraps had been collected by 3 generations: herself, her mother and grandmother, all salvaged from the family's worn out clothes. Mom beefed up the yardage with a few thrift store finds and gave it to me, the fourth generation. I loved this blanket to death and wasn't ready to give it up so easily.

So I gutted it like a fish. I ripped out the threadbare squares, preserving those around them. On exploring its innards, I discovered a mid-layer sorely in need of a tummy tuck, liposuctioned out a pound of lint and tightened up the excess fabric so that it would lie flat and smooth. I stitched new squares from stash fabrics and some cut up clothes I bought at Goodwill. These brightened up the blanket and made it whole again.

I stitched, steamed and pressed, and added another middle layer for warmth and loft. I chose guilt-free organic cotton and bamboo batting and carefully smoothed it to the edges of the blanket. To hold the layers together, I hand-tied fresh black yarn darts between all the squares and stitched the final seam by hand. Et voila! Heirloom preserved for another generation.


renovate, don't eliminate, or make something out of nothing

skill level: basic sewing

materials: fabric scraps of similar weights

type: wool, cotton, other

quantity: 2 yards base fabric for sashing and edging, scraps for remainder of top, 2 yards of 60" wide fabric for backing

mid-layers: bamboo fiber and organic cotton batting, old flannel sheets or worn blankets

yarn darts: worsted weight wool, cotton or other fiber to match blanket materials