Winters in North Carolina can be difficult – there is rarely any snow but it is always way too cold to send kids out to play. Last week though, I knew that we were going to be headed into a series of snow days and have extended time trapped in the house (NC can’t handle anything more than an inch). Typically, days off from school result in a lot of movies or video games. I was determined this time to do something other than that. So, the night before the snow came, I took my stepdaughter and stepson to JoAnn Fabrics with no general plan in mind and said let’s pick something to do tomorrow.
We first landed on some wooden letters. We recently moved and my stepdaughter doesn’t have anything on the walls yet so I thought this would be perfect to spell out her name. I let her have complete creative control as she picked out paint colors and gold stars and dots to add on to them. I then looked across the way at all the amazing fabrics in the store and said I wished there was something we could do with that. I am absolutely not one to sew; I wish I could, but I can’t. The most I have ever done was sew ribbons onto my pointe shoes back in my dancing days. But, I all of a sudden remembered about tie knot blankets and thought that would be a perfect snow day project!
I had been gifted a tie knot blanket before so I had a general idea of how to make them. It was something easy enough that we could do together and didn’t require a lot of work. Plus, warm fleece blankets would be perfect for the extra cold winter we were having.
Once again, I let the kids pick out whatever fabrics they wanted (within budget). My stepdaughter settled on mermaids with a light teal backing. My stepson wanted to touch every single fabric and it was a long debate between sharks or dinosaurs. Ultimately, sharks won out with a light blue backing. So first we got our fabrics cut and took home two yards of each fabric.
You want to find a big space to work at where you can spread out – this might be on a large bed or on the floor somewhere. We ended up working on the floor in our office. You can look up on YouTube for clearer instructions, but these are generally the steps we followed:
First you lay out your fabrics with the backside of the prints facing in against each other. All videos or instructions I found said that you should pin your fabrics together, but since I don’t sew, we didn’t have any pins. As long as you keep a good watch and make sure your fabrics stay square with each other, then you really don’t need pins.
Next cut a square out of each corner, the size you want your fringe to be. For us, this was approximately a 4- to 5-inch square.
I learned it is easiest to start your fringe in the corners. Using your scissors, cut fringe about one-inch thick around the corners. I cut probably three or four fringes on either side or my square corner just to get started. Then you just tie the bottom layer of fabric to the top; double knot it to make it stay. Repeating this on all four corners helps to make sure that the fabrics don’t move (especially since I wasn’t using pins).
After that, it is just rinse and repeat. We managed to get into a system so that I was cutting the fringe and my stepdaughter followed behind me tying knots. I recommend having good quality fabric scissors, because I did not and let’s just say my hand was very sore afterwards. All in all, it probably took us about 45 minutes for each blanket.
What I enjoyed most about this though was the time I got to spend with my stepdaughter doing it. It was an hour and a half of us just talking and hanging out, just the two of us. Plus, we had some amazing blankets when we were done with it all. The best part was, that evening, my stepson and I snuggled up under his blanket in the reading nook in his room while we read 101 Dalmatians, leading him to fall asleep in my arms. Once I had him all tucked into bed, my stepdaughter and I enjoyed the same moment reading Matilda underneath her blanket.
While the act of making these blankets were extremely easy, it was the memories and love that went into them that make them even more special to me.