Saturday, April 21, 2012


After reading this tutorial by Dana, I knew I had to complete that project ASAP. I LOVE chenille and once had a fantastic chenille blanket that was destroyed by the washing machine. Then I found this project that was actually kind of created by the washing machine. How ironic. Anyway, I found that matryoshka fabric (shout out to my real-life Russian doll, Shira Glabman) at JoAnn, and I knew instantly that I wanted Russian dolls all over my blanket. So I purchased 1 1/4 yards each of the matryoshka cotton, and solid cottons in red, yellow, pink, and white.
       Dana gives a great tutorial with fabulous pictures that everyone should see, but I'll give you a run-down. The basic idea is to sew these five layers of cotton (must be cotton so it will fray, flannel works well also) together in lines a 1/2 inch apart diagonally across the whole blanket, and then cut through the four solid layers in between the sewn lines. Because they're cut diagonally/on the bias, the fabric will fray in the washing machine and create soft, wavy layers that feel like chenille.
       Fact: if you're going to do this project, you should be warned that it takes for-ev-er. Not as long as the tote bag (haha... just kidding, that's only true if you're me), but definitely awhile. My back isn't the strongest so I had to split it up between several days of sewing. As per Dana's recommendation, I took all the fabric onto my driveway and glued them together with Craft Bond, a spray adhesive. This was a struggle because it was windy, but was definitely helpful in keeping my fabrics from shifting too much while I sewed. After putting some safety pins in random spots around the blanket, I used painter's tape to mark a line down the diagonal center of the blanket. I started sewing with this middle line and then out to the left side, and eventually flipped it upside down to the right. Luckily, I didn't have to use a ruler to measure each 1/2 inch, because that's what the little lines on my sewing machine are for.
        A few days later (or probably about 4-5 straight hours of sewing), the lines were done! I knew cutting would be a challenge because a) I am left-handed and lefty scissors don't have the blades reversed so they are crap, and b) I was nervous I would accidentally cut through the matyoshka layer, so I was super careful and had my right hand underneath the blanket during each and every snip. I had ordered a slash rotary cutter just for this purpose, and it was due to arrive Thursday, but still isn't here (whoopsy,
the cutting begins.
       So I cut about 1/3 of the blanket over the course of two days. I could only get through a few lines at a time before having to break and stretch out. I was getting kind of freaked out that I would never finish. But yesterday I was at JoAnn for my sewing class (details to come!), and they had a smaller version of that cutter there. I had a 50% off coupon, so I caved and got one for $7. And I am so glad I did! I went a little fast with it and cut a few lines too close to the sewn line, so there is slightly noticeable error on the finished blanket, but whatever. I'm totally over it. Next I had to sew on the binding. I chose teal, like Dana did, because teal is awesome. I bought this quilt binding at JoAnn and used about one and a half packages. It was rough to sew on because at this point, it was 6 layers of fabric, and my machine isn't the world's strongest. But it was completed. Around midnight. And ready to go in the laundry!!
blanket cut, pre-wash.
       I was so excited for the result that I just sat on the couch waiting for the cycle to finish. After the washing machine, it looked pretty cool, but I knew I had to wait for the dryer for the full effect. And here it is!


"layers upon layers of chenille!"
matryoshkas and chenille: a fantastic combination
       So, a million days later, I must say, I am so pleased with the results! Although I was whining about it a lot of the time, I kind of want to make another right this moment. I even slept with it in my bed last night. It's not big enough to be a sleeping quilt. I just wanted it near me. So thanks Dana for your great tutorial and my beautiful snuggly blanket!

 A bonus:
fun times: my brother-in-law Doug and me at my mom's golf tournament. i'm dressed like a flapper under there!

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