Usually I make handmade Christmas gifts for at least some of my family members and close friends. Now that the holidays are over I can finally blog about a few things without ruining any surprises! This year my list of people I needed to get gifts for was much shorter than usual, so I ended up only making 3 gifts. I knit a headband for my sister-in-law (blogged here), knit a scarf for my roommate, and made a fleece blanket and pillows for my boyfriend.
When I asked my boyfriend what he wanted for Christmas (and his birthday, which is also in the end of December), he requested something handmade to put in his new apartment. It took me a while to figure out what to make because my boyfriend likes very streamlined and modern things, and many of the things I make are not quite that style. In the end, I decided to make a big, snuggly blanket and a couple pillows to put on his couch. Instead of doing a tie-together blanket around the edges, I came up with a modern patchwork design that would fit better with his style.
I started by going to the fabric store and picking out fleece in a range of colors. My boyfriend's favorite color is blue and his apartment is primarily black and white, so I picked out a dark blue background, and bright blue, aqua, white, and gray for the patchwork pieces. I also grabbed two 16 x 16 inch pillow forms. Once I had all my materials, the first step was laying out the 3 yards of background fabric and cutting off enough for the fronts and backs of the pillows. Next, I measured and cut the smaller lengths of fabric into 7 inch wide strips. I bought between 3/4 and 1 full yard of all the other fabric colors.
Once I had about a dozen fabric strips cut, I started laying them out on the dark background. My goal was to create an irregular pattern by alternating colors and adjusting the length of each block. Honestly, cutting and arranging the fabric was probably the most time consuming part of the whole project! After everything was arranged to my liking, I pinned down the pieces so they wouldn't move and got busy at the sewing machine. (It was tough wrangling so much fabric!) For each row of patchwork blocks, I sewed the long edge all the way across and then came back and sewed the short edges individually. Then I trimmed the extra edges off the background, and it was done! He thinks the blanket is awesome and was very impressed.