Monday, October 31, 2011

Monkey's boat blanket.

So probably almost a year ago I saw a couple ladies make a quilt or boat blanket for their hubbies. Since then I've been saying "One of these days I'm going to make you a quilt." Every underway, "I should make you a quilt..." and nothing ever comes of it. Well, this time is the perfect time, if was ever to actually do it. So I started what was come to be known as "Project overly-ambitious".

What started out as a loving, fun craft project turned into an all consuming project for three weeks! I almost didn't get it finished in time. Thank you Mom for all your help! I couldn't have finished it without you! Also, while I was making this I had all my other stealthy-wife things to get together for him. (That's another post)

I had big plans for this blanket. One of which was to make a fleece-lined foot pocket. However, once I got the pocket made, I realized that i would have to quilt it to keep the lining from stretching out and sagging. And after 30 minutes of frustrated self bargaining, i eventually had to give up on the idea realizing that I just didn't have the time to do it right. So, the foot pocket was sadly, left off.
The features that did make it on though, include: a pocket from one of his old utilities shirts being used as a quilt square, ties/ribbons at the foot of the blanket so it can be bundled up all nice and neat for traveling and tidy stowing, a hand sewn heart on the back of the blanket so that "my heart is always next to his", also several patches and name tape and fish. 

In the end some things didn't go according to plan, but I took my time and wanted it to be good quality over anything else. I know it's going to get tossed around a bit on the boat and I wanted it to hold up. But, just in case, I'm sending him with an emergency repair kit so he could patch it up until he got home. I'm realistic, i know that it could very well get damaged during the underway. Though, of course I hope it doesn't.

As much as I enjoyed making this, it fought me the whole way, between the craft store cutting my fabric crooked, to my machine not being able to handle quilting the final blanket, to it just taking 4 times longer to do anything than I thought! I put in somewhere around 50 hours on this project. But it was worth it. I am very proud of it. And, it's super cozy!

Everything except the NWU fabric. I had to order it because he said I could have a pair of this pants (though he didn't know why) and then changed his mind. Did you know you could get the real deal online by the yard? I actually cut out most of this fabric while I was talking on the web cam with him. He just couldn't see what my hands were doing!

That's 140 squares of fabric. I had an evening to kill at a hotel room, so I ironed all my squares.

And then laid them out to find a "random" pattern that I liked.Do you know how hard it is to be completely random, on purpose?
I used one of the pockets from his utility shirts as a quilt square. So he has a functioning pocket on his blanket! Handy for his ipod or phone alarm, etc.

First Squares go together.

First two strips go together. yes, I use A LOT of pins! I just wanted it to be straight. I'm also a super slow sewer because I don't trust that the machine will go straight.

We had to come up with a color coded pin and numbering system because I had no choice but to work on it later in the evening, and we started messing up the order of the squares and strips because we (my mom and I) were so tired!

All the squares were sewn together. From here I added a border, then cut the back, basted the batting in place and sewed the front and back together. It was finally becoming a blanket! One of the patches was a hat patch. Tried my hand at sewing on the patches. Just to make sure they stayed on, even though they had an iron on backing. It did fine on all of them except the round one. (Which, I don't think i have any pictures of)

Finally all together. I think it's gorgeous. The batting I chose was really nice and it made it drape really nicely. It feels wonderful to cuddle with. Of course I tested it for a night. ;)
My sewing machine decided in the 11th hour that it was tired and refused to quilt more than 6 inches without breaking the thread and/or jamming. So, I had to give up and do the hand tieing method. They were trimmed much shorter than this and didn't look too bad when it was all done. They were actually barely noticeable. Here you can see the basting pins still in place, and the gold ribbons for tying the blanket.
I hand sewed a fleece heart to the backside of the blanket near the top left. So that no matter how far away he goes, my heart is always next to his.

And lastly, inside the pocket i tucked a little ducky and another heart, so he always has his Ducky Love with him. (Cause he calls me Ducky, or sometimes Ducky Love.)
The quilt all bundled up. So pretty.
Monkey seemed to be impressed. He said I did a really good job. We slept under it that night. I hope it keeps him nice and warm while I'm not there to hold him. And I hope it makes him feel loved when I'm not there to tell him.


  1. This is just so awesome. It warms my heart to know how much work and love you put into this. He is a very lucky man...:)