Remember when I made this blanket for my friends' baby in the NICU? Well, that little lady has been out of the NICU for quite some time now and just turned one year old. In honor of this momentous occasion, I decided to make her a little present. I had actually gotten this idea a long time ago, probably not long after she'd been born, when I was in Joann Fabric for some other reason, waiting around the cutting counter. There was a stack of free project ideas, and I saw this and thought, 'that is so adorable, I want to make it, my friends just had a baby, now I just need to wait for her to have a birthday so I can make it for her.'
I figure since the instructions were free for anyone to take at Joann, it's probably OK if I post them on the Interwebs. The instructions call for felt, but I used grey fleece that I had leftover from this other baby blanket I'd made for another friend's baby (so many babies!). Most of the colored fabric I used were leftover from my pastor friend's stole.
I won't really go into details because I really just followed the instructions, and they're pretty simple. However, it did take me much longer than their estimated 3-5 hours. Of course, not being a teacher or having children, I didn't have number stencils, so first I had to find some numbers I liked from the Google, make them the appropriate size on my computer, print and cut them into my own stencils. I spent way more time choosing numbers than was really necessary.
Then, as with my friend's stole, I chose not to just iron on the numbers, but also sew around them. Not only did just doing that add time, but I also practiced on some scrap fabric first, plus I tried out a couple of different types of stitches before choosing what I believe is called a blanket stitch. Initially I was going to go with a really tight zig-zag stitch, like I used on the stole, but after some practicing, it wasn't going well. The numbers had a lot of curves, and I have a new sewing machine from when I did the stole, so I'm not too sure about all the settings, and it didn't seem to be working as well or looking as good as I remembered from the stole. After reading through my manual, trying to get tips for making this work, I discovered this other type of stitch. I tried it, and it worked better, and I thought it looked good, so I went with it. But that all ate up a lot of time.
So finally I got the numbers ironed and sewed on the grey fleece fronts. Then I attached the fusible fleece to the colored fabric, then sewed all of that to the grey fronts, then turned everything right-side out.
The tricky thing was figuring out how much stuffing and rice to put inside. The instructions don't specify, just saying "equal parts." I think I ended up with about half a cup of each. Obviously, it's kind of hard to measure the stuffing, as it's very fluffy. I put it in the measuring cup and then smushed it down, so it was a smushed-down half cup. That made the bags still pretty floppy, which was what I wanted. Also, you can't really buy a small bag of stuffing, but this project doesn't take a lot, so if you have ideas of other things I can make with all my leftover stuffing, let me know :-) I do have more friends with babies, so maybe I'll just have to make a lot more of these. I do already have my number stencils now!