I knew that during my Austin visit I'd be seeing a dear friend from college, who is also due with her first baby in April! I really want to try to give handmade presents as baby gifts and at first thought I would make another baby blanket. But then, as the weeks slipped by, I knew I'd need a simpler project. The blanket took several craft dates with my mother-in-law, which I loved!, but I just didn't have the time before my trip.
I flipped through Simple Sewing for Baby and found instructions for a tag blankie. It's just a square of fabric with lots of ribbon loops, or "tags", around the edges. The book says that babies love to suck on the tags and feel the different textures. An accompanying picture shows a baby staring very intently at his tag blankie so I thought, "If this baby likes it so much, it must be good!". At one point I took the project half-way finished to work so that I could ask a friend a sewing question. A co-worker came over and said, "Oh, is that a tag blankie? My daughter has one and LOVES it." She said her daughter loves to put her fingers through all the loops!
My friend having the baby is an awesome and funny gal and when I asked her if she had particular nursery colors picked out she said, "Well, I think we'll go for a Lisa Frank theme." I laughed so hard! I hope you guys had some awesome Lisa Frank folders and binders when you were in grade school - the ones with unicorns and tiger cubs on a psychedelic-colored background. Anyway, I think Tiff was kind of kidding but I decided to make the tag blankie Lisa Frank-inspired to make her laugh.
I had also read on Sara's blog that babies like high-contrast patterns like black and white when they are very young. So I picked out a black and white fabric to go with some fun colored ribbon. The instructions called for 2 squares of fabric measuring 13 in. x 13 in. I also added some very thin batting to give the blankie a bit more weight. The ribbon should be different widths and textures (I picked out smooth ribbon and ribbed ribbon). The first time I cut my ribbon pieces I actually cut them too short because I forgot they would have to be folded over. The second time around I actually read the directions more closely and saw that each piece should be 4 - 8 inches long. Lesson learned.
The hardest part about the project for me was sewing the last corner closed, which was the opening I used to turn the project right side out (most of it is sewn with the right side of the fabric pieces together and the ribbon tags layered in between). So there's one corner that's a bit off but it still seems strong and should hold up.
But overall I'm so happy with the way it turned out. It just took two afternoons of sewing for the blankie to come together and I'm glad I have a handmade gift for my friend. I hope her sweet baby girl likes it and that it goes with the Lisa Frank-inspired nursery!