Monday, August 6, 2012

Tied Picnic Blanket: A Mini Tutorial

We spend many of our summer weekends having picnics in the parks with friends. We've been using a canvas table cloth as our picnic blanket, but it wasn't quite the right size. Enter my ten inch charms collected from the masculine swap I participated in! The dark colour scheme made it perfect for something that was bound to be spilled on regularly. My goal was to get this quilt done quickly, so that we could use it right away.

The construction was simple. I laid out 56 squares in a seven by eight grid. First I sewed them into pairs, then quarters, then groups of eight and so on. For the back, I used two large pieces of canvas I had in my stash. I also cut up two pairs of jeans and pieced them together into larger blocks. I decided to leave some of the seams in for visual interest. I also used a few other scraps of canvas I had left over from a tote bag I made last summer.

To put the quilt together, I laid the front and back right sides together and inserted two thick canvas ties. The long ends of the straps should be hidden inside at this point (i.e. when the right sides are together, only see the short ends of the straps are visible beyond the edge so that when you turn the blanket inside out, the long straps are on the outside - make sense?).

Next I sewed around the perimeter, leaving a two foot opening. Then I turned the blanket right side out, sewed up the opening and top stitched about 5/8" away from the seams. I made rounded corners which I think turned out perfectly.

I decided to tie this blanket, instead of quilting it. I think it was a good decision because of how quickly I was able to finish it up. I used a variegated yarn from that was leftover from a hat I made (and lost) last winter. Levi thinks the ties are great fun!

This blanket was sewn up in less than a week! Am I fast, or what?! Using charms from the swap was a huge time saver, because I only needed to cut twelve squares (I wanted the quilt to be a bit bigger than the 42 charms would have allowed for). I imagine our family and friends enjoying meals on this quilt for years to come!

If I can remember, I'll link up with Fabric Tuesday and Finish it Up Friday this week.


  1. Lisa, I don't know how you do it all...I am quite exhausted just reading your posts.

  2. Awesome. And I love the rounded edges!

  3. Jealous of the 'Finisher'!!!! I have not cut into mine yet, but I have the pattern. Does that count?

  4. I love it, Lisa - the back as much as the front! The jeans are way cool! And the straps are genius!

  5. Hi, Lisa. I was just popping over from #talknt. I didn't get a chance to participate in show and tell tonight, but I wanted to see what folks were up to. I really like your picnic quilt. I've heard folks talk about tying a quilt rather than quilting it...what would you say are the advantages of this technique besides time? Do you use a special kind of knot when tying it together?

  6. Very nice picnic quilt! And so smart with the straps!