For years I admired the gorgeous embroidered wool blankets featured in Australian Smocking and Embroidery. The first time I was invited to teach in Australia, I treated myself to enough gorgeous and extremely pricey 100% wool Onkaparinga (I just love to say that name–onka-pa-RING-a) to make a baby shawl just like those Aussie blankets. They were definitely old fashioned.
After stowing away several pieces of gorgeous wool challis for several years and less than a year after tenderly carrying home my Onkaparinga, I discovered moth holes in much of the wool challis. It had been enclosed in a zip lock bag and taken out only occasionally to be fondled.
I was just sick about that loss but didn’t even want to think about how I would feel about chewed up Onkaparinga. So I double bagged it in plastic and packed it away in an airtight plastic bin, where it will likely die of old age and emotional neglect. What a wasted splurge! On my next teaching trip to Australia, I indulged my fabric addition with yards of divine Liberty of London Tana lawn. I can count on 100% cotton.
Polar fleece, however, is modern!!!! It gives the same look without all the worry about moths and laundering. Fleece is just an amazing fabric—warm, durable, easy care and available in an unlimited number of colors and patterns, not to mentioned reasonably priced.
For some time now, I’ve been smitten with machine embroidered applique. When Amazing Designs came out with their “Plush” applique collections–Plush Lambs, Bunnies, Bears, Lions and more–I was enthralled. Using white polar fleece for the lambs gave me exactly the look I sought.
This blanket is a 45″ square of pink polar fleece edged with a quality Cluny lace edging. Earlier, I had learned that Cluny laces shrink considerably, so pre-shrinking is a must.
Joining it to the fleece had me stumped for a while, as my preferred pin stitch or earlier roll and whip method would be inappropriate on this fabric. In the end, I serged a narrow 3-thread overlock and then tiny zig zagged the cluny over the serging. Most cluny laces have a large header, and this one is no exception. So the header covered the serging and it looked very neat.
Then I sat down to the computer to ready my embroidery designs. There is text that accompanies many of the designs, all in a juvenile font. Wanting to personalize this for Laurel, I extracted letters from various sets of text until I had what was needed to write “Laurel.”
Four years later, this blanket still is used for naps and wrapping up dolls. It looks surprisingly good for all the laundering and heavy use. I doubt an Onkaparinga blanket would hold up so well to 4 years of a pre-schoolers use and abuse, our Florida heat and year round moths.