Thursday, April 15, 2010

Undercover Project

A few months ago, my sister's co-worker's daughter (follow that?) started a great non-profit project to benefit a local Virginia children's hospital. The hospital had pitiful old blankets for the kids, so this fine lady decided to collect 600 blankets for each child to keep. (The hospital sees about that many kids a year.) Melissa, my sister, contacted me the other day to let me know that they're still working on the project but support seems to be waning. No waning!

Here's some recent info she sent me:

I am working with a friend and her daughter on behalf of the Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescents ( in Staunton to collect new blankets for the children in this hospital. The hospital is a state hospital that has been hit hard by the state budget cuts, and they cannot afford to replace basic supplies like blankets. They are in danger of closing in the next few years. It is a psychiatric hospital for children. Many of them come to the hospital with nothing but the clothes on their backs. The blankets are a basic need for the hospital and also a security item for the child who gets to take the blanket with them when they leave.

My friend and her daughter have named their project, "Undercover" - you get the imagery. They have delivered several hundred blankets since the fall, but momentum is waning and we are now going to civic organizations and corporations asking for donations.

Your blog is a great resource for crafty people.
[Ha! You mean all 4 of the people who read it?] I thought maybe since you have an audience who have the talent to quilt, perhaps you could share this information with them.

There are requirements for the blankets:

All the children sleep in a twin size bed so the blanket can be no smaller than 50x60" and up to a twin size blanket at most. Fleece blankets, quilts, comforters, and specialty weighted blankets are all welcome.

If there are any questions, they could email for further information.

No need to make a blankie if you're not crafty, just find a good deal at the store. But if you want to make one (or more) here's an easy, fun method below. (This 'pattern' also came from Melissa, by the way. She and her kids made Big I one for his first birthday. He loves it.)

Easy Fleecy Blankie
  1. Go to local craft store
  2. Find fleece fabric section. It is probably very large and very colorful. Bonus if there's a sale going on.
  3. Pick whatever fleece fabric looks fun/pretty/soothing/wild-and-crazy to you. Be careful, fleece is easy to get addicted to.
  4. Take fabric to counter and ask for two yards. (Normally one yard is a great size, but for this project, two yards will be more useful for older kids.) Repeat as necessary for all the fleece prints you just can't live without.
  5. Once home, unfold the fabric completely and find the edge of the fabric with a selvage. It will be obvious that it is not part of the pattern. Usually it's a white strip. Use a nice sharp pair of scissors or rotary cutter and cut it off. The other long edge of the fabric will have some holes and a funny rolled edge. Cut it off as straight as you can manage as well.
  6. Locate the short edges of the fabric. Take your scissors and begin at one corner to cut 2-3' long fringe about 1 inch wide all the way across the short edge of the fabric. Use a large pair of scissors that cut all the way to the tip and that will give you a good length. I use the pad of my thumb as a rough measurement of width. If you're a true perfectionist you may have to pull out a ruler, but really, no one will notice that they don't all match perfectly. You can choose to fringe all sides if you wish.
  7. Tie each individual fringe piece in an over-hand knot and snug up to the main body of the blanket. Spouses and children are particularly helpful for this part.
  8. Admire!
I had a great time making a bunch of fleece blankets for the Undercover Project already and I think I'll make some more. If you're local to me, feel free to drop some of your blankets off and I'll be happy to ship them.


  1. This is a great blog! I'll see if I can spread it around.

  2. Thanks Emily I'm the grandpa of the grandson who is the is the son of the daughter of the mother who is my wife. How's that for a mouthful? That grandson was a patient of the Commonwealth Center for a week last year and that is how we learned of the blanket need. Our grandson has special blankets that are important parts of his mental and emotional wellbeing and when my wife and daughter learned how old and worn the provided blankets were they wanted to do something to help the kids and give them something to keep. Thank you for your personal contributions to this project and for your willingness to make others aware!

  3. You're welcome, Bob. Hope it helps.

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  5. This is a great project! I love your post! I always buy fleece fabric from and now i am going to take your idea and make it myself. Thanks so much for the great info!