Forgive Teddy. He hasn’t hibernated yet and was pretty unbearable when I asked him to model this for you. Of course, his expression is nothing compared to the ones Wheels and Bytes provided when I asked them to model this warm and cozy ruana!
Wheel’s sister – who lives where the winters are really cold – gave me a ruana for Christmas one year. I’d never heard of a ruana before, but I have worn that warm and fleecy poncho type garment every single day from October to May ever since! When you are coldblooded and live in a place with cold winters, you appreciate every bit of warmth that comes your way — bear or human. (Raises hand – “Me, me!”) It was the first thing I thought of when my sister Vee told me she needed surgery this fall and dreaded recuperation time. How to make things more comfortable? A ruana to keep her shoulders and torso warm, while giving her the freedom to move.
My gift was made from a light fleece blanket. Not a fleece blanket to be found anywhere in this state! You know, the kind rolled and sold in all colors and patterns to keep in your car or to use as a stadium blanket. So I visited the fabric store. Dinosaur fleece, frogs, princesses, race cars, teddy bears, bright neon solids. Not exactly Vee’s style. Finally found a blue and white fleece and set to work, using my ruana as a pattern. Of course, once I mailed the ruana to Vee, blankets in tight rolls magically appeared in every store. To add insult, the fabric store also now has beautiful fleeces in florals, soft pastels, stripes and polka dots!
Buy groceries, get the mail, work at the computer, do household chores. Warmth and freedom in your custom ruana. A ruana is perfect for nestling in for tv or reading. I’m up and down – a lot!– and a blanket or a throw gets in the way. A ruana works so much better. Get too warm from your trip to put clothes in the dryer — throw the front panels back over the chair; too cold – pull them back in place. To make your own warm, versatile, and fun ruana for that perfect gift (or for yourself!), you will need to:
A light fleece blanket, already cut to size and edges finished OR 2 yards of light to medium weight fleece (light enough to drape and hang nicely). AND
2 yards of trim, at least one inch wide
Follow these steps:
1. Found a blanket?? Skip step one – lucky you! Measure and mark 48 inches from one side. Cut evenly. If necessary, square the ends and make sure they are also cut evenly. If you tell the cutter at the fabric store you need a square cut, they will often take extra care to do this for you as they cut it from the bolt. (Don’t expect them to recut the already cut end though!)
2. Determine and mark the exact middle of the fabric. Blankets measurements may vary so the quickest and easiest way to find the middle is to fold the blanket in quarters. Put a pin right on the middle — there will be no open edges at the middle! (Just checkin’) If you want to measure for the fleece, the middle will be 24 inches from the side and 36 inches from the end.
3. Refold the fabric or blanket in half lengthwise. Cut along the fold for 36 inches for the fleece or until you reach the middle point that you marked previously for the blanket.
Fleece does not ravel so you do not have to finish the edges. To wear, gently flip over your head and nestle the open edge around your neck. Tuck arms underneath or move them freely through the side openings. Just like Teddy!
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