How To Blanket Stitch

Do you know how to blanket stitch?  The blanket stitch is of course the technique traditionally used to edge blankets, but it's a beautiful edge stitch for many other projects as well. It's ideal to provide an edge on thick materials, so you often see it on felt Christmas tree ornaments, sweaters, and on the edges of polar fleece projects. Once you master the fun, decorative technique of blanket stitching, you'll find yourself looking for ways to use it!  Let's start with a practice run:


A        C        E        G

B        D        F        H

  1. Gather a piece of scrap fabric, a needle, and thread.  The thread should contrast in color to the fabric, and be heavier than sewing thread.  Crochet thread or embroidery floss will do, as will a lightweight yarn (2 ply or fingering yarn), as long as you can pull it easily through the fabric.  Thread your needle.
  2. Label your corners.  Now I want you to imagine a row of small squares on your fabric, and mentally label the corners of the square A, B, C etc, as you see in the illustration.  If you think it will take a few minutes to get the hang of blanket stitching, you may even mark the letters onto your fabric, and then just follow the directions. 
  3. We'll begin with the first square, consisting of A,B,C and D.  Put your threaded needle to the back of the fabric and draw it through to the front.  The point where the needle has come through is Point B on your square, the bottom left of your square.  Now insert your needle into Point C, and poke it back up again through Point D.  When you draw it through, you will have a diagonal line running from Point B to Point C, with the thread emerging again at Point D.
  4. Now insert the tip of your needle under the diagonal line of thread.  When you draw the thread taut, you will bend that diagonal thread into a backwards "L," running horizontally from B to D, then vertically from D to B.  This is your first blanket stitch.  Bravo!
  5. Begin your next blanket stitch by inserting your needle into Point E and drawing it back up through Point F.  Here is your next diagonal line, running upward from Point D to Point E.  This stitch has now secured your first blanket stitch into the backwards "L" shape that defines blanket stitching.  Now insert the tip of your needle under your newest diagonal line and use the thread to bend the line into your next backwards "L."  This second blanket stitch will be secured by your third one as you run your needle into Point G and out of Point H (creating the third diagonal line). 
  6. Tie it up.  When you've finished your project,  secure the last backwards "L" by inserting the needle just on the other side of the corner of the "L," creating a tiny loop over it instead of a long diagonal stitch up and to the right.  Poke your needle through that loop to create a slip knot.  Then either do another slip knot in that one to secure it or run the needle through to the back and knot it securely there.

Before you know it you'll have a beautiful line of well-spaced blanket stitches running across your fabric.  When you're ready to edge a blanket or another project, the bottom of your squares will run on the outer edge of the project, while the top of the backwards "L" will be a quarter of an inch or so in from the edge.

Now that you know how to blanket stitch, you can get started with your amazing projects!

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