I got together with some of my craft swap buddies Wednesday night to do a yankee swap.  I have no idea why it is called a yankee swap, but basically we all agreed to make one big(ger than normal) item instead of the standard 5 people, make 4 things.  We drew numbers and the (un)lucky number 1 opened a gift.  Number 2 could steal the item number 1 opened or open another package.  And so on. And so on.  (Remember those shampoo commercials?).

I was very excited for this swap.  I have so many ideas that I want to try out, but most of them are not realistic when I am making 10 or so items on a budget.  Other than the fact that I started and finished my craft Wednesday (those gifts for the nephews had to go in the mail!), this was a perfect swap for me.

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My most favorite thing I have made since my patchwork bag is this blanket.  Really.  Truly.  I had a hard time giving it up.  It came out exactly how I envisioned it in my mind.

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I was completely inspired by this gorgeous blanket on the Purl Bee.  Of course, I put my own twist on it.  I bought the dark charcoal gray wool at my local fabric store (on sale!) and then made a patchwork binding out of fabric from the stash.  This bugger was hard to photograph – and it was about 6 p.m. and dark at the time – so I don’t think its true beauty comes across.  But trust me, it is luxurious.

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It measures about 60" square and the binding is 1 inch wide on each side.  And it was fast to make (about 4 hours including 1 1/2 hours of hand sewing)!  The hardest part was figuring out how to balance the patchwork pieces – I am a bit nutty about scale and color.  That’s probably why I have never tackled a real quilt.  But I digress.  The second hardest part was the hand sewing of the binding.  I rushed this bit – you can see the slip stitch – if I could have taken my time, the stitches would have been more uniform and less visible, I am sure.  I don’t think it matters.  It went to a great home.

In case you were wondering, I did buy enough wool to make two.  I had a feeling I might need one, too.

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