Jumbo Picnic Blanket

Jumbo picnic blanket

Late in the Spring I ventured out to a couple of thrift stores, which I really don’t do very often. They are not known for their treasures around here, a lot of people live off these stores, and California is pretty young for antiques. You East coasters don’t even know how lucky you are. Anyhoo, I went looking for some vintage linens I could turn into a beach blanket. I knew that vintage linens would be a tall order, but I at least managed to find a couple of old sheets that would do the job. Combined with some fabric I had left over from my stash, I chopped everything up into pieces measuring 3 1/2 x 5 1/2, and sewed them all together into a brick pattern.

Since I knew from the beginning that this was going to be used outdoors and on the ground, I didn’t want to spend weeks making an heirloom quilt, so I used the brilliant idea from this book and the Super Quick and Easy Baby Quilt. In a nutshell, you skip the binding portion altogether by sewing the quilt right sides together and then turning it right side out, and instead of complicated quilting or tying you just use those decorative stitches included with your sewing machine. Just inspired.

My own brilliant little bit of inspiration* was an answer to a problem that drove me nuts at the beach. About two minutes after you spread out your blanket, the first time anyone shifts around or somebody walks by, your blanket ends up in a tangled pile. So I wanted to stake it in place.

*At least I’m pretty sure it was mine, I feel like it came from my own head but since I’m not exactly easily mistaken for “outdoorsy”, this could just be how it’s always done and I’ve reinvented the wheel.

picnic blanket tie downs

I used some leftover fabric to make a piece that measured 3 1/2 x 10 inches and sewed it right sides together to make a tube, then I just tucked it between the layers, one in each corner and in the middle of each side, lining up the raw edges before sending the whole quilt sandwich through the machine.

I tried to just carry this mondo blanket loose during our ill-fated beach trip a couple weeks ago and it was absolutely a mistake. I made this blanket as big as I possibly could – it’s about a queen size – so that it could be used for big family get-togethers or play dates, but it was just impossible to carry. So I had to make a big jumbo bag to carry the jumbo blanket, complete with extra long handles so I can toss it over my shoulder and keep a hand free for kid wrangling on walks to and from the car.
Picnic Blanket Tote

And then while the sewing machine was still hot I kept right on going and sewed up a little drawstring pouch to keep the tent stakes in.

Tent Stakes Pouch

In my head this was going to be a quick project finished before spring ended and put to use all summer long. It took a whole lot longer than I planned, but I did it. Just in time for the fall, which all the locals know is the best time to visit the beach anyway.