Chenille Makes a Comeback (In My Mind)

I love the texture of chenille. About 15 years ago, my local quilt shop had a workshop on making chenille. Because I taught some children with autism, I was keenly aware of the value of having textured items in the room to help sooth those students while sitting at a lesson on the carpet. However, I soon learned that eveyone loves to rub their hands across a closely sewn chenille blanket.

Here is one that I started 15 years ago, and just finished. It has layers of solid blue, black, navy and forest green and red flannel. These are sewn together in more or less straight rows, about 1/2 inch apart. It took a l . o . n . g . time. ( I had to cut some of the rows with embroidery scissors, but now you can use a walking foot and use the edges of the foot to line up with the previous row.)

You cut through the channels, between the seams of just the top 4 out of 5 layers, leaving the fifth layer complete at the bottom as the piece that holds it all together. Square it up, using a Square, or a few quilting rulers.

Throw it in the washing machine and tumble dry it to fluff up the cut channels to create the chenille. You can bind it, just like any blanket, and it can be bound after the drying, or prior to washing it.
This was a blanket for my grandson, and I sewed 5/8" which had a lot of texture,
but you might find it too open. It is fun to touch, and I backed it with Minkie fabric, which was added on after cutting. So it is very soft on both sides--good for tummy time!

My friend next door, Janice has become a master of the chenille blanket. Look at how closely she sews her rows, using a walking foot. Also, she chose a patterned flannel on top, and it gives the blanket a whole new look.

For this lap quilt, I chose 4 layers of flannel, and a cotton length for the bottom. You have to sew the first seam on a 45 degree angle through all 5 layers, to make the cut sides fluff up to create the chenille. I pinned the 5 layers, just as you would a quilt sandwich to ensure that my layers did not shift.

Here I stitched from the bottom side, and cut the chenille rows when I needed a break from the sewing. You can see how I lined up my walking foot with the edge of the previous sewing row.
Be very careful that you have the shears cutting through only the top 4 layers and that you have an intact 5th layer, or you will end up with spaghetti.

I bound this one prior to washing it, and found it easier to bind.

I didn't take a photo of the finished product, but my sister-in-law cuddles under it when she is on a Pinterest pinning day! I'll ask her to send a photo, and a sample of her fabulous baking!

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