Blurry Memories of a Very Warm Blanket
Rosie, Diana, PlazaQueen

Winter's memory is perfect, meaning she can recall everything she's every read or experienced, no matter how mundane. So it bothered her to find this stockpile of blankets, but not because she remembered that she and Leia had helped make them as part of their Alderaanian service requirement. It bothered her because memories of the making were blurry, at best. Does this mean Winter was sleepy or maybe suffering an allergy attack when the memory first entered her brain?

Whatever the cause of the fuzzy memories, Winter was surprised to find these blankets among a refugee supply depot on Dantooine ... she wondered how they'd gotten here. She decided there was little need to code the message to Leia about these supplies; what Imperial would actually believe the truth as she wrote it? But she did have to be careful, so Winter wrote the instructions as she'd remembered them, knowing that Leia would be as surprised and nostalgic as she'd been upon seeing the colorful and very warm blankets again.

(Leia later reminded Winter that they hated putting this blanket together, and perhaps both girls were being overly dramatic with their "crocodile tears" when they were learning how to put together this blanket?)

Step #1:
Leia's aunt Celly had taught them how to make this particular style of blanket. She first made the girls clean up the carpet, so they'd have a clean place to lay down the fabric. Leia argued that her father would buy her a big enough worktable, but Celly told her not to be arrogant and spoiled. "Your father will not be with you forever, Leia," scolded the older woman, "so you'd best pay attention and learn this properly!"

The first step (after cleaning up the floor or work area: Line up the two fabrics (top and bottom of the blanket), and trim them both so they are the same length and width.

Step #2:
Winter did recall the form of their normally proper Aunt Celly on her hands and knees, lining up fabric and snipping and adjusting, here and there. She would have thought that such a novel vision would remain very clear, but perhaps the thought of the prim woman getting onto the floor to show them something she considered important was not "cool" enough for the teens to commit to memory? Leia reminded her that of all the aunts, Celly was the one who spent the most time with them, nit-picking and scolding. "Obviously," wrote Leia in reply to Winter, "she must have loved us brats very, very much!"

Cutting and trimming the fabrics so they are identical in size and shape.

Step #3:
Both Leia and Winter had been taught to make blankets without filler or batting previously, and Leia had whined at having to perform this extra step. "Young lady, think of those mountains you can see from your father's palace balcony ... do you think all of Alderaan is climate controlled? Do you believe that every being has the luxury of heat and a roof over their heads? Stop being so selfish! This blanket represents survival to those who cannot afford heat! And what if your ship loses power?? I can tell you stories of space where not all is cruise liners and fine dining."

When Leia had dared to ask for a story, their Aunt Celly didn't even bother looking up from her cutting, making sure they kept their eyes on her.

Cutting oversize batting to size. (This could have been done with Step 2, above.)

Step #4:
Leia and Winter wanted to hear tales of space that their Aunt Celly apparently knew — first hand! They had never thought of the old maid as anything but a pain to endure while growing up, and this was the first inkling that she might have had a rather exciting life before the girls had been born ... They knew that she'd reward them if they were good, so the girls scrambled about, helping her line up the fabrics and batting together, as she lectured them on how to keep the "right" sides of the fabric together ... they would be working ont he "wrong" sides for now.

Pinning batting to wrong side of fabric on top. At this point fabrics are right sides together with batting on top.

Step #5:
They even helped with the pinning and the basting — the loose stitches meant to keep the fabri together, so it could be sewn properly on a machine — even though they would tend to prick themselves with the old fashioned straight-pins. Winter even remembered what she was wearing that day — a school skirt, because she and Leia tended to be "put to work" by Aunt Celly as soon as they were out from lessons. It was Celly's firm belief that learning should follow learning ... and so they ended up going to school the next day with little bloodspots from the needles on their clothing. Fortunately, it was a dark skirt.

Pin all the way around to keep everything lined up correctly for sewing. Can also baste to be extra secure.

Step #6:
Use a machine or a very fine hand to sew the edges of the blankets together on THREE sides. Aunt Celly pointed out that with the "right" sides together, they had to keep one end open so they could invert the blanket, so that the "right" sides were outermost, and the batting would be "sandwiched" inbetween the two colorful fabrics. Winter understood right away, but Leia didn't, and she made her aunt demonstrate it to her on some scrap fabric. "I was very slow," commented Leia. "Poor Celly probably wondered if I had been the genetic equivalent of a gundark!"

Sew around three sides (two long and one short) about 1 1/2 inches from edge of fabric to end up with a giant pillow case.

Step #7:
Prior to turning the sewn up "bag" inside out, Celly advised that the corners be trimmed off so that the fabric wouldn't bunch up on the corners. The sides should be trimmed to within ½ to ¼ inches from the sewn line, being very very careful not to cut into the seam itself. If you did, they'd have "blowouts" of fabric would be difficult to repair once the blanket was turned inside out. "If you do a poor job now, you'll have to turn the whole thing back again and re-sew and retrim," advised Celly. Winter and Leia were so bored and tired of this task that they trimmed VERY carefully, so they didn't have to do it again!

Trim excess fabric and corners.

Step #8:
Turn the blanket right side out, being careful to pull out the corners so that they are square and not round. "This should not be a problem if you did this properly, young ladies." Aunt Celly had a habit of referring to them as "young ladies." She knew her young charge carried a terrible genetic secret within her, and so she took it upon herself, in league with the other Aunts and with Bail Organa, Leia's father, to force Leia to grow up knowing much, even if she was slow to mature. Her spitfire nature was cause for some concern, but Celly had personally attended to Leia's biological and adopted mothers, and knew that this trait would hold her in good stead. But she had to learn when it was appropriate to unleash it, and so this mundane blanket making task!

At this point turn the right side out so the batting is inside. Press with a warm iron and pressing cloth. Trim bottom edge batting so fabric can be turned in and that edge handsewn closed.

Step #9:
It seemed Leia had no aptitude for sewing with a machine, and though Aunt Celly tried to coach the girl through this, Winter recalled that in the end, Winter had done the machine sewing of the blanket. Leia's temperament did not do well with mechanical things; she couldn't really operate them or repair them — obviously, she had not inherited this trait from her biological father. But she did have a quick hand with a needle and thread, and so Celly had her finish the fourth seam of the blanket using a whipstitch to close it, which Winter then finished with another topstitching on the machine.

Both girls had to quietly admit that this was a beautiful blanket, and started to fight over who would have the privelage of using it. "Neither!" scolded Celly. "This is for donation to the refugee supply. You will make another 10 for your vanity and selfishness." Curiously, Winter did not remember actually making another 10; Leia later recalled that she had gone to her father and protested, which Winter had not known about. Their sentence for being vain and selfish had been commuted, though Leia couldn't recall what replaced the punishment.

Winter laughed out loud when she read that statement. Now she understood why they were brushing nerfs the next day instead of making blankets! (Nerfs were more fun, both girls liked the baby ones.)

Sew around edge of blanket about 1 to 1-1/4 inches in from edge of blanket to create an edge treatment and a finished look.

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