Cupcake Blanket


So.  My three-year-old nephew, Oscar, is obsessed with cupcakes right now.  When I saw him in Florida in September for my cousin’s wedding, it was all about cupcakes.  He had stories about how his mommy was going to make him tiger cupcakes for his birthday (which Luke said was an entirely imagined plan), he watched Kate playing a terraforming videogame and it was all about making cupcake planets, and he said he dreamed about cupcakes and wanted to live in a cupcake world.

I thought this was adorable, and that I had picked up on the perfect birthday idea – making him a cupcake blanket.  But his birthday was only a little more than a week after the wedding, and I went to the fabric store directly upon my return from Florida, but all of the cupcake-printed fabrics were pink and excessively girly.  I called Luke to double-check, but he didn’t answer so I just used my better judgement and passed on the fabric.

But then we were discussing what to get Oscar for Christmas and  Kate said, “Everything I know about Oscar’s likes can be summed up by ‘the Car movie’ and I’ve exploited that as much as I can.  Unless I can find a good cupcake blanket…”

And I thought that she was messing with me.   But she came to that idea on her own.  So – Challenge Accepted.   In my quest to become remain Oscar’s favorite auntie, I decided to make a cupcake blanket that was reasonably gender-neutral for Oscar for Christmas.  But the fabrics didn’t magically change from shades of pink, so I decided to approach it a different way.  I bought two pieces of fleece, one brown with polka dots for the top, and another complimentary-colored one with basketballs for the bottom.  (Basketball with Grandpa may be the only thing in the world he likes better than cupcakes.)

So I appliqued cupcakes onto the top of the blanket.  First, I cut cartoony cupcakes out of paper grocery bags.  Charles thought they looked too much like muffins, so he lobbied for sprinkles.  I have never done this kind of thing before, but it seemed like it made the most sense to sew all the pieces together and then stitch to the blanket, so that is what I did.

But it seemed like it was going to be too flat, so I stuffed just the top of the cupcake with some cotton batting to make it a little puffier.

Then, because I was making a fleece tie blanket, I tied my two pieces of fleece together.  It is super-simple, I made one of these with my mother-in-law like eight years ago and basically faked it from memory.  I used my rotary wheel and cutting mat to make one inch strips, about five or six inches long, mostly eyeballing it on the length but using the grid on the mat to be fairly precise about the width.  Then you just tie square knots, making sure you are tying the pieces you cut together and not missing any.  It is a little tricky if you are working on a table shorter than the length of the blanket, because you really should cut a whole side before you start tying, and the place you might make a mistake is if things get all jumbled together from moving the blanket.

The whole project took the better part of a day, but it was really fun, and I think Oscar is going to like the result.  (I turned up the corner so you can see the basketballs underneath.)

Of course, after I finished this, I told my mom about it.  She had just returned from Louisiana, where she had hung out with Oscar while Jackie took her law school finals.  And my mom said, “That will be great, the other blanket you made him is his favorite but it is getting too small for him.”

And I said, “What blanket was that again?”

“The baby leopard blanket.”

Finally, the lightbulb went on and I remembered that I had made a baby blanket for this little guy already.  Out of a piece of fabric his dad had bought at the Ben Franklin dime store and then, because most eight-year-old boys don’t have much use for a piece of fabric (even if it has cute baby leopards on it), had just sat in my mom’s house for twenty years.  I had completely spaced that out.  So, we can start taking bets on what the next blanket I make for him might have on it, when he is too old for cupcakes and basketballs.

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