As the winter temperature drops far below freezing, many people start to get out their thicker blankets and perhaps add a throw or two on the couch to stay warm. Learning how to make a quilt or even just simple layering blankets is a great skill to have. It will help you keep your family warm and also serves as an excellent gift for loved ones.
Learning How to Quilt
Knowing the basics of sewing, both hand sewing and machine sewing, is quite beneficial for homesteaders and off-gridders. You can mend clothing, bedding and other household necessities which saves money and a trip to the store. It can become a very rewarding hobby, as well. Knowing your way around a machine also means you can dabble in quilting.
Those with zero sewing experience are often intimidated by the thought of making a quilt. It seems difficult and complicated but in reality, quilting doesn’t have to be that way. With simple patterns you can make a beautiful, long-lasting blanket without driving yourself crazy. It is, however, a time-consuming process but can easily be broken down into steps. I recall my grandmother having a few Rubbermaid storage tubs under her bed, with each containing a different quilting project at various stages. When she became tired of working on one, she should spend a week or two on a different project, then move to another.
One of the best ways to learn the basic of quilting is from a family member or friend. This traditional skill was often passed down but it seems to be a lost art in today’s world. Taking a quilting class is another wonderful option and can also open doors to new friendships. You can look online for quilting classes in your area or ask your local sewing/fabric shop. If you are very determined you can learn how to quilt right at home with the help of books, online videos or even an online course.
Other DIY Winter Blankets
Aside from quilting, you can also learn how to make knitted blankets as well as some basic thin blankets for layering.
Crocheting and knitting are two other skills that are great to have. I have found crocheting to be easier, but I know many who find knitting to be faster to learn. It isn’t difficult to learn one after the other so if you have zero experience, just choose whichever one is more appealing.
Knit blankets and throws generally require more time than a quilt but as an advantage you won’t need very much equipment as you would with sewing. Similarly to learning sewing basics, you can also learn how to knit or crochet from the help of a friend, through classes or on your own with the help of books and videos.
Here is a great resource to get you started:
- How to Knit 
And here are some basic crocheted and knitted winter blanket/throw patterns:
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If you have basic sewing skills but don’t want to take on the work of sewing a quilt, there are other simple winter blankets you can make with your machine (or by hand).
Here are some of my favorites:
- Faux Fur Throw – This blanket is one on my own “To-Sew” list. A good quality faux fur is warm and shouldn’t shed. Real fur is superior but faux fur is easier and makes an awesome gift. Although this throw is very basic, you can swap out the fleece for a different fabric. You can also make the dimensions larger or use batting between the fur and fabric to make it much warmer.
- Recycled Sweater Blanket  – Recycling or “upcycling” materials is rarely a bad idea. With this tutorial you can use up those old sweaters or even scope out your local thrift store for some great deals.
- Fleece Blanket with Bias Tape  – If you want a very basic project that you can easily complete in like 20 minutes, here it is. These fleece blankets look great with the added tape and would make the perfect gift.
- Lap Duvet  – Love the look and weight of a quilt but don’t want to sew an entire quilt? These lap duvets are the perfect introduction to quilting. They can also double as a baby blanket.
Finally, for the most basic blanket you can keep on your couch for those cozy movie nights, here are a few no-sew ideas. These make a fun project for kids to do as well.