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Well, it’s finally here: Part 15, the final part of the Marine Life CAL.

This project has been an absolute joy to make, and I’ve so adored seeing all of your progress photos of your own Marine Life blankets! You all do such amazing work–keep it up!

Part 15 of the CAL is all about the final touches for your blanket. In the post below, I’ve broken this part of the CAL into two separate sections: one for assembly and one for backing.

If you’re still catching up, you can find all of the other parts of the CAL here.

Ready to finish your blanket? Let’s do this!

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Assembling Your Blanket

If you haven’t already done so, I highly recommend that you work at least one row of a single crochet border around each of your squares and your ripple stitch panels. As we discussed in Part 13, adding this border row is super helpful when it comes time to joining your squares and your panels together.

Speaking of joining squares and panels, now’s the time! You’ll first need to decide which method of joining you would like to do. My personal favorite method of joining is to face the wrong (or back) sides of adjacent panels together and single crochet along the edges. This gives a really neat ridge effect between your panels which adds even more texture to your blanket.

There are lots of other methods of joining, including the whip stitch and the mattress stitch, but I find the single crochet method so fast and easy!

Click here to learn more about this particular method of joining.

Tip: if you want the “ridge” effect that is caused by single crocheting squares together to show on the right (or front) side of your blanket, you’ll need to face the wrong (or back) sides of your panels together. If you want the ridge on the wrong side, face your right sides of your panels together (this minimizes the ridge effect on the front side and hides it along the back side–a great option if you are going to line your blanket with fabric).

I recommend starting with the columns made up of the squares and the smallest ripple stitch panels. Work each column separately. You should end up with three columns, each made up of 4 squares and 3 of the smallest ripple stitch panels.

ML CAL Joining Step 1

Next, join the tall ripple stitch panels (panel type #2) to the sides of columns. This is where your blanket will really start to come together! You should end up with one large rectangular blanket that’s just missing the top and bottom panels.

ML CAL Joining Step 2

Note: this is the step that can really get your blanket alignment messed up, so learn from my mistakes! I highly recommend that you join use locking stitch markers to help line up your columns. You want those small ripple stitch panels to line up with each other so that they appear to form nice even lines across the width of your blanket.

The first photo below shows strategic points (the yellow stars) where you should think about adding stitch markers. Start with the left-hand panel and column of squares, and take the stitch markers off as you join. Then start the next panel, making sure you pin your stitch markers so that those small ripple stitch panels line up in a nice horizontal row.

The second photo shows what happens if you just eyeball it like I did the first time around. Note how the two small ripple stitch panels don’t line up! I was able to frog my stitches and “un-join” this panel from my column of squares, then I started using stitch markers to help them line up.

 

 

I’ve put together a video tutorial that some of you may find helpful when joining your panels. Click on the video below to watch! It’s a little long, but I tried to make it as helpful as possible. Hope it helps!

Lastly, you’ll need to join your top and bottom banners to the blanket. Start with the top, joining it to the main blanket, then join the bottom. (Or you can be rebellious and start with the bottom–it really doesn’t matter!)

 

 

When you’re finished, you should end up with one complete blanket where the ripple stitch panels all line up in nice, even horizontal lines.

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Above: This is my Marine Life CAL without the top and bottom ripple stitch panels. After I took this photo, I realized the left-hand panel didn’t line up! So I undid my stitches and tried again.

If you’re happy with your blanket after you’ve joined all of your panels, then you’re all done! If you want to add an extra layer of warmth, scroll down to read more about lining your blanket with fleece.


Lining Your Blanket With Fleece

I mentioned back in Part 13, I hate weaving in my yarn tails, so I usually just tie them off on the back side of the blanket and add a fabric lining.

Why fleece? I love using fleece to line my blankets for a couple of reasons. Fleece is soft, warm, machine washable, and comes in a wide variety of patterns and colors. There’s a fleece for every crocheted blanket! Fleece also does not fray when cut, which is very important when following my favorite method of lining a blanket.

My favorite method of lining a blanket is to use a rotary cutter with a skip-stitch blade. I then run the blade around the edge of my fleece and use my border color of yarn and a crochet hook to single crochet around the edge of the fleece. Then I simply join the two layers of fleece and crocheted blanket together by single crocheting all of the sides together!

It’s a pretty simple, straightforward method that lets you add warmth and a new kind of texture to your blanket.

You can use other kinds of fabric to line your blanket (minky fleece is quite fun), but if you plan to cut or make holes of any kind into your fabric, be sure to use something that will not fray when cut!

I’ve actually made a few different tutorials for lining projects with fleece in the past as part of tutorials for specific projects, but the technique is all the same. I don’t want to duplicate it word-for-word again, but you can find a few of those tutorials below. (Note that for the pillow tutorial, just scroll down on that page past the pattern info to find the information you need!)

Lining the Solar System Blanket with Fleece

Lining a Pillow with Fleece

Your basic first step is to choose a fabric. For my Marine Life blanket, I chose a super-soft “luxe” fleece. This fleece is incredibly soft–definitely the softest I’ve ever come across. Looking back however, I think I would have preferred to use a more conventional fleece, like an anti-pill fleece for a couple of reasons: this luxe fleece is soft, but it generates static electricity very easily, and it also tears easily. This can be a problem since I had to cut holes in it with the skip-stitch blade, and I actually had a few of these holes get larger after stitching the fleece to my blanket. I will probably have to replace this fleece lining in time.

The next step is to measure and cut your fabric. Now, your crochet work will have some stretch to it, so your measurements do not have to be exact! I usually just lay out my fleece, lay my crocheted blanket over the fleece, and then cut the edges so that there’s a small margin of extra fleece away from the edge of my blanket (about 1/2″ to 1″, if you’re curious). In the photo below, you can see that I left myself a larger margin of extra fleece. I did this because my crocheted blanket actually ended up having a lot of stretch to it, so I wanted to make sure I had enough fleece to compensate for that.

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Next, you’ve gotta cut those holes! Again, I use a rotary cutter and a skip-stitch blade to cut the holes in my fabric. On a cutting-safe surface, just run the edge of the blade around all four edges of your fleece, leaving about a 1/4″ – 1/2″ edge.

After you’ve cut your holes, your fabric will need…you guessed it: a border! Use your border color for your blanket and loosely work a single crochet border around your fabric.

The next step is to join your fabric to your crocheted blanket. I suggest using stitch markers to pin your two sides together and then single crochet through the borders of both layers to join them together.

Once your two sides are joined, you may notice that the fleece and the crochet layers stick together along the sides, but not in the middle! This can lead to bunching up of the fleece or the crocheted layers (or both!). Weird blanket bunching? No thanks! You can fix this by adding tacks.

Tacking the fleece to your crochet blanket is easier than it sounds. You first need to figure out how many tacks (or ties) you need for your blanket. For my Marine Life blanket, I did a total of 9 tacks. So cut enough strands of yarn for each of your tacks, allowing them to be approximately 8″ long or so. Next, use a needle to pull one end of your tack through both layers of crochet and fleece. Repeat for the second end of your yarn tack, placing it about half an inch away. Tie the two yarn tails together a few times, making them nice and secure. Lastly, trim the ends, leaving about 1 1/2″ left.

 

 

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The Finished Marine Life Blanket

This blanket was so much fun to design and to put together, and I hope that you have enjoyed it as much as I have. As always, please contact me if you have any questions. I’m happy to help out in any way I can!

Again, you can find everything related to the Marine Life blanket on the main project page here. This project–patterns, tutorials, everything–will remain on this site for as long as humanly possible.

I’d love to see photos of your progress as you work on this project! Feel free to share on social media using the hashtag #marinelifecal.

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