For Nathan's art class he was asked to create a Northwest Indian button blanket. The assignment suggested that the kids use foam sheets and felt pens to create a blanket design. He did this initial assignment but then decided that he'd like to make a real blanket that he could keep. So, using the book, Northwest Native Arts Creative Colors 2 by Robert E Stanley, Sr. he chose an eagle pattern.
We then made a copy that he colored with felt pens. Using red and black he left some white space. We then scanned the colored copy and made two copies (one being a mirror image) to create the symmetrical effect. We then printed these copies onto iron-on transfer paper and used part of an old sheet to affix them as a base.
We wanted to attach the eagle pattern to a black circle which would then be sewn to a larger red circle. This decorative piece would then be sewn to the blanket. Nathan wanted the blanket to be soft so we selected a soft black fleece for the base and use red felt for the trim and background for the eagle design. We "measured" the width of the blanket by using Nathan's arm-span as the measurement.
Not having a circle pattern the exact size we wanted (we did check all the bowls in the house first ;) we fashioned a type of compass using a white oil pastel crayon tied to some dental floss. We positioned it and created a circle the size we needed. Nathan spent quite a bit of time getting everything in place just right with straight pins so that we could then sew everything.
Nathan did some initial practice runs with some scrap fleece on the sewing machine. The blanket took a lot of sewing so mom did a majority of that part for him. Once we got the blanket all put together Nathan learned how to sew a button onto fabric. This is actually a lot harder than it looks for little 11 year old fingers but he stuck with it and between the two of us we got all the buttons attached. It took about 3 days working on this in the evenings to finally complete.
Creating an actual button blanket was a fun alternative that gave us a little more insight into all the work that is involved in making these beautiful blankets.