Activity time: 25 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Polar fleece fabric
- Yardsticks and rulers, washable markers, and permanent markers to share
- Scissors, sharp enough to cut fabric effectively-one pair for each participant, including some left-handed scissors
- White or light colored fabric, and permanent markers
- Safety pins (one per blanket)
- Optional: Newsprint, markers, and tape
Preparation for Activity
- Purchase sufficient polar fleece for each person to have two pieces approximately 30 inches square. If possible, obtain a variety of colors and patterns.
- Purchase white or light-colored fabric to cut into 3-inch squares. Cut squares for all participants plus some extra.
- Cut the polar fleece into blanket-size squares or rectangles. Adjust the sizes based on the width of your fabric. Ensure that each square or rectangle has a same-sized "mate."
- Make sure the scissors are sharp enough to cut fabric without frustration and that some are left-handed scissors.
- Optional: Start one blanket to use as a demonstration with the group.
- Optional: Draw a simple chalice symbol on newsprint, and post.
Description of Activity
Participants create an item to use for a ministry of presence. The polar fleece blankets created in this activity are perfect as gifts for people who are ill or in the hospital, in need of loving support, or simply beloved and far away.
Invite each participant to choose two pieces of same-size polar fleece in a color/pattern combination that pleases them. Give these directions:
1. Lay one piece on top of the other so they match up exactly.
2. Use a yardstick or ruler and a washable marker to draw a line about 5" in from the edge of the top piece of fabric, on all four sides. How far in the line is will determine how long the fringe on your blanket is. Each person can choose the length of their fringe, but the finished blanket will probably look best if the length is the same on all four sides.
3. Make cuts from the edge of the fabric to the line. Space your cuts about an inch apart to create fringe. It is fine to make the cuts wider. The blanket will look best if they are spaced evenly apart.
4. Tie each piece of fringe on the top piece of fabric to its counterpart piece on the fabric below. As you go around all four sides, the two pieces of fabric will be attached together. Tie each knot double, to make sure it will stay. Continue all the way around, until every strip of fringe is tied to its counterpart.
Demonstrate, assist, and repeat instructions as needed.
While participants are working, invite them to decide how they might use these blankets to create a ministry of presence. Suggest they may give their blanket to someone who needs the gift of presence. Prompt reflection with questions such as:
- What does it feel like to wrap a warm, soft, blanket around you?
- Is it possible to be present for someone even if you're not actually in the room with them?
- How could the gift of a blanket feel like someone being present?
- When have you felt like you really needed caring presence?
- Who can you think of that might need to feel your supportive presence?
- How can the blanket you're making serve as a ministry of presence in the world?
Distribute small squares of fabric, and permanent markers. Invite participants to create a tag for their blanket, by writing their name and drawing a chalice symbol on the small square of fabric and attaching the small square to the blanket with a safety pin. Explain that the tag will tell the recipient the source of this present of presence.
Including All Participants
Be ready to modify the activity to accommodate participants' various levels of dexterity and patience. Some may wish to make a one-sheet blanket, and cut fringe but not tie it. Others may benefit from assistance with cutting and tying.