Sunday, November 7, 2010

Quill #100 - Gift Ideas for Lean Years - Fleece Scarves

Thirty-six inches divided by six inches equals six scarves, but six inches is a thin scarf for winter time warmth. It might be fashionable to have thin scarves right now, but I prefer eight inch scarves, which only would allow for four scarves to a yard of fleece - plus a bit left over.

Forty inches wouldn't cost much more and that would give five scarves of eight-inch width. However many scarves you'd like to make and however wide you want them, fleece winter scarves are super easy to make and inexpensive.

Fleece can cost up to twelve dollars or more per yard for a good thickness and popular prints. But, you can usually find a decent thickness in good colors for around eight dollars a yard. That's four scarves that you can use as holiday gifts for about two dollars each.

Best of all, the most difficult part can be done by the sales clerk. Decide on your width before purchase and ask her to make the right number of cuts. Then, all you have to do is fringe the ends with two-inch snips about a quarter-inch apart. Perfection is not required. Part of the charm of these scarves is the whimsical appearance.

Don't worry if someone has better scarves or plenty of them. These babies roll up very small. We keep one in our glove box for cold weather emergencies, a few in luggage when weather is uncertain. If they become dirty or are ruined, they're easily washed (cold water, tumble dry low or no heat), and they're easily replaced.

When I'm stumped for a gift, these are almost universally suitable, either alone and tied with a ribbon around the middle, or in a basket of goodies. Plus, with all the varieties of fleece available, you're likely to find something suitable for any age or interest. And, if the recipient really won't wear it, they can pass it on or donate it to someone who needs the winter-time warmth.

Also, if you're looking for shelter or nursing home gifts, there are less expensive fleeces for buying in bulk. Some could cost as little as a dollar a scarf. Or, if you'd rather do lap blankets and shawls, use the same technique on a wider swath of fabric - perhaps two shawls/lap blankets to a yard. With fleece as low as five dollars per yard, you wouldn't need to spend much to warm a few friends and relatives.

I first got the idea for these scarves when I took some children on a fall trip to the St. Louis zoo. When we arrived, the weather was sunny and hot. A sudden wind swept through the park, sending whirlwinds of leaves everywhere, and bringing an icy chill into the air. Immediately, every child was cold and shivering, but didn't want to leave the zoo.

I darted into the nearest gift shop to look for warmth and found fleece scarves, just as I've described, available for seven dollars each. (This was ten years ago and they'd likely be more now.) I bought one for each child and hurried the trip along. We managed and still had fun.

(images from BigStore and Lolcats)


  1. I love scarves! But I never buy them for myself. I usually get a scarf for Christmas every year and I absolutely love love love them!