I grew up as an 8-bit gamer. While I love how far video games have come over the years, and am in awe of CGI technology, I get a bit nostalgic sometimes. I decided to make a blanket using left over fleece and felt of one of my all-time favorite video game characters, Yoshi. I wanted it to look 8-bit. I made this blanket by sewing together “pixels,” individual squares, in a Yoshi pattern. It is now my favorite blanket to curl up with on cold evenings.
Choosing Your Materials
I used a mixture of fleece and felt that I had around the house. This makes washing the blanket a bit difficult, but I didn’t have to purchase any material. I just used what I had, which is why I chose to do a blue Yoshi. For a more professional looking blanket, use fleece. It is soft, washes well, and is easy to work with. I used dark thread on the dark squares, and light thread on the white squares. You can match the color of the thread with the color of the squares, but I’m lazy, and I didn’t want to thread the needle that often.
Choosing the 8-bit Photo for the Blanket
I used a cross-stitch pattern generator. It takes a photo and turns it into a cross-stitch pattern. Since cross-stitch patterns have individual squares, a square for each stitch, it is perfect for an 8-bit video game character. Each square on the pattern becomes one “pixel” for the blanket. Choose a photo of your favorite classic video game character. Make sure it is a simple photo, one without too much detail. Since this is an 8-bit video game character, that shouldn’t be too difficult.
Making the pattern
Go to Coricamo Photo to Cross-stitch Generator. Load the chosen photo. Change the pattern size. The numbers you see represent the “pixels” for our purposes. If the box says the width is 100, that means 100 squares across. You do not want that many squares so change the size. Why? You’re going to cut out a 2-inch square for each “pixel” and sew them together. One hundred multiplied by two is two hundred. That means the blanket is 200 inches across. Yikes! Decide how wide you want the blanket, by measuring your bed if you like, and divide that measurement by two to determine the width. Do the same with height. My blanket is 25 pixels by 30 pixels, for a final measurement of 50 inches wide and 60 inches long.
Change the max color count, as well. You don’t want 30 colors because that won’t look 8-bit. Choose 5 to 8 colors and then hit “Generate.” Click on the “Display pattern as” box and choose “Colors only.” This removes the stitch symbols you won’t need. You can always go back and try a different number of colors until you get the result you like. Print the pattern or save it as a PDF using a PDF reader.
Cutting Out All Those Pixels
Count how many squares you need for each color. Yes, that is many tiny squares, but it is worth it. Look at the blanket. You know you want one, too. Cut out enough 2-inch squares for each color. You don’t have to be perfect. Use a ruler to cut out one square and then use that square to cut out the rest. This is the most boring part of the project. For my Yoshi blanket, each color took less than 1/2 a yard of material, so you don’t need lots. Yes, you can make the squares smaller or larger. It’s up to you, but just remember that it changes the size of the finished blanket.
Sewing the Pixels Together
My Yoshi blanket is hand-sewn, which is another tediously boring task. I tried using the sewing machine, but that was worse. I worked on the blanket while watching TV in the evenings. Sew one square at a time, going row by row. Do not sew individual rows and then sew the rows together because the squares might not match up unless you cut every single one perfectly. That’s unlikely. Follow the pattern so you choose the correct color square.
To sew the squares, press two squares together so that the edges match up. Sew, using the whip stitch, along one side of the squares. Open up the squares so that the side with the stitches faces you. This is now the back of the blanket. Always sew on that same side or else you’ll see the stitches on the front. Sew the third square to the second, and so on, until the row is complete. Start the second row by sewing a square to the bottom of the first square of the first row. Sew the next square to the first and the one above it. Keep sewing pixels until the squares are gone.
Sewing a Back on the Blanket
You don’t want to see those stitches on the back of the blanket. Cover them up by sewing fleece to the back. You can use fleece the same size as the blanket, as I did, or larger so that it frames the blanket. Luckily, this is a perfect task for the sewing machine. Now you can go curl up with Yoshi, or Link, or Mega Man, or whatever you chose.