King sized wool blanket for $50 or less
December 26, 2012 2:37 PM   Subscribe

My husband and I don't have very much money, but we would like to own a few (or even just one) giant (king sized) wool blankets.

This is one of the cheaper ones I found.

Is there somewhere else to buy ready made ones cheaply, like say a king sized one for $50? where is the cheapest source of ready made giant wool blankets?

not opposed to used, but from what I have seen wool blankets used on ebay don't seem that much cheaper? plus the cost of having a used one cleaned.

I can sew and have a sewing machine, but the idea of piecing an entire quilt together seems daunting, but I'd do it, if that is the only way. I'd prefer to get wool fabric by the yard and sew the yards together and put something on the edges.

Is there any way to buy or make a king sized wool blanket on a budget of about $50?


(if this is absolutely totally not possible let me know what the minimum I can expect would be)
posted by skjønn to Home & Garden (24 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Army surplus? Are you okay with green?
posted by supercres at 2:40 PM on December 26, 2012

Thrift shop is probably your best bet, 100% real wool is frankly just pretty expensive and you need a lot to make a big blanket.

You don't need to pay extra to have it specially cleaned -- a giant blanket would be unwieldy, certainly, but hand washing wool items at home is very do-able and usually better for the object than whatever your local dry cleaner would do to it. Essentially you want to get it wet with lukewarm water, use a very small amount of wool wash or baby shampoo, rinse well (a few changes of water), squeeze out as much excess water between towels as possible, then lay out to dry.
posted by telegraph at 2:44 PM on December 26, 2012

Yeah I'm not sure why you're only finding blankets way out of your price range since army blankets are wool, warm, and basically free. How fancy would you like this blanket to be and what are your other criteria? As an example I found a few that seem basically in your price range looking on ebay. The Pendleton and Hudson Bay ones will be pricey but there are lots of less fancy options all the way down to army blankets and some should be in your price range. And you can wash them yourself in cold water (just make sure you're using cold; you can do this at home, not always at a laundromat). This may depend on where you are. I see them at local thrift stores (sometimes with a moth hole or two) fairly regularly, but this may be a really variable thing.
posted by jessamyn at 2:46 PM on December 26, 2012

You're not going to find an army-surplus blanket in king size. Maybe you could sew a few together to get the size you want?

There are lots of vintage blankets on Etsy, some fairly cheap, but since they are older you will not find many king sized ones, since king-sized beds weren't widely popular until fairly recently. I suspect you'll have the same problem looking in thrift stores.

Walmart has a king size wool blanket for $100—no idea as to the quality. I think that is about as cheap as you will find. Wool is a costly material.
posted by enn at 2:50 PM on December 26, 2012

Can you knit? This is a big beautiful blanket, looks like.

Looks like best price on ebay for what you want is $125 including shipping.
posted by bearwife at 2:50 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

When searching for blankets on eBay or other auction sites, leave out the word "king" and sort through based on measurements. Sometimes, people only give the dimensions and don't use the traditional king, queen, full nomenclature. I also suggest that you look at thrift shops. However, this is the worst time of year to find them, because lots of people want blankets in winter. You'll do better finding bargains in spring and summer.
posted by kimdog at 2:55 PM on December 26, 2012

DIY won't bring you in on that budget. Even used you're looking for an unusually low price, so plan on watching ebay for a while for an especially good deal. eBay, Craigslist, estate sales, thrift stores... maybe you'll find one that's cheap because it's less attractive, or because you've waited until summer when the demand for blankets is lower.
posted by jon1270 at 2:57 PM on December 26, 2012

Yard sales in the summertime is the only way you'll ever find a king-size wool blanket for $50.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:17 PM on December 26, 2012

I cannot recommend a swiss army blanket strongly enough - it weighs a ton, it's warm, it's hardwearing, they were built to survive post apocalyptic scenario, and it keeps this freezing pregnant lady warm.

Mr Augenblick bought it for me for a present from ebay, consulting him on this he's saying that you can sometimes get them for less but as they are being released in swathes, (and they are running out) it's a case of searching until you find the right one.

It may cost slightly more than the $50, but it will last us the rest of our lives. One just to show you what it's like here - but you will find it for cheaper than this with some focused searching.
posted by Augenblick at 3:20 PM on December 26, 2012

Maybe check your local thrift shops? Especially during an off season, like summer.
posted by cecic at 3:26 PM on December 26, 2012

The Swiss army blankets with horsehair in them are great—I have one, and IIRC it was indeed under $50—but they are nowhere near standard king blanket size. The king size blanket linked by the OP is 108" x 90". The Swiss army blanket linked above is 57" x 79".

Finding cheap old and/or military surplus blankets is easy. Finding them in the larger sizes that the OP is looking for—even queen, but especially king—is very hard.
posted by enn at 3:29 PM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

Would you consider using two twin or single blankets as opposed to one king? I think looking for a king blanket is going to make your search much harder. Many people like having two blankets on a bed sleeping two people, as each person gets their own blankets and it foils blanket hogs.
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 3:34 PM on December 26, 2012

I think your best bet, though not a quick fix, would be to visit some estate sales in your area.
posted by mosk at 4:00 PM on December 26, 2012

Thrift or second hand shops in rural areas have been gold mines for me finding old pure wool blankets. I have a heap of them, all pure wool, none costing more than $7, but they are all double or single sized. I have a king sized blanket, but I bought it on sale, and I think it was still nearly $200. Sewing together a few smaller blankets might be your best best.
posted by thylacinthine at 4:05 PM on December 26, 2012

Though I do see some matching twin blanket sets almost in your price range on eBay, so you could piece those.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:11 PM on December 26, 2012

I found a king sized woollen blanket at a thrift shop for less than $10 once. I haven't looked again since so I don't know how common it is, but it is possible. It wasn't labelled as wool, or king size. I had to measure it and do the burn test when I got it home before I was 100% sure of what I had.
posted by lollusc at 4:29 PM on December 26, 2012

If you can sew, what about getting two twin sized blankets and sewing them together? You'd have a seam down the middle, but if you intend to put this on a bed with a bedspread over it, it wouldn't be too obvious.
posted by lyra4 at 4:45 PM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

Depending on what kind of look you're after and how much time and effort you're willing to invest, you might want to get two twin-size blankets in different colors and cut each one into maybe 4 or 6 long strips, then sew the strips together to create a two-tone striped blanket instead of a weird single-color blanket that is obviously made out of two blankets sewn together at the edges. Army/Navy blankets in green and blue are readily available in your price range, and a green and navy stripe could look nice.
posted by contraption at 5:36 PM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

Fashion Fabrics Club is running their wool coating for $9.95/yard right now. You could construct a blanky from that. Search for 100% wool coating; you'll find that the first couple pages are actually 100% wool, most 58-60" wide. What you could do is to get six yards (that is ten dollars over your suggested price), divide it into two three-yard pieces, sew those two pieces side-by-side for a rectangle of 120 x 108 (right?). Now, the thing that takes this from being just a hank of wool coating fabric to being a thick wooly blanket is to launder it in hot water. Yup. Because you want to agitate the fibers and get them all lofted up and felted together. Laundering will cause the wool to shrink, so the final blanket will be some percentage smaller than 120 x 108. I cannot vouch for exact percentage, though; various accounts online suggest anywhere from a negligible couple inches up to 25%, so . . . ?
posted by miss patrish at 6:56 PM on December 26, 2012

I have three 100% wool blankets that I got at summer yard sales for no more than $5 apiece. One needed to have the satin binding on the end replaced; another was a white blanket with a small stain in one corner. All perfectly serviceable. These things are very durable and I imagine you can find one cheaply if you are willing to a) lie in wait for a bargain and b) accept a blanket that may be decades old and/or in less-than-perfect condition.

Have you asked around among your family and friends? You might just find someone with an old blanket stashed in the closet that they're willing to give you for free or for cheap.
posted by Orinda at 7:41 PM on December 26, 2012

p.s. I agree with the suggestion to piece together two twin blankets if you can't find a king in your price range. I think part of the problem you're encountering in your search is that king-sized beds didn't become very common until what, the seventies or eighties? So there are a lot more twin, full, and queen-sized blankets from 40+ years ago on the market. And I doubt army blankets were ever commonly issued in king size.

Your profile doesn't say what part of your state you're located in, but here are a couple Craigslist ads for examples of possible piecing materials.
posted by Orinda at 7:58 PM on December 26, 2012

If you do piece together two twins, I would leave one whole and cut the other one in half lengthwise and do two seams, then overcast those seams and the ends in a contrasting color with thickish yarn so that the whole thing looks like it's on purpose.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:18 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

You could sew two Harbor Freight wool blankets together. They're a wool blend, and they're not the most attractive thing in the world. But then it would only cost you $20 total.

I put one on my girlfriend when she was cold walking around the house and she said she felt like a boat crash survivor.
posted by MonsieurBon at 1:30 AM on December 27, 2012

Instead of sewing two blankets together you could find some other semi-permanent way to hold them together, like snaps or hooks and eyes, and do this with an overlap so that there is no cold spot. That way cleaning will be a lot easier. If you don't have pets on the bed and don't eat in bed they can go a long time between cleanings, years even. I got some great wool blankets for a few dollars at a thrift shop in an expensive area, they're much lighter, softer, and warmer than old army blankets.
posted by mareli at 2:14 PM on December 27, 2012

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