Granddaughter honors ‘Papa’ with blanket drive

Regan Mies and her grandmother,  Alvina. Photo: Papa's Blankets.

When Anthony “Tony” Mies, died at Assumption Nursing Home in Cold Spring, Minnesota, in October 2013, his granddaughter, Regan, was inspired by a blanket he used in his latter days.

“Right after he passed away, I knew I wanted to do something,” the 14-year-old Regan tells the St. Cloud Times. “I just wasn’t sure what. But I remembered the John Deere tie blanket he always had with him, even at the nursing home.”

So she organized a blanket drive for the nursing home and another home in Watkins.

“Each blanket usually takes an hour or a little over to make, though it goes faster the more people you have working on them,” Regan said. “And it costs about $15 per blanket for the fleece.

“We have a lot of fun doing it. My friends and classmates will come over. We’ll sit down and make blankets and watch movies.”

If this all sounds like a fairly ambitious project for a 14-year-old, well, Regan is a fairly driven teenager.

She also plays basketball and tennis at St. John’s Prep, serves on the student council, writes for the student newspaper and participates in Knowledge Bowl. She plays the violin and even dabbles a bit in painting.

Just to name a few of her activities.

“She’s busy, but she’s very organized,” her mother Susan said. “She can handle a lot of things at once.”

Susan and Regan both said her classmates and school officials have been very supportive of the project. And younger brothers Alton and Anson have helped tie a number of the blankets.

“It just makes you very proud as a parent,” Susan said. “She had this idea and she not only followed through with it, but she expanded on it as well.”

This year, she’s upping the goal to 200 fleece blankets for area nursing home this year.

Her website has instructions on how to make a fleece blanket. So far, she’s got 81 finished.

1 . Select your fleece.
Use two coordinating pieces. Alternately, use a pattern on one side and a solid color on the other. You will need 1 & 1/2 yards for both the top and bottom.

2. Spread out the material.
Spread it out so that all four sides match up. You will need to trim the edges.

3. Cut out a square from all corners with a pair of scissors.
Make sure you are cutting through both pieces of fleece. I measure it approximately 4 inches by 4 inches. This will help the blanket lay flat when it is tied.

4. Start cutting strips.
Cut strips of approximately 1 inch in width starting at each corner and continuing down all four sides.

5. Tie the corner strips together.
Using a simple knot, attach the bottom layer to the top layer. Continue to tie the strips down each side of the blanket. Flatten as needed.

6. Your blanket is finished!
​If you have trouble, there are many online tutorials and instructions, or feel free to call.