Introduction to Throw Blankets

Throw blankets or simply, “throws,” are made to cover a person without being tucked in. Suitable for hanging over the back of a chair or the arm of a couch as a décor feature, and pulling out when needed, throw blankets—because they don’t need to be tucked—are smaller than bed blankets. Another distinguishing feature is the lack of a protective satin edging. Throw blankets are meant to provide comfort and warmth in a short-term situation—a nap, or while watching a movie—a situation where the warmth and tucking in of a bed blanket is not needed.


Throw blankets are made from a similar range of fibers and materials as bed blankets. Like bed blankets, they are made of both natural and synthetic fibers, including cotton, down, silk, and wool, as well as acrylic, polyester, and other synthetics. Down throws differ from down blankets just as throws differ from bed blankets: there is no protective satin edge.

Throw blankets double as stadium blankets and car blankets and vice versa. Faux fur, fleece, and plush are typical finishes, and one can find famous people, animals, and professional and college sports teams commemorated on them. Multifunction is encourage by the variety of sizes, fibers, and decorations, which include seasonal prints and many, many sports related items.

The term throw has come to refer to the size as well as the function and material, so that one can now find “quilt throws,” for example, that are not made as traditional quilts to cover a bed, but to use for warmth while sitting in a chair or napping.


The size of throws varies from 40” x 60” to 60” x 80” ( 102 cm X 152 cm to 152 cm x 204 cm), meaning that—used safely—they are often a good size for young children to snuggle up in or lie on as protection from the colder air or splinters on the floor.

The Afghan

The crocheted or knitted throw known as the Afghan (its distant origins are from Afghanistan crafts) is a large subsection of throws. Afghans are both draped across the lap and also can be wrapped around the shoulders like a shawl. Unlike the typical sports team branded throw, afghans may have fringed edges and delicate patterns in their stitchery. Unlike the thick, plush, durable material of many stadium blankets, afghans may be light and have a delicate open weave.


The care of various types of throws fits with their usage. Delicate afghans of any fiber may do best with handwashing. Silk and wool throws, too are likely to need special handling, and perhaps even dry cleaning. But many of the stadium-type throws which are often made with fleece, clearly designed for outside or rougher use, show their durability by being made for machine washing.

Written by Mary Elizabeth

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