About a year ago, I bought a sunny yellow yoga blanket at a stoop sale on my way to a picnic in Prospect Park. I’d forgotten to bring something with me to sit on, and the blanket was only $10. Since buying it was easier than going all the way home, that’s exactly what I did. The thick blanket served me well on that picnic, and afterward I figured it would join the rest of my spare linens in the back of the closet. But it has actually been in constant rotation ever since. In addition to being a picnic blanket that day (and many days since), it has also served as a couch cover, a photo backdrop, a throw blanket, a dog bed, and a cushiony foot pad for when I work standing up. The only thing I haven’t used it for yet is yoga.
I thought the blanket was my comfy secret — until I started polling co-workers as part of reporting a story on protecting furniture from pet stains. Not one but two of my colleagues own this blanket, and they use it for a million things — things that often hadn’t occurred to me.
Stephanie Downes, Strategist’s director of audience development, has the blanket in the same yellow that I do, along with a southwestern print with black and maroon stripes that she got eight years ago after searching for cheap blanket options on Amazon. She mostly uses them to protect a white couch from her rescue dog, Oak, especially when he’s wet from the rain or a bath, and to cover “a truly ugly ottoman,” she says. Unlike me, Downes also uses it for its intended purpose, folding it in half and placing it under her yoga mat to reduce the impact on her knees (and preserve the sanity of her downstairs neighbors) during home workouts like the Class. And when she drove from Kansas City to Brooklyn this summer, she used the blanket both as padding for Oak and as protection for her leather seats.
Mia Leimkuhler, Strategist’s newsletter editor and a fellow dog owner, has three versions of this blanket. She prefers patterned ones, as they do a better job of hiding stains, she says. She uses them to protect her sofa and armchair from muddy dog paws and snag-inducing dog nails. But she also uses them as picnic blankets, car blankets (“everyone keeps a blanket in their car, right?”), and floor protection when assembling furniture or taking on other crafty endeavors. “I like that they wash and dry so easily, and because they’re acrylic, I don’t have to be precious with them at all,” she says.
Considering the number of pets on staff and how picnics have become this year’s most popular way of socializing, I’m surprised — and a little disappointed — that more Strategist staffers don’t have their own. Now’s their chance to join us and possibly find even more uses for this thing.