Save the scarves for snowmen this winter. Active kids (and adults) will appreciate the ease of pulling on a soft, fleece neck gaiter that will keep them warm without the fuss of arranging a scarf and without the fear of getting tangled up while sledding, skiing or skating.

These gaiters consist of a double layer of fleece, with no exposed seams. They take just minutes to make, even with the extra step of using two colors or patterns to make a reversible version.

One yard of 58-inch wide fleece is enough to make six child-sized gaiters, and adult sizes require just a bit more fleece. Watch for sales at the fabric store, and the cost drops to well under $1 each.

Given the low price and simple construction, these would make great Valentine's Day gifts. Just roll them up, tie with a bit of ribbon and add a silly card. How about, "I'd stick my neck out for you, Valentine?" or "Valentine, you warm my heart?"

Materials:

Ÿ fleece

Ÿ rotary cutter and mat or scissors

Ÿ ruler

Ÿ sewing machine, thread, needle

Instructions for a single-color, child-sized gaiter:

1. Cut one rectangle of fleece, 19-by-18 inches, making sure the fabric stretches along the longer side. (For an adult, start with a 20-by-20-inch square).

2. Fold the fleece in half lengthwise (right sides facing if you're using a print that has a right and wrong side) and sew together using a zigzag stitch, making a long tube. (For an adult size, make sure the fabric stretches along the sides you folded together).

3. Turn the tube right side out.

4. Fold the top edge of the tube down over itself, as if turning it inside out again, but stop when the top edge meets the bottom edge. Align the raw edges and pin together.

5. Sew around the edge, leaving a few inches open for turning.

6. Pull the fleece through the small opening. Sew the opening closed by hand.

To make a reversible gaiter:

1. Cut two rectangles of fleece, 19-by-9 inches, again making sure the fabric stretches along the longer side. (For an adult, cut two rectangles, 20-by-10 or -10 1/2 inches.)

2. Stack the rectangles (right sides together if you're using a print that has a right and wrong side). Sew along both long edges, making a tube.

3. Continue with steps 3-6 above, making sure to line up the seams in step 4.