Thanks everyone for the great tutorials and suggestions. I am going to do some reading, and see what I can manage.
I guess I didn't mention that the fabric I'm using for the blanket is a sort of fuzzy fleece. I tried poking through it with my smallest crochet hook... to no avail. I did stop by the fabric store and bought some yarn darning needles that look like they might do the trick.... but first I'm gonna look through these links you were so good to share. I'll be sure to post back with updates when I figure it out and finish the project.