Sunday, September 28, 2008

The best so far....

Towards the beginning of this year one of my closest friends told me she was expecting her first child. Immediately, I started planning what I would give Baby. I knew I wanted something handmade and special, and I began to look for some great kid-friendly fabrics. I wanted lots of color, recognizable prints and a classic color palette. Nobody knew whether Baby would be a boy or a girl, but I knew it would be okay if I stuck with stronger tones.

When I browsed through ReproDepot I found several prints that just happened to work together, and ordered a yard of each. Later on, I found a few more at Joann Fabrics, as well. This all happened in June and July.

Once the fabric was in hand, I needed to begin to think about the quilt I would make. I wanted something I Spy-like, where the novelty prints would be front and center. Something a little scrappy, where there was plenty of new stuff to see without getting sensory overload. The parents like edited and clean, so I had to keep this in mind, too. I decided on making big I Spy blocks, about 6.5" square, surrounded by a border print or solid.

This is my favorite block, personally: giant turtles tesselating through bubbly water. After I made each of the blocks, I had to make a decision about the quilting. I sew on an old featherweight, and the throatplate is tiny. It would be impossible for me to quilt an entire quilt on that machine right now, especially given that my quilting skills are not the most refined. (Yet. I'm going to get there.)

It's a good thing I had so much time to mull this project over, because sometime between purchasing the fabrics and sewing the intial blocks I reread the book Sensational Sashiko. I had looked at it when I first purchased it, even before I made any quilts, and have browsed through it occasionally. Never before did I notice the technique for quilting blocks separately and then joining them together using sashing. I made a test scrap using the instructions in the book and it worked out -- the batting nestled together and it all looked proper.

The problem was, what would I do for the second side? I needed blocks that were the same size, and I could do something a little scrappier. I also wanted something that could keep a child's interest as he or she grew up. So I decided to make tic-tac-toe blocks using scraps of fat quarters and fabrics I already had. I quilted each of the squares, paying close attention to the orders of the blocks -- not only did I have to match up the right front and back blocks together, but I also wanted to get the orientation right. Each block was quilted with parallel lines 1" apart. I wanted to quilting lines to indicate that each square was quilted individually (and also to avoid mismatching lines through the sashing), so I arranged the quilting lines vertically in every other block and horizontally in the rest.

After each block was quilted, I assembled all of the blocks and put the border on the quilt. There was a lot of hand sewing for this part, as each of the white sashing strips needed to be sewn down by hand and I also sewed the binding by hand.

A Baby Quilt for V.
It was all worth it, though. I am so happy with the way this quilt came out! These pictures are before washing -- after I washed it it crinkled up and is really cosy.

I labeled the quilt on the back with Baby's name and birthday, packed it up, made a tag and mailed it off, and they love it. Each of them has their favorite squares, and baby boy is doing well.

Project Specs:
Pattern: My own
Fabric: from Repro Depot and Joann Fabrics, various designers including Alexander Henry, Eric Carle, Denise Schmidt and others.
Finished: September 9, 2008
Contents: 100% Cotton


knitting elephant said...

The whole quilt is AWESOME, but I particularly love the back side. I think the not-quite-straight lines are perfect! Excellent job, once again!

Monika said...

I love it too! What a wonderful gift! I wish the Baby boy many happy hours rolling around on it, or sleep blissfully under it. :o)

tiennieknits said...

Beautiful quilts!

Opal said...

Oh you're a quilting genius! It's amazing!

KateKwiltz said...

I love this quilt! Great balance between straght and wonky!