Thursday, November 17, 2011

Oh Baby!

Over the years, I have made a few quilts. Baby quilts are awesome for a few reasons:
  • They're small (everything smaller is cuter than it's bigger counterpart!)
  • They don't have to take a ton of time depending on the techniques you use
  • You can use up scraps and stuff you already have, or they don't take a lot of new fabric!
  • They often turn into heirlooms... people are afraid to get rid of handmade things.

I believe this is the first baby quilt I made. I say believe because there were quite a few babies born around that time and I can't remember any more who was first. The design I conceived was composed of various lengths of fabric in a somewhat "brickwork" pattern. I LOVE these colours. I'm not sure I should admit this, because the recipient might some day see this blog, but the only new fabrics in this quilt are the plain chocolate brown broadcloth and the blue pattern. But, all of the fabrics I already had on hand, the only thing I had to purchase specifically was the batting (I used the thin stuff, polyester for washability, it worked out great). The brown patterned fabric and the white with pale brown and blue floral pattern fabric actually came from some twin-sized duvets I had purchased at a thrift store a few years earlier. They were in great condition, and made it into quite a few craft projects. The plain white fabric was a heavy sheet that my landlord was giving away. It was a number of years old, but a lovely thick cotton and perfect for quilting.

For the back of the quilt I didn't have enough of any of the patterned fabrics to do a solid back, and I wanted to do something fancier than just a white back. I ended up using some of the leftover pieces from the front, pieced together with two larger pieces of the white sheeting. The binding I made from the chocolate brown patterned duvet. You can see for the actual quilting I used a straight stitch.

The only catch with this quilt was I made it before the baby was born. The surprise shower actually ended up being the day before wee little Tessa was born a month early! As you can tell by the name, the baby was a she. While many might consider the quilt to be done in "boy colours," the fabrics have a floral theme which I thought lent a nice feminine touch.

Now this is definitely a quilt for a boy! I found a lovely little cars and traffic-themed poplin at Fabricland. I wasn't too keen on poplin with it's wrinkly texture, so was pleased to find a note with the bolt of fabric advising that a manufacturer's error caused the poplin wrinkles to wash out in regular washing. Yah! After laundering and ironing, it was just a regular cotton fabric. I matched some plain cotton broadcloth in various colours to the car pattern and was ready to go.

With access to limited design programs on the computers that I used, I improvised and used Microsoft Excel to assist in conceiving and designing this quilt. I figured that I wanted to use a two inch grid and implemented shapes off of that basis.

I kept a list of how many of each sized pattern piece in each colour I needed and cut them out. It might be tricky to see in the Excel image, but there are darker lines around the main sections that I stitched together after the smaller pieces had been stitched together within those outlines.

I've ended up making a couple of the car quilts for friends who've had boys, but for each the quilting has been done different. For this quilt pictured, the quilting was done by stitching around the inside of each pattern piece. You can see some of the detail on this photo of the back of the quilt:

I think quilts are always a fun gift to give because they are an heirloom made with love.

Do you have any handmade cherished baby gifts or other heirlooms?

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