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Posts Tagged ‘baby quilt’

Back to quilts!

A while back, I started a red-white-and-blue quilt. In fact, I began working on two of them: one with a scrappy background, and one with blocks that all had the same pale blue on white background. All the blocks are big bow ties (simplified pattern, without Y seams) that lend a fun double arrow look.

Well, the baby who is the intended recipient has been born, and he’s a cutie! Little Augustine (“Augie”) will be able to cuddle up with these 1930s reproduction prints:

Sept 2014 Nikon 081

I put a cute “quilting words” fabric on the back because Augie’s mom also likes to sew:

Sept 2014 Nikon 066

Sept 2014 Nikon 072

Augie is just three weeks old, so I think this will be his view of the quilt for a while:

Sept 2014 Nikon 071

After piecing the quilt and layering with a 80/20 cotton/poly blend batting, I free-motioned large meandering patterns in pastel variegated thread. Free-wheeling quilting lines are good for a baby’s small hands to trace, and the primary colored arrows are stimulating for little eyes. I hope he likes it!

Here’s a photo showing my scrappier blocks, as yet to be turned into anything. I do like this block arrangement, too:

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It was nice to see my polka-dotted baby quilt, Baby Blocks, make a mom-to-be happy! Katie, my colleague who is expecting a baby boy in September, was celebrated at a lovely outdoor baby shower, and I was so pleased to see her smile when she opened the box.

Our colleague Derek really seemed to appreciate Baby Blocks too. Or maybe he was just dreaming of taking a work-day nap.

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Here’s a closeup of that funky backing fabric (forgive the threads!). Thanks, Connecting Threads, for another cool print, and thanks to Ursula Reikes for the pattern. I hope that Katie’s little one will enjoy getting snuggly with this quilt…

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Here’s a peek at how my new baby-gift quilt has turned out. I’m calling it “On the Minty Shore.” Read here to find out why!

(As is my wont, I hung it up on the side door near my desk and quilting space.) Here’s another view:

I wanted to get creative with the quilting for J’s baby – to stimulate his newborn eyes and fingers with some fun shapes. I set up my sewing machine to do free-motion quilting by really loosening the bobbin tension this time, which seemed to help (you have to turn the screw on the bobbin case to do this – remember, lefty loosey! Not sure how this works on machines with “auto-tension,” however). In the center, I quilted (freehand) loops.

Colette and I got really into the ocean mood, so we decided to honor the seashore with big quilted waves all around the borders.

Not all the waves came out perfectly smooth, but that’s life. The imperfections show that the pattern was created by human hands moving the quilt back and forth – not a computerized process. I moved the quilt as evenly as I could through Colette’s relatively small neck space, wearing those funny white quilting gloves that my daughters always want to try on (something about Cinderella). I did mark it in advance with some General’s Pastel Chalk (white), which I’m assured comes right off. I live in fear that I could mark a fabric permanently by mistake.

I hope that J’s soon-to-be-born new baby will enjoy my efforts.. and here’s wishing her a safe delivery of a happy, healthy little boy!

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If you saw my earlier post, you know that my dear friend M.N. passed on earlier this month. Friends and I have spent a lot of time talking by phone, sharing our memories and our grief. (Sadly, none of M’s close friends live nearby, but luckily we are in touch.) We discussed what we can do to remember M – how we can honor her somehow. Many ideas have occurred to us, from creating a memory book with photos and stories, to establishing a senior scholarship in her name at the high school we attended.

But I also would like to work through this tough time through crafting, somehow. Fortuitously, a close friend of M and me, J, is expecting a baby in the coming weeks, so I thought it would be meaningful to celebrate our joint friendship, and to weave in a memory of M for this new life. I hope J is not reading this right now, so that she’ll be surprised by my idea – SPOILER ALERT – to create a little quilt for her baby-boy-to-be. The theme color will be green – M’s favorite color.

There’s another happy memory embedded in this project. I remember back in the days when I was planning my wedding, J called me and asked me to be a bridesmaid at her own wedding, scheduled within a few days of mine. It was unfortunately impossible for me to travel across the country to her ceremony and to prepare for mine at the same time. I recall how she described to me in tantalizing terms the gorgeous mint green that the bridesmaids would wear. I pictured a fresh shade for her spring nuptials. Even though I missed out due to my own plans, we did reconnect shortly thereafter. It turned out that we’d also planned similar honeymoon trips to Hawaii (great minds think alike) and we were able to meet up with her and her new husband at a restaurant overlooking an amazing hula dance on a Maui beach. It was an unforgettable evening. Here’s a photo I took as the sun set over the beach at Ka’anapali that day.

Now I’m channeling M’s fondness for green and J’s love of mint – as well as our visit to the Hawaiian seashore – in this new quilt. I selected a “Marbles”-line mint green for the sashing and borders for this project (“made in Japan”). It’s a nice marriage between solid and pattern, kind of a dreamy look of cloudy color, and is reminiscent of the Pacific ocean. I’ve added charm squares from Connecting Threads, in their “Seaside” collection. I love charm squares – pre-cut 5 inch-square pieces of fabric – because they eliminate the need for all that slicing and dicing. And their color combos tend to be appealing and easy to work with. Here are some of the squares in action:

I’ve drawn on a pattern created by Elizabeth Hartman, Charm Squares Baby Quilt. I found it online. I’ve also recently bought her book, The Practical Guide to Patchwork, which is just beautiful as an intro to contemporary quilting. Here’s a link to her blog. The pattern just involves cutting 13 of the charm squares in half, and sewing all the squares and half-squares together in rows, then inserting sashing around them. I decided to add borders on the remaining two sides, too, to frame the quilt and make it a little larger. This is the whole quilt top, hanging against my door’s window:

I made this pattern once before – with Provençal-style Moda prints in brilliant yellow, periwinkle, white and black. That one’s hanging over my bed. It cheers me up (there’s nothing like bright yellow and mellow blue put together).

I’ve finished the new baby quilt top and will be layering it with batting and a Kona solid blue as the backing this week. Then I’ll machine quilt it and send it along to the baby, due in early Feb. I hope J’s little boy will cuddle under it – and that I’ll get to meet him someday soon.

What do you think baby will like better: the quilt, or the box it came in?

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Last week, I found new inspiration with a unique color combination and a simple rail fence pattern:

I love this pattern. It reminds me of some of the Amish quilts I’ve seen, both at the remarkable exhibit this fall at the De Young museum, and in a number of books, including Amish Abstractions and A Treasury of Amish Quilts. More on those books in a future post!

The Amish have a genius for taking a straightforward, geometric pattern and turning it into abstract art their their use of color and line. I tried using their thinking and applying it to a more tropical, Asian-inspired palette from Connecting Threads’ “Sweet and Sour” fabric line. I was happy with the result.

I hope the one-year-old recipient will like it, too. I made it for a great friend/terrific crafting buddy’s baby son for his birthday. I’d been itching to find the right colors and pattern that would be sophisticated enough for his mom’s tasteful home but fun for baby, too. Kids tend to enjoy saturated colors (more than we give them credit for with the prevalence of pastels!).

I experimented with the use of contrasting and matching thread for my free motion quilting here. I think I liked the way the matching thread (green on the borders) turned out, but the contrasting purple in the center of the quilt was interesting, too, because to me, it looked like a deep, dark river running through this geometric jungle:

My sewing machine found this quilt a little too much to handle for some reason and had to take a little “vacation” in the shop. So I’m going to take a break from quilting until she’s in tip-top shape again. Time for some more easy knitting!

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