This quilt is for my best friend’s baby-number-two who is due to arrive in mid-June. The sewing bug hadn’t bitten me when her first born hit the scene almost two years ago, so I didn’t quilt anything to mark that very important milestone. I am slightly embarrassed about that. Though I’m not entirely ashamed because I haven’t yet quilted anything for my own first born. Now, that’s pretty bad. I have a twin sized quilt all planned out in my head, and in my sketchbook. It will be all ready for his second birthday. I promise.
I was in search of fabric to match a sage green, blue and yellow nursery. I scoured the quilter’s cotton selection at my favorite local fabric store (Hi Mary!) but wasn’t able to come up with any combinations that I really liked. Then I came across this gorgeous print on the remnant table of the home decor section and changed gears. I fell in love with the fabric and quickly realized that I wouldn’t be cutting into it too much.
[These next three paragraphs will bore you to death if you aren’t that into quilts. I felt the need to document the process. Consider yourself warned.]
To make the quilt top, I cut the fabric into large rectangular pieces and sewed the fabric up again in the same order that it was in originally. This way, I didn’t disturb the design but was able to add some texture by piecing the rectangles. I selected a matching cream-colored cotton chenille for the backing, but when it came time to do the quilting, I decided that I didn’t want the quilting stitches to interrupt the soft lines of the chenille. So, I made a quilt sandwich using the quilt top, a layer of batting, and a piece of muslin. I quilted the quilt by following the inside lines of the rectangles and tracing some of the leaf shapes. I added the chenille afterwards and anchored it onto the back of the quilt by quilting again, this time through all four layers. I ran three straight lines across the quilt, stitching in the ditch, to secure the chenille in place. You can see those three lines in the photo of the back of the quilt (below).
I make my binding strips by using this method. I goofed at first. I sewed my second seam on the wrong side of the fabric so when I cut out the long strip, some of the seams were on one side, while others were on the other. Argh. I had to re-cut the strip in parts and sew it together again. The Cydermaker (my husband) helped me decided to go with a blue binding rather than a green one. My BFF is leaving the baby’s gender to be a surprise but I figure they must have so much pink and green from the first baby that a little blue would be a welcome change.
Normally I machine stitch one side of the binding strip to the front of the quilt and then flip it over and hand stitch the back. I was very weary of hand stitching chenille because of it’s fuzzy, bumpy nature, so this time I machine stitched on the back of the quilt and hand stitched the binding to the quilt top. I was very careful to make nice small stitches like my sister makes on the mitered corners. (I was so impressed with her hand stitching when we worked on a quilt together during my recent visit with her.) I think these were my best corners yet. It was really nice to feel the weight of this blanket on my lap when I stitched up the binding. Those four layers add some serious heft. This Florida family is either going to have to turn up the AC or move to New England. I vote for the latter, of course.
What I love most about this quilt is that it is for my BFF and her wonderful family. It has been so much fun beginning the adventure that is motherhood with her and I’m glad I’ve finally made her a gift that marks this important step in our lives and in our friendship. (Our kids are six month apart so our first pregnancies overlapped.) My second favorite thing about this quilt is that it isn’t very babyish. The color palette is youthful, but this blanket will grow with the baby and become a lap blanket. Finally, I love the feel of the cotton chenille. It is so soft to touch. This was the first time I tried using it, and I’m glad I did.
Here are a couple more shots of the quilt, and for those of you who don’t really give a hoot about the crafty stuff, a recent photo of my guy helping out in the yard while I conducted the quilt’s photo-shoot. Click in for a better view. And if I don’t get to another post before Sunday, have a great Mother’s Day!