Monthly Archives: February 2014

Quick Baby Quilt

I had plans to make a baby quilt for some friends who were expecting their second daughter mid-February. As it turns out, she arrived a few weeks early (healthy and happy thankfully). Since I hadn’t actually started the quilt yet, I needed to get busy! They told me the colors for her nursery are purples and whites, both of which I have a decent amount of in my quilt stash. I made a quilt for their first daughter in purples and green, and since I had some of the fabric leftover I used some of that purple in this quilt.

I cut 5.5″ blocks from all the fabrics I gathered up and decided I’d figure out the pattern based on how many blocks I had of each color. I knew I had an 8 by 8 grid to work with, since I wanted the finished quilt to be about 40″ square (no borders). After piling up all my cut blocks I discovered I really didn’t have enough of any of the colors to do any kind of pattern I could think of. My husband suggested I just do a random layout. Even though I’m not generally a fan of just laying blocks out randomly, it worked out nicely in this case. Good thing too, since it was really my only option for using the fabric I had on hand.

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Randomly laid out blocks

Apologies for the lousy photos. The light in my studio at night is sufficient for sewing, but not really for taking photographs.

The whole thing went together really quickly. I had the blocks laid out on the floor, in the random arrangement I settled on the night before, and I just picked up a row of blocks at a time and started sewing. I think I managed to piece the whole thing during one of my son’s naps and quilt it later that evening.

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Pinned and ready to quilt!

The backing is a single piece of a cute bear print (also from the stash). That’s one of the nice things about baby quilts – usually they’re small enough that the backing doesn’t have to be pieced. I machine quilted the whole thing with a basic cross-hatch design. It’s what I use for most of the baby quilts I make. I love that it’s easy, looks good, and can be done as continuous line quilting (less thread trimming for me!).

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Cross-hatch quilting

After quilting it, I serged around the edges before binding. It’s a trick I learned from a long-arm quilter a while ago. Serging the edges just helps hold everything in place and makes it easier to bind the quilt.

Quilted, but not serged yet

Quilted, but not serged yet

The binding strips were cut 2.5″ wide and folded in half before attaching. I’ve always bound my quilts this way, since I figure the two layers of binding will wear better than just one.

And then it was done. Finished in record time. Now we just need to deliver it…

All done!

All done!

Here are some finished shots taken in daylight. The colors show much better with decent lighting!

Up close...

Up close…

Bears on the back

Bears on the back

On to the next project…

Just in time for…next year

As I mentioned in my last post, I finally got around to making a Christmas tree skirt. Technically it wasn’t finished in time for Christmas, but close enough to actually use.

Missing the binding

No binding yet…

After we finally took the tree down, I actually finished the skirt, so now it’s packed up and ready to use next year. All I had left to do was add the binding, so it was an easy finish. I won’t say “quick” since binding a full circle is somewhat time consuming, but it was easy.

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Now let me back up a little bit to the construction of the tree skirt. I originally thought I’d have to re-remember geometry to figure out the pattern pieces. Lucky for me, someone already designed a specialty ruler for that. I borrowed this ruler from my Mom (she has all the fun sewing tools), and used it to cut all the wedges.

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It’s a 9 degree wedge that works out to about a 50 inch circle with forty wedges. The ruler leaves a 6 inch (I think) circle opening in the center, with the idea that for a regular quilt you put a small circular block right there. I actually enlarged the center circle a little bit to be more like 10 inches (I didn’t actually measure) so there would be plenty of room for the tree stand.

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Also, I left an opening between two of the wedges so I could put it around the tree stand after the tree was in place. Because what are the odds that I would remember to put it over the stand before adding the tree if I didn’t leave an opening.

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I wanted the tree skirt to have a scrappy look, so I raided my collection of Christmas quilt fabric for a bunch of different prints I liked together. There are forty wedges in the circle, and I found nine different pieces of fabric I like, so the four quadrants of the circle are the same. One print is used twice per quadrant. I like the scrappy look, but couldn’t bring myself to do the order randomly, so the order of the prints is the same in each repeat.

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The back is a solid piece of a pretty red plaid with just a bit of sparkle. It’s the only piece I had enough of for the backing, which was the main factor in using it.

Overall, I’m pretty delighted with how the whole thing came out. It feels great to have finally made something that’s been on my to-do list for so long. And that I was able to make the entire thing out of stash fabric! Done and done!