So Many Fabrics, So Many Quilt Patterns…

…only so many baby quilts one mama-to-be can make.  Admittedly, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.  In my own mind, the quilt is the basis for everything  in the nursery – for what type of curtains to hang, for what colors to paint the walls, for what type of bedding to make.  And I was oscillating between a brighter mix of pinks, blues, and greens and a more muted grey, light pink, dark pink combo.  I had ordered the Cape Ann fat quarter bundle and initially wasn’t 100% thrilled with it – the colors appeared slightly muted online (which I liked) and the colors of the actual fabrics were just a tad bolder than I was feeling.  That said, I just wasn’t sure, but was feeling too lazy to return it, so I just dove in and began cutting out squares.  Because at some point, you’ve gotta stop perusing Pinterest for inspiration and just start cutting.

I’ve decided on a 9×9 pattern of 5” squares.  This way (with 1/4” seam allowances), the quilt will measure approximately 40” x 40” – a good quilt size in my mind. Although, honestly, what do I know about baby quilt sizes… I’m just going on a hunch here.

Once I cut out the fabrics, I really started to dig it.  Somehow the fabrics all work really well together once cut and placed randomly together – I’m actually loving it now.  Good thing I never got my butt to the post office to actually return the package. See, laziness does pay off sometimes.

For the quilt, I didn’t do anything special, but a few tidbits I did learn while perusing other’s tutorials:

  • Diary of a Quilter mentions ironing the seam allowances in the pieced rows in alternate directions here – this made it immeasurably easier when lining up the rows to sew – it basically made the squares’ seam allowances butt up against each other and created very crisp points for the patchwork squares.
  • For the quilting, I initially marked all my quilting lines with chalk and then sewed, but as I was approaching hour number 3 of getting my pregnant self up and off the floor marking those silly lines, I was feeling brave enough (well, lazy enough) to abandon the chalk lines and just wing it…  The quilting finished in a snap after that.  Yes, its a lazy girls way of quilting and quilting purists would probably skoff at this admission, but giving the time (and back ache) it saved me from crawling around on the floor drawing quilt lines , I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
  • For the binding, I made continuous bias tape.  Its a bit tricky (usually requires a big glass of pinot to figure out this ingenious, but confusing tidbit), but after three repeated attempts to decipher what the heck I was doing from photo-less instructions, I finally dove in, figured it out, and then did it again taking a gazillion photos to try to remember what I did for my next continuous bias tape attempts.  If you care to check it out, heres’ a simple little tutorial I wrote up:

I machine stitched the bias tape to the front of the quilt and hand sewed it to the back.  Yeah, it takes a LOT longer doing it that way but how many quilts am I going to make for this babe-to-mine (ok, silly question, I already have the next one in the works) – but truly, I think hand sewing the binding to the quilt back makes for a much more finished quilt and frankly, i think it just looks pretty darn spiffy.

So, a few hours of hand sewing that binding down (I did it all in one crazy, i-must-have-been-high-to-attempt-that-much-hand-sewing-at-once sitting), a quick toss in the wash (with a Shout Color Catcher just in case the colors bled), and one massively cramped right hand (from all that friggin hand sewing), I WAS DONE!  All in all, it took two weekends – one to cut and piece the squares together… the next to lay the quilt sando, quilt it, and finish it with binding.

Now all I need is a massive hand and neck massage to undo the damage of 5 hours of hand sewing (gotta rouse my personal, if reluctant, masseuse from his nap on the sofa right about now) and I’ll be ready to jump into the next quilt…  I’m thinking light pinks and greys for this one.  I’ve already convinced myself that this one I’ll make “easy” and do ties instead of quilting and abandon the bias tape binding and simply bind the quilt using the quilt backing.  That said, once I get into obsessive-quilter-mode, you know I’ll be quilting this sucker and hand sewing that binding down again.  What can I say, I’m a glutton for punishment.

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