Saturday, July 14, 2012

Baby Simon's Quilt

Last fall, I found out that my oldest friend in the world, Becky, was expecting her first child. Becky and I have been best friends since I moved up to New Hampshire when I was 6 years old. She lived across the street and we were inseparable for four years until I moved back to Pennsylvania in 5th grade. That didn't stop us, though. We visited each other at least once a year, wrote letters, and frequently spoke on the phone before email was around. The Internet made it easier to stay in touch once my family moved into the modern age and signed up for AOL when I was in high school. As we got older, we'd sometimes go for a few months without talking, but it was always the same with us -- we'd pick up right where we left off without skipping a beat. Her family was (and still is) like an extension of my own. We've had lots of adventures together, including a meet-up in London while she was working on her Ph.D. in Germany, and she's truly a lifelong pal.

Me & Becky in 3rd Grade (early 90s fashion icons!)

A more recent photo of us

I was thrilled when she got married last summer to a great guy, Voytek, and even more thrilled to hear that she was having a little one. Becky is the youngest of four, and her older siblings have six kids between them, including two sets of twins. I think she was pretty excited to be contributing to her parents' growing brood of grandchildren!

She called to tell me the good news around the same time I was getting back into embroidery and sewing. So, it was only natural that I began thinking about what I could make the baby-to-be. A baby quilt seemed like a good first foray into quilting, but I didn't want to mess it up, which is why I tried out my quilting skills with the purple aviary quilt. After I didn't completely screw that up, I ordered some fabric to start on a baby boy quilt. (At that point, Becky & Voytek knew what they were having -- I didn't flip a coin or anything...)

I wanted to use fabric that wasn't too babyish and could be suitable for the little one to use beyond the infant years. I fell in love with this print from Michael Miller, which I used as the main print (it shows up the most frequently):

I loved the light aqua, gray, and yellow combo -- it was so different from all of the other kid-fabric color schemes I came across -- and I thought the print was modern-looking without being too out there. I chose a few other complementary prints from Michael Miller and opted for a gray background. (The thought of using a white background with a baby quilt seemed a bit impractical!)

I used a simple charm square pattern (similar to what I did for Lynn's quilt, on a smaller scale), and I tried to disperse the patterns evenly. (I ended up figuring out the order on an Excel spreadsheet -- yup, I'm a nerd!) I shadow-quilted horizontal and vertical lines and bound the quilt in a darker gray.

For the back, I lucked out with a complementary Michael Miller fabric that was on sale. (Thanks,!) I pieced together a few more blocks to add some interest, and embroidered a brief note. There's some puckering on the back, and if you pay close attention, the row is not completely straight, but I don't think it's all that noticeable.


I was worried about getting this done in time for the baby's arrival, so I probably rushed through some parts more than I should have. I really need to take the time to "square up," or remeasure and trim, as I go along to make sure squares and rows are even. When I tried folding the quilt after it was finished, I noticed it wasn't exactly even. Since this quilt, I've started squaring up between quilting and binding, which has been a big help  in keeping everything symmetric.

However, the quilt seemed to go over well with Becky & Voytek! I mailed it a few days after Simon Jakub's birth, and these pictures were quickly posted on Facebook after it arrived in California.

When Vanna White decides to retire, I have a good recommendation for a replacement...
I hope little Simon is able to enjoy using this quilt to bundle up with or play on, and as he grows up, I hope it's a reminder that his Auntie Kym loves him!

I have to say that I enjoyed making a baby quilt quite a bit. Since it's small, it came together much faster than the other quilts I've made. While I like how the others turned out, there were times when the task seemed too daunting and tedious to complete. The baby quilt was able to keep my interest, though, and before I knew it, I was onto something else! It's also satisfying to know that you are making a gift that will be enjoyed for a while, and is something a little different from what other people will be giving. Like I said in the last post, a special quilt for a special baby!