Friday, January 3, 2014

A Bundle of Baby Quilts

Lately, it seems like everyone I know is having babies. It's been a fun time, but I've been busy trying to keep up with all of the baby quilts! Starting in August, I got to work on a quilt for the baby boy of my best friend Wendy. (You've heard me mention my best friend, Andrea. Well, Wendy is the other part of our best friend trio!) Wendy was due in late September, and I finished little Dawson's quilt soon after.

I used some animal prints from Ann Kelle's Urban Zoologie line as the focus (love those monkeys!), with royal blue and lime green fabrics mixed in. I wanted the quilt to be bold and fun, with plenty for the little guy to look at. I came up with the pattern myself: big squares alternating with groups of four smaller squares. The quilting lines shadow all of the smaller squares. The backing fabric is a tiny star print from Connecting Threads and I added an embroidered note. The quilt was a big hit with Dawson's parents and grandmoms, though Dawson has yet to indicate his preference either way.

The next quilt was for the child of my old high school friend Randy, who I also went to Lehigh with, and his wife, Marie. Little Anthony decided he wanted to emerge while his mom was matron of honor at her best friend's wedding. The kid knows how to make an entrance! Randy and Marie didn't reveal the gender of the baby ahead of time, but I knew they had chosen a forest theme for the nursery with greens, oranges, and other neutral colors. I fell in love with the Fort Firefly fabric line from Birch Organics. The animals are doing all sorts of cute things, but the muted color palette gives it a nice retro feel and doesn't make it seem too babyish.

I used Bijou Lovely's Colorblock Quilt pattern and it came together really quickly once I got going. (The directions were really easy to follow!) This quilt also marked the first time I used basting spray instead of pins to create my quilt sandwich. I was previously opposed to basting spray because it felt like cheating, but my goodness, it saves about 2 hours! I'm not sure how well it would work for larger quilts, but it was mighty useful for a crib-sized quilt. For the backing, I chose a Riley Blake chevron in brown & white, Lehigh's colors, for a fun little surprise. Since Anthony had already arrived by the time I started the quilt, I was able to embroider his name on the front.

The animals are setting up for a treehouse party! Squeee!

Last, but not least, my middle school pal, James, and his lovely wife, Autumn, had a baby girl, Emilia Rose, at the beginning of December. James and Autumn chose a camping/forest theme for the nursery in gender neutral blues and greens, since they didn't plan on revealing the baby's gender. So, I decided to use the Backyard Baby fabric collection by Patty Sloniger in the light blue colorway, which I thought would be appropriate for a boy or a girl. It features a bunch of animals, bugs, and natural elements. (No child of James and Autumn will be squeamish about bugs!) James raises honeybees so I was delighted to find some beehives in one of the patterns. For the backing, I used a precious turtle print from Patty's other line, Les Amis. It might be one of my all-time favorite prints.

I came up with the pattern myself: big blocks to feature the cute fabrics, separated by rows of white sashing. I only used horizontal quilting lines to shadow the rows. I once again used basting spray (seriously, such a lifesaver!). To make it a little more girly, I embroidered Emilia's first name and a rose for her middle name. Since I was in a time crunch -- I had plans to meet Emilia over the holidays and wanted to give her the quilt then -- I decided to sew on the binding with my machine for the first time. Though I like the look of a hand-sewn binding better, it takes forever and the machine-sewn binding does seem more durable. I think I'll have to work on my machine-binding skills (calling my stitching lines "squiggly" would be generous!), but I wouldn't be opposed to doing it again in the future since it cuts about 3 hours off my overall quilt-making time. The quilt was ready just in time for our visit!


A bug zoo!

The cutest turtles ever!

Thus ends my quilt-making adventures for 2013! The next of my friends' babies isn't due until March, so I can take a little breather. However, I did receive an awesome new sewing machine for Christmas, so I've been working on some smaller projects that I will write about soon. Happy 2014!