Friday, July 6, 2012

First Baby Shower Quilt

Some of our friend's are expecting a baby in September, and their baby shower is going to be on July 14th. When I first heard about it, I was thinking of onesies, binkies, and toys, but then I remembered, hey, I could just sew a quilt! 

I immediately searched online for some fabric. They're having a boy, and his dad loved trains when he was a kid so I wanted to incorporate that into it as well. I also wanted to try something new on this quilt, appliqué either a train or his name in the middle section, but then I thought better of it, since the shower was only three weeks away, and I didn't want to start a big endeavor that could potentially be very bad. I settled on two charm packs and some yardage from the Scoot collection from Riley Blake I purchased online from Missouri Star Quilt Company. They sure do have some adorable fabric lines for kids blankets, don't they?

I did try one thing I hadn't done before: double, or peek-a-boo binding. I didn't look up any specific technique for it, I just cut two different sized binding strips (2" and an 1 1/2" I think) and bound them at the same time. I really liked how it turned out. The inside or "peek-a-boo" fabric is colorful and fun (and would also get quite dirty if it was the only binding), and the back binding incorporated the backing material in the front as well. The only downside to that was now the back is entirely the same fabric, but I considered it awhile before making the decision, and I think this was better in the end.

Since I hadn't made a baby blanket before, and I have no children of my own to give me reference, I got out my own baby blanket that my mom made, and used that to measure about how big it should be. I also used two layers of batting. It didn't turn out exactly as I imagined it would, but it's still very manageable and folds up nicely without being too bulky, I guess we'll just have to see how much mama and baby like it!

She made me a bunch of colorful pinwheels :-)

It was entirely hand stitched. She began a heart/bow border,
but it only goes about halfway down one edge.
Still love it dearly though :-)

I was amazed how quickly the whole quilt came together. Obviously it isn't a painstaking design, and I only did a few straight lines of quilting to finish, but I had it together in just a few hours of a Sunday morning! The binding did take a little longer, because I hand stitched it to the front, but still only took me about a day or so for that. I have noticed myself getting better at hand stitching each time I sit down to do it. And by that, I don't just mean the stitching is prettier. In fact, I think the stitches I make are quite uneven and ugly, I generally go for a sturdy finish instead of a pretty one (I should probably get a book on this so I can learn the technique), but I have gotten quite a bit faster, so my productivity is better. I'm still a very long way from  hand quilting something, or perfect embroidery.

I'm in the process of planning a new quilt now. I have quite a bit of fabric that I bought for a specific design, but the more I look at it, the more I don't think it will work like I want, so I'm scrapping that and going back to the drawing board. Hopefully I have something figured out soon so I can get back in the sewing room! It was starting to collect dust in there!