Category Archives: baby quilt

Cause for Celebration

natl quilting day 2016Tomorrow is National Quilting Day, and I’m celebrating on the eve of its 25th anniversary with my third finish of the year:

Abe's quilt
This baby quilt (40″ x 49″) is a fraternal twin of the one I made from the same fabrics and wrote about here. You saw the one above a couple of posts ago before the binding was applied. This is the first time I’ve ever made a scrappy binding and I’m very happy with the way it turned out. I made sure that each side of the quilt received a bit of the striped fabric, which looks so good on the bias.

The quilting motif of bubbles, very nicely done by longarm quilter Sherry Wadley, helped me solve a dilemma when it came to the quilting label. I usually fuse a round label on the back of my quilts (following my own tutorial). Since this quilt is backed with an incredibly soft and plush polyester known as a “cuddle fabric” (aka Minky,) I didn’t dare put as much heat on it as a fusible would require.

The solution was to stitch the label on the back by machine:

Abraham's quilt stitched label

From the front, you can’t tell which circle was made by the label:

Abe's quilt detail

I started the year with four baby quilts on my docket. Now it’s five. Granddaughter #3 (in birth order) is expecting her second child, a girl, in a few months, so my list is expanding rather than contracting. I already have a pattern in mind, and the perfect focus fabric is already in my stash. Another cause for celebration!




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Swimming Upstream

My plate is very full at the moment. In between prepping for classes, teaching classes, crafting birthday presents, and doing various and sundry other things not quilt-related, I’ve been working on this sweet baby quilt, made mostly from Into the Deep, Patty Sloniger’s new line of fabrics for Michael Miller:

baby quilt blocks

The blocks finish at 9″ so at this point the top measured 45½” square. I felt it needed a light colored containment border to offset the intense turquoise in the sea waves blocks, and I wanted the border to be green to further highlight the green blocks containing those dapper little seahorses sporting bowties:

dapper seahorse
I added a 1″ border of a pale green Fairy Frost (also by Michael Miller), then dived into my stash (sorry, couldn’t resist) for this P&B blender, which reminds me of seaweed:

baby quilt blender
Do you ever audition a fabric you think is perfect but then are surprised to find it isn’t? That was my experience here. The seaweed fabric looked too dark and heavy, and I didn’t much care for the three other options I tried:

baby quilt border options

Actually, the seahorse fabric might have worked but I would have wanted to fussy cut it and I didn’t have enough.

Then it dawned on me: this quilt top is just fine with its narrow 1″ border!

baby quilt final choice

It will finish at 47″, already on the large side for a baby quilt. I have just enough Fairy Frost left to bind the quilt.

Now all I need to do is piece the back. I’m going to use this wonderful fabric from the same fabric line:

baby quilt backing fabric

No doubt about it: this is the perfect backing fabric.




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Happy Leap Year!

Isn’t it nice to have an extra day in the month? I could sure use an extra day more often than once every four years. How about you? Think of all the Unfinished Objects we could cross of our lists!

I have several UFOs that I would dearly love to work on but I’m still playing catch-up with baby quilts (and greatly enjoying the process). Two down, two to go.

This top, one of two featuring abstract giraffes from the Migration line by Michael Miller Fabrics, went off to longarm quilter Sherry Wadley recently . . .

giraffe baby quilt top #1

. . . and came back with circles all over it. Here’s a partial view:

giraffes and bubbles

Don’t those circles remind you of soap bubbles floating in the air? Such a happy motif for a baby quilt! (That’s Minky on the back — first time I’ve ever used it.)

What little fabric I had left from making both tops is going into a scrappy binding:

circles and scrappy binding

Sherry also quilted the other giraffe quilt, which you can see here.

I’ve already picked a design and cut out the fabric for the third baby quilt:

baby quilt to be
Five of those six fabrics are from Into the Deep, a new line designed by Patty Sloniger for Michael Miller fabrics. It’s a wonderfully whimsical line featuring jellyfish and waves and sea anemones and seahorses wearing bowties. Seahorses wearing bowties? Irresistible!

dapper seahorse

The pattern I’m using, Just Can’t Cut It by All Washed Up Quilts, is one of my “go to” patterns for baby quilts. I reduce the block size from 12″ to 9″ for baby quilts. The quilt top before borders will measure 36″ x 54″ if I use a 4 x 6 block setting or 45″ square if I use a 5 x 5 block setting. Right now I’m leaning toward the 5 x 5 setting.

Just looking at the fabrics makes me smile. This quilt is going to be fun to make!




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Second Finish of the Year

My second completed project of the year is this baby quilt:

Malachi's quilt 1.2016
Malachi’s Quilt, 42″ Square

Most of the fabrics are from the Migration line by Michael Miller, featuring slightly abstract giraffes and pineapples in shades of blue, aqua, and charcoal. The line also included some blenders and an irregular striped fabric, which I cut on the bias for the binding. I just love the way the bias binding frames the quilt:

Malachi's quilt, detail of binding
Bias Binding

Sherry Wadley quilted this for me. We chose an edge-to-edge motif that beautifully echoes the spiky tops of the pineapples and the trees:

Malachi's quilt, quilting detail 1.2016
The Perfect Quilting Motif

Leftover strips of fabric went on the pieced back (including the leftover bias binding strips) :

malachi's quilt, back 1.2016
Scrappy Back

The label is on now, and the quilt is being washed and dried as I write this, not only to assure that it’s clean but also to give it that wonderfully crinkled look that quilts only get when they’ve been laundered.

Malachi, for whom this quilt was made, is no longer a baby; he is a toddler. Now that he’s walking, it would please me enormously if he is allowed to drag his quilt anywhere he wants. It was made to be used and loved.

Linking up with Kelly of My Quilt Infatuation on NTT (Needle and Thread Thursday).




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Bricks and Blocks for Babies

Back in September 2015, I made this baby quilt top, the first of four I planned to make in short order for babies in my extended family that had either arrived already or were soon to make their appearance in this world:

giraffe baby quilt top #1
Quilt Top #1 — 42½” x 50″


The fabrics are from the Migration line by Michael Miller Fabrics. The giraffe panel print was printed along both sides of the fabric, from the selvage to the fold, so I knew I would be able to make two baby quilts from one length (two half widths) of fabric. Wonderful!

I decided to make a similar top for quilt #2 but make “bricks” instead of squares. Days passed into weeks, weeks passed into months. On January 1, I realized that four months had elapsed since Quilt Top #1 was completed. Four months! How could I let this happen?

Well! There’s nothing like a New Year to galvanize one into action. I decided to get cracking on those three unmade tops. By the end of the first week of 2016 I had finished Quilt Top #2:

baby bricks quilt top jan 2016
Quilt Top #2 — 42½” square


The next order of business in 2016 is to get these two baby quilts quilted, bound, labeled, and delivered to their rightful owners. The quilts are small enough that I could quilt them myself on my domestic machine but they will surely get finished sooner if someone else quilts them for me. This also gives me the opportunity to support the longarm quilting industry, which I am happy to do, especially as we have a plethora of talented quilters in the Portland metropolitan area.

Babies #3 and #4 — a girl and a boy — have since been welcomed into our world, and I vow to get their quilts to them in a more timely fashion. I already know what I’m doing for Baby Quilt #3. Inspiration should strike soon for Baby Quilt #4. When it does, you’ll be the first to know.




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One Down, Three to Go

Slowly but surely I’m making progress on the four baby quilts at the top of my “to do” list. Two of the four quilts will contain fabrics from the Migration line by Michael Miller Fabrics.

Thus far I have one top made:

giraffe baby quilt top #1
Isn’t that giraffe fabric charming? It’s a border print. I wanted to set it off simply, so I cut 6½” squares from the other fabrics and made a double row of squares above the giraffes and a triple row below. That should have gone very quickly.

Should have, yes. But my (slightly) obsessive-compulsive nature took over. I got it into my head that I couldn’t have the same fabric appearing in a row or a column. The result? I spent an inordinate amount of time moving those squares around to avoid duplication, also taking into account the need to balance color, texture, and value. I am quite sure that the baby who winds up with this quilt won’t care a bit about which fabric ended up where. But me? I couldn’t sew those squares together until I felt I had it right.

This top measures 42½” x 50″ at the moment. It will shrink slightly after quilting but it’s a great size for a baby-to-toddler quilt.

The second quilt using the Migration line will have a slightly different setting. I’m thinking of cutting 3½” x 6½” rectangles and stacking them like bricks above and below the giraffe panel. More obsessing ahead?




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Oh, Baby!

Time to get going on four baby quilts. Two of the babies have already arrived and the other two are due soon. Fortunately, the parents of the intended recipients are patient souls. They know that sooner or later (usually later), the new arrivals will have quilts made just for them by their great granny or great auntie.

A new line of fabric I spotted at the Pine Needle last weekend was just the shot in the arm I needed. It’s called Migration by Michael Miller and includes a border print of slightly abstract giraffes. It’s not overly babyish. In fact, it’s quite sophisticated. With a palette of light grey, charcoal, aqua and blue, the fabric line works equally well for a boy or girl. Take a look:

Migration fabric 1
See that stripe in the upper left in the photo above? I’m going to cut that into bias strips for the binding. I’m thinking about making the binding wider than I usually do to really show off those stripes.

I also bought some of this companion fabric for the backing:

Migration fabric 2

I have enough fabric to make at least two quilts. The plan for the first one is to cut sets of 6½” squares and arrange them in some fashion around the border print. This should be a fast and fun project! I’ll be sharing my progress so please stop by again.




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Susan Elinor’s Quilt

We did it! My neighbor Janice and I completed the alphabet quilt started by Janice’s good friend Susan, who did not live long enough to finish it herself. Susan was making this quilt for her baby granddaughter, also named Susan. She had all the letters of the alphabet appliquéd by hand onto 6″ squares of muslin but, sadly, died of ovarian cancer before she could sew the blocks together and finish the quilt. That labor of love fell to Janice, who enlisted my help.

Over the last couple of weeks Janice and I got together to determine a layout for the blocks and to choose sashing and binding fabrics. I wrote about the process in this post and this one.

Allow us to present Susan Elinor’s quilt:

Susan's quilt, front
Susan Elinor’s Quilt, 39″ x 50

Don’t you love how the red binding frames the quilt and draws your eye to the red letters?

In this close-up you can see the simple free-motion design quilted in the border:

Susan's quilt, detail
Quilting and Binding Detail


The back of the quilt features a print from the Dick and Jane early reader books — a playful nod to the alphabet letters on the front and very much in keeping with the vintage calicos Susan had chosen for her appliquéd blocks:

Susan's quilt,back
Back of Susan’s Quilt


The last step was sewing on the label:

Susan's quilt, label
The Label on Susan’s Quilt


Actually, there was one more step. Janice bought some little finger puppets and toys to put in the four blocks on the quilt containing pockets made from clothes Susan’s daughter Lea wore as a little girl. Look how cute these are!

Susan's quilt pockets filled
A Fun Surprise in Every Pocket

This is how the quilt looks with the pockets filled:

Susan Elinor’s Quilt is Extra Special


Susan Elinor is one year old. She will miss the joy of growing up knowing her grandmother but she will have the joy of wrapping herself in a quilt hand-stitched with love by her grandmother. This quilt will be presented tomorrow to Lea and little Susan at the memorial service celebrating Susan’s life.




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An Update on Susan’s Quilt

The baby quilt that my neighbor Janice and I are finishing on behalf of her late friend Susan is coming along nicely. The quilt will go to Susan’s granddaughter and namesake, Susan Elinor, who just turned one.

In my last post I showed you the blocks that Susan appliquéd by hand onto muslin squares. Here are those squares set off with simple muslin sashing:

Susan's quilt blocks with sashing
Susan’s blocks, sewn together

In addition to the 26 alphabet blocks, four blocks contain embroidered pockets made from clothing worn by Susan’s daughter Lea (baby Susan’s mother) when she was a little girl.

I pulled several pieces of fabric from my stash so that Janice and I could audition the border fabric together:

Susan's blocks with border possibilities
Auditioning the Border Fabric

We both liked the same fabric best — the aqua print on the middle left side (Sew Stitchy by Aneela Hoey for Moda Fabrics).

Here’s the quilt top with the border strips added in that fabric:

Susan's blocks with borders
The Winning Border Fabric


Next we looked at fabrics for the back. The print we chose is absolutely perfect for an alphabet quilt: it’s based on the Dick and Jane early reader books from the last century. It’s a directional design printed across the width of fabric so I inserted some strips of the aqua print border fabric to make the back long enough. Take a look:

Backing Fabric
Fun with Dick and Jane

Oh dear, that picture is not in focus. Here’s a better look at the fabrics:

close up of backing fabrics
Dick and Jane (and Spot!)

According to the selvage, the fabric above was released in 1999. It’s called “go! with dick and jane” by Nicole de Leon for Alexander Henry Fabrics. It’s obviously been in my stash for a while.

Next up: quilting. I’m going to stitch-in-the-ditch around the alphabet blocks and free-motion quilt a loop-de-loop design in the borders. Janice and I both like the idea of finishing the quilt with red binding. She is going to do the handwork on the quilt (binding and label), and our plan is to have our project completed by the end of the week.

I hope you’ll check back in a few days to see it!




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A Labor of Love

My neighbor Janice asked me to help her finish a quilt started by her dear friend Susan. Susan was working on an alphabet quilt for her baby granddaughter when she lost her battle with ovarian cancer last month. Knowing she wouldn’t be able to complete the quilt in the time she had left, Susan asked Janice to finish it.

Susan had hand-appliquéd the 26 letters of the alphabet onto 6″ squares of muslin. She had also appliquèed four pockets onto print squares; the pockets came from clothes that belonged to her daughter when she was a little girl.

The first thing Janice and I did was lay the blocks out in a 5 x 6 grid, with the four pocket blocks interspersed among the 26 alphabet blocks. We’re pretty sure that’s what Susan had in mind because she had already sewn the first row together:

Susan's blocks
Susan’s Blocks


The fabrics in the alphabet blocks are vintage calicos. The letters seem to have been randomly placed in the muslin squares, rather than centered, giving the blocks a delightfully whimsical appearance. Janice and I decided to separate the rows with sashing strips made from muslin, add muslin sashing strips all around the quilt, then finish it with a 3″ or 4″ border made from calico prints similar to the ones Susan used in her blocks. With a 4″ border, the quilt should finish at about 36″ x 51″.

A couple of the letters — j and m — were really too close to one edge of the squares they were attached to so I added strips of muslin and trimmed the blocks. Here is the m block, before and after:

Susan's m block, before and after
Repositioning the Letter


Susan had hand-stitched the first row together with ½” seams. Her stitches were so even I had to look closely to confirm that they were indeed done by hand! I opted to take the stitching out so that all the blocks can be sewn with ¼” seams. That will really help with the letters that are close to the edges of the muslin squares.

Here is the first row with its muslin sashing added:

Susan's quilt, first row
The First Row


This quilt will help tie three generations of women together. I feel honored that Janice has asked me to help her finish it.




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