I have a lot of cousins. Specifically, I have 22 first cousins – 20 on my dad’s side and 2 on my mom’s side. Twenty of my cousins are older than I am, so there are lots of first cousins once removed (the first cousins’ kids) too. I can sit and talk and catch up with any of my cousins, but I became close to some of my cousins that are nearer to my age. Two of my cousins (1 from mom’s side, 1 from dad’s) are a year older than I am. Elaine and Joni were both bridesmaids at our wedding (2.5 years ago… has it been that long?).
Within the last few years I’ve picked up quilting as a hobby. I have many UFOs (unfinished objects), but that’s sort of the story of many projects in my life 🙂 Last fall I found out that Elaine was expecting a baby girl. I starting brainstorming a baby quilt. I don’t have a sewing machine here on the island (I’d never get any studying done if I did!). I wasn’t prepared to start and complete a baby quilt sewn by hand. I decided to come up with a quick project that I could complete during Christmas break at my parents’ house. I knew the break would be busy. My youngest brother was getting married and there were lots of people I wanted to see while we were in town. I needed a project that could be completed quickly, but that would still fulfill my desire to provide something handmade for my cousin’s baby. I ordered some charm packs – they’re 5″x5″ squares of fabric all from the same line, so they’re all complimentary. I decided to go with the stereotypical pink baby girl quilt and ordered some charms of Moda’s Simplicity. My original plan was to just piece a grid of squares.
I chain-pieced the squares, and they went together quickly. I ended up running out to Wal-Mart to pick up some border fabrics too. I knew I had something that would work, but sadly, nearly all of my stash is in storage in NY. I’ve never mitered corners. I’ve never gotten far enough along in a project to get to borders. Rather than try to figure it out when I was already in a hurry, I just squared everything.
It killed me to buy many of the same notions that I already own (in storage in NY *sigh*), but I went out and picked up safety pins and a walking foot for my mom’s sewing machine. I taped the quilt sandwich to the dining room table and pin-basted it. I did some quick tension and stitch length tests on a mini quilt sandwich, then dove into machine quilting the baby quilt. I used YLI clear nylon on top. It’s super thin, soft, and durable, not at all like the spiky kind of nylon thread used in store-bought blankets. On the bottom I used a variegated red-pink-white cotton thread by Robinson-Anton. I stitched in the ditch along both sides of the white inside border and quilted diagonal lines through the squares. I carried the diagonals through the corners of the pink border to give the illusion of mitered corners. On the outside border I quilted parallel lines 2 inches apart. To save time, I made the backing extra large so that I could pull it around to the front as binding. My plan was to top-stitch the binding, but suddenly I was out of time! I had one hour left before we needed to leave for the airport. It was midnight – we had a 6 AM international flight out of Houston, 3 hours away. I hadn’t had a nap, and we’d been spending some time with one of our friends and one of my brothers at a chicken wing place that had hard lemonade drink specials that night. Even if I’d had time, I was in no condition to be using a sewing machine, much less the rotary cutter I needed for trimming the borders. I had two options: 1) Find someone in Texas who could/would do the borders for me. 2) Take the quilt back to St. Kitts and finish it by hand. I really, really wanted this quilt to be made entirely by me, so I chose the latter option. Here’s the tutorial I used for sewing the binding by hand.
After I finished, I kept the quilt on the end of the couch for a few days, admiring it 🙂
The quilt sat on top of the stars I’ve been piecing:
Chloe’s baby quilt is the first quilt of mine that has ever reached completion! I eventually (much later) packed it up and took the box to the post office. Today I received a lovely note and some beautiful photos!
Isn’t she precious? I found myself breathless when the photo opened. I think she looks a lot like I did in some of my baby pictures. Mom, Dad, what do you think? The Goertz chin?
What a cutie! I’m so glad she likes it! On a separate note, I know now that a package sent from St. Kitts to the US DOES get there.