When I began this quilting journey, I had no plans other than to make a blanket for myself, which immediately became a comforter for my dad. (I didn’t want to burden anyone with my initial efforts, but Dad needed a quilt more than I did, and parents ignore a multitude of sewing sins.) One quilt quickly morphed into several, most of which were standard lap-size, some a great deal larger. When my youngest daughter’s best friend learned she was expecting, I added that de facto grandchild onto the queue, not far behind his mum, actually. Right now I’m in the middle of binding that mother-to-be’s quilt, but in the meantime, here are some smaller projects made with just as much love.
When I was little, my great aunts addressed all our cards to Miss This and Master That, a tradition that now might sound antiquated, but certainly falls right into place when describing a baby quilt. Master Z’s mum requested royal and light blues and white, which were a pleasure to work with. I picked Kona snow for the white, giving the quilt a softer look, then chose Kona royal blue and another Kona hue that now I can’t recall the name of, but it worked well as the light blue. For the prints, I chose a collection ranging from bears on trains to monkeys in rocket ships, with some octopi and submarines added for good measure.
I also included some light and dark blues in tone on tone, then backed it in light blue flannel decorated with dark blue and white stars. Stitched in the ditch, it’s approximately thirty-five by thirty-five inches; my usual patchwork squares are four inches after sewing; these are just a bit smaller, at three and half inches. Which meant that compared to all my other quilts, even Scrappy and her Big Sister, Master Z’s was a breeze to finish.
While that little gem was taking shape, a very good friend mentioned her sister-in-law was expecting a second baby. I offered to make that wee one a quilt, sort of my mood right now. Little Miss A is due in January, but I went right to work, finding adorable pinks, greens, and purples in both prints and solids. Then I found the backing fabric, and…. And the whole quilt’n’kaboodle was a done deal. I chose bright pink for the binding, just in case Mum and Dad thought the dusty blue backing fabric was too strong. But the whimsical nostalgic theme of that backing fabric works as well for a girl as it would for a boy. (And I bought a little extra, just in case…)
Like Master Z’s quilt, Miss A’s was easy to assemble, but I did pin the sandwich with care; I wanted no shifting during the quilting, which was stitched in the ditch, right now my favourite method of straight-line quilting. Flannel better holds the sandwich together, but that antique-looking cotton had to be included. I’ve been playing around with different walking foots, which could be a post all its own. Suffice to say, I’m committed to the one that came with my eldest daughter’s Brother machine, not even the actual Janome foot equal to the Brother foot. Thank goodness my daughter hasn’t had time to work on her Christmas tree skirt quilt; when she does, I’ll be aching to again borrow that superior foot, to continue the work.
But making baby quilts doesn’t feel like work; it feels… Precious, magical, and yes, abbreviated. No comparing a lap-sized blanket, or one for a king-sized mattress, with a petite baby blanket. Plus the fabrics are more dainty, well, not those of emergency vehicles and dump trucks, but the size of those squares is smaller than what I am used to, or perhaps it’s all mental. Beautiful little babies will be snuggled within these quilts, and I hope they will be in use for ages. I did avoid obvious references to infants; I want these blankets to last well past the toddler stage. When my youngest was less than a year old, her paternal grandmother made her a blanket, which became known as the Star Blankie. Crocheted squares were pieced together, then backed with white flannel decorated with red, yellow, and green stars, moons, and crescents. My daughter adored that blanket, and all that remains is the crocheted top, the flannel worn away.
From twenty years ago, as my youngest grips her Star Blankie for dear life.
I hope that for my grandson and Miss A, these quilts are similarly loved. It certainly was my pleasure to create them!