Monday, April 19, 2010

Third time really is the charm

When my dear friend Kate revealed she and her husband were expecting, I knew I just had to make her a wee quilt. More than serving as my go-to quilt guru, she's known in her circle of friends for creating magnificent scrappy and designer quilts to celebrate and commemorate life's milestones. I'd been trying to come up with a way to show my appreciation for all her help and encouragement, you know, a way to say, "Thanks, friend!". Admittedly, I got the inspiration for the quilt a little later in her pregnancy than I should have - I should have started planning and searching for patterns and fabric back in November when she shared the news. Instead, I found the fabric in Connecticut on the way home from helping my sister move into her new place in late January: Arcadia by Sanae for Moda.

Ready for seaming!

This would be my first time working with a pre-cut stack and I wanted to make sure I made the most of each little bit, so I started looking for patterns. My first stop was Moda Bake Shop - after all, the pre-cut was a Moda layer cake - and after just a few minutes of browsing the different patterns, I settled on one that looked perfect AND, as an added bonus, used the same fabric that I'd bought!

This would be my first quilt that followed a real pattern, so I took my time, measured twice, and carefully cut just once. As I pressed open each seam, I couldn't help but grow more and more excited about this quilt.

One half of the original plan.

I had grand plans for laying out the different squares *just so* and even tried to apply some level of logic to it - if pattern A is here, then pattern D must share the seam - so, I took great care in laying out the pieces and taking photos of the order I wanted.

Layer Cake Quilt
...and the other half of the original plan.

That's not how it went down though - whatever order I'd wanted was forgotten and it's just as well. There's no real point in making things more stressful than they have to be, right? And with a deadline on this quilt (finish it before the baby shower), I figured that would be stress enough! I pieced the top and then attached the border, thrilled that I'd had the foresight to set aside the squares of fabric that were the more neutral of the bunch.

Less than perfect seams that are, actually, just perfectly fine!


I cruised right along with this quilt top and hit a snag only when I tried to come up with a suitable backing fabric. At first I considered doing the same pattern for the back, making the quilt totally reversible. And while the pattern was definitely the easiest thing I've done on my sewing machine, I found the idea of a solid back more appealing. I considered yardage from the Arcadia line, but couldn't pick just one. I considered something more neutral and even picked up a yard or two of Me & My Sister's Nesting Stripe Brown to see how that worked with the quilt top.

But then, I found myself browsing some fabric/quilting blog or another and read about The Fabric: Sweetwater's Make Life Silly! I thought it was perfect in so many ways: expectant parents are making life, having a baby makes life crazy and new and different, and when the dust settles, we're still able to make the most of our little lives. The multi-colored print also tied in nicely with the colors of the quilt top, don't you think?

I would make this quilt again and again.

I knew I wanted to use the Make Life... fabric for the binding, but I didn't want it to get lost on the back. Fortunately, I had quite a bit of the border pieces leftover from the front borders and I quickly attached them to a large cut of the backing. I used a straight, horizontal line with a tangerine-colored thread for the quilting and spaced the lines randomly. I tried to do the continuous binding technique on this quilt, too, but missed some important step it seems. No worries - it came out fine.

Quilting and borders and binding, oh my!

I enlisted the help of Mike for a quick photo shot:

BaBoJo quilt photo shot
In that one shot, I told him to love the quilt. He did a good job, eh?

Then, it was time to give the quilt to the parents-to-be. Referencing a seemingly old joke, we wrapped it in a tarp and presented it along with the other gifts. The shower invitation suggested we bring a 1/4 yard or more of fabric that reminded us of the parents-to-be with the hope that Kate could one day make a wonderful scrappy quilt from it. I thought it would be fun to wrap the tarp (which wrapped the quilt) with the remaining yard and half of the Make Life Silly fabric. Kate was initially very excited about the fabric more than the gift it wrapped, though that might be because she thought she was only getting a tarp.

Kate and Nate tell the story of the tarp.
Not surprisingly, it originated with my husband.

Kate gets a little verklempt as she realizes the
quilt's been for her wee one all along.

Thank you, once again, Kate, for turning me onto quilting. I cannot wait to meet your new little person and I hope that whatever you do, you make life silly!


Lisa said...

Adorable! I have a baby quilt in the imagining state on my sewing table. I need to get my quilting mojo back.

Sara said...

You are on a roll, girl! Beautiful work.