quilting, quilts from the "little box"

Baby Quilt “Friday!”: Sleepy Bees

Welcome to the almost-final installment of Baby Quilt "Friday!," featuring quilts from The Little Box of Baby Quilts. Here she is, quilt number twenty (if you've been counting). With all the bees and all the ZZZ's, I figured I'd call her "Sleepy Bees."

Sleepy Bees
From The Little Box of Baby Quilts, copyright 2007 Jenny Wilding Cardon/That Patchwork Place. Machine quilted by Cheryl Brown.

Only four fabrics are used in this quilt–pink, blue, purple, yellow. It's the largest
quilt in the bunch of twenty, too. Big enough to move with a kid through their
preschool years. My favorite part of this quilt? The fuzzy eyelashes and
antennae, hand-stitched with black eyelash yarn.

Yep. I pulled YARN through cotton
quilting fabric. (Just a little.) Not a monumental quilting no-no. Or is
it? (Maybe just a little.)

This quilt has a sprinkle of several familiar techniques. Never a boring moment
making up this girl. Let's see… there's chain piecing, strip piecing, and half-square triangle piecing, plus applique and embroidery, both with yarn and thread. If you're looking for a fairly simple tutorial on a variety of quiltmaking techniques… and you are also looking for a baby quilt… and you happen to like this particular design… and the baby shower isn't tomorrow… hmm. It's a fun quilt to make. Let's leave it at that.

You can see more quilts from the "little box" here, watch a video about it here, and read more about each quilt here.

My plan is to create one final post about The Little Box of Baby Quilts to wrap things up. You know. Closure. I imagine little thumbnails featuring my favorite details of each quilt. When you click on the thumbnails, full photos of the quilts will pop up. Then, your computer screen will turn soft and cozy and fuzzy and frilly so you can reach out and touch the fabric in each quilt and see its true colors. Then your computer screen will turn back into a computer screen and show a picture of every candy bar in the whole wide world, and you can click on your favorite and it will materialize right before your eyes. (Mmmm, Reeses.)

We'll see how those plans go–cross your fingers. Hope to see you back here soon.

quilting, quilts from the "little box"

Baby Quilt “Friday!”: Flotton!

Baby quilt "Friday" has alluded me for the past several weeks. Since March 13, to be exact. A DIY home project, out-of-town visitors, birthdays, and the very-welcome bustle of springtime have all contributed to the slowdown. But there's just two quilts from The Little Box of Baby Quilts to go on this little journal-journey of mine. Let's see if I can complete the journey before 2010.

Quilt #19. A fun little guy that could easily become a fun little girl with the right color choices. This one's called "Flotton!":

Flotton
From The Little Box of Baby Quilts, copyright 2007 Jenny Wilding Cardon/That Patchwork Place. Machine quilted by Cheryl Brown.

As with a few other quilts in the "little box," I tried to make this quilt more complicated than it needed to be. I sketched it 7 or 8 different times before realizing I didn't really need to sketch it at all. Obviously, the blocks are as simple as quilt blocks get–three rectangles. The twist is in the skinny center rectangle. It's not quilter's cotton, it's fleece. So baby gets a little extra-puffy softness in his or her blankee.

There are a few quilts in the collection that are just right for sewing in time for the baby shower–this one and this one come to mind. Oh, and also this one and this one. And I forgot about this one! And then there's "Flotton!"

Hmm. Guess there are quite a few quick quilts in the bunch. When you're making 20 quilts in nine months to the cadence of a fast-approaching deadline, all of the quilts seem "quick." They have to be. Looking back, though, I notice that I kinda dabbled in a little of everything–from fast machine sewing to hand applique; from chain piecing to matching a gazillion points; from silly quilts for the baby to sweeter quilts for the mom. Quite a hodge-podge to choose from.

It's been two years since the "little box" was released. And I think, just now, looking through the quilts posted here, I realized something. Geez. I think I just might have done good.

You can see more quilts from the "little box" here, watch a video about it here, and read more about each quilt here.

One last quilt to share with you next "Friday." Hope to see you then (whether it's 2009 or 2010).

quilting, quilts from the "little box"

Baby Quilt “Friday!”: Watch Me Grow

Welcome back to Baby Quilt "Friday!" A house full of sick little ones and big ones have slowed down the home stretch of finishing this project–posting about all twenty quilts in The Little Box of Baby Quilts. But I'm back. And feeling mighty fine at 80% healthy. It'll do.

This "Friday" features the quilt "Watch Me Grow," a wall-quilt-slash-growth-chart for little ones.

Watch Me Grow  
From The Little Box of Baby Quilts, copyright 2007 Jenny Wilding Cardon/That Patchwork Place. Machine quilted by Cheryl Brown.

For our family, this quilt was a keeper. Meaning that although I made the quilt specifically for the "little box," I always meant for it to end up with us. I've had three paper growth charts and they've all been ripped, torn, or drawn upon. No keep-through-the-years quality to them. This fabric version of a growth chart hangs in the boys' playroom now. And they know better than to rip, tear, or draw upon one of mama's quilts. (Cutting mama's quilts? An entirely different story.)

The quilt is quite simple to make. Whole-cloth background, strip-pieced border, easily appliqued stems, and fuse-and-cut flowers and leaves. There's even a handy little built-in pocket to hold a fabric-friendly pen. The quilt measures children up to five feet in height. I'm doing my best to remember to chart our boys' growth every six months. Should be a lot of writing on this quilt before either of them reach five feet.

I think this would make a great gift quilt for an expecting mom and dad who already have small children. That way, all the kids in the family can have their turn touching their heels to the wall. Ah, yes, that reminds me…

Watch Me Grow Jack
Growth charted.

You can see more quilts from the "little box" here, watch a video about it here, and read more about each quilt here.

Just two more "Fridays" of baby quilts to go. Next week I'll showcase a very simple quilt I named "Flotton!" Hope to see you back here next "Friday" for the very simple (and silly) explanation of the name.

crafts, quilting, sewing

The story about the quilt in the banner. Up there at the top of this page.

Yes, I'm talking about the sailboat quilt I'm featuring in my blog banner this month. What do you think of it? I really like a lot of things about it. Except for just one little thing. It's that fabric that makes up the background. Let's be nice and call it, um, challenging.

Well, why the hooey did you use it then, Jenny?

If you're asking, I'm telling. There's a story there.

I started attending a monthly humanitarian meeting here in town. We make things for people in far-away countries who need them. Mostly, items for children and for schools. When the leader of the group heard I was a quilter, she asked if I would like to add a little applique to a sailboat-themed panel of fabric she had to make a wall quilt. I said, "Sure!" I envisioned sailboats in calm waves that I could embellish with happy birds and clouds and suns. So I really wasn't expecting this kind of challenge…

Sailboats 1
This is the panel the very kind leader of the humanitarian group brought to me. Sailboat? Yes.

Sailboats 2
Upon closer inspection, I realized the image was of a military sailboat. With soldiers. Sailing in a sea of blood. (Is there really a such thing as a military sailboat?)

The group leader gave me a month to work with the panel. I tried to incorporate the sailboat image in a number of ways. Eventually, my solution was to stick with the sailboat theme, but cover up the original sailboat completely. Try and happy it up as best I could.

Sailboats 3
Sailboats, numbers, waves, stars, moon. Happier.

Sailboats 4
Happier quilted stars, seen from the back of the quilt.

Sailboats 5
Happier quilted waves.

Sailboats 6
Gratuitous close-up. Happier.

I was a little nervous taking the finished quilt to the group leader. When I shyly mentioned that I wasn't sure the military sailboat was quite right for a schoolroom setting, she breathed a sigh of relief. "I hadn't realized those were soldiers on the sailboat!" she said. "We aren't supposed to send anything that has to do with war, or the military, or anything like that. I'm glad you noticed!"

Then I breathed a sigh of relief. Because I (albeit unknowingly) chose the right path for the design, yes. But mostly because she has three more panels of the same fabric. I'm now nearing completion of sailboat wall quilt number two.

Quilters make do. The quilt I came up with may not be heirloom quality, or something anyone would want to replicate. But it might help a child in a far-away country learn to count to five. Learn their colors. I made do, like quilters do. And I'm happier for it.

quilting, quilts from the "little box"

Baby Quilt “Friday!”: Long-Tailed Lions

Here she is–quilt number 17 out of 20 from The Little Box of Baby Quilts. My favorite. She's simple, she's colorful, and she has a bit of flouncy flair (in the form of tulle trim). I named this quilt "Long-Tailed Lions." See why below:

Long-Tailed Lions
From The Little Box of Baby Quilts, copyright 2007 Jenny Wilding Cardon/That Patchwork Place. Machine quilted by Cheryl Brown.

This quilt is my favorite quilt in the "little box" for many reasons. I like the simplicity of the Log-Cabin style blocks. I love the polka-dot fabrics (all generously given to me by Moda). I am really happy with how the lion faces turned out. I was going for the look of a plush toy, and kind of invented a way to come close. And I love the tulle trim on the manes and tails. Looks like it might be a little scratchy to the touch, but it's sooo soft and feathery. And it moves when you touch it! Fun for little hands.

But the thing I like most about this quilt is that I actually FINISHED it. I created eight drafts of it on paper before I even sewed one stitch. Here are a few of those drawings that prove it:

Lions

Each time I drafted the design I either didn't like the layout, decided it was too much sewing for the end-user, or I just screwed up the math (fairly common for me). Once I finally decided on a design, the sewing became the mystery. I started, stopped, and scrapped the quilt three times. Ouch. Goodbye, perfectly good fabric. (And with it, my confidence.) There were also yards upon yards of perfectly good threads, yarns, and trims I experimented with, and then tossed aside in frustration. But I kept with the design, and things finally came together.

Like any creative undertaking, you never quite know what the end result will be. Sometimes things come together flawlessly, easily. Sometimes there are a few snags but things pretty much go along according to plan. And sometimes you feel like you're in the midst of a disaster. Those times when something in your gut tells you "RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY!" My gut told me that time and time again with this little quilt. And you know what I told my gut? SHUSH. Just SHUSH. I'm gonna try one more time.

Sometimes shushing pays off. Sometimes not. My completely unsolicited advice? When it's a tornado, or a tsunami, or you see someone coming at you with a kitchen knife with a not-so-nice look on their face, listen to your gut. But when it comes to quilts? Try again. Your persistence–and perhaps even your end result–will make you proud.

You can see more quilts from the "little box" here, watch a video about it here, and read more about each quilt here.

Next "Friday" I'll spotlight a quilt that's absolutely perfect for little ones who grow. (And that's every little one, isn't it?) Hope to see you back here next "Friday!"