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.

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!"

quilting, quilts from the "little box"

Baby Quilt “Friday!”: Hugs and Kisses

Baby Quilt "Friday!" continues this week with "Hugs and Kisses," quilt #16 from The Little Box of Baby Quilts. It's the quilt that gave me and "she"–Mrs. Traditional Quilting, that is–a chance to meet. By the time the quilt was done, "she" was rolling her eyes at me, shaking her head in disappointment. Oops.

Hugs and Kisses

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

Color-wise, this was a fun quilt to put together. Start with a multicolored fabric, and then pull eight fabrics to match–one "X" and one "O" per fabric. Construction-wise, I could have made things easier for the end user. See those half-square triangles that make up the outer edges of the "X" and "O" blocks? Well, here's the thing. They're all half-square triangles. ALL of them. I didn't use the fancy tricks that traditional quilters now use to make those units easier. You experienced quilters know what I'm talking about–those parts of quilt blocks that give the illusion of two units, when you really only made one? Yeah, those. Phooey.

I was smart enough to make the half-square triangles two at a time, thank heavens. I was familiar with that trick. Just not the even-better tricks. I'll tell you what, though. I am gosh-dang-it good at matching points now. Gosh-DANG-it good.

I recently tried this quilt out with my boys. Little Charlie loves the colors. He keeps touching the multicolored fabric with his pointer finger like he could pick out some of the colors and give them a taste. Jack, while walking from the living room to the kitchen, often takes a moment to jump on either the "X" or the "O" blocks. Just a quick jaunt before he goes on doing whatever it is he is doing.

Hugs and Kisses 1

A few days ago I cursed the quilting heavens above because Jack spilled hot chocolate all over this quilt. Wait. He didn't spill it. He splashed it. Splattered it. Drenched it. The one quilt I was a bit afraid of getting dirty, mostly because of the white and the red fabrics in it.

So came the true test of a keeper quilt. I washed it.

Hugs and Kisses 2
Cozier. Cuddlier. And completely clean! This one's a keeper.

Mrs. Traditional Quilting, I implore you–share your secrets of the past with me in the future. I'm ready to listen. I'm ready to learn. (But no rough stuff, please. Rulers on the cutting mat are okay with me. Just not on my knuckles.)

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" comes quilt #17 out of 20. My favorite quilt out of the whole bunch, called "Long-Tailed Lions." Mostly it's my favorite because I drafted the pattern eight times and sewed it three times before I got it right. You gotta be extra proud of those kind of quilts. You're not gonna work for me, quilt? You ain't gonna do what I wantcha to do? You think you've kicked my butt? Ha, you are WRONG, quilt. I'm gonna kick YOUR butt.

And so I did.

Looking forward to sharing next "Friday!"

quilting, quilts from the "little box"

Baby Quilt “Friday!”: Checkerboard Game Quilt

Hey, it's "Friday!" Time for another story about a quilt from The Little Box of Baby Quilts. Last "Friday" I posted about the quilt "Sad Days, Hippie Days." I reread my post a few days later and noticed that I shared almost nothing about the quilt. I just shared a whole bunch of stuff about my husband. Funny how quilts, once they are made, become less about how you made them and more about the people who inspired them. I think that's what makes quilts so unique. The stitched-in stories. 

But for our purposes this week, I'll get back to telling a "story" about how this quilt came about, called "Checkerboard Game Quilt."

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

Truth be told, the idea for this quilt was stolen by me from my sister-in-law. Kind of. She had received a knitted blanket featuring a checkerboard pattern as a Christmas gift. I wanted to make a baby quilt that also had a function for older children. The idea fit right into my quest.

The quilt design itself is nothing new; a simple checkerboard pattern in contrasting colors. (Although machine quilter Cheryl Brown did a wonderful job of quilting the word "CHECKERS" on each blue border. So cool.) It's the checkerboard game pieces that are kind of different and fun. Rice and buttons and a bit of raw-edge sewing. Surprisingly durable. And, with the four-year-old at the helm, surprisingly versatile. We used them for a hula-hoop toss game at Jack's birthday party. And we regularly employ them in counting, stacking, and patterning games, and as general mess makers that are easy to clean up. And as indoor flying saucers. 

Checkers
Oh, yes, I almost forgot–we are learning to use them as checkers, too.

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" comes the most traditional quilt in the bunch of 20 from the "little box." It's called "Hugs and Kisses." Once I finished it, I realized how much easier I could have made it. Pooh. Me and tradition aren't the best of friends. We're more like awkward coworkers who wander into the same corner at the same time at the annual Christmas party. We've seen each other around, but beyond that there ain't much to say. 

I think I really need to find her cubicle. You know, for next time. Head on over, say hi, introduce myself. Start a friendly conversation. Charm her. Try to get her to remember me. So next time I won't end up feeling like a quilting idiot.

Yes yes yes. It's settled. I must properly meet her. I'll put it on my to-do list.

quilting, quilts from the "little box"

Baby Quilt “Friday!”: Sad Days, Hippie Days

Back for another edition of Baby Quilt "Friday!" On a Monday. Or whatever day it is when I actually finish this post. (Oooh, the suspense is killing me.)

Anyhoo, here's another quilt from The Little Box of Baby Quilts, called "Sad Days, Hippie Days."

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

Although I had babies in mind when I designed this quilt, it was my husband who inspired it. He doesn't have hippie hair (anymore) or drive a hippie car (anymore–he's owned two Volkswagen buses). He has a hippie spirit. You know, a peace-and-love and let's-everyone-just-get-along vibe. A let's-be-happy-in-this-moment vibe.

These are incredibly rare and precious qualities to find in a human being. You will not find them in me. I have no hippie in my genes. (I do have hippie jeans, however. I am certain I will be able to fit into them again soon. Yes, very soon, I keep telling myself.)

Anyhoo, back to my husband inspiring the idea for this design. One afternoon when Jack was just a baby, I was watching him and wondering who he was going to become. What qualities would he get from me, and what qualities would he get from his dad? An amazingly accomplished self-critic, I couldn't think of any qualities of mine that I would want Jack to have, save for spelling. I'm pretty good at spelling. Except for that flub-up in the fourth grade, when I spelled bicycle wrong during the classroom spelling bee. (Bycicle. CRAP!)

My thoughts turned to my husband's hippie-like qualities. Instead of thinking about which qualities of his I would want Jack to have, I found that I had to turn my mind all around and decide which qualities of his I would NOT want Jack to have. Because my husband has that many good qualities. Which makes all of us in this family very lucky. Not that he doesn't have his flaws. For instance, he is very messy. But I think that may be a hippie thing as well.

So although this quilt was made with little ones in mind, it is in fact a secret ode to my guy. One day, honey. One day you'll get back to looking on the outside like the hippie you already are on the inside. When you don't need to play straight-laced on the job. When our schedules are ruled not by two little boys, but by the whims of the hippie winds. We'll trade in the tent trailer for another beat-up bus. You can grow out your hair. You can pierce your ears again.

Maybe I'll even figure out a way to let out my hippie jeans.

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

If you're a quilter who's into family game night, meet me back here next "Friday" for a baby quilt and a game quilt rolled into one. Oh, and a little footnote about the beginning of this post. It's still Monday. But it's not the same Monday when I started this post. It's the NEXT Monday. Sigh.