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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Baby Quilts - I

The newest baby quilt - sunny yellow and bright green and white!

Welcome to the world, Baby Aidan!

      My mother-in-law, Louise, was a wonderful crocheter, and crafted beautiful blankets for the family.  Sadly, she passed away just months after my son was born.  I used to crochet blankets on the long rides from our home to hers, and when my husband's younger sister and nieces began having babies, I decided to make each a blanket in my mother-in-law's memory and spirit.  A few years later I discovered quilting, and switched from crocheted blankies to baby quilts -- many of them!  Five nieces have now had 17 babies!  

       I started this quilt for the most recent of those babies without knowing if the baby was a boy or a girl, and went with the fresh summer colors of yellow and bright green.  This quilt was my attempt to see how a string quilt that was controlled in color and placement would turn out.   My scrappy string quilt project is here.    I love how the same technique had such a different result.
Playing with the fabric choices.  Although I still have a stash of little prints, I couldn't resist getting new fabric - I love the cats on the telephone and the sweet little ducks? chicks?  I love yellow, and ultimately went with a solid yellow, and the apple green accent.


The start of the paper pieced string quilt block.  I used a 1/2 inch middle green strip, and then a 2 inch strips of the chicks, the kittens, and a white solid and a yellow solid.  The last pieces were from my stash, a hen print, and a little pig print on yellow.  

Each block had the four prints and three solids.  I alternated the tiny corner pieces.  Half of the blocks had the hen next to the yellow strip and the pigs next to the white strip, and half were vice versa.
 
Alternating the tiny corners made for a more interesting hourglass enter block.  If I hadn't switched them up, the centers would have been solid.
  

Here is a close up of the two different blocks that resulted when I put the blocks together.
The outline is of a single block.  


I had tried a number of different combinations of the blocks, but this was the one I preferred.  Because this was a small quilt, I was able to pin it using tape on the glass top of my dining room table. 

I went with an all over stipple inside the green lines, and outlined the green stripes at the end.   I decided on using white for the quilting, so the little prints would stand out.   Here is a close up during the quilting process.

Here is the final quilt, to which I added a green print with white polka dots as the binding.  It crinkled up so beautifully, and is very soft and light.


I had a fairly large piece of a blue whale print that I used for the backing.   I had waited to chose the backing until I knew whether the baby was a boy or a girl!  I used a piece of the solid yellow to fill in the gap.  I like piecing the backs.  It adds some visual interest, and uses up fabric from my stash!

A close up of the binding (so sweet - I found the print on sale, and got the green and a pink for future projects).  This photo also shows the stippling and outlining.

I really like the way the stippling looks with the whales.  Very oceany.


Here is a close up of the two  prints from my stash.  I have been using the little pig print for years in baby quilts.  As always, I purchased much more than I actually needed at the time.   I wish I had taken a photo of a block that met up better in the middle, but oh well!

I couldn't resist the kitten on the retro telephone!   Of course, the baby will have no idea what such a contraption is!

Aren't these sweet?  The fabric feels like linen, and is a darker cream, which balances against the white.

My quilt holder, peeking over the top of the quilt!  The lake is all churned up from thunderstorms last night, after a week of hot dry weather.

     Aidan joins three siblings, Kathryn, Kayla and Ryan.  I made them each a quilt  when they were born.  I didn't have good photos of all of the quilts, but luckily, their mom has saved the quilts, and sent me photos.   At least two of these earlier quilts have the little pigs fabric in them! 


     Here is Kathryn's quilt, from 2005:
The little pig fabric is in the bottom left and upper right blocks.  I think the hen fabric is also in the bottom left block!

     Here is Kayla's quilt, from 2006.    I loved this pattern, which alternated skinny white strips with larger print strips, and alternated a white or print center.  I'll soon post a picture of a full size bed quilt I made for my own daughter with these same blocks.
This used many of the same fabrics as Kathryn's quilt, but no pigs or hens!

Another shot of the finished quilt.  Each block was about 12 inches square, I believe.

A close up of one of the blocks.

     Here is Ryan's quilt from 2009.  This quilt was all boy - and used many of the same fabrics as in the other quilts.  
Ryan's quilt 


A close up of the little squares in Ryan's quilt. 


I used a cute bunny fabric as the backing of the quilt. 

     I really enjoy making these baby quilts.   The summer seems to be speeding by - I have a few finished quilts that will be revealed in August (gifts!).   So many quilts - so little time! 

Take care,
Gretchen

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Civil War Quilts 2002 - 2005

My son's Log Cabin quilt, made from Civil War reproduction fabrics.
      It is fitting on the 4th of July weekend, and the observance of the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg,  that I am documenting the making of a Civil War quilt. 
     My son was a Civil War buff from a very early age.  We had fun attending some small civil war reenactments, including a fun time on the Arcade and Attica RR.    As a result, it was easy to decide on the fabrics for a special quilt for him.  I collected a slew of Civil War reproduction fabrics, from a variety of sources, and paper-pieced a log cabin quilt.   I enjoy the history of old quilt blocks.   I used the traditional red center, and then a scrappy combination of fabrics for a light and dark divide.   



A close of one of the 80 blocks in the quilt  


     After completing the blocks, I tried all sorts of designs to highlight the light and dark.  This is a really versatile block to use!  I decided on the placement below to create the strong diagonal lines, and the diamond shapes on the quilt. 


A close up showing the alternating placement of the dark and light halves of the blocks.





I didn't remove the paper until I had sewn the blocks together (to keep them from stretching).  I ended up needing to use tweezers to get the little scraps stuck in the corner seams.  I  now remove the paper before sewing paper pieced blocks together.

The finished design pops out in this picture, which was taken before the quilt top was pinned and quilted.

     I started the quilt in early 2002, right after I had finished the broken dishes quilt for my daughter.  I hand quilted the blocks, with an "X" in the center, and then following the design of the blocks, quilted up the middle of each strip, creating a Greek-key type of design in each block. 
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A close up of the quilt back which shows the quilted design on the blocks.
A close up of the quilted top showing some of the many fabrics



Another close up of different blocks. I think I used over 80 different prints in this quilt.


     For the border, I used a dark blue print, and some scraps as a middle border.  For the hand quilting of the border, I purchased a template, and lightly chalked the top to follow.  I used a large lap hoop to hold the quilt during the quilting process.  This quilt has the nicest drape to it, which to me is a big difference between hand quilting and machine quilting.   I used the Warm and Natural batting, which always gives a nice crinkly feel to the finished quilt after washing.


A close up of the quilted border, before washing the quilt.  I liked how the cream colored thread showed up on the dark border.

A close up of the border quilting, after washing.  The quilt design still shows up.


One of the blocks, after quilting and washing.

A different block, after quilting and washing.

     The hand quilting took a LONG time.  I finally finished the quilt in September 2003.  I belonged to a quilt guild at that point, and the quilt won a ribbon at the guild's quilt show that year.  It also won a red ribbon the following summer at the Erie County Fair. 



I still had not mastered the art of sewing on the binding.  Nevertheless, every stitch was made with love! 

     I had plenty of Civil War reproduction fabric left over.   I also wanted my son to have a quilt to take to band camp and later to college.  So, I used the scraps to make nine-patch blocks, which I then set with bright red blocks, on the diagonal, and bordered with blue.  This quilt was machine quilted, and backed with a cute flannel.  I finished this quilt in time for my son's 13th birthday in 2005.   


The band camp quilt.
     I ended up using a walking foot to quilt diagonal lines with framed the nine patch blocks, and created an interesting grid in the solid red block. 
A close up of one of the nine patch blocks.


Another close up.  I ran out of the red solid during the construction of the quilt, and substituted a red print in some places, as you can see in the lower right corner of this picture. 


A close up showing the grid pattern of the quilting.

A close up of the cowboy and cactus flannel that I used to back this quilt. 

     The nine-patch quilt is well-traveled.  It has gone to band camp, to college, and to music festivals.  The log cabin quilt remains on my son's bed at home.   I still have some of that fabric left over.   Expect to see another scrappy quilt using those fabrics in the future!  

Take care,

Gretchen