Galaxy Baby Quilt

This was number two of three baby quilts I finished last year, and I still have one more half-quilted and another one planned. Too many babies to keep up with!

My sister in law was due a month and a half after me, so of course I had to make her a quilt! The idea for this quilt came about because she showed me a picture of a blanket with cute cartoon solar system planets on it – and I went and did something completely different.

Hmm.

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Solar Disc Baby Quilt

Last year was joyous summer of babies in my extended family – one of my Irish cousins had a baby in May, followed by my own munchkin exactly one month later, my sister-in-law’s baby in late July. I was a little overwhelmed, and the Irish baby ended up getting his quilt last – I started it first, but I always forget how incredibly fussy the Meisen Maru block is, so I ended up setting it aside halfway through so I could finish my sister-in-law’s quilt in time for her baby shower, and then I had a baby… But I got it finished it the end!

I wanted bright, saturated colors for this quilt, and I wanted to incorporate some kind of nature theme – my cousin loves the Irish countryside, her husband likes astronomy, and I have many fond memories of tromping along lanes, through coppices, and across the turlough with my cousins Β – so based on that, I came up with a design that, in my mind at least, incorporated elements of stars and greenery.

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Two Quilts for a Challenge

One of my cousins is a serious quilter, the sort who has quilts in books and thinks about hue and value and all that stuff when planning quilts. My approach to quilting is more freeform, shall we say? In other words, I change my plans partway through, add borders until it looks right, and generally make a colorful mess of everything. I have fun, though, and I think that’s the important part.

More to the point, my quilting cousin organized a family quilting challenge some time ago. It was an informal affair – she sent us some fabric, and we had to use that fabric in a quilt somehow. The fabric in question was abstract coral and orange stripes, with yellow dots. It looked bright. Really bright. And yet… every fabric I set it against made it look lifeless and drab. I finally found a really bright floral cotton from Joann Fabrics in my stash that complimented my challenge fabric, and discovered that Japanese-style indigo prints provided contrast without dulling the bright colors.

After that, everything proceeded to go wrong. I ran out of one of the indigo prints, found a replacement online, ordered it only to find that not only was the print a different scale, but the fabric was a vastly different weight. Then I ran out of the replacement fabric (foolishly having not ordered enough in the first place,) ordered more from the same place… and the scale of the pattern was off, again. At that point, since I was running out of the challenge fabric, I said to hell with it, and finished the quilt – hence the slight discrepancy between the indigo fabric in the four square blocks.

challenge quilt_top
Block patterns: #18 Kurume kasuri masumon and #46 Meisen maru from Japanese Quilt Blocks to Mix and Match by Susan Briscoe.

challenge quilt_detail

Not perfect, but done. I do like the color scheme, though I think I committed my usual mistake and made the blocks too busy. The Meisen maru blocks in particular could have done with a less busy indigo fabric, to really highlight the orange and floral fabrics. I don’t have a good photo of the back of this quilt, but it’s some bright blue and green tie-dyed skull and crossbones flannel from my stash, with some pieced indigo and floral accents. Very fun, and snuggly.

baby quilt front

I originally meant to piece a back for the quilt from scraps, but after some more frustration – like coming up ONE STRIP SHORT of nine striped blocks, argh – I gave up and made a baby quilt instead. Not much to say about this one other than that I am inordinately fond of it for how simple it is.

baby quilt back

I had just enough of this pretty abstract wave patterned cotton to back the smaller quilt. Small triumphs, and all that! The backing, batting, and binding for both quilts was all scrap or stash materials, which was very satisfying – goodness knows I still have more fabric than I can fit in my storage containers, but slowly, slowly I shall whittle it down.

Lone Star Baby Quilt

A baby quilt seems as good a project as any with which to start a new blog.

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Behold! A baby quilt for the future child of my old babysitter. I say “babysitter” – she’s really more of an adopted older sister/treasured friend. I’ve known her for twenty years now, so when I heard she was expecting I knew I had to make her something really special. I think I succeeded, because not only did my friend and her fiance love it, but for once I’m entirely pleased with the end result.

I used a Lone Star pattern in an assortment of Asian-themed floral fabrics in red, a lovely gradient-dyed yellow batik, and two blue batiks for the background and binding. Everything is 100% cotton.

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Look at all those matching points! I strip-pieced as much as possible, but there was still a lot of ripping out seams and redoing them when things were one-sixteenth of an inch off. Quilter’s persnicketyness, man.

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No seams across the big background blocks!

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The back was a lovely snuggly flannel.

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Usually I plan my quilts and play around with color/block arrangement in Adobe Illustrator, but since I couldn’t figure out how to make a 45ΒΊ grid, I got out pencil and paper and did it the old-fashioned way. You can see it took me a few tries to figure out the design I wanted. The Y1/Y2/etc notations refers to the gradient in the yellow batik – I wanted to make a starburst pattern, with the color shading from dark to light. When I cut the yellow batik, I divided it up into five shades of yellow, from lightest (Y1) to darkest (Y5.) I am really pleased with how it came out. πŸ™‚