Baby Quilt

Baby quilt

One of my lovely sisters is expecting a baby this winter – the first grandbaby for my parents!  We are all super excited and are going to completely spoil this baby.  I decided to make this quilt for my sister’s birthday, inspired by one that we both independently noticed in a fabric store here in Seattle.  The store is Drygoods Design in Pioneer Square and they had an adorable quilt made with 4×4 squares of different floral fabrics separated by large squares of grey.

I started by collecting floral prints when I saw them – I got a some at Drygoods Design, some at Nancy’s Sewing Basket in Queen Anne, and some at District Fabric in Fremont.  It was fun to have a collection of all-over-Seattle fabrics!  I tried to get a variety of colours and a couple darker ones that would contrast more.  I bought them in the minimum quantities (at some stores 6″ and at other stores 9″).  I got half a yard extra of the yellow and red floral to use for the binding.  I got some grey quilting cotton, some pale green flannelette for the backing, and some cotton-bamboo batting.  And I managed to remember at the last minute to buy thread.

I wanted the quilt to be about 3’x4′ so I decided to do a grid of 12″ squares.  I cut 24 strips of florals, each one 14″x3.5″.  I pieced these together into six blocks of four, and then cut each block into four 3.5″ strips the other way.  I then jumbled up these strips and pieced them again into six blocks, each a 4×4 grid.

Piecing together quilt blocks

I read a little bit online about the neatest way to press the seams for this type of quilt.  If you are sewing together two pieces that have seams lining up, it will lie flatter if the seams on the two pieces are pressed in opposite directions.  In order to achieve this, when I pieced together the blocks of four strips, I pressed all the seams in one direction.  Then when I cut them up and arranged the strips into blocks the second time, I made sure that if the top strip had its seams pressed to the left, the strip below it had its seams pressed to the right, and so on (see the picture below).  Ideally you would be pressing towards the darker fabric but since I was using all different colours in no particular pattern it would have been too complicated so I didn’t bother.  Luckily the seams aren’t visible through the lighter fabrics.

Back of quilt blocks showing how the seems were pressed

Once I had my colourful 4×4 blocks, they should have been all 12.5″x12.5″, but of course they were all a little shy. I still haven’t figured out why my pieces always end up short, but it didn’t matter much here because I just cut the grey blocks a bit smaller than 12.5″x12.5″.  I pieced the blocks together into a grid, pinned the top to the batting and backing, and quilted it on my machine.  The quilting was probably the trickiest part – it is hard to keep everything flat when the top layer of the fabric gets stretched out a bit differently than the bottom layer.  I’ve heard that the spray glue that sticks the layers together and then washes out in the machine can help, so I’ll probably try that next time.

I cut 2.5″ strips of floral for the binding and machine stitched it to the front then hand stitched on the back, which was slow but gratifying!  I’m very happy with the way the binding turned out.

Hand binding of quilt

This was a lot of fun to make and has inspired me to do more sewing!  I find sewing projects move a lot faster than knitting – it just takes a bit of momentum to gather the materials and pattern and get cutting.

Hopefully this quilt keeps my future niece or nephew cozy this winter!

Baby quilt

A Wedding Blanket

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Hello world!  Welcome to the first blog post I have ever written.  I’ve just started this website as a place to record some of my favourite artsy and foodsy projects.  Maybe a little computer science will sneak in here too, we’ll see.  The first few posts will have a clear theme to them – I’ll be putting up a few things I did in preparation for my sister’s wedding!

My lovely sister and her new husband had their big celebration yesterday.  When I found out about their engagement a few months ago, I decided that a knitted blanket would make a great wedding gift.  I have never knitted a blanket before, and it seemed like an appropriate occasion for a big project that they would both be able to use.  A while back, I had bookmarked the Umaro pattern by Jared Flood on Ravelry.  I chose it for this project because the 10mm needles and extra bulky yarn made the idea of a 4×5′ project less intimidating.  The recommended yarn turned out to be the nicest and most reasonably priced option I found at the yarn store.  I stuck with the cream colour in the hope that it won’t go out of style too quickly.

After making a reasonable start on the project in the spring, I brought the remains of my 13-skein sack of yarn to Seattle in May.  Over the following twelve weeks I knit about three rows.  But that’s okay, I still had a month of vacation!  Plenty of time!  With my job in Seattle done, I returned to Canada and I knit up a storm over the next couple of weeks – first on Savary Island, and then on the farm in Saskatchewan where these photos were taken.

I gave the blanket to my sister and her (now) husband last weekend, by arranging it as part of the bridal suite my parents had set up for them.  The weather yesterday was a little chillier and wetter than we had hoped for the wedding, but the party was hopping anyway.  And my sister wrapped the blanket around her for warmth during her wedding dinner.

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Photo credits: Emma Sheppard