Well, it's been a year since I made my last quilt, so it was fortuitous that one of my closest friends happened to get pregnant this year, and give me the great opportunity to make a baby quilt! I'm really fond on this one, which I think is really bright and gender-neutral and fun.
The center of each of the squares is actually made from an old dress that belonged to my friend. She wore it to death when we were in college, and then I got it as a hand-me-down a few years later, and then I really wore it to death. Even though it had holes in it, I loved the pattern on it so much that I just couldn't bring myself to toss it. And now I'm glad I didn't, since I think it really helps make the quilt into an heirloom for the baby.
The colors in it also really inspired me. Since they've decided not to find out the baby's sex, and since orange is such a kick-ass color anyway, I pulled the orange out from it and decided to make something really fun and bright. The white lines going through it may be ill advised (I guess babies can be kind of messy), but I think they really help bring it all together, and it's an acrylic fabric, so I hope that it will wash out easily.
Plus, because it's a ribbed acrylic fabric, it stands out from the stiffer cotton of the orange quilting fabric and the very soft, worn fabric of the center squares. I think it will be good for the baby to feel lots of different textures. Although, let me be real. I was working on a deadline for this (when am I not?) and didn't pre-wash the fabric, so there's a chance this will not wash well. Oh well. Here's hoping it all turns out okay.
To fill the quilt, I used two different types of batting - the leftover thin, natural batting I used on Emily and Taylor's quilt, and a thicker, acrylic batting I bought at the store. The combination led to a VERY thick quilt, where I was finally able to get those puffy lines I like so much. Hopefully that will be fun for the baby to play with, too.
One downside to using so much batting is that I broke my sewing machine's needle, and had to learn to replace one at 1am the night before I was set to give this to my friend. But! It turns out it's quite fast and thank god my grandmother was wise enough to have extra machine needles in her sewing basket, so I was back to work in no time.
It's also thick enough that it sort of stands straight on its own. I think between the stiffness and the square shape, it's really going to end up being more of a play mat than a bed quilt. For some reason while I was making it, it just seemed like more of a mat for tummy time than something that you could wrap a newborn up in, and I'm just fine with that.
The back is a large piece of checked fabric from Fulton Fabrics, and again, it's very soft and warm. I really liked shopping with them, and I'll definitely be back. One word of advice if you're going to make a backing that isn't pre-cut larger than the front: measure more than once. That way, you won't end up ripping seams into the night like yours truly. Yikes.
Overall, I'm really pleased with the way this turned out. I'm hoping to get a rotary cutter for Christmas, which I think will take a lot of the strain of measuring and cutting out of my life in the future. It was really fun to try a new pattern, and to work in the dress to the quilt, rather than just using pre-cut squares. Hopefully I'll be able to make another new one soon!
And, in case you're wondering, here's the whole gift, which was themed "Keeping Baby Warm":
Pretty perfect for a New York December baby. The onesies are from Old Navy (is there anything on earth cuter than a baby in cable knits?) and the book is a personal favorite of mine from childhood.