I know I've been teasing some about the baby quilt, but I wanted to give the quilt before the final reveal. That happened yesterday afternoon, so it's safe!
I worked with Chelsie at my last job, in the lab. Her job and mine were different, but we saw each other every day and, as happens in a small space with a small group, chatted often. She was a hard worker, never complained no matter how long the hours or how hot the room became, and she's a good person. But when I left the job, we didn't exactly stay in touch. Social media, yes, but that isn't the same. One day, she posted she was pregnant. I debated for a while about making her a quilt. Since we aren't really friends outside of the apps on our phones, I felt it might be a little strange, so I talked myself out of it.
But then, about three weeks ago, I got a text from another former coworker. They were planning a baby shower for Chelsie and did I want to come.
And instead of freaking out about the short timeline, I just went looking for a pattern. I knew once that part was solved, I would be fine. I first went to Pinterest - I have a lot of quilts saved there for inspiration - but found nothing that truly grabbed me for her. So I turned to my stash of books. And I found a pattern that looked both relatively simple, but also looked like her.
Off I went to buy fabrics!
And the back too!
I washed and ironed everything and then got started cutting. My hubby grumbled, theorizing that I would abandon him for weeks to get this done. But I knew better. After my Project Quilting experience, I knew that three weeks was plenty of time and I would still be able to pay him some attention. And eat and stuff.
Cutting the pieces went quite fast.
But I need to mention here that I redrew the pattern some. The original did not have a full photo of the quilt and only a drawing of a "block" that, when I added things up, did not seem to be a block at all, but a center of the quilt with multiple borders or something. I wanted this quilt somewhat smaller (original is 60x80" and I thought a 60x60" would be plenty large, but also allow the design to remain present), so I drew and made notes and cutting instructions.
Anyways, then I went on to match the strips sets, as the original is based on a jelly roll and charm pack...
This was getting exciting! These colors are so much fun and that blue with the wavy lines (they're actually dots) reminds me of swimming pools in the summertime.
The sewing part went very quickly as well and before I knew it, I was ready to lay out the quilt. That waited a few days, as I wanted to vacuum my design floor first.
But it seems that even if there was no cat hair on the carpet to attach itself to the back of the quilt, Freddie was there to help make sure the fronts of the blocks had their share.
This layout stayed on the floor a bit longer than average, as I had to sew some white strips to the square blocks and such. Freddie eventually got bored and moved on to chasing something else, but for a while there, it was rough. And he's a little stinker with the claws...he and Gabby both...my legs and arms are proof!
These rows seemed to take forever, but there are quite a few of them, despite the central block with borders design. And I had to make sure to keep orientations correct on blocks to keep the colors distributed evenly. (But honestly, once it was done, it probably wouldn't have been that noticeable!)
Finally, I waited for a cooler day to run the longarm. We had a night that it got down into the low 60s, so I jumped at the chance to quilt that morning. The lights heat up the room quickly and I wanted to be out of there before the day got too warm!
I got this far and the second bobbin ran out. Boy was I annoyed, but I did have another wound.
I quilted with swirls of varying size all over. I feel like it was kind of a cop-out because it's an easy pattern, but this quilt would have taken forever if I did ruler work. And, as you can see in the above photo, there was a little poofiness that needed to be quilted out. It didn't seem to be there until I got it on the longarm, but it quilted out just fine. It might have been harder to disguise if I had chosen the ruler work option.
I trimmed it and sewed the binding down yet that day. The house stayed cool and I decided to just keep going. You never know what kind of weather you'll get here in the summer (the last three days, we've neared 100 and today it topped out at only 74!), so I took advantage of the cooler temperature to get it sewn down by hand.
Of course, I procrastinated the label until the night before, but what's a good quilt if there isn't at least something going on last-minute, right?!
I had my hubby hold the quilt up Sunday morning to get a photo, and since it was raining, the front porch shot is the best I could do. (Sorry for the bird feeder in there. He was feeling particularly put-upon for this photo shoot, so "nagging" him to hold it "properly" would have gone poorly...)
And there it is! The finished quilt in all its glory. A little washed out here, but you can see the pattern nicely. Even the quilting in some spots!
The pattern: "Stars and Stripes"
By: Brioni Greenberg
From: "25 Ways to Sew Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes & Charm Packs" book
But I can tell you, this pattern was difficult. Not because of the construction, but because of errors. When I started to notice things were off (like telling me to cut those white strips at 1/2"), I went looking for errata online. I found nothing. I was even hard pressed to find the publisher. Published in 2013, and knowing how quickly new books and patterns are released, I can understand why I found little. And I hesitate to strongly criticize the author because I know she put a lot of work into this, but there were some glaring errors that, had I not redrafted the pattern smaller and caught them as I went, I would have been really angry at having wasted my fabric. Thankfully all was well and I had a wonderful quilt to give.
The baby shower was small and I was surprised that, other than her mom and grandma, all attendees were former coworkers. And just a small handful of us at that. I'm not sure who all else may have been invited, but Chelsie made a comment about who her real friends are and it broke my heart. Here is this young girl, trying her best to do the right thing (I'm not sure she gets a lot of good, positive help from family and her situation is not picture-perfect ideal either), having to play it cool at 8 1/2 months pregnant, about her "friends." It made me want to go buy her more stuff.
But she loved it. She's not a very expressive person about things like this, but I know she liked it. She didn't want to open it up - I think she was afraid she'd start crying (she's tough like that, but at this stage of pregnancy, we all know anything is possible!) - but the others told her she had to. And I think her grandma knew what she had...grandmas are like that!
So that's the third in the trio of baby quilts this spring/summer. The other two little ones have arrived (the second one just last week) and Chelsie is due very soon. They seem to come in threes for me and this spring did not disappoint. I'm just thankful I have the means and machinery to be able to do this. And though shopping for baby clothes is fun (everything is cuter when it's tiny!), I feel a quilt is so much more meaningful and long-term useful.
And while I'm here, why not share my latest of the 100 blocks and the books?!
(Pardon the number on block 21. I'm also sharing them via Instagram for the quilt-along, and I have been uploading them with block numbers there, just to keep track...and I guess I deleted the one without the number already...)
I have two more done, but will wait to share those until they have been posted officially (also read: I forgot to upload them and am lazy)...
And the books! I am up to 45, so here are #38-45
At one per day, these get me through Wednesday this week. I'm working ahead some because I have to work tomorrow and Wednesday I am heading north to quilt with a few friends! (I'm not sure how much quilting I'll get done, as we chat a lot, but I'm excited even if I don't sew a stitch!)
Only 11 more to go!
Wait, only 11?
What will I be taking north? The jelly roll quilt! But that has progressed as well!
I started by sorting the piles of strips into sub-piles. To make sure every color was represented with each part of the block, I made even piles and then sewed with abandon!
I neglected to take a photo after sewing, but you get the idea I think.
Then, again to keep colors evenly spaced, I layed them out all over my living room floor. This quilt will finish 60x60, but without all those seam allowances taken up, it takes up significantly more space.
Of course I had help.
I have one more photo (not uploaded) of him on the full top. He never left, but he did settle down some. Until the safety pins came out to attach row markers. Apparently safety pins have secret catnip-like powers. I never knew.
I quickly picked it up because those catnip-safety pins were really becoming too much to manage...but apparently that photo has gone missing. Oh well, it wasn't very exciting. But they are all labelled to be sewn into columns on Wednesday. So other than paying some attention to orientation of that white piece (it makes the wave!), it should be an easy project if I do end up sewing.
And one last cat photo...
I was sewing merrily along today and turned around to find this. Crashed out crazy beast. Sleeping between "toys"...he's such a goofball.
And with that long post, I need to go eat something for dinner and get myself into bed fairly early. Work tomorrow and sewing Wednesday means I need to sleep well the next few nights. But I'll be dreaming of more books and other quilts!