Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lincoln's Quilt

Friends of ours had a beautiful little boy a few months back and after finding out first hand how useful all the playmats and throw rugs that I'd been given are, I decided to make a cot sized baby quilt that can double as a floor mat for little Lincoln to lay, play on and sleep under.

For inspiration I googled quilt blocks and saw examples of crazy blocks which I thought looked great. Knowing it was for a boy, I chose colours in blues and yellows with a very pale yellow for the internal borders to set off the vibrant coloured blocks. The large external border and backing were made from a gorgeous star and moon themed material which I thought tied in perfectly for a cot quilt.

I made cardboard templates for the crazy block pieces and since I only had limited material for some of the yellows I wanted to use, I traced each piece onto the materials making sure I had equal numbers of each shape in each material, and then cut them all out by hand rather than use a rotary cutter. It took a practice go for the first block before I worked out which order to sew them in and which side to iron the seams to. The first block had to be unpicked and resewn but once it was all sorted out I was able to sew the blocks in production-line style.

Since there were so many pieces that make up the blocks, the edges weren't exactly even so I ironed the blocks, stretching some slightly where needed, to all be at least the same minimum width and height and then trimmed the edges so they were all exactly the same size - it made piecing them together with the pale yellow borders so much easier. I laid all the blocks out and spent some time reorganising them like a jigsaw puzzle so that each block was oriented differently to the ones next to them and/or had different coloured same shaped pieces within the block.

I used the same material for the wide outer border and the backing piece and the quilt was sandwiched with cotton batting inside. Then came all the pinning. I know I could use a basting spray but I like to flip the quilt a number of times when pinning to make sure that I'm not incorporating any bumps and lumps and I lift and resmooth the front and back as needed. And before you say it, yes the basting spray isn't permanent so the material can be lifted and repositioned but I don't trust it to not pull at the batting. I also prefer to machine quilt by sewing in the ditch of the blocks rather than quilting the traditional way by randomly sewing swirls all over the quilt - I don't really like messy look of traditional quilting and tumble drying then puckers it further, detracting from what I really want to show off which is the blocks. As a mum being able to throw things into the washing machine and then tumble dry is almost an essential quality in anything baby related. I also used a hidden knot to keep things nice and tidy front and back. When I get some time to take the photos I'll post a tutorial on how to do the hidden knots.

The reverse side of sewing in the ditch - you can't tell where I started and ended sewing with the hidden knots.

And I completed the quilt by machining the binding onto the front and finishing it off on the back by hand with hidden stitches. Over all it measures about 90cm x 115cm and I'm really pleased with how it turned out. I had great fun making this quilt so will definately be making more with crazy blocks in the future.

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