Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The shape of a quilt

 Before Liam was born, I knew I wanted to make him a quilt. How could I not make him a quilt? I'm a quilter. (Although I'm a beginner quilter - I can apply that term to myself I hope!)  Although I looked at endless fabric and patterns - I couldn't find the inspiration to start a quilting project. I have a feeling it was because at the time I was pregnant,  I was waiting to meet this unknown wonder growing in my body. And then when he was born, I waited for the quilting inspiration to come. Again I poured over fabric and patterns. How could I not have a quilt to welcome this brand new wonder in our lives? And then - like a quilt itself, Liam started growing - his personality taking shape. Memories were made and his quilt started to take shape in my mind's eye.  Oh how sweet the memories ~ My mother exclaiming one day during her first precious visit to meet Liam, "he likes bright colors! Look at how he's drawn to them." Ross having his bonding time with his son as he bathes him in his whale shaped tub.  A time that this little boy utmost loves and expresses it with gummy smiles and happy kicks of his feet.

My sister had sent me fabric to use in Liam's first quilt. She picked out a sea themed fat quarter bundle and a half a yard of the shark fabric from JoAnnes and sent it to me while I was still pregnant. That fabric was special because in a way it was like she was helping me make a quilt that would keep Liam warm and loved. So, I slowly started collecting more fabric that was ocean themed. I knew I wanted to make an ocean themed quilt - seeing as how I hoped that the baby would love the ocean as must as Ross and I did. I saw this I spy quilt and it was what started the base of my inspiration. So I started cutting 5x squares - not really having a concrete concept in my mind.  For some reason, the direction that I was going didn't feel right. It didn't feel like Liam. So I waited a bit longer for the image of Liam's quilt to come. And then I went to my local quilting shop and found fabrics that started screaming use me! I'm perfect. (Am I the only one who hears fabric talk in a quilt shop?) So after walking out of the shop purchasing half yards of yellows, blues, and oranges I was closer to having a project for my sweet boy.

 A few of the 5x5" blocks I liked were framed with 2.5" cuts creating a 9x9" block. At first I made 30 blocks to create a rectangular crib size quilt. I was going to have six rows of five. But when I put it together, it didn't seem like a cozy quilt to sleep to. It wanted to be used for play. It demanded to be used for play. A quilt to drag around in the grass - to throw on the carpet and  be the area to build with blocks and be lost in imaginative wanderings. So I submitted. I ended up taking out a row and making it a square quilt composed of 5 rows of 5 with two borders.

 I even got smarter about labeling my rows so that when I put it together, I didn't always have to keep referring to pictures I took of the possible lay out. A way that is actually very time consuming and a bit of a time waster if you ask me. I think having limited time depending on Liam's naps made me look harder to make the most of my crafting time.

 Here is the top - being ironed so that I could make the quilt sandwich. It sat for a couple of days before I could find the time during another nap session to put it together. It's a happy brightly colored quilt isn't it?
 And then - ah - the time came. Is there anything better than a quilt sandwich waiting to be quilted?

 I quilted it about a quarter of an inch away from the seam lines on both ends of the blocks. Simple quilting. I am still getting use to quilting on the machine and although my lines aren't perfect - I am seeing improvement. I know the more that I do it - the better I will be. With that knowledge I press on.

 This is my favorite part. I've begun to see a pattern in my quilting. I like to machine quilt to stabilize it - and then add hand quilting in pearl cottons to add that handmade touch to it. The hand quilting is actually the part that I look forward to the most. I love the way it adds such texture and personality to a project.
Ahh - another nap time. With food network videos on the internet streaming to keep me and little man company, I get to work on the binding. Can there possibly be anything better to add to this moment? Hmmm... perhaps a brownie and a cup of tea. I've been wanting to try this brownie recipe - I might have to do so to make the next time even better. =)

This quilt I am very excited to gift to my sweet one. I am actually trying to not rush the project. With each stitch I get lost in my day dreaming of days under the sun in the grass, reading books on this quilt, picnics in the park, teaching him how to play with blocks - how to build and tear down. Oh the hopes I have for this child. I think that's what babies are ~ a parent's hope. The best parts of us. Dreams, faith, hope, joy, love. Thank you baby Liam for the gift that you are.


  1. I like this pattern for a kids quilt. Your colors are great :)

    1. Thanks Christine! It was a lot of fun to put together =)