Collaborative Baby Shower Quilt

Clearly, it’s been a while since I’ve posted.  Clearly.    While I don’t have the excuse of an adorable addition, like Ms. Marie and her little one, Mattie, I can draw on her experience to post:  The threecleversisters host a baby shower!  Last winter, we descended upon Marie’s Brooklyn, NY apartment for a baby shower without the standard baby games but with a little craft time – quilt making!

A few years ago, I attended a baby shower in which the guests all decorated scraps of fabric that included quotes, images, or messages for the little one and his family.  The host then used those fabric scraps to create a flag decoration for the nursery.  It was such a charming idea, that I promised myself that I would do that for someone.  When Marie and I hosted Sara’s baby shower, I was in law school and there wasn’t any creative energy.  Marie, then, was the likely recipient.  I offered to do a flag or a quilt. She did the quilt.

The activity required a bit of coordination and fortunately I flew JetBlue to NYC so I could check my bags, with all the supplies, for free.  I bought some stencils from Lotta Jansdotter and Martha Stewart along with Martha Stewart’s paints.  We did some test squares – using my mom, aunt, cousin, and grandma as guinea pigs over Christmas.  It was a great way to get some of them involved since Gami, Kate, and Aunt B weren’t able to attend the actual shower.

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kclever & GG

kclever & GG

GG's contribution to the quilt.

GG’s contribution to the quilt.

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I also contacted several of Marie’s college friends and some of her husband’s extended family about decorating squares.  So many people were invited to the shower and so many people wanted to participate, the quilt was larger than the typical lap quilt.

The shower was held in January in Brooklyn.  That means there wasn’t a lot of space for 15+ people who were invited.  Fortunately, the weather was on our side, and though it was a bit chilly, we expanded the craft portion of the shower to patio.  No baby games on this one — what mom really wants to do the circumference of her belly anyway?  We CRAFTED!

Supplies 8404379025_8c12f8a399_o 8404377917_0204d83792_o8405471582_75f663659c_o


By the time I had collected all the pieces, I had 32 squares.  I planned to make a piece with the baby’s initials or name once she was announced, but 33 square does not make a normal looking quilt — 11×3?  Nope.

Instead, I chose to make a square for each of her initials.  I printed out MASSIVE font each letter from my handy Microsoft Word program and used that as an applique.  I was thrilled by how nice it turned out.

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The number was 35, 7 x 5, and with the borders and 62 x 96 in (approximately)!

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The Baby Quilt!

The Baby Quilt!


Another t-shirt quilt completed: Lessons Learned

It was a frenzied finish, of unaligned needles and slipped stitches, but I was able to complete the quilt before my self-imposed deadline.  Why MAIL a quilt to Medford, when the happy recipient would be in Portland after all?

There are a few lessons I’ve learned in this process:

1.  Measure thrice, cut once.  My dad said this to me when I very young.  I think he was working on building a bluebird house.  Back in our Oklahoma days, he took on the plight of the bluebirds who apparently were being pushed out of their habitat by larger, greedy birds.  He took to making birdhouses that would fit only the bluebird.  He’d make several and then place them on various people’s country property – I assume he had permission since he skipped the barbwire and the “no-trespass” signs.

In an effort to speed up the process, I measured once, and well, then I was stuck, especially with t-shirts. There’s no going back!  I narrowly missed Miss M’s name on one of the t-shirts when I was squaring the block!  The block was square, but there wasn’t enough room for the seam allowance without lopping off part of the name.  Fortunately it was not Miss M’s name specifically, but I look at it and it still bothers me.  Measure thrice, cut once. sigh.

2.  Silky t-shirts require interfacing.  I had planned on the interfacing to make the shirts stiffer and more reliably uniform.  I mis-judged when I was ironing (see #1) and the silky fabric of one of the jerseys did not get the interface along one of the edges.  I must have tried sewing that 3 times before I gave up and took to hand-stitching.  I could have saved so much time…

3.  Interfacing sews “funny.”  I also learned that when the interfacing is face down along the feed dogs it constantly skips stitches.  I bet I could adjust the tension or switch the needle but after throwing up my hands and walking away — then walking back — I just repinned everything so that I could swap the fabric and have the interfacing face up with the sashing fabric against the feed dogs.  Good enough.  I came across this problem AGAIN when I was trying to applique some patches on the top.  Because I needed the applique pieces facing up, the interfacing at the back of the t-shirt blocks was unavoidably facing the feed dogs.  I hand stitched those too.  Twice. FIRST without properly pinning (see below) and SECOND with somewhat sufficient pinning (see below).

4.  Use a LOT of pins.  I opted out of handsewing the binding because of time constraints.  Instead, I sewing the fleece to the quilt top inside out, pulled it through and then stitched up the whole.  What I failed to do was thoroughly — and I do mean thoroughly — pin the quilt top + fleece sandwich together.  I threw a few pins in each square and thought that would be sufficient. Sigh.  It was not.  I ripped stitches along the way and did my best to encourage the fabric to fix itself.  So not perfect.

5.  Just be glad when you’re done and don’t point out the errors!  Chances are, the recipients will be happy regardless!

Pop of Color: Potholders for Becky!

Last year around this time, I made some potholders from scraps. They were so charming, that I thought I’d do it again.  This time, I bought fabric and made scraps from it – kind of defeating the purpose of “using scraps” but I do like how they turned out.

My friend Becky in Butte Falls (shout out to the loggers!) had recently redone her kitchen in black and white.  I decided for her birthday she could use some new potholders and then I added a “pop” of color.  I chose red because

(1) it’s a great contrast with the black and white

(2) I had scraps in my scrap basket!

(3) Becky likes red.  The Butte Falls Loggers’ color is Green, and as their #1 fan (has she EVER missed a game?) she wears green a LOT.  But, she did admit that she likes red.

And so, I cut 2.5 in strips of the three fabrics in varying lengths from 1.5 to 3 inches.

I sewed them together, alternating.

I sewed the small strips into big strips and then into one continuous big strip.  Next, I cut the big strip into equal pieces, sewed four or five together length-wise to get a rectangle for the front of the potholder.  This time around I used heat-proof batting and sandwiched that between the front and solid squares.  Voila!

Amy Butler Kimono Style PJs debut

Remember this?  Remember my teaser that this would eventually be modelled on a very special baby?  Well, it’s been a year-long wait, but here it is!

Audrey Hoodie: Finished, barely in time

Considering I started this project before this little guy was born, it’s pretty sad that by the time I finished it he’s almost grown out of it. 

I think we managed to get a photo of Baby H in it, and that’s it.  I made the 6-12 month size and he was only 7 1/2 months at the time of this photo.  I think it’s a combination of the pattern (possibly) running small and Baby H (most definitely) running big.  I didn’t bother with the crochet edging on this–I knew that there just wasn’t time for such details!  It was a fun, straightforward pattern to do.  Using this yarn, which is a solid with slight variegations, gave it a bit more depth and made it more interesting than your standard moss stitch.

Pattern:  Audrey Hoodie from Vintage Baby Knits, size 6-12 months.

Yarn:  Sundara Yarn Sport Merino  in Sandstone over Shell