Thursday, June 25, 2015

Baby Quilts

I (Kara) love making baby quilts! The process is so satisfying to me because all babies need blankets, it's easy to personalize a baby quilt, and they are a lot smaller than a full size quilt and consequently easier to finish. There is also the fact that the pressure is on to get them finished before the child is no longer a baby.

My wonderful sister and her husband have been blessed with five amazing children here on earth, and I've made a quilt for each one. My sister graciously took pictures of all the quilts and sent them to me so I could share them here with you. I love that all the quilts are well-loved, as that makes me happy since that's why I made them.

Before Julie, my niece, was born, my sister mentioned that she was going to have a Beatrix Potter-themed nursery, and that became my inspiration for the quilt.

I chose three characters from the different books and added a letter to each. The characters were chosen, in all honesty, based on how easy I thought they would be to re-create. I used a shadow effect technique by cutting all the character pieces out of fabric that had been backed with fusible web and adhering them to a white base. 

Then I placed a piece of batiste the same size as the base over the top and machine stitched around all the colored images. I added hand embroidery for the eyes and noses and then attached the border and ruffle. This quilt was made almost 20 years ago, so I am happy that it has weathered the years as well as it has. 

In keeping with the Beatrix Potter theme, I decided to do a Peter Rabbit quilt when I found out I had a nephew. I had wanted to try paper-piecing for some time and designed the quilt using a paper pieced robin and rabbit, based on one of the illustrations in the book.

The rabbit needed a few design changes to turn him into Peter, but the robin went together quite easily.  I've searched the internet to try and find the book I used, but it must be out of print.

Fast forward a couple of years and Ian, my second nephew, came along a month early. The "Trip Around the World" pattern was and still is one of my favorites, so that's what I chose for him. He was a tiny little guy when he was born, but now he is taller than I am!

Next in the Love family (yes, that is their last name,) came Isaac.  I decided to try mixing some patchwork and appliqué and came up with this. It is simple, but still has a lot of pop.  The bright colors fit Isaac's personality, although I didn't know that then.

And last, but certainly not least, is Miss Ellen. After three boys, it was nice to work with some girly colors. I had recently bought a Snail's Trail stencil by Fiskars, designed to be used to make your own paper pieced blocks. The stencil could also be used to make the Square Within a Square block, and that's what I did for Ellen's quilt. All these fabrics had been previously purchased for a Blooming Nine-Patch, but I stole a few and put this together. The rest of the Blooming Nine-Patch fabrics are still lounging in my "future projects" bin, awaiting their transformation.

Baby quilts are a fun thing to make because it is such a special gift for a special time; a new little life appearing. I've enjoyed looking back and remembering (or at least trying to remember) making these quilts for my nieces and nephews. When I made them I had no idea how these five little humans were going to turn out. As this posts, I am spending time on vacation with the owners of all five of these quilts. They are no longer babies, but wonderful young men and women. I can't wait to see what the future holds for all of them.