Thursday, September 24, 2015

Inspiration for a Baby Quilt

Another baby is on the way! Grandchild #3 is expected to arrive in November, and I (Teri) am thrilled to have a little girl joining our family. One of life's greatest joys is being a grandma! If you've followed the blog for the past few months, you may remember that my "baby quilts" tend to be more like toddler quilts. Isaac received his Thing 1 and Thing 2 quilt on his first birthday, and Jacob had to wait until he turned two for his Cat in the Hat quilt. Time will tell when my granddaughter will receive her quilt. But I'm already thinking and looking for inspiration.

I love to stroll through antique malls. Often, I buy nothing. But I take lots of pictures, especially if I find something that makes my heart sing . . . usually fiber-related. Some recent gems are in the forefront of my mind as I think of quilt possibilities for our new baby girl. This dress caught my eye; it is a simple beauty with so much care put into the embroidered touches. Sometimes, the love shines through those kinds of details.

Obviously, this is not a quilt, but I just love the care put into this darling little dress. The embroidered flowers are dear, and doesn't the feather stitch on the sleeves and bodice add charm? I love that I can think of dresses!

How cute is this embroidered animal quilt? Each block is a different animal, stitched in a rainbow of colors. How fun this must have been for a little one to study each of these little critters. Perhaps they might have been given names, or become the characters in stories told in the nursery. So many possibilities for such a sweet quilt.

This next quilt is one that I wish I would have bought. I actually went back to the antique mall hoping it was still there, but someone else was smarter than I and bought it. Powder puff pink is not my favorite color, and I am not a cat person, but this appliquéd and embroidered quilt is just beyond special. The design is ingenious; each unique little kitten is sitting on a stem, perched on a calyx. I confess that it took me a second to "get it" and realize that I was looking at pussy willows. How I wish I'd have bought this treasure!

Adorable vintage pussy willow quilt, appliquéd and embroidered; tied with floss.

When I was a little girl, my grandmother had the book called The Little Red Hen, which I can still hear her reading in my mind. She would also tell us a different story about the red hen being captured by a sly fox. Not long ago, I found a copy of an old book with that story, ironically printed about the time my grandmother was born (over a hundred years ago.) Being the lover of stories that I am, wouldn't it be fun to create a Red Hen inspired quilt, based on the illustrations in the book? 


My last source of inspiration is a baby quilt that I received for my youngest son when he was born—my son, who is the father of this new little granddaughter. I was teaching fourth grade at the time, and this sheep quilt was a gift from my class, lovingly made by the mom of one of my students. At the time, I knew nothing of quilt making. I knew that this quilt was amazing and beautiful, but I had too little appreciation for all the love that went into making such a gift. I do now, and I wish I could let her know that I still cherish this gift.

Patchwork sheep. Each face is hand quilted; the rest is machine quilted. 

The baby quilt in the doll bed that my great-grandfather made for my mom when she was a little girl. Three generations have played with this doll bed, and it is waiting for a fourth to enjoy it. My great-grandmother stenciled the bed and made the crocheted cushion under the doll.

The possibilities are endless. Stay tuned to see what quilt my new granddaughter will receive. Maybe she will actually get a BABY quilt!

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