Thursday, July 28, 2016

Ella's Cinderella

I (Teri) have written several posts about my grandchildren's quilts. Both of my grandsons, who are about six weeks apart, got Cat in the Hat quilts. [See Thing 1 and Thing 2 and The Cat in the Hat Comes Back.] Unfortunately, my boys didn't get their quilts until their first and second birthdays. I was determined that my granddaughter, Ella, would actually get a baby quilt. I was planning even before she was born and looked to many sources for inspiration. [See Inspiration for a Baby Quilt.] Finally, having completed our Fairy Tale Album, I thought that there could be not a better quilt for Ella than Cinderella

A baby blanket should be soft and cuddly, so I decided to use flannel for the appliqué. Off to the quilt shop I went to do my favorite part of the quilt process: choosing my fabrics. Although I was a bit more limited in my choices, since there is not nearly the selection of flannels as cottons, I was able to find everything I needed in one stop. It probably helped that I shopped in the fall, and I was stitching a pumpkin. That, and I love the whole autumnal palette, so it worked out perfectly.

Kara's Cinderella block from
our Fairy Tale Album
When Kara and I made our Fairy Tale Album, we divided up the blocks and each stitched different ones. Somehow, although Cinderella has always been one of my favorite fairy tales, Kara ended up stitching that one. I knew that block would be in my future, so this was the perfect opportunity for me to appliqué our design. I went to the copy shop and had the 12.5-inch block design enlarged to a 20-inch design area.

To do the vine, Kara used bias strips of the greens and wove them as she stitched. Because my design area was so large, I would have needed more than a yard of each of my vine fabrics to use bias strips. So to save money—flannel being more costly than cotton—I decided to do one section at a time. That ended up being quite the challenge, as I had to determine just what overlapped where to figure out which sections to stitch in what order. Good thing I've always liked to solve puzzles and brain teasers! I would definitely just buy the extra fabric and weave bias strips if I ever stitch this again.

Ella's Cinderella block in flannel, a 20" design centered on a 32"x38" baby blanket.

Stitching this was great fun, and quite a different kind of appliqué experience. Such large units were both easier and more challenging at the same time: gentler curves and more straight lines to stitch, yet there was so much more bulk to handle, especially when appliquéing the center of the block. But flannel is a dream to appliqué! If you've never tried it, I encourage you to do so. I expected the fabric to fray, but it didn't at all, and it turned under so nicely. 

Technically, this is not really a quilt, because while it does have three layers—a piece of flannel in the middle for the "batting"—I chose not to quilt it, because my experience is that the flannel stays together nicely, even through washings. (I've made quite a few flannel baby blankets.) I toyed with the idea of using a sashiko-style quilting around the appliqué, but ultimately, I was afraid it might detract from the design. I am planning to stitch her name beneath the design before I officially give it to her, however.

Here are a few details of her blanket.

Pumpkin turned carriage

Cinderella's glass slipper
I had to pad the light blue so that the leaves and flowers would not show.
It gave the slipper a bit of dimension as well.

The magic wand

A wee mouse, before transforming to a horse

The bow on the slipper: carefully and securely stitched with beads;
and the center of the pumpkin flower: knots surrounded by bullion stitches 


Ella loved exploring her new baby blanket! She especially loved the shoe and the flowers.

And she got it before her birthday!!