Friday, November 15, 2013

A New Baby!

 Ok,  before you jump to conclusions, no, it's not a new baby at our house. My husband's first cousin, whom he practically grew up with, because they both were at their grandparents every day, just welcomed a new little girl. She is the first baby for he and his wife, and the first grandchild for both of their parents. Yup, she's definitely going to be spoiled.
While I don't have any pictures of the newest babe in the family, because we haven't gotten to meet her yet, I did sew up a quilt for her.
Here is the pieced together top before quilting. I love the vintagey prints and the bright colors.
I have this weird thing about me that makes me feel guilty if I don't make a baby blanket for every new baby around me. You see, I sit around thinking, "What if I'm the only person who would or could make a baby blanket for this baby?" and "Every baby should have a handmade baby blanket from someone who loved them enough to take the time to make one." Sure, some are inevitably more intricate than others, and having my own three has definitely affected the rate at which I make them and just how intricate they are, but I so enjoy making them.

I made this entire quilt with scraps, except for the back, which was a yard of a novelty cotton I had originally bought to back another baby blanket, but changed my mind about it later (It was for a boy, and there were the tiniest flowers on it, and you never know how some people would take that. At least that's what my husband said, lol.). So, including the batting I already had, it was basically a free gift at this point. Can't beat that with a stick!
This is the back of the quilt after quilting. It has tiny bouquets of red, yellow, and blue flowers with a cowboy/cowgirl on a bucking bronco. The mom grew up on a farm riding horses and had a cowgirl themed wedding, so I thought it was perfect for her baby to have a western theme baby quilt, too. 
I cut 8 inch squares, and then cut those in half and sewed the triangles together to make a pinwheel effect. This is probably a block that has a name already, but I didn't look it up, I was just looking for fast and easy.
Finished quilt with pinwheel design.
The best part, and the fastest shortcut I know for making a quilt, is how I sewed the three layers of back, batting, and top together. My mom taught me this, and I've used it on much larger projects, too, but for baby blankets, it's easy peasy.
You lay the back piece of your quilt down right side up.

Then lay the pieced top over the back with right sides together. I promise this works.

Now put your cut out batting on top of the back and top. Make sure you've cut your bating slightly smaller than the back and top. It's easier to sew on the machine that way.

Now, you can either use basting stitches or I use safety pins to keep it all together. Don't worry about using the pins, you can't do the next step without taking all the pins out anyway.
The next step is to sew the entire thing up around the edges except for one hole (large enough for your hand to easily fit through) at one of the corners. Reach through the hole and turn the quilt inside out.

I don't sew up the hole until I've finished all the handquilting (you could machine quilt now, as well).
Quilt layers are sewed up and turned right side out and it's ready to quilt without basting stitches or safety pins holding it together. You can see at the bottom top left corner of this picture where I haven't sewn up the hole and I had just tucked in the ends. 
Now quilt, and you're done! How easy is that? If you're new to quilting a baby quilt is a great place to start. They usually feature larger, simpler designed blocks, and simpler quilting patterns, plus it's much smaller and easy to hold in your lap. (I use a small, plastic, square-shaped, quilting frame that can easily be taken apart and fits on my lap.).

I decided to quilt it in a diamond pattern that actually broke up the pinwheel pattern, and I thought, would be an unexpected surprise from the back. I like it when quilts are just as pretty from the back as from the front, don't you?
For a more puckery (I'm sure that's not a word) look to your quilt, you have to first wash it. I don't know if I will wash it before giving it to them, just because some people are really picky, especially with first babies, about how their baby's things are washed. Ok, that's probably just me, but having sensitive skin all my life, I'm in the habit of washing everything that comes in our house and will be touching our skin. Yes, I'm a germaphobe and a freak, but with a science degree and having worked in hospitals, can you blame me?

I have always been fascinated with doing things the old fashioned way, and quilting is such a great stress reliever, and yet beautiful and practical at the same time. I also feel a connection to all the women throughout history who hand-sewed baby things and gifts for family and loved ones, and hope that when I make things for others it will bless them as much as I've been blessed to receive such gifts.

I hope I find time to do more quilting in the coming year, and I can't wait to meet the new baby girl, and I really hope her parents love the new baby quilt.

Do you make gifts? Do you like receiving handmade gifts? 

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