Friday, June 28, 2013

3 panel baby quilt

i made up the name for this blog as i was drifting off to sleep one night. it's served it's purpose adequately and because it's a bit different, i think maybe it's memorable or at least intriguing. but sometimes i think i really ought to rename it. now that i've designed my 3rd super-simple quilt that involves numbers in the pattern name, i think maybe i should call this blog "quilting by numbers," like the old paint-by-numbers kits, you know?

this one i call the "3 panel quilt" because that's all it is - 3 panels of fabric on the top. it's about as easy as they come. it's such a no-brainer that i'm pretty confident it's not even original. the concept for this quilt emerged when i needed another small quilt to practice stippling on and i found out our new neighbors 2 doors down are having a baby girl any day now. after hunting my stash for something quick to whip up like the not-quilt, i found 2 fabrics i liked, but one of them was only a 1/2 yd piece. so i grabbed 2 almost identical pieces that coordinated with the 1/2yd and decided to run a 1/4yd of each of them down the sides of the feature panel. that gave me a yard on the front to match the yard of backing i had.

here's the cast. the 3 on the left are the picks for the top. once again i went for a mix of vintage and modern with the graphic animal print (2d zoo by robert kaufman) and the ditsy red florals (alexander henry collection 2008). the back is the mod geo design (hey, hexies in there!) called "groove" by ethan grey for robert kaufman. the green and pink floral (from "just wing it" by momo for moda) is for the binding.  those red alexander henry's have such a nice, smooth hand, by the way - lovely!

i've just met these neighbors, so i don't know anything about their tastes or style. but this baby girl has 3 older brothers already, so i thought maybe this was feminine but not overly-girly. hoping it appeals to them.

as i worked on pressing and cutting, i got entertainment from one of my own girlies, d4. she was begging the skinny strings off me as i squared up the fabric. instead of making jewelry this time, she tied them together for a jump rope.

 this jump roping turned into a circus that i got to have an act in. she said in her best ringmaster voice, "la-dies and gen-tle-men! i present mama, the great quilter!" over and over when i was in the spotlight. other acts included stuffed bears that stayed in the air for over a minute and a sibling or two. it was great quilt-side entertainment.

 i had my sandwich layers spread out all over the central hall floor by the time i was done with day 1's work on the quilt.
 in the morning, i got back to work putting it together. baby made me so very proud when she came into the quilting area and carefully skirted her way around the fabric pieces rather than running all over them like she normally does. this is a first! looks like there is hope for her yet. it was so cute the way she clung to the basket and carefully inched her feet along in the few spare inches next to the quilt. looks like all my nagging training is paying off.

 i roped oldest son, s1, into helping me pin baste. he's one of the kids that actually gets what i'm doing with my quilting and talks to me intelligently about it, using correct terminology when commenting on my work. so it was fun to have him sit with me for a few minutes as we basted.

 he also had projects of his own going on, making some new war engines or something out of the latest book i got him. now don't worry too much, these aren't really "weapons" although there is definitely a "you'll put your eye out" factor if he wasn't careful where he shot the things, like close range at his brother's face or something. but he'd never do that. these are just toys made out of household items that involve a lot of great thinking as he constructs the implements (hidden homeschool physics lessons?) and are purely fun to shoot or launch. they are not being made to use on people or animals so i don't feel like i'm encouraging violence. it's my nod to "i may be a girl, but i get that boys like this kind of stuff." he's always saying to me, "you just don't get it, mom, because you're not a boy." well, i understand this much and sanction it. at least i know what he's creating and can channel it.

back to the quilt.

when i sat down to quilt it, i gamely changed to my free motion foot, dropped the feed dogs, turned down the stitch length to zero, raised my thread antenna, and got sewing.

i thought quite smugly to myself, "see, you are learning lessons from all those mistakes you made. now you won't forget about all the little things you're supposed to do. you're getting to be so good at this!"

i sewed along happily for several minutes when i noticed a funny loop pop up on the top side. "well, that's weird! how did that happen? usually that only happens if something is wrong on the backside . . . oh, sugar! i forgot to check the back after i started to make sure the tension was fine back there." i guess i hadn't remembered everything i was supposed to do after all.
 there was a nasty mess all over the back. so the time i could have spent finishing the quilt was devoted to unpicking. urgh!

everyone else was happily creating, though.

 d3 brought me this little gal she made out of a marshmallow and jolly rancher. if you can't tell, it's a person with hair, face, arms, and legs. sweet!

 and s1 finished his awesome crossbow.

then i changed my foot again to the walking foot so i could attach the binding.
 juki's walking foot is a total beast! look at this monster. it's twice the size of the ones i have for my other 2 machines.

 and here's where i learned some more humility. the last time or two i put binding on, it was a bit too close to the edge meaning when i flipped it, the binding on the back was wider than it was on the front side. so i thought, "i need to add a bit more to where i attach it. instead of doing it at 1/4", i'll do it just an 1/8th more at 5/8ths." yeah, you smart people can already detect my fatal fraction conversion failure.

 5/8ths, is of course slightly larger than 1/2", not 1/4". silly, silly. i stopped after a few inches to see how it was going. at least i was smart enough to do that.

 it wouldn't even fold over to the edge all the way, much less around it.

fortunately, it was a super-quick snip, snip and that was off. i adjusted my math and began again. whew! binding on. now the fun of sewing it down by hand on the back.

one thing i can say about my style of quilting, it's never boring! all these home ec moments keep me hopping. i think i should start a page to keep track of all the quilting lessons i've learned the hard way. on reflection, i could also call this blog "hydeeann's home ec moments."

my little photo helper said, "how about we do this side now?" so here's the back to humor her. and in case your eagle eyes noticed the binding isn't fully complete, you're right. but it'll be done tonight and i wanted to photograph while there was still good light out!

linking up to finish it up friday with crazy mom quilts.


  1. I sew my binding on with my 1/4 inch foot, the one with the side guide. Then I switch feet to the regular one and stitch in the ditch on the front. If you're using the quide it will go perfectly straight - no seam ripping!

  2. Your little girl is the cutest walking around mama's quilt like that. My 5 yr old son does that too now. If only my boxer would follow suit! lol

    I love when you tell ALL on your posts. makes it so real and fun to read!

    AND....your quilt turned out gorgeous!

  3. Great idea to make a simple quilt to practice your FMQing on. I need to do that, too!

  4. Beautiful baby quilt and I enjoyed reading about the adventures of your lovely family :)

  5. That's a great print you used for the middle panel! I have bought it in the smaller scale version, and love, love it. (I made bibs for my baby--it'll always have a special place in my heart!)

  6. Great photo-blog! I am glad you posted the pic of the back of your quilt; that's fabric is great! Nice little band of helpers.

  7. One of the things I frequently say to my quilting friend is "it never ceases to amaze me just how many unique errors can be made in one project."

  8. I enjoyed ready your glad to know that I'm not the only one who sets out to do a simple finish and it ends up with many picking out stitches! UGH! Your finish is adorable...I love the fabric.


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