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Circus Baby Quilt

April 18, 2004

I thought I’d be writing this entry at least a month ago. When I delivered the plane baby quilt, the top to this quilt was already done. Somehow it’s taken me two months to finish it up. For a project that’s only three by four feet, that’s pretty slow, even considering I was out of town for a couple weeks during that time. Somewhere along the way, I lost my enthusiasm for this project and it was a struggle to make myself sit down and work on it. If it had been something I was doing for myself, I would have put it aside, adding it to my inventory of UFO’s (UnFinished Objects), but this is a commission piece. Someone else paid good money for me to finish it, so I really had to.

At first, I thought this would be a pretty quick quilt. I had a panel in just the sort of baby pastels the customer wanted. Between that complete panel and some partials I’d gotten out of remnant bins as well as a coordinating stripe, I had plenty of raw material for blocks that wouldn’t require much piecing at all. It was a little tricky to work out how to fit them together, especially since I have yet to figure out the Custom Set feature of Electric Quilt 5 and ended up drawing the whole quilt top as one block. With all those straight lines and no triangles, the piecing was straightforward, though I did cut a few strips too small when bordering the preprinted pictures and had to redo them. Eh, nobody’s perfect.

The problems didn’t really start until I had the top finished. As I have before, I had trouble getting a good bond with the fusible batting. And this was with a new iron, too, so I don’t know what’s up with that. I ended up having to pin baste some sections, too, and even then I still got noticeable shearing (when the top slides in relation to the back) on the straight line quilting. The free motion quilting isn’t as even as I’d like, either, but that’s probably noticeable mostly just to me. I made my worst mistake when it came to finishing the edges. Rather than doing a separate binding, I planned to bring the back around to the front (like I had with the plane quilt– it saves on fabric and keeps the cost of materials down). In trimming down the first side, I sliced into the backing, leaving a hole a few inches long. “Okay, I can fix that”, I thought. Then I did the same thing on another side. Man, you’d think I’d have been paying more attention after the first screw-up. With two places to patch, I seriously considered doing a separate binding, but decided that would slow me down too much and I just wanted to get this project done. I’ve decided that the pre-patched look just makes it clear that this quilt is one of a kind.

It’s called “Circus Baby” because the juggling mouse and the saddled elephant remind me of a circus. The duck and the jack in the box and the other motifs don’t really fit the name, but once I get a title stuck in my head it’s hard to dislodge it. After I’d made and sewed the label on the back and was finishing up taking notes for that quilt scrapbook I’m going to make someday, I noticed that one of the smaller blocks had no quilting in it. Oops. I guess I was a little too anxious to get this one done. I rethreaded the sewing machine and took care of that and now I can move on to my next project. This one will not be stereotypically baby, so I should be able to keep motivated, since I’ll be working on something that’s more my taste.


A year ago, I’d just finished up a different baby quilt.

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