September 13, 2006
This is the quilt the half-square triangle units went into. I made it for the little sister of the girl who got the ABC Spin quilt and the boy who got the ABC quilt a couple years before that. Since I like quilts for siblings to have some common elements, I focused on the letter and number fabrics in my stash. Because I left myself almost no time to get this done before the baby’s first birthday, the majority of the surface area is made up of preprinted blocks from the Hungry Animal Alphabet II collection by Janet Wecker-Frisch from South Sea Imports. These blocks, which I bought two panels of at the quild quilt show this past summer, were designed to be made into a fabric book, but with a little careful trimming they work just fine in a quilt, too. (I wouldn’t have had to be so careful if the book blocks were square or if I’d been willing to design around slightly rectangular blocks, but neither was true.)
I liked the first Hungry Animal Alphabet collection when it came out and bought two alphabet panels and two yards each of the border stripe and a blue squares print with just the animals, thinking I’d make a baby quilt or two with them someday. That border stripe was perfect for filling out the grid in this quilt, and I was going to use the blue squares on the back until I found the yellow animals and letters scatter online. (There’s lots of the second collection still available out there; I recommend QuiltShops.com, especially the Over the Rainbow shop. And they’re not paying me money or fat quarters to say that.) I love the detail in these fabrics; there’s so much to look at, so many things starting with each letter to find in each block. In the H & I block, for instance, a hippo sitting on a hassock wearing a dress printed with hibiscus blossoms is eating a hamburger off a table with a heart cut into its side, her hat on a rack behind her and hens at her feet, while an iguana holding ice skates is eating ice cream in front of a backdrop of ivy. The U, V, & W block has vultures in vests and a walrus in a wingback chair eating watermelon. The N animal had me stumped. I had to Google “animals beginning with N” in order to find the numbat. I’m pretty sure that’s what the nacho-eating necktie-wearing creature in the M, N & O block is.
When I first laid out the blocks, I had the AB block centered in the top row between the two border print squares. Mr. Karen suggested rearranging it so that the border print squares were in diagonally opposite corners, so I tried that. It looked better that way, and I’m kind of disappointed I didn’t think of it myself. Maybe I would have, eventually, but as quickly as I needed to get this done I don’t know that I would have had enough time to have that idea percolate up. My original vision had been to put borders on the blocks, some in red and some in blue, and do one or two borders around the whole quilt, but then it occurred to me that I could do sashing and cornerstones instead, and the cornerstones could be pinwheel blocks, and that just delighted me because the two older siblings both had pinwheels in their quilts and I love that sort of connection. So maybe I’ll use the border idea for the other set of alphabet book blocks. When it came to picking coordinating prints, I didn’t pull too many alternatives out of my stash, again due to the time constraint. I auditioned three yellows for the sashing and a handful of reds, blues, and lights for the pinwheels. Then, boom, time to cut and sew.
With so few pieces and so few fabrics, it went together pretty quickly. The quilting went fast, too; it’s all straight lines, mostly in clear monofilament with a bit of variegated rayon in the sashing (variegated thread providing yet another connection among the three sibling quilts). I chose green for the binding to add a little accent color. A simple label sewn on during Monday Night Football and it was done. Now I need to get back to Cordelia’s quilt–she turns one in a couple weeks. The top has been finished for a while now; I just got distracted by the mushrooms and this quilt. No more.