April 3, 2007
This is the baby quilt I sewed the top for at retreat. I mentioned in at least one earlier entry that I wasn’t liking the fabrics that much, and now that it’s finished, I still sort of don’t. Plenty of people have told me it’s cute, and the dad seemed to like it, and he reported that the baby loved the quilt and slept with it last night, but I’m just as glad to have this one done so I don’t have to look at it any more. I thought the animals were cute when I bought them; somehow in my stash they moved a lot closer to cutesy, and from there it’s not too far to creepy. But maybe it’s fine; maybe I’ve just been staring into the panda’s eyes for too long.
Like the Animal ABC quilt, I used a book panel as the basis for this quilt. This book is from the Fuzzytails ABC & 123 collection by Lisa McCue for South Sea Imports. I didn’t have a good coordinating print to use in the squares not occupied by the book pages, so I had to use the front and back covers for blocks as well. Since both of those had the word “book” printed on them and that wouldn’t do for a quilt, I had to get creative. For the front cover page, I sliced off the bottom part (it said “A Counting Book”) and replaced it with a ladybug print that I thought fit the mood. For the back, I covered the word “book” with a ladybug cut from that same fabric, fusing it on with a scrap of something (Steam a Seam? Wonder Under? I’m not sure) I found in my quilting/knitting cabinet. I used the same stuff to fuse on letters cut from a coordinating alphabet scatter print to spell out the baby’s name on the blank line on the back cover page. (Note to self: double or even triple check the spelling of the baby’s name before doing this next time, even if you are sure you know what it is because you have met the baby and called him by name, because it’s no fun to un-fuse and replace an “e” that doesn’t belong with an “o” that does.)
There was no way to cut the pages into squares without trimming off important parts of the designs, so I had to start from rectangles. Yet I still wanted to end up with square blocks, so what I came up with was a Log Cabin Courthouse Steps arrangement with more logs horizontally than vertically. I didn’t spend as much time picking out fabrics for the logs as I usually would; I wanted to cut them all before I left for retreat, and as of that morning I hadn’t even started. I’d bought some of the companion fabrics from the collection, so I began with those: a black and brights checkerboard, the letters and numbers scattered on light blue that I’d used for the name, and a blue and brights stripe. To that, I added a black and brights stripe that I like so much I bought lots of it (and have used lots of it–in soccer baby, Ellie’s, ElleBee’s, soccer baby II, and cartoon baby) and a black and brights alphabet print.
I started cutting based on scribbles and sketches I’d made. Then I did some more scribbling and sketching and decided I’d made the centers too big, so I trimmed then down, only to realize they were fine the way they were, which meant I had to re-cut some of the logs so the blocks would still come up to the right size. Bah. At that point I did what I should have done in the first place–draw the block out on EQ and print cutting directions. After I got all the logs cut, I decided I really didn’t like the blue stripe–I’d had my doubts about it but pushed ahead hoping it would grow on me because I liked that it was the same pattern as the inner border on the back cover page, but it didn’t. There was too much contrast in value between it and the light blue and too little contrast between it and the black logs, so into my stash I went and came up with a blue scattered with what could be considered zeroes. It’s still a little dark, but lots better than the stripe. The blue stripe did get used, though–it’s the border for the label on the back.
I did all straight line quilting for this one, and once again like in the Animal ABC quilt, I stitched right through the middle of the squares (with clear monofilament so the animals are not obscured). Royal rayon on the blue logs and red rayon on the black logs completed the picture. When going through the photos to do this entry, I was dismayed to notice some of that royal blue rayon dangling off the quilt. That should not be. I hope it’s just a cut end that will brush off, but I fear it’s something I neglected to bury in the batting when I had to re-start in the middle of a line of quilting. Oops. I can hardly ask for the quilt back, but I did make sure the dad knows I offer free quilt repair and mentioned “loose threads” as one of the things that might need fixing at some point. Like today.