Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Quilt for The Littlest Russell

Two of my friends are having their first babies--both are having girls, and the two babies are due within a few days of each other.  They are the first of my "grown-up" friends to produce offspring, so these little kittens are going to be spoiled rotten, and yours truly is more than happy to help with the spoilage.

We just held a shower for one of the girls today, and naturally I had to go nuts with the quilting.  I've worked on this blanket pretty much non-stop for the last couple weeks and just finished it up this morning.

I present to you--a purple and green quilt.

This one shows the color.  It's not perfect but it's close.

And this one shows the texture.  Vive la hand-quilting!

It's machine-pieced, hand-quilted and -bound.  I do not like machine quilting.  Like, at all.  I don't like the way it looks, I don't like the way it affects the drape, I kind of think of it as cheating... I just don't like it.  So, hand quilting it is.  I'm kind of a traditionalist that way.  Someday I'll have a magnum opus of a hand-pieced, hand-quilted monster, but I'm cool with machine piecing for now.  But NO MACHINE QUILTING.

Where was I?  Oh!  More details.  The binding is scrappy (yay for using up yardage!), the backing is a solid piece of unbleached muslin (the better to show off my quilting [I refuse to be modest on this topic {I mean, I'm still a quilting noob and it looks pretty dang good if you ask me}]), and it runs a hair short of 45" square.  I'm really pleased with the texture, but I think next time I'll try a different batting.  I used an 80/20 cotton/poly blend, and it's just a little too lofty for my taste.  I think in the future I'll stick with 100% cotton, or the cotton/bamboo blend I used on my sister's quilt. 

The whole thing was a learning experience (first time sewing bias-edged pieces), and while it's good, it's not show quality.  I did okay on the places where four corners meet...

Semi-gratuitous texture shot.  Yum.  I like dense quilting.

See?  Not bad, not bad at all...

On the places where eight corners meet, however, my results were a bit hit-or-miss.



Big miss.  Blech.

But I'm really, really pleased with how the binding turned out.  It's a French-fold binding, both for durability and because it seemed the easiest way (no raw edges to harass me!).  The corners are kind of good-not-great, but I learned a lot and they'll be better next time.  And it turns out that while I haaaaaaate hemming, quilt binding is very soothing and meditative.  Loved that process, really.

What?  You want to see more of that gorgeous backing with the quilting and everything?


Seriously, I am really, really happy with how the quilting turned out.  It's mostly free-handed, too.  Go me!  (Sorry.  Modesty failure again.)

This whole experience just made me happy.  The small size meant it wasn't a huge time commitment, and it's been nice to get a break from the bed-sized quilt I'm making for Sis (which just needs to be bound!  The quilting is d-o-n-e DONE!), and the colors are so cheerful, it was honestly hard to put it down (which might have also been the fact that I had one week to quilt the bitch).

It was very well-received by the mom-to-be (which I expected; she's a little crafty herself so she understands and appreciates the work involved).  I'm happy she's happy, and I can't wait to make the next one!

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