Saturday, June 09, 2007

Anatomy of a Crib Quilt

I do get jazzed about making quilts for babies. They don't have to be very big, very elaborate, or very precise, so you can whup 'em together really fast. They are easy to sew, because you don't have to reef a lot of bulk around on your machine. Plus, they are really high-megaton gifts. If you made a quilt, you are going to OWN the baby shower, making the Made-in-Indonesia set of three pastel color bibs given by that other schmuck look like the shabby gesture it is. Often, giving a baby quilt makes parents cry, which is awesome. They will remember this next time you ask them to loan you money.

(Some of you are thinking about those wussy baby showers to which only women are invited. Apalling sexism, is all I have to say about that. No quilt for you!)

(I don't really think bibs are a bad baby shower gift. But they ain't a handmade quilt, know what I'm sayin'?)

So, among the many recent babies and babies-in-progress in my life is the soon-to-be-baby of Chuckdaddy and Mrs. Chuckdaddy. Since I happened to introduce the parents I feel a certain karmic debt to this creature for arranging for him or her to be yanked from whatever crazy party souls-in-waiting hang out at into this vale of tears. Or whatever. So here you go, ya little punk -- Uncle 5000 made you a crib quilt.

Chuck, if you see this before you see the actual quilt, you should still act surprised.

Formal Aspects

Now, pursuant to the educational mission of this blog, I thought I'd take a look at what is good about this quilt, and also what is not-so-good. Although some of the things that are not-so-good are really JUST FINE in a baby blanket, which is after all something that is made to be barfed on. So I guess I'm really talking about the formal kinds of qualities prized by the quilting establishment, versus the scrappy, casual utilitarian aspects.

  • For instance, one thing that is technically GOOD in this quilt is actually kind of bad in a baby blanket: the color scheme. It's a nice value spectrum of purples, with sky blue, pink, and orange highlights. Reasonably attractive if you like purple, and a nice gender-neutral combination of pink and blue, yeah? But the overall effect is kind of, I don't know, grown-up. Maybe even grandparentish. It certainly doesn't have the bright primary colors that a classic child's blanket maybe ought to have.
  • It is (I think) the first piece I have ever done with squares "on point," or in other words at 45 degrees to the rectangle of the quilt. It makes them diamonds instead of squares. That went pretty well.
  • The quilting looks sharp! I just followed the seams for the most part, but for the two big panels in the center I made a star of four interlocked triangles and a pattern of four interlocked circles.

Scrappy Aspects

  • Since I made it from materials on hand, not everything matches. In the outermost ring, there are three triangles cut from a different fabric when I ran out of the main one. The first ring in of full diamonds are cut about 50/50 from two very different fabrics of the same color, because I didn't have nearly enough of my first choice. Neither of these were design decisions, by the way -- I just screwed up and adapted.
  • The binding on the sides is a different fabric from the binding on the top and bottom. I did do that on purpose. I also whip-stitched the batting together from two scrap pieces. Since I used surplus thread, too, this was essentially a free quilt, made entirely from stuff I had laying around. (The dude with the bib three-pack actually opened his wallet, unlike me, but I'll get to be the hero. Just watch.)
  • Some of the corners don't meet exactly. That will have to be all right.
  • Some of the quilting stitches get a little wobbly -- I don't care, and I don't think Baby ChuckDaddy will either.


Rebel said...

OMG! That quilt turned out sooo well. I really do think it's a good color for a baby, very soothing - and as you pointed out, good for a boy or a girl.

BUT! Regarding the different fabrics & bindings: never admit that something wasn't in the design - it's never a flaw - it's a feature! :-P -RS

Karin said...