I’m house sitting (you saw it on the Plan!). Working away from the studio requires a bit of thinking ahead. I pack all of the usual sewing tools- and some Projects. While I’m here I’m going to make the Baby Quilt top. Assuming that doesn’t take all my time, I also brought the Basket of Bundles so i can make something else too.
Basket of bundles. lower left: baby quilt fabrics. Upper right: 2 bundles unrolled
This basket is close to being my favourite thing. It’s full of bits of fabric, none very large, all collected at random. I group them in delicious combinations and roll them up until it’s their turn to be sewn. Any bundle can be raided for the perfect fabric for the current quilt. Any fabric can be rejected and put back in the basket to be added to a later combo. Bundles are taken apart and recombined.
This seems completely unplanned; from the perspective of each quilt sewn, it is. However, from the perspective of creating a steady stream of interesting unique quilts, this fun process is the best plan I can imagine.
I always press the fabric. Well, technically, I IRON it.
Official Quilting Advice always says to PRESS, which means the iron goes up & down without sliding across the fabric. For fear of distortion.
I’m far too lazy and impatient to conform to that. But i do iron gently with just a little steam. More a stroking of the fabric. Getting to know it. Teaching it who’s in charge. Pretty sure I can’t stretch The Baby metaphor to that!
Some people insist that pre-washing fabric for a quilt is essential. They worry about colours running and about shrinkage. I don’t usually do this. Most of my quilts are for the wall, or are for adults. Not likely to be washed often, or ever. I choose good quality materials so the risks of both problems are minimal.
For this baby quilt, I’m working outside of habit. I know it’s likely to be washed often, so there’s more opportunity for something to go wrong. I might even pre-wash the batting! or choose a non-shrinking polyester. They dry fast, could be the best choice anyway.
Pre-washing also removes the manufacturing dressing from the fabric. This stuff can be irritating to sensitive skin. Remember, it’s All About The Baby! and its Mum.
I know, I know. I’ve sworn off baby quilts. But when your beloved dentist smiles at you over her drill and says “Now, about that quilt for my new granddaughter”….what can you do??
Anyway, it’s all about The Baby. Happy Christmas.
Knitting! sneaked up and caught me. Under the guise of finding a right-sized response to babies. See below for the Last Baby quilt
2 cowl scarves (for me)
1 buttoned scarf (for dear Mother-in-Law)
1 pair of socks (for dear girlfriend)
…1 pair of booties for an actual baby
and an unspecified number of new balls of yarn and needles. That list is completed projects, mind you.
There is also the lure of Ravelry which I joined two years ago, suckered in by the chatter from my knitting mates. If there is anything as cool for quilters, I have not found it yet. So my stuff is there
Honestly, it’s only on the bus, I wouldn’t knit in actual quilting time. honest.
Max arrived recently. His big sister has one of my quilts, so he gets one too. I make them fairly quickly out of whatever is at hand, and take particular pleasure in giving them a complementary pieced backing made from my stash of flannel samples. Max’s is a triumph of the scrap ethic, made completely from the left-overs from another quilter’s project.
I’ve said it before: this is my last baby quilt.
Why? there are bound to be more babies, some with a family precedent of a quilt from Auntie Sarah, and all needing quilts. I have more than enough fabric, and get a lot of pleasure out of being able to bring a special gift.
I have to stop, because snuggling in behind that fuzzy feel-good factor they are thieves.
The baby quilts steal my most precious, scarce resources: time, willpower, focus. I do good work on them, but not my best work. I offer that work up to the least critical audience imaginable. I romanticise the beauty of the motherhood I don’t participate in. I choose to make a pretty baby quilt rather than struggle with the challenge of creating the weird wonderful unique images that rarely get past the sketchbook.
I make the baby quilts as cuddle rugs to comfort my own fear of inadequacy, of failure, of success. Knowing this, how can I make another?
There’s a new baby – Finn McCoy Jordan, born last night. A quilt is needed!
Just when I’m getting on with a bunch of serious art quilts large & small. Still, there’s always time for a baby.