Friday, May 1, 2015

Hindsight is 20/20ish--A baby quilt

One of the biggest fears in learning to free motion quilt is deciding how to quilt it.  How does one determine exactly what fillers and motifs to use on quilts?  Nobody and I mean NOBODY wants to ruin a quilt top that they have spent hours cutting and piecing or that they have used their favorite fabrics to make.  I expressed my fears one time to a quilt shop owner about being afraid to use one of my actual tops to quilt on.  Her response floored me at the time.  She said, "Why?  If you feel like you've ruined it just make another one."  How could she say that???  But honestly she's right.  It is just a quilt top.  Shortly thereafter I actually started using my tops to quilt on.

A few days ago I was thinking back to when I finally got brave enough to start quilting my own quilts.  Really the only thing that I knew how to do was stipple/meander and I wasn't that great at it and didn't enjoy doing it.  But it was an easy answer to most things.  So my thought was, if I could go back what would I do differently?  Everything seems easier in hindsight.  So I thought I would revisit some of my earlier attempts and think about what I would do differently.

When I found out my cousin was pregnant with her first baby, I was over the top happy for her.  I'll never forget her showing me her first ultrasound and pointing out the little "hamburger."  Our family was getting a new baby girl.  I had an excuse to make my first baby quilt!  I had recently seen a pattern in a magazine done in bright pinks, turquoise and yellows and I thought it would be perfect.  The piecing was a little tricky since I hadn't done anything that complex but after a few weeks of work I had completed it.

My next move would be to send if off to a long armer to have it quilted.  A few weeks later my cousin called me to tell me her news had changed.  A new ultrasound showed our "hamburger" as a very distinct "hotdog."  Wait, no.  My quilt top is for a little girl.  I ask if the doctors could be wrong; maybe it was going to be twins.  Nope.  

I had not told my cousin about the quilt I had made so instead of finishing it, I chose to pout over jumping the gun too soon.  After her son was born I did tell her about the quilt top and we had a good laugh.  I told her if I ever finished it I would let her know.  A few years later I got brave enough to finish the top myself.  Since it already had a good story behind it I decided to go all out and quilt it with bright pink thread and back it with dark pink fabric.

Looking back the quilting isn't as horrible as I felt it was at the time.  Time heals.  But by no means is it perfect.  There are a lot of curves that are not so curvy and the spacing is not consistent at all.  But for a baby quilt it is perfect and it was made with much love.  I did send the quilt to her.  

So my question to myself is how would I quilt this quilt top if I had it today?  I recreated the quilt in EQ7 so that I could draw possible ideas on it.

I love putting ribbon candy in sashings and small boarders.  So with all the bubble gum colors in the quilt I thought it would be a fun filler for the sashings.  Next it was time for some continuous curves in the corner stones.  Then it was time to play with the actual blocks.  This was the part that use to  make me run and hide but now I realize it's the part you should have fun with.

The block on the bottom left represents stitching in the ditch.

After several minuets I was able to come up with multiple possibilities for the blocks themselves.  Are some of the choices better than the others...yes.  Are there any that are   

If I was going to quilt this again as a baby quilt I would probably choose one of these designs.  Less dense quilting would make for a softer blanket.

If this was going to turn into a wall hanging or a just for fun quilt I would definitely go with these designs.

As for the designs I didn't circle, all of them would still work.  They just didn't happen to be choices that I liked as well.  For someone else they may actually like those designs better or be able to come up with something that blows any of these out of the water.  Generation Q magazine did an article on "Quilt as Desired" where they created a block and ask various quilters from different backgrounds to quilt them.  It is amazing to see all the different creations they came up with all using the same block.  It's an article that is definitely worth reading.

As for the boarders of this quilt...

 If this were a baby quilt I would probably go with ribbon candy or the wishbone for the inner boarder and swirls or piano keys for the outer boarder.  The wall hanging route may have lead to one of the two designs in the about picture.  (Though I lean more toward the swirls with pebbles)

Now that I've had fun reliving the past, maybe I'll give my cousin a call and see if she would like me to rip out all the stitches and have another go at it.  Just kidding.  I may just pull out some other tops and see what I would have done differently.  We can never have too much practice!

Today I'm linking up with:


Jenn @ A Quarter Inch from the Edge said...

I too am a quilter who likes to live on the edge... hence my blog name! I love the yarn you spun about this quilt. I had a similar thing happen when a friend who was getting married asked me to make her a quilt "Anything with blue" she said, not knowing that I had already finished a double sized log cabin in forest green and caramels. Back to the drawing board! Thanks so much for linking up with Throwback Thursday!

Liz said...

That's such great advice you received about just going ahead and quilting - it's only fabric after all. That said, I always struggle the same way and have been know to start quilting the rip it out. This was such a fun idea to show how you would quilt this now...It was so inspiring to see all your different ideas!

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