Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Project Archives: Baby Quilts

This week's topic for Val's Quilting Studio: Tuesday Archives is "Scrap Quilts and Projects" and I've linked this post to the "Projects" section.   However, last Tuesday when I clicked over to Val's blog to see what the Tuesday Archive topic was for that week, I landed on this post.   I thought it meant that the Archive topic was Baby Quilts.  While I do have a long overdue one that I need to start and made one last year, I did realize that this would be an opportunity to create a new Archive post about some "pre-blogging" projects that haven't been featured here before.  So I spent a lot of time looking for the old pictures of these projects and researched and gathered links and other pics of some of the background information for the post.  When I had it just about finished, I clicked back to Val's blog and found out that the real Archive topic for that week was "Selvedge Projects"!  Unfortunately, while I have done a Selvedge project (seen here), since it wasn't in a stand alone post and the actual post was pretty long, I didn't link it up this time.

However, since this post was already written I figured I'd publish it anyway.  So the story goes:  I've only made three Baby Quilts, although one was technically a toddler quilt.  This post is about the first two of those three (the third one, the one I made last year, can be seen here).  My cousin has two children, a boy (the oldest) and a girl.  Back in 2004 when my cousin announced she was pregnant, I had only been quilting for two years but just knew I had to make a quilt for the new baby.  The quilt I planned to make eventually became this one:

This is an old Mountain Mist design (#33 for any of you that have one of their old "Blue Books").  In the original design it is made with a solid blue background and white appliqued bunnies.  It can be seen in the back of the picture below which is from County Living's "Country Quilts" book (Hearst Books, 1992).

I got the pattern from "Simplicity Quilts & Patches", a magazine style book on quilting that belonged to my cousin's mother and that she had let me have back in the late 70's when I was a teenager!  Back then I only sewed clothing but I had held onto the book all these years because I found the projects so charming.  So when I came across the book in my things, I just knew I had to make the quilt for her first grandchild from it.  

At the time, my cousin and her husband did not want to find out the gender of the baby until it was born, so I decided to do the bunnies in different pastel colors to keep the quilt "gender neutral".  What can't been seen in the picture is that the background fabric is not just white but a white ditty print with very small pastel letters (in the same colors as the bunnies) sprinkled all over it.

This was my first big, formal applique project and needless to say I was so nervous about doing it that I procrastinated starting it until after my cousin gave birth to what we eventually found out was a boy.  Even after he was born, I still vowed to make and gift the quilt but the procrastination continued right up until his first birthday!  It turns out that stalling was a good thing because at his party, it was abundantly clear that this little boy, even at one year old, was not a pastel bunny type of kid!!  The good news was that my cousin also announced that she was pregnant with her second child and already knew this one was going to be a girl.  So my plans promptly changed and I decided that the bunny quilt would (when it was finished) now go to the new baby!

However, that meant I still owed my cousin's son a quilt.  Fortunately, they bought and moved into a house shortly after that party.  When I went to see it, my cousin had already started decorating her son's room.  It was painted a bright blue and had a fish theme ("Finding Nemo" was the big thing at the time).  Voila!! Room theme = a new quilt theme and I now knew what his overdue quilt had to be.  The quilt I eventually finished for him was this one:

It was my interpretation of a quilt that was in Quilters Newsletter Magazine called "Gazing Into Clear Water".  It originally appeared in QNM April, 2006  (# 381) but has been offered as a free pattern with their subscription offers in recent years.   I changed the design in an effort to make use of some novelty prints I had found that had a fish theme.

You may have noticed that I said "eventually" finished.  I didn't get both quilts done until Christmas 2007 when the little girl was about a year and half old and the little boy was now three.  I actually finished up the quilting on the bunny quilt on Christmas Eve that year!  They did make great Christmas presents though.  

The sad part was finding out two years later (when I made and gifted the kids new "big kid quilts" for Christmas that year, seen here and here) that after I gave them those first quilts, my cousin had  promptly put them up in a closet and wouldn't let the kids actually use them because she didn't want them to mess them up!  

Another interesting story about these quilts:  while I was in the process of making them, I had decided to make special labels for the back of each.

I had planned to quote poems I had seen in Quilter's Newsletter, attributing them to the respective authors on each quilt.  For the daughter's quilt, I had planned to use a verse from the poem "Little Bits Of Fabric" by Sue Mullane that I had seen in the December 1996 (#288) issue of QNM.  A few months before I finished their quilts, QNM had published an article in the October 2007 (#396) issue called "Small and Smaller".  At the start of the article they too quoted the same poem but attributed it to "Anonymous"!  I promptly emailed the editor letting them know that the poem had actually appeared in their magazine.  I got a very nice email back saying that even they hadn't realized that the poem originated in their magazine because most of the staff at the time of the article publication had not been at the magazine when the poem was originally published.  When they had researched the poem, they found it listed in numerous places (including on the Department of Justice's website) and since it was always attributed to anonymous they had accepted that as so.  True to their word, they printed a correction in the Bulletin Board section of the January/February 2008 (#399) issue.

So I hope you enjoyed this special Archive post of the "Journey of the Baby Quilts"!  Oh, and BTW, I also later found out that after my cousin's mother saw their quilts, she started quilting too!

1 comment:

Ivory Spring said...

Great post, Vivian! Any down the memory lane post melts my heart. :)