A Week of Quilts- Day One: StoryTime Quilt

Monday, May 6, 2013

Well lookie here! Who's on a roll with blogging, eh? 

There is something to be said for teaching your new baby to nap on his own. I dragged my feet for two huge reasons:

1. I was scared he'd sleep less because he wasn't sleeping in my arms, and sleeping less equaled crying more and crying more equaled Crazy Mama. And no one likes Crazy Mama. 
2. I truly LOVE holding my sweet baby while he sleeps, and had a really bittersweet ache at the thought of losing that time with him. 

But there is a season for everything, and really, his season of being held for every nap was nearing its end. The itchy, restless part of me was beginning to emerge and the willing-to-put-everything-on-hold-for-a-baby-in-arms part of me was losing some of her hold. 

So Quinn naps twice or thrice a day in his rock-n-play in our room. A few times a week I'll scratch the morning nap routine and take him and Lucy somewhere, lulling him to sleep in the Moby wrap... so I still get some holding naps and that sweet snuggling fix. 

The rest of the time, I get at least a couple of small windows a day where my arms are free and I am able to begin inching forward with a few things in my life I've been missing. Really simple things, like tidying up the house. Sewing a little. Editing photos. Putting away laundry. Baking, maybe. Definitely more concentrated one-on-one time with Lucy or Noah. Naps of my own. 

And a wee bit of blogging. 

So. Here I am. Ready, (I think), to undertake a whole week of blogging in honor of my nearing completion of Quinn's baby quilt, which I began and nearly finished last week.

I'm relative new to quilting, and definitely a beginner with simple aspirations. But in the two years I've been doing it, I've managed to make 5-6 small quilts, and have never actually blogged about them. So with Quinn's quilt as the last post of this coming week, I am going to blog one quilt a day until then. Because I love them. I'm proud of them. And I actually think I can manage these small, mostly-photo posts this week.

So, up first--- one of my favorites. This is my StoryTime Quilt:

This fun lap-quilt is based off of an amazing quilt I saw on Pinterest right when I was first introduced to the site. It was the first "quilts I might be able to achieve" pin I pinned. The original quilter, Nettie of "A Quilt is Nice", talks about her version of this quilt here: I am so enchanted with her version, all pink and rounded-corners and stripey edges. I still want one just like hers, even after making one of my own. 

The idea is that you gather bits of fabric with characters or images that can lend a starting point or plot point for a story, and you patchwork them together into one block. I did not have very many character fabrics, so I went to an old friend who adores vintage fabric and is a collector of amazing and rare fabrics, and begged for her help. (Thanks, Jaime! You're AMAZING.) 
I asked her for tiny bits of fabrics that might tell a story... I let her pick what she thought would work, and I offered to pay her for her time and her materials. She did not disappoint. Most of these darling little rectangles below are from her package she mailed me. (Opening that package was just about the most fun  I've ever had getting mail. I'm serious.)

Once the quilt is complete, you have a collection of "story starters" that you can run wild with. Ask your kiddo to choose one or two of the images, and begin weaving your own story from them. You can make up a new story every time, tell some beloved existing stories (there's a Princess and the Pea on here that I love, as well as a Red Riding Hood, some Hansel and Gretel, etc.) It is a neat way to spend quality time with your little ones, tucked under the blanket on your laps, using your imaginations.... I love this whole concept.   
As for that actual sewing of this project, I did not use a pattern or plan for my quilt blocks and I did not piece together story elements in any kind of organized way. I started just by trimming fabric into squares and rectangles that kept the characters/images intact with some extra for borders. I then worked to piece them together in long tall strips first. (You can see on the left, the first "strip" is the one with that red rooster next to a small princess/green polka dots. If you see green polka dots, you know that's where I filled in gaps where I didn't have a story swatch to fit.) (The second strip is the one with the soccer kickers and the green polka dots. Etc.)

I then trimmed and pieced together all the tall strips into this final rectangle. It's far from perfect. You can see on the bottom where I lost some of the image in many squares because I had to trim the whole thing up to be square. Oh well. It's close enough. 

As for the quilting part, I machine-quilted it. But since I still don't have a walking foot, I decided a "safe" and funky way to quilt it would be to stitch rays radiating out from the asymmetrically-placed story section. Working from the inside of the quilt to the edges, I was able to avoid any bunching or snagging underneath because I wasn't using a walking foot. And it all kinda fits together--- funky asymmetrical quilt lines with a funky asymmetrical quilt. 

It's backed in a fun stripe that pulls all the crazy colors on the front together, and then it's bound with a red swiss polka dot. I pretty much LOVE polka dots and they find their way into so many of my projects. 

And there it is. (I fancy that little girl putting on Daddy's shoes is Lucy. She LOVES shoes.) There's a fun blend of vintage and current fabrics. Some boyish elements and some girly elements. There are lots of actual characters, and some patterns that lend themselves to stories (rainbows, cherry blossoms, hearts, bubbles, etc.) 

Noah and Lucy got this quilt this past Christmas, and Quinn has even enjoyed it recently as a play quilt he can lie down on. I expect it will see lots of use and love as time goes by, and will get that loved-in look eventually. 

For now, it's still pretty fresh and new, and is easily one of my favorite sewing projects I've ever done. 

Up tomorrow--- I'll share Lucy's "soft blanket" I made her for her Christmas present... all girly with vintage sheets and pink minky backing. 

Til then.... happy Monday, happy May, and hooray for free hands!



  1. I love this. And I need to make one of my own before it's too late. Also, I can't wait to see the rest of this series!!

  2. I.LOVE.this.quilt! How you can figure out how to sew things without a pattern just amazes me because my brain doesn't think like that. Ever time you blog a new creation, I want it! You are "sew" talented! (pun intended, of course!) :)

  3. I LOVE this quilt!! I remember when you showed it to me when you were working on the binding! It's such an awesome idea and the fabrics are so cute! And getting fabric in the mail is the BEST kind of mail EVER!!! Can't wait to see the others!

  4. One last question: Do you have a special program that you use to write on your photos? I would LOVE to do that, too, but don't know how...

  5. you are amazing and wonderful. <3

  6. I love this quilt!

  7. Oh my is such a magical little quilt. I am so impressed by you! I need sewing lessons from you sometime!!!!!!!


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