Friday, May 11, 2012

The 1st one on the 11th

It's my nephew's first birthday today. My sister and I were pregnant at the same time, due on the same day, one month apart. Somehow we ended up both carrying our babes 6 days longer and instead having a May 5 and June 5 birthday we now have  May 11th and June 11th birthday. The downside of having pregnancies so close together is that my sister and I weren't able to be at each other's birth's. Not that I would have really been much help to Brooke, she did amazing and as the strong, powerful woman that she is managed to birth a huge (he was 10lb 8 oz, that's huge) adorable boy in just 12  hours. Really looking back on the whole timing thing now, it might have been a better thing that I wasn't able to attend her birth.

When I found out that Brooke was pregnant I immediately knew that I wanted to make the baby a quilt. The fact that I have never made a quilt didn't matter. I had thoughts of my nephew or niece wrapped up in handmade goodness and later playing on it or using it at the park for a picnic. I searched around a while a found Elizabeth Hartman's Charms Square Baby Quilt which looked simple enough and in fact was. It was a great starter quilt and got me comfortable with the basics.

Over the past year E.E. has become a little boy. It's amazing how gradual, yet quick, it happens. Suddenly a baby quilt doesn't seem right for this playful, exploratory, happy boy. So what was an aunt to do but set out to make a little boy quilt for his first birthday.

I went back to Elizabeth Hartman and decided to make the Kitchen Window quilt from The Practical Guide to Patchwork, and yes this is the same pattern I am making N for her first birthday too. The main fabric featured in the "windows" is Dan Stiles "Marine" line that he did last year or the year before. I had bought a fat quarter set which came with 8, allowing me to make enough windows to change the back a little bit from the pattern. I made three extra windows and used extra Kona in navy for the sashing so they look a little different than the ones on the front.
The quilting was the challenging part. I wanted to free motion it, but I still haven't worked up the courage yet, and clearly I had a deadline for this quilt. After looking on flickr for a while I finally decided to try Echo Quilting or Outline Quilting. Basically you highlight the squares by sewing 1/4'' inside and outside, around them. It's time consuming, and although I used my walking foot it still pulled the fabric a little in some spots and created a little bit of bunching. I'm sure that I notice it the most, and as the quilt gets used and aged it really won't matter.

E.E. did get a couple other birthday goodies that were not homemade and probably much more interesting to a one year old. But even those big one year old's have to snuggle down and go to bed at some point, may as well do it under something homemade.


  1. Beautiful, April! A treasured gift from Auntie. :-)

    1. Thanks Lisa. I'm pretty happy with how it came out.