Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wonky Baby Quilt

After playing around with improvisational quilting and wonky quilting, I was inspired to try a whole quilt for my cousin. She is expecting her first baby soon.

Once again, I tried to pick fabric prints that have some relevancy to her life. I even included a print that reminds me of our grandmother. Some of the prints are just fun or have nice coordinating colors.

While searching for more examples of the wonky style of quilting, I found this blog post utilizing the stack and whack method of cutting. I was intrigued.

I had been collecting fabric for this quilt for a while now and had a few fat quarters, some pieces that were just over 1/4 yard and two prints I had ordered that were 1/2 yard each.  The white artist print I created with rubber stamps and permanent ink.

According to the tutorial I found, the size suggestion was to start with a 15 1/2" square. Some of my fabric wasn't big enough. Instead of totally abandoning the concept, I decided to take a remnant that was big enough, do some random cuts per the tutorial, and then use the remnant fabric as a pattern. It worked very well. I just needed to keep track of each pattern piece carefully and always put the whole thing back together like a puzzle.  I grouped the fabrics into three groups. The four different prints in each group would make up four different blocks with three prints in each.  No two would be alike.

Next I laid out all the blocks on the floor to decide where each would go.  After trying a few combinations, I took some pictures and even got some other opinions.  It's an interesting process keeping the same fabrics far enough away from each other and still liking the ones next to each other.

After completing each block, the directions suggest using a 12.5" square to square up each block.  That went well and did take off 1/2" or so off each side.  I was able to angle my square a little to enhance the wonkiness.

Once the placement was decided, sewing the blocks together was a breeze.  I hadn't purchased any border or backing fabric, so it was off to the store.  I found a few I liked but finally decided on a black with stripes and polka dots.  I passed by it a few times at the store and liked it every time.  I often like to avoid stripes, but the stripes are really cute especially for baby quilts.

The quilt was measuring about 37" by 49".  I figured adding a 3.5" border would work well.  Unfortunately that made the total quilt bigger than a typical width of fabric.  That means my back would be pieced.  But I like the idea of using small rectangles of the fabrics used on the back.  I took a 3.5" by 4" square of each fabric and sewed them together in a row.  Then I calculated how much fabric I'd need to make up the roughly 60" by 46" I should have for quilting.

Batting was also on my list.  I found a 60" by 60" packaged batting that would  be perfect.  It's a mix of organic cotton and bamboo.  It was very nice to work with and seemed to quilt up well.

The final steps were binding and adding a quilt label.  For binding I cut 3" strips, folded the long way and sewed it around.  To finish the binding, I hand sewed the folded edge to the back.

Wonky baby quilt
Finished Wonky Baby Quilt
Close up of one block
 I'm very happy with how everything came together.  It's always hard to know at the beginning stages if I'll like the fabrics together.  The quilting is always a gamble for me too.  I make decisions along the way, but once I start on one section, I feel a need to keep it going for the whole quilt.  I did free motion squiggles on each center square and outlined the two borders on each block.

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