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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Baby batik quilt as you go...

Baby batik quilt as you go...

Is it a boy? Or is it a girl? A simple enough question one would have thought in this day and age. But, believe it or not, there are still parents who don’t want to shout this tidbit of information out to the world. Well not until the moment bub is here and everyone can see for themselves.  And rightly so! A little mystery never hurt anyone, and half of the fun is in the guessing!

Bets have been made, and though we’ve all been trying our hardest, the parents still won’t even let a clue slip.

Mum to be has come up with a clever idea while we all place our bets and take our guesses. Why not make a quilt that could go either way? After all, there is a 50/50 chance. So I’ve designed a quilt that’s half suited for a boy, or half suited for a girl. How clever of the mum to be to keep us all guessing!

I’ve designed this quilt with bright batik fabrics. One side is strips of pinks framed in a yellow floral batik. The other side is strips of blue batiks. The quilt is then bound in a delightful green batik fabric. Before starting this project I washed all of the batik fabrics used.

First I pieced together the pink side. I sewed the 20cm strips of pink batiks together and then decided that I needed to frame them to make that quilt side measure up. So I used the yellow floral batik to make a boarder around the pink strips.

I then basted this pink quilt top to the cotton batting (which I purchased from Lindcraft and was originally 50x60 inches). Then after trimming the excess batting from the basted top I used the quilt as you go method of both quilting the quilt and sewing the blue strip side simultaneously.

The pink striped side goes one direction, while the blue side goes another. This is so that there isn’t too much resistance when trying to ‘quilt as you go’. As I’d never used the ‘quilt as you go’ method before, I watched a few tutorials on YouTube before attempting this. The one that I found to be the most helpful was from the Missouri Star Quilt Company. How did we ever get by before we could YouTube or Google things that we didn’t know?

As an extra bit of security, and also as this is a quilt intended for a baby and likely to get washed more, I decided to also quilt through half of the blue strip.

As always when a project is a gift that needs to be finished by a deadline, almost everything that can go awry will…

At one stage of the quilting my thread kept breaking even after checking my sewing machine manual. After using some very colourful language and fighting the urge to run over the sewing machine with my car, I checked a few online noticeboards to see what others had done in the same situation and hoped that my machine wouldn’t need a service (well not until I’d completed  this project). As per my research I changed the needle and re threaded again (even though I’d done so recently, I discovered that sewing with batiks needed a larger sized needle) I  hoped that it would work and stop the constant thread breakage, and it did.

The thread that I originally purchased with this project in mind was also completely unsuitable, so back to the sewing supply store I went. For the quilt as you go method I ended up reusing the same blue variegated thread that I used in my Hectic Eclectic quilt. The pink variegated thread (which I’d purchased from Spotlight) was too thick and kept coming through on the blue side of the work (and I suspect also played its part in the whole thread breaking debacle). So a new thinner pink variegated thread was purchased last minute from Stumer's Sewing Centre. The variegated pink thread blends in with the batiks instead of standing out like it would on a different quilt.

For the binding the green thread that I’d originally wanted to use was ridiculously bright, so I quickly unpicked this and decided to also use the same green variegated thread that I used for the Hectic Eclectic quilt.

The seam that I had to unpick left some needle marks in the delicate batik fabric, so I’m glad that I didn’t make more mistakes!
I ended up buying two more blue panels of batik fabric than what I originally anticipated. These were the darker two panels that are at each end of the blue side. Which I thought helped to balance out the blue side, as before it looked like it was all the same colour (instead of different panels) when I laid out the fabrics and looked at them from a distance. These were purchased from the Patchwork Tree at Alderley. The rest of the batik fabrics were purchased from Quilt Essentials at Eaton’s Hill. The 20cm strips are the minimum cut from these quilting stores and suited my purpose completely as I didn’t want strips that were too thin and would make the work difficult to quilt through.

When I make my binding I always refer back to a book I bought when I wanted to get some ideas on how to use up some of the scrap fabrics that I’d begun to accumulate in my quilting adventures.
For me there are a lot of firsts wrapped up in this quilt. This quilt is the first that I’ve made for a baby, the first I’ve made for my godchild, the first that I’ve made entirely from batik fabrics, the first that I’ve machine sewn the entire binding on and the first quilt that I’ve ‘quilted as I went’.

The end result is a stunning bright baby quilt that I’m glad that I made myself finish before bub arrived. (Otherwise like most of my quilt projects it may lay half-finished in my pile of UFOs for who knows how long?).

I’m now tempted to make myself a bright double sided quilt in beautiful batik fabric strips. I will be strong and hold off on that idea for the moment, well at least until I have fully quilted some of the quilts that I’ve already started.

Now my part is done…all that’s needed now is a newborn to wrap up in the quilt!

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