Tuesday, 15 July 2014

First steps in (baby) quilt making...

I've made a lot of baby quilts for friends' new arrivals in the last year or so, but hadn't got around to sharing them here, so I'm making up for that now by sharing the first two. They were made with a fat quarter set of the Cloud 9 organic cotton Simpatico range, paired with an organic grey fabric that I already had and found to be a decent match with the grey in the Simpatico patterns.

Here are the quilts together on my cutting mat, the completed quilt top of one on the left and the half-square triangles of the other getting pressed and trimmed...

Making HST baby quilts

I'm not generally a fan of dividing things into 'boy colours' and 'girl colours', but on this occasion, I split the fabrics I had into the pink/yellow/orange patterns and the aqua/yellow patterns to make the two quilts. I think the modern-looking graphic patterns and the use of the plain grey fabric make the quilts fairly unisex, but on this occasion I had a little boy and a little girl to give the quilts to anyway.

This is the finished pink/yellow/orange quilt I made for baby Evelyn...

Pink pinwheel quilt

It's quilted with an all-over loopy swirl pattern, which I did freehand on my sewing machine by moving the quilt about under the needle. One of my first forays into free-motion quilting!

Close up of quilt corner 2

The back of the quilt was fairly plain except for a panel of patchwork strips made with pieces of the fabrics used on the front...

Pink pinwheel quilt with corner turned back

And a little label with Evelyn's name and date of birth on it in the bottom corner...

Back view of pink pinwheel quilt

You can see the scrappy binding I made from pieces of the same patterned fabrics in the photo above too. Here's a close-up of me stitching down the back of the binding by hand...

Stitching binding on pink pinwheel quilt

A nice job to do curled up on the sofa! :)

These pictures were taken before I put the quilt in the wash. The organic cotton/bamboo blend batting that I used in the centre of the quilt made it crinkle up nicely after the first wash.

I knew I wanted to make both these quilts using half-square triangle (HST) patchwork and this was the first time I'd ever made HSTs. I found a really useful tutorial on how to make four HSTs at a time (I can't find the exact one now, but this one is similar) and you're actually making quarter-square triangles this way, but I still call them half-square triangles, because they're still HSTs once you've made them, no matter what technique you use to get there :)

Once I'd made all my HSTs, I played about with layouts to decide what to go for...

Exporing layouts for pink HST quilt

There seems to be an almost infinite number of ways you can arrange HSTs and I love the way that something as simple as a half-square triangle block can create so many different patterns in a quilt. I went for the pinwheel pattern for Evelyn's quilt (top right in the above photo), but I also loved the layout on the bottom left, so I used that for my next quilt...

Blue HST quilt

This is a quilt for baby Tom and it's very similar to Evelyn's (same fabrics, same batting, scrappy binding and a patchwork strip panel and label on the back) but it has the different HST layout and straight-line quilting instead of the freehand loops.

The photos were taken after it had been washed, so it much crinklier-looking than the photos of Evelyn's quilt.

Blue HST quilt with corner turned back 1 

Back view of blue HST quilt

I really liked the effect of the straight-line quilting with this style of HST layout...

Blue HST quilt with corner turned back 2

Close up of blue HST quilt

I machine-stitched the binding down on Tom's quilt, which didn't give as neat a finish as hand stitching but means that the binding will be very robust.

Blue HST quilt folded up

I was pretty pleased with how the quilts came out, since they were two of the first ones I'd ever made and I loved packing them up to send to their new homes. I hope that they are getting lots of use with their new little owners :)

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