quilting, quilts from the "little box"

Baby Quilt Friday!: I Love Mama

Time again for another installment of Baby Quilt Friday–a deeper (and yes, sometimes darker) look at what went into designing the quilts in The Little Box of Baby Quilts. My heart and soul went into creating it. But, as evidenced in last week's post, absolutely none of my fabric stash did.

I Love Mama
"I Love Mama" from The Little Box of Baby Quilts, copyright 2007 Jenny Wilding Cardon/That Patchwork Place. Machine quilted by Cheryl Brown.

I had experimented with appliqueing fuzzy fabrics in my previous baby-quilt designs. Now I wanted to try and machine sew with fuzzy fabric. I was feeling a bit timid. It's stretchy stuff. I can find my way around a sewing machine just fine. But I prefer not to play with the buttons and knobs. Ever. Everything is always in the middle. Eternally set on 5. I also didn't want anyone making these quilts to have to fuss with their buttons and knobs. So with absolutely no adjustments to my machine, I started sewing cottons to fuzzies.

Learned a lot.

The first thing I learned is that messing around with buttons and knobs was not a necessity. My technique just had to be finessed. I've heard many people like to sew with their stretchy fabric on the bottom so the feed dogs help push the stretchy fabric along. I found it was easier to sew with the stretchy/fuzzy fabric on the top so I could SEE if the fabric was stretching or not. It worked for me. If you've never attempted it before, I suggest trying it both ways on a scrap or two and find out what works best for you.

The second thing I learned is to SLOW DOWN. One thing I love about quilting is the abundance of straight seams–push the pedal to the metal (or the plastic, as the case may be) and find out how fast you can go. But the fuzzy fabric didn't want to let me go too fast. Like the sweet little old lady you are sometimes forced to drive behind. She's going 20 mph in a 40 mph zone. You don't get mad–you can see her tighty-whitey curls angled just a smidge above the steering wheel. You don't honk your horn or tail her gate or lift your middle finger. You know her nature. You just gotta be patient. Fuzzy fabric? Same thing.

The third thing I learned is to double up on pin use. I used a pin for every two inches of fabric I sewed. A bit of a nuisance. But if straight seams are your goal instead of ripped-out seams, pins are good.

Strip sets make the construction of this brick-style quilt pretty
simple. The lettering, with a few modifications, is borrowed with
permission from Sandy Bonsib and her wonderfully creative quilt book, Folk Art Quilts.

Initially I was planning to make this quilt reversible, with an "I Love Dada" panel on the back. But that would be making 21 quilts in nine months, instead of just 20. Funny. At the time I could imagine designing and sewing 20 quilt tops in nine months, but I could not FATHOM designing and sewing 21 quilt tops in nine months. Impossible. So it stayed a one-sided quilt. Still like the idea, though…

You can view more quilts from the "little box" here, watch a video about it here, and read more about each quilt here.

Next week is one of my favorite quilts–in fact, our now four-month-old Charlie uses it for a bit of tummy time every day. It's called "Buttermint Swirls." Hope to see you back here next Friday for the story behind the quilt.

4 thoughts on “Baby Quilt Friday!: I Love Mama”

  1. I’m always wondering if we’ll drive slowly when we’re sweet little old ladies! (Or grumpy ones, like I’ll be.)
    Course, some of us are approaching this stage of life much quicker than others!
    Thanks for a fun read, Jenny!


  2. I also love that visual of the little old lady! I tend to follow them, too, and say “Thank you for helping me follow the speed limit. Thank you for helping me follow…” susie


  3. What a wonderful visual you gave for sewing stretchy fabrics. Little old lady with tighty whitey curls. Ha
    I love the idea of a reversable quilt, I Love Mama and I Love Dada. That would be sweet.


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