Friday, August 30, 2013

Country time baby quilt.

This is the project that I've had planned, in the back of my mind, ever since I first found out my brother and sister-in-law were having a baby. It's the Country Time Quilt, from Alicia Paulson's Embroidery Companion book.
First of all, please excuse my wet hair and rubber boots. :) And the generally bad detail photos. I ran out of fabric for the binding and couldn't buy more until last Saturday, which was the day before the baby shower. So I didn't actually finish the quilt until the evening before the shower, and I didn't get photos until Sunday morning. The close up photos turned out so dark that I had to try to lighten them.

I really love how this turned out. :) Of course I'm pleased with the crib quilt, too, but I wanted my niece to have a quilt she could drag around and have picnics on and nap with anywhere. I originally planned on five different fabrics. I picked out four fabrics at Hobby Lobby: the darker pink (which has white polka dots), the lovely green with sweet white flowers, the gray polka dots, and the Mother Goose toile (which is ridiculously adorable!). And I already had some pink gingham I planned on mixing in. When I was randomly laying out the squares, I thought that there was a little too much of the dark gray, so I took out half of the six squares of that color and substituted with some green damask-type print I had left over from the lining of my purple coat.

There are six embroidered squares on the quilt. It's incredibly convenient that they're farm animals, and not only that, but they're animals that we actually have on our farm. With the exception of ducks and the cow, though we had milk cows several years ago. :) I really wanted to add in a goat but I couldn't find a cute goat image to embroider.

The book calls for the animals to be mostly outlined in chain stitch. I never, ever use chain stitch. I don't think I've used it since I practiced my very first stitches on a piece of scrap fabric several years ago. But being the slightly obsessive person I am, I wanted to follow the instructions as much as possible (plus Alicia Paulson is like an embroidery/sewing/knitting queen, and I trust her judgment on such things :). So I used a chain stitch for the most part. You can see how my stitching improved as I progressed and stopped trying to rush through it...these are in the order I stitched them, except for the rooster and sheep. The rooster was the first one I finished.


Here's the thing: I did more embroidering and hand stitching on this quilt than I've ever done on a single project in my whole crafting career. And maybe that's why feels so special to me. :) I pieced the squares by machine and attached the binding to the front likewise, but everything else was done by hand: the embroidered animals, the quilting, the label and attaching it, and sewing the binding to the back of the quilt. Of course, it is a pretty small quilt: about 37 x 37.

Yes, I said the quilting. I quilted something by hand! And it wasn't half bad! The only problem I had was keeping my stitches even. I don't know if I was using the best sized needle for this type of thing, and plus I was rushed because the baby shower was quickly approaching. The emphasis was more on finishing the quilt in time rather than making sure each stitch was perfect and even. :) I used DMC perle cotton in number 8...I bought one of those little balls of it and didn't even use it all.

I did learn that thimbles make me even more awkward and fumbling than I already am. I had to wear one part of the time because I got a very sore dent in one fingertip from the needle, but I struggle with a thimble.

Hand quilting is surprisingly quick when you're being sort of haphazard about it. :) I honestly think I could hand quilt a queen-sized one for my bed just as fast as I could using the walking foot on my machine. Or even quicker...I could tie it. :) That idea is becoming more and more appealing to me.

{The back of the quilt was a sweet tiny floral print that I wanted to use on the front, but it didn't match the pinks. So I compromised and used it as the back.}

The instructions didn't call for a binding, but I love quilt bindings so much that I had to add one. After I made sure it wouldn't interfere with the embroidered animals, that is.

For it to include so much hand sewing, this little quilt came together surprisingly quickly. I was averaging one animal a day, except for the cow and horse because they were larger, and I finished the ducks and pigs in one day. Cutting out the squares and piecing them together took no time at all. The hand quilting took me about seven hours...I started around noon one day and finished that evening. The label and binding took another few evenings.

I really love this Mother Goose fabric. So many nursery rhyme characters make appearances: the three blind mice, Jack and Jill, Little Miss Muffet, blackbirds in a pie, Humpty Dumpty, Little Bo Peep, etc. Mother Goose herself is even featured. :)

It feels nice to have two big baby gifts finished. :) And while I will never be one of those constant quilters who sews hundreds of tiny pieces together perfectly in intricate patterns, I think I'm getting a bit more confident about quilting with each one I make.

Just in case you're wondering, the memories wrapped up in the making of this quilt are primarily the awesome show Monk (which I will be writing about soon) and this lovely album called Gold and Rust.

Until next time,


  1. Cute! I love the embroidered blocks and the fact that it is hand-quilted... so special. :D

  2. Little Stella is sure blessed with a sweet Aunt !! I can see you two having picnic tea parties on that quilt! :-)

  3. Oh, that is gorgeous! I love the embroidery and the way the green and pink look together.


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