The Baby’s Quilt

Though we’ve usually been blessed with great neighbors, we haven’t maintained ties with all of them. As we’ve moved, or they have, some friendships have faltered. Others, though, remain.

Seventeen years ago we moved to a new home. The neighbors to our right had lived across the street from us at our previous home. They thought they could get away, but we followed them! And next to them lived a woman with her daughter, a beautiful girl about five years older than our son. Over the years The Girl and Son developed a special relationship. When he began taking clarinet as a fifth grader, he balked at practicing, which led to frustration for all of us. The Girl played clarinet in the high school band, and we asked her to sit with him while he practiced. With that simple solution, he practiced willingly and improved dramatically. And they forged a friendship that continues to this day.

The Girl grew up and moved to college. After grad school she married a high school classmate. As a wedding present I made this mock-Amish quilt. It has a disappearing 9-patch center. I’ve always liked the graphic impact of it.

Last fall we found out that The Girl and her husband are expecting a baby, due in a couple of months.

In January I decided to demonstrate how to turn a medallion center block on point. I considered what center block to use and chose a star-in-a-star. Years ago I made a wall hanging with a similar design, and it had an Amish feel, too. So as I pulled fabrics for the tutorial, I looked for a mixture of darks and brights to emulate it.

What I found surprised me. My stash is full of bits and pieces. Until last year I rarely bought a full yard of anything, unless I had a plan for it. Often I run out of fabrics with just scraps to go, and often I sub in others for those that have run out. But I had enough left of a dark purple to create setting triangles and a border. And I knew this would become a special project, much more than a tutorial sample.

This would become The Baby’s quilt.

The purple fabric was from the back of the wedding quilt you see above. As a friend said, “the wedding quilt is having a baby quilt!”

The Baby’s quilt, 46″ square. 2014.

You’ve seen the back of the quilt already, but here it is again.

Construction of the top was very simple. The focal point a variable star framed by variable star points. The complete star-in-a-star measures 16″. With the striped green interior border, the center is 20″. Turning the center on point took it to about 28.25″. For the last purple border, I cut it as wide as I could, given what little fabric was left. The finished quilt is 46″, and I think by chance the proportions came out very well.

Then I was faced with quilting. While I could have done a simple edge-to-edge pattern, I wanted something to highlight the shapes. For the first time I used a ruler base and ruler with my long-arm machine, to create a zigzag design around the outer border, and to echo the interior lines. Besides that, I free-motioned a spiky leaf through most of the background. I still have a lot to learn with my quilting, but generally I’m very happy with how it turned out.

The last challenge will be delivering the quilt and watching while it is opened. Because The Girl lives in another state, we hope to use Skype or FaceTime to see them open it.

Good neighbors are special, but good friends are precious. We are fortunate that The Girl, her husband, and her mom continue to be part of our lives. And we look forward to meeting The Baby later this year.

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24 thoughts on “The Baby’s Quilt

  1. Gudrun Biemann

    I enjoyed the story, and the quilt. It feels good to step out of one’s comfort zone and try something different, as in the pieced back, which btw is great, does it not? I am in complete agreement on your thoughts of friendships.

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    1. Melanie in IA Post author

      Comfort zone… yes, I try to keep pushing the edges of it. Making the back was quite uncomfortable, but the success with it will encourage me to try again.

      Thanks for reading and commenting today.

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      1. Barb

        I loved your backing with your pinwheel on the back.
        Great inspiration. You are still 1. On my list. Tell your hubby awesome picture. I look forward to your blog.

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  2. shoreacres

    If I just were to see the front and back of the baby’s quilt and was forced to choose a favorite side, I’d take the back. But taken together with the wedding quilt, the baby quilt is perfect – and the colors are luscious!

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  3. Kathy Aho in MInnesota

    The baby quilt is so nice! But the quilt that I love even more is the D9P center on point Amish inspired one at the top. What a wonderful idea to use D9P (something I know how to make) in a new way! Thank you for this idea! And congrats also on the lovely baby project!

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    1. Melanie in IA Post author

      Thanks, Kathy. D9P is easy and kind of fun. For this one, the “legs” are navies and dark purples, the centers are red, and the corners are brights. The traditional version might be a Trip Around the World. I considered making it that way but all the little pieces seemed a little daunting, though not hard.

      Thanks for reading and commenting today.

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  4. TextileRanger

    I would have never thought of building a baby quilt from a wedding quilt, but what a great idea! I love the back, and I also love the combination of the zig-zag lines with the wandering leaf quilting. The different elements combine into a piece that goes above and beyond ordinary quilts.

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    1. Melanie in IA Post author

      I would have never thought of it, either. And if they ever have more babies, those babies will not have same. 🙂

      Thanks for the nice comments. It’s been … since early last year that I made a quilt for someone specific. This was a good way to start up again.

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  5. Thread crazy

    Oh Melanie, what a great job…enjoyed the story and the quilts. The baby quilt is beautiful – great job. I also like your quilting – the design you did I think fit the fabric. I know Mom and Dad will be pleased.

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  6. Barbara Young

    What a lovely quilt. I may have to bookmark this so I can borrow the pattern. Awesome job — you have much to be proud of. Isn’t it great when people stay in your lives. I just got contacted by a friend I’ve known since 8th grade (I’ll be 60 this year). We lost contact for about 11 years, but I’m looking forward to seeing her again.

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    1. Melanie in IA Post author

      Thanks very much. And yes, it is wonderful to have long-time friends. A couple of my best friends are ones I went to grade school with. I hope you enjoy your reunion with your old friend!

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    1. Melanie in IA Post author

      Thanks, especially for commenting on the quilting. I, of course, know how inexpert it is! But I learned a lot, and it isn’t terrible. And they will love it. So … win!

      THANKS. 🙂

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  7. farmquilter

    Love it! Friends/neighbors like them are gems and you are a jewel to them as well!!! Beautiful quilts and story!

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