baby quilt baby steps

sorry, couldn’t resist.

i finally started.  it took going out and buying polyester thread and ball needles, because i’m working with stretch knits for the most part, and will be using a zigzag stitch.  since i’ve never really used zigzag before, this is going to -probably- show what not to do at first.  a cautionary tale.  and i’ve got to tell you that it’s going to get ugly before it’s anything like nice looking.  be forewarned.

the first step was to take the three baby blankets i had and cut them into strips.  so i used the width of my clear plastic straight edge that you use with those green mats and those rotary cutters (that i hate to use because i can never figure out how to put the nuts and washers on and they end up wobbling).  anyway, i cut the width of the clear plastic ruler, which is either three inches or four, and i cut up all the blankets the short way across.  i did this without thinking, and i might have done better, because one of the blankets is considerably longer than the other, and once i cut them out i couldn’t remember if i’d turned them all the same way before cutting them.

well, i learned from that one.  so when i came to take the strips out and start piecing them together, i counted them.  turns out i had half as many of the thermal baby blanket strips (the all-white strips) as i had with the baby minnie and mickey or the evidently stolen hospital baby blanket with the bunnies.  they’re flannel, by the way.

i laid them all out on the bed, one of the thermal and four of the other two.  i arranged it so that whatever pattern butted up against the thermal strip was repeated on the other side, and alternated it between thermal strips.  then i stacked them, which you can see to the left of the picture below, and sewed them all together lengthwise.  a bunch of 3 or 4 inch strips stuck together.  right sides together.  medium speed so you don’t get stretch.  so i’m told.  sewing knits, that’s another first.

i laid them all out on top of the paper pattern that represents the cut size of the baby quilt.  it’s actually the size of the batting, which i think is 45×60.  you can see how much farther they extend than the length, and how much narrower they are than the width.

i think i’m going to have to use the resultant stripped piece (which gets narrower every time you cut a strip and then sew a seam) in the middle, as a central panel, with a border more or less wide to make up the area.  see, after trimming this pieced material, i’m going to cut the sewn strips into strips again.  i might turn it sideways, or maybe angle it.  then i’m going to sew the strips together again.  and then i’m going to cut them up again, and then sew them back up again.  i watched my quilting teacher darlyne dandridge do this one day to fabric she eventually made into bags for all the students in her class, and i was fascinated.

but this is going to be a first for strip quilting for me.  just like it’s a first for zigzag.  you can tell i’m not a professional.  just an artist.  because it’s not going to come out looking glorious because of anything i do to it, but rather despite it.  and tho my daughter would love for me to reform and do things the right way, i just can’t bring myself to do it.  if it’s on my time, it’s going to come out my way.  oh well.  i hope they’ll love it anyway.

happy birthday, someone special.

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