baby quilt – the corners

i’m sort of almost finished with my baby quilt.  at this point i’m starting to reflect on the mistakes i made.  number one is too much bulk.  the damned thing must weigh 20 pounds.  no human baby could use this for a real blanket, it’s going to have to be a play blanket.  or hang on the wall, which means i need to put a sleeve on the back.

you can see below where i’ve been sewing down the baby clothes onto the sandwiched quilt.  in effect, i’m quilting the top by stitching clothes onto it.  but this leaves big gaps where there is no quilting.  and this is important, because when you plan to wash something 50 times, you’re going to have any loose batting bunching up inside your quilt.  not that anybody’s going to be able to tell.  it’s already so lumpy that it’s not funny.

in order to reduce the size of the quilted area, say to something around 3″ between quilting lines, i’ve got to go in and do stealth sewing, so that the top layer of the clothes still comes off the surface and can be played with by little hands.

the yellow pin, above, shows where i’ve got to go in and stealth quilt.  the area is the white onesie underneath the oshkosh b’gosh overalls.  i’m going to put something here, like a heart, but i’ll have to change presser feet first to a quilting foot, so that i can do it free motion.  the big advantage there is that i don’t end up having to turn the fabric around the needle, but can just move the needle in any direction.  i don’t figure it’s a good idea to do this when i’m using zigzag stitch because of the stretch fabrics, but i’m not that expert a sewer, and don’t really know.

one thing you don’t want to do is expect good stitching from me.  it’s all over the place, and i don’t really care, because i’m not sure why.  as long as it  holds together, i don’t mind clumsy stitching, careless sewing.  the more amateur the better, like naive art, especially since it’s the best i can do, anyway.  it’d be different if i could sew and did it this way on purpose so i could look folk.  but i really don’t sew that well, and so i’m a genuinely bad sewer.  another reason i don’t want to be paid for doing these sewing projects i do, because i’d have to have a much higher standard of workmanship than i’m willing to put into it.  and i’m not willing to tear out stitches to please someone else.  it was hard enough doing a quilt for my sister.  now i just do them and present them, and don’t involve the recipient in the design process.  and if i were to be paid for it, i still wouldn’t involve them.  you get what i make.  i don’t have time to do it your way.

here are the quilting lines i went back and put into the bubble suit.  i had to be careful to stitch down the back of the piece of clothing so that the top would still be able to be opened.

once i had done this to all of the large areas, it was time to take care of the corners.  i had left the corners to the end, not sure what to do with them, but had a few weeks ago decided i wanted to put in corners made of heavy denim, and to let them ravel in the wash by top stitching them on rather than right sides together and hidden seams.  i had to measure each corner because the quilt didn’t match at any corner.  i cut out two pieces of heavy denim from some huge vest i got at the thrift store and have been keeping in stash since.  then i carefully pinned them to the quilt, carefully because as usual i cut the smallest possible corner and had to really fit the border ends inside it.  i’m dumb that way, too, as well as the stitching problem.

unfortunately i didn’t get a picture of the corners once i’d sewn them in, but i can tell you that i went around all four sides with a straight stitch, and then a zigzag stitch inside (or in one case outside) the straight stitching.  it looks mildly interesting.  this is the place where you can really notice the stitching, because mainly it’s invisible on the quilt top and going thru all those clothes.

this is what it’s looking like with corners.  as you can see if you’ve got really good eyes, i’ve got all the zippers down and all the bib fronts unhooked, in the middle of sewing down the bits and pieces.  there’s still a little more to do to the middle, little touches here and there, reinforcing seams i know will get ripped at, things like that.  but mainly, it’s done.

except that it’s not.  i made the mistake of using stretch material for the borders.  i should have used heavy material that didn’t stretch, but i used jersey, stretch jersey, light denim, and heavy knit pants.  all different weights, all different stretchiness, all not working together very well as an edge.  you can see it won’t lay straight at all.

so i need an outer border.  another one.  something to tie everything together, something to add stability to the shitty border i put on because i didn’t know what i was doing (which you can say for this entire project).

i think i’ll use denim.  i took out everything in my denim stash drawer and put it on the work table in our bedroom.  i can get by with a one inch border, but even so i’m already working larger than 45×60, and that’s 210 union inches.  that’s over 17 feet.  so i’d better be able to get by with a one inch (that means two inches and a half).  i’m not sure i have that much denim, and i know i’m not going to be able to use a uniform weight.

so i’m going to end up with different weights of denim in the border.  and this is pretty much the problem i had with the knits as border material – different weights.  at least it’s not a stretch fabric, and i’ll be damned sure none of the denim is any kind of elasticated.  i need a substantial frame.  perhaps i should reinforce the denim with a liner fabric that won’t show but will stiffen the border.

anyway, that all waits for tomorrow.  in the meantime, i’m trying to figure out if i can fit the thing in a large priority mail box so i can ship it for a flat rate.  it’s very heavy, and very bulky, but if i put it in plastic and removed all the air…?


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