Baby Boy Neptune Quilt

Here’s the companion baby quilt to this earlier quilt. I took the rest of the charm pack and made little improvisational log cabins that I thought I would just stick on a gray background and call it a day. Except it looked oh so boring when I did that. I decided it was a good chance to stretch my quilt designing muscles. I was inspired by Victoria‘s approach to putting pieces of a quilt together, and was reading Gwen Marston’s Collaborative Quilting and liked the idea of a parts factory that I could move around and make different arrangements from. The zig-zags seemed like a good way to connect the different sections of the quilt and break up the solid ground of fabric.

I went to a quilt show in February, and I’m not sure if I thought of the jumbo ric-rac before I went or saw it and realized it would work with the zig-zags, but I did buy colors that would work with this quilt.I tried to follow the general shape of the ric-rac when I sewed it on, but it’ll still curl up in the wash.

I finished it up with curvy, wavy quilting lines which echo the shapes and work well with the Neptune theme of the fabrics, and put a little patch of scraps on the back.

Some friends of ours had a baby in January around the time I started working on this quilt, so I finished up the binding and was able to give it to them last week when they hosted us for a quick trip to the beach.

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Quilt 1 of 2010

I was beginning to feel like my stack of unfinished quilts would stay that way forever! I made 9 quilts in 2009, my first year of quilting, and while I had at least 7 in progress for this year, I knew I’d never catch up if I didn’t get moving. The problem was that all of my basting pins were tied up in this quilt (and have been for most of the year), and it would have been cheating to just go out and buy another set of pins. Well, going with the saying that finished is better than perfect, it’s finally done. The free motion quilting leaves something to be desired, but practice makes perfect and I’m sure the next one will be an improvement (besides being a long ways away – my other strategy for getting quilts done is to use lots of straight(ish) lines). My frustration with the quilting turned out not to be the needles falling out of my machine as much as it was that when I pushed the quilt away my stitches were fine, but I skipped stitches every time I pulled the quilt towards me, no matter how steady I thought I was in my motion. Side to side wasn’t as big of a deal, either. Hopefully it’s just an issue that practicing moving the quilt around and keeping my foot steady on the pedal would solve, and not a weird issue with the machine. From a distance, it does have a nice crinkly effect, though.

That being said, I do love the design of this quilt! I had a charm pack of Tula Pink Neptune that I used for the center of these squares, and pieces other little bits of them into the frames. The struggle I have with designing quilts is that I’m drawn to simple, modern, designs, but they aren’t challenging to make, the tops can be completed almost too quickly to be fun, and I don’t want to stay in the beginner place forever. However, all it takes is looking at Denyse Schmidt quilts like this one and this one that I love and I’m reminded that it’s worth it to make quilts that I love instead of making them to show off in some way. Plus, if I’m bored, there’s always free motion quilting to throw me for a loop! So I used lots of solids here, I think this is Kona khaki, which I bought a whole bunch of for a gender-neutral project last year that went a different direction.

The binding is a Japanese polka dot print (from superbuzzy, I think) and the backing is just two prints that I can’t see working into a top anytime soon. The finished project measures about 44″x65″, so it’s a snuggle on the couch quilt.

There’s a baby-sized companion quilt in the works for this one, that might be the next to get quilted (besides the three already quilted just waiting for their binding) if I can figure out how I want to back it. It feels good to be getting a stack of finished objects – I buy plenty of fabric that I need to actually use it sometimes, too!

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