Archives for posts with tag: Baby quilt

This is a short story, a sad story and a happy one.

Several years ago I became friends with a family of four. Eventually, my then-boyfriend met them, too. Their children were part of our wedding. We started meeting at their house a few times a month with other young couples.

Then babies started happening. There was one due in June, one in July, one in August (ours!), one in September, and one in October – one per family, all in a row!


It was wonderful being pregnant with friends. We shared joys and tears, ate whatever we wanted while we could keep it down, and we dreamed together about our children.

Then we got the news:  October Baby didn’t make it out of the first trimester. It was our friends’ baby, the one whose siblings were in our wedding.

We mourned, we wept, we supported.


Months passed, and the babies started coming. Finally, my child arrived. When our friends came to visit at the hospital, they had news:  they were pregnant again!

I wish I could say this baby went full term, but she did not. Again, we mourned, we cried, we believed this was not the end of the story.


When I learned Esther was on her way, I determined to do something special. I came up with a design using forty sawtooth stars in 3 sizes. Every week, I made a star and prayed for Esther in her mother’s womb.


I was finishing the binding when she arrived, perfect and full term and beautiful. Her presence does not make up for the pain of her lost siblings, but we are all so thankful she is here, and we love her so very much!

For the full story, including some very real and powerful vulnerability on the part of Esther’s mama, see the blog at shaileyratliff.com

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This is a sad story.


It’s a story of a little one who was loved and hoped-for…


…All the days of his life.

His mama was overjoyed to learn he was there. She cried when she told me. I cried, too. J’s sister hadn’t made it out of the first trimester. I didn’t know her, but I began praying for him. Each week I made a pinwheel block. I planned to vary the sizes. 

But then I got word. At eleven weeks, they couldn’t find his heartbeat. He only measured seven weeks. We were heartbroken!

His mama started going for long hikes while his father was away on tour. I finished his quilt – so much smaller than we hoped for!


I can’t write this without tears in my eyes. My one-year-old naps beside me, but instead I think of his would-be friend. I think of my dear friend, mother of two but unable to hold either. There are no words, no ways to make it better. But I’m still here, sad and grieving, too. And J still has a quilt, because he matters, he is loved, and he is missed.

Oh, this is a special one.

  

It began with redemption and forgiveness, with the belief that truth ultimately wins, but in the meantime, there’s no reason to be idle.

  
It became a gift of love, as quilts always are, but this time the hours really were countless, combining handwork and machine like I’ve rarely done before.

   
The quilting is somewhat spontaneous, a Kraken-like creature with movement and energy.

 
And the top, well, I love it’s frenetic, imperfect sponteneity. 

During the last 3 months of my pregnancy, I unexpectedly had some extra time on my hands. I used it to hand-cut and -piece 16 Farmer’s Wife blocks. Later, I combined them with extra elements into a baby quilt for some of our dearest friends’ first child. It finished at 37×39 inches, and I added a second layer of batting scraps to give it extra tummy-time softness. For the first time, I quilted the entire thing with my regular foot – and it did great! 

It is rare for me to work in all solids. These particular colors remind me of graphic novels – superheroes and anti-heroes and bold, grim realities in need of justice. Not coincidentally, our friends are comic fans, and artists, too. “Pow!” seemed like an apt title to reflect this, as well as the power and vigor of new baby life.

The little one was born a few days ago, so I hustled to get done. They live too far for us to visit easily, but this package is now on its way, carrying our love and joy with it! Looking forward to the day when we can all be together again – baby boys in tow!

This was a long time in the making. I started piecing it in 2009, my first patchwork quilt ever! It had been sitting, basted, in a drawer. I was hesitant to finish it because I have grown so much since then! All the fabric is super cheap, and the hand-piecing is awkward. I think the quilt even predates my use of rotary cutters!

   
   
Everything was so awkward I couldn’t imagine wrangling it under a machine to any success, so I turned to an old standby – hand-tying!

I don’t keep much cheap fabric around these days, but I had scraps of an old sheet that made a perfect binding.

   
 
Long ago this was meant to be a crib quilt. Our baby doesn’t actually sleep in a crib, though, so maybe it will be a floor mat? Those ties will be fun for Baby to grab during tummy time! I was being cheeky, too, with the dollar bills print, imagining I’d teach our children that money does grow on trees! Ha!

Quilt stats:

  • 39×58 inches
  • Hand-pieced
  • Hand-tied
  • Machine bound
  • Begun 2009, completed 2016

I love finishing something because I get so excited about the next things on my list! Can’t wait for the next finish!

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts’ Finish-it-up Friday!

I am attempting to finish some quilts stashed in my wardrobe. This one I started last year. All finished, it measures about 36×42 and could be a baby quilt or a “soaking quilt”, a lap quilt to drape over oneself when spending time resting with God.

   
 

The back is a soft sheet from a thrift store, while the front is chambray and quilting cotton. I really enjoy making quilts of this size because they allow for more detailed quilting, and the sense of satisfaction at completion comes sooner! It also gives me a smaller form to play with design without the commitment of a much larger quilt. Hoping to make many more of these in the future!

We have come to the end of the first quarter of 2015! I had four quilty goals, and though I made tremendous progress, I only fully completed two. My first was a baby quilt, and this second is – surprise! – also for the baby!

      

I pieced the top from sampler blocks, then sandwiched it with two layers of batting scraps and a favorite IKEA print on the back. I think all that wacky batting affected the tension as I wrestle-quilted each block separately. Going back and sinking threads was also time consuming. But over all, I love it! Until the little one is ready for tummy time, it may drape over a crib or changing space to facilitate vision development. Mommy will at least love looking at it – if I can ever tear my eyes away from him once he is here!

Once upon a time I fell in love with an adorable fabric, and I made the cutest baby quilt top I could imagine. Thanks to recent snow days (and encouragement to Finish-Along), it is now finished!



And it’s about time, too, because come August…



… Our family of two will become three!

Looking forward to lots of baby and pregnancy sewing to come! Oh, and the bun in the oven, needless to say, is a dream come true. We can’t wait to meet our tiny human soon!

My neighbors – at least for the next 4 weeks – are having a baby! About a month ago I felt like this particular little girl required a quilt from me.

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Baby Ari’s quilt was made by stitching swaths of fabric together into one long rectangle. Then I folded it up and sliced off strips of various widths. Those strips then came together in a sort of log cabin pattern. Backing is a vintage sheet, binding is black and scraps, and the finished quilt is not quite 41 inches square.

Ari’s baby shower is Sunday. It will be my last shower for awhile since, from what I understand, baby showers are an American cultural phenomenon. I am so happy to be able to celebrate my friends in this distinctly American way!