Wednesday, February 24, 2021

A Goal Completed, A Pause to Reevaluate

Often, or at least sometimes, I think I have the plan of a quilt worked out, especially if it's a simple quilt, and then I lay out the blocks, take a look, and realize that maybe, just maybe, I need to reevaluate--stop making blocks, pull other possible fabrics, reconsider--and possibly change direction.  That's what I'm doing now with this baby quilt.  Maybe this will go in the direction I started but maybe not.  (A few words about the photos:  they were all take with a flash, which may tell you how light these blocks really are!)

It's a calm, gentle quilt.  Light, sweet, almost not there.  But isn't that what I had in mind, at least for the background, I ask myself.  Calm, soothing, sweetness and light?


All along I'd envisioned groups of four blocks with sashing, specifically of the fabric below, an Edyta Sitar print called "Hops" from her Super Bloom collection,


with circles of this fabric below (the exact size yet to be decided) in the center of the four squares formed by the sashing when four blocks are sewn together. 
The goal is a quiet, calm quilt.  But I'm wondering if this is too calm, if this print will completely disappear amongst the little light squares (and if it does, would I mind that?).  So I tried a different potential sashing fabric


and pulled two other fabrics that might work for the circles (folded in the centers of the blocks in the first photo, below, and along the side in the second photo).  I'm also questioning the white cornerstones.  White?  Unless the cornerstones are a darker color, I think white is the only color that will stand out against the lights in the blocks.


There are so many considerations when making a quilt.  Fabric, colors, prints/plains/plaids, size, layout, and on and on.  Sometimes maybe I spend too much time thinking about the details.  When the quilt is finished, will it matter if I use that particular pink fabric for the sashing, or that particular fabric for the circles, etc.?  I admire people who can just choose and sew.  It's a talent I don't have.

I've increased the size to 45" x 54" or 5 blocks by 6 blocks.  Not such a baby quilt but a quilt a baby can use when little and grow into, too.  I will need 120 little squares and have sewn 93 of them.  I've started adding a little white to some of the blocks.  I think I can do that without it seeming odd because I have a fourth of the blocks yet to sew.  

I'm still dithering about the backing fabric, too.  Flannel or not, or what is softer than regular cotton but not flannel?  I never trust that flannel won't get bally (except if it's in a shirt that's already been worn and washed and hasn't gotten bally by the time it gets to the thrift store, but who can find enough of the same shirts in the perfect fabric for a back?).  And even though I've searched at stores and online I haven't found a flannel I think would look great on the back of this quilt.  People tell me Robert Kaufman flannels are good quality.  What other cotton is soft?  What has been your experience with flannels or other soft fabrics?

I can't delay making decisions too long because I may have to order fabric and the baby's arrival is in just over two months.  I don't work well under pressure so I tell myself that it's not really a problem to give a baby a quilt when she's a month or two old.  (But better when she's first born, of course.)

I'm linking this post to One Monthly Goal February Finish link-up at Elm Street Quilts.  My goal was to begin this quilt and the original post is here.  Thanks for hosting, Patty. 

--Nancy.

16 comments:

  1. I think the bigger size is a nice idea, and I really like the white cornerstones. Whatever you decide, it's going to be such a gentle pretty quilt.

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    1. Thank you, Cynthia.  I'm trying out a different sashing fabric since I would have to order more of the Hops and who knows how long it would take to get here!  I bought batting today but I still have to find backing.  I agree, I think the bigger size will be better and be used longer.

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  2. I like the large size you're planning, it makes the quilt so much more useful for her first several years. Also love the pink sashings with the white cornerstones. Another idea might be to add a few scattered applique hearts in that same sashing fabric instead of circles. Whatever you decide in the end, you're going to have a wonderfully sweet quilt.

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    1. Thank you, Pat.  I hadn't thought of hearts instead of circles.  I think my daughter might think them too sweet in addition to all the pink in the quilt.  It's a great idea I'll have for another time.

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  3. I also like the white cornerstones--and I love the gentle tonal quality of this one..so comforting..nice work hugs, Julierose

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    1. Thank you, Julie.  I'm pleased that you and and several others give thumbs up to the white cornerstones.  They seem just right to me but I may change them if I need to change the sashing fabric (because I don't have enough of Edyta Sitar's Hops).

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  4. I LOVE your original choices. Think they are perfect. And you are right about the final size. Minke makes a wonderful soft back but is a bear to work with and I don’t know about hand quilting it, which I assume you will do. It’s going to be beautiful, whatever you decide.

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    1. Thank you, Jennie.  I asked about minky on the hand quilting Facebook page.  Several people said they'd hand quilted with it on the back and had no problem (which really surprised me) and others said don't even try it.  And one person told me about the awful qualities of minky fabric including that it was a synthetic, when cut sent out little bits of fiber that bother the nose and lungs, etc.  I'm a natural fiber lover anyway so was hesitant to even think about using it except I know it's so very soft.  I hope I can find some good flannel.  When I went to the quilt shop today they had a bib made out of some wonderful flannel but they didn't have any more.  And it would have been perfect.  I'll keep looking.

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  5. I really like the pink sashing with the white cornerstones! Have you considered Minky or Cuddle for the back? When I was still working at the quilt shop, using Minky for kids quilts was a given. I agree that Kaufman has some nice flannels though. Also, Woolies, if they are still around. Moda has some nice flannels from Primitive Gatherings, but those are probably darker colors. In the end, I know it will be a treasure!

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    1. Thank you, Karen.  I actually did think about minky (even though I'm not a fan of synthetic fibers) because I know it is so soft.  I have heard that it's easy to hand quilt and that it's almost unquiltable by hand.  I don't think I have time to experiment for this particular quilt. 

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  6. This is so pretty. You can't go wrong no matter what you choose. As I was scrolling through the pictures I wondered about using the first fabric for the circles and surrounding them with white rick rack. I know, it's a bit out of the box. You can tell I was raised in the 50's.

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    1. Thank you, Robin.  A white border around the pink-ish fabric is a fun idea, though I've never been a fan of rick rack, even as a child.  And I have no idea why.... 

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  7. I love everything about this quilt! The blue stripe, no cornerstones is my fave sashing.

    I am not totally sure you need the circles, maybe a few scattered circles. Hopefully this will be a much used and washed quilt, much loved---so a beautiful utility quilt.

    As new moms keep telling me and prob you know, newborn babies cannot use any covers at all! So the larger size is perfect.

    I use Lands End sheets for flannel backings and so far no pilling but I don t wash my quilts often. I personally use Company Store "velvet" flannel sheets and with many washing over many years not a pill to be seen. Very soft. A twin size would maybe be enuf for two baby quilts. $$$ but so soft. Be sure to only get the Velvet ones. [they aren't velvet, that is just a trade name.]
    https://www.thecompanystore.com/legacy-6-oz.-velvet-cotton-flannel-flat-sheet/EA73.html

    lizzy

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    1. Thank you, Lizzy.  I love your enthusiasm.  I like the blue stripe sashing, too, but my daughter and I agree on a more pink quilt.  I'll have to make more blocks and use the blue sashing for them.  (You know I don't like blue very much but there are some that I love and this particular striped fabric has one of those blues.)

      I'm still considering whether or not to add circles.  The quilt will be 5 blocks by 6 blocks but the circles will be 4 x 5 since they go between two blocks.  That will make it hard to have symmetrical placement for the circles.  I'll have to play a little.
      I hardly ever think of a baby quilt in a crib.  I always imagine swaddling a baby in a quilt and cuddling him or her.  Our daughter kept their house pretty cool when their second baby was born.  She was an unhappy baby (I personally thought it was because she was cold) so she was wrapped in a quilt all the time I was there except for diaper changes and when I wasn't holding her.  That quilt was, and this quilt will also be, big enough for the baby to grow into.

      Thanks for the heads up about Lands End and The Country Store flannel sheets and the link to The Country Store ones.  Have you hand quilted the Lands End ones?  So many sheets have so many threads/inch that they would be nearly impossible to hand quilt.  In general I think of sheets as expensive purchases but I calculated the cost per square inch of both regular quilting fabric and the CS sheets.  Guess which was less expensive?  The sheets from The Country Store!  

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  8. Thanks for linking up with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal and congrats on your finish.

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I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading what you have to say. Thanks for stopping by.

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