Brie’s Baby Quilt

I finished this baby quilt yesterday morning for my cousin Brie’s first baby. Given my last baby was born 8 years ago, I LOVE making anything baby. I’m thinking this must be a vicarious nesting response. It went into a Fed Ex box shortly thereafter, hopefully to arrive at my Mom’s house in time for the shower on Saturday.

The design is “>Denyse Schmidt’s Hop, Skip & A Jump. I really love the block. I made several for the blockswap that were 10” blocks. These are 13” x 15”. I found the larger size much easier to work with. I came up with my own method for piecing the block that was easier for me than using the templates in her book, I’ll save that for a later post.

The prints are a mix of vintage and reproduction fabrics. The solids are Kaufman Kona Cottons in ‘White’ KC9 and ‘Pink’ KC101. If I had more time to order fabric online I would have used two shades of pink, I think it would have added another dimension to the quilt. I pieced the back and printed my label on my inkjet printer. Here are full pics of the front and back.

This was my first attempt at machine quilting. I paid to have my first 3 quilts done on a long arm machine. Moving that task in-house was one of my goals this year. The cost savings is big but my overriding reason was to have complete control over the creation of the quilt from start to finish.

As a step towards my goal, I took a machine quilting class several months ago. Since then, I’ve been practicing on doll quilts that I donate to the guild. I’ve been procrastinating about doing it on a real quilt top. Let me tell you, doing a full size quilt (even this tiny baby quilt, finished size 45 x 52) is a whole different ball game. This was the most time consuming and frustrating part of the construction process. Now that it’s over I feel great and ready to take on… say…a twin bed quilt. I did feel an unbelievable level of satisfaction when it was completely done. I took lots of pictures while going through the process. I’m going to do a separate post on the machine quilting too.

Yes, JoJo, that is hand embroidery. Funny that you ask. It all started when I took the quilt top in to find some backing fabric. Kendra at Esther’s asked innocently enough “how are you going to quilt that?” She thought it would be great to stitch baby-related words on the white strips. Margaret said “oh, do it white on white!”. I said “oh, I could hand embroider it!”.

Once I start an insane idea like that it takes on a life of its own. No, just 2 strips wouldn’t look good, can’t stop yet. No, just having words on 2 of the rows doesn’t look balanced, better do at least one on each row. Oh, ‘and this little pig cried Wee, wee, wee! All the way home’, that has to go on, it’s just too cute, who cares if it’s 12 words. By the end of the hand embroidery (3 days worth on a completely ‘fine as it is’ quilt top) I was really beginning to question my sanity. It’s absolutely beautiful though and it really made the quilt special. Not all my pictures came out, I’m including a few that did. I did the following phrases and words: and baby makes three, sugar & spice, joy, love, XOXOXO, teeny-tiny toes, blessing, sweet dreams, peek-a-boo, and my favorite: …and this little pig cried, Wee, wee, wee! All the way home. (I put this on four different strips at the bottom.)

2/21/07: I’ve received several e-mails from readers asking for more detail on my construction process without using the templates. I would really like to do a picture heavy post of that process but I don’t think that’s going to happen in the near future. Here’s an interim description of what I did:

I have now made two quilts from the DS book. The Hop Skip Jump and the Ice Pops in a baby quilt size. I didn’t even try to use the templates on the Hop Skip Jump. One look at all those strips and I knew I’d never have the patience to cut them out. I should have followed my instinct on Ice Pops and just winged it. I was in a hurry and since I was only doing 9 blocks I thought it would be easy.

For Ice Pops I took the book down to my local copy shop and had them enlarge them to the right scale using the big 16 x 20 inch paper. He pulled out the calculator and figured out the most efficient way to enlarge them. I still had pieces going across the pages and had to cut and tape them together.

For Hop Skip Jump I decided to cut strips of fabric 15 inches long and 3 ½ to 4 inches wide. I used scissors so my edges were a bit off kilter vs. straight with a rotary cutter. I laid all my fabric strips on my design wall to decide which I would use where before I started piecing. I followed the dimensions in the book for the final block size of 13 ½ by 15 ¼. If I did it again I would probably give myself 16 inch long strips, I remember cutting the blocks down and some of them were pretty close. I figured out the width of my strips by dividing 15.25 by 8 strips. Each strip is an average width of 2 inches. Add in a ½ inch for a ¼ inch seam allowance and you get 2 ½ cut. I added another inch to inch and a half to give myself the ability to make some strips really wide.

That was the math end of cutting the fabric. The assembly then became a bit organic. A couple strips I left average size of 2 inches finished width, a couple more were skinny and the rest were fat. I tried to mimic the sizes I saw on her quilt on page 119.

The variation in the wonkiness of the strips was achieved very similarly to the skinny bits thing I recently used on my pieced heart. The basic theory of that approach is that whatever the shape of your strip you make the strip right next to it a complementary angle. When the two are sewn together they will fill out the square block. This is where I need pictures to show a visual of what I’m talking about. In general if a strip is fatter at the bottom than it is at the top then the one immediately to the right will be fatter at the top and skinnier at the bottom. Same with the strip to the left only the angle will be different. I cut these angles as I pieced the block. I didn’t try to do it in advance. This also allowed me to try and manage the width of my block, ie I had to use all 8 strips and try to get to as close to 15 inches wide as I could.

There were some blocks where I screwed up. I had 8 strips and the block was smaller than 15 inches. In that case I just undid one of the seams and added in a wider strip. I also made some too wide where if I cut it down to 15 inches wide I’d be cutting off an entire strip and only have 7 left. I just modified one of the strips to be skinnier. This whole process became more intuitive as I went along and towards the end it was pretty easy to use 8 strips and hit my target size.

In the end I love all the variation I got. After doing the Ice Pops quilt with the templates I can’t imagine trying to use templates for Hop Skip Jump. Too tedious for me. I also liked being able to rearrange my fabric strips before I started sewing. With the templates you would be locked into your fabric choices.

3/20/07:  I’ve added a new tutorial on the wavy seam.

37 Responses to Brie’s Baby Quilt
  1. Lisa D.
    May 4, 2006 | 10:44 pm

    What a sweet baby quilt! Nice work!

  2. marcisenders
    May 4, 2006 | 11:08 pm

    This is incredible! I really love the use of type!

  3. Kim
    May 4, 2006 | 11:56 pm

    Ooh! I love it. You did a freak’n fantastic job. I think I need to make this quilt too.

  4. Maitreya
    May 5, 2006 | 12:10 am

    It is wonderful!

  5. Joanna
    May 5, 2006 | 3:29 am

    That is the most gorgeous quilt I have ever seen. I’m so inspired by you! Did you email the link to Denyse Schmidt? If you don’t, I will!!!!!!!

  6. Shiso Mama
    May 6, 2006 | 6:07 pm

    that’s so wonderful! i wish i were a baby friend of yours. i especially enjoy all the hand embroidery.

  7. Meg
    May 7, 2006 | 10:17 pm

    THAT is BEAUTIFUL. Worth the effort I’d say – I’d be tempted to keep it and frame it if it were mine!

  8. Jacqueline
    May 7, 2006 | 11:20 pm

    WOW! It’s absollutely beautiful! Well done. The fabrics/colours are just perfect.

  9. Tami
    May 8, 2006 | 3:47 am

    Absolutely beautiful!!!!! I especially liked the hand embroidered sayings … I’m sure that Brie will treasure this quilt. Your present is sure to be the hit of the baby shower.

    You’re not kidding about it being hard to manage a quilt of this size on a home sewing machine for the quilting bit. You’re a better person than I to try a twin size quilt next. I’m going to keep doing the smaller sizes until I feel more comfortable with it. Can’t wait to see your post on the process.

  10. sue
    May 8, 2006 | 9:14 am

    Beautiful quilt – nicely done ! I love the colors and the quilting. You’ve done a wonderful job and I’m sure it will be a treasured gift.

  11. joyce
    May 10, 2006 | 4:58 pm

    beautiful! i’d like to make one for my baby (on the way) but i don’t know if i have time (plus i don’t know how to quilt just yet)– need to learn.

  12. gina
    May 12, 2006 | 11:10 am

    Beautiful quilt. Wonderful embrodiery. Fabulous colors. And I love the back!

    Being a Denyse Schmidt fan, I thought you would like to know…Denyse is guest writing on for the next few posts. Talking about her fabric line and other new stuff in the works.

  13. cathy gaubert
    May 16, 2006 | 4:44 am

    i don’t mean to be repetitive, but this quilt is absolutely beautiful!!! you are truly an inspiration!

  14. Amanda
    May 17, 2006 | 2:00 pm

    This is one of the most gorgeous things I have ever seen. I am totally in love with this quilt! The hand embroidery must have been very time-consuming, but it is just the perfect touch. I am wishing I were your cousin!

  15. Julie
    May 17, 2006 | 5:40 pm

    So pretty! I love it!

  16. Anamaria
    May 18, 2006 | 10:51 am

    I just found your blog via Whipup and, while I love everything you make, I had to comment on this beautiful quilt! Looking forward to reading your posts on construction techniques and machine quilting. Thanks for my daily does of inspiration!

  17. Denise
    May 19, 2006 | 8:57 pm

    Hi, the quilt looks great. I made one using Denyse’s templates but i would love to know your method since I found hers very difficult.

  18. Administrator
    May 19, 2006 | 10:27 pm

    Thank you to everyone for your kind words. I really need to get my method into a post. Hopefully Denise’s comment will get me moving on it! I say ‘hopefully’ because I always have the best intentions…

    I was taught a clever technique in a quilting class last year and I applied the same concept to that block. I also used the technique to create the curves on my pasture in the yarn farm piece. In a nutshell (I apologize if this makes no sense but in case it does it might turn a light bulb on for you and you don’t have to wait for the post):

    Take two pieces of fabric (different colors) both 10″ square in size. Lay them one on top of the other. Take your rotary cutter and cut through the middle of both in a gentle curving manner. Sort of like a wave. Not as a extreme as a drunkard’s path block but it could be that extreme once you get good at it. Look at the yarn farm pasture for what I mean by gentle. Now you have 4 pieces. 2 of each fabric that are the same shape. Take one piece of each shape (2 different fabrics) and lay them right sides together along the gentle curved side. You can’t pin because it will never lay flat. Just start sewing from the beginning and ease the two pieces together as you go along. It seems really weird the first time you do it but it works. Just open your fabrics and the whole block lays flat.

    This description sounds really lame as I write it. I used a similar technique to piece my DS blocks. I basically created the matching wavy edges between two fabrics as I went. I took lots of pictures of my DS quilt as I made it so my plan is to include a step by step in the post.

    I agree on the book’s directions. I took one look and was like no way am I going to cut out that many pieces. I also didn’t want to have to decide in advance what fabrics to go in each block.

  19. lyn
    May 22, 2006 | 9:04 pm

    What a beautiful quilt.

  20. hillary
    May 24, 2006 | 2:59 pm

    wow! it’s beautiful! and the hand quilting is amazing. I love the white on white, doesn’t compete with the original design. well worth the extra time I’d say! lucky baby :)

  21. Marti
    May 26, 2006 | 12:31 pm

    I have a real penchant for baby things lately so I am completely enamoured with this quilt. I have a feeling I’ll be leafing through my fabric stash in a short while. Lovely work.

  22. Laura
    May 27, 2006 | 5:52 am

    OMG that is like the most precious thing ever!!! Its incredible, I’m sure that it will be well cherished by its recipient!

  23. Emma
    May 30, 2006 | 12:03 am

    Your quilt is beautiful.

    I also thought the template method described in “Denyse Schmidt Quilts” looked cumbersome. I imagine that your method is similar to the way Denyse Schmidt would have originally designed the quilt. I wonder why she didn’t describe a more free form method in the book.

  24. Jone
    June 5, 2006 | 10:49 pm

    Oh Kathy….I wish that we were closer. That baby quilt is the most beautiful quilt….and whomever suggested the “white on white” was a genious, though they only saved you a little time cause you would’ve come to that conclusion on your own eventually.

    I miss you so much….maybe I’ll call soon to chat.

    xoxoxoxoxo Jone

  25. scuba gear for kittens »
    June 28, 2006 | 8:50 pm

    […] oh, me. i do worry too much. overly (needlessly) concerned with good impressions at any rate .. while im at it, i figure i may aswell link to a few more photos i discovered to-day thru the magic of google + flickr. more DSQ (predictable, no?): v. pretty “hop, skip, & a jump” as a baby quilt / an “any way you slice it” + more squares(!!), both found at a DS quiltalong on flickr. ofcourse we have all seen the last somewhere v. recently, & i have patterns for the first 2 in my DSQ book. swoon! how am i supposed to choose when everythings just so neat? […]

  26. Amy
    July 5, 2006 | 9:22 am

    Lovely quilt, the embroidery really adds a lot to the project.

  27. Sandy
    August 3, 2006 | 10:42 am

    What a darling quilt. Love the fabrics & the embroidery is so sweet!


  28. Rachel
    August 3, 2006 | 11:50 am

    PRECIOUS- having two girls of my own I am seriously having quilt envy! Like they don’t have enought blankets as it is…what really got me about this quilt, besides the obvious charm on the front, was the asymetrical pattern on the back! I love the whole thing!

  29. Ellen
    August 4, 2006 | 9:17 am

    Your quilt is beautiful! I love reproduction fabric!!

  30. Syndi
    March 28, 2007 | 7:11 pm

    absolutely gorgeous!

  31. Carol Sue
    April 5, 2007 | 5:18 pm

    LOVE this quilt! Wonderful colors and oh, so sweet! Thanks for sharing it. I think I have fabric calling for this one…..bye….

  32. Emily
    September 29, 2007 | 10:25 am

    Hey – I just saw this, I am in love! I really want to make a quilt like this! When you did the machine quilting, did you do it with a long arm machine, or did you use a regular machine? Also, did you do chain stitching for the hand embroidered words? Did you use watersoluble ink or a pencil or what for drawing the words onto the fabric? I’m new to the embroidery, and I’m thinking about trying it on a quilt soon! Em

  33. Karen
    June 13, 2008 | 9:22 pm

    Simply adorable!

  34. Rachel
    September 4, 2008 | 1:53 pm

    Wow, I know this is a really old post, but in case you are still out there, I think you’d totally win baby quilt contest with this one. I’ve been searching “baby quilts” in google to get some inspiration and stumbled across your page and I’m smitten! Those hand embroidered details! Your quilt is traditional and feminine with the pink but still so modern. Swoon. :)

  35. Michonne
    September 26, 2009 | 5:22 pm

    I know, I know, I know. But I just love this quilt. Thanks for the inspiration :)

  36. Bonnie
    September 28, 2011 | 10:42 am

    What a wonderful idea for a quick gift – love that you can use up scrap strips of any width or uneveness and it will look beautiful no matter what – well, color placement and texture WOULD have to be taken into account.

  37. Cyndi
    November 3, 2011 | 11:58 am

    I love Brie’s quilt your hand embroidery is just wonderful, since mine isn’t I have been writing those sweet words free motion in the borders of the last few baby quilts I have made.