Friday, February 16, 2007

My Favorite Baby Gift

TheManoftheHouse has a cousin who just had a baby (well "just" means before Christmas) and I'm "just" getting around to making her gift. So, I thought I'd show you how I make our favorite baby gift -- a tied quilt.
All the babies in our family (my DadLovesMeBest sister and mine) had at least two of these quilts when they were little. They all loved them, and son2 was particulary attached to his, well into his childhood. He called the little ties "nubbies" and he used to twirl them between his fingers as he fell asleep at night.
Here's a picture of the closest thing we have to a baby, wrapped up in the baby blanket:

So, you'll need:
1 1/3 yds of fabric for the top of the quilt
1 2/3 yds of fabric for the back of the quilt
1/4 yd of 4 different contrasting fabrics for the prarie points
Quilt batting
2-3 skeins of pearl cotton in a coordinating color

Preshrink your fabric. You need to cut a square of fabric from both your top and bottom fabrics. Measure the width of your fabric (after shrinking probably somewhere around 42".) Cut the length of your fabric the same as the width so that you have a square.

You need to cut 3-inch squares for the prarie points. Cut 2, 3" strips of each of the 4 contrasting fabrics, Also, cut 2, 3" strips from what's left of the backing fabric. You will now have 10 strips of fabric. Then cut 3 inch squares from each of those strips.

Fold each square diagonally. Press. Then fold diagonally again and press.

Now you'll have lots of small triangles to line up along the edge of the quilt.

Pin the triangles to the right side of the top of the quilt. Tuck the folded edge of a triangle between the edges of the triangle next to it. I've tried to figure out how to put the alignment of the triangles into words and I'm giving up -- a picture being worth a thousand words and all -- look and the picture to figure it out! ;-)

Here you can see how I align the triangles in the corner.

Sew 1/4" seam to attach the triangles to the quilt top.

Place the quilt bottom fabric on the quilt top fabric, right sides together. Stitch from the quilt top side, and stitch on top of the existing 1/4" seam, leaving a 10" - 12" opening in the middle of one side. Now, I don't have a picture of this next part, but leaving the quilt wrong sides out, place the batting against the wrong side of the top of the quilt and pin. Turn the quilt over and stitch from the quilt's bottom side, on top of that same 1/4" seamline (and don't stitch through the that 10" opening.) That makes three times sewing on this seamline. You could have put the batting in the mix during the 2nd stitching, but the batting would have been on the bottom side of the quilt and I prefer it to be on the top side. (It's hard to explain, but stitching three times makes for a nicer looking quilt from the top side.)

Turn the quilt right side out. You now have a quilt sandwich. Pull the prairie points out and gently press along the edge.

Hand stitch the opening closed.

Now, it's time to tie the quilt. Thread a tapestry needle with your "thread" of choice -- you can tie it with whatever you want -- Son2 loved his quilts tied with yarn. You can also tie the quilt wherever you'd like. I prefer to tie the quilt every 4". Sometimes the print on your fabric will "tell" you where to tie it (e.g., in the middle of every circle, on the tail of every puppy, etc.) When it doesn't, as in this case, I make a 4" square template out of cardstock and just place it along the quilt and move it along as I tie. That's 'cause I'm lazy and I don't want to take the time to mark the quilt. For you more motivated types, mark away! Move along the quilt in horizontal lines and grab stitches every 4".

Continue making rows of stitches until the quilt is covered.

Clip the threads between each of the stitches.

Tie each "tie" in a square knot. This is the best knot if you want it to stay tied.

After all the knots are tied, go back and trim the tails. I like to cut the length using my middle finger as a guide.

Voila, you have a finished quilt!

Wrap your baby up and watch TheEmptyNestChild freak out 'cause there's a new baby in the house!



KBG said...

That's really cute - AND EASY - which is something I'm always looking for.
My sister was just asking me how to hand tie a quilt and now I'll just send her here! Thanks!

Shabby in the City said...

I really love your blog...I've been looking around. Nice banner too!

Sarah said...

Oh my gosh, wow! What a lot of work, and it looks great!