Wednesday, August 8, 2012


My friend Janice told me when I didn't have anything to write about that I should feature the different quilts that I have made.  The first quilt I thought I would show you is a baby quilt I made last year for my cousin's first grandchild, Ellamee(Ella-me). I'm glad that I decided to do this one first because it made me sit down and organize the specifics to be able to reproduce this quilt.  I don't have a name for it.  I just always refer to it as Ellamee's quilt.

My cousin is known by many names....Carol, "Sissy", and I even call her Caroline (Carol-line) most of the time.  She, another cousin, Marie, and I were raised "like" sisters.  Our mothers were sisters in a family of seven mother being the oldest daughter and they were very close. It was only natural that their daughters would be close also. Marie and I were born just a month apart and then Caroline came along two years later.  Because of our close relationship, Caroline's son, Grayson, has always felt more like a nephew to me than just a cousin.  

I was in the process of making quilts for my CO grandchildren when Grayson's daughter Ellamee was born, but I took a little break so that I could make a baby blanket for Ellamee. 

Erica, Ellamee's mother, wanted pinks and greens for the quilt.  When I went shopping for material with my quilting friends, we saw all sorts of pretty fabrics in pinks and greens.  I wanted to make a quilt that would "grow" with Ellamee as she grew so I sorta steered away from the cute baby prints.  I also prefer the bright and bold colors instead of pastels.

I guess I should say that I had seen a picture somewhere (my memory isn't what it used to be) of a quilt that I liked.  I had sat down with pencil and paper and after doing a lot of math, I had drawn the quilt pattern out and figured out the final specifics for making the quilt.  So I knew how much material I needed to buy. I also knew that I wanted to put flannel on the back but cotton prints on the front.

I got all my material that day for the quilt, but later when I was deciding the arrangement for the center squares, I decided I needed to have another print with a white background.  It isn't always easy to go buy more fabric after you have started a quilt, but I was lucky and found a white background print that went well with the other ones at a quilt shop nearby.

This is the layout for the quilt.  It isn't drawn to scale.  I did this on excel....first time I have ever attempted to do this.  There is probably an easy way to do this, but so much of what I know re the computer, I have learned from trial-and-error.  The quilt consists of a center that is 4 squares x 6 squares, (the squares are finished 5"), an inner 2" border, a 2 1/2" border that is made of rectangles using the same prints from the center squares, and an outer 4" border.  The inner and outer border was made using the same print. The finished size of the quilt was 37" x 47".  

Here are the requirements for this quilt:

                         8  fat quarters (different prints) 
                         1/4  yard for inner border
                         1/3  yard for outer border
                         1/2  yard for inner and outer border if you use the same
                         1  1/2  yards for backing
                         3/8  yard for binding
                         1  1/2  yards batting

                         three  5  1/2" squares for the center squares from
              each fat quarter
                         four rectangles  3" x   5  1/2" from each fat quarter for 
              the rectangular border
                         two strips  2  1/2"  x  30  1/2"  (sides - inner border)  
                         two strips  2  1/2"  x  24  1/2"  (top/bottom - inner
                         two strips  4  1/2"  x  39  1/2"  (sides - outer border)
                         two strips  4  1/2"  x  37  1/2"  (top/bottom - outer 
                         one  39"  x  49" from flannel for backing
                         one  39"  x  49" from batting
                         five - six strips  2" x  width of fabric for binding 

          All seams are 1/4".
I started sewing the quilt top together with the center squares.  The center of the quilt is made with the 5  1/2" squares cut from the eight fat quarters.  Each print is used three times. 

Here is the arrangement I used for them when I gave each print a number:

     6   1   3   7
     2   5   8   4

     4   7   6   2

     8   3   1   5

     5   2   4   8

     1   6   7   3

After deciding the placement of each print, I sewed each row (four squares) together and pressed every other row the same direction.  (That way the rows fitted together nicely at the seams when I sewed them together) Then I sewed the six rows together matching the seams. I pressed the seams going in the same direction. When this center section is sewed together, it will measure  20  1/2"  x  30  1/2".

With the center squares done, I started adding the borders.  I started with the inner border.  I used a stripe print that had all the colors that I was using in the quilt.

Using the two strips cut 2  1/2"  x  24  1/2" inches and the two strips cut  2  1/2"   x  30  1/2" ,  I sewed the longer strip on the sides first, and pressed the seam toward the strip.
After that I sewed the strips that were 24  1/2" long across the top and bottom of the quilt top.  I also pressed these seams toward the strip.  

The next border is made from the prints that I used in the center section. These are the four rectangles  3"  x  5  1/2"  cut from each of the fat quarter prints.  After deciding on the arrangements, I made two identical rectangular strips that were eight rectangles long by sewing the narrow ends together.  Then I made two identical rectangular strips that were six rectangles long.  I didn't use the leftover 2 rectangles. I pressed the seams going in the same direction.

It is hard to see in my picture, but if you look closely at the picture of the quilt top, you might see that the opposite sides are reversed for this rectangular strip border.  (for side is 1, 2, 3, 4,... and the opposite side is...4, 3, 2, 1)  I did this so that no rectangle matched up with the immediate square from the center.

I pinned the longer strips on the sides, making sure that the seams of the eight rectangular strip lined up with the seams from the center squares.  That meant that the strip was longer on both ends than the quilt top so far.  (I waited to cut off the extra piece until after I sewed the other strip on.) I pressed this seam toward the inner strip.

Now I was ready to sew the rectangular strip to the top and bottom.  Once again I lined up the seams from the center squares with the seams from the rectangles.  There was a little extra fabric on both ends of these strips.  After sewing the strips on, I  again pressed the seam to the inner strip and then cut off the excess fabric from the strips both ways.

The outer border was cut 4  1/2" wide.   Since I wanted to be able to match the stripes on the fabric with the inner border, I cut the strip 4  1/2" x  the width of the fabric.  That way I had material to "play with" to make sure they would match up.  After I sewed (sewing the sides first and then the top and bottom) and pressing the seams toward the outer border, I cut straight across the ends cutting off the excess fabric.    

As I said, the finished quilt top was 37" x 47".  I used warm and natural batting and flannel for the back.  I machine quilted the three layers together with diagonal stitching both ways over the center square section.  This made an X in each square.  Because the inner border was only a finished 2" wide, I didn't stitch anything on it.  Instead I did an outline stitch (1/4 of an inch all the way around) on the inside of the rectangular strip.  I also stitched "piano keys" in the outer border and then an X in each corner

I finished the quilt with a binding made from  2 - inch strips sewed together.   I like to cut the strips 2" so that after I fold it down the middle and then sew it on with a 1/4  inch seam, the remaining strip rolls over nicely so I can slip stitch it on the back.  That way the binding is the same width on the back as it is on the front.

In this picture you can sorta see the flannel back and the embroidery nameplate I handstitched on.  A friend, Carolyn, made the nameplate.  It has Ellamee's name, her birth date and my name.

Here are some "patterns" you might notice if you look closely at the picture of the finished quilt:

The stripes on the fabric of the opposite sides of the outer border match.  
The stripes of the fabric of the outer border and inner border match.  (I     
did this so that the two borders would have the appearance of being a continuous piece of fabric with the rectangular border just a strip sewed on top.)
No print appears twice in any row or column in center section.

(I am really into "patterns" as I taught math and the role that "patterns" play in math.  They are so much fun!  Do you notice any "patterns" I didn't mention?)
As you can see, I purposely chose prints that were "girly" instead of "baby" so that Ellamee could enjoy the quilt as she grows.  When she is older, it should be a nice lap size quilt for her.  I hope that she enjoys the quilt, half as much as I enjoyed making it for her.

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