Sunday, June 04, 2006
Sewing Quilts for Toddlers
Due to lack of any progress to show on my log cabin, and since some of you are talking about machine quilting your quilts, I'll share these 2 little quilts...
I bound these for Little Boy back in April - this is the best photo I have showing the 2 quilts together - Little Boy barely let me snap a photo before he was dancing around with the smaller quilt! I also quilted them myself too - but more on that later...
Little Boy picked out the fabrics himself over the course of a few trips to the fabric store (a novelty fabric is a wonderful bribe so Momma can shop for 5 minutes - sometimes all the way up to 10 minutes - in peace and quiet!). We got just small cuts of the John Deere prints (they are the darker blue and brighter yellow - I have a major thing about paying big bucks for a licensed image, but how could I resist when he loves tractors so much?) and rounded it out with the less expensive race cars and airplane prints. All the fabric in the top is flannel. The backing is a super soft fleece with puppy dogs - also picked out by Little Boy.
Let's see - the bigger quilt is 47" square using 8" finished squares (so if you are good at figuring out math - not all of them are exactly 8 - I cut the fleece a tad bit off"!). This is actually a fairly generous sized toddler quilt but still fits in the crib nicely and is easy to carry around. The smaller quilt is 22.5" square - I had to cut the squares a bit smaller on this one in order to use the small tractor motifs in the center - they are 3.5". I think I pretty much used every scrap of that tractor fabric!
The idea behind the smaller quilt is that he likes to hold a blanket in the car and in the summer that can be hot! Also, the smaller blanket will be easier to wash. And, I figured if I made a smaller one we wouldn't have to lug the bigger one around with us everywhere!
Guess what? He loves, loves, loves the small quilt. Right away he snatched it up and it now lives wrapped around his little pillow (which is so flat it is more like a pancake than any pillow!). So next time you are making a toddler quilt, try making a smaller one with the scraps.
The bigger quilt he ignored at first, but I kept it in the living room and it came in handy when-ever someone visited with a baby - perfect floor quilt! And it was right there for when I read books to him. It didn't take long for that quilt to grow on him and it is now another favorite. Mary once asked me how many quilts Little Boy has - well his collection is growing! These 2 toddler quilts, the I-Spy and small blue log cabin, plus a blanket I knit for him are all done and being used - still to be quilted is a scrappy patchy.
Kids really like simple things! I think sometimes we tend to get too complicated with baby quilts when all they really want is something simple and soft, with a fun fabrics (not necessarily novelty prints), and small enough to tot around. The smaller size is good for the washing machine too.
These 2 quilts were super easy to make (I did use extra pins though with that flannel). And - I learned that fleece rolls a bit when you cut it - so you might want to cut yours a bit bigger and weigh it down with something when you cut. The nice thing about fleece though - it comes in wider widths so you don't have to piece a backing! There is no batting in these quilts - just flannel and fleece - snuggy-wuggy!
The back - not too puckery! I just loosely pinned before starting the quilting. Loosely because the pins poke me - I've got to add some big safety pins to my shopping list!
And a close-up of my "technique"... just lazy squiggles around each square using kelly green thread to match the tractors! I like to see where I am going so I set the needle down feature on my sewing machine and if I need to pivot, the machine stops with the needle down. Oh, and I haven't gotten around to copyrighting my technique or naming it for that matter, so feel free to use it as much as you want (ha, ha - this is a joke - I just had to get my little rant in). No worries about any shapes or staying in the lines, just fun. I also machine quilted his name on the smaller one.
How easy is that? And, it looks pretty cool from the back too - not sure that photo shows the quilting, but the effect is a neat checkerboard design. I don't bother trying to pull threads up and tying them, etc. on a toddler quilt to hide the starts. The thing is going to be washed and washed, so I just go back and forth a bit to really secure the stitching and don't really care that you can see every start for each square. Little Boy certainly doesn't care and I know it won't come apart in the wash so we both are happy.