Sunday, August 5, 2012

doll quilt for Ella's babies

My niece Ella has her birthday at the end of this month. Ella is Ava's younger sister & will be turning 4. Don't you just love their names - Ava & Ella? They are my only (& thus favorite) nieces. I love them both to pieces. But it is funny just how different they are. Not only in appearances, but in personality as well. Ava is spunky and high energy (read: hyper) and sometimes has her head in the clouds; which I love about her! Ella is also fun & can get a little rambunctious from time to time, but typically she is a little more laid back and sweet. Ella is a bit more sensitive than Ava perhaps. Or maybe Ava just masks her vulnerabilities better now that she is 7. But I digress...

So I decided I should start to think about what I was going to make Ella for her birthday, since it is only about 20 days away! Somehow projects always seem to take me longer than I think they are going to. My mom and I were discussing what to get sweet little Ella and she suggested a doll quilt for Ella's "babies" since Ella is at the stage where she thinks her baby is her child. She said to me the other day, while pointing to her plastic baby, "that's my kid". Which if you have ever heard her voice, you would be cracking up. She has a pretty deep voice for a little girl and it came out kind of gravely sounding. So it sounded like a 55 year old chain smoking woman saying it, but of course, the comment came out of the mouth of a (nearly) 4 year old. Again I digress....

I'm on this kick lately where I feel I should use what I have in my fabric stash rather than buying new fabric. Mostly because I realized I am already running out of room to store all of this fabric and deep down I am just not a "hoarder". So I browsed through my stash and came across a package of mini charms from Bonnie & Camille's new line Marmalade.

First of all, have you seen these mini charms? They are adorbs! I was in the quilt shop a few weeks back and the Moda rep was there as well. She gave my daughter the mini charm pack to play with as I was shopping. It was a super sweet gesture. I wish I had a picture of the mini charm pack before the little twerp got it opened and started laying out the individual squares of fabric. The mini charm packs are so cute - 2.5" squares, 42 in a pack, one of each fabric in the line, with some duplicates. I know the quilt shop ordered some for this fall, along with a book with project ideas for use with the mini charm packs. Must Not Purchase More Fabric.... EEEK! It's going to be difficult when I go in there & see those cute little mini charms.

Secondly, have you seen the Marmalade line? Have you seen it in person? My local quilt shop has the Vintage Modern line (which I also love and of which I have a fat quarter bundle), but didn't order the Marmalade line. Probably a good thing - at least for my pocketbook. I seriously should find someone who can take good pictures for me, as I know I am not doing this fabric justice. The colors are "juicy" - if that means anything to you.

After I rounded up all the little squares, and organized them by color (see previous picture), I started laying them out as randomly as my brain will allow. The picture below is what I came up with, after redoing the layout a couple times. I decided to stick with a simple patchwork design since it is just going to be a doll quilt.

Then I sewed the squares into strips.

Then I pressed the seams in oppposite directions for each row and then sewed the rows together to make one big "block", 7 squares x 6 squares. 

Then I layered up the backing, batting, and quilt top and quilted using ivory thread 1/4" away from each seam.

Close up of the quilting. Not that you can really see much with my horrible photography skills skillz.

Check out the cute backing fabric. I used one of my fat quarters from the Vintage Modern line (also by Bonnie & Camille for Moda). (Ignore my chubby fingers.)

For the binding, I cut 2 1/4" strips from my leftover backing, sewed the strips together at a diagonal, and pressed in half lengthwise. From there I machine stitched the binding to the back of the quilt, with raw edges together. Then I folded the binding over to the front and machine stitched the binding to the front of the quilt, mitering the corners. Sorry I don't have any pictures of that, but I figure if you are still reading this far, you maybe know what I am talking about. Although I should try to get some close up pictures of the stitching on the front of the binding. I got really close to the edge this time and I think it looks rrrrrreallly great.

Since I used leftover backing for my binding and because the backing fabric is directional, you'll notice that the direction of the "pez" like shapes changes a couple times around the quilt. I was hoping it would line up so it was going one direction along the long side of the quilt and the other direction on the short side of the quilt, but it didn't quite work that way. I'm okay with it since it is just a doll quilt. And it was good practice for if I ever use a patterned fabric for a binding in the future. Which I think is a very real possibility as I love love love the way it turned out - even with the messed up direction.

Hopefully Ella likes it for keeping her babies warm. But if not, it might even work for a table topper (or an extra large mug rug).

Thanks for reading.

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