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Monday, December 8, 2014

Fast and Easy Baby Quilt

My grandma lives with my parents part of the year, and one day she excitedly shared with me that she was finally going to be a great-grandma--my little cousin was expecting! 

I immediately began to mull over the possibilities of a gift for this new addition to my extended family.  A quilt?  A stuffed animal?  Every baby deserves a handmade gift, after all.  Of course, life gets in the way, and time snuck up on me.  I found out on Thanksgiving that my grandma would be leaving for her "shift" in Puerto Rico on December 10th.  I only see grandma on the weekends, so that gave me two weeks to whip something up if I wanted her to deliver the gift in person.

The following week, during a break between hearings, I made a quick detour to the Fabric and Sewing Shop in Sebring.  Sandy, the proprietor, is just the sweetest lady imaginable.  She quickly ushered me in, showing me all the new, neat things she had to offer, and this panel caught my eye:

(Pictured here already pin-basted and ready to quilt)

"Perfect," I thought.  I don't know whether my cousin is having a girl or a boy, and I was really short on time.  Sandy hooked me up with some matching flannel for the backing that is oh-so-soft and oh-so-sweet:

I wish you could feel this!
All fabrics come from the Susybee collection.  I know it's significantly more expensive, but I have yet to regret buying higher quality fabric from my local quilt shops.  It's just that much nicer, and in the case of this collection, all of the prints coordinate perfectly.  Don't worry, though--I do my fair share of bargain hunting at Joann and Hancock, too. 

Well, you already saw me layer and baste the quilt: I opted for an 80/20 cotton/poly blend batting.  So far, that's been my favorite to work with.  You'll definitely hear it if I change my mind. 

I'm getting all geared up for new project on Saturday morning (with a Sunday deadline!) when this arrives at my front door:

Oh Lordy!  My new sewing machine is here!  It's my early Christmas gift from the hubby who saw me continually get frustrated with my Singer Simple.  I don't care what people think about Singer nowadays, I just couldn't pass this machine up.  It has all the bells and whistles of a machine three times its cost, and there seem to be many very happy customers. 

I was gearing up for its arrival by watching series of YouTube videos that demonstrate how to use different features of the machine.  And yes, I also downloaded the operation manual and read it.  Needless to say, I was ready to sew right out of the box. 
And here it is in action:

Isn't she lovely?

I immediately attached my walking foot and started machine quilting this baby.  Which begs the question: how much "hand" must go into something "handmade?"  After all, I trimmed all of the pieces by hand, basted the quilt by hand, and guided it through the machine by hand.  I also finished off the binding by hand, but I somehow feel like a bit of cheat for calling it "handmade."  I guess I just need to come to terms with the difference between "hand sewn," "hand quilted," and "handmade." 
One neat feature of the Singer Quantum 9960 is the built-in alphabet embroidery.  Check out the label I made:

All in all, this quilt only took a few hours to make because there was no piecing involved, which makes it a good option for a really fast, but homemade gift.  Now I'm glad I have a few hand-me-down panels in my stash for other last minute gifts. 
Here's the final product:


I kept the quilting far apart at Sandy's advice, because it'll keep the quilt softer and less stiff than if it was more densely quilted.  I'm pretty proud of this one, y'all.  Until next time, God Bless.

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