Yay! Finished! This one is baby-sized and made for my dearest friend and college roommate, Martha, who is having a baby girl in August. I think it came out very sweet, if I dare say so myself!
Twenty years ago, when Martha and I were in school, our friend Meredith made a patchwork quilt for her sister and brought it over to our house to show us. I remember being so blown away by that — it was the first handmade quilt I'd ever seen, and it was all square patches in lots of jewel tones. I took pictures of it with my Disc camera — I bet I even have them somewhere. It was kind of an important moment. Meredith's quilt started a quilt trend among my circle of college girlfriends: Martha made a quilt and Ann made a quilt and Pam made a quilt and I made a quilt. None of us, as far as I remember, had ever made anything like a quilt before. We haunted the discount bins at Hancock Fabrics, traced each square by hand from a cardboard template, cut them all out with scissors. I don't remember us having an ironing board, but we must have. Rotary cutter? Never heard of it. We winged it all. That was our style. Over the years we have all made several more quilts (and now we have rotary cutters, too :-). But as far as I know, among all of us girls, our quilts over the past two decades are always made of a patchwork of random-ish squares. I'll never stop loving them that way. I can look at any one of our quilts now, twenty years later, and see Meredith's quilt there. And that feels like those days, to me.
The specs for this one are based on the baby-sized version from my Ollalieberry Ice Cream Quilt pattern. Finished patches are 3.5" each. This one has red gingham on the back, and a bias binding of the same red gingham (love love love). Baby quilts (like everything baby-sized!) are so nice because you can literally lay the whole quilt sandwich out on the dining-room table (which is why, as several people pointed out, there were no dogs lying on this one in-progress; I don't know where the cats were 'cause they do usually like to get in on this action [as if putting it together and keeping it smooth isn't enough of a challenge, just add a cat thinking your hand under the quilt is a mouse] ).
The quilt top and quilt sandwich came together in a couple of days. I love this pattern because all you really need is total randomnessin your design, which is my favorite way to put patches together (though this one had a pretty regular checkerboard effect going). I really wanted it to feel pale and pretty, with dots of brighter colors. But I don't lay anything out beforehand, and I don't worry about balancing colors or anything like that. I just don't like to overbalance things. I think things lose their sense of spontaneity and energy when everything is all balanced.
The funny thing is that it all sort of balances out anyway, since maybe that tendency to balance colors is innate or something. I don't know. I do know that every time I make one of these, I have this bizarre tendency to pick up a red patch every seventh time (or whatever). I don't notice it until the thing is sort of laid out and there's this big stripe of red (or whatever) going across. That didn't really happen this time, but it's happened before, and I do then try to avoid that. But mostly I just pick stuff up and put it together and don't worry.
The Ollalieberry pattern walks you through machine-piecing the patches, machine quilting the seams, and attaching the binding by machine and by hand. For this quilt, I was inspired by my other dear, redonkulously talented, and prolific friend Jane to hand quilt it. Her new book of quilt recipes and general Jane-ness is so beautiful and inspired and inspiring that it made me hand quilt this. Jane's books have such a habit of making me do things!!!
But my Martha deserves it!
When Martha's beautiful baby comes and has a name and a birthday, I will make her a little embroidered patch for the back. In the meantime, I'm making another quilt, almost like this, but queen-sized, for us Paulsons. And, er, it will be tied. Just sayin. OR as I just now see on Amy's blog, sent to her mom for long-arm machine quilting. WOW. Those ladies just seriously read my mind.