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Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Quilt That Kel Made

Guess what I got for Christmas of 2011?   My very first nephew!

Months earlier when I found out that my brother and his gorgeous fiance 
were pregnant, I was over the moon and immediately started thinking about what I could make for the baby... despite never really having been an overly creative person. Why I suddenly felt that it was my duty to hand make something is beyond me, but I did it anyway, and with a pretty good result if I do say so myself.

I was already pretty in love with my nephew before I even knew he was a 'he', so I knew I wanted to make him something special. I considered making baby bibs, clothes, nappy bags etc, but felt that they were just 'things' that are only used for a short amount of time. A quilt however, is the sort of thing you cherish (at least I hope he will).

Just because I'd decided on a quilt, that didn't make the rest of the decision making any easier. Do you know how many ideas and options there are for quilt designs and techniques? Far too flipping many, that's how many.

My brother and his fiance are pretty 'earthy' people, but despite this, I wanted the quilt to be bright and colourful, something to inspire a kids growing imagination. And animals, it just had to have animals on it. So when I found this Ikea fabric on Etsy, it was love at first sight. To take advantage of the cute animals, I decided to quilt the outlines of the animals, so that they would show up on the back side of the quilt. I used red for the back of the quilt since it is a gender neutral colour, and was a good contrast for the white stitches.

All up, the quilt took me a good 6 months to make, and there was a lot of frustration, crying and bloodshed in the process. I hand stitched almost the entire quilt, and only used the sewing machine to join the front and back pieces of the border. I was so proud of myself by the end of it, that I had to put my name to it and stitched "Love from Aunty Kel" on the bottom border, just in case Dylan (my adorable nephew) forgets who it's from (he now lives in Norway). I have to note though that I did have a LOT of help and advice from my clever perfectionist Mum. I completed the quilt on Christmas Eve, just in time for Dylan's arrival on Christmas Day... talk about good timing!

Would I do it again? Definitely, it's such a good feeling to finish something like this and to see all my tantrums pay off.
Would I change anything? Sure, learning how to quilt before undertaking such a massive task would have been a good idea! I'm still not 100% sure that red for the backing was the best choice, but I think red was a good neutral colour since we didn't know the sex of the baby. I would also probably try to quilt around the hearts, flowers and suns as well but I had run out of time, and if I were more experienced I think mitred edges on the borders would have looked a lot better too.
Which is my favourite animal? I still can't decide, but I do love the spotty blue giraffe and the green elephant.

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