Labor of Love {Grace’s baby quilt}

Do you ever have one of those projects where you’ve got so many thoughts and feelings and things to share that it’s just a flurry in your head and none of it comes out cleanly? This is one of those.

whole

After working on this for just shy of 3 years, I’ve finished Grace’s baby quilt. It’s a simple double Irish chain pattern in bright bold colors. I picked the pattern fall 2010. I machine pieced it in less than a week in early spring 2011. Then I spent the next several years hand quilting it with hearts, butterflies, and bold straight lines, then finishing just last night with finishing the blue binding (also hand sewn).

butterfly

Part of why I have so many feelings about this quilt is that I wasn’t sure I’d ever get to make a baby quilt. And I’m not sure I’ll ever get to make one again. We’ve struggled for years with “sub-fertility” and multiple miscarriages, both before and after Grace. As soon as we knew her pregnancy was healthy, I decided on the pattern – I love the look of the double Irish chain quilt more than any other I’ve come across. There was never a back up. I love the way the bold diagonal lines set off the “feature” blocks, each of which is quilted with a pair of loopy butterflies.

close up

When we found out she was a girl in January 2013, our next stop after the sonogram was the fabric store. I found the bright butterflies and swirly pink hearts in just a couple minutes – here’s another point that there was never a back-up. Well, Shaune saw a monkey print first, but as soon as we saw this one there was no other option. I wanted bright and cheerful; full of hope and joy. Something that still makes me happy every time I look at it. The scraps have all been used up – the very last of the butterfly print is in this fall’s signature look for Project Run And Play.

hiding

This was my first ever hand quilting experience and it’ll probably be my last – quilting doesn’t come naturally to me. I improved dramatically over the years though. Some of the first stitches actually had to be removed and redone. I wouldn’t recommend balancing a quilting hoop on a 6mo + belly! It doesn’t lead to very even stitches.

peekaboo

And now my tiny baby isn’t so tiny any more. I’m glad I made the quilt bigger than a crib size. It isn’t all the way to a twin size, but it is close. It’s just right for an extra layer on her bed, a tea party, a snuggle with Mommy, a tent, and for wrapping up Pink Tutu her no-more-pacis bear. Exactly the right size, like Grace herself! (I’m kind of loving age 2, even if it is exhausting!)

snuggle

So there it is. Three years of work and more emotions than can translate well into words. Which is why it’s perfect this is a quilt – nothing says “I love you” more than wrapping up in a quilt, in my lap, in my arms, at just the right height for hugs and snuggles and kisses. Even for just this one moment before the next crazy game begins.

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7 thoughts on “Labor of Love {Grace’s baby quilt}

  1. I came to your blog from the o+s Flickr site, because I love your Family Reunion dress, but now I see you’ve hand quilted! I have hand-quilted TWO quilts now (I’ve also machine quilted a couple) and it’s surprisingly addictive – I want to do more! I admit, I never rip anything out. I don’t care how ugly it is. My first quilt is like a visual history of the improvement of my stitching skills, and I like it that way. If you look at a lot of vintage quilts … some will intimidate you, but many others are a comfort. I have a whole Pinterest board of really “charming” vintage quilts. Totally helps my ego.

    • Thank you, I appreciate that! I’m glad I’m not the only one to not rip things; I like the idea of fitting into the history of quilts. Quilts have always been a balance between beautiful and practical and it’s fascinating. I’ll have to find you on pinterest!

      • You’re welcome. 🙂

        Oh, and my baby quilt for my first born wasn’t finished until he was about three (? can’t quite remember). I haven’t finished piecing my second’s quilt – she’s 18 months …

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