Friday, April 25, 2014

Ms. Pearl (Quilt)

Remember way back when we had our little peanut?  Well, this project started long before that.  Fair warning, if this post is long, it's because there's a lot of love in this quilt and I want to share it with everyone.  Back when we found out we were pregnant, I'd just started reading one of my favorite blogs, Young House Love.  They're pretty famous now, so if you don't know about them, Google it.  Anyways, they'd just had their first baby and decided to do this.

Basically, each week they took a picture of their daughter Clara on a yard of fabric and used Photoshop to add how old she was on her shirt.  You all know I love a good project so I was sold!  I wanted to capture Abby's first year in the same way, but I added my own twist.  And that, is the beginning of this quilt.

When my mom hosted a baby shower for me she asked that everyone attending bring 1 yard of fabric to help build my stash for this project.  I'm SO happy that I asked for fabric from all of my friends and family.  It's given this quilt so much more meaning instead of just being pretty fabric I liked.

That ugly Bears fabric up there (Yes, I'm a Packer backer) came from Ryan's mom....the elephant at the top came from Abby's Uncle Andy (he loves the zoo).  Anyways, having this very personal fabric with stories behind it makes this quilt so much more special.

Each week I took out a piece of fabric and snapped a shot of my peanut on top of it.  I blogged the photo along with a story about the fabric and the person that gave it to us along with some little highlights of our week for our friends and family to follow along.  If you want to check it out, click here.  The hyperlink will start at her most recent, 20 month photo, but if you scroll back to the beginning, you'll see how the project unfolded.

So, one could easily say that this quilt, this fabric, and my little Abby are the reasons that I started quilting late last year.  I'd always planned that I'd use the fabric in a quilt, but my original intention was to send it all to a quilter and let someone else do the heavy lifting.  I mean, I'd just spent the last year taking pictures and editing photos, I was ready for my part of this project to be done.  I'm a knitter, not a sewer.

But, sentimentality caught up with me and I decided this quilt would be even more special if I made it myself.  So, I enrolled in the Quilting 101 class at my local quilting store.  I bought a low end Pfaff sewing machine (even the low end is expensive!) and I spent 6 weeks learning how to cut, piece, quilt, baste, back and bind a quilt.  We made three small projects during the 6 weeks and I figured I'd make a few baby quilts before taking the plunge into Abby's giant project.

What I didn't account for was the addiction I quickly had for quilting.  I loved it...I love the precise cutting, I love working on each little block and then combining them all together to make something grander.  I just loved the whole process from start to finish.  I started cutting on my first baby quilt and I realized I just wanted to work on Abby's project.  It was the whole reason I'd started quilting and I wouldn't be happy until it was complete.  I didn't want this project to end up being one of those that I'm still talking about 10 years later.  So, I scoured the internet for a pattern I loved and got to work adapting it so I could use all 50 fabrics I had.  In the end, I ended up needing a queen sized quilt to fit them all in.

Sure, a queen size blanket is extreme for a little girl that weighs just over 20 lbs, but I wanted to get all the fabric represented and I want this to be something she will cherish when she gets older.  I haven't decided yet if we'll use this blanket in our daily lives or if I store it someplace safe until she's a little older and can understand, but I've never been a fan of putting the things we love most behind glass or in the closet and never using them.  To me, its the memories that you create with the things that make them special.  It's the ice-cream drips and grass stains that show that you truly love something.  So, we'll see.

Ok, so enough about the story behind the quilt and more about the quilt itself.  It's made of 132 
"arrows" each fabric is represented 2-3 times.  My favorites (like the Green Bay Packers one above) are included 3 times, while some of the less memorable (ie: I bought them at Joann's just because I needed more fabric to fill out the weeks) or harder to use fabrics are in there twice.  

The pattern I chose is Pow-Wow by Cluck Cluck Sew.  I used a very light blue for the sashing and a minty green (hard to see here) for the backing.  Actually, can see the colors of the fabric better in the pictures below.  I started the quilt in November 2013 and finished it up just last week.  If I'm being honest though, it could have been finished much sooner.  I actually had the quilt ready and sent off to a long arm quilter back at Christmas time.  She had the quilt for about a month and I had it back just after Valentines day.  All I needed to do was finish off the binding but life got in the way and I had those few baby quilts I needed to finish for the showers and this one took a back seat for a second.  

It measures 88 x 100 and is huge!!  I'm so happy with my choice to send this one out to a long arm quilter.  The quilt is so special to me that I wanted it done professionally.  And, my small machine doesn't have the throat space I'd need to quilt something so large (the space between my needle and the machine).  It's bound with a mix of some of my favorite fabrics from the project.  I cut 18 inch strips and ran them all around the edge using the zigzag stitch to machine bind both sides.  I can't imagine how long it would take me to hand bind something this big!

The quilting is a mix of flowers and loops and she used pretty pastel variegated thread.  It's very girly and the perfect accent to make this quilt all "Abby".  I'm so excited to finally call this project done.  It's been a year and a half in the making and it's by far one of the most special projects I've ever done.


  1. This is wonderful- what an amazing heirloom this is already! Have you thought about taking the photos and stories of fabrics from your blogging and making a photo book to go with the quilt?

    1. Thanks for reminding me, I should have included it in the post. Yes, I printed up a book of her first year to go with it. There are so many stories in the fabric choices I wanted to be sure they were written down somewhere for her (when she's ready).

  2. I could be speechless! What an incredible project (LOVED the inspiration, too!!!), and what an heirloom you've created for her to cherish always. With the book you had made, it's almost like she has a running family history as she grows!

  3. This story is so precious, and what an amazing finished quilt!

  4. The only queen size I did the binding by hand took about 7 hours of hand stitching after and hour and 1/2 of cutting and machine attaching. I did it while driving the quilt to my daughter. I lied - I have done 2 queen size but I have no idea how long the other one took to bind. I stick to small quilts.

  5. I love this and the story about it. I just finished hand binding a king size quilt. Worked on it off and on for three days, took me 8 hours all totaled up to sew it down.

  6. What a great story! This quilt will be full of such wonderful memories for your little girl! Love the pow wow pattern.

  7. It was lovely to read your story and progress, the quilt is made more special by this

  8. Thank you for sharing the story. It makes a beautiful quilt even more special.

  9. That is stunning....and I loved the quilting...what a sweet baby girl you have...