Monday, August 27, 2012

Baby Play Quilt: The Quilt Top

We have laminate floors in our living room. They look beautiful and are SO easy to clean. However, they are too hard for a baby's noggin when she falls over while playing. To remedy our hard dilemma, we invested in a rubber mat from Garden Ridge that looks like 4 giant puzzle pieces. We got the plain grey ones so that Brian could use them in the garage one day. (Alphabet puzzle mats just aren't cool.)

The mat measures 50"x50". Sadly, no blankets I own are quite the right size. If I put one on that is too big, it hides the space where there is no mat and inevitably someone gets hurt. If I use a blanket that is too small, I can see the grey boring mat and it drives me nuts. Of course it doesn't drive me as nuts as when I use multiple small blankets with mismatched patterns. I could go on and on, but there's no point.

Solution? Make my own. I found some great strip quilts online. Lots of straight lines to sew sounded simple enough. Of course, I had to design my own. I have trouble following patterns. My mathematical mind just makes more sense out of things if I create the math myself. I used Microsoft Publisher and set the page size to 50"x50". Of course I can't print it out, BUT the program has a ruler on the top and side of the screen that make it perfect for designing! I found a quilt that I liked and started from there.

To the left is the original image I created.

On the right is the image adjusted after I picked out my fabrics and decided where they should go!

Picking out my fabrics took a long time. I am terrible with colors and patterns. I am always drawn to patterns that are too small and over the top. So again, I took the quilt that I liked online and tried to describe it in terms such as "big print, 3 colors" to assist in my fabric selections. I was very excited with my finds at Hobby Lobby! When I got home, I laid the fabric out in the pattern I designed on the left (black and white) and then switched things around a bit for the pattern on the right.
To save time, I only worried about getting the fabric widths correct and didn't bother cutting the length. I saw this on a Missouri Star Quilt tutorial. I also didn't pin my fabrics as I sewed. I simply lined them up at 1/4" and stitched along. (No back stitching was needed since all of the original stitches were covered by a second line when I added my border pieces.)  Warning: when you are stitching different fabrics with different amounts of cotton, pinning is a great idea since one fabric will stretch more than another. It's also important to remember that the feed dogs will pull the bottom fabric more than the top so IF YOU DON'T PIN and are using fabrics all cut to the SAME LENGTH, one strip WILL BE evidenced in the photo above! The solution to this is simple! I folded my fabric in half, measured how long I actually needed the strips to be, and then used a rotary cutter to get rid of the rest! That rotary cutter sure is dreamy :)
I've now finished attaching my border fabric (which I did pin while sewing to avoid akward edges that would be a bit trickier to fix). I am SO excited to see this quilt coming together. My next goal is to figure out the safety-pin basting and quilt this puppy "in the ditches".


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