06 January 2014

Christmas quilts

I'm a blanket person. I like to have them around and I love to sleep with them. Even when I travel I find a way to stuff a blanket into my suitcase or backpack. My sister is the same way. It's no surprise that her kids are the same way. They love to drag their quilts around in the morning and find a spot over an air vent to curl up in.  But only two of them had a snuggly blanket/quilt like that - and they were getting a little old due to being loved. :)

Early in the year (May?) she mentioned making quilts for all 4 kids for Christmas.  I had her family for Christmas this year, so perfect gifts.  Easy-peasy.   4 quilts by December is easily do-able - right?  If I kept the pattern simple and the quilting straight lines, it was possible.  I pictured minky on the back (soft and snuggly) with squares on the front of Kona Cotton.  I wanted them big enough they'd last for a long time, so 60" wide fabric by 2 yards should be perfect.  5" finished squares so the math would be easy.  Fabric.com advertises that they cut 37" yards ... so if they cut generously, I thought I could make them 60" x 75".  To add to the fun, I'd put their names into the quilt tops using the paper pieced alphabet from 'from blank pages ...'.  (Must be able to prove quilt ownership!)  We perused fabric.com for minky fabric for the quilt backs and let the older two kids 'pick' their fabric from a pre-selected few.  Fabric for two quilts was ordered in July and I spent most of August looking for fabrics to coordinate with them.  Fabric for the next 2 was ordered on 9 September with a few more pieces on 22 October.  You'd think I'd get started on the quilts right away ... but I procrastinated until September. :) 

First up, C.  He's 7.   Do you know how hard it is to find fabric for a 7 year old boy that he doesn't consider 'baby-ish'?  We found camouflage minky and I immediately knew what this quilt needed to be.  Gray camo on one side, squares of different gray fabric on the other with binding in his favorite color, orange.     

The fabrics on the front are Kona Cotton: pepper (looks black), charcoal, steel, slate (the blue color), medium gray, iron, coal, and ash.  All cut in 5.5" squares.  Kona cotton orange for the letters and binding.  The background for the letters is iron.  It's 60" wide by 75" tall.  The perfect size for snuggling under and it should grow with him.  I think this is the first quilt I did a random placement of fabric on.  Random and being an engineer does not mix for me, but I some how managed it on this quilt. 

I think I had the top pieced by the beginning of October.

Next up, A.  She's 9.  It took some time to find the right fabric for her.  Not baby-ish, cool looking, lots of colors, and something that a teenager would find okay in the future.  We found a paisley print that she liked.  When it came, I was a little worried about the white background.  The picture on the computer screen did not look like it had white on it.  It's a cute fabric ... and she is older, so hopefully it will be okay.  But I made sure the quilts for the younger kids did not have white on them.

I originally tried a random layout, but these colors - which really do match the back - were just too bright and it didn't look right.  Then I tried diagonal stripes.  Too boring for A.  I tried lots of things while they were spread out on my 'design wall' on the floor and finally fell across the diagonal lines with alternating colors.  It was my favorite.  Plus I wanted her name to be in colors, so it worked out well.

The colors are Kona Cotton: turquoise, peacock, pomegranite, camilla, lime, iron, purple, and amythest.  Size: 60" wide x 75" tall.  Bound in purple.  I finished piecing the top the 2nd week in October and then quilted and bound both A and C's quilts over the next few weeks. The quilting is simple straight line machine quilting 1/4" away from each seam.

Next, K.  She's 4.  She likes the color purple.  We searched and searched and finally came up with a really cool minky print with purple on a silver background. I tried to pull in all of the colors from the back for the front - but it just didn't work.  Once I decided to just focus on purple, this quilt came together fast.

I ordered most of the colors on-line, using my out-of-date Kona Cotton color card and hoping the colors on the computer screen would work.  They ended up perfect.  The colors are: regal, purple, tulip, mulberry, crocus, wisteria, pansy, and thistle.  The letters and binding are tulip with the name background thistle.

Size: 60" wide by 75" tall.  I had the top pieced by Thanksgiving and got it quilted over the holiday.

Next, G's quilt.  She's 9 months, so she really doesn't care about fabric, but I think my sister chose a cute print for her.  Again, I tried to pull in colors from the back and got a response 'she's a little girl, make it pink'.  Do you know how hard it is to find colors that actually are pink?  I ordered some fabric on-line and it was a total fail.  Colors that looked pink suddenly turned coral when placed next to others - or they looked red.    Others looked very different on the computer screen and then looked identical when they arrived.  I went to every fabric store in town searching for just the right shades of pink with just okay results.  I finally realized I was just going to have to make do with the fabric I had and cut it out.

I didn't like 2 of the colors at all, but I was running out of time.  In my scraps I had some Kona Cotton that was labeled 'bright pink'.  I thought that would work perfectly in the quilt.  I had bought it at JoAnn's previously, so I thought it would be easy to find.   No such luck at either store in town.  The next day I started google-ing to try and find more stores within a 50 mile radius that carried Kona Cotton to try and find some new colors.  I was out of time to order on-line if I wanted it done by Christmas.  I couldn't believe what popped up.  Hobby Lobby.  And their web site said they carried 'bright pink'.  I went there immediately after work and found 'bright pink' along with another color.  Yea!  (And yes, Hobby Lobby has a huge sign on the wall that says 'Kona Cotton' ... but I never remembered seeing it.)

The final colors are a mixture of Kona Cotton and Bella Solids.  berry, berrylicious (Bella), bright pink, azalea, peony (Bella), carnation, medium pink, and petal.  Her name and binding is in bright pink with the name background in petal.

I love how it turned out.  Perfectly pink for a little girl.  It's also 60" wide by 75" tall.  She'll grow into it.  This quilt was done the fastest - in just a little over a week in December.

The quilts were washed with 'Shout color catchers' individually and they crinkled up ever so nicely.  I boxed them up and sent home via UPS while I watched the tracking the entire time.  4 quilts in a box weighted 17.8 lbs.  Yup, they weigh a bit over 4lbs each.

Then I had to wait to see the reactions on Christmas.  I think they like their quilts.  The 3 older kids slept with their blankets each night and during the day they were used as forts.  K informed me several times that her quilt was going home with her because it had her name on it.   Complete and total win. :)  All the work it took to make them was totally worth it.

fabric - minky fabric from fabric.com.  Kona cotton and Bella solids for the fronts.  5" finished squares.
size - 60" wide x 75" tall.  (Thanks fabric.com for giving me a smidge extra on 2 yards of fabric).
straight line quilting by me on my Janome


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  2. Great choice with all the kona's, they look good!