Finished Baby Quilt: The first of many

It seems I have reached that stage in my life where everyone is having a baby. Which leads to an interesting problem — who do you make a baby quilt for? For me, it was a very difficult decision — and huge thanks go to Stephanie who talked me off the wall of making everyone a quilt! I got it narrowed down to 4, maybe 5…still a lot of baby quilts to make in a single time frame. Good thing they’re small!


This is the first baby quilt. It’s been delivered to it’s new mother and baby. Well, I gave it to the grandmother a few weeks ago, so fingers crossed it has a baby drooling on it right now.

I started with the image of a quilt by Kelbysews. Side note: She’s releasing a similar pattern in a few months for Ann Kelle… I think it’s even going to be free. Β There are a lot of variations on this type of quilt, and it is a pretty easy quilt to put together. I started with a panel of Urban Zoologie by Ann Kelle. Then I found a large piece of coordinating zoo animal fabric in my stash to use as the back, so that set my dimensions. I also found the turquoise pin dots (mother’s favorite color) to go with the panel parts, also in my stash.


I cut apart the panel, and chose the 5 animals that worked best together (there are eight animals in each panel). Then I added random lengths of the turquoise pin dots to each side. I lined up the animals to look like blocks a child would stack — did I succeed? The strips on the sides, again, came from my stash, and I cut the width of each strip randomly. Based on the size of the back fabric I had, and how wide I had made the center panel, I determined how wide the side pieces needed to be. I did get a little carried away making strips, and enough for another quilt someday. Turns out that making improv strips is really easy, and more than a little addictive.

The cute little animals on the back. And my awkward hand....
The cute little animals on the back. And my awkward hand….

For the quilting, I really wanted the animal blocks to be the focus. So I went with my favorite spirals in the turquoise field. These spirals are maybe as addictive as the improv strips! For the strips, I just went with an easy loopy meander — another favorite quilting pattern. Then, I went and outlined the animals on the blocks, but rather than focus on being accurate, I aimed for character. After all, children aren’t known for coloring in the lines, so why should I quilt on the lines? I think it adds a little extra whimsy to the overall quilt design.

Isn't he adorable?
Isn’t he adorable?

The binding, again from my stash, is a print that says Hello in several languages. It seemed appropriate for a kid’s quilt, and the color was perfect. I bind nearly all my quilts by machine, using this tutorial from Wasn’t Quilt in a Day. The only thing I ‘change’ is I keep my quilting gloves on for binding. I find the extra grip really helps to keep my binding even.

Buon Giorno! Aloha!
Buon Giorno! Aloha!

I used Warm and Plush batting for the first time — amazing batting! I’m not usually a fan of Warm and White, I find it too thin for my liking, but the Plush was wonderful to work with. I wish I could still easily find it to stock up on. Maybe they will bring it back?

The overall shot. Looks so cheery hanging by dead leaves and leafless trees. :D
The overall shot. Looks so cheery hanging by dead leaves and leafless trees. πŸ˜€

So now here’s my question. After this whole process (there are more baby quilts to share another day), I find it very difficult, and a little odd, to determine who makes the cut. How do you decide who to make a baby quilt for? Do you scale your efforts with the recipient? What I mean is, do close friends get super awesome quilts, while second cousins get quilts with less effort?


21 thoughts on “Finished Baby Quilt: The first of many

  1. Dahling… as your Grammma always said…”Go with your heart and you will never be wrong.” As your Auntie has always said…”Do what makes you happy. Follow your heart & fill others with JOY.”
    Now if that doesn’t set you on the right path, I know a cup of coffee will !
    Love U !

  2. I always ask myself “will the recipient truly cherish the gift of a hand made quilt?” Some close family members don’t, it doesn’t have a brand name label on it, other more distant friends/family love theirs and I see photos of their babies playing on them and dragging them around.

    It’s ok not to give one to everybody. πŸ˜‰

  3. What a great baby quilt! The backing is so super – love it! How big did it finish out? I am always curious about baby quilt sizes – they kind of range all over. πŸ™‚ Hmm, as for who gets a quilt… thankfully my family is pretty small and also my mom and I tend to collaborate on baby quilts for my side of the family. I haven’t made any baby quilts for my husband’s side of the family. And the touch thing is really good friends. We live in a pretty tight-knit community, so that is where I struggle with deciding if I make them a baby quilt or not. Recently I guess I have been erring on not, but I am almost over the baby hump with my friends (I think)…

  4. This quilt is adorable! I love the animals and the way you did the side borders. I think you should make quilts for who you want. Many people don’t appreciate the work, love, and thought that goes into a handmade gift, and it’s usually easy to recognize those people. Do what makes you feel good and let go of the stress. πŸ™‚

  5. I think this is about to be my criteria: what are the chances I will see the quilt again. (Selfish, maybe.) If it’s a close enough friend or family member that it is likely that you will be in their home, hanging with them while their spawn wiggles on the floor on the quilt you made, then yeah! It’s like a gift that keeps on giving. If it’s unlikely that you will be in the same proximity as the babe + quilt while it’s still relevant, then no. Far away but close family member aside. Follow your gut.

    AND this is so adorable, and your quilting is perfect! Look at you go!

  6. Superfraglistically adorable. Makes me want to have a baby too…oh wait, that isn’t happening. Love your style Sarah! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  7. Definitely think about whether or not the recipient will appreciate the gift or not. Also, think about whether or not you have the time to make a quilt without stressing about it. That tends to be my biggest criteria. Even if it is a really close friend, if I don’t have time to make something, I don’t worry it. There are lots of other gifts that can be given that will be appreciated. More and more I am into the idea of first birthday quilts since a one year old can enjoy a quilt a lot more than a newborn.

  8. At some point, I had to cut way back on who made the baby quilt cut, especially because I have a lot of friends in the same community, and I didn’t want one person to feel put out because someone else’s baby got a quilt and theirs didn’t. I save quilts for a few very close friends and relatives. Instead, most people now get pillowcases for their babies from me – it’s too early for a baby to actually use it for its intended purpose, but some people will use it as a bassinet cover for awhile, and later on it will be really used and appreciated when the little girl/boy graduates to a bed.

  9. I love this quilt and you have done a wonderful job, espacially on the quilting, but I would only give to someone who would appreciate the value of materials and labour. If you want to make a gift for a baby lower down the pecking order how about a floppy rag doll. I recently saw a pattern which was basically six squares: one large (body), one medium (head) and four small (arms and legs) – more like a comforter with appendages, than a doll!

  10. This is a great baby quilt! Lots of color contrast, interesting shapes, animals, and textures, so I’m sure it will be well loved and used! I have no idea how to determine who gets a baby quilt and who doesn’t…but quite honestly I don’t have the time or motivation to keep up with making that many baby quilts so I don’t even try. The only people that have gotten baby quilts from me are a college friend that had a baby right after I started quilting (it was my 3rd or 4th quilt ever) and my very best mommy friend (that the purple triangle quilt went to). Oh and a couple of other friends: the first because she had been generous in letting my family stay with her for her cousin’s wedding (the cousin is a friend of mine too) and then she finally got pregnant after 4-5 years of infertility, so I wanted to celebrate it with her. Then the cousin (who I’m not as close with anymore) got pregnant the next year and I felt obligated to make her one since I’ve been friends with her since we were kids…(same story for diaper bags for both of them, eff I need to stop feeling obligated to make stuff, it sucks). What Yvonne didn’t tell you is the only babies born on her husband’s side of the family are MY kids and two other kids that are like 12 and 13 now, so it’s not like this side of her husband’s side of the family is all that prolific, haha.

  11. You know, I’m so not a panel kind of girl. But I love what you did with yours here. Hmmm … I can work with inspiration like this!

    In all honesty, I’m reluctant to make baby quilts, period. Once I had kids of my own, I realized that expecting moms receive loads of baby blankets as gifts. I received many that I never used. On the occasion when I do make a quilt for a baby, I try to shoot for a little-girl or little-boy quilt instead of something too babyish, hoping the recipient will get more use out of it that way.

  12. Never feel guilty for not making something for everyone.
    I have been random at best. Dear friends have had babies and missed out (I wasn’t quilting when they had kids or was living far, far away or had work deadlines destroying free time) and my husband’s work colleagues have been given one. My closest friends are also often not having kids: for example, from the gang of four girlfriends from high school, we have a total of two children.

  13. THis is fantastic! Love it, and I’m sure it will be treasured.

    I have a hard time deciding “who” too. If I have the time and resources, I make as many as I can. It brings me joy.

  14. Your quilting is the perfect way to highlight these blocks! The poof to the blocks with that plush batting is so fun and you’ve really gone above and beyond for this baby quilt. Wonderful & exciting finish πŸ™‚

  15. I really enjoyed your blog about your fabulous baby quilt – it is awesome!!! And yes you did succeed in making a stack of blocks that a baby would build – a great detail. Regarding your question – I often find myself thinking the same thing – I do make extra special things with lots of handwork and detail for my close friend and my own children and grandchildren. I make children and baby quilts for my local women’s shelter and usually find myself making a fast pattern and machine quilting, and I try to machine bind them as well. They are always beautiful with lovely fabric and batting though. One comment above mentioned something I also consider – is the person I am making this for appreciative of a handmade item that has many hours of love and labour poured into it. If I know for sure that the answer is no then I tend not to overextend myself and stick to the basics. Thanks for your blogging.
    perry94022 at hotmail dot com

  16. I made some whimsical quilt blocks that were individually framed for the wall (as in behind glass). These were gifted rather than a whole quilt. I could be creative but not overwhelmed or bored.

  17. Always just give it. The ones I have given have always been treasured. I want to know did you cut up the solid panel to add the blocks or did you sew them on top of the solid panel?

  18. So my rule is:
    Acquaintance = burp clothes
    Co-worker, casual friend = diaper bag
    Family or beloveds = quilt
    All still hand made. And if time allows a coordinating set of 2 or more items.

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