I finally, finally (Finally!) finished my HST chevron quilt for my friend’s baby boy. And just in the nick of time – baby Liam entered the world safe and sound just a couple days ago! I’m so happy for my friends, and it was fun to have a small part in welcoming baby.
And now that the quilt has arrived safely in the mail, I can blog about finishing it up!
I had a lot of fun playing around with HST patterns (I blogged about it here) and settled on the chevron/zigzag configuration. However… I forgot how much I hate the trimming process. There aren’t twenty or thirty blocks, but piles and piles and piles of HST blocks just to make a baby-size quilt! So we’ll see how long it takes me to forget the pain of pressing seams and squaring blocks before I attempt another HST project.
The fabric choices made the whole thing come together easily, and I love how the chevron shows off each fabric. We needed a neutral fabric for the negative space, so I suggested grey, navy blue, or white. My friend went with grey and I think it’s the perfect complement to the green/navy/black prints.
I started with five-inch squares, and paired one print with one grey square to make the half square triangle (HST) blocks.
I think I trimmed down to 4 7/8-inch squares. From there, the HSTs became chevrons. Then the rows were connected and I had a quilt top. Piecing is definitely my favorite part of the process, other than finishing. I just love seeing it all come together and spending all that time close up with the fabrics. I basted the top to the batting and started quilting straight diagonal lines. (I went for a pillow case approach so I didn’t have to mess with binding… it’s basically the only method I use lately since I don’t do big quilts.)
But then… I got stuck. Right in the middle of quilting, my thread ran out! Boo!
I ordered five more spools of my favorite Gutermann thread, but it was over a week before I could get back into the groove.
Once I was finally up and running again, I quilted diagonal lines that intersected in an argyle pattern. Then I trimmed the batting and pinned the top and backing with right sides together. I sewed a ¼” seam around the perimeter, leaving a 3-inch gap for turning. I pulled the right side out and poked the corners with a knitting needle, then stitched another ¼” seam and closed the 3-inch gap. (I also went over it with a zigzag stitch to make sure it would stay put. I didn’t want to take any chances with little baby hands or gums pulling at any loose threads!)
After practicing quilting with minky on a mini quilt (blog post here), I was feeling pretty confident. I planned to quilt straight vertical lines by stitching in the ditch. After (naively) quilting four lines without checking my progress, I peeked at the back… and experienced the sinking sensation of realizing that the minky had bunched excessively. Double Boo!
I had to pick it all out, and I was absolutely mortified that the minky would have little needle holes from where the stitching had to be removed. Oh well… One line was salvageable, and I knew that the quilt needed some support to keep the quilt sandwich together, so I added one more. I went very, very slowly and had no problems at all.
So when it comes to minky… my advice: pin excessively, go slowly, and proceed with caution! I’ve never worked with minky before, and it certainly wasn’t fun picking out an hour of work, but now I know how to deal with it. And I’ll definitely use it again for baby projects – it is so soft and cuddly, it’s totally worth it.
And then I was done! I added my label as the finishing touch, and then it was time for my other favorite part – taking pictures!
Unfortunately, it was cloudy out so the lighting wasn’t great. I brought the quilt out to the fire escape and Sam took a few pictures for me.
I was in a hurry to get the quilt packed and mailed, so I didn’t take as many pictures as I’d like. It was fun to get a few before sending it off, and it will be even more fun to see it in an actual nursery with an actual baby! I’m stoked that it actually arrived in time, since I was worried that all those interruptions put me way behind schedule.
I packed up the quilt along with the extra fabric and a little surprise – the matching patchwork lovey I made when I was experimenting with the minky backing.
I slipped a couple color catchers into the box too for the first wash – there shouldn’t be any trouble with the colors bleeding, but better safe than sorry! Then there was one last thing to do… add a project card to my WIP box! (Side Note – I need to get more creative with my quilt names… Any suggestions??)
The Stats: HST Chevron Baby Quilt
Started: March 2013
Finished: May 2013
Size: 40 x 48
Fabrics: navy blue, green, and black prints picked by Summer; solid grey from Moda; green minky for backing
Pattern: HST chevron/zigzag
Quilting: straight line in argyle pattern with pillowcase binding
It was such a relief to get this quilt finished and on the way to its new home. I’m not sure what my problem was, but I had a really hard time focusing… and all the starts and stops didn’t help! I had fun during the hours I worked on this cute little quilt, but I think I’m ready to put away the sewing machine for a bit… or maybe not. I packed up the table for a bit of breathing room, but we’ll see how long I can resist the sewing machine!