Oliver’s Quilt

A year and ten days ago, my good friend Ariel brought little Oliver Andrew into the world. I have had so much fun getting to know him this year, and I wanted to make him something really special for his birthday. This also coincided with me deciding I needed to get on it already and make a quilt.

I designed the quilt to be the kind that would grow with him a little (it isn’t baby sized, per se), and also to be the kind that he can drag around with him and lay out on the lawn with. I hope he gets many years of use out of it!

Sewing machine? Check. Helper? Check.

Sewing machine? Check. Helper? Check.

I began researching easy baby quilt patterns and settled on the idea of doing a color-blocked quilt, inspired by this beautiful grey-and-blue creation. I chose to do 5.5×5.5 squares cut from fat quarters, like she did, and had a ball picking them out from our local fabric store, The Cotton Cupboard.

My mother is an incredibly talented quilter and weaver (you can see a quilt she made in the first picture here), and her input was indispensable for this quilt. She helped me figure out how much backing fabric I needed and taught me techniques such as pressing seams open (so that rows would be easier to sew together), pinning, basting, and more. I feel so blessed to have this crafting legacy to learn from.

Putting the top, batting, and backing together (basting).

Putting the top, batting, and backing together (basting).

Funny story: When my mom broke out the basting pins, I finally realized that what I had thought for 24 years were just bent safety pins were actually meant to be like that…

I decided I wanted to machine quilt it because I was running down to the wire, and hand-quilting, though likely to be more attractive, would take my fumbling fingers far too long. The big plus? I got to play with my walking foot on my sewing machine.

The foot goes marching one-by-one, hurrah, hurrah...

The foot goes marching one-by-one, hurrah, hurrah…

It then took me a good hour or so to de-fur it because sewing draws cats like ham – at one point I snapped and had to lock them in the bedroom to keep them from “helping” take out the pins – and then I had to wait for some good weather to photograph it. So anyway, here’s the final product (thanks to Sean for some photo editing!):


I initially wanted to go with an outer space theme, because what kid doesn’t love space? But very few outer space fabrics are light-colored, and in order to get the color-blocked effect, I needed some. What I ended up with is a pattern I call “Sunrise.” We go from dark night skies and rockets to suns and kites, butterflies, and bunnies. That way Oliver can dream that he’s in space or watch the sunrise right here on Mother Earth.


I love the rocket backing fabric that I found. At first I thought some of them were lighthouses…so if that’s what Oliver wants them to be, that’s what they can be.IMG_3850I love how it turned out, and I can’t wait to start planning my next project! Is anybody else out there working on any fabric projects?


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