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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Em's Out to Sea Quilt

From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to create a quilt for my baby.  I suppose it's the sickness all quilters have - any excuse to make a quilt is justifiable.  Once I knew I was having a girl, the desire only increased.  My only problem was that I was actually creatively stifled by the multitude of options and all the different designs I wanted to create.  

Once I found the "Out to Sea" fabric by Sarah Jane, I knew that was going to be the basis for the quilt and future nursery.  The pirate girls at the center of each block are from that series.  Some of the inspiration fabrics I pulled are shown below: 




Still, I debated on what design to use.  I finally decided on a blue and grey log cabin based quilt inspired by this quilt and this quilt and this quilt.  The colors I used for the grey were too dark for the low contrast that is very popular right now, but follows the feel of what low contrast is trying to achieve.  I chose the blue and grey because I want this quilt to be something she can enjoy for a long time, even when she is past the phase every girl goes through of loving pink.  This is feminine and pink without screaming 6-year old girl (or at least the pink-obsessed 6 year old girl that I was).  

I started this quilt over Christmas when we took a weekend holiday to the mountains of North Carolina.  We had rented a house on an old mill pond that overlooked a waterfall and I started cutting and sewing on my travel machine - my old faithful featherweight.  Unfortunately, in my pregnancy muddled state I mis-cut and mis-sewed and ended up with 1 log cabin and 11 courthouse step blocks.  At least all 12 blocks had the colors based on the log cabin design so only a quilter who looks closely can probably notice the mistake.  The design was purposely done to have each round get larger as I worked toward the outside of the block as you can see below.  The shade of grey and blue also got darker as I worked outward.  



I managed to finish the quilt top days before my due date.  Due to my odd assortment of blocks, I couldn't arrange it in the way I had originally planned, so I changed it to a more random arrangement seen below.  It then sat for months as I realized how little sewing time I had once a baby was in my life.  Her short naps are used for things like eating lunch and hygiene, rarely to craft for me.  


After I emerged from the first few months of motherhood, I realized that I needed to do something for me sometimes to maintain my sanity and connections to the outside adult world.  Quilting has been that thing for me before, and is that that thing again.  I started on the quilt back.  I seriously considered just buying some fabric to fill the back, but decided to shop in my stash.  I started with the thought to use slightly wonky stars on one side of the map print, with the boat print below.  That sketch can actually be seen in the first photo of the inspirational fabrics.



Once I had the star parts, I realized that I would have to trim them down more than expected to 2.5 inches.  Then, I had my moment of inspiration - I would fill in the remainder of the back with patchwork.  I cut out 2.5 inch squares from the leftover fabric from the front.  I cut out 5 inch squares from other fabric in my stash that matched or was already in the quilt for the rest.  The pink border was done to separate the 2.5 inch and 5 inch sections because the seams would not intersect properly due to the map in the middle that was not a variable of 2.5 inches.



Next came the decision on the quilting to finish this off.  I've already chosen the bright pink solid as the binding.  For quilting I didn't want to do anything to emphasize the log cabins because then it would look funny on the back.  I think an all-over design is called for due to the busy nature of both the front and back.  I was considering clouds, sailboats, anchors, whales, etc to maintain the basic nautical theme.  I finally decided on a panto with anchors and sailboats, and on the longarm it went to be finished.  The finished product will be coming soon!

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