Monkey business

If you have followed me for a while, you will know that I enjoy making baby quilts and that I have had a great time making a dozen or so humidicrib covers to donate to the local hospital. I like a good free pattern, and I particularly love cute novelty patterns that can become baby quilts.

When I saw the Fat Quarter Shop’s latest free mini quilt pattern of a monkey, my first thought was to make it into another humidicrib quilt to donate. Then, I realised that the body of the monkey was a fraction too big to meet the hospital’s specifications, even without the leafy border, and to scale it down would involve a whole load of complicated fractions, like eleven-thirty-sevenths, which would make my head hurt. Instead, I decided to make it into a bigger baby quilt by adding more monkeys.

Monkey Business baby quilt made using the Fat Quarter Shop's free mini quilt pattern

I expanded the pattern by making four monkeys.

I recently finished a really girly pink baby quilt, so I wanted this one to be more masculine or at least gender neutral. I had planned to make the four monkeys blue, purple, green and yellow, but I did not then have a colour in my stash for the faces. Watermelon pink came to the rescue, and the yellow became the faces.

This mini quilt pattern is part of the Fat Quarter Shop’s Sew Solid series (the same series as the panda I made in August), but I rarely buy or use solids. I prefer fabrics with a bit of a pattern on them, so polka dots are my solids. All of the monkeys are, therefore, a bit spotty, but not in an acne kind of way.

Monkey Business baby quilt made using the Fat Quarter Shop's free mini quilt pattern

The green fabric has a wavy stripe of sorts, and the yellow has a parquetry pattern, so I cut carefully to ensure the stripes all went in the same direction.

Instead of a simple one-colour background, I raided my stash to make a scrappy background. I stuck to pale prints that had yellow, green, lavender or blue tones. I also raided my scrap box for four different shades of green for the leaves, which I placed more randomly than in the pattern. I flipped two monkeys’ tails about so they point the other way.

Monkey Business baby quilt made using the Fat Quarter Shop's free mini quilt pattern

The background is made up of all sorts of light-coloured prints on mostly white backgrounds.

I made a few modifications to how I cut the background fabrics to get a scrappier look:

  • I cut piece A as four 4½ inch squares.
  • I cut piece C as two 3½ × 4½ inch rectangles.
  • I cut piece D as two 3½ inch squares.
  • I cut each piece G as a set of the following rectangles: 3½ × 2½ inch, 4½ × 2½ inch and 6½ × 2½ inch.
  • I cut each piece F as a set of the following: two 2½ inch squares, two 4½ × 2½ inch rectangles and one 6½ × 2½ inch rectangle. The small squares were used in the corners.

My quilt top finishes at 40½ × 50½ inches, and I can just use a single width of fabric for the backing. Barely! To eke out every last millimetre, I will not cut the selvedges off until it is quilted.

Monkey Business baby quilt made using the Fat Quarter Shop's free mini quilt pattern

The backing fabric I found in my stash picks up many of the colours of the quilt front.

I still have to quilt it, but I did not have a lot of sewing time during the festive season or space on the dining table to move the sewing machine to. (I can piece in my sewing nook, but there is not enough room for free-motion quilting unless I move to the dining room.) Instead of quilting, I have been travelling and out celebrating, or recovering from celebrating by wearing pyjamas until midday and moving very slowly.

To learn more about this free pattern, you can go to the Fat Quarter Shop’s blog and download the pattern and watch the video tutorial. They even have a kit available. You can also check out these other bloggers’ versions of the pattern.

It is a perfect pattern for 2016, the Chinese zodiac year of the fire monkey!

There is only one downside to making this monkey pattern. You will finding yourself waving fingers in front of your mouth to try to call a cloud that will work like a flying carpet, doing crazy kung fu moves and singing the rather quirky theme song to an even quirkier Japanese television show that was popular when I was a kid. Who remembers Monkey Magic and its cast of Monkey, Tripitaka, Pigsy and Sandy?

Hmm … I wonder how hard it might be to quickly learn how to free-motion quilt clouds?

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41 thoughts on “Monkey business

  1. Your quilt is adorable!!! I went over to the Fat Quarter Shop to find the pattern, but after 30 minutes of searching, I gave up. I found the mini quilt kit and I found the pandemonium pattern, but no monkey business mini-quilt pattern. I was very disappointed with the Fat Quarter shop. Perhaps I just not looking in the right place, but I used the search feature, checked out the blogs for weeks, etc.

  2. ohh my that is so so cute. My sister’s nick name growing up was monkey, and I think she needs a monkey quilt sometime in the future

    • I think about making baby quilts to fit standard cribs and the like, but in the end the size of the pattern/backing fabric/wadding remnant I have in my stash always makes the decision for me.

      Just ONE slow PJ day?

  3. I remember Monkey Magic! These are fun little guys, and I do love what you’ve done with the background. I think big fat puffy thundercloud shapes should be pretty easy to fmq, even if I’d personally be drawing them first with a quilt marker and following the marked line…!

      • I’ve never been one to do lots of stippling and in-filling. I rarely quilt for the love of quilting; it’s almost always in the service of the design, or simply to hold the layers together. I really should make a point of changing that some time; I’d like to be *able* to do it even if I don’t use it much.

  4. Very cute quilt! Those monkeys look as if they are up to no good! Great fabric choices. I love that they are spotty, but not in an acne kind of way! Ha ha, I laughed out loud.

  5. Pingback: Pinwheels for baby | Granny Maud's Girl

  6. Pingback: UFOs on retreat | Granny Maud's Girl

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