I have conquered another UFO, a project that has been lurking in my sewing room since early 2017.
It started like this: my cousin was having a baby, so I thought I would make her a quilt. Without giving away my intentions, I asked her about colours and themes she likes. She replied, ‘I like yellow and cows’. I worried a yellow cow might be a bit tricky, so I was pleased when she added, ‘I like sunshine too’.
That short conversation inspired me to try to make a sunshine-themed baby quilt.
Here is what I did:
- I found a simple image of a sun.
- I ran it through an online cross stitch pattern generator.
- I then took the grid-like image it generated and tweaked it a bit in Adobe Illustrator, adding half-square triangles to smooth out curves.
Before I started generating the drawing that was to become my pattern, I had some finished measurements in my head. I wanted to keep the quilt backing within one width of fabric, so my limit was 40 inches across. If I cut 2½-inch squares to finish at 2 inches, the result would look blocky and not much like a sun. If I cut 1½-inch squares to finish at 1 inch, I would drive myself insane. So, I compromised by calculating my grid to finish at 1½-inch squares and cut my fabric into 2-inch pieces. It was tight with the backing fabric, but I did it! The finished quilt is 40½ by 49½ inches.
To add variety, I included some 3½-inch squares and 2 × 3½–inch rectangles (cut size), as well as the 2-inch squares and half-square triangles.
I divided my sun drawing into nine equal sections, and I sewed each as a block. Then, I added three more rows on the top and bottom to create space to machine appliqué the text.
The background fabrics are a mixture of white, yellow and pale grey.All was going well to this point, and I was still on track for the arrival of baby. I had the binding cut out and ready to sew on, and I had found the perfect backing fabric in Naomi Ito’s Clear Heart double gauze from Nani Iro Textiles. The backing was the only fabric that did not come from my stash.
Things began to go pear-shaped when I started to machine quilt it. I did not like the effect at all, and I decided I needed to unpick the machine quilting I had done and hand quilt it. That was going to take time, which I did not have.
Last month, I made myself focus on finishing the hand quilting, using two shades of yellow Presencia perle 8 and white Aurifil perle 12 cotton. The wadding is Quilters Dream wool, which has a lovely loft and is easy to quilt by hand.
My cousin’s baby is now a toddler, and I have a spare baby quilt in the wings. It just needs a gentle wash to remove the washable marker and chalk lines I used to guide my quilting.
I finished this in March and have completed three UFOs this year, which I think is marvellous progress for my 2020 UFO tally, even though I have many more to sew.