Long Distance Hugs

The hardest part of moving away from home is leaving behind friends and family. You miss the little things; afternoon coffee dates, girls night sappy movies, spa days for new haircuts after a crappy breakup. But you miss the big things too; 30th birthday parties, bachelorette parties, and baby showers. Well for me it seems like the last few years it has been a lot of the latter. I suppose I am just at that age where everyone I know is having kids. I would love more than anything to be at every single baby shower and to visit each and every friend in the hospital to see their new bundles of joy. (Although, as most of my friends know I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW ANY DETAILS. I think being pregnant is terrifying and gross).

Unfortunately, I have a demanding day job (and I don’t make millions, so I can’t hop on a jet for a day trip out-of-state). So into boxes I squish the best long distance hug I know how to give, a baby quilt. I spend hours picking just the right fabrics for the mom to be. I want to match her nursery, fit her style, and be cute for baby, but not too cute. I choose a pattern that I think will fit my fabric choices, but will still interesting for me to make (I do have to spend hours working on it after all; it may as well be entertaining for me). I spend even more time choosing a quilting design, and I will admit that I have used baby quilts to practice and expand my free motion quilting skills. I machine wash and dry each quilt once it’s done to make sure it will stand up to daily use. Then I carefully fold each quilt, pretty side out, place it in a box with tissue paper just like a real shower gift, and cringe as I drop it off at the post office (I worry it will get lost in the mail every single time). It may not seem like much, but each hour I pour into making each quilt, is my way of cuddling up with those cute babies.

Here is the newest addition to the baby quilt line-up.  This one is for a dear friend that I even tried to con into moving closer to me.  She did, eventually, in a round-about way, but she’s still too far to make girls night practical.  Personally, I really love this quilt.  It has a great sophisticated feel and I LOVE the three blind mice on the back.

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But this is all I have, a pretty picture of a quilt hanging on my wall. So wrap those babies up tight ladies and send me a picture, that’s my favorite part.

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I love all things girly!

Many of my friends have recently had babies.  And it seems like all of them have decided to a) wait till their bundle of joy arrives to find out the sex, b) not tell anyone what the sex was until the birth, or 3) simply did not “want anything too girly”.   That takes all the fun out of it for me as a quilter.  Gender neutral quilts are boring.  I would much rather make a super girly quilt with pink and princesses.  Like this one!

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This quilt is for a very special little girl (my niece Laura, she just turned four).  I think it’s just the right size, not a “baby” quilt, but not a bed size quilt.  I know I like to have a quilt that I can curl up with and take naps with, and now she will have one too.

It’s made from the Masquerade Let’s Pretend collection by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller Fabrics.  I fell in love with this collection when it came out, and I was so glad to finally be able to use it for a girly quilt . The center block reminds me of Laura. And the mask print is to die for.

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The pattern is simple squares and half square triangles, and came together very improvisationally.  I was hoping it would look more like a star than a big X, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.  and considering this was the pattern I was working from, I’m pretty happy.

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The back is a simple gray sketch print.  The quilting I decided to do in a light purple (her favorite color).  The quilting design is a simple free motion meander with stars scattered around.  I love how soft and crinkly it is now that is has been washed and dried.

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I am really starting to get the hang of this whole free motion quilting thing.  I really did dread the quilting process not that long ago, but I’m beginning to find it to be my favorite part.  If only I felt that way about binding…I don’t think that will ever happen.  The binding on this quilt is my standard continuous bias binding made from one of the light gray prints.  And I even added a hand embroidered label to the back.

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I hope she likes it, I know I sure do.