Sunday, August 28, 2011

Baby's Favorite?

Super-Sized Square-on-Point
I am entering "Baby's Favorite Blanket" contest. You won't find rules or regs for this contest anywhere, but you know when you've won by the bedraggled blanket that Baby drags around wherever she goes for 2 or 3 years (sometimes even longer).  Grandchild number 5 is due to arrive next December, and even though I have not won this contest with any of the first 4, I'm trying again with a new approach. 

I've learned that looks are not that crucial; it's the feel that wins every time.  My blanket entry this time is flannel - both front and back.  I used a very simple design from Anita Grossman Solomon as shown in the September/October issue of "Quiltmaker". It's called Super-Sized Square-On-Point.  I've worked with flannel before, and know that it can easily stretch out of shape.  That's why I wanted to keep the design as simple as possible. 

Monkey is cut from brown, pink, and white fleece scraps. The face is a simple machine stitch.
Solomon shows a quick way to cut the square and triangles from 1 1/4 of fabric. I tried to follow the simple directions, but still found I made a silly mistake on my first cut.  Pay attention to how she folds her fabric, especially in regard to where the fold edges are.  I had to stitch my hounds-tooth square together down the middle because of my cutting error.  Oh well.  I added my own touch by appliqueing a fleece-pieced monkey on this side and that helped cover my "error". I also used this same square-on-point on the backside.  Solomon doesn't do this, but I'm not sure why since the left over fabric from the front is already to make the same design in reverse for the back.

I wanted to use free-motion quilting on this blanket, but was wary of the flannel stretch factor.  First I safety-pinned my three layers together smoothing as I went from the center outward. I used a high-loft polyester batting instead of my usual low-loft cotton batting because I was going for soft and fluffy. Next I decided to try using a large embroidery hoop to hold the layers firmly in place while free-motion stitching.  Yes, it solved the flannel stretch problem, but for some reason stitching in the hoop made my machine's tension go berserk.  Maybe I could have played with loosing the lower tension, but I try to avoid tension issues like the plague, so I got rid of the hoop and simply did free-motion like I usually do with safety pins holding everything in place. I kept a somewhat large stitching design, and it seemed to come out fine.

Because I was still focused on the feel of the blanket, I wanted to add a silk blanket edge.  I decided to use cotton seam binding on two opposite sides, and add the satin edging to the top and bottom edges. I hand basted the satin edgings to the blanket first before using a decorative stitch to secure them. That way I didn't have to worry about the underside staying in position as I machine stitched.

Ta-Da!  Not a complicated baby quilt; and I am happy with the feel.  The flannel is very soft, the monkey is fuzzy, and the satin edge is smooth and slippery. So here's my latest entry in the "Baby's Favorite Blanket" contest. Who knows? Those babies have a mind of their own...