Practice Quilts

I decided to start quilting because I wanted a quilt for our new king sized bed and all the ones I found online were either ugly, expensive or both.

I knocked out a simple quilt for Merlin to learn the basics, then realized I needed a lot of practice to make a large quilt that would look good on our bed.

The solution?  Babies.

  1.  Babies lack discernment.  They will love anything you give them. (but see my future post about the jackets I keep making for Merlin that he refuses to wear).
  2.  Babies love bright colors and high-contrast patterns.
  3.  Babies are comically small, thus quilts for them are small.  Small quilts are easy and let you practice a lot.
  4. Receiving a handmade quilt from an aging punk who makes beer for a living is novel enough that parents are charmed, meaning (see point 1) you can rapid prototype and build skills.

I found two patterns from Jaybird Quilts which I liked, and picked up some very colorful 10″ square collections.

I made one with this cool stacked diamond pattern and striped fabrics, which taught me, repeatedly, about the importance of keeping a quarter-inch seam.  I sent this quilt to some friends (whose wedding I officiated!) in Saint Louis.

My second baby quilt of the four was this alternating triangle quilt, one of the first sewing projects that has really moved fast–fast enough to cause me to have to re-sew some dumb stuff.  For this one I went with polka dots and spent a lot of time working on contrasting the colors and patterns. I went with a quilting pattern that intersected the middle of each triangle, which was fun. I sent this quilt to a law school classmate out in Portland, Oregon:

The last two went to some friends in the DC area who had twins, I figured the kids were going to receive identical stuff, or expect to share things, so I decided to make two quilts using similar fabrics but one with the stacked diamond pattern and one with alternating triangles.  These came out extremely well, and were my favorite quilts of 2021.  I love the fabrics and I love how naturally they seem to pair. I went with an off-white binding which stands out very well.



These four quilts really established a core set of skills and a workflow/rhythm to finishing projects–from choosing fabrics all the way to basting and binding. I highly recommend learning a hobby by making things for babies.