Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Impractical Baby Quilt

Well, here it is.  The baby shower is happening now, so I can finally show it.  Also, perfect timing, I'm putting this in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival over at Amy's.When I quilt, I like to challenge myself or try something new.  My last nephew got my first trapunto and it looked like this:
My goal this time was to outdo myself, and I wanted to try some texture.  My brother-in-law and his wife decorated the nursery in a jungle theme so I wanted to go with it.  Having those as the only hints, Robot Nephew's mom guessed this when I mentioned I was almost finished:

"I'm picturing peek-a-boo flaps with elephants and monkeys hiding behind trees, etc. Just my guess."
What?! Is it that obvious an idea?  Does everyone immediately think hidden animals?  Are she and I just equally creative? Or is it just the most ridiculous thing she could think of?  Either way, she was pretty much dead on.  Take a look.

 It's about 45" square.  It's taller than it is wide, but not by too many inches, it's mostly square-ish. Now that you've soaked in all that handquilted goodness, let's get a better look at some of those critters.
 For starters we have a crocodile.  I called him an alligator pretty much the whole time, well until that is I googled the birds that clean their teeth; they're called plovers and they aren't all that cute.
 The alligator's crocodile's body was my first time using a paper pattern to turn the edges of my applique.  I hand stitched him nearly the entire way around wrestling with my little pattern before I realized I should have pinned the fabric to the pattern.  Yeah, I felt pretty dumb. 
I used interfacing for his snout, another first.  It's sturdy enough to hold up in the laundry (this thing's machine wash and dry-booyah!) but not so stiff that a kid could poke an eye out or anything weird like that.
I used embroidery floss to give him a few details and even gave him a little water line so he'd be in the water not on the water.
Next up, the tiger.
 Did you find him?  He's hiding in the grass.  It's actually kinda tricky getting enough grass out of the way for a good picture of him.   He could so sneak up on somebody in the wilds of the quilt.

 Baby Elephant is tagging along behind Momma.   His tail is braided metallic embroidery floss and it's free and wiggly.  His ear is a flap and his (interfacing) trunk moves.  He uses it to hold on to Momma.
 Momma's made the same way, except her tail is sewn down.  You know, so baby can reach it.  Can you see the wrinkliness of their bodies?  It turned out really nicely.  They are flannel by the way, and really cozy.
 The trees are made of corduroy and pieced with the inner jungle batik.  I made a couple of them with interfacing inside and sewed them down funny to get some more depth and texture on them.  They turned out nicely.  And, not planned but I wish I was smart enough to have thought of it, the wale of the corduroy is occasionally going in the opposite direction.  The trees look slightly different shades of brown.  Even more depth in my jungle.
Now for more hidden animals.
 Can you find him? There's his tail.
 There he is, the leopard.  He's raw edge applique.  Remember I was going for texture.  My favorite thing about the leopard is totally braggy.  I didn't use a pattern for his shape or anything, I just took some scissors to the fabric and he turned out great.  I love his shoulders! He has eyes you just can't really see them.  Is he looking at you?  I don't know.  May be best to avoid sudden movements.
 The gibbon gave me a little trouble.  My first attempt was just a general brown nondescript monkey.  It was awful.  I was so tempted to cut off its tail and add a loin cloth.  I could have done it, too.  These parents would have totally accepted a little Tarzan in their quilt.  But no, I swapped monkey for gibbon and it was probably a good decision.  It was certainly the more reasonable.
 I left the vines loose, well sewn on the ends of course, but loose.  I tried a few different ideas of them, but went with a tight roll lengthwise. The rolled edges are left raw and will fray nicely. Texture, texture, texture.
He has lots of vines down there for swinging.  Technically he can't leave his own vine, but his hand is a buttonhole, he can swing around on his.  See?  He's not sewn down really anywhere. 
 So this next one doesn't live in an Asian jungle.  I really wanted to include a colorful bird and could have done a hornbill, but I wanted more color.  Without really giving details, I found out that the nursery jungle is "mythical."  It's basically a South American rain forest with elephants in it.  As long as I wasn't the one destroying the realism, I had no problem putting in a toucan.
Now let's be clear, I don't embroider.  If you do, feel free to call your husband into the room to laugh at my toucan, but know this, I tried.  I even googled stitches.  I used that stitch for making leaves to make his tail.  It doesn't show up too well in the pic, but his tail is loose.  It flaps around.

 I made the snake out of ric rac.  He ended up a bit cutesy, but considering the trunks and snout are cuted up with buttons, a ric rac snake is fine.  I gave him colored banding.  I put yellow next to red because I think that's poisonous.  Something about next to black a friend of Jack... I don't know, I'm not a cowboy.
 The grass is batik fabric layered with flannel and cut into fringe.  It's texture on steroids.  I also really like how the grass extends out of the frame and falls over the binding.
 The leaves stick out a little but not too much.  The field of grass is a few layers of my grass mess.  They are staggered and overlapped and just all over the place.  I love the grass.
The canopy is leaves of a batik ferny print backed with a solidish green.  I sewed them into leaf shapes, complete with veins, and then pinking sheared the edges.  They are sewn in layers and each layer can be lifted and show it's opposite fabric.
 The backing and binding is a crazy animal print that's essentially velour.  It's like fur on a "realistic" stuffed animal.  It has this crazy zig zag stripe nap to it.  It's pretty ridiculous.  My husband picked it out and I thought, why not?  It is his brother's kid after all, and I had already vetoed a pastel baby animal fleece with savannah animals in a jungle that I know he loves.  Really, he suggests it all the time.
I made the binding a few inches wide to be more like a frame than a clashing attention grabbing binding.  I think it does a good job of framing rather than distracting.
Remember I was going for texture, here's the texture for a little one.
I think I certainly outdid myself, so goal met.  It was the first time I used batik fabric and I think it was the perfect choice for the jungle.  A solid would have made it all too cutesy and juvineille; I don't do babyish even if it is for a baby.  I love the texture of the grass, seriously I could run my hands through the grass all day. 
This quilt was extra fun in the making as I didn't measure anything!  It was a total mathless quilt and it didn't turn out a disaster.  The only bummer of the whole thing is my beautiful shoreline.  There is gorgeous curved piecing where the river reaches the lake/swamp thing.  Gorgeous!  And no one will ever see it because of the grass.  Seriously, you can't even peek between the grass layers for a glimpse.  But now we all know it's there, and we can bask in the knowledge.
And here's why I call it impractical: you totally can't wrap a baby in it.  Like at all.  It will be great for tummy time, and my four year old loves it, but still, impractical for a newborn.  Although can't you just see a teensy one gumming those elephant ears?
The baby shower is happening now, I hope they weren't expecting anything practical.  My mother-in-law made them a baby blanket, I'm depending on her to give them something they can wrap a kid in!

30 comments:

Sandy Weaver said...

That is so Cute! You have a very creative imagination! I love all the textures and colors. This quilt would spark anyone's curiosity.

CitricSugar said...

This is awesome! Why would you want to hide that design by wrapping the baby in it? No - you want the baby to be completely absorbed by this one in a different way. This will be a really great piece that continues to be great as baby grows up... So much texture and activity in this one. I love it.

Margaret said...

such a tactile quilt!

Check out my blog if you can...

Margaret Gunn
www.quiltsoflove.blogspot.com

Flo @ Butterfly Quilting said...

Wow! This is sooo great! What an imagination! Love it!

purduepam said...

You are so creative. Who made quilting rules that say it has to be practical. I believe this will be treasured far beyond the "practical".

Susie at ProsperityStuff said...

Awesome! What a fun quilt, and what a lot of creative details! Sure to be loved and enjoyed. Nice work!

Ariane said...

I love it!! So many details!!! It's amazing!!!

Lonci said...

Very creative, spectacular:)))

Lucy @ Charm About You said...

WOW!! Not at all impractical, well ok maybe for a newborn but they grow so fast and I'm sure it'll be enjoyed for much longer than that!! Even I want to play with it :) Brilliant and so creative!

Amber Goodman said...

When you said impractical for a newborn you pretty much gave it away. If it's not so much used as a blanket (which is the only way a newborn would use it) then it must be more fun.

I didn't spend enough time looking at the quilt to notice a few of the details you mentioned! (like the plover) I will have to look more when I see it again.

Great job on the quilt!

Kirsten N said...

The details in this are amazing!

Debbie said...

What an amazing quilt! I love the hidden animals, the movable body parts, and the alligator..I mean crocodile. Such fun to see all the detail. Beautiful!

M-R said...

You are hilarious, Amanda! I love your thought process and sense of humour. This is beautiful! You did a fantastic job. I figure that the baby is only going to be a baby for a year, then he's a toddler, then a preschooler, kid, teenager and then an adult. My point being that he can appreciate this quilt way longer than when he's just a baby so I see that as being very practical! So glad you linked up to TGIFF!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

This is an amazing quilt! Just wonderfully whimsical, delightful, and educational. If not to wrap a wee one in, but a 'grew with me' quilt for sure that will be cherished for a long time.

Ginette said...

Awesome! How did she react when she saw it?

Amanda said...

The shower was three states away, buy according to my in-laws there was a general gasp! The mom and dad to-be loved it so I was happy. They are thinking of hanging on his wall until he's old enough for it. Sounded like a success!

Allison said...

this is a quilt that will get a lot of playtime, even if you can't wrap a baby in it :) thanks for showing all the great details & linking up to TGIFF!

Sarah Craig said...

Gorgeous quilt and how much fun it will be for tummy time! Whoop whoop!!

Quiet Quilter said...

So I am guessing that the parents will be using this post as a map to find all the hidden animals....I can just imagine them (or their son) finding new things as time goes along...

Carol E. said...

This is a totally FANTASTIC quilt. I LOVE it!!!! What fun you had creating it, and your story telling of it is just as creative. Wow!

Recovering Perfectionist said...

Completely, mind-blowingly amazing!!! Can I come over to your nephew's house & play with it? (Please?)

Erin Marie said...

I was going to vote for a different baby quilt in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival, but had to click on the picture to see more about the elephant. I'm glad I did because there was so much more! What a fantastic quilt!

Habibti at Home said...

I am completely blown away! This is so creative and amazing! Maybe the nicest quilt gift you could give to a new baby and mom! You completely outdid yourself! Such a fun quilt!

Liz said...

Simply wonderful lucky child to have a quilt with so much thought and love stitched into it.

AnnieO said...

Extreme creativity and texture--what a lot of great ideas you invented and ran with. I think the Toucan looks pretty darn terrific, and the crocodile with the jaws that open--stupendous! Thanks for sharing your quilt's story.

Sue Daurio said...

Ok that is seriously too cute for words! Good luck in the finals, this is an awesome baby quilt.

Misha said...

I was admiring this the other day while looking at the nominees. I love all the details and moving parts. What an awesome quilt!!!

Jessica said...

Can I just tell you how super adorable and creative I think this is? Good luck in the competition! It's soooo cute!!

Quilting Babcia said...

This is just too wonderful for words ..
and a TOUCAN!
yes, YOU CAN!
embroider!
Your story is just as wonderful as the quilt! I hope you'll print the whole thing out into a little booklet for the happy mama and daddy!

Shari said...

Wonderful quilt - and so glad you shared your details. A lucky little boy is going to adore this quilt. You're my new hero.