This happy turn of events coincided with a recent longing, quiet at first but growing persistently louder, to make a quilt.
I used this tutorial at Cluck Cluck Sew and fabrics from my stash for the quilt top and binding.
The piecing went relatively smoothly. I read roughly a billion tutorials online about all aspects of making a quilt, and was feeling pretty confident when it was time to make my quilt sandwich. So one night while J and I were watching TV, I taped the backing to the dining room floor, layered my batting and top, and stuck 90 pins into my 39"-ish square-ish quilt with what I thought was the greatest care.
When I started quilting, though, it was pucker city on my quilt top. I kept going, thinking that the quilt would just look "organic." But with each new quilting line, the quilt appeared ever less "organic" and ever more "assembled by chimpanzee."
So I grumbled a little about how hard quilting is, but ultimately ripped out the stitches, pressed the heck out of the top and the backing, and started over. This time I used twice as much duct tape to tape my backing to the dining room floor and took a lot more time smoothing the backing, the batting, and finally the quilt top. Then I stuck 170-odd pins into the quilt.
And I guess you really need a mass quantity of pins to successfully pin a quilt because this time it was much better. I quilted the vertical brown rails first, by stitching in the ditch. Which, by the way, is really not so easy. I've done a bit of stitching-in-the-ditch in garment sewing, but that's never more than a few inches at a time. These long lines were a lot harder. I kept popping out.
Then I quilted the horizontal seams on either side of the center rail, starting from the inside of the quilt and sewing out to the edges. That worked well. At the end I did the horizontal quilting lines on the "flipped" portion of the quilt, between the rails. In retrospect, I probably should have started quilting those lines from the middle of the flipped portion, and then moving up or down. Instead I started at one end and you can kind of see how the strips got distorted towards the purple and brown end.
The backing is a white with black crosshatch quilting cotton I got at Joann's. I should have taken a close-up of the fabric, but I think it's a perfect contrast to the print-crazy quilt top.
I hand-stitched the binding to the back of the quilt in front of the TV over an evening and an afternoon. Just like with my second quilt, I found that process immensely satisfying. Up until that point, I don't think I quite believed that I was really going to end up with a quilt.
I am pretty happy with the finished product, but I wish I had used flannel or something thinner for the inner layer. I used some Warm and Natural cotton/poly blend batting that I had in the stash and it seems a little thick for this size quilt. A thinner quilt would drape a bit better and be easier to wrap an actual baby in.
But I think it will make a nice play mat.