One of my best friends from my undergraduate days, Aimee, recently had her first child: a baby girl named Olivia. Aimee and I went on a semester abroad to South Africa when we were undergraduates at BYU. Later we were roommates again when I worked at a center for eating disorders after college graduation. A few years later, we reconnected when my husband went to law school in Boston and she was in the city working as a nurse. We don't always keep constant contact but when we reconnect, it's an effortless friendship.
Several months ago, I learned that her nursery theme would be elephants. I totally have a "thing" for elephant fabric and I gathered all the possibilities from my stash. I have several juvenile and nursery elephant fabrics, but when I found this dramatic blue elephant fabric, I was really excited. Her husband is from India and when I asked her opinion on which elephant fabrics she liked, she picked this fun, India-inspired one (like I hoped she would).
I had this "Taffy"pattern (a Jaybird quilts pattern) from a yard sale and other stash fabrics that easily coordinated with the project. This whole quilt came together in a mere three days- the large blocks, my excitement, and the fact that the baby came about one week early really spurred me on to get this done fast!
I *almost* did a fast and simple all over FMQ design over the quilt but I am glad I decided to have some fun with different thread colors and motifs within the quilt. I did a tiny bit of straight line quilting on the purple fabrics on my domestic machine after I did most of the quilting on my longarm. This is definitely the kind of practice I need to do to improve my longarm FMQ skills!
I also did a new-to-me binding technique: Suzy's Magic binding, a tutorial found on my friend Marti's blog here. It's a pretty easy technique and joining the ends together worked easily; I used the technique that I always do (found here). Finishing this binding is done by machine, something pretty necessary when it you think about the wear and tear that comes with a baby quilt.
I backed the quilt in a Marden's find: an Outfoxed print by Lizzy House plus some fabrics from the front to make it big enough.
I also made Aimee one of my favorite must-have baby makes: the Changing Pad and Diaper Wipes holder from Cluck Cluck Sew. This project requires a soft (usually stretchy) fabric for the interior, which is the reason I think I don't gift this item often enough. But it's SO useful and handy- I've used one for each of my babies. While I was making one for Aimee, I decided to make another for another friend who just had a baby boy:
Another item I really like to have for a baby is a nice big receiving blanket. I buy 1.25 yards each of two coordinating flannel fabrics. I prewash them and trim them to the same size. I round the corners with a plate or bowl and sew them together with a big hole for turning. I flip it all right side out and do a generous edge stitch to complete it. I find these so useful for all types of weather, it can be a makeshift car seat cover, it's great for swaddling, and it's so much more useful than those tiny, one-layer store-bought receiving blankets.
Finally, I made some burp cloths for both babies. My first baby was such a spitter- I literally had about 25 of these in rotation. I've gifted these to friends many times and I always receive grateful feedback.
Sewing for all these sweet babies has been a lot of fun. I think I'll be sad when I am out of this phase of life when I can sew for little ones so frequently. Linking up to Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.