Saturday, July 30, 2011
A Quilt for Ella
Ella is my niece. The first of my parents' grandchildren. The eldest child of my eldest brother. A pioneer of her generation in my family. Upon her arrival, I became Aunt Mary for the first time. And her baby quilt was the first one my mother and I collaborated to make.
Since then my mother and I have made three more baby quilts. Our process is always the same. While I get to design the quilt and piece it together, my mother does the hard labor portion, the actual hand-quilting. My mother, however, would describe the partnership a little differently. She might say while I have to do the drudge-work of collecting all the fabrics, cutting them, and sewing them all together, she gets to add the essential finishing touch, the loving hand-quilting. Either way, it works out pretty nicely, and we've come up with some beauties.
Ella is currently three years old, and a thoroughly interesting little girl. She is and always has been a little wisp of thing; blonde, blue-eyed and skinny. She's always exploring her world, flitting about like a fairy or a sprite, constantly finding new things to laugh at, play on, or ask "why" about. Her explorations of the backyard have led her to discover an imaginary "mean beast" that she delights in running away from. She has coined a new color: "um" which is the color of grass. Her creative naming extends to her stuffed animals, which include a bunny named Ah-peet, a bear named Wineglass (we're still scratching our heads at that one, but it has an interesting ring to it, don't you think? Kinda rolls off the tongue), and a giant pink hippo named Hoppy. She has two little dolls, both named Debbie. To differentiate, she uses the hair color to tell them apart--they're sometimes referred to as Red Debbie and Yellow Debbie. She loves learning new things and listens all too closely to anything new we might be discussing.
As soon as we heard the announcement that this little bundle of joy was on the way, I knew I had to make a baby quilt for my niece or nephew. (Since my brother and sister-in-law were leaving the gender of the baby a surprise, I had to design a gender neutral quilt.) I felt the best way to celebrate this new addition to our family was with a brightly-colored Muppet quilt! Sis-in-law loves the Muppets and so do I!
The Muppet characters came from a vintage flat sheet I got on Ebay. After a good washing and ironing, I realized this vintage sheet was a little threadbare, so I fused a stiffener to back of each of those squares. The other colors I carefully placed so that no two same colors were touching one another.
I actually had a machine quilting place do a little of the quilting (about 30 percent of it is machine quilted, which also meant I didn't have to baste the quilt-yay!) while Mom did the rest, including the Muppet characters. The fill is very thick, and although I'm sure it'll be cozy, I've decided I like thinner quilts for the little ones.
This quilt's bright happiness perfectly suits Ella. I hope she'll use it and have it for years to come.