Monday, October 17, 2011

The Rise of the Animal Cracker

My sister is having a baby in March.  It's been nick-named the animal cracker, and since it's the first of the next generation in our family, we're all super excited.  My mom is making a fancy Noah's Ark quilt for it, and I told my sister I'd make a more everyday-play-on-the-floor-spit-up-and-toss-in-the-washer type quilt.

I don't usually buy fabric panels because they don't fit too well with my piecing approach, but I saw this one a couple of years ago and couldn't resist.  It's been sitting in my stash for a while waiting for the perfect project.  I thought it would be lovely for the baby quilt, and decided to just frame it with some basic borders.  As you can see, even for baby quilts my preferred color palette is "bright."

For borders I used up some old strip sets leftover from another baby quilt (which I might show someday).  The sets had two strips of black and white mini-tumbling block print on the sides with a piece of rainbow in between.  The colors matched the panel perfectly, but I only had enough to go around two sides.  I decided that if I cut the strip set in half, I'd have a nice inner border of the rainbow fabric and outer border of the black and white fabric.  Here's the panel with the strip sets pinned up sort of haphazardly around it.

I love the bold graphic tree of life motif.  Even though it looks like mostly flowers and leaves, upon close inspection the tree is populated with a large variety of non-mammalian fauna as well.  I found birds, many bugs, butterflies, and horny toads.

Since my sister's not sure what the sex of the baby is, and since the front is a little on the pink side, I decided to use something clearly gender neutral for the back.  I fell in love with this planet/outer space print and thought it went very well both color-wise and conceptually with the tree on the front.  

I quilted it on my home machine even though it's larger than I prefer to do for home-machine quilting (45x55). I tried to do large open quilting motifs, but had a very very hard time being smooth (see horrible stitches below).  I seem to do better quilting tightly in small areas on the home machine, but that wasn't very practical for this project.  

For the binding I chose a bright turquoise frog print that I've had for ever.  It's actually an old curtain I made over ten years ago that hung in our dorm living room during our senior year of college (remember Quintard ladies?).  I took down the curtain after we graduated and it's been living in my fabric stash ever since then.  Kelly, Sylvester, and Ed were actually the focus of this picture (not the silly curtain).  They were all dressed up in tuxedos ready to crash a Christmas party, but I cropped them out in case they didn't want to be plastered all over my quilt blog.  If I recollect correctly, getting ready for that party was way more fun than the party itself.  Anyhow, I'm glad I finally used part of the curtain for something.  I've always loved that fabric, and I have great memories of that year.

Back on topic, here's the final quilt;  it's inscribed "For my dear Animal Cracker, with all my love: Auntie Shannon, 2011."  I can't wait for this baby to arrive!

Animal Cracker, 44 x 52 Shannon Conley 2011 

What about you guys?  Any fun stories that go with fabric in your stash?  Any imminently arriving babies or quilts?