My mother-in-law’s Christmas present

Yes, I’ve already started thinking about Christmas presents.  I actually started this one at the beginning of the year.  I decided to make a block for her quilt each month when I made my bee blocks and use the various designs that my bee members chose.  This worked well for the first couple of months, but I got behind when I had such severe morning sickness.

Once I recovered from the nausea, I then realized that since I’m having the baby in October, I might not be the most productive in the crafting/sewing department right before Christmas.  I thought I should go ahead and get things wrapped up to be sure it’s done in time for Christmas.

I churned out about twenty more blocks, and put it all together.  All in all, it was about a week’s worth of solid evening work, but I’m so glad it’s finished and that I know it will be ready to give when Christmas arrives.

I’m personally not very fond of sampler quilts, but the initial “do a little work each month” plan appealed to me, and my MIL will like the sampler style since she’s a bit more traditional.  I hope she also likes the fabric.  She’s not extremely girly, and this fabric reminded me of her.  I had it on the shelf from an after Thanksgiving sale at Joann’s last year.  It’s a queen size quilt, so it will fit her bed, but she could also use it on a couch folded up.

Most of the front blocks came from tutorials found here for easy traditional blocks.  For the back I made 6″ mini blocks out of scraps I had leftover.  About half of them are improv pieced, which is a technique I found out I really enjoy.  I’ve never improv pieced before, so 6″ blocks were a good way to try it out.

One thing I tried with this quilt that I wouldn’t recommend:  I hand-washed the blocks after piecing to prevent color running in the wash.  I’ve discovered that there are a handful of colors that can really cause problems if they’re not prewashed.  Navy is one of those colors.  Unfortunately, I discovered this after I had already begun making blocks or I would have prewashed the fabric to begin with.  I did the best I could, and it turned out okay, but it was a huge hassle to press each block after air-drying them, and I still ended up with tons of stray threads all over the quilt.  They also shrunk slightly, which made piecing the top a bit more difficult.  Note to self:  prewash fabrics likely to run before piecing.

Nonetheless, I’m glad I took the time to do that extra step because the navy did bleed significantly.  I used 1 new color catcher for each set of four blocks that I washed at the same time in the kitchen sink.  It caught a lot of color that would have stained the white parts had the quilt been wadded up in the washer all at once.  Lesson learned.

The only thing left to do is make a label.  I’m waiting until after our new baby is born, though, so I can include his name on it.  We have about four name options and no clue which one we’ll choose.

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