26 March, 2007

Quiltin' With The Windows Open

It was a warm and wonderful Spring morning, I threw open the windows and cranked up the classical music in the studio; all my favorite things at one time! I spent the morning finishing the machine quilting on this baby quilt. I approached the process by backing into it, literally! Our Guild held a workshop this past Saturday to construct preemie baby quilts for the NICU at a local hospital. These quilts are 36" square, large nine-patches, that are lovingly made and given to the tiniest patients. Initially, these quilts shield the preemies who, while in the isolettes, are subjected to bright lights and buzzing sounds of all the life-sustaining equipment in the NICU; later these quilts go home with their babies. The nurses in the NICU play an integral part in the distribution of these quilts to the families; they delight in choosing a quilt by color, or theme, and had expressed an interest in learning to make a quilt! The idea of hosting a workshop pairing a quilter with a nurse, or other health-care professional, was born! The notices went out-- to the Guild, to the hospital; to bring one and a quarter yards of 100% cotton kid-friendly fabric. Now, we, as quilters, know what to look for... there are differences, big differences, in 100% cotton fabric. Some fabrics are tight and stiff and virtually impossible to quilt without being pre-washed. These are the fabrics we would never choose, but the nurses didn't know, they brought what they found. I was paired with a nurse and we combined our fabrics, the colors blended beautifully. I cut, and she shuffled the pieces over three quilt tops. (This pattern yields three 36" quilts using three different one a quarter yard cuts!) I showed her how to sandwich the first quilt and she continued on with the next two as I began to quilt the first one. Everything went fine until my quilting meandered over onto the slick, stiff, tight fabric that was about to become my nemesis. Thread continued to fray and break and a deep sense of frustration set in. By the time I was two-thirds through I knew it was time to quit for the day or go stark-raving mad! I was already trying to figure out how I could wash the quilt at this point to facilitate completion while I drove away. Once home, I removed all the safety pins and firmly basted the edges down, by machine. I tossed it in the washer and crossed my fingers. It came out just fine, and a trip through the dryer was well received too! And so, I backed into the quilting; with the music cranked up and the windows open I was able to finish the quilting, on the now much-softer fabric! I carried the quilt outside to the patio and blind-stitched the binding into place later in the afternoon, seated on the glider accompanied by Hannes and the sweet music of joyful, singing backyard birds. It was a perfect day. One down, two to go... The great thing about making these coordinating quilts "in threes"
is that they often go home in sets with preemie twins or triplets!
Life is Good!

13 comments:

lappemor said...

The quilts are really cute! I'm sure the recipients will be thrilled. And it looks like you've had some good help (and company) as well :)

Conni Lu said...

Mrs. G: What a wonderful contribution and it's a win-win; you meet and work with some great people and the baby recipients go home with a lovely handmdade-with-love gift. Truly a gift from the heart. Your quilt is so pretty. Hannes looks like he might need his own little quilt - but then again, he may already have one. :)

Libby said...

What a fun experience - bringing quilting to others for a great cause. Nothing but 'feel good' *s*

Quilt Memories said...

Wish I had been there, just couldn't make it. Had out-of-town
company. Glad all went well. Maybe next time I can help. Although I was a bit intimidated to think the guild wanted ME to help someone else learn to piece and quilt. I am not comfortable even thinking about helping some one else. But I will get there, I'm sure. I hope there was a large turn out.
The quilts were really cute, and I know all of them were appreciated.

Shelina said...

What a great idea to pair a quilter with a nonquilter to make these. Teaching a nurse to fish, so to speak. Also a super idea to wash the quilt before finishing it, so you can complete it with your sanity intact. These turned out beautiful.

Angie said...

I don't think that it gets any better than wienie dogs, baby quilts, birds singing, and the beginnings of Spring all around??? :D

Ancestor Collector said...

What a wonderful thing for these teeny tiny babies. And how nice to teach a nurse to quilt! ;-)

meggie said...

Those quilts are wonderful, & just such a lovely gift to give. And some will be doubly blessed by Hannes! How gorgeous he is.

YankeeQuilter said...

What a great project! I'm sure the parents really appreciate them.

Beemoosie said...

What a wonderful service you are helping to provide!!! Way to go!!!
And you are so right, quilting with the windows open and good music is a dream!!!
~blessings!

teodo said...

These baby quilts are beautiful and the cause very great. I send you a big kiss for this. ciao ciao

SiouxSue said...

We've had beautiful weather, as well. The bluebonnets are out in force! Love the little quilts. I tried to get a quilting group/crochet group started here to do prayer quilts/afgans...no such luck, so far. It's wonderful what your Guild is doing!

Shelina said...

I can't leave a comment on the charms, so I am leaving it here. I think it is so much fun to swap charms. And you've got yourself quite a nice collection there.

The quilt police have asked me to come to your house and make sure you only have one of each charm so that you can't repeat. I guess that means all your big pieces will also have to be cut so you can't use those to cheat.

Expect me to come over when you least expect it!