Since we’re expecting a new family member in December I’ve been busily elving away in the evenings for several weeks, working on a few special Christmas gifts. This year Alice is going to be getting a baby doll crib that belonged to my grandmother, so while my father is busy refurbishing it I’ve been working on some accompanying bedding.
Alice absolutely loves her two baby dolls (Baby and Snoozy Suzy) and enjoys tucking them under napkins and dishtowels, and while I know she’d be perfectly content to keep using napkins, I decided it was a great excuse to make a tiny quilt. My mother gave me a bundle of sweet fat quarters this summer that I thought would be perfect for dolls, and I, not being much of a quilter, decided on a super simple pattern of triangles. I sandwiched in a very old, very holey, very stained tea towel to serve as batting and was delighted by the result. It gave it just a little bit of heft and puff while keeping it doll-weight.
I have some very experienced quilters in the family….of which I am not one! While I have helped assemble and quilt a couple times, this is actually the first thing I’ve done start to finish by myself. I’ve known for a while that I really dislike cutting out quilt pieces. This is probably due in part to my tiny, bargain-sized vinyl cutting mat and my lack of experience with rotary cutters. Nevertheless, given that this project is roughly the size of a placemat (it is approximately 16×18), I managed to persevere and actually get it all cut out. I absolutely loved every other aspect of the quilt making process.
My favorite task was the quilting, which I decided to do by hand primarily because I love a bit of handwork but also because I hear that both baby dolls and two-year-olds really appreciate such details. My binding job left something to be desired…my corners are particularly wonky and badly mitered. My only excuse is that my quilting book was upstairs and I didn’t want to disturb Alice during her “naptime” to go retrieve it, so I just fumbled along without really knowing what I was doing.
I’ve managed to keep this project mostly hidden from Alice, so it should be a real surprise on Christmas (or Kiss-Kiss, as Alice calls it). Strangely enough, the day I unbundled the fat quarters to look at them Alice asked, “You making a dolly blanket for me, Mama?” and then proceeded to start tucking in her dolls with them. I’m so excited for her to have a little crib instead of a shoebox, and a tiny quilt instead of dishtowels!
A couple months ago I read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and have thought about it quite a bit in the following weeks. She believes that we should follow our creative interests because it’s what we are meant to do, not because we want be the best or to make money or even to “make the world a better place.” I completely agree, and since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I’ll just say that I’m so grateful that I have the luxury of quiet evenings, a happy family, and bits of pretty calico with which to make completely silly little projects like this one.