Thursday, 14 June 2012

Let's Get Aquainted - Wonky Cross Baby Quilt

Hello and welcome to my stop on the Let's Get Aquainted Blog Hop organised by Beth of Plum and June.

Plum and June

About me

I'm Sarah and I'm a 38 year old scot now living in Cambridgeshire in the UK where I work part-time as a forensic scientist.   I'm married to the lovely J who puts up with being asked countless questions about quilt layouts and colour choices without looking completely bored!  Between us we wrangle the wee chap (4) and the little lady (2).

I was lucky enough to be taught to sew by my mum, a very talented seamstress and for years cross-stitch was one of my major hobbies, although after the wee chap arrived it kind of fell by the wayside

The little lady is one of the reasons I started quilting.  18 months ago, around the time she turned one I was going through a bit of a low patch.  She is lovely but was a poor sleeper from day one and by day 365 things hadn't improved much!  I was very busy at work, had two very active kids and felt like I was losing myself a bit (I've always been a pretty positive person but prolonged sleep deprivation is a killer!).

So I was looking for a hobby that was flexible and could be fitted around the kids and would be relatively quick (compared with cross stitch) so I bought a copy of Issue 2 of Making magazine in the hope that something would spark my interest.  As luck would have it they had a feature on quilting - it was soooo different from the brown and pink log cabin that I'd made in my secondary school years. 

I bought some fabric and made the quilt pattern featured within a fortnight and although it wasn't perfect I was thrilled by how much like a 'real' quilt it was!  That was it - it has helped my stress levels and given me an outlet that I never imagined.

Okay, that was a bit of an outpouring!  Here are a few of the things I've made in the last 18 months:


How long have you been quilting?  18 months

Favourite quilting tips: an accurate 1/4 in seam really will make life easier (as I learned the hard way!).  I also love a quote I read somewhere - 'Better finished than perfect'.  I'm not suggesting that we should be slapdash as I strive to improve with every project but I think that a slightly imperfect quilt that can be used and loved is better than one that is never finished in the hopes of reaching perfection.  Also I'm nowhere near perfect so why should I expect my quilts to be any different!

Favourite blogging tips: try not to compare your blog with other people's blogs (tricky sometimes) and remember it is meant to be fun not a chore!

Favourite fabric: Summersville - I bought a complete fat quarter bundle and am seriously considering buying several metres of my favourites.

Favourite craft book: Practical Guide to Patchwork by Elizabeth Hartman and Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop for Quilters.

Favourite book: how can you choose just one!  I love to read - fantasy, crime, biography and popular science are my favourite genres and Terry Pratchett is probably my favourite author.

Favourite children's book:  The BFG by Roald Dahl.  We have just started reading 'chapter books' (as opposed to picture books) with the wee chap at bedtime and he loved The Magic Finger so looking forward to reading him The BFG.

Favourite quilting tool:  rotary cutter & mat

Favourite music to sew to:  I usually listen to audiobooks or BBC Radio 4 (news & documentaries)

Binding - by machine or by hand:  Definitely by machine.  I don't have the patience to hand sew binding, I'd rather use that time to sew something new.

Right I think we have got to know each other a little bit so on to the main event..........

Tutorial - Wonky cross baby quilt

I made this wonky cross baby quilt for some dear friends of ours who are expecting their first baby any moment.  They are having a little boy and their nursery is yellow and orange - I wanted something that would work with that and Monsterz by Cloud9 was perfect and incredibly cute without being too babyish.

I think these ones having a picnic of socks are my favourites:

I used Elizabeth Hartman's tutorial from Sew Mama Sew - here.  I don't intend to repeat the tutorial verbatim but I thought I'd add some hints and tips that might make your life easier if you decide to make a little quilt like mine.

Fabric requirements:
My quilt is 4x4 blocks and finishes at 32" by 32".

Blocks: 4 x fat quarters and 3/4 yard of contrasting fabric for the crosses (the blocks could also be made with layer cake pieces - choose 16 pieces for the main blocks and 8 pieces for the contrast strips)
Backing: 1 yard
Batting:  I like to have a couple of inches all round so 36" by 36" was how I cut mine.
Binding:  1/3 yard (I had just enough left over from my backing and fat quarters to bind the quilt but that may be because I bought a metre of backing which is slightly more than a yard).

All seams are scant 1/4".

Fat quarters: Cut 16 x 8.5" square blocks (four from each fat quarter)
Contrast fabric: Cut 32 x strips 10" long and varying from 1.5" to 2.5" wide - I cut equal numbers of each width so that the arms of each cross would be the same width.

Cut each 8.5" square across the middle at an angle and then sew a contrast strip into the cut. Press.
Turn through 90 degrees and make another angled cut across the middle

Sew a second contrast strip into the cut aligning the two halves of the first contrast strip as best you can. Press.

After making a few blocks I decided I liked the thinner crosses so I cut some contrast strips down to 1.25".  This does not leave much excess for trimming (see above - it is a 9.5" square ruler) and so if you like the look of narrower crosses I would recommend cutting your original blocks to 9" square (you should still be able to get 4 blocks from each fat quarter).

Trim the block to 8.5" square - once again make sure you leave enough fabric on either side of the arms of the crosses so that you don't lose the cross tips when the blocks are sewn together (as long as you have 1/2" of fabric you will be fine).

This is a block with 1.25" strips - 1.5" or greater gives more leeway for trimming
Once you have finished your blocks sew together into four rows and then join the rows.

Baste, quilt and bind!

I use 505 basting spray which I adore, it is quick and I get far fewer puckers than basting with pins.  I have never had any problems with it gumming up the needle or staining the fabric (and that includes one quilt that sat for 4 months between basting and quilting).  I know it isn't for everyone but I urge you to give it a try!

I quilted it using a free motion loop design, as I can't stipple without crossing my lines.  FMQ is still a work in progress for me.  This is the third quilt I've done and I am improving but I still have uneven patches.  But I love the look and once washed most hiccups aren't noticeable.  

So here it is

The back is the Adventurez panel print, which runs from selvage to selvage.  So as not to loose the cute design at either edge I removed a strip from the centre:

And since the baby this is for has yet to arrive I've asked Lottie to stand in as a quilt model :-)

Thanks for stopping by and I hope that you enjoyed your visit and found the tutorial/tips at least vaguely coherent!

Please also stop by and see Debbie at A Quilter's Table as she has a fantastic card & notebook holder for you today.

Next up will be Jennifer of Sewlandia and Nicole of Mama Love Quilts on Tuesday 19th June and if you haven't already seen the lovely projects that Kelly of Jeliquilts and Yzo of Chez Roo posted this week you should drop by and see them too!

Stop press: the recipient of this quilt arrived safely on Thursday evening. He is gorgeous and both he and mum are doing well :-)


  1. It's a lovely jolly quilt, and great choice of fabric - I bet your friends were very pleased!

  2. nice to get to know you Sarah! i love the quote 'better finished than perfect'!!! I like to say 'practice makes better!'.
    I understand how you needed sewing time as your therapy. I, too, craved alone time when my kids were little. My second was a huge sleeper, but when she came along her 2-yr-old brother stopped napping! Things do get easier as they grow up!

  3. What a cute baby quilt! I like the colors SO much. :)

  4. ha .. I couldn't find any typos or other mishaps in the tutorial (could be because spelling is not my forte especially not in English). It looks like a great fast quilt, I always like it when making them is easy but they look as if they took weeks and weeks of complicated cutting and sewing.
    I still like the green/blue/purple quilt best ... but the bags aren't bad either ... maybe I should just say I like all of the projects, more diplomatic and I don't need to decide.

  5. it's lovely! great to get to know you better and thank you for the additional tips.

  6. I love the orange :) It makes me want to try using that color.

  7. oh what an awesome wonky cross quilt! I love that 'pattern'! Nicely done tutorial, and it's good to know more about you! Fun to share the same blog hop day!

  8. It's nice to meet you Sarah. What an adorable Monsterz Wonky Cross quilt! I especially love the backing fabric!

  9. I'm typically not a wonky fan but I just LOVE this quilt! I don't know if it's the fabric, the colors, your cute play-by-play, or just that I love everything baby related but it's fabulous! Thanks for the tips! I may just have to make this one day soon. I have some lovely fat quarters that I need to find a home for. I love your baby stand-in. I don't have a tiny one any more either and often substitute our big baby doll.

  10. That wonky cross quilt is a stunner, thanks for the tute! It was lovely learning a bit more about you :)

  11. Lottie is lovely, as is your quilt : )

  12. Really cute! I love the bright orange with the soft greys and aquas.

  13. How really lovely to *meet* you. I am glad to have found your blog through the hop. I have a 7yr old and a 2yr old. My quilting hour (after bed and bathtime for the icklies) is by oasis - a tiny bit of me time that refreshes me like a tonic.
    My turn on the hop is not until October but hoping that you'll come and visit me then (or before, if you'd like).
    Kind regards

  14. Your quilt looks great, and your instructions are excellent, great post!

    My boys are all grown and the youngest, who didn't sleep either as a baby, now wouldn't surface before noon if left to his own devices :)

  15. I really like your quilt...and the picture of the doll wrapped up in it. I've been thinking about creative photos since one of the guest bloggers mentioned it at Plum and Junes, and yours fits the bill so well!

    I'm also in the middle of sleep deprivation, although I get some ok nights and it's only been five months. I can tell how well the previous night went by whether it is a one nap or two nap day (for me)!

  16. Love the quilt, the colours all work so well together. The pattern is very creative. =D

  17. Sarah, I love your quilt and adore the monster fabrics! Nice tutorial too. Thanks.

  18. What a fantastic quilt! I love that fabric and it looks great using the pattern you chose! Thanks for including all the tips! And it was great learning more about you. I enjoyed reading your q and a - great tips and I'm also usually listening to audiobooks - we'll have to talk about recommendations. Thanks again for participating!

  19. Sarah, I just loved your post today! Your quilt is adorable!! I'm a huge fan of the Monsterz line too -- they managed to make it cute in such a clever way. I can so relate to your story of how you started quilting. I too felt like I had lost all sense of my identity after staying home with my kids for a few years, and sewing really helped me connect with my creative side again. I'll be back to visit again!

  20. Visiting through the blog hop! Loved your Wonky Crosses Tutorial. I have wanted to try that, but was unsure just how. Thank you!

  21. Loved reading your post :) Gorgeous quilt!

    That's really interesting about the basting spray - I haven't tried it but maybe I should!

  22. Wow, that is way easier than it looks! Great tutorial. Forensic Scientist sounds fun! I love the fabric you chose for the quilt too! Nice to meet you :)

  23. I love your quilt! The bright orange looks so nice. :) I have read some Terry Pratchett and I loved the BFG! I'm new to your blog, so it's nice to meet you!

  24. Gorgeous little quilt! I love wonky crosses, and love love love orange for baby quilts, so I am all over this! Too cute! Nice to meet you - just found you through the blog hop so I'm a new follower :)

  25. Enjoyed reading your post. Your little quilt is lovely and thanks for the tutorial. Di x

  26. Sarah it is lovely! I use to do a lot of cross stitch too....haven't done it in years though. I know that one day I will go back to it though. 1/4 seam foot is my saviour!

  27. I'm glad you found this hobby and that you feel its just as relaxing as I do. I also hope you are getting more sleep now. Really nice quilts you have been doing since you started and Hurray you also bind by machine, sometimes I feel very much alone in that. ;) Thanks for sharing.

  28. Hi Sarah, so lovely to meet you. I was born in England (grew up in Florida) and so love to keep up with the UK bloggers! Makes me want to sit down with you and share a cup of tea! Your baby quilt is precious, I think the new little boy will love it.

  29. Hi Sarah, great to meet you! Your intro struck such a chord with me - I majored in biochem and micro in my science degree and I'm a huge fantasy and Pratchett fan :o) On top of that, I was an avid cross stitcher before I got my sewing machine last year! I look forward to seeing your future creations!

  30. This quilt is so cute! I love the Monsterz fabric. I had the same "it's like a real quilt!" experience on my first one! I can't believe how addicting of a hobby it has become! My poor husband has to help me make quilt decisions too (and sometimes help baste LOL).

  31. Hello Sarah I love your tutorial and the finished quilt looks great! I am impressed with your FMQ - I know you say it is a WIP for you but compared to a total novice like me it looks very accomplished. I guess one day I will just have to take the bull by the horns and try it, maybe on an ugly panel that I can wreck rather than a cute quilt like this. I am in the same part of the world as you also with 2 little ones so I look forward to reading about how you manage to squeeze in sewing and whether your daily routine is as chaotic as mine!

  32. Cute quilt! I love the colors you chose.

  33. NIce to meet you Sarah. Looks like we're both newbies to blogging this year but you've managed better than me so far. Thanks for sharing such a sweet baby quilt. Hope you're getting more sleep these days. I look forward to getting your future posts. Hope you'll check out my blog too.

  34. So nice to get to know you Sarah - love your wonky crosses quilt!

  35. Ahhh that's how you do that!! Great tutorial - now I know how to do crosses :)

  36. I so hear you on the sleep deprivation! My number 2 was a terrible sleeper until last year (he just turned 5). Quilting does have remarkable healing powers. :) So nice to meet you, Sarah!

  37. A very cute bay quite and great tute!

  38. I love the fabrics you've used in your wonky cross quilt - perfect for a baby quilt!

  39. I am catching up with Plum and June's blog hop - nice to meet you:). You've made some really fun projects. I wholeheartedly agree with "better finished than perfect." For several years I taught fourth grade and Roald Dahl was a huge favorite.

  40. Sorry I'm late Sarah! I love your tutorial, Elizabeth Hartman is my fav and I think you've done a really good job on this one. The orange is fab for a little boy, not too babyish but still sooooo cute. I love Terry Pratchett too, just finished Snuff. I think he would like the idea of socks having a picnic!

  41. I'm a late arrival to the blog hop and still catching up with everyone but thrilled to have come across your wonky cross quilt. It's beautiful and the perfect gift, another for me to add to me list to make. My little ones are long grown and looking back I wish I'd enjoyed the early days more instead of worrying so much and thinking things like housework mattered. Each stage of being a mum brings it's own new worries, some worse than the last but I'd love to have just one day of my three running around my legs again and clambering into my lap. Anyway, before I get too sentimental, it's really good to meet you :)

  42. Sarah, I'm way late to your introduction but I was investigating wonky crosses and your blog was on the google search. When reading your introduction I read manythings I share. I'm forty and I have two children, a boy aged 6 and a girl aged 4. I too rediscovered quilting after my girl was born and I needed a distraction from her cries! I'm a teacher of English living in Asturias Spain. I'm certainly following your blog now!
    Nice to meet you!