A precious, much anticipated, baby girl was born into our family in March of 2013–the first girl on both sides of the family. Her mama, my sister-in-law, had a very specific picture in her head of what she wanted for the nursery. We searched and searched for fabric that would work and almost ended up having my husband Lloyd design something specifically for the room. Just in the nick of time, she found a perfect fabric collection–Joel Dewberry’s “Heirloom”–and fortunately Hawthorne Threads still had all of the fabrics. The nursery was a labor of love from Mama, Grandma, Nana, and Auntie Val.
After all of the projects were planned and divvied out, I realized that I wasn’t actually making anything. So, I offered to make a baby announcement. I absolutely love crazy quilts and thought it would be the perfect medium to give Baby D an actual heirloom piece. I fussy-cut fabrics for the four inner blocks then got to work on embellishing, which is the most fun part of the process. The embellishing can become so much fun that the project never gets finished! The more you work and add details, the more spots you can see to embellish. Fortunately, I had a deadline for this project. We were heading to my brother and sister-in-law’s house for Baby D’s christening, and I decided it must be finished by then.
I tried some new stitches and worked with some new-to-me materials. Much of the embroidery was done in silk thread, which was just a dream to work with. Goodness, I’d love to stitch with silk all the time, but it is quite cost-prohibitive for every-day stitching. While I purchased some of the beads and trim for the quilt, I also used pieces of jewelry and buttons from my own collection and from a box of costume jewelry that was my grandmother’s, as well as from a friend’s stash. Baby D’s crib quilt was made of paper-pieced butterflies, so I included butterflies from different mediums as well.
The upper-lefthand block had a few pieces of lace–a bow, heart, and flower trim. I further embellished the heart with glass blue beads that were gifted to the project by my friend Donna, who is a gifted stitcher. The cameo in the center was from a choker that I wore to one of my proms. The square button was from one of the first dresses I sewed for myself in high school. The heart is one of several cloisonné beads I purchased for the project because of their beauty and stunning colors. The baby block charm in the upper-righthand corner was one of several baby/girl charms I chose for the quilt. The last embellishment piece on this block is a Czech glass rhinestone button, which just shines.
I beaded in the center of the flowers in the lower-lefthand of the block. Also along that piece, I embroidered the fly stitch in a sparkly, variegated thread. I couched chenille thread along the loops, parallel with the flower lace trim. Lastly, I embroidered a chain stitch, embellished with blue beads along the edge of the blue with the baby block charm.
The upper-righthand block has a delicate lace butterfly in the upper-lefthand corner. I stitched orange and blue beads to add some color and dimension to the butterfly. Across the from the butterfly is a floral lace trim, enclosing the silk ribbon embroidered flower. The gold bow pin in the center is from the costume jewelry I inherited from my grandmother. Along the bottom edge of the bow’s block I embroidered a beaded feather stitch. Parallel to that embroider is a row of several beads, including light blue beads I had in my stash, silver butterfly beads, and butterfly cloisonné beads. Below that row of beads is another lace trim with pearls.
The lower left-hand corner has several beads that were gifted to me by Donna, specifically for this project. She wanted Baby D to have the teddy bear angel watching over her. I circled the angle with lovely blue heart beads and opaque flower beads with orange seed beads in the center of each flower. In the opposite corner I couched gold chenille thread and stitched half-circles of pearl beads along the pattern of the fabric, as well as embroidering a lazy daisy flower in the pattern of the fabric, with orange beads in the center of each stitch.
The lower-lefthand block includes a few more pieces of jewelry from my grandmother–the snowflake pin in the top-lefthand corner, and the gold flower with pearl beads in the center (which had been a clip earring). I beaded and stitched along the pattern of the fabric in the top-righthand corner, using really, really tiny gold seed beads and pearl beads. Below that is two rows of lace trim, one with little pearls. There is also flower lace trim along the bottom-righthand corner.
In the center is a satin flower with pearl center embellishment. To the right of that, I made a leaf using the fishbone stitch and fabulous silk variegated thread. Below the flower and fishbone stitch is a row of hanging leaf beads. To the left I stitched silk ribbon and beaded a fly stitch variation. Above the fly stitch I beaded the dots of the pattern with orange seed beads. Parallel and to the left of the fly stitch is a row of chain stitches in orange silk thread, embellished with blue seed beads. The block is finished in the bottom lefthand corner with a charm of a little girl jump-roping.
The lower-righthand block’s focal points are beading along the patterns of the fabric. The center flower gains great depth with the orange seed beads and silk thread outline. Even the butterfly lace in the upper-lefthand corner has beads embellishing the lace. To the right of the butterfly is a gold teddy bear charm. The upper-righthand corner is trimmed with pearl-centered flower embellishments.
The bottom-righthand corner is beaded along the pattern. The center is a glass and silver flower button from my stash, and is surrounded by silver bugle beads, creating a really striking piece. Along the edge of that seam is a beaded fly stitch, embroidered with silk thread. Parallel to the fly stitch is a floral lace trim. To the left of the trim, and under the center flower is a circle of blue beads following dots in the fabric pattern. To the left of the flower and circle beading is pearl beading half-circles, edged with a beaded feather stitch. In the bottom-lefthand corner, the loops are accented with blue glass beads.
The inner four blocks were bordered with a tiffany blue fabric, which was fairly hidden by the eyelet that I buttonhole stitched around the center blocks. The outer border was Kona Snow, and I embroidered Baby D’s full name and birthday in a script along the top and bottom. Her name and full birthday have been blurred out to protect privacy.
The quilt was backed in a “Grunge” by Basic Grey from Moda. I bound the quilt with strips of the fabrics found in the quilt. The scrappy binding was the perfect finishing for this quilt. My husband, Lloyd, made the label for me (as he always does. I swear, if he wasn’t around, none of my quilts would have labels!).
The quilt really was the perfect final touch to Baby D’s nursery! Baby D’s mama recovered the glider and made the table topper, curtains (which you can hardly see in this photograph), and ruffle crib skirt. Grandma made the crib quilt and bumper pads. Nana made Baby D’s “mimi” quilt. Her nursery was really a labor of love, and it turned out just lovely.
It’s a good thing I had a deadline with this project, otherwise I think I’d still be adding embellishments to this quilt. Even as I write this blog post over a year later, I see holes where I could have done this or that. I keep saying I’m going to start a crazy quilt for myself, but I know I’d be working on it for the rest of my life, so probably not the best project to start right now! Even though I see things I still could have embellished on this quilt, I have to admit that it is one of my favorite finished projects. It was a true pleasure to make from start to finish, and I was thrilled to give it to Baby D, as I know it will be treasured by her family and eventually her.
Some project details:
Finished Size: 24″x24″
Fabric: “Heirloom” in Citrine palate by Joel Dewberry for Free Spirit Fabrics, purchased from Hawthorne Fabrics; “Grunge” by Basic Grey for Moda Fabrics; “Kona Cotton” in snow from Robert Kauffman Fabrics
Threads: Pieced with Aurifil 50-wt. #2600; Embellished with various silk, pearl cotton, silk ribbon, and chenille from my stash and the stash of friends
Embellishments: From my stash, the stash of friends, and CrazyQuiltingSupplies.com (couldn’t more highly recommend this website for embellishment needs)