When I knew my sister was expecting a baby I knew I would make something extra special for my new baby niece.. I really wanted to attempt and make a quilt for her.. I have never done it but it looked like a fun project.. Well I can tell you it was bloody hard work but, the whole process and the story that went with the quilt… well just keep reading…
My baby niece was born in August.. and this project started a while before then, probably at the end of June. My friend Vera showed me how to hand stitch a beautiful square for a traditional Manx quilt. This pattern is called – “the roof pattern”. You can read more about it here.
These quilts would have been made by candle or lamplight, the women being too busy to sew in the daytime. [www.manninquilters.org]
I really loved how it looked and thought I could improvise a little and create my own version for my baby niece.
Here is the instruction which you can follow. As I said I improvised quite a bit as I went along..
I decided to do 3 rows instead of 4 as is usual for the Manx quilt, because this was going to be for a baby girl I thought 5×5 squares would be just the right size.
I chose to do the quilt in dusky pink, white, cream and sage green. My sister’s favourite colour is green and I know she prefers neutral colours than the usual pink for a girl and blue for a boy!
Each and every one of the 25 squares is hand stitched, each square probably took roughly half an hour to do, when I first started maybe even longer. But I must say it is so therapeutical to do it! I used to lay on the bed chatting to my hubby and stitch…
I really wanted this project to be a family project.. but I had one problem.. I live in the Isle of Man, my little sister in London and my mum in Latvia!!! I saw a window of opportunity when my sister and I went to Latvia for my mum’s birthday in July. One evening when my eldest sister and her family had left we all were hand stitching the squares..
My mum loves crafts and really was getting into it, she actually made 4 squares for the quilt as I left some materials for her to do and she posted them over to me. We even had a skype session one evening when I was sewing my square and she was sewing hers to make sure she was doing it right!
My little sister Cynthia and her boyfriend Ricky also helped out.. It was a real family effort.
Here is my husband Shaun concentrating very hard to sew his square.
I put a little thread in the squares that were made by the family so my mum and my family could see where their square ended up in the quilt.
Then followed the hard part – putting the squares together. As all the squares were not identical it was a tough task to make sure they lined up. It took me ages to make sure it was right. At first I put them together and then went over with the sewing machine.
As I wanted the quilt to be warm, I added some batting in between and ‘sandwiched’ the backing (plain cotton fabric), batting and the squares together. I then pinned it all together and sewed it together.
To ensure that the quilt was holding together I sewed it on the top going along the lines of each square. I used nylon thread and walking foot for this.
I then used some bias binding around the edges.
And here is the not-so-perfectly-straight-and-correct-but- filled-with-so-much-love-quilt
PS my sister loved it!!