Sunday, February 27, 2011

Milestones

I like celebrating milestones with quilts. I've made quilts for births, and weddings, and kids moving from crib to bed. Babies get quilts from me (all except the first two, who were born before I started quilting...). But babies grow older, and have new milestones. One of the big ones in our family is Bat Mitzvahs. We'll get to a Bar Mitzvah in about 10 years, but the next generation of kids is mostly girls and so we have Bat Mitzvahs.  I've made 3 so far, and the first one was for my oldest daughter.
Baby quilts are easy in many ways: they are smallish, and the recipient is not aware of colors, patterns, etc. The parents are, and I do take their likes/dislikes/etc into account, but really, they're happy with a quilt for their baby. Quilting for teenagers, well, that's different.
Teenagers definitely have their own tastes in things, and I want them to like their quilt. I also want them to like it, and use it, for years to come, and so try to make it something with which they can grow. And the teen at 13 will be very different, perhaps, than the teen at 18.
When I started working on my daughter's Bat Mitzvah Quilt, I felt I needed guidance from her. I wanted to make it special, and to make it a surprise, but I also wanted to make sure it had elements she likes. In the end I asked her to name some colors that she likes and I would make a surprise-patterned quilt from them. The pattern needed to be something mature enough to last, and yet appropriate for a young teen.
My daughter asked for shades of blue, green, purple and gray. I got two shades of each, a light and dark, in patterned fabric that was not too busy, and got to work.
Here's what I made for her (with the cat getting in on the action):

And a couple of close ups (Again with the cat):
The biggest technical challenge with this quilt is the curvy lines. As I mentioned in a previous post, curvy lines are hard on little sewing machines (or maybe I haven't figured it out yet), so this quilt, which is for a full size bed, was largely pieced by hand.  Each little square was hand pieced, and then the squares were machine stitched into larger squares. I then added the border to make it a bit larger.
My daughter likes to snuggle in bed reading and such, so I knew I wanted this to be a warm, snuggly quilt. I sewed the top onto a comforter (bought from Ikea), and then quilted it with a fairly simple backing (of which, I now realize, I neglected to take a picture).
I gave it to her 3 years ago. She liked it then, and still likes it now. Hopefully she's keep liking it, and using it, as she grows up. (She's already talking about going away to college!)
I've since made two more Bat Mitzvah quilts, each with its own challenges, and will post about them next.

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