Sunday, September 4, 2016

Three Easy 9-Patch Baby Quilts, One for Presidential Namesakes

Sure, making babies is fun, but making a baby quilt can be even better! No morning sickness! No active labor! No college tuition!

My go-to baby quilt is what I call an "Everything in the World" quilt. I cram in dozens of different novelty fabrics, determined to give that baby as much as possible to discuss with its parents before it learns to Snapchat its friends. Here's one I made recently for a new grand-nephew:
The wackier the print, the better:
This quilt has a total of 108 4" squares. Each square is different, making it a charm quilt. How to manage so many pieces? I first sewed the 4" squares into 9-patch blocks (3 squares x 3 squares). Then I joined the 9-patches together in rows of three, with columns four blocks high. I surrounded the whole thing with a border made up of as many different solid colors as I could fit.

Since this nephew is a New Yorker (well, a Hobokenite), I threw some City memorabilia on the back - a subway map (to encourage the baby to use public transportation), and a Statue of Liberty panel (suggested destination).

Buy the New York subway fabric and more at the City Quilter store, here. Sadly this legendary Manhattan retail shop is closing, but they will continue to sell their intoxicating New York fabrics online - no financial affiliation.

Here's another "Everything" baby quilt I made long ago for a preschool auction.
In this version, I placed airborne novelty fabrics - like birds, planets, spaceships, airplanes - in the sky strip that runs horizontally along the top,
and ocean life against a turquoise sailing-themed print on the bottom.
In the central nine-patches, I tried to alternate light and darkish squares.
The sashings have different colors. 
(Black-and-white prints are said to enhance infant intelligence.)

In July, my friend T. asked me to complete two baby quilts for her. T. is having shoulder problems. (She also assigned me this Curvalicious quilt.)

First, she asked me to repair a baby quilt that she'd mostly completed, but which had a tear, and needed stipple quilting. I did all that...

Next, she wanted me to make an approximate copy of that quilt, but bigger, using fabric she sent. I made this:
After completing the top, I suddenly realized that this layout - 9-patches, alternating with horizontal bars in each vertical column - creates an interesting illusion of capital H's.  It's fun to watch them appear and disappear.

The diagram below shows what's actually going on. Within each 9-patch, the darks and lights alternate, with dark in the corners and center. Place dark horizontal sashing strips between the nine-patches, and there are your H's.
Sometimes they look like H's wearing Mickey Mouse hats. 

What if you put the darker fabrics in the alternate locations within each 9-patch? I colored my diagram to find out: 
Hmmm, I see red flowers. With a little more study, I see two white negative space H's. Cool!

And so, in conclusion, this quilt layout is ideal for babies and other people who are named after, say, Harry (Potter), Hermione (Granger), Hope P. (my favorite community arts advocate - Hi Hope!), and, of course any baby named after our country's potential first woman president.

If you're expecting a Republican baby, however, "T" pattern quilts abound, from vintage to modern. Just google "T block quilts" for yuuuuuge numbers of ideas. "D" pattern quilt blocks are much rarer. For a Green Party baby, it's a no-brainer - use assorted greens. As for Libertarians, they sure don't want me telling them what to make! 


  1. 1--For a Green Party family, do not buy any new fabric---recycling trumps multiplying your stash.
    2--Sept. 9 is the deadline to get in political quilts for the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum challenge/exhibition. I expect Cathy, you to send in a quilt with the Hillary logo patch you've been showing. Perfect showcase for that!

    1. You are so right about the Greens, Eleanor!!! I should have thought of that! I did submit my Presidential adult fabric quilt to that show...Hadn't thought of doing the Hillary stuff, too!?! Thanks for the brilliant insights!


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