Sunday, June 17, 2018

Accidental Skyscraper Quilt, Plus One for a Quirky Baby

It's amazing how many quilts I make when I'm trying to make something else entirely. Take this one:


Even closer, you can see the Chrysler Building quilting.

(Here's the actual top of that iconic New York building:
Photograph by Leena Hietanen:
I didn't set out to make a quilt about New York City. While scouring my stash for a backing for a different quilt. I happened across a stack of Jan Mullens fabric scraps, purchased in the 1990s at (before it was bought by Amazon), when my children were almost as small as my stash. I had bought a yard of about 6 different coordinating fabrics. Lurid as some of them are (oy, that magenta!), they served me well, in dozens of kid quilts.
I was surprised that I had any left at all, and decided maybe I could make something quick, fun and modern. I added solids, did some improv piecing, and, a little too quickly, wound up with this on my (vanilla batting) design wall (Yes, that's my Pez collection above my design wall. It has an excessive impact on my color choices, so don't try this at home):
And yes, I made the rookie mistake of adding the strips, one by one, to the same side of the first strip, which is pretty much guaranteed to make your quilt arc toward freedom.

What to do? Call it "Quilt for a Baby Who Won't Crawl Straight"? Or maybe hide the bend by adding more strips? The central area looked like ladders, so I started making more improv ladders, this time from solids. At this stage, I was calling the quilt "Stairway to Heaven." I took pictures, and posted them to Facebook to crowdsource whether the additions helped or hurt.
I also took some pictures leaving the baby quilt portion out completely. 
There was no consensus on Facebook - the Russians apparently didn't care - so I decided to leave the baby quilt out.  At some point, I offset the tops of the ladders. They instantly became skyscrapers. The next thing you know, I had the quilt on the top of this page. 

So I still have to figure out what to do with the cockeyed baby quilt. (Yesterday a visitor suggested I call it "Drunken Baby Quilt," but I don't want to encourage babies to drink anything inappropriately.) What it really needs the right mother, one with a sense of humor who doesn't mind a baby quilt whose stripes aren't straight! Does it look any better on the horizontal? Does it look like a toothy smile to you?  Suggestions welcomed!


  1. I like the idea of a toothy smile and you might "sell" the idea to a five year old who is looking forward to Big People Teeth.

  2. Love, love, love the Chrysler Building quilt! Not sure what to do with the drunken baby quilt, but I'm sure you will come up with something.

  3. Fun post....sorry about the Russians...

  4. I actually love the title :"Bending toward freedom", and think maybe if you put some white wedges you can develop a rectangular quilt and retain the curvature in the colored sections...

  5. I love the city buildings! Very creative!

  6. Or just cut it in half and rotate the ladders to the top and the bottom; if necessary add to the middle to make sue it is the shape you want.

  7. Just went to NYC on a drive-thru tour with grandsons. Chrysler Building, Yay