Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Hark! I Hear a Baby Boom! Be Prepared!

(Below, a brand-new human on a recently finished quilt. Eyes are covered to protect anonymity.) 

Is romance in the air? For whatever reason, in my world, babies are a-poppin! Fortunately, I am prepared! Here's my neonatal kit: An oversized shoebox full of maybe 200 4" squares, some of them sewn into 9-patch blocks.

Unpacked, below, you'll find stacks of squares, many tourniqueted with torn white fabric strips, and the category name scribbled in pencil on torn-paper labels, in handwriting so terrible (mine) that I can barely read them. 

In the photo above, the categories, starting on the top row left and going across, I discern piles of:

  • Transportation; Ocean; Nature. 
  • Middle row: Music; People; Creatures
  • Bottom row: Science; Sports & Games; Food (that's garlic on top).

Not shown: Places; Black-and-White Prints; Rainbow Geometrics; Sky-Aerial Transportation-Flying Bugs (one category!) and the biggest pile of all, the sublimely descriptive "Stuff".

I periodically cut these squares from my novelty fabric stash, and then, when I hear rumors of a human emerging shortly, I sort the squares thematically into 9-patches, and organize those blocks into quilt tops. Here's the front the quilt upon which the baby above is laying.

Below is the back. 

The strips for the back didn't come from the shoebox; it came from a larger, more densely packed container (a pastel blue suitcase, circa 1965 -- no wheels!), which features scraps not only inside it, but also upon it, and surrounding it for a radius of several feet. 

(Especially when the cat tunnels into it, clawing out heaps to create a cave.)

(Below, the video evidence).


Next, a closer look at the back. It was wonderful to revisit scraps I hadn't seen in years. It was like greeting old friends! (I thoroughly washed this quilt after finishing it, to get out the kitty cooties.)

Below are some of the front's nine-patches. In the middle are science-related fabrics. 

Next, below, on the upper right are nine sky-themed fabrics (and you can see why bugs and transportation are part of the aeronautical category, along with UFO's and eagles.) 

(The hand is in a black-and-white border, and a "cats" nine-patch starts on bottom.)

Next, a meeting of two different nine-patches: Random Creatures on top, Places on bottom (the latter includes houses, a carnival, a map of Southeast Asia, and a Manhattan subway map). Black-and-white border squares are on the right. 

This one's People, real (Ruth Bader Ginsburg) and imagined.
Below is the Food unit (lower right). Stuff squares are above it (pencils, erasers, computers, stamps, crayons, cellphones, laundry.) 
And this is the cat block. On bottom is more Stuff, including....
...directly above, a Featherweight sewing machine! Was I happy when I found that fabric!

This "random animals" nine-patch has one of my favorite fabrics, anteaters on pink.  Also note Elvis, top row center.

And sew forth! Keep in mind that it took me 30 years of minimal-impulse control to accrue this encyclopedic collection. 

If you're hanging around people capable of surprising themselves and you with a baby, you might want to get a head start now by cutting squares. I promise you'll have a lot of fun, laugh, and best of all, you will, as the Boy Scouts say, Be Prepared! 

For more photos of my baby quilts, click on the term in the word cloud on the right. I hope you will consider signing up for my occasional newsletter, a


  1. Congratulations on the baby and the quilt.

    1. Thanks so much, it's a dear friend's grandbaby, but I accept your congratulations on her behalf!


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