Wednesday, March 31, 2010

faith, hope, love, and overstimulating fabrics

As a bright-eyed Positive Psychology student I get to study peoples strengths. One of my favorite lines of research looks at the characteristics that seem to be valued and related to happiness across cultures and generations. Of the 24 "character strengths" two that seem to be among the best predictors of happiness are hope and love. And spirituality isn't far behind. So, when I saw a pattern for a "Faith, Hope, and Love" baby quilt I was full off nerdy enthusiasm! That was, until I realized it was made out of religious fabrics. I don't want to make a social statement with my baby gift, I just want to spread a little joy.
My cousin just had her first baby, and although I love my cousin dearly, she's a bit of a handful. I decided, as I browsed quilt patterns, that if any baby is going to need a little faith, hope, and love it's going to be little Lilja (pronounced LIL-YUH).
Since I don't follow directions well, and didn't like the Christian fabrics the pattern was trying to hoist on me I set off in search of an alphabet panel to make my own. As it turns out there weren't many alphabet panels made this year. After hours of scouring every quilt shop and JoAnns in the inland empire I finally found the "Maizy" print with letters on it. I didn't much care for the coordinates, though, so I spent another month tracking down fabrics from the far reaches of the state (and my stash) to put this one together.
I ended up using 8 inch blocks of 5 different fabrics (I bought 1/4 yards of all but the one with the big print, which I got 1/2 yard of, just to be safe) to make this 40x40 snuggly baby quilt.
I cut each letter out of the "Maizy" panel and appliqued them onto each 8 1/4 inch square using Heat n' Bond light, then used a tight zig-zag around the edge of each letter to prevent fraying. Once all the letters were on I pieced the top together. I used half of a 1.25 yard cut of Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 batting and a 1.25 yard cut of JoAnns brand "minkee" to back the quilt. I tied each corner with #5 perle cotton and bound it by hand.

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