Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Twin Set

  • Name: "Twin Set"
  • Completed 2014
  • Baby+ size, about 36x36 (the two quilts are slightly different sizes)
  • Machine pieced (both)
  • Machine quilted (both), hand-tied (girl's quilt)
  • Baby gifts!
When my dear friend told me she was pregnant with boy-girl twins (!) I leapt into action. Ok, I waited until she was in her second trimester, then bought some fabric and then let it sit around for a while, then finally got around to actually putting something together after realizing that twins rarely go full-term.


I wanted to make coordinating quilts that weren't too "boyish" or "girlish". I also wanted to ensure that both kids would still like the quilts once they got old enough to buy into the social construct of gender, which meant an avoidance of too-girly patterns or colors for the boy quilt in particular. A good way to coordinate the quilts was to use the same fabric for each, and I love the currently-trendy yellow/gray/white combination (for instance, the sampler quilt below by Kati [From the Blue Chair].

Kati - From the Blue Chair

I wanted also to choose blocks that looked fancy but came together fast. I succeeded for the boy's quilt by picking the bento box block. This block is very easy to make, and has a neat geometric quality that I felt was decently masculine. It's a modern block, obviously based on the Japanese bento lunch box with its cute little divided sections for each food.

Bento Box: Diane AZ - Desert Colors
For the girl's quilt, I selected the great-granny block, something I've wanted to make for a while. The block cannot possibly be new because it's so blindingly simple (most variations of sewing fabric together have already been invented during quilting's looooong history as a craft), but this incarnation is named after crocheted granny squares. The quilting variation is often set on point. The block feels sturdy, yet sweet and somewhat old-fashioned. A nice square for a girly sort of quilt.

Great-Granny: Lori Holt - Bee in My Bonnet
Great-Granny: Emily - Simple Girl, Simple Life

In Progress

Unfortunately, I neglected to consider that sewing all those tiny little squares together for the great-granny squares would take a long (duh) time. I should have realized this because I had just finished a similar quilt, but oh well. This meant that the boy quilt top was completed in a couple days, but the girl quilt top dragged on and on. Though it was worth it in the end, because I love the finished product! (Also I love my friend and her sweet babies!)

I also ran into an issue when quilting. The boy quilted up like a dream, but the girl not so much. The fabric shifted to the point where I had large gathers in the fabric that were creating inadvertent, ugly pleats in the top. This may be because I basted the girl quilt a couple weeks later than the boy quilt, and in the meantime my own pregnant belly had made it much more uncomfortable to crawl around on the floor. So probably I didn't do quite as good a job getting the fabric in the girl quilt smooth as I pinned it. I pouted for a bit about this, then did just a couple passes of machine quilting to anchor the girl quilt sandwich, and hand-tied it to finish. In the end I really liked the effect, traditional and sweet to match the great-granny block.

I bound the boy quilt in blue and the girl quilt in a wine color, in a nod to the traditional blue vs. pink.

This is what my labels look like - I use an archival-quality pen to write them. They do fade a bit with washing (all of my quilts are machine washable) but remain legible.

Final Product

I love how these came out. They go together but are also individuals, just like a set of twin babies! And I love getting photos of the quilts in use for tummy time or cuddles. Honestly, I make quilts to be used. It's one reason why I enjoy quilting more than things like embroidery or cross-stitch: the final product is functional.

(Obligatory photo of Fletcher on the quilt)

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