Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Sailor Has Docked

fabrics for the Sailor's quilt

The little Sailor ran into some rough seas about 2 1/2 months before he was due to be born -- or maybe I should say Mommy was having a tough time of it. He was probably oblivious to the turmoil while doing inter-uterine somersaults. Anyway, Mommy had to go to bed to wait out the remaining time until his arrival. He showed up on February 15th (about 3 weeks early) and now he and Mommy are doing very well. (Mommy is my nephew's wife. Sailor is my 2nd Great Nephew born this year!)

pin-basting the quilt 'sandwich' on the large tables in my basement

I had been turning over in my mind what I might do for his baby quilt, but with this turn of events, I had to put myself into a speed boat to get the project done as close to his birthdate as possible. 

the quilt backing fabric

As it turned out, when I asked Mommy what she wanted for the quilt, her reply was along the lines of what I had been considering: a nautical theme for the nursery with the colors of baby blue, navy and white; with anchors, sailors and boats.

assembling the Nine Patch blocks

What I didn't count on was how hard it would be to find nautical-themed fabric here in the Rocky Mountain West.  However, with diligent shopping (such fun!!!) I did manage to find a few boats, some fish, star fish, and watery-looking prints. No anchors or sailors! But I had a special idea in mind that would help...

free-motion quilting 
I revived my interest in free-motion quilting. If you don't know what that is, it's when you use a special presser foot and drop the feed dogs of the sewing machine so you can wander all over the quilt in any direction, making scribbles or any design you want. I quilted this way over the 25 or so Nine Patch blocks, easily moving from one to the other without having to stop to clip threads -- just a continuous action.

Free-motion quilting the sail boats by following blue ink lines

After all of the colored Nine Patch blocks were done, I got into the more fun (and SCARY) free-motion quilting of sailboats in the remaining solid white blocks.

This is scary for a couple of reasons. To me, "free motion" is another term for "loosie goosie", which means even with lines to follow, I'm not good enough with the eye-hand-foot pedal motion to make smooth designs.

Also, I use a blue marking pen and I always hold my breath until it's time to remove the ink -- hoping it does indeed disappear! The pen is a wonderful tool. You draw the design, sew over it, and then to remove the ink you just spray it with clear water or run it through a washing machine cycle with no soap whatsoever!  If you use soap or stain remover, those products will actually set the ink permanently into the fabric, so only plain water will do.

one of the sail boats after the ink was removed with a squirt bottle of water

Thankfully, the ink did as advertised and came out completely. This is always such a relief every time I use the pen. It has never failed me but I always stress about it anyway.

sail boats with the ink and one with the ink washed out

With all that said and success to boot, I decided after this quilt was finished that my days of free-motion quilting are done. Ever since I shattered my shoulder in 2008, I have not been able to do this type of quilting nearly as well as I could before the accident. My future projects will have straight or wavy lines but no more "loosie goosie" for me. 

Me'n my Pfaff with the Sailor's quilt

Here is the finished quilt front: 

Nine Patch in Blue with Sail Boats

Here is the quilt showing the sail boat backing fabric:

front and back
And if  you read my blog post of this past Monday, you know how and why I put a personalized label on the back of all of my quilts:

quilt label with names partially blocked out
for sake of security -- you understand.

Would you believe that I have one more nautical-themed baby quilt to make this year? The next little sailor is due to be born in July, so I've got more time to scout out supplies -- although now that this one is done, I have begun to find fabric with boat anchors.

Maybe boats, fish, anchors, and sailors are more of a summer thing?


  1. Such a darling quilt and I am thankful mom and baby are doing well now. You certainly are talented. I clicked and enlarged your photos to enjoy a closer look at all the details. What a treasure!

  2. First of all, I'm glad to hear that mommy and baby are well, and that mommy survived those last 2 1/2 months having to stay in bed. That would have been so difficult! The quilt is just amazing. I don't have adequate words, but it is truly a treasure!

  3. Lovely quilt and I think you did very well with the "loosie goosie" action. I'm sure I could never do that. My Mom owned a Phaff sewing machine and thought it was the greatest. She probably owned it 40-50 years and created many pretty articles of clothing for me on it. Happy weekend!

  4. You did such a great job on this! We absolutely love his quilt! Thanks again for all the love and care you put into it! It is a treasure.