“I just want more of her.” A wonderful piece on the late lamented food writer, Laurie Colwin.

Look, Look

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Dear Ann,
Anybody in need of a Rhinebeck palate cleanser: I’m here for you. (If you want to wallow in the Rhinebeck, or you don’t want to read about quilting, scroll down.)
Here’s a situation with which we are all familiar: a special baby is expected. You are going to make something Great for this baby. You spend a lot of time thinking about, and rejecting, many Great ideas. Meanwhile, the special baby is born. The special baby gets busy growing. Before you know it, the special baby is growing UP, without the something Great from your own two hands! Such is your shame at the lateness of your gift that you begin to slow down when you pass a BabyGap. You know it’s time to make something, even if it is not particularly Great.
Faced with this situation, and a pile of leftover strips from piecing Carrie’s quilt-in-progress, I started a crib sized quilt on Saturday afternoon the weekend before Rhinebeck. Pieced it. Sandwiched it. Machine-quilted it with a skill level that will not bear close scrutiny but might keep the layers together. Trimmed it. Attached a binding. Sewed it down by hand, a slow and satisfying process. On Sunday afternoon, I tossed it in the washing machine, well pleased with myself. Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, I give you:
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The Bookish Baby Quilt.
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See all the letters? That’s what makes it bookish. (It’s for the Bookish Girl’s girl.)
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I pray that I got it to her in time for it to be in the running for Favorite Daily Blanket. I would like to see this thing shredded up with use, possessed of a peculiar and beloved smell. (I promise to take it back for repairs, rebinding, cutting down, or adding on. There are plenty more strips where these came from.)
The Prouds and Sorries of this quilt are few. I’m sorry that I don’t machine quilt better, but given the mignonne size of my sewing machine, I had less puckering than I expected. (What I learned: for me, the old-fashioned basting-of-the-layers works a lot better than pin-basting.)
The Prouds include the ever-improving straightness of my piecing seams, the beauty of my very first binding, and the success (in its maker’s eyes) of the “housetop” log cabin design.
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The binding and backing.
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I was also Proud–and quite surprised–that the quilt is actually square when folded. Slowly, I am conquering the challenge of making parallel lines behave properly. The ruler, the mat, and the rotary cutter are working together as a team, as never before.
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A little bad French never hurt anybody. (You’re never too young to enjoy Japanese fabric.)
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Girl of Bookish Girl graciously received her quilt at Rhinebeck. She liked it more than she could say (what with being a baby and all).
For the quilting-indifferent, I apologize (a little). No more quilting for a while, but I warn you that there are more special babies on the horizon. And like I said, I have plenty of strips. 24-hour baby quilts might be a new obsession, I mean, special interest.
Love, Kay
P.S. Edited to add:
Mary B of Richmond, who has been Tragically Blogless for so long that I am promoting her to Incorrigibly Blogless, shared with me the Quilt Warranty that she includes with all her quilts for babies. It was too good to keep for myself.
This quilt is covered by a full, lifetime repair or replacement guarantee, subject to the following conditions:
Damage caused by the following situations will not be covered:
Moth damage (from being put away for “safekeeping”)
Crease damage (from being put away for “safekeeping”)
Being lost (because somebody can’t remember where they put it for “safekeeping!”)
Damage caused by the following situations will be covered:
Being drug around
Being used as a tent
Being used to drag heavy objects
Being chewed on
Body fluids of all types
Being left out in the rain/snow/sleet/hail
Being slept under, on, around, over, and with
Being loved to death in any way
Being lost (because somebody couldn’t go visiting without it, and it got left somewhere
on vacation!)
This quilt expects to be — and has already been — machine washed and dried. Do not be “careful” with this quilt, because if you do you will hurt its feelings. ☺
This quilt is intended to be USED and LOVED!!!!!!

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76 Comments

76 Comments

  1. That is beautiful!! I LOVE it!! you did a great job!

  2. Beautiful baby quilt and beautiful baby! You have done a great job – and the fabrics are so unique and colourful.

  3. “scrappies” are like painting with fabrics! you have provided life long “comfort.” simply lovely, kay!

  4. Kay I am DOING this! OMG! This looks great and it’s SO much quicker than the last “great idea” I had – look at it! it’s done! I am doing this Kay!

  5. Wow, that’s fantastic! I’m thinking of starting quilting (got the fabric stash starting and everything!), and this is so inspiring, especially with a special baby on the way in my family. You did a really great job, I’m sure the baby’s going to love it!

  6. What beautiful work. I have no sewing skills to speak of, I faint at the idea of even sewing on buttons. Your quilt makes me want to learn. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. It’s been so long since I’ve done any quilting. Am resisting mightily the pull toward fabric stashing, made all the stronger by your photos. The quilt is great!

  8. Oh, this is just beautiful! Any momma would be delighted to own such a lovely thing for their baby. And blankies definitely are used for the next 5 years at least! It’s exquisite — very nice finishing and the fabrics are terrific!

  9. That is the prettiest and cutest quilt I’ve ever seen!

  10. Indifference would be impossible. It is so beautiful.

  11. Holy cow. That is one *fabulous* cute for a special baby. I heart it. That’s almost enough to make me want to learn to quilt….

  12. Holy cow–that is a *fabulous* quilt for a very special baby! I heart it. It’s almost enough to make me want to learn how to quilt…

  13. Beautiful quilt for a beautiful baby! Well done, and just in time. I’m sure it will quickly achieve treasured blankie status.

  14. Oh sure, just go ahead and feed my new-found obsession with cute quilts. Go ahead. See if I care. hmmpft.

  15. It’s fabulous! Bookish Girl and Bookish Baby must be thrilled.

  16. How incredibly fabulous! Such a sweet and beautiful quilt… I’m sure she will adore it. :)

  17. It’s beautiful blankets like that that *almost* make me want to drag out my sewing machine and rotary cutter.

  18. Lovely. Absolutely lovely.

  19. VERY cute! I have no doubt it will attain to best-loved blanket status.

  20. Kay, that’s a simply outstanding quilt. Perfect for the Bookish Baby. So fabulous it makes me want to get knocked up and stalk you into knowing me better so you’ll make me one too.
    (don’t worry. you’re safe. the part where I get knocked up just isn’t on the radar. it’d be worth it though…)

  21. bookish multi-lingual love for that quilt. the baby DOES look like she’s over the moon. better than the Baby Gap any day!! hooray for auntie kay!!

  22. In spite of your [clearly awesome!] machine quilting skillz, it’s the fabrics that make this so special, imnsho. What a perfect quilt for Bookish Baby!

  23. it is beautiful!

  24. That one person has been endowed with so many talents (knitter, quilter, author, humorist) is really SO not fair – but you are inspiring, awe- and otherwise. Beautiful work.

  25. This baby quilt is just beauitful! I think quilting may very soon become a new obsession for me. I just finished my second quilt and I love the feeling a finished piece gives me! I have yet to make a quilt to me – I gave them both away – but I also love the feeling you get when someone truly apprecaites and love the handcrafted gift.

  26. LOVE IT! (Chanting) More quilts, more quilts, more quilts!

  27. Love the quilting forays.
    Just went to a Kaffe Fassett talk about color. It was advertised to quilters to sell his new quilt book but his slide show, and career, embraces knitting, quilting, needlepoint, weaving, mosaics, etc. It’s all about appreciating the beauty of hand-made forms.
    And that’s why we knit (and crochet, and quilt, and …), isn’t it?

  28. I love reading about your quilting adventures. It gives me inspiration. I too knit and quilt. Just recently picked up with the quilting again myself. I like that I can knit on the couch with the family in the tv room and then I can quilt upstairs in the “art studio aka grown up child who has since moved out old bedroom” when I want or need to work alone. Both hobbies are very satisfying so keep on blogging about both, it does not matter to me.

  29. LOVE it. And I love the “warranty” too. You did a beautiful job. I hope it is loved to death.

  30. I love hearing about the quilting! I used to quilt as a child, and I keep feeling the pull lately. I mentioned it to my husband and he said, “Oh, no. That would mean another stash, wouldn’t it?” Hee.

  31. Tears. I’m driven to tears by this quilt. And it is GREAT, and it is perfect.
    Sophia is already is love with it. She was fondling the words – trying to “pick” them off the fabric. Me? I’m in love with the goldfish…bjork is my favorite.
    Thank you Kay, I am honored that Sophia was the recipient.
    xo.

  32. I’m not a quilter, and as such the most favorite gift I got for each of my 3 children was a hand-made baby quilt. They were loved. They were used. Now that the kids are 13, 18 and 20, they (the quilts, not the kids) have been washed and left in full view in the linen closet. Because maybe they (the kids not the quilts) will have kids someday.
    This antecedents thing is trickier than you think.

  33. Ack! I want to make quilts soo badly..you’re just fanning the fire here..LOVE it!

  34. This if fabulous! Beautiful! I am inspired…and I don’t mind some quilting in my fave knitting blogs, I love it in fact:)

  35. I love it. And I want to know where you got the fabric.

  36. Cute quilt, I love that it has bad French on it. It may have been made in North Eastern Ontario by a Frenglophone. :)

  37. Where I get my fabric:
    Cia’s Palette
    Purl Patchwork
    Repro Depot
    SuperBuzzy
    Google away!
    xo Kay

  38. Holy Shenanigans!
    Yer
    Killin
    Me!
    I’m working all day and sufferin’ all night because my craft room is totally wrapped in plastic! I’m stuck with the horrid knit project promised for swap that just.won’t.work in so many impossible ways but has to get done and it’s the only thing I can work on until it’s done done done and you’re just – just tossing together all the wonderful into new wonderful. And your stuff is all, like, in storage, or in Washington Heights or I don’t know what. And machine quilted! I’ve been considering a walking foot because my few, tiny forays on even small sample test bits – well.
    Well.
    And let’s see:
    -thrown together from scraps
    -square without suffering over it
    -24-hour turnaround
    -hand-finished binding
    -casually machine quilted
    -intensely perfect color scheme
    I think it all officially brings you above and beyond the status of “one who has dabbled” or “one who has considered further involvement” or “admiring from afar” to being a Quilter. You are a Knitter, and also a Quilter. If you’ll ever pick up crochet, I’m sure you’ll also make large square objects – you’ll define a new category of Blanketer.

  39. Superb! You totally stuck the landing on that one (and the mid-air acrobatics, too)! I love the care instructions, too.

  40. I love that quilt and I want to go home from work RIGHT NOW (its 2:41 pm and that might be frowned upon) and make a quilt!

  41. I love that quilt and I want to go home from work RIGHT NOW (its 2:41 pm and that might be frowned upon) and make a quilt!

  42. wow. very cute quilt.!!!!!!
    I hand piece. hand sew and hand quilt everything.. the concept of a 24 hour quilt is beyond my comprehension.
    I will continue my lengthy process, but WOW!!! 24 hours sure sounds tempting!!!!!!
    love that quilt!!!!!!

  43. It’s so beautiful! And I love the warranty. It’s perfect. :)

  44. OOH.. OOH.. I’m raising my hand..
    I’m a big girl.. (ok, adult school teacher kind) and I want one.. I want one.. of these quilts..
    I saw: DICK, JANE, and SALLY fabric on that quilt.. my grandmother was a school teacher and that is what she used to teach kids how to read. I have one of the orginal copies of this ‘reader’ too.
    It is adorable!!
    The best quilt that I’ve seen in a long time. *Does that cause that ‘warm fuzzy feeling of crafting’ and cause anyone to want to make me one too?

  45. OOH.. OOH.. I’m raising my hand..
    I’m a big girl.. (ok, adult school teacher kind) and I want one.. I want one.. of these quilts..
    I saw: DICK, JANE, and SALLY fabric on that quilt.. my grandmother was a school teacher and that is what she used to teach kids how to read. I have one of the orginal copies of this ‘reader’ too.
    It is adorable!!
    The best quilt that I’ve seen in a long time. *Does that cause that ‘warm fuzzy feeling of crafting’ and cause anyone to want to make me one too?

  46. Love the baby quilt, so timely as I started one this weekend with a friend for a friend. Thank you for sharing the warranty! Nothing breaks my heart more than to see one of my baby quilts hung on a wall or out of the reach of the baby. I want mine to be the rag they secretly take with them to college!

  47. I love the quilt and I am impressed by how quickly you put it together. But it does remind me that I have a similar project that has been put on hold. I knew better than to try and applique something when a simple pieced quilt would do. Hmmm. Maybe this weekend I’ll work on it.
    And don’t worry about writing about quilting. I, for one, enjoy reading about both knitting and quilting. I’m sure I’m not the only cross crafter out there.

  48. Be*Mused recently did a post recently on reviving a special blankie. http://bemused.typepad.com/bemused/2007/09/blankie-lives-t.html). The end result was amazing!

  49. Did you use an even feed foot, or did you do free hand quilting? I find free hand stipple quilting MUCH easier than trying to sew straight lines….Quilting in the ditch isn’t so bad, but put your feed dogs down, put a darning/free motion foot on, lower that foot, and floor the pedal and GO! Lots of fun!
    Oh, and to prevent those frustrating tucks on the back? Use spray adhesive. I add a few pins here and there (especially along the edge) for backup, but the spray works way better for holding everything together for machine quilting.
    I REALLY love your “quilt use” rules!!!!! I just made a quilt for a cancer patient….I want it drooled and thrown up upon, washed and taken to the hospital. Otherwise, what good is it?

  50. Beautiful fun quilt! And I love the warranty! I machine quilt my baby quilts so they will stand up to the love, and like Lisa said, “I want mine to be the rag they secretly take with them to college!”

  51. It’s absolutely wonderful, Kay! I just love the ideas at the bottom as well. Thanks for sharing!

  52. The quilt looks like great fun to make and perfect for any baby.
    Thank you for the Quilt Warranty from Mary B. I am filing that away for future use.

  53. Kay,
    looks great! I am proud of you! Isn’t the 24 hour thing, just fantastic? And the Japanese print says so much that you could not…
    Now re the basting: girlfriend, I have two very important words for you. Ok, three. the first is “plastic,” which needs no explanation, but the last two are “spray basting.” Why break your back and scratch your table or floor doing the hand basting (and then have to get our tweezers to rip it all out)? Get a high quality basting spray at a quilt store (DO NOT DO THE WAL-MART ROUTE, unless they happen to carry the same brand)! Follow the directions, and in minutes you have a basting that holds well, holds for several weeks (which may be bad — encouraging sloth and baby growth simultaneously), and washes out well. Warning: spray in a well-venhilated place where you don’t care if the floor gets sticky. I spray on our cement driveway or at all day quilts on industrial carpet at the facility we use. :)
    BLessings!

  54. are my children too late for a Kay quilt? am i too late for a Kay quilt?
    I did see Sophia’s quilt in person, it is fabulous!
    she is a very lucky baby!
    but then, she is also a very special baby, isn’t she?

  55. I’m so overcome that I am actually considering getting pregnant just to have a quilt like that in my life.
    you’re killing me Kay.

  56. i have a quilt that my grandmother made for my oldest daughter, 23 years ago. it did get used, by all 4 kids (although, since it was a sunbonnet sue quilt, the boys only used it at home, lol). after that, i washed it carefully, and put it away. it’s one of a few things i have that my grandmother made (most of them were sold at an auction i was unable to attend), and i cherish it. when my first grandchild is born, he/she will get it, and hopefully use it, as well. i will tell all my kids, that this blanket should be used by ALL the grandchildren, and even great grandchildren. Grandma would have wanted it that way.

  57. Your quilt warranty makes me wonder if my Aunt’s quilts carry the same rules. I have one from my highschool graduation (10 years ago now) that has been used SO much that it has tears, holes, stains, and the edge binding is threadbare. She has not seen it since gifting it to me, but I would like to think she would be happy to see it so loved. I need to do some frankenstein sewing on it so I can wash it again soon… without further damage
    And I admit my fear of using the georgous wedding ring quilt she made for my wedding shower. I know it was all hand stitched and hand quilted because otherwise the rings would pucker.

  58. Ah, a perfect Rhinebeck palate cleanser!
    To be honest, can’t decide which I like better, the quilt or the warranty. Both brilliant.

  59. I love this quilt and the idea that it is to be used. It’s fine to take a Rhinebeck break – it is still love of creativity that counts.

  60. What a lovely quilt! Lucky baby.
    (And the quilt warranty is outstanding!)

  61. Oh Kay, that is gorgeous. I love the soft but brilliant colors, and it’s making me want to change my mind about some things I’m making for an upcoming special friend’s special baby.
    And it’s so funny how similar our quilts are (the one I blogged about yesterday, well, that being my only quilt ever). Even the bindings are black and white reverse images of each other, and I took some of those same shots of mine and have them on flickr. Get out of my quilting head!

  62. Oh Kay, that is gorgeous. I love the soft but brilliant colors, and it’s making me want to change my mind about some things I’m making for an upcoming special friend’s special baby.
    And it’s so funny how similar our quilts are (the one I blogged about yesterday, well, that being my only quilt ever). Even the bindings are black and white reverse images of each other, and I took some of those same shots of mine and have them on flickr. Get out of my quilting head!

  63. That is a great Quilt Guarantee!

  64. HOLD THE PHONE–you made that quilt in one week???! I was lucky enough to see it in person as well and I can vouch for the fact that photos don’t do it justice. It is gorg.

  65. Don’t know if you read day-later comments. I too call myself a quilter & a knitter. The hardest part of quilting is convincing people that you make a quilt with love and the hope that the quilt becomes a shredded, smelly rag dismantled by love. I tell my children when they wear sweaters knitted by my mother that they are surrounded by her hugs and love all day. The same is true for a quilt, especially for babies too far to hug and snuggle every day in person.

  66. After i read the entry about the baby quilts I was picking up the detritus of the morning and found my own child’s beloved quilt. It is ragged and smooth and soft and smells like my little boy. what a treat

  67. I think you know how I feel about this whole post… :-)
    (That is, except for all of the quilt-mention apologies!)

  68. Kay, with this little gem you may have convinced me about quilting. You’ve combined two of my very favorite things, fabric and words, and made somthing unusual and special.

  69. Hi, your quilt is gorgeous. Just a quick question – what batting do you use? Cotton, polyester or some other fibre? Thanks! Love your blog! :-)

  70. Great quilt. And, so you guys can be proud, was informed by my knitting/quilting cousin that the mitred-square blankie I made for her son is his fave every day blankie, can’t go to sleep without it–thanks for the inspiration.

  71. Lovely quilting Kay. LOVE that warranty. I can see how easily it could be modified & attached to hand knits…

  72. I’m a regular reader but I don’t comment here often – I shared the quilting post with my quilting sister and she shared the following:
    “I love the quilt warranty and am copying it to put with all future quilts (or at least the baby quilts). Also if you know this person [Ha! as if - I mean you co-wrote MasonDixonKnitting - I've wagged that one around so much it's starting to get threadbare!!] and can get a message to her, tell her that the 505 Basting Spray is WONDERFUL—better than pin basting or stitched basting—this stuff is especially wonderful for baby quilts because they are small. You lay the batting down spray the 505 on and then smooth on the bottom (it helps to have two people do this to get it smooth—one person holds one end of the top up off the batting while the other smooths starting at one end and working toward the other end ); flip the quilt over spray the batting and smooth on the top. The top stays together beautifully while you quilt it and then the spray (although they say it is nontoxic) goes away when you wash the quilt. Also tell her the quilt is beautiful and I too love it when it squares up nicely.”
    I’m barely a knitter, my sis is a fabulous quilter and You are Fabulous at both!! (I’m also a BAD blogger!)

  73. Wonderful quilt! I especially love the fabrics. Isn’t it nice to be multi-talented?

  74. Beautiful quilt, both in looks and sentiment. I’m sure the bookish babe will love it to rags! However, can I inquire about the coverage policy on tug of war between bookish babe and bookish furbabies?

  75. When I first saw this quilt on the Bookish flickr stream, I was in love. When I learned it’s provenance, I was doubly in love.
    And that warranty is far and away the best I have ever seen. I hate giving quilts to babies that never get to use them! My dearest hope for all my baby quilts is that they will be loved to pieces,literally.
    Thank you for sharing!

  76. One of the comments said it would be used for at least 5 years? I have twin 16 year old daughters and one of them… still sleeps with the scraps of the quilt that covered them when they came home from the hospital. So….it is possible that it will be WELL LOVED for many more years that 5. Just thought I would let you know!
    Jeanne