Friday, February 8, 2013

Robot Quilt!

This is how Eli's bed looked for the last few years. 

The football 'blanket' is just an extra piece of fabric my husband thought was a blanket and gave to Eli one night several years ago.  Unfortunately it stuck, and now it's a special blanket to Eli, uncut selvages edges and all.  The toddler sized quilt served him well in his crib, but it doesn't fit as well in a twin bed.  So time to make a new quilt!

I planned on giving it to him as a birthday present.  (Keyword: Planned)  I loved his sheets, so I was hoping to tie into the colors and style a little bit, with cars and robots.  I also wanted to keep it around into his preteens, and dare I say, teens, so I wanted a usable neutral pattern on the back.  Given that I was planning for longevity, I was willing to pay more for fabric.   I did a bit of research and pinned some ideas.  I really liked the prints below.  When Eli glanced at the computer he had me print a photo of the robot one for him to cut out and play with, not knowing it was fabric.  I took that as a sign I was on the right track.

Source: via Cassie on Pinterest

After a long time of planning and pricing, I decided on what I wanted and ordered it from  When it came, I was SUPER disappointed.


 Kona Cotton vs. Pure Organic

The website said I could use the Robert Kaufman solid colors 'pear', 'teal' and 'orange' to match the prints...  but they meant for the organic cotton, not their [less expensive] Kona collection.  (Why in the world use the same names??? ) The only solid I could use in the first order was the grey.  I was really disappointed that I ordered fabric I couldn't use, and then I had to pay more for organic to replace it... and I'm terrible with returns.  I reordered and after a painful conversation with the customer service, I was ready to return them.  And I never did.  I totally forgot, since it was hidden with all the other birthday/Christmas gifts and didn't find it until after the UPS sticker had expired.  I'd say the quilt cost me about $100 to make, with a bit of lefts overs + $80 for the first box of fabric.  I really need to list those on etsy or something :(  Far more money than I wanted to put out... but at least it's almost entirely organic. ::Sighs::

This was my first twin size quilt, so I wanted to keep it quick and easy to sew.  Once I started piecing things together, it didn't take long at all, just as planned. I also got to use my Mom's cutting table (dining room table sized), so that really sped up cutting the long strips.   I planned ahead and had all this done long before Eli's Birthday.  Then I stalled.

I changed my mind on using the warm and natural batting (you can see it in the picture above) and went with Quilter's Dream Cotton Batting.  I had to drive to a local quilt shop, and thankfully they had some reasonably priced twin size quilters dream batting in stock, but not in "deluxe" loft, so I settled with "supreme".  I still haven't returned the warm and natural either ::More Sighs::

Pinning took forever, even with quilters pins.  Then re-pinning it took even more time, after seeing I needed to adjust the width a bit.  Then I spent a much needed, but time-consuming task of cleaning my sewing room  sewing walk-in closet.  It's so much nicer in there when I can actually use the table.  I also whipped up a super quick kindle holder so I could use it while I sew, and finally drilled the hole for my arm-lift in the table.  More time taken.  At least I was able to watch/listen to some streaming shows on the Kindle while I worked.  Did I mention everything from buying the batting was done the day before his birthday?  Maybe... I was just being impatient and it wasn't that slow.  No, wait.  It was.

On the morning of his birthday, I started quilting.  Had I settled for something really simple, like stitching in the ditch, I bet it would have been done by his party.  But, of course, that wasn't what I decided on.  I went with the dark green pattern, up in the corner, not realizing how hard it would be to do.  Pinning may have been slow, but quilting that pattern was painfully slow.

That quilting pattern requires that you use not use freemotion,  so as to have nice straight lines.  So everytime I needed to turn a corner, I had to turn. The. Entire. Quilt.  Straight lines parallel with the stripes were easy, but I quickly learned I need to use a square to be sure the vertical stripes were straight.  So as I went, I'd have to line it up and draw a line (with water soluble markers) near the foot to guide me.  After about 3 hours of quilting on his birthday, I realized there was no way I'd get it done by his party.  I cut the thread, wrapped it up and give him my presence instead (Pun intended, thank ya).  We showed it to him that day, but it was sad that he couldn't use it.

Then we had a few weeks of hiatus with Christmas and Eve's birthday, so I didn't get back to it until mid January.  It really started to intimidate me, now knowing how much work it would take to finish.  But one day I started on it again and set small goals.  I knew I could keep them if I just worked a little at a time, but keeping the days I worked on it close together so it didn't feel daunting anymore.  It worked!  Eli even got to help on the last day, sewing some of the line himself.  I really need to estimate my fabric a little better.  I had a tiny 6x12" square left when I was all the binding was cut.  Eli wanted a matching doll blanket... but we'll have to use a different fabric for that.  I had to finish the rest after he went to bed that day, but I was so happy it was done, I swapped his blankets in the middle of the night.  And took pictures to commemorate how much he loved it.  See the appreciation?

The next day I shot a few more look-at-my kids- awesome room pictures.  And as all pinterst style photography goes, I pushed or cropped all of the mess out of the shots :) Expect of course for the quintessential classic toys that makes the room look lived in.  Funny, it was trains in top pictures too, and that was taken 4 months ago.  Yes, from planning to finish, this 'quick' quilt took 4 months.

I'd love to have a picture of it from afar, all flattened out.  But that's not gonna happen anyday soon.

Here's the reverse side, for his cranky teen years.  Although, if he's anything like Jon and I, he'll keep on with his childhood lovies, regardless of social stigma.

My husband had the idea to break up the three stripes with a little square at the end of the middle one, and I really like how that turned out.

All in all, I'm happy with it.  The quilting goes really well with the style, and in the end, was worth the extra time.  I'm glad I used the Quilters Dream Batting, as it feels a lot nicer than Eli's crib quilt, which had used warm and natural.  It still needs to have a final wash to see how it all shrinks up (the fabric was prewashed though), but I really like it.  It's so much easier to use his bed during the day, having a nice uniform surface to sit and play on.

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