August 24, 2012

Big Finish: Airplane Baby Quilt

Airplane quilt

It turns out that my mom is a really good source of quilting jobs for me. Many of her friends are becoming grandparents and are looking for special, personalized gifts to give the new additions to their families. That's how this airplane quilt came to me.

Airplane quilt

A friend and neighbor asked if I would make a quilt for a new grandson, and if I could make it blue with some sort of airplane theme to match his room, that would be great. After some searching both online and at my mom's local quilt shop for airplane fabric, I discovered that airplanes just don't seem to be "in" now as far as childrens' novelty fabric goes. Space ships? Sure. Dump trucks? We got 'em. Cute little cars on city streets? Take your pick. But airplanes, not so much. So I abandoned the idea of using airplane fabric and decided instead to make my own airplanes.

I found a piecing tutorial that seemed pretty popular with quilters online, and although I liked the end result, the process was just too loosey-goosey for me -- not a lot of measurements or detailed instructions. So I dug a little deeper and came up with a foundation paper piecing pattern that I used instead. (The pattern is available for free download here.)

Airplane quilt

I collected a variety of blue, white, and red prints for the airplanes and used two light blue prints (which have been living in my fabric stash for ages) for the block backgrounds.  I considered a straight layout with sashing, sending all the airplanes flying in the same direction, but in the end I decided to let go of some of my usual structure in layout.  My design wall was a great help, as it allowed me to place the airplane blocks in the directions and pattern I wanted and then fill in the space in between with red and blue solids.  I'm new to improv quilting, so this is as improv as I get right now.  I created the quilt top in 3 columns before sewing them together and trimming the whole thing down.

Airplane quilt back

The blue chevron Dear Stella fabric that I found for the back may be my favorite thing about this quilt.  The colors are perfect, and it adds the right amount of fun to this baby quilt.  Plus it feels so soft and silky.  I quilted this one with organic wavy lines in two colors of blue thread.

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