So you know how your mother always tells you not to talk to strangers? I’ve met (and not met) some of the nicest people online, all of whom were, at one point or another, complete strangers. There was the time I went to New York with two people I’d only known online, and we stayed with another online stranger. I was twenty seven then and my mother was horrified. She was sure she’d never see me again.
I used to meet people through forums (I’m not telling you which, it’s too embarrassing)(*cough* Television Without Pity, Hamster Time *cough*)(I’m not giving you links. You want to know? Another thing my mother says, frequently, is “look it up.”), but these days I trawl for strangers on Twitter, where I spend entirely too much time (I have a couple of user names, but for quilting follow me on @quiltingrainbow). One guy I’ve been following for a while makes me laugh almost every day. In his humorous way, he’s also been very forthcoming about the difficulties he and his wife were having with carrying a pregnancy to term, so I was delighted to hear that they were expecting a baby and that the pregnancy was going well. Although he doesn’t follow me, we do interact and I really wanted to make the baby a quilt because I was touched by their (admittedly sparing, 140-character at a time) story.
I recognize that sending a gift to a complete stranger who doesn’t follow you on Twitter is somewhat creepy, so before I started cutting fabric I sent a message to his sister (who does follow me on Twitter) to ask what degree of creepy it constituted. She loved the idea and thought it wasn’t creepy at all! She was about to give me his address, but I suggested that perhaps I could use her as an intermediary, because while she thought it was fine, if her brother didn’t, I’d not only be creepy, I’d be creepy and know where he lived.
I asked her for colour suggestions and she replied “purple” without hesitation, so at the Festival of Quilts, while picking up fabric of all description, I also made sure to get a few purple fat quarters (which you can see in the right-hand pile here.
The plan was to make a 4” square quilt top. I used my Accuquilt to cut up 4.5” squares and played around with the order on my makeshift design wall.
I threw in some squares from Pat Bravo’s Floral Elements in Sand so that it wasn’t overwhelmingly purple. Here is the finished quilt top, which shows the dark purple squares better. I love that fabric!
For the back, I stitched an extra row of squares and placed it between a large piece of the Floral Elements and a larger piece of a Robert Kaufman purple polka dot (which I hadn’t used on the top).
While I normally quilt parallel lines a quarter inch on either side of the ditch when I make baby quilts, I decided to do some tighter diagonal stitching on this quilt, about an inch apart. I had picked up some Aurifil 40wt thread at the festival and wanted to see how it pieces and quilts. The answer is: beautifully. I was horrified by the price of the spool (over £7 for a large spool compared with around £3.50 for the Gutermann thread I use), but holy cow, people, I barely made a dent in the thing. There are 1000m of thread on a large Aurifil spool, which is more than twice as much as the Gutermann, and I think I mentioned that the Gutermann constantly jams my machine, which means that when I chain piece a baby quilt top I need to rethread the top and bobbin threads AT LEAST ten times. Not a single jam from the Aurifil. I’m a convert. Incidentally, I tried the 50wt thread, too, but just couldn’t get it to play nicely with the tension on my machine. I know this is atypical, but that’s just how it goes.
For the binding, I used the Floral Elements again, with a small strip of the lovely dark purple. I wanted to machine bind the entire thing like I had for Oscar’s baby quilt, but this time it was a complete bust. I couldn’t bear the thought of finishing the binding by hand, though, so I did something I kind of hate to do–I top stitched it and left a visible binding line on the back side. I’m not too happy about it, but I kind of wanted to just get it done.
In case you were wondering–It’s a girl!