Kids books and a Christmas quilt for my niece

A couple weeks before my co-worker left for mat leave, we had a relaxed lunch and spent some time hanging out in the children’s section of Audrey’s Books. The woman who works in the kids section knows ALL THE THINGS! All we had to do was tell her what we were looking for and she knew exactly what books we needed to look at.

I bought two books (three actually, but the third is a gift for later and I don’t want to ruin to surprise):

The Dinosaur Christmas book is, quite frankly, a whole lot of epic dinosaur fun. It’s all about all the different types of dinosaurs Santa used before he had reindeer pulling the sleigh. The story is great and the illustrations are gorgeous. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to send it to my friend’s three boys (despite it being a bit young for at least one of them). I also threw in a book store gift certificate, because they’re really bright boys who deserve lots of great books. Their mom let me know what they bought with the gift certificate, and they had a great selection: two Rick Riordan books (which I’ve since added to my “to read” list), a book about ancient Egypt and a book about oceans. If they weren’t on the other side of the country, I’d drop by and have a read.

The Gingerbread Mouse is a sweet story of a mouse whose house is destroyed in a winter storm. She moves into a gingerbread house and eventually gets her own place from Santa. It’s a very sweet book with lovely illustrations. I bought it for my niece and decided that a Christmas quilt would be the perfect addition, so that she can curl up with mom or dad to read all her Christmas stories.

I’ve been hoarding some fun Christmas fabrics for the past year or two. I keep meaning to make gift bags out of it (except for a few special lovely pieces that will become a lap or mini quilt / wall hanging for myself), but I just keep not getting around to it. Thank goodness for that, because I used half of it in this quilt.

I was going to just do a simply quilt with all square blocks, but decided to liven things up by starting with large blocks, sewing four together, and then cutting them up into nine blocks. This made the quilt a little more time consuming, which bit me in the arse in the end, as I was already later getting it done thanks to a mightily awful cold at the beginning of December.

Giant quilt block, ready to be cut
Making quilt blocks
Quilt blocks

Once I had all my blocks, did my best to randomize them, laid them out, played with making it all perfect (not too many matching colours of patterns butting up against each other)

"Random" distribution is a bit of an art

… and then proceeded to screw everything up. I managed to get each row sewn properly, but then I kept sewing the rows together incorrectly (sewing the 5th to the bottom of the 6th instead of the top, etc.). I didn’t notice until I finished, spread it out and saw a big, giant blob of dark green in the middle.

Distribution issues: I couldn't live with that big green blob in the middle

I didn’t have time to tear out all the seams – it was already really later and I really needed to send it the next day to ensure Christmas delivery. So, I just tore out the middle seam and swapped the top with the bottom. It’s ok, but it will forever annoy me that it’s how it was supposed to be.

Anyway, I had some great fabric with dots (including gold!) for the back. I did a diagonal zigzag following the blocks for the quilting and used some lovely dark green snowflake fabric for the binding (you can see the zigzag a bit better in the picture of the back of the quilt, which I included below).

Done: Christmas quilt

Here’s where the other screw up came. I tried to use a binding method that I had read was quick and easy. Only, it wasn’t. It was ok, once I got the hang of it (by the third edge), but the first edge is, frankly, an embarrassment. It looks like a drunk 5 year old did the sewing. But, again, I did not have time to fix it.

Crappy binding job

But, in the end, the quilt looks pretty good and I’m pretty sure my two year old niece doesn’t know enough about quilting to care about the little imperfections (she’s probably more interested in the cute penguins). And, my sister-in-law is too polite to mention anything :)

Done: Christmas quilt top
Done: Christmas quilt  back

One thing I really need to do for next year, if I intend on doing handmade gifts, is actually start things before winter. I’m currently working on a list and hope to at least get some of the simpler ones down before then end of this winter. Plus, I’ll be using the products of at least one of the stitch alongs I plan to join as a gift (they are Christmas themed).

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