Friday, January 8

Cot quilt - for new granddaughter!

I had various to-do lists pinned up in our kitchen before Christmas, concerned with Christmas dinner, arrival of expected grandchild (due on 18th), getting bedrooms ready for eldest son and fiancee who were coming to stay on 28th for 6 days, household sewing jobs plus the ones I get paid for (which unlike winter last year kept coming in), knitting cardigan for grandchild, and all the normal everyday stuff. In my head, as usual, I was thinking "What if I forget something? What if I don't get everything done?" I'm a great believer in lists though, and having made several nothing got forgotten. Those having Christmas dinner here could have been -

Maximum, if baby born

a) Husband and self, two daughters, two sons-in-law, youngest son, teeny tiny baby

Minimum, if baby born but it and its parents didn't come to dinner

b) Husband and self, elder daughter and son-in-law, youngest son

In between

c) Husband, self, both daughters (one heavily pregnant), both sons-in-laws, youngest son

Well, it turned out to be "b", as said grandchild turned out to be Lily Eva, who made her way into the world on Christmas Eve at 6.30 in the morning, weighing 6 lb 9 1/2 oz. Her parents, my daughter (no. 3 child) and her husband had had a lot of worry in the last couple of weeks of the pregnancy, over high blood pressure and low blood platelet levels (I don't recall them even being measured when I was pregnant), so when Lily finally arrived we were both overjoyed and relieved. It was the best possible timing for husband to have the luxury of Christmas Day, Boxing Day AND the next day off - first time ever in 12 years of working in a Tesco warehouse (rarely even gets Boxing Day off). I immediately got a surge of energy and went into cooking mode, making chocolate cake, healthy-for-new-mums-and-also-cyclists flapjack, and quiches (cheated, by using bought pastry). I will post recipes for the first two if I remember (must add to another list...).

We spent the evening of Christmas Eve in the hospital, gazing at and holding the tiny scrap of humanity that is beautiful Lily, instead of the usual activity which would have been to prepare the veg etc. for the next day (one of the routines we have got into over the years). On Christmas Day I had to make sure I had dinner ready for as close to 1 pm as I could (I think it was 1.15 in the end) so that elder daughter and husband and youngest son could get to the hospital (19 miles away) in time for afternoon visiting. So we had none of the usual post-Christmas dinner laziness. We proud grandparents went again that evening....

Elder son and fiancee arrived on Monday 28th, from Germany via the US (daughter-in-law to be is American). By that time mother and baby had come home and Lily was passed around her aunties and uncles and hundreds of photos were taken.....

And now that Lily has arrived I can do a blog post about her cot quilt!

But before that I can't resist posting just one photo of our beautiful granddaughter......sigh.......!!

A slightly blurred pic of  Lily, staying fast asleep while Mummy puts on the cardigan I knitted her (more on that later).

 So, on to Lily's quilt. I did it over a period of several weeks, in between other sewing jobs, and all that pre-Christmas stuff. The pics of it aren't as good as I'd have liked, even after a bit of editing. Will try harder.....

I should say here that I have never made a quilt before. I knew roughly what one should do, like have a top, some wadding, and a backing and some binding round the edge. and stitch it all together, but sometimes it's better not to know all the "rules" and just go ahead and do it anyway. (I'll leave the prize winning quilts to my older sister.) I'm pretty sure that it will survive machine washing. We didn't know whether "it" was a boy or a girl (her parents opted not to know, much nicer that way I think) so I was going for mainly soft neutral colours.

Quilt top, pinned to wadding (blanket)
The quilt top is made from old and new (the new bits are pre-shrunk of course) scraps of cream and white cottons, including bits of my own wedding dress material. If you have looked at the cot pocket I made (here) you'll see that this quilt is very similar. I liked the whites and creams, and also wanted to put in some fabrics that I can point to when I babysit and say "This bit's Grandma's old blouse, this bit's Grandma's wedding dress.....". I used the same technique as I did for the cot pockets, i.e. stitching lots of large pieces together in one long strip, then cutting it in half widthways, stitching the two pieces long sides together, and then doing several more cuts and stitching until I had a size and shape that was roughly suitable for the cot. Daughter says it's a good fit!

I then hand stitched the top to another piece of cotton (can't remember exactly what now, but probably calico) and then began the process of doing running stitch round all the shapes. I picked colours from the paper that's on the nursery wall. I developed a very hard patch on my middle right finger! (I never use thimbles.)

I did think about using new wadding but I really wanted to re-use fabrics as much as possible, in the old tradition of quilting, so I used some old-but-good wool blanket instead. I pinned the top to the blanket and then quilted from the middle to the outside in several rows in each quarter. By the way, my other sister gave me the quilting pins years ago and now I have finally put them to good use!

I trimmed off the blanket edges afterwards, level with the edges of the quilt top, trying to get the corners of the whole thing as square as possible. 

I did use new fabric for the back - brushed cotton (again washed first), as I particularly wanted it to be cream and I hadn't got anything suitable. I realize that the proper way to do things is to quilt the three layers together in one go, but I didn' I then quilted the back to the other layers. 

I made the binding from some cotton I had in my stash (a lovely crossweave from the Organic Textile Company) which matched very well. I measured and pinned and tacked and stitched it all with great care (my Singer 201 handled the layers very well) as I was terrified of mucking it up at this stage and it all looking a very amateurish mess. That included being particularly careful with the corners. I machined the binding to the front and then hand stitched it to the back. 

And here is the finished item, on the kitchen table. I could have cropped the pic to get rid of the empty spray vinegar bottles but I thought I'd be real about what's in our kitchen. (But I won't mention the slugs that like to come in through the air vent. At least I think that's how they get in.)

Finished quilt

Detail of stitching
Sorry, the pics really are a bit rubbish.

I'm quite proud of my corners.....

I embroidered a label for the back with her name and date of birth.

The cardigan - that is a Debbie Bliss pattern, called Classic Cardigan. I used a merino wool mix. After I'd finished it I thought "Are babies really this small?!"  Well, yes, some are! I'm not the world's quickest knitter, at least not with anything more complicated than a hat, so I need to start the next size up NOW. Talking of hats, I knitted two before Christmas, one for my future daughter-in-law, and one for me, because by then I had decided that the pattern was so simple that I could run up another one quickly and without having to concentrate, and I like having a bit of knitting to do on winter evenings. This was the pattern I used - Knitted Rolled Brim Beanie.

Last month I got myself a sewing job that will be quite a test, but I hate turning anything down! And it's all good experience! It is - sewing about 360 badges onto army shirts..........more on that in the next post!

Oh, and on another subject completely, I have signed up to try to walk 1000 miles in 2016, via this blog Life after Money. Every day after lunch I am trying out different routes of about 1 hour/just over 3 miles. This will be on top of cycling miles. I am also running up and down our stairs a few times a day, and jogging on the spot while the tea/coffee brews. Maybe I'll do a separate page on all that (add it to the list, Lizzie....).

So, lunch now, and then off out in the sunshine!



  1. Congrats on the new arrival of teeny tiny Lily - gorgeous.Love the quilt but I'm worn out reading about everything you do!

    1. Thank you Sue. But I can assure you that whenever I read YOUR blog I am always put to shame by how much YOU do!!!

  2. you are soooooo lucky. Dark haired baby girl, oooohh. aaahhh. I love the look of your quilt, it looks antique and is very pretty. well done on the walking challenge. I didn't sign up for it but has set myself a 4000mls cycling challenge instead. it is a challenge in all the rain/ bad weather we are having here.

  3. Ah many congratulations! She is beautiful. What a wonderful early Christmas pressie for you all.
    I lost a special Aunt later that day and it's lovely to think of new life entering the world. A perfect balance.
    Your cot quilt is so lovely and I'm sure it will become an heirloom in your family.
    Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you! Lily was indeed a wonderful early Christmas present!

  4. I tried to post earlier but it disappeared. beautiful baby - what this bike will need in the summer is a baby seat. don't be afraid

    1. As you can see your earlier comment didn't disappear! Thank you for the nice comments. 4000 miles, 80 or so a week, quite a challenge - but aren't challenges great!

    2. just hope snow and ice is minimal

  5. Hi Lizzie, congratulations on your new grandchild, she looks soooo cute. Love your quilt, the colours look really good. Good luck with sewing on the badges. You sound like wonder woman with all your exercise, yes please the flap jack receipe blog. I find it tricky to get my eating right when I am at work (gardening) too much its uncomfortable to bend over and not enough results in low blood sugar. Flapjacks sound a good idea to snack on. Sharon x

    1. Believe me I'm no wonder woman. I've realized it doesn't actually take all that long to fit in a decent amount of exercise, and setting yourself a challenge definitely helps with motivation. Have just taken pics of recipes to put in next post!

  6. What a sweet quilt for a gorgeous baby who will be two months old today!!
    The army would have to pay me £100 per badge. I flipping hated sewing scout/guide badges on during the teenage years of my two! The stress of getting them in the right place, then getting the needle through the badge and shirt neatly? No thanks! I've done my bit!!


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