When one of your nonsewing friends asks you how to make a “baby-quilt blanket,” do you:
a. Gently explain that a quilt is not a blanket
b. Whip out the 17 baby quilts you made last week and explain how you stitched each one
c. Sign both of you up for a baby-quilt class at your favorite quilt shop
Whether you chose a, b, or c, we salute you—your eagerness to teach the joys of quilting is commendable!
Making a baby quilt, for beginners or experienced quilters, is irresistible fun. If you’re new to quilting, baby-quilt designs allow you to learn while making a small and easily managed project. If you’re an experienced quilter, you know just how satisfying stitching a baby quilt remains.
Baby quilts, how do we love you? Let us count the ways. Simple baby quilts:
1. Stitch up quickly
2. Require little fabric
3. Mark a happy occasion
4. Offer a canvas for experimentation
Want to try a wacky color scheme, a never-before-tried border, a new appliqué technique, a revolutionary machine-quilting method? Baby quilts make great trial projects. You don’t have to invest huge amounts of fabric, thread, or time. And baby-quilt patterns are versatile! Sophisticated fabrics, seasonal color schemes, or eye-catching embellishments can quickly transform easy baby quilts for beginners into decor grown-up enough to grace a wall or top a table.
Today, we’re showing an array of easy baby quilts. And because easy stitching pairs beautifully with quick machine quilting, we’re also sharing Mary Hickey’s top 10 tips for machine quilting. You’ll find Mary’s tips later in this post. But first, let’s ponder the question facing everyone who makes a baby quilt: am I making this quilt for a wall or for a child to use? Baby gets to enjoy your beautiful quilt either way, but some quilters definitely have a preference.
Making a baby quilt: easy.
Getting Mom to let Baby use the quilt: hard.
Ursula Reikes, author of Quilts for Baby makes quilts with heavy use in mind. She says, “I make quilts for babies, not for their parents, and not necessarily to match the decor of their rooms. I make quilts to be used (although some parents insist on putting them on the wall). I want them to be dragged around the house, into the car, and into the yard. If they are bright and busy, they will be noticed, used, and loved.”
Can quilters (and babies) have it both ways? Mary Hickey, author of Sweet and Simple Baby Quilts, shares this clever tactic: “Many times, a new mother receives a beautiful baby quilt and wants to keep it as a family heirloom. She doesn’t let her baby actually use the quilt. When I make an heirloom-quality quilt, I always feel that I need to make a second little quilt for the baby—to be the official ‘blankie!’ So I make the honored quilt for the ages, usually in the chosen nursery colors. But then I whip up a second quilt that is quick and easy to sew. Something perfect for dragging, drooling, and serious cuddling.”