Saturday, May 30, 2009

Doll Quilt Swap!

This book has been a constant companion to my bedside table for about a year now. At least once a week you'll find me flipping through the pages in awe of these tiny treasures which, as the title states, were made not only for children, but often by children themselves. In a world without housework and such I imagine myself making a replica of each and every one of the doll quilts featured within! Wouldn't that be a fun and extravagant way to spend the days!

Not so very many years ago I actually did make a doll quilt for a child. It was a Christmas present for my sweet pea of a daughter who was having a very "American Girl" holiday. I picked the colors to match the embroidery on the doll's nightgown and slipper set she was also receiving. With a few extra patches I whipped up a matching pillow so the set could be complete.
While the assortment of fabrics was great eye candy to work with, it was the print used for the backing that was my ultimate favorite! It's the softest of flannels covered with an collection of calico hearts! I could not believe my luck to find such a perfect match! So as not to mess with the feel of it I tied the layers together rather than hand quilting. I'm sure the time constraints during the holiday season had something to do with my choice as well, but either way, it left the quilt nice and flexible for tucking in dolly.

Now considering my interest in dolls and their quilts, you can imagine my excitement when Karen, from Humble Needle, suggested we conduct a little doll quilt swap of our own! It was just the two of us which made it ever so easy to organize and fun to plan for. Plus, having perused her Esty shop many times over, I knew I was in for a special treat! After much consideration, and oodles of flipping through the aforementioned book, I decided to attempt the Broken Dishes pattern. (More on that later!)

Most of the prints came from my stash but I couldn't resist adding in a few new ones as well. The true color inspiration came from the material I selected for the backing. . . . it's from the Moda Legacy collection. I absolutely loved it at first site!

The whole thing was done before I knew it! I attached a label. . . . .

. . . . . wrapped it up, and off it went! Easy as pie. . . . almost. . . .
There was one glitch I encountered. . . . . it turns out in the construction of a Broken Dish pattern these areas where eight seams merge into one come up far more often than I care to remember. It did provide, however, great insight as to the naming of the pattern for I often found myself with the barely controllable urge to hurl my teacup at the wall! How in the world can all that fabric match up to one smooth point?

While I was able to press it down flat to a certain degree, a lump still remained in each of these areas. I can't help but think I must have done something wrong or that there's some trick I'm missing out on. Pressing the seams open rather than to the side has been my only alternate inspiration but I'll take any suggestions I can get. Armed which a bit more knowledge I hope to battle it out again in the future!

It wasn't long before my package from Humble Needle arrived in the mailbox. I was the envy of everyone that day! Not only a package, but such a fun one to boot! The entire envelope was decorated with the sweetest sewing images and even proclaimed to the whole world the exciting contents within.

Although I was almost immediately informed it was the perfect size for a Webkinz, I wasted not a single word letting my youngest know his four leaf clover luck had run its course. . . .this quilt was for ME!

It even said so on the back!

Now, one of my favorite things about Humble Needle's work is the wide variety of fabric prints she includes in each and every piece. You can definitely tell she has quite a stash and is not afraid to use it! The essence of patchwork to me is that creative gathering of bits and pieces, each with a different history and origin, pieced together in a totally unique way. I had a ball looking at every print included in my new quilt. A few I recognized, a couple I even have some snips of myself, but one in particular made my day! These two geese personified brought me back to the time when I still played with dolls as a child.

During the third grade, I would say dolls and reading were the backbone of my life. My shelves at home were filled with an amazing assortment of both but it was at the little library of Sunnyside Elementary School that my unattainable treasure resided. To this day if I close my eyes I can see exactly where it sat on the shelf, when it was checked it that is! My name must have been written on the check out card of Queer Dear Mrs. Goose at least twenty times that year alone. I was fascinated with the idea that Mrs. goose and her friends wore little outfits and hats and participated in all types of village adventures together.

Years later I found a quite pitiful copy of the book at a library sale. Although not the original pink binding I remember and literally held together with tape I scooped it up. The pictures inside, however, are as perfect as ever. This was a particular favorite of mine, the little bed always looked so cozy.

And I must have had a love of patchwork even then apparently considering the envy I had for this quilted sleeping bag! And look at that! How lovely that the starry sky extends right out to the border of the quilt! Thank you Karen for creating such a quilt of memories for me!
Now, back to that whole animal personification thing. . . . it's great fun and I love playing along with it for the most part. When it comes to Freddy however, I'm not doing very well. . . .
Meet Freddy. Do you see him there in amongst the bug eaten morning glories and the everlasting mint? No plastic dino here! It's the read deal and he seems to have moved into the garden around our sun room, aka his "condo." I was all for cracking out every can of tuna in the house as an open invitation to the neighborhood cats but for that darn youngest again. First the clover and now the snake. Even his best Webkinz bud, Chocolate Latte, has been tossed aside as his first priority is now the well being of his new friend. UGH! Must be my bad karma for not sharing the quilt with him!

It will, therefore, be only with the security of my thickest wellies and heavy duty garden gloves that I may brave the perimeter of Freddy's condo in acquisition of the basil, mint, and chives that grow there. Either that or have my knight in shining armor hubby do it for me, which is actually quite a win win situation considering the fine dishes he creates for our table with his pickings. (see above photo!) Hmmm, maybe I should develop a phobia of water and then he could become king of the laundry mountain too! Making replicas of those doll quilts in the book might not be such an extravagant dream after all.


  1. Natalie Jo~What a fun swap! Both quilts, the one you made and the one you recieved, are so darling!I am in awe of the beautiful work you two have done. I love the combination of fabrics you chose and the broken dish pattern is so sweet. I loved the doll quilt you made for your daughter, something she will cherish forever, I'm sure. I loved seeing your favorite book, it looks so delightful. I am going to have to keep my eye out for that one.
    Oh the dangers of gardening.;-) My son is always on the hunt for salamanders and gartner snakes. I can handle the frogs and most other creepy crawlies but those other two give me the heebie-jeebies. That last photo looked like a delicious summer dish, it made my mouth water. Great post!!!

  2. All quilts are wonderful--yours and hers! (Lucky dolls who use these quilts!)

    I have had that snake experience and DO NOT LIKE it. I know they are just another animal...but....they can be VERY disconcerting when you come eye to eye with them.

    The book you have is delightful as is your post. I loved reading every word of it and the photos as well!

  3. The quilts are wonderful! Lucky and talented you! :o)
    I love the book...I may have to seek out a copy.
    As for the snake...I'm beginning to wonder if perhaps I'm the only gardening momma who has a fondness for garden snakes...Hmmmm...

  4. Lovely, lovely, lovely! Even the snake...LOL!

  5. Garden snakes are lovely! They kill mice and stuff. I remember once when my daughter was in preschool, we had some friends over for lunch and while eating in our pitiful little front yard, my friend jumped up and grabbed a garter snake she saw among my nasturtiums. I was horrified. I would never, ever, ever pick up a snake, but I was okay with them living there. I got used to a lot of things while living in that house...including Black Widows...

    Erin :)

  6. Enjoyed reading your blog today..still finding my way around blogland....I always love making new friends..I am posting about Disney so hope you will stop by. Commenting automatically puts you in the drawing for the June giveaway.

  7. I love both quilts but the one with the little heart fabric is tugging at my heartstrings. So lovely!

  8. let me know if you ever wanna do another doll quilt swap! :)

  9. Fantastic!
    Where do I begin?
    I guess the obvious - Freddy! I would not like him as a garden visitor! But I guess if you figure the mice won't come calling, it might make sense to keep him around!
    Your quilt is divine and the one you received in the swap is so cute!#I love the little animal prints in there - the cow jumping over the moon, and naturally, the terrier print! Who doesn't LOVE terriers? In fact, I have some of that print in pink!
    But perhaps my favourite revelation is your childhood book, Queer Dear, Mrs. Goose.
    I never have seen this book before, but I will be on a quest for it now. The illustrations are fantastic!
    And the fact that you had it as a child is so special.
    We read, "Little House in the Big Woods" in third grade, and it has always been a favourite of mine.
    I can remember trying to make that maple snow countless times!
    I also made my first quilt in 3rd grade, from scraps of old clothing in our attic. It was more or less a 'crazy quilt' as there was no rhyme or reason as to how it was pieced together. But I made it myself with no help or training and it was on display in the classroom as a project based on the book. I wish I still had it but teenage years intervened and I tossed out most of my childhood when we moved.
    No worries - I have spent most of my 'adulthood' getting it back!