It is finally time for me to display what I have been working on since my last posting. We have had a lot of family in so far this summer, but in between company and house-hunting, I have been working on a baby gift!
Not long after my husband’s cousin got married, her mother gave me a large bag of ribbons that were left over from the wedding decorations and gifts. Nestled together with the brightly-colored synthetic ribbons, there was a quart-size bag filled with natural-colored cotton ribbons. There were some that had some red stitching down the edges, but most were plain and unadorned. I did not ask, but my thought at the time was that they looked like the kind of ribbons used by the Pottery Barn to wrap their gift packages in. I loved the look and feel of these ribbons and decided to use them in a special project.
I do not know how long I waited for inspiration on what to do with these ribbons, but I finally decided to see if there was enough of them to make a small receiving blanket for a baby. Not knowing if the ribbons were pre-shrunk or not, I washed and ironed all of them before I did any measuring, but was very pleased to find that I could make a small square blanket if I added a nice-sized border to the edges. I was also delighted to find that I had just enough of the ribbons with red stitching on them to put three strips on all four sides of the square! I stored the ribbons away and waited for an announcement that a baby blanket would soon be needed in this family. A couple of years passed, and then the announcement came earlier this year! I pulled out the ribbons in excited anticipation and set to work.
Believe it or not, I found a small roll of batting (which was more than I needed for the blanket) at a local thrift store for three dollars. I bought cotton fabric to back the quilt with, but found that it was much more cream-colored than the ribbons, which were more tan. This led to my dyeing the backing with coffee, making it nearly a dead match for the ribbons! Yea! With very careful measuring and some patience, I wove the ribbons together and pinned them in place. Then, starting in the middle, I began the process of stitching them down. I had heard that machine quilting could be tricky, so I used a lot of pins and took my time. It seemed like the best approach to take would be to make a “straight” line down the quilt catching the edges of two ribbons that were next to each other in the block. This meant making a short jump back and forth between the two ribbons (the photo on the left shows what it looked like from the back), but it looked okay, so I continued doing it this way until all the ribbons had been stitched in one direction. Then I turned the quilt and stitched down the edges of the ribbons going perpendicular to the first ones.
When I finished with the ribbons, I added a border on all sides. I considered making mitered corners, but decided to mimic the overlapping look of the red-trimmed ribbons that were already in the quilt. This looked very nice on the front; however, since the back of the quilt was a solid piece and did not have any border seams, I thought the red top stitching looked a little strange the way it seemed to stop and start kind of randomly on the back of the quilt. To make it look more uniform, I continued the top stitching in the corners on the reverse side of the quilt, making sure that I only caught the backing piece in the stitching and not the front. The picture above shows both the front (lower right) and back (upper left) of the quilt corners.
This is the finished front (right) and back (left) of the quilt.
This project would not have been possible had my husband’s aunt not given me the ribbons to start out with. I had known that I wanted to give her a memento of her own for the birth of her first grandchild, so I took the remaining scraps of ribbon and quilt backing and purchased an inexpensive frame. I covered the frame with the quilt fabric and after playing around with it awhile, I think I was able to design something that captured the look of the quilt.
All in all, I think these turned out well. (The inside of the picture frame is kind of a mess, but I don’t think many people will pull the back off and look at it, so it will be okay!) This is the first quilt I have attempted, and I wasn’t sure what I would think of quilting, but I kind of liked it, in spite of its being ticky. I think I would like to try something bigger some day. For now, I am grateful to have been able to up-cycle wedding ribbons into a special welcome for the newest member of the family!