this is lloni. it may be hard to detect in this photo, but she’s actually quite pregnant. i know. she’s adorable. she even looks this cute when she mows the lawn, which she is still doing, by the way. i know this, because the only thing dividing our two yards is a mere fence, so the whole top floor of our home allows us to keep close tabs on exactly what her family is doing at all times. peering out her window into their kitchen might be bean’s favorite pastime.
as you can tell, she’s quite stylish, under every circumstance i’ve observed. she majored in art history at berkeley and then worked for gap designing their merchandise displays. you know, when you walk in and everything is so beautiful and organized and colorful and appealing and you want to buy it all? that’s because of her. i’ve been in her cute house several times. their books are organized by color. her husband ethan is a stats professor. i know what you’re thinking, but he’s got to be the best dressed stats professor ever. you can see him in the background of this photo, in the blue shirt. he wears a fedora, for god’s sake. and he wears it well.
but these two aren’t just artsy fashion icons. they also happen to be the best possible neighbors. warm, kind, generous and thoughtful, we are constantly finding little gifts from them on our porch, pictures and notes from their kids, goodies and treats and books. they’re much beloved by our entire street, and we’re doing what we can to solidify a friendship between our daughters who will eventually be in the same grade.
people have all kinds of reactions to learning their friends are expecting a baby. in addition to the thrill that a new baby brings, i immediately begin plotting what to make as a baby gift. things like due date, shower date, and gender are *very* important to me. when lloni suggested they might leave the gender a surprise, i launched a multi-pronged attack against that lunacy which i’m pretty sure was largely responsible in leading them to retract that decision–a boy, for the record.
i hadn’t gotten any official word on a shower date when one of our other awesome neighbors emailed the block and suggested we throw a neighborhood shower stat. when the date was finalized as 4/27, i had to get down to business. two weeks wasn’t nearly enough time to buy yarn, plan, and complete a knitting project, so that was out. normally, i’d go straight for clothing, but given the wardrobe of his parents, and the fact that we have several little boys on our street outgrowing clothing daily, i get the feeling this little guy will be well dressed. and so, one obvious option remained: a baby quilt.
i know what you’re thinking. i have severe quilting aversion after these placemats, only somewhat mitigated by these slightly more successful pillows. but certainly, i’m in no position to take on an actual quilt considering my past experience and general inexperience. but then, pinterest happened. you know how fired up i am on pinterest, which i still totally don’t understand or know how to use. but the very first day i logged into pinterest, this photo was on whatever front page popped up (major props to the obviously very talented quilter who inspired me…her blog is full of modern quilting ideas!). and nonquilter that i am, it was my very first pin ever, which inspired a whole board devoted to quilting. weird behavior for a nonquilter.
i have a few major issues with quilting. once i actually attempted it, i realized how incongruous it was with my personality. it requires such patience, such precision, such repetition, which i really don’t aim for in basically any aspect of my life. and regardless, it’s difficult to even reach the quilting stage because a vast majority of quilting projects i’ve seen are a little too country cottage for me. cozy and homey, sure, but just not really my taste.
but this quilt i pinned, this quilt is amazing. you know how i love stripes. i also love variations of stripes, like chevron, and herringbone. i love everything about this quilt. i love the neutral color palate, the simplicity, the modernity, the mustard binding, everything. i knew i had to make it someday. and when i looked closely at the photo, i realized it was composed entirely of squares, so i had hope that even a nonquilter like myself could figure it out.
and guess what.
with precisely two google searches (size of baby quilt and half square triangles), some VERY simple math, and a little help at joann’s, this quilt was completed, including purchase of fabric, in two [long] days (the kids graced me with back to back record breaking mutual naps). seriously. this will shock you, but it was totally headache free. no surprises. it went exactly as planned, and was a welcome break from pumping out kids clothing. that’s right. i enjoyed making this quilt. a lot. and i love how it turned out.
obviously, the herringbone pattern and colors are totally ripped from the model. the back is all from my boy fabric stash i beefed up in a black friday sale. finally, a fitting use for those lions! the solid blue and the mustard binding are fabrics my mom brought me from india. i decided to quilt on the angles of the herringbone rather than the 90 degree angles of the squares, to reinforce the pattern (finally popped on that walking foot!). this had the happy coincidence of making a cool chevron pattern on the solid portions of the back. and of course, a little gift tag was in order…if i ever learn to truly embroider, these will probably improve in appearance.
anyhow, i can’t believe it myself, but i loved the process of making this, and it came out better than i could have hoped. the only thing i would change is to make the grey a few shades lighter, and the make the mustard binding a little wider, but these are minor issues. i love practicing new skills on baby projects (which is why i thought the placemats were a fabulous idea–wrong), which are small and limited, requiring less materials and time. i actually took a few photos of the process with the intent of making a tutorial…not a ton, because honestly i kept expecting something horrible to happen, but enough that i could make a decent one. if there’s any interest, let me know, and i will put one together.
so now, this very trendy couple has one baby item not obviously covered in bright colors and cartoon characters. they can reasonably keep this blanket out in their cute house without it being a total eyesore, but can easily flip it over for baby to drool and barf on and get excited about the lions. everybody wins! you may soon find me a born again quilter…