Spread a Little Sunshine

Sunshine Quilt 3I’ve done it.  Made my very first quilt.  Well, quilted picnic blanket, actually.  But the word “quilt” is in there, so that’s  good enough to claim as a “first” in my book.

I saw this project quite a while back and thought I might one day tackle it.  Coupled with our love of being outdoors, traveling, and going on picnics, I’m sure I was inspired by the sweet little toddler pictured on the tutorial, imagining our own Littlest Brooks-Livingston.  Still – it looked slightly intimidating, so I filed it away.

I remembered the project this past spring and thought that I would go ahead and collect some fabric to use – I needed 7 different oranges and yellows.  It took a bit, but I found some that *A* and I really like and that really do look like a little burst of sunshine, I think.

I finally got the gumption to get started on this project a few weeks ago.  I started by drawing out the pattern on some giant paper from a school supply store for teachers (great idea – thanks, Kim!) and then pieced together the cut-out rays of fabric.  Getting all of those little points to line up – 14 of them altogether – was not as hard as I thought it might be, but then again, it wasn’t exactly without trial or error.  Actually, I sewed them into two halves first (if you look at the above picture, starting at the darkest orange ray and following the rays counter-clockwise to the lightest yellow ray, that was one half).  Then I sewed the two halves together (that was the tricky part).

After I finished the quilt top, I sandwiched the top together with yellow cotton twill for the reverse side, with batting in between the two layers.  I quilted the rays on either side of each seam (in giant v-shapes).

Sunshine Quilt 2

Quilt top, center (above)

Sunshine Quilt 4

Reverse side, center

Here’s the part that makes it different from a regular quilt.  First of all, it’s about 55″ x 58″ (slightly larger than the tutorial called for, but I had the fabric available, so I improvised…as one does.) Anyway, it folds up into a nice little roll for travelling to a nice little picnic spot.  First, fold in the two sides to meet the flap at the top.

Sunshine Quilt Folded 1

Then fold in the sides, one at a time, to be the same width as the flap:

Sunshine Quilt Folded 2

Fold that long strip in half, towards the flap:

Sunshine Quilt Folded 3

Then roll it up and attach the flap to the velcro strip, and there you have it!

Sunshine Quilt Folded 4

The honeycomb fabric that I used for the flap was our favorite, I think.  All of the fabric has pretty simple patterns. This would be a fun project for old 1960s and 1970s sheets.  Other folks saw this pattern and, rather than a sunshine-y effect, did a variation on that theme with equally nice results, two of them as crib quilts instead of picnic blankets.

I followed the tutorial pretty much exactly, using the original sunshine-y colors theme.  It was a fun project that turned out well, I think.  Since I’m still a beginner, it took ages, especially in comparison to how quickly some folks churn quilts out (*A* found me looking at a book called The Weekend Quilt recently, full of full-size quilts that can be accomplished in a weekend —riiiight, I say to that).  Actually, deciding on the fabric probably took the longest.  Next to that was making sure all those little points lined up in (more or less) the right way when I was piecing the quilt top.  The  binding took a while, too, since I was sewing with a tiny, tiny seam allowance at a snail’s pace (and even then had to redo a couple of sections that didn’t catch correctly on the reverse).

I had no idea that I was actually sewing that slowly – after all, sewing machines have different speeds for a reason, I figured.  Then I let my mom try it out.  Pedal to the floor,  speed demon.  I stood back in awe.  Didn’t know it would even run that fast.  I had noticed that every now and then she was watching my easy-does-it progress with a sort of a quizzical expression.  Now I know why. 🙂 Of course, she’s been sewing for…well, quite a long time.

Taking an idea from my little Grandmother, a life-long quilter who (almost) always signed her quilts with her name and the date they were completed, I added a little square to the reverse side that reads EBL July 2014.

Sunshine Quilt Signature 1

This will be a perfect blanket for our Littlest to crawl around on at a summery, sunshine-y picnic. Add*A*’s fantastic old-fashioned strawberry pie (now a staple of our picnics) and I can’t imagine a better day (other than the day we actually meet our Littlest, of course)!

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6 thoughts on “Spread a Little Sunshine

  1. I am impressed beyond belief! You are so courageous. My mouth is the only thing that works. Keep up the blog for I have missed it. Sherry

  2. Pingback: Distractions… | The Littlest Brooks-Livingston

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