the H quilt :: Okan Arts
the H quilt

the H quilt


By Patricia Belyea

SEATTLE WA  Two and a half years ago, I attended a baby shower for Skip and Kelly. Instead of bringing a gift, I wrote ”I look forward to making a quilt for your new baby” in a pretty card. At the rate I was going, their little baby might get a quilt from me by college!

Recently Skip and Kelly, with baby Hugh, invited my family to brunch at their new home in West Seattle. That triggered a rush to make the long-expected baby quilt to take to the Saturday morning event.

Last spring I had acquired an armload of vintage Kettle Cloth (last made in 1973). What a perfect choice of fabric for the baby quilt because Dad Skip loves all things vintage. He’s the kind of guy who buys 60s vans, 60s cars and 60s RVs—and fixes them up.

Slicing through the fabric freestyle with a rotary cutter, I made long strips. These were sewn together into blocks with an H in the middle for Hugh Henley H. 

The composition came together through an improv approach on the design well. Once I decided on the layout, I sewed the rows together, pin basted the quilt top and back with Hobbs Natural 100% Cotton with Scrim batting, and stitched through the three layers between each block. (The batting can be stitched up to 8″ apart and the blocks were 8″ square—so the quilt was secured once I had stitched-in-the-ditch.)

Wanting to add a more personal touch, I made a stitch pattern of Hugh’s name in lowercase cursive. I transferred the pattern to the quilt sandwich at the top and upside down on the bottom. I hand stitched the lettering with Baby Blue No. 5 perle cotton.

To finish, I pieced together the facing with fabric leftover from the quilt top and stitched it on. Then added one of my family labels. The brunch was delicious. Kelly and Skip’s home was delightful. Skip’s new workshop was huge. And Hugh was a month shy of two years old!

Although Hugh’s vocabulary is limited, he had a good command of the word “mine.” And that was what Hugh said when he received his baby quilt.

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22 comments to “the H quilt”

  1. Pm Weizenbaum says:

    What a wonderful story! And a nice insight into your “speedo” work process. Thanks.

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Hi Pm, When you use the concept of “it’s okay to work fast,” it frees you to take a casual approach to your design development. And that playful attitude makes the process easy and often yields new ideas. PB

  2. Karen Kijinski says:

    Love the quilt. Do they still make kettle cloth. Loved that fabric.

  3. Susan Burt Morrow says:

    A beautiful quilt and forever loved gift for my grandson.

  4. Linda Derryberry says:

    The moment I read the tease on TQS newsletter, I wondered if this is what you did. I did an “E” quilt for my granddaughter Emily, and even quilted it with her name all over. Great minds think alike? She loves “my pupple me quilt” as she calls it. Translation from 2 year old – my purple E quilt. Your H quilt is beautiful and I’m sure is a treasured gift.

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Hi Linda, It sure makes it simple when the initial is H or E. Sounds like you produced a winner! And yes to great minds. PB

  5. LeeAnn says:

    Great quilt and sweet story. I know Hugh will treasure that quilt, as will his father. Nice to catch up with you here. I’ve stopped looking at IG and FB for now.

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      LeeAnn—Thanks for checking in. I know you love any quilt with vintage fabrics. Hope you are having a wonderful summer! PB

  6. David Owen Hastings says:

    A fantastic design, and wonderful to be taken through your process! This quilt appeals especially to me, as I have a brother Hugh who’s initials are also HHH. 🙂

  7. Betsy says:

    Love this story and the quilt. And Hugh knew it was his! Mine! he felt the love!
    Thanks for sharing this….

  8. Lesley says:

    What an adorable idea! Love it!

  9. Bobbie J Hunley says:

    Reading your email made me stop in my tracks! Why you might ask. Because my father-in-law who died in 2002 was HHH, better know as Hugh Hershel Hunley. My mother-in-law just loved the article.

    Thank you for brightening her (and mine) days!

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Bobbie–My pleasure. It seems we know three Hugh HHs from this blog! Who knew that the first name Hugh inspired the triple initials of H. PB

  10. jenny says:

    I love this!1 My son is Hugo and Ive been meaning to make him an H quilt for NINE years now!!!

  11. Rosemary Newman says:

    What a beautiful quilt and a lovely story. Thanks for sharing your process!

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