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.