I made a baby quilt!

In addition to my handyman skills, I am a relatively crafty person. I made our wedding invitations and lots of the decorations. I made my prom dress junior and senior year of high school. I knit, though not a lot currently; I tend to go through knitting phases and my last one was maybe two years ago. I like having things around the house that I can say I made besides Ikea furniture (though I’ve been known to paint and personalize that too!). Though like many crafters, I do have a problem with finishing projects. So with the impending arrival of bébé, I figured a baby quilt would be a good thing to try to make, since there is a definite deadline to deal with. I also made (and finished!) some burp cloths before starting the quilt, to get used to the sewing machine I bought a few months ago.

Deciding on a design
Deciding on a design
Piecing it together

I remember going to a quilting event for church with my mom when I was little, but besides that, I’ve never attempted a quilt before. I think it’s the actual quilting part that scared me, since just cutting and sewing pieces of fabric together is not that hard. And it turns out once you’ve done that, you can actually send it out to be professionally quilted! I guess some people prefer the artistic aspect of putting it together rather than the longer process of actually quilting. Plus there are special machines that make it way easier to do than with a regular sewing machine.

Adding a border (it looks like polka dots, but it’s stars!)
Putting the layers together – the super thick batting made it hard to get smooth!

But since it was my first, I did everything myself. I mainly followed this tutorial, though my sizes were different because of the type of fabric squares you can find in France and my inability to cut a straight line even with a rotary cutter. Also, I am terrified of the ladies at the fabric store here. I get so frustrated that I can never find the names for fabrics and I always look like an idiot. Since quilting isn’t really a big thing in France, I was worried they wouldn’t understand what I wanted, or that it doesn’t exist. So I ordered batting (“entoilage”) online, and it was thicker than I was expecting, which made quilting harder, and the end result is puffy and puckered, despite my best efforts to make things tight and smooth.

Adding the binding.
Adding the binding.

But really, I don’t care that it doesn’t look like it’s “supposed to” because OMG I made a baby quilt!! And bébé certainly won’t care that none of the seams are straight or that the binding isn’t even. All that matters is that it’s soft, it’s warm, and I made it for him.

All finished!
The back is striped, so with the star border, it’s “stars and stripes” without being too obvious.

I started in early March, and spent three or four hours at a time working on it during three different Sundays (one day cutting, one day piecing, one day cutting and sewing the border). Then last week I realized that since he could come any day now, it needed to get done, so I kicked it up a notch and spent most of this week working on it nearly every day for a few hours. The quilting part I split into two days of three hours, then there was the binding to make/pin/sew, and finishing the binding by hand took another three hours. So in theory, I could have started it a few weeks ago and still gotten it done “on time,” but I liked having it there waiting for me in my sewing area over the past few months, as a visual reminder of things to come.

It certainly adds a bit of color to the nursery. He won’t actually sleep with it until he’s much older, but this keeps it away from the cat!

So in addition to all the physical and admin stuff that’s ready to go, now he can definitely show up whenever he wants, since his quilt is finished!

Calling in a professional

We seem to have very bad luck with water. In our first apartment, a pipe in the hall closet burst. In our second apartment, there was a leak in the shower that shared a wall with the kitchen so the fridge was in a pool of semi-elecric water which was pretty scary.

We’ve been in our new apartment for just over 6 months. The hot water heater and dishwasher had to be fixed within a week of moving in. Then, our ground-floor neighbor knocked on our door a few weeks ago asking if we had a leak because there was water gushing from his ceiling. We’re two floors above, and it turned out it came from the person in between us whose hot water heater had fallen off the wall. Since we had a few little things that had been bugging us lately, we had the plumber come today to fix them before they got too bad. The toilet hasn’t flushed correctly since we moved in, but it was still useable until last Friday. And the kitchen faucet leaks. And the washing machine doesn’t seem to be taking in water right.

I am a pretty handy gal. Past problems with the washing machine and dishwasher I have managed to fix myself, I’ve repaired broken shutters, filled holes in walls, etc. So I feel like most of the stuff we needed fixing I probably could have done myself. Especially changing the flushing mechanism on the toilet; there are tons of videos and it’s literally just unscrew everything and screw in a new one. My handiness comes from experience (my parents had houses they fixed up and rented when I was young) but mostly because there is nothing I love more than taking stuff apart and putting stuff together. And taking apart a toilet seemed like all sorts of fun, and I could use lots of different tools. But the main problem in this apartment, in this whole town, is very very hard water. So calling in a professional on this occasion was a good idea, since all the calcification on the pipes and toilet made things a little trickier to fix (=more likely I would break something if I tried to do it myself).

As for the washing machine, we’ve ordered a new one as well as . . . a dryer!! It’s definitely something I’ve learned to live without the past 6 years, but apparently babies make lots of laundry. And while I’m sure we could go on just fine air-drying everything, and probably still will when the weather is warm, we’re hoping it’ll make the transition from 2 to 3 person household just a tiny bit easier to manage. (Also, fluffy towels!! So excited!!) Professionals will be coming to install both next week, since no matter how modern a woman I am, getting a washer and dryer up two flights of stairs is simply not one of my skills. Though maybe if I ask nicely they’ll let me attach some stuff, or at least plug it in.