I have a very unique situation with my kids. For 10 months of the year I stay home with them…the other two months is apple season, so I don’t see them much. I have between 5-6 different sitters in a given week that either take my kids and watch them during the days or are with us at the apple store so they can make sure they get naps and are fed, but we can still see them if we have a minute. I’m sure you can imagine it’s not easy to find a sitter/day care willing to take your children for only two months when they could potentially fill that spot with a year-round paying family.
I was lucky enough to find an amazing babysitter who would do just that for me…and she lives only a few houses down from the orchard! How perfect is that! She also watches other kids as well and we just adore her! We decided to do something special for her for Christmas (although I ended up getting sick and she got her gift a few weeks late…ooops). We had each of the kids that she watches at some point throughout the year make handprints on fabric and then I sewed it into a wall quilt.
I was inspired to do this after someone at one of Barb’s (http://www.quiltsbybarb/) quilt retreat showed a project they had done with children’s handprints. I went home and googled ‘Handprint Quilts’ and I found the book “Calendar Kids: Handprint Quilts Through the Year” by Marcia Layton. (http://www.amazon.com/Calendar-Kids-Handprint-Quilts-Through/dp/1564777022/ref=pd_sim_b_1/186-4142342-3576359). I ordered it used her instructions as guidelines on how to do this quilting project. I ended up tweaking a few things but got basically the same overall result.
I started out by ironing my fabric (I used my mother-in-law’s pastel-ish hand-dyes for the handprints) onto freezer paper. I did this to make the fabric stiffer and easier to work with. Then I created an area in our basement to work. Depending on the age of the child you are working with your setup may vary. I stripped my kids down (they are 2 and 10mo) for this project. I also made sure that I had babywipes on hand to immediately clean their hands off once the handprint was on the fabric. I taped the fabric squares to a table. Then I took my babie’s hand, painted a color on it using a sponge brush and pressed it to the fabric (You can do a practice round on paper if you’re more comfortable).
To the left you can see what Capri’s hand looked like. It’s not perfect but I feel that it adds some uniqueness and character to the project. Plus, she was just intriqued by the way the paint felt on her hands!
After the hands were dry, I painted the stems, leaves and cute little garden creatures onto each handprint fabric. Cedi’s final handprint piece is just to the left. (also not perfect handprints, but still fabulous looking)
Once the painted dried, I took the freezer paper off, sandwhiched the fabric between a piece of pfd fabric (any old scrap fabric would do) and ironed it to set the paint.
I had chosen the fun commercial printed cotton you can see on the picture to the left as the base for this quilt. I tried to match the handprint paints to the fabric to ensure that everything coordinated well together.I pieced fabric borders around each squared off handprint block and then put the quilt together. It ended up being long and skinny…a perfect wallhanging (I hope at least).
Now it was time to quilt! This was the part that scared me. I typically send these to my aunt-in-law Barb, but wanting to keep the cost down I decided to do it myself. Also, I had just gotten a brand new sewing machine, a Memory Craft 6600 that is made for quilting. I used basting spray to layer the back, batting, and top together (works WONDERFULLY….strongly recommend to anyone quilting). Then I decided to start by doing fancy stitching around each handprint block. This way I was quilting and seeing what my machine could do all at the same time!
Then, I used my free motion foot to quilt in cursive, “Auntie Nise’s Garden of Love” between the rows of handprints….very hard to see, but it’s there. I did random swirly quilting in the rest of the colorful printed fabric. On the thin, black border, I just used a fancy stitch to define the quilt….kept it real simple.
Once the binding and sleeve was on, it was time to give the gift away! All the mom’s met at Denise’s yesterday evening for the gift opening.