Friday, August 8, 2014

"AAAALLL the Animals, We Like Them!" Quilt

31" x 43"
Design inspired by Critter Chatter baby bedding; made by Jamie

In 2009, as a newlywed, I started perusing the internet for cute baby bedding one day. I wasn't even pregnant yet, but I was baby hungry! Working as a midwife does that to some people. So, I found this adorable farm animal quilt by Critter Chatter, and thought, "I could make that!"

I bought some solid color cottons and various colors of fleece. I wanted my animals to be soft to the touch for little baby fingers. I drew some paper patterns for the animals' faces and used those as templates to cut the fleece. Then I took my embroidery hoop with me everywhere and began hand-appliqueing the animals' faces to their background squares.

Admittedly, I didn't know all the techniques yet to recreate this comforter as a comforter. I just started with what I knew and made it up as I went along. Two years later, I was pregnant with my second child and the quilt still wasn't finished. (Ya hear me, moms??) One day I just forced myself to go buy some buttons for the animals' eyes and noses. After I finally had those, it was a quick finish.

You might be wondering why I chose the name of this quilt. You might not. But I'll tell you anyway because it's funny. My dad made up a song when my brothers and I were little. He was well-known for his spontaneous rhyming ability, and those of you who know me, know I love to bust out a random song lyric like nobody's business! Anyway, this song really didn't rhyme, but we kids LOVED it. It goes a little something like this:

CHORUS: "AAAAAALLLL the animals, we like them!
AAAAAALLLL the animals, they are nice!
AAAAAALLLL the animals, we like them!
AAAAAALLLL the animals, they. are. nice.
What does a sheep say?"
[the child answers with:]

"What does a pig say?"
[child says:]

"What does a dog say?"
[you get the pattern]

"What does a duck say?"

"What does a cat say?"

"And what does a frog say?"

"AAAAAALLLL the animals, we like them!
AAAAAALLLL the animals, they are nice!
AAAAAALLLL the animals, we like them!
AAAAAALLLL the animals, they. are. nice."

The awesome thing about this song is that it has unlimited verses. We have used it with our own children to keep them entertained or distracted many a time. They (and I, when I was little) LOVE the part when you sing "AAAAAALLLL" really loud and silly-like. We even like to stump the kids sometimes and ask, "What does an ant say?" or "What does a giraffe say?"... I think a few kids out there would now be able to easily answer, "What does the fox say?" ;)

So, back to the quilt: Only a few things I would have done differently. I folded and pressed the fleece under along the edges for all the animals' heads before sewing them to the background. I think I even used pins, which is unusual for me. The only exception was the eyeballs of the frog and the nose of the sheep, which I appliqued with a blanket stitch around raw edges of flannel cut-outs. After washing, you can see how it has frayed a little bit and the thread pulled inward.

As tedious as it would have been, I would have done folded under edges on those small pieces before appliqueing next time. Just a minor setback, though.

The other thing I didn't realize was that most rag quilts are made with flannel and no batting. My squares were cotton with batting sandwiched between. I should have trimmed the batting just shy of where I was stitching seams, but instead I tried to trim the excess batting afterward. This made for a much bulkier seam and when you dig through the rags, you can still find a little strip of the white batting. Once again, not a huge drawback, since it's hidden from view almost everywhere.

If I were to make another quilt like this, I would have quilted the empty space in the background behind the animals' heads, or perhaps hand-stitched in the words "meow" "quack" "oink", etc., like it showed in the Critter Chatter quilt. It is a fairly small quilt though, and I think the lack of quilting will not be an issue.

"AAAAAALLLL the animals..... they. are. nice."

1 comment:

  1. Another great dad song blogged into history! And another cute quilt too.