A Portland Winter Quilt

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Before Emmerich was born, I had a completely different color palette in mind for a baby quilt. It was a combination ofย pastels with pinks, yellows, grays, and some light greens and blues, reminiscent of a Portland Spring. I got the fabric, set it out, and then never got around to making it. Something never felt right about the colors for some reason. I don’t know if it’s because I wasn’t happy with tonesย I chose, or if my body was secretly telling my brain, “It’s going to be a boy, so don’t bother with the pink, dear.”

I have been dying to sew though. It would be amazing to have whole days dedicated to sewing like I used to have! Instead, they are dedicated to keeping a tiny human alive. I’m not complaining, really! It’s just hard. Em only naps for 30 minutes at a time, so getting anything done is impossible. In fact, some naps are only 15 minutes long, and trust me, we’re trying every trick under the sun. Until he learns to sleep better during the day, my sewing time does not exist. It doesn’t mean that I don’t bring him into my studio and show him all the fabric though. He seems to really like staring at all of the colors on my shelves, and occasionally tries to eat a piece of quilting cotton if I let him touch it.

I was surprised when I began digging around in my stash during a rare longer nap timeย to find all of these fabrics in there. I don’t think I’ll buy any more yardage, except for a large piece for the back of the quilt.


I saw a pretty common theme in the prints I grabbed. They really looked like Portland to me, with the bridges (of course that’s a print by Portlander Violet Craft), whales, bikes, gingham, tree rounds and animal faces.

EmQuiltPrintsNow comes the task of trying to think of what kinds of blocks to make. It’s got to be something that can be pieced very quickly! I’m thinking I’d cut a bunch of strips, but then what? A log cabin block? My sleep deprived brain can’t think of anything else. What would you make?

Um… and because I can’t help myself, here’s my favorite little guy, who was practicing sitting up and yelling at Rob when I took this (it was hilarious):


  • kjreed

    Congratulations on your adorable new addition! How about a quilt of pinwheels? Pick a neutral fabric or two from your stash to bring them all together. I hope that soon the naps will be longer so you can have some creative time.

    • Thank you! Ooo- I haven’t thought of pinwheels! I made those for one of my first quilts ever. I’ll add them to my list of possibilities! Keep your fingers crossed he figures out that day time sleep is awesome sometime soon. ๐Ÿ™‚


    I would love to find that tree rounds print! Since you say you found it in your stash I assume that means you got it a while ago so it may no longer be available…but can you tell me who the manufacturer/designer is on the selvage?

    • Which one? There are two. The blue one, sadly, I don’t have the information for. However, it’s not that old. The green one is by Martha Negley for Rowan Fabrics.

  • Mary

    Such a beautiful baby. He’s so alert – I think he wants to see everything so taking a nap uses too much time. How about a nine patch or a simple star with alternating squares? I love the colors so whatever you choose will be perfect for your little one. Another suggestion would be to trace around his hand, your hand, and your husband’s. Then put these on the quilt as part of the label.

    • Thanks, Mary! Yes, he doesn’t want to miss a thing, but his Mama doesn’t want him to be overtired either! Hopefully he’ll learn to nap soon.

      I have thought about a nine-patch. It would be really quick to put together! Perhaps if I have some white in my stash it would really make the colors pop. Thanks for your ideas! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Laurel Lee

    Darling baby! My Erik never slept either, and it was truly exhausting!

    • Thanks, Laurel! I reeeeaally hope that he figures out his daytime sleeping schedule soon. I don’t know how many more catnaps I can take! One nap today was only 11 minutes long!

  • Oh he is adorable! The longer naps will come with time. Keep trying!! I found once they were moving more, they seemed to need longer naps – of course, then you’ll just want to sit with a cup of tea and relax, so you’ll still never get anything done!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    The fabrics are beautiful. The colours are so pretty.

    • Thank you! I’m pretty smitten. ๐Ÿ™‚ I really hope the longer naps come soon! This Mama is kind of going nuts with all the little catnaps that are happening. He really wants to move more, but his arms and legs still aren’t cooperating. I can’t wait until he can wear himself out!

  • I don’t know anything about quilting, but I like everything you’ve selected! I think it will look cool!!! But wait- there are whales in (near?) Portland?! I’m coming right over!!!

    • Thanks! I’m excited to put it together (someday, hopefully soon). Yes! Whales! We are a short drive from the beach, and there is some really good whale watching to be had during certain months. Come on out and I’ll take you!

  • Julie P.

    I recommend the blog “Oh She Glows”. The lady that has that blog just had a baby girl in September and she posts usually weekly about her baby’s growth and so forth. She has been having trouble with her baby sleeping too. You might find it interesting and maybe get some tips there. I don’t have children, but I enjoy reading her posts.

    • Thank you, Julie! It is so helpful to read about someone else having the same struggles. I appreciate the suggestion.

  • Chrissy

    I just did a quilt that was super fast and easy called Topiary TilesDesigned by Amanda Murphy.The pattern is free I think I found it on Robert Kaufman site or on http://www.amandamurphydesigns.com. The flowers in the corners can be changed to firetrucks or scottie dog to make it boyish. Congratulations on your beautiful baby boy have fun!!

    • Thanks, Chrissy! I will look it up! And thanks again- he is a wonderful little guy!

  • my goodness, he’s so cute even if he was sleeping more, i think i’d be staring at him all the time!!! enjoy him, believe me, you will blink and he will be 1 year old… i love the colors in the fabric… just keep staring at it, it will hit you how you exactly want to quilt it :).. hug that little guy for all us grandmas!!! lol ๐Ÿ™‚

    • It is pretty hard to lay him down in his crib and walk away, even when I’m tired and all I want is for him to sleep. Once he’s finally passed out, he’s so cute I just want to smoosh him and kiss him, but then he’d wake up! I’ve been eyeballing the fabrics every time I walk past my sewing room door. Inspiration is sure to come soon!

  • Lucas was the same, 30 min daytime naps & 5 min powernaps, it will get better.
    Why not put the stripes together like floorboards, do you get what I mean? So you have irregular joins.

    • Uuuugh. Baby naps are the worst! He never stops wiggling when I do get him down either. He’s always moving around and rocking his head back and forth, so I constantly get ready to jump up and shush him back to sleep. He’s a wiggle worm!

      I like the stripes idea. It would certainly be fast!

  • Aunt Linda

    He is BEAUTIFUL!!

    • Thank you, Aunt Linda! ๐Ÿ™‚ We’ll be home in April and you can meet him then!

      • Aunt Linda

        Wonderful! Aunt Lori and I will be fighting over him:)

        • You’ll have to fight Grandma Susan first! She’s already threatened to lock him up and never let me take him back to Oregon.

  • Angie M

    ok, i know all mother’s say they have the cutest baby…but seriously, your little guy IS! omg, so scrumptious. sorry…but i want to bite him! lol! (in the nicest way!) very sweet! meh, sewing, smewing. There’s time for that later…:) (although selfishly still miss you…)

    • Thank you! I mean, I know I’m biased, but I can hardly stand it some days. His little smiles bring me so much joy. ๐Ÿ™‚ I could also eat him, which I tell him daily, and sometimes he looks preeeeetty concerned.

  • Kim Bauer

    Your little man is certainly a keeper! Congratulations. I love the new fabrics you have chosen and I can’t wait to see what the quilt comes out to look like.

    • Thank you very much! He is quite the little bundle of squishy love. I’m excited to finally make something for him!

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