Quilts go to the library!

Friday, June 11, 2021

Have you ever read a children's book and noticed a quilt in the illustrations? After having my first son a little more than eight years ago, we started reading bedtime stories - and I started spotting quilts in the books! It didn't take long before I wanted to recreate the quilts.

Fast forward to this month, and that long-time dream has become a reality!

Quilts from children's books

After months (okay, maybe years!) of preparation, I made ten quilts from the illustrations in children's books. All ten are currently on display at my local library for the month of June!

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I started by making a spreadsheet of every children's book I could find with a quilt in it. I noted the author and the design of the quilt too. Then in order to put a deadline on the project, I contacted my local library about having them displayed there. They put it on the calendar for June 2021. 

When I was ready to make the quilts, I checked to see which titles my local library had. This narrowed my list some, then I picked my favorite quilts from the list to make.


I'll show you all ten! (I'm thinking of making more detailed blog posts for each quilt after I get them back from the library.)

The first quilt I made was from the book Angelina and the Rag Doll. I had bolts of the perfect solid colors - Painter's Palette Coral and White. I decided to make all the quilts close to baby size for ease of display. 

Patchwork quilt from Angelina and the Rag Doll book

I used Aurifil 50wt White #2021 for all the piecing. I pin basted the quilt on my dining room table with Warm & Natural batting and solid white for the back.

Patchwork quilt from Angelina and the Rag Doll book

I quilted it with my walking foot on my Juki TL-2010Q, stitching in the ditch so the quilting lines would not show. I used the coral for the binding, and remembered to stitch one of my EverEmblem quilt labels into the binding too.

Patchwork quilt from Angelina and the Rag Doll book

Patchwork quilt from Angelina and the Rag Doll book

Another quilt I really wanted to make was from The Bear Books by Karma Wilson (illustrated by Jane Chapman). The same quilt is pictured in several of the books. It's a mix of various blues and a solid peach. I really wanted to recreate the quilts as closely as possible to the illustrations, which meant I should have started hunting for fabrics long ago!

Patchwork quilt from Bear Can't Sleep book

I found most of the blue prints at JoAnn, then got the solid peach color at HobbyLobby. However, I could not find a blue on blue stripe anywhere locally, so I made one! I used a navy and white fabric from my stash, and a blue Sharpie to color the white sections. It worked perfectly! (And the Sharpie was completely dried up after coloring enough of the fabric to cut eight squares.)

Making my own striped fabric with a Sharpie

For this quilt, I used a scrap of gray swirl backing fabric from my stash (almost identical to this one) and loaded it on my longarm with Warm & Natural batting. I did a quick medium-sized meander with Aurifil 50wt Dove #2600 and machine sewed the binding (tutorial for that here).

Patchwork quilt from Bear Can't Sleep book

Patchwork quilt from Bear Can't Sleep book

Quilt #3 is the smallest of the group. It's the quilt from the Biscuit books! This is another quilt that is pictured in several books from the same author and illustrator.

Quilt from the Biscuit books

The book I was working from only showed the smaller squares in some of the blocks, but not all. However, once the quilt was finished, I saw that some of the other books show the smaller squares in all the blocks. We'll just say I took some creative liberties on this one.

Quilt from the Biscuit books

The solid purple and green fabric are from my stash and were not labeled, so I'm not sure what brand they are exactly. I think the green is from Michael Miller (a leftover from this quilt) and the purple is Kona (leftover from this quilt). 

Quilt from the Biscuit books

I quilted it on my domestic machine with a darker purple for the backing and Warm & Natural batting. I used my walking foot to stitch in the ditch with Aurifil 50wt Very Dark Grass Green #2890. (Stitching in the ditch is not nearly as easy as it seems!)

Quilt from the Biscuit books

The finished quilt is only about 24" square. I'd love to find a wicker pet bed to display it in!

Next up is one of my favorites! I was really looking forward to making this one! 

Crazy applique quilt from Corduroy book

There is a really cool quilt at the end of the classic children's book, Corduroy.

Crazy applique quilt from Corduroy book

I searched my stash for pastels and brights in solids, dots, and stripes, then cut them into squares and circles. I did not put any fusible on the back of the shapes.

Crazy applique quilt from Corduroy book

I loaded some backing fabric on my longarm with Warm & Natural batting and solid white fabric for the quilt top. Then I laid the shapes on top, and just quilted around the outside edge of each shape, about 1/4" in from the raw edges, with Aurifil 50wt White #2021

Crazy applique quilt from Corduroy book

The stitches are imperfect, uneven, and even resulted in a few puckers. But that matches the style of the illustration from the book! I just trimmed the quilt about 1/2" away from any colored fabrics and adding a solid light green binding to finish the small quilt. (This quilt is about 36" square - much smaller than the twin size quilt pictured in the book!)

Crazy applique quilt from Corduroy book

Quilt #5 is Little Critter's patchwork quilt! His colorful quilt appears in several books by Mercer Mayer, like All By Myself. I loved these books when I was a kid, and it's fun to see my boys enjoy them now too!

Little Critter's patchwork quilt from Mercer Mayer's children's books

This is another quilt that I decided to quilt by stitching in the ditch. Phew!

Little Critter's patchwork quilt from Mercer Mayer's children's books

I had all of these bright colors in my stash. Each illustration of the quilt is slightly different. Sometimes it has pinks and light purple and light blue. I made the executive decision to stick with just the brights for my version. I used solid red for the backing and solid blue for the binding.

Little Critter's patchwork quilt from Mercer Mayer's children's books

Little Critter's patchwork quilt from Mercer Mayer's children's books

The next quilt turned out to be another favorite of mine among the group! 

Dragonfly quilt from Let's Go, Froggy children's book

Froggy's mom *must* be a quilter, because he has a different quilt on his bed in every book! I chose to make this one from Let's Go, Froggy by Jonathan London (illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz).

Dragonfly quilt from Let's Go, Froggy children's book

I fused Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 to the back of solid white fabric, then traced and cut out the dragonfly shapes. I used Aurifil 50wt White #2021 to straight stitch just inside the raw edge of each piece.

Dragonfly quilt from Let's Go, Froggy children's book

For the striped blocks, I sewed green and white strips together then just trimmed them to the size I wanted.

Dragonfly quilt from Let's Go, Froggy children's book
Dragonfly quilt from Let's Go, Froggy children's book

A solid red border finished the top, then I quilted it with large loops on my longarm with Aurifil 50wt White #2021. 

Dragonfly quilt from Let's Go, Froggy children's book
Dragonfly quilt from Let's Go, Froggy children's book
Dragonfly quilt from Let's Go, Froggy children's book

Dragonfly quilt from Let's Go, Froggy children's book

The next quilt is a simple one from the book Maisy's Bedtime by Lucy Cousins. The quilt has large squares in red, black, yellow, white, and blue.

Patchwork quilt to match the quilt in Maisy's Bedtime children's book

I stitched in the ditch for this one again. Obviously I ignored my own dislike for this quilting method and did it anyway!

Patchwork quilt to match the quilt in Maisy's Bedtime children's book

A solid yellow back, red binding, and one of my logo labels finished it off!

Patchwork quilt to match the quilt in Maisy's Bedtime children's book

Patchwork quilt to match the quilt in Maisy's Bedtime children's book

Quilt #8 is such a fun one! It's the ghost from the new book, The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt by Riel Nasion (illustrated by Byron Eggenschwiler)!

Quilt from The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt children's book

I found all the fabric for this one at JoAnn! I did add a couple prints from my stash, and two of the prints are actually flannel, but you can't tell at all just from looking!

Quilt from The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt children's book

I took a few more progress shots of this one than the others, but I constructed them all the same. I first sew the squares into rows (keeping them marked with numbered pins to know which row is which), then I sew the rows together. I put this one on my longarm and did a small meander. I really wanted to use Hobbs Thermore batting because it's really thin and would drape well, but I didn't have a big enough piece! So I stuck with Warm & Natural for this one too.

Quilt from The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt children's book
Quilt from The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt children's book

Although the fabrics aren't a perfect match to the book, the colors and overall look are almost identical.

Quilt from The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt children's book
Quilt from The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt children's book

In case you were wondering what is under the ghost at the library! 

Quilt from The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt children's book

This was definitely a fun one!

Quilt from The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt children's book

I'm really pleased with how the next quilt turned out! It looks just like the quilt in the book, Goodnight Already! by Jory John (illustrated by Benji Davies). 

Orange peel quilt from Goodnight Already book

I took some extra behind the seams photos while making this one too.

I pressed Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 to the back of navy fabric then traced an orange peel shape onto the paper. (I actually have an orange peel die for my AccuQuilt, but it was much larger than what I wanted to use for this one.)

Making orange peels for quilt

I used my rotary cutter to cut them out, then made a quilt sandwich on my dining room table. I found the perfect shade of solid light blue at Hobby Lobby!

Orange peel quilt with solid fabrics

I drew grid lines with my favorite air erasable pen then placed all the orange peels.

Drawing grid lines with an air erasable pen
Orange peel quilt from Goodnight Already book
Quilt as you go orange peel quilt

I pin basted the layers, pressed the orange peels in place, then used my walking foot to quilt just inside the raw edge of all the orange peels. I started at one orange peel on the side of the quilt then stitched in a "s" curve shape all the way to the other side, then turned the quilt and did the other side of the "s" all the way back to where I started. I used Aurifil 50wt Medium Delft Blue #2783 for the quilting as it was the darkest blue thread I had on hand!

Orange peel quilt from Goodnight Already book

I made another orange peel quilt very similar in size and technique once before! (You can read about that quilt here.)

Orange peel quilt from Goodnight Already book

And the last quilt in the group is from Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney!

Quilt from Llama Llama Red Pajama book made with fleece and minky
Quilt from Llama Llama Red Pajama book made with fleece and minky

This quilt has some great colors, and I decided to use minky and fleece for it! I got all the fabrics at JoAnn.

Fleece and minky squares

The quilt in the illustration has a few striped fabrics, but JoAnn didn't have what I wanted, so I decided to experiment! 

Making striped fleece with a mini iron

Using the straight edge of my silicone Binding Eaze and the side of my Clover mini iron, I was able to draw lines into the fleece fabric. The heat from the iron was just enough to melt the fleece slightly, leaving behind subtle lines.

Making striped fleece with a mini iron

The fabric was thicker than regular quilting cotton, but my Juki sewed through it like butter!

Quilt from Llama Llama Red Pajama book made with fleece and minky

I cut my binding strips on this one 2 1/2" to make sure the extra bulk of the fabric didn't cause me any issues. (I normally use 2 1/4" strips for my machine binding.)

Quilt from Llama Llama Red Pajama book made with fleece and minky

The back really shows off the large meander quilting that I did on the longarm.

Quilt from Llama Llama Red Pajama book made with fleece and minky
Quilt from Llama Llama Red Pajama book made with fleece and minky

The softness and texture of the fabric makes this one really fun!

Quilt from Llama Llama Red Pajama book made with fleece and minky

All ten quilts are on display at the Smithville, Missouri library until the end of June 2021!

Public library in Smithville, MO

It's so rewarding to see this display case full of the quilts!

Display case at public library

A heart project that I've wanted to do for years finally out in the world!

Quilts from children's books

I do hope to continue to add to the collection when I get a chance. I really want to make a quilted coat from Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors book, the cover quilt from How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight by Jane Yolen, and miniature mouse-sized quilts from A Very Noisy Night by Diana Hendry.

I plan to keep all of the quilts together and use them for a fun trunk show for quilt guilds, but I'd also love to have it be a traveling exhibit for other libraries to display! If anybody knows how to make that happen, please email me!

39 comments:

  1. What a delightful project!!! I have grands the perfect read to me age...... wonder if they could find me some pictures of quilts to make...... I sure the fabric to use....

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  2. That was a spectacular idea. I would think that Barnes and Noble might like to display some of those quilts. The books would be quick sellers. You seemed to duplicate those quilts perfectly. Thanks for sharing and leaving a quilting legacy for the library and for your children.

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  3. Oh, how wonderful and magical for a little one to see these darling quilts come alive! (Pretty awesome for me, too!) Thank you so very much for sharing this. :-)

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  4. So fun! I bet the kids love seeing the quilts and books together! Great job.

    Sandy

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  5. Oh Laura, thanks for the inspiration! I've seen quilts in children's books for years but never thought to make a collection of them! I'm about to retire and have a bunch of grands that would love these!

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  6. This was a delightful post. It is such a great idea and your rendering of the book quilts captured the essence. I hope that it encourages children and their parents to look for quilts in their picture books.

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  7. This is awesome - great job!!

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  8. Love this! I recently got the Little Ghost Who Thought He was Quilt book. One if my new favorite children's books! I might start doing this for extra special baby gifts. I wish I lived close enough to visit your display!

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  9. I smiled the whole time I read this. What a wonderful quilt gift to the community!

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  10. As a retired teacher, I am thrilled to see these books come to life. Please consider "The Keeping Quilt" by Patricia Polacco. Definitely more of a challenge, the story is good.

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  11. This is absolutely amazing! How sweet it would be to replicate the quilt in a book and give the book and quilt as a gift at a baby shower! I agree with a previous commenter about Barnes and Noble displaying them. The library they are currently at could probably help with finding other libraries that would be interested in displaying them. Happy quilting!

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  12. What a wonderful idea, and good for you for offering your library this wonderful project! You better be careful, someone may want one or two, commissions?!

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  13. Such an amazing collection and creative idea! These are just terrific!

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  14. Amazing Collection..and so well done!
    May I suggest you send your collection
    To
    Dolly Parton Imagination Library

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  15. Wow! You are an amazing and creative and gifted quilter. What a great show! I loved reading about all the quilts and all the books

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  16. Such an amazing collection, Laura. I am pinning pictures from this post so that when I make baby quilts I can gift a book and the matching quilt from the book. Thank you for the inspiration.

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  17. Thank you for this. I so enjoyed reading about and seeing each quilt along with the book. You did an outstanding job.

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  18. I read, "Ten in the Bed" so many times before I really saw the quilt. I made the quilt with the help of a granddaughter and a grandson.

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  19. Congratulations on achieving your dream. This is a wonderful post and a fantastic project. I so enjoyed the different quilts, the books and the techniques you use. Each quilt really is a precious gift. I like the idea of a quilt from a book and the book being given to a new mother. Many of these books were ones I read to my kids and grandkids.

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  20. What a wonderful collection of quilts! I loved seeing the illustrations from the children’s books brought to life.
    Thank you for the inspiration.!

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  21. Okay, I already liked you, but now you are my heroine and I'm in awe of you! As a retired elementary teacher who LOVES children's literature, you have just pleased my heart so much with this project. I wish it could travel to my library, but we don't have a display case anyway. What a fabulous project - children will be attracted even more to those books and others now.

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  22. These are so awesome! Many of us love books as much as quilts, so this post was just perfect. Love that you took the care and time to do the quilts so fresh and fun!

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  23. This is so very cool! During covid I made about 12 children's quilts out of theme fabric. . . Very hungry caterpillar, Brown Bear, Guess How much I love you?, Wizard of oz, Dick and Jane, Sock Monkey and more. it was fabric I have had for years and I decided to finally use do it. I still have enough fabric to do more from these themes! BUT, I love your idea so very much and I think I will start investigating doing something like this! you did a fabulous job! Thank you for the inspiration!

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  24. What a fantastic idea. And you really made beautiful quilts. Congratulations on your project.

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  25. So fun, Laura!!! And awesome that they're on display at your library for the month of June! I love children's books that have quilts in them. Fun that you have made your quilt dream come true!!

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  26. Wow!! I am so impressed. Great idea, wonderful quilts...You get the trophy for genius. !!!

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  27. This is a fantastic idea, and you executed it perfectly. Brava!!!

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  28. Amazing! Such a super fun idea!

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  29. This is such a fantastic idea Laura, I feel super inspired by this! Our guild does a lot of quilts for local children groups and I'm thinking of incorporating this into our donations, maybe book bags with the book and matching quilt... so many ideas swirling around. 😁 Now to implement it without having to be in charge of it...

    Brandy

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  30. Beautiful quilts with excellent meaning to you and your children both. Makes me think of the quilts seen in the little Bear cartoons I watched with my children. I know for some TV isn't the same as a book, but little bear was a very special cartoon. Kind, caring, nature, play, acceptance so many wonderful memories of watching those shows with my kids. Think I'll do some digging too! Thanks for inspiring me on a different yet similar journey.

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  31. This is wonderful. I am sure you will inspire a lot of others to do the same. I see Red Dog quilts and my children's favorites when they were small Frog and Toad.

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  32. What a fabulous project! I am thinking I could do some of these for my grandnieces!

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  33. Great idea! As a retired elementary school librarian AND a quilter I loved this post! I also learned of a new book...will check out The Little Ghost who was a quilt! That's new to me.
    There are others if you are interested: Sam Johnson and the Blue Ribbon Quilt, Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt and The Quiltmaker's Gift, The Keeping Quilt, etc!

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  34. You are amazing to tackle this project and do it to such intricate detail of matching the books! I admire your skill and determination!

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  35. @fsq_publicity on Instagram has a whole series called FSQ in the Library. Promotion for guild member's quilts, membership and joy. Beautiful stuff!!

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  36. I love this so much! Please consider adding the illustrators' names to your book list, as it really is their work providing the inspiration. Authors usually have nothing to do with the illustrations - wild, I know. The editors pick the illustrator and they often don't have any communication with the author.

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  37. Sorry I see some of them are included. Helen Craig illustrates the Angelina books

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  38. What a clever idea! Thanks for sharing all the books that inspired you!

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