You are invited to join the Quilt Alliance’s Happy Birth Day, Baby! project celebrating the “birthday” of National Quilting Day, March 18, 2017. Individuals and groups are welcome to participate – it’s easy! Make a quilt for the first baby born on National Quilting Day in your local hospital.
First, contact your local hospital – most are happy to participate, but you will need to make arrangements in advance. The National Quilting Association sponsored Happy Birth Day, Baby! from 2006-2008 with great results. Some quilters preferred to deliver their quilts in person and even had photos taken with the new baby and parents – that will depend on your hospital and the parents. Hospitals all have different regulations, and you will need to work out the details with them to comply with restrictions and privacy laws.
We encourage you to use the free pattern provided for a simple big block baby quilt. Stepping Stones is a traditional block, and the pattern makes a 40″ square quilt. Or you can use your favorite pattern. Quilts should be gender-neutral colors – or why not donate two, one for the first girl and one for the first boy!
Before you deliver your quilt, be sure it is “baby ready.” Avoid using buttons, ribbons, or other embellishments that can be pulled off or caught on little fingers and toes. Check carefully for stray pins and loose threads. Be sure the quilt is free of pet hair, smoke, dirt, etc. Quilts should be machine washable; wash the quilt in unscented laundry products before delivery. The new owners will appreciate a note with fabric content and printed laundry instructions – we hope the quilt will be loved and used!
And of course – be sure to sign the Quilt Alliance Labeling Pledge and label your quilt! Download a free Happy Birth Day Baby quilt label, or order one by mail.
If you live in a larger metropolitan area with several hospitals, try to coordinate with other guilds or quilters to be sure every hospital is covered, or make it a regional or statewide project. In 2003 Ohio Quilts! coordinated a similar project to celebrate the Ohio bicentennial – more than ninety new babies received “Happy Birth Day, Bicentennial Baby!” quilts. It is a good publicity opportunity for your quilt group through your local newspaper or TV station.
Be sure to send us photos of your baby quilts (and makers) for our National Quilting Day Facebook page. And if you have a friend with a smart phone, have them record a 3 minute or less “Go Tell It!” video about you and your quilt. See our Go Tell It! project webpage for details. Encourage the hospital and parents to post to their social media, too. We hope to make this an annual project – join us in starting another Quilt Alliance tradition!
The Stepping Stones baby quilt is based on a traditional block, and we think it is a perfect block for a newborn baby and parents, starting off down life’s path together. The pattern lends itself to many variations and fabric choices, from two color to scrappy. You can use yardage, fat quarters, a couple of charm packs or a layer cake, and the 40×40″ basic quilt is easily modified with extra borders to make a larger quilt. The sixty-four 4″ (finished) squares will also work with flannels. It’s an easy quilt for beginners, but these instructions assume you have some quiltmaking experience. The basic instructions below are for a two-color/two-fabric quilt. Please read all instructions before you begin.
The Stepping Stones block was documented in the 1930s by Carrie Hall in the collection of the Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas. (Carrie Hall Blocks by Bettina Havig.) Electric Quilt/Block Base versions #1984 (Hall) and #1983b (KC Star). All block graphics created in EQ7. Designed by Janet White.