Friday, 15 July 2011

The babysitting circle

I am in a babysitting circle.

My mother was in one.

You're a group of mums who babysit for each other. You start off with 12 tokens. Every hour is worth one token and if things get really racey and you stay out after midnight, then it becomes two tokens an hour.

Those nights out have to be got back in tokens though, so I frequently find myself sitting in friend's houses and I need something to do besides watching TV and flicking through their magazines of choice.

I took a jelly roll and I cut it up into what I thought would make strip squares and over the last two years, every time I have babysat, I have taken the strips and hand sewn them together.

I realise I could have accomplished the task a whole lot quicker if I had machined them but that is not the point. I once tried taking my sewing machine on a babysitting session and realised power points and tables in other people's houses are not always close neighbours.

So hand sewing it is.

It's not square though is it? More rectangular. Pity I didn't realise that as I put together 36 blocks over two years.

I thought I was going to assemble it nice and simply like this quilt but when I put the blocks together I realised my mistake.

What to do?
I tried this:

I sliced it on the diagonal and added in a strip to make it square. In theory it works but in practice it doesn't if you are even a millimetre out lining up the two parts of your intersected columns. And I am.
My eye is drawn to the imperfections and it would take too long to line up so this idea was shelved.

Next idea was just to add another strip on the end of each block.

Quick, easy and fine by me.
Next I tried a suitable lay out.

I liked it but I still felt it could be a little bit better.

I decided to add two inch squares to the corner of each block, sew them on the diagonal and when assembled it would make squares on point.

Imagine the green dot fabric face down as a square, sew across diagonally, clip one half off, press back and you have a triangle
Sew all the blocks together and you get this.

This may well be the first and last 'babysitting circle' quilt though... my children inform me...

...that they are not 'babies' any more and consequently do not need 'sitting.'

How grown up it must be to be 9 and 11.


  1. Growing up too fast!! Sigh.
    This looks great. Bright and lively as always! Glad you found a layout you liked after all that time investment.

  2. What a fun reminder of your time in the baby sitting circle long after your children need sitters!

  3. I love hearing about people changing their minds on things! You certainly hit the nail on the head with the wee corner, it makes such a lovely difference :-)

  4. Love the green polka dot cornerstones! Inspired! Great quilt, with reminders of times gone by - sure isn't that what quilts are all about? Jxo

  5. Looks great and so impressive that you did it by hand! Thanks too for the red fabric- you sent so many great pieces! I so appreciate it!

  6. Great quilt and memories! What wild nights did you get up to!???

  7. That quilt will bring back lots of memories. I think you came up with a great solution to your dilemma!

  8. love the idea of having a take-along project for baby sitting. and the idea of a baby sitting circle! i'll have to link up with some local mamas for that!


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