Utah National Parks Baby Quilt

A coworker’s daughter is having a baby in October. October is my birthday month, so we knew we had to make a special baby quilt for my birthday month buddy. When asked about a theme for the baby, we were told she is focusing on the National Parks. I can honestly say I had never heard of that before as a theme for a baby. Since there are quite a few National Parks, we were guided in the direction of Utah.

Utah has several National Parks, and it seems as if the couple spent their honeymoon visiting these four parks along with the Grand Canyon. The Arches NP, Zion NP, Capitol Reef NP, and Bryce Canyon NP are featured in a panel by Riley Blake. It was a no-brainer to purchase the panel, but how to turn that into a baby quilt?? Well, it took a wee bit of thought and we eventually discarded this panel as an option. Why? Because the mom-to-be also requested an Attic Window quilt.

National Parks Attic Window Pattern

It was easy to find a tutorial by Jenny Doan at Missouri Star Quilt Company that gave instructions for the attic window block made using a panel. How handy is that?! We hunted through our stash to find the perfect components for the dark and light sides of the window frame. Jenny also included a sashing to finish off each window section and we love the look of that. Then we realized why this would not work for this panel. Trimming each individual park image into smaller pieces would completely wreck the words describing each park. We would be left with “Arces” or possibly “Capito Reef”. That would not do, so back to the drawing board we went.

We were more or less forced to purchase this similar panel which has 63 (!!) park images. The smaller size of each park design will work as the window image. We decided to scale down the window frames so they don’t overpower the “view”. The first step was to trim each of the individual park images so we could select the ones we would use. Note to self: this means we are going to have another panel quilt in the very near future to use up the excess park images.

Cutting Apart the National Parks Panel

I had a vacation day to use up so I volunteered to start trimming the panel into usable components. It really didn’t take very long at all, I’m happy to report. We elected to trim each piece with a quarter-inch border on all four sides. This will allow for the picture to show in totality from each window pane.

It wasn’t long before I discovered that there are two different sizes for the park images. Of course, there are. We wouldn’t want this to be easy, would we?! All I could think of, though, is WHY??!!

Forging Ahead into the National Parks

Back on track, we decided to use 25 of the larger-sized pieces for this baby quilt. We chose a tree-inspired fabric with multiple shades of brown and a solid beige for the window frames. It seemed like a natural choice and then we also added that as a border.

Five rows of five went together rather quickly. We followed Jenny’s suggestion of adding the thin black sashing on the right side of each block. It made sense to carry that sashing between the rows, too.

Quick National Parks Quilting Session

Once we had the quilt top together, Carol invited us for a quilting session on Millie. We were happy to take her up on the offer, and Sue worked her magic using the “Loop the Loop” pantograph.

We used Glide thread in Sand, which seemed to be the perfect choice. Here’s a closeup of the quilting on the quilt top as well as the backing.

National Parks Finished

The National Parks baby quilt is all finished and ready for the baby shower. We are both really happy with how quickly this came together and how well it turned out. While the original panel wasn’t quite big enough for the backing, the addition of the tree fabric as borders does go well and works to bring it up to the correct size.

Here’s the final product! Oh yeah, we used the same tree-inspired fabric for the binding. It has been washed and dried so it has that fabulous squishy quilted feel.

♥ ♥ ♥

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17 Responses

  1. Danice says:

    ‘Don’t know how I missed this post. The quilt is a beauty. I have been wanting to make a state parks quilt myself.

  2. How did I miss this post??? What a beautiful finish you have. Utah is certainly one of my favorite places to visit (would love to live there too!) and you did so good on your panel choice and the trimming on the blocks. And the attic window pattern makes it all look spectacular. Sue is getting to be quite the expert on loop the loop!
    Hope you are having a wonderful summer. 🙂

  3. Susan Nixon says:

    It came out really great, and I was surprised at the two sizes of park panel blocks, too. I was expecting binding in the teal color, but what you did worked really well!

  4. Chrisknits says:

    That is adorable! Hmm, I may have to suggest that theme to my oldest when/if they have kids. They do the Nat Parks too!

  5. Colette says:

    OMG I love your baby quilt. I have a ton of those park panels, most of the ones I have visited. Maybe someday soon I will have an opportunity to use them.

  6. Cheree Hull says:

    Indeed–Why?!? But a great way to deal with the dif sizes, and for using the big panels up. (Once I’m done with a fabric/theme, I’m done, ya know! Move that stuff out!) A great Parks quilt!

  7. I love this, ladies. You did a fabulous job! I know the mommy will love it!! That panel is perfect.

  8. Karla says:

    What a wonderfully unique baby quilt! I love the theme and how it captures their honeymoon trip. You and Sue did a fantastic job — I love that you were able to use the larger panels on the back!

  9. It’s absolutely fabulous. You’ve done a really brilliant job. Hope the baby appreciates it!! Sounds like the parents will.

  10. Connie says:

    Love this quilt! Great job! Inspires me to do more fabric shopping for landmarks…I need more fabric…definitely…absolutely! LOL

  11. Laura says:

    You had to get creative with this unique baby theme, and it paid off! Fabric choices are great, and so is the setting! Like Rochelle, I was thinking that the big panel could be used on the back, and there it is! Love it!

  12. Wendy says:

    Your choice of fabrics to complement the panels is fantastic. What a great finish, and using the larger panels on back was brilliant. Nice work, ladies! I’m sure it will be a favorite quilt for mama and baby!

  13. Rochelle Summers says:

    This is a unique quilt and what a story the parents will have to tell their baby! You gals did such a great job and what fun to have a quilt session with Millie. I was thinking “I hope she uses that first panel on the back of the quilt” and what do you know, there it was. Hugs, my friend! Enjoy your summer.

  14. Vicki in MN says:

    I have never heard of that theme for a baby either, but I can see how it ties into them. Perhaps it will inspire mom and dad to go see more NP’s. You gals did a great job!!

  15. That is an interesting theme for baby, but you made the most of it and came up with a beautiful quilt, Roseanne! I like the attic window look of it, too. That will be a great gift!

  16. Michele McLaughlin says:

    This is a wonderful baby quilt! It’s unique and fun and will remind the happy couple of their romance. I love the backing as well! I do think the lumber fabric is perfect! Thanks for sharing your process! Sending hugs!

  17. Mary says:

    What a super cool baby quilt that focuses on National Parks that commemorates the special parks they went to on their honeymoon. On our recent trip, I picked up a National Parks panel with smaller images of the parks that I plan to use on the back of my camping quilt. It was really fun reading about this quilt!

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