Every new baby should receive a homemade quilt. It's such a special and individualized gift that will be cherished by the mother and child. A baby's quilt may be handed down to the next child or be lovingly folded into a chest as a keepsake--and perhaps given someday his or her own child.
One of the easiest and fastest quilts to make for a baby is a striped quilt. It consists of strips of fabric, sewn together to create stripes, forming the quilt top. Choose a single color palette, such as pink or blue, and purchase fabrics that are solids and prints containing different shades of that color. Or find a cute fabric print, choosing three colors from that print for your quilt color palette. Or look for a few fabrics with a print that forms a line across. When you cut a strip from these fabrics you will see the complete figures, such as a line of trains, airplanes, hearts or kittens. Intermingle those fabrics with smaller prints and solids.
Decide on a pattern of stripes (five or six strips sewn together) and then repeat the pattern several times, until you have the length you desire. Complete your quilt in the traditional manner of layering (sandwiching) the quilt top, batting and backing. Hand- or machine-quilt your project and then complete it with a colorful binding.
A baby quilt is more than just a scaled-down, traditionally blocked quilt. As the baby becomes old enough to recognize objects, he should be able to point to things on the quilt and learn the words for them. It should be fun for the toddler to see a duck, a puppy or a truck in the quilt, and be able to try out the word for it. Consider making a traditional block quilt, but with piecing that creates those objects. This may be the choice for you if you are an experienced quilter.
If you are a newer quilter, you can still get an interesting look with the same block quilt feeling, but with an easier process. Cut a piece of fabric the size of the top of your quilt. Now, cut different shapes out of different fabrics (see Resources). If you aren't an artist, simply locate a child's coloring book or coloring pages online (see Resources), cut out shapes and use them as patterns. Then sew the shapes into circles or squares. Arrange the circles or squares onto the quilt top fabric and sew them on (by hand or machine). Finish your block quilt in the traditional manner, as in the striped quilt, above.