A Quilt for Me: Bento Box

For a few years, I’ve been promising myself (and my husband) that I would make a quilt we could keep. Turns out most of the quilts I make are for friends’ babies – and a lot of my friends have babies. My biggest hit was the Elvis quilt I made for a friend’s daughter a few years ago.

Elvis quilt

(Yes, that’s Elvis, and those are motorcycles, pinup girls, tiki drinks and guitars. Surrounded by leopard print. Yes, this kid’s parents are super-funky and hip.)

I think I’m most proud of it because of the feedback I’ve received. Not from other people, but from my friend’s daughter. She’s never actually said anything to me about it (she’s just a tiny preschooler), but she proved she loved it with her actions. Her mom told me: “This is her #1 favorite item! She sleeps in it, she lounges on it, she puts dolls and bears to bed under it. It has been a tablecloth in her play kitchen, a prime spot for hide-and-seek, and a very big hat for a giant stuffed dog.”

You can’t pay a quilter a better compliment than that, can you?

So now I want to make a quilt for myself that I’ll love just as much. It’s not an easy task. There are a few musts:

  • It must be a king-size (even though we have a queen-size bed)
  • It must be cosy
  • It must be a mix of darks and brights (to hide doggie footprints)
  • It must not be so difficult that I never finish it

But I think I might have the key: the Bento Box Quilt.

I’ve seen this simple geometric pattern in a bunch of places now, but the first one I laid eyes on was on Crazy Mom Quilts, a lovely blog by another mad-about-quilting gal named Amanda Jean. Her version looks like this:

Photo, courtesy of Amanda Jean, Crazy Mom Quilts

Photo, courtesy of Amanda Jean, Crazy Mom Quilts

Photo, courtesy of Amanda Jean, Crazy Mom Quilts

Photo, courtesy of Amanda Jean, Crazy Mom Quilts

The play between light and dark, and bold and subtle, is brilliant. I love the colours in the quilt above, but I know that beautiful snowy white wouldn’t last a week with my dog. But the bright scrappy bits? Now we’re talking.

I have been collecting all sorts of fat quarters, but I’m not sure what would work best for a project like this. Acid-bright batiks? 1930s-style feedsack prints? And what to use as the dark contrast in the background? Graphic black-and-white prints? Softer grey prints? Subtle grey-and-white batiks?

So which should it be, fellow crafters?

• Black or grey?

• Bright batiks or soft retro prints?

Drop me a comment and help me decide!