My childhood best friend Michelle had her second baby in December. For her first child, I cross stitched an Animal ABC afghan from a Dimensions kit. I liked stitching the afghan and wanted to do another one for the new baby, but after much searching I couldn’t find a cross stitch design that I liked as much as that one. Everything I found was very wholesome and cutesy (not in a good way).
There seemed to be more options in stamped cross stitch, which I’d never done before. I’ve always had the (snobbish?) impression that it’s easier and less elegant than counted cross stitch, but I decided to try it.
Bucilla’s ABC Baby kit caught my eye first. Still resistant to doing stamped cross stitch, I thought I could use the chart to stitch it on afghan fabric instead.
But I soon learned that the charts for stamped cross stitch aren’t on a grid, which would be challenging to cross stitch, and the line art like the elephant would be impossible.
I tried charting a couple of letters using the kit chart as a guide, but wasn’t happy with the results. I also decided that even though this blanket is for a different baby, the new blanket should be something other than the alphabet.
(Also, I didn’t notice until after I bought it that “hippopotamus” is misspelled in the product shot! It’s spelled correctly in the kit I got, so Bucilla corrected this at some point, but I saw a complaint about it in a user review, so it seems there are still “hippotamus” kits in circulation. Awkward.)
So I tossed that kit in the closet and went back to Google. That’s when I came across this 2009 post about two Mary Engelbreit Mother Goose kits from Bucilla. The one on the left is a 45″ x 45″ lap quilt, and the one on the right is a 34″ x 43″ crib cover. (Click the picture for a bigger version.)
The fact that the blog post was dated 2009 and I was embarking on this project in 2020 was foreboding, but you can find anything on the internet, right? I searched around and did find the crib cover on the Plaid website (Bucilla’s parent company) as well as a few other vendors. But I couldn’t find the lap quilt anywhere, and that’s the one I really wanted. I liked the composition of the design better, and the inclusion of more characters.
It was already late July and the baby was due in December, so I decided to buy the smaller one. I set up a saved search on eBay and was prepared to start over if the lap quilt turned up soon after I’d started.
So it turns out I was wrong about stamped cross stitch being easy! I used a hoop to maintain the tension and a sharp needle to pierce the fabric, but stitching into fabric that doesn’t have the defined holes of cross stitch fabric took some getting used to. The design is printed in blue ink, and you stitch over it, consulting the chart to know which colors and specialty stitches to use. The blue ink (theoretically) washes out when you’re finished.
The crib cover is already finished with batting sandwiched between a front piece and a back piece that are quilted together. To prevent the stitching from showing on the back, you’re supposed to run the needle through just the front piece of the quilt and pull it sideways to the next stitch. (This video shows it well.) I tried that for about two stitches and gave up, both because it was uncomfortable for my hands and because the fabric is flimsy and I caused a run in it trying to fish the needle through only the front layer.
The chart that came with my kit had a lot of errors. I’d read about this in the Amazon user reviews but I thought, how bad could it really be?
Um, BAD. Here’s an example:
Notice how some of those lines look exactly the same, and some aren’t even printed? Each of those is supposed to represent a different backstitch color. How are you supposed to know which color to use when the same dark line could represent “light coral” or “dark pink”? Plus the lines that aren’t printed on the legend also aren’t printed on the chart. So you encounter a backstitch line in your blue stamped design, check the chart to see what it’s supposed to be, and that backstitch line doesn’t show up on the chart at all. Awesome.
One of the Amazon reviews had mentioned contacting Bucilla for a corrected chart. I did this, and they emailed me a PDF of the chart for the lap quilt (not the crib cover I was working on). Since the crib cover’s motifs are all present on the lap quilt, I was sort of able to use this, but because the PDF was a scan of a paper chart some of it was too grainy to decipher. I asked them to mail me a paper copy of the lap quilt chart.
A week later I got an envelope in the mail from Bucilla. It contained a printed version of the same crib cover chart I already had, mistakes and all.
I emailed again, reiterating that I wanted a printed version of the lap quilt chart, since the PDF wasn’t high enough quality. This time they sent back a Microsoft Word file that addressed a couple of errors on the chart, but still not the backstitch legend I was having trouble with. It was almost funny at this point.
I called and managed to explain the situation to someone who understood what I was asking for. She said there were no print versions of the lap quilt chart available since it’s out of production, but she had a higher quality PDF of the crib cover chart that she would email me.
The next day I emailed back asking for the PDF since it hadn’t been sent yet, and I was told the file was being resized because it was too big to email. Sure, okay. Four months until due date, I can be patient.
Three weeks later, having heard nothing, I emailed again and they finally sent the high quality PDF. Luckily it was clear enough to read even though they’d had to resize it. The new chart doesn’t address all of the errors, but it was a vast improvement. I put it on my iPad so I could keep it handy when I stitched and zoom in on parts that were harder to see.
Sorry for the long digression there, but customer service stories that bad deserve to be shared. If you’re stitching Bucilla’s Mary Engelbreit Mother Goose crib cover and you’re having trouble getting the corrected chart from them, leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to send it to you.
I started stitching this at the beginning of August and finished stitching in mid-January. Here’s the finished crib cover.
Now I had to figure out how to cover the back, where the stitching showed through. I am not good with a sewing machine and I’ve certainly never made a quilt before. I was nervous about doing this right.
I’d seen Mary Engelbreit fabric on eBay with the same Mother Goose design as the crib cover, and thought that would be cute for the back. I bought a yard that was advertised as 36″ x 44/45″. The crib cover dimensions are 34″ x 43″, so I knew that would be cutting it close, but I thought it would *just* fit.
Nope. Not only was it not 44/45″, the auction hadn’t mentioned the half inch of white fabric at each edge. The seller cut a generous yard, so I had more than 36″ on the other dimension, but not enough more to turn the crib cover 90 degrees and make it fit.
To my surprise, the seller did let me return it for a full refund. (I guess that’s the universe evening out my customer service experiences!) And in the end I’m glad I didn’t use this fabric, because it was thin and not soft. I got carried away with the idea of having the design on the back match the front. Instead, I bought two yards of dusty blue flannel.
To prepare it for adding the backing, I put the crib cover in a large lingerie bag and washed it on delicate with cold water. I also washed the flannel separately. A few French knots pulled through in the wash, so I checked every French knot around the border and fixed the ones that were missing.
Oh, and remember that blue ink that’s supposed to wash off in the laundry? It faded, but it’s still there.
You can hardly see it where it’s stitched over, but it bugs me that the design has an item number on it. Why does that need to be there? In theory it will continue to get lighter each time it’s washed, but it makes this gift I spent a long time working on seem mass-produced.
And speaking of things that look cheap, some of the quilting pulled out from under the binding at the edges. This happened even before I put it in the laundry.
I used a seam ripper to remove the binding from the edge of the quilt. This was kind of janky looking, and if you look at my picture above of my finished crib cover you can see a big lump where the ends overlap on the right side. So I was glad to pull this off.
While I was at it, I used the seam ripper to pull out all of the quilting outside of the stitched border. This was the only way I could think of to deal with those loose ends.
From what I could tell after reading a lot of quilting posts, there were two ways I could add the backing this: sew on the backing and then add a new binding (which I would either have to make out of coordinating fabric, or buy and hope it matched), or sew the backing and crib cover together inside out like a pillowcase, leaving an unsewn opening through which to turn it right side out. The second method seemed more foolproof. This video was helpful.
I started by laying the flannel on the floor and pinning it to the carpet. Then I laid the crib cover on top of it with the good side down, and pinned this to the carpet.
Next I went all the way around, pinning the crib cover to the flannel. I added a few pins in the center of the design as well.
On the advice of the video I linked to above, I bought a walking foot for my sewing machine. It’s intended for thick layers, and I had four (quilt front, batting, quilt back, and flannel) so I didn’t want to take any chances.
I sewed on the backing, then turned the assembly inside out and pressed the seam. I didn’t quilt the back to the front because I had no idea how to do that and no desire to learn, but it’s fine. The flannel kind of clings to the fabric it’s up against, so it’s not obvious that they’re not quilted together.
As I pressed the edges, I also ironed the area where I had pulled out the quilting. Now it’s smooth and you’d never know there was originally stitching there.
The photo above also shows some blue ink outline that’s still visible. (There were places in the design where the crib cover must have gotten creased or jostled during printing, so the design was mismatched and I needed to improvise while stitching — this is one of those places.) I also lost a few more French knots during the sewing process.
After I fixed those French knots, I closed up the opening by hand using an invisible stitch. Here you can see the machine stitched part on the left leading into the hand stitched part on the right. Once I pressed this with the iron, it’s hard to spot the difference unless you go looking for it.
And here’s the finished crib cover! For the most part I was able to use the holes from the binding I’d ripped out as a guide for sewing on the backing, but the corners were tricky. I would have preferred square corners but the fabric wasn’t large enough. Still, I’m insanely proud of this thing!
Epilogue: in October I got an eBay alert for a Mary Engelbreit Mother Goose Lap Quilt kit. This is the larger version that I was prepared to start over for if I found one in time. By then I had already done so much work on the crib cover, including my back and forth with customer service, that starting over wasn’t practical. But I bought it anyway.
In the end, it’s good that I did the crib cover, because I hadn’t realized that the lap quilt isn’t pre-quilted — it’s just one piece of fabric that you need to add your own batting and backing to, and you do all the quilting yourself. This could make for a nicer blanket, but as we’ve just established, I don’t know how to quilt! I’ve stashed it the closet along with the ABC Baby kit I ixnayed in the beginning. You never know, maybe someone else I really like will have a baby.
February 21, 2021 at 5:23 am
Your perseverance and skills and patience are admirable! The deficits in everything and poor experience with Buscilla would have had me screaming and probably abandoning the whole project. It’s a beautiful quilt, and you should be VERY proud of it! (BTW, if you choose to do the other kit that you bought, there are people in sewing shops who will do the quilting…for a price, of course). For a small quilt, it shouldn’t be astronomical.
February 21, 2021 at 2:52 pm
Thank you! If I do the other one, getting it finished professionally is a good idea. It’s like paying to get something framed, I would never try to DIY that.
February 21, 2021 at 9:29 am
Despite all of the problems, you have created a beautiful heirloom that the recipient will cherish for may generations. What a shame the kit was such a disaster. I enjoy the Bucilla felt kits and have never had a problem. I have been tempted to do a stamped cross stitch, but not now. I am glad it all ended well.
February 21, 2021 at 2:54 pm
Maybe this kit was particularly problematic. If it had shipped with the corrected version of the chart it wouldn’t have been so bad.
February 21, 2021 at 2:28 pm
What a beautiful piece you have created for a very lucky child…it will indeed become a treasured heirloom to pass down. I’ve never been attracted to stamped cross stitch and am even less drawn to it now…great job in completing what is a challenging project!
February 21, 2021 at 2:55 pm
Thank you! :)
February 22, 2021 at 8:57 am
Wow! I swear I’d go crazy and give up.
Your perseverance really paid off though, it looks wonderful!
February 23, 2021 at 8:15 am
Beautiful Job! Knowing the love and effort that went into the completion of this gift will make your friend appreciate it even more; as for the baby… well …. if it’s soft, he’ll love it! LOL
February 23, 2021 at 1:10 pm
You are a good friend to Michelle. Lovely work!
March 20, 2021 at 3:33 pm
I have started work on this quilt and am also having trouble deciphering the stitch chart. I would be delighted if you would share the pdf you got.
Also, I am a real novice at this so am trying to learn as I go. One thing I don’t understand is what type of stitch is supposed to go around the “holes” on the mushrooms.
March 20, 2021 at 5:00 pm
I’ll email the chart to you. The stitch you’re asking about should be a red outline stitch.
March 28, 2021 at 3:49 pm
Oh my goodness, what a story! But you should absolutely be proud of the finished result, it’s charming!
(And if you work the lap quilt one, it would certainly be worth getting somebody to quilt it for you, or simply quilting around each motif with your new walking foot!)
May 31, 2021 at 6:24 pm
I would love a PDF of this crib quilt. I have done many embroidery projects over the years and this is by far the worst. I can tell there are mistakes, but hard to correct when the printed pictures are so blurry. Thank you for being willing to share the info. Also, how wonderful you hung in there. Good for you!
May 31, 2021 at 11:14 pm
I’ll email it to you!
July 11, 2021 at 3:53 pm
I bought this exact quilt about five years ago and am just starting to get started with it. I am having some serious issues with the outlining, like you said before it’s hard to decide which color and I’m almost resigned to using the grey on everything since that is what there is the most of.
If you are willing to share your updated copy with any notes on what goes where, I would really appreciate it.
This will be my fourth and last since my fingers and eyes aren’t what they used to be and it will be for my granddaughter when she decides to have children (she’s only 10 now). But, it is the hardest one I’ve every done by far.
July 11, 2021 at 4:38 pm
I accidentally used gray to outline in a few places I wasn’t supposed to, and you can’t tell! I’ll email you the corrected chart.
August 12, 2021 at 2:43 pm
Wow! I just received this kit today and I’m already so confused and overwhelmed! I haven’t cross stitched in over 2O years. I don’t even know how I will separate all the colors with my old eyes, I would also appreciate the PDF of the crib quilt as well. Thank you so much for your help! I hope I can muster the same patience as you did to complete this for my grandchild.
August 12, 2021 at 5:43 pm
I might not be able to get it to you for a day or two, but wanted to let you know I did see this comment and I’ll send the chart to you!
August 25, 2021 at 7:23 pm
I would like to make the Mother Goose the PDF of the crib quilt . Thank you . I have a newborn grandson & this would be nice for the nursery .
August 27, 2021 at 9:02 am
Do you already have the kit from Bucilla? I can’t send you the PDF unless you already have the kit (and it wouldn’t do you any good, anyway!) If you do have the kit and are struggling with the chart, send me an email and I can share the corrected PDF.
August 27, 2021 at 7:27 am
I thought you did an amazing job on this quilt. I hope your friend has read this and appreciates how challenging it was. It should not have been quite so difficult. Your cross stitching is beautiful. I have collected a LOT of cross stitch quilts. I have just been cataloging them today because I have way way to many to get through in a life time. They are nearly all Bucilla (because I had to put soe sort of limit on my searches) and they are mostly bed size – single, double and the odd Queen. arrrrgh what have it done!. I keep kickig myself that I didnt just stick to baby quilts and lap quilts.
I have also considered, for the pre-quilted ones, ripping the quilting out for two reasons, 1. to make it easier to stitch and finish at the back and 2. because I want to change out the wadding. But its a toss up, easy wash or natural fiber???? What does a new mum want the most??
You should be proud of your quilt it is beautiful and you learned a few things along the way.
August 27, 2021 at 9:04 am
Thanks for your comment! I hadn’t thought about swapping out the batting. This quilt is being hung on the wall, so luckily it won’t need to be washed often.
September 18, 2021 at 12:49 pm
Please please please send me what you have. I am working on this quilt now and it is driving me crazy. I have all the cross stitch done and am working on the satin stitch now. I can tell you that I have worked on about 10 of these quilts and this is the worse kit I have ever bought. Any help you can provide is appreciated.
Thanks a million.
September 18, 2021 at 7:03 pm
Hi Ellie, I’ll email you the chart. :)
December 28, 2021 at 1:29 am
Please send me the chart. Boy I have never had so many issues before. I have been trying so hard just to sort the colors. Might buy my own, it’s dmc right? you did a beautiful job.
December 28, 2021 at 4:21 pm
I just sent you the chart. The thread colors do correspond to DMC if you decide to replace it.
January 23, 2022 at 4:11 pm
I would be extremely appreciative if you would email me the chart. These directions are confusing!
January 23, 2022 at 4:59 pm
Sure, I’ll send it to you.
March 19, 2022 at 8:39 pm
Hi Emily. You’ve done a beautiful, admiral job on this project. I’ve had this package for years, but just now getting to it. I just realized that as you said, there are at least four symbols that are the same, but different colors for outlining. Oh my. Very disappointing. If you would, I’d love to have the chart you have. I am willing to pay you for it if you let me know how much. Again, you should be extremely pleased with your finished quilt. Thank you very much for the plethora of information and your help. Have a great day.
March 20, 2022 at 9:30 am
Thanks for your comment! I’ll email you the chart. It’s a PDF, no need to pay me.
May 28, 2022 at 10:54 am
I hope you can email me a copy of the color chart. I just purchased the crib cover from eBay which wasn’t opened but there is no color chart enclosed. I would appreciate it very much.
May 28, 2022 at 2:07 pm
Sure, I’ll email it to you.
May 28, 2022 at 3:07 pm
I’m so sorry but I did something wrong and lost the chart will you please send it again. I’m so sorry.
July 6, 2022 at 2:19 pm
I would love the pdf chart also. Please!
July 6, 2022 at 3:58 pm
I’ll email you.
July 13, 2022 at 4:07 pm
Just got the quilt set and am preparing to begin. A bit overwhelmed looking at the directions. I’ve done several cross-stitch projects and a completed the Bucilla baby quilt “Alphabet Dreams.” However, I purchased my own thread before and this came with it. Not sure even how to sort the colors. I would love the updated PDF to help out and any hints about the best way to sort the colors. Thanks so much!
July 13, 2022 at 4:25 pm
Hi Kathy, I’ll email you the chart. I wish I had written down what I did with the colors because at the time I felt like I had a very clever solution! I think it had to do with the lengths of the strands — maybe in one hank each strand is two yards, and in one hank each strand is three yards? Something like that? It might have been that all of the colors where the number of yards are divisible by 3 were bundled together in one hank, and all the colors where the number of yards aren’t divisible by 3 were bundled together in the other hank. Sorry, I don’t know if that’s helpful!
I sorted them by laying each color out, then cutting the pieces down to yard length and matching up the number of strands I had with the number of strands on the key. I do remember that an entire color is included in one hank or the other hank. For example, you aren’t going to find some strands of Palest Peach in the first hank and some in the second hank. Keeping the two hanks separate as you sort them will help you prevent mixing up colors that are very close to each other.
July 14, 2022 at 9:48 pm
Thanks for the hints on the colors and the updated PDF. I think that will help me a lot. I sure hope mine turns out half as nice as yours! Thanks so much for sharing!!!
July 26, 2022 at 9:55 am
Emily – could you please send me the updated PDF for the Mother Goose Crib Blanket – I just got my kit and I will need the updated instructions….Thank you!
July 26, 2022 at 10:50 am
Yep, I’ll send them to you.
September 22, 2022 at 8:22 am
I am so glad I found your post. I am stitching this crib quilt now for my grand baby due in Jan. I have made several crib quilts before but this one does have a difficult chart and the thread has been the hardest for me to sort. I am looking for close ups of MG face because I’m not really sure of how her lips and nose are. So thank you for posting pics of this. I bought a standing quilt hoop and this has been very helpful.
September 22, 2022 at 10:53 am
Good luck! I’m sorry I don’t have a bigger picture of Mother Goose’s face, but I hope you’re able to see what you need. Let me know if you’d like me to send the corrected chart.
November 26, 2022 at 12:31 pm
Hello again! I just want you to know how valuable this post . Whenever I’m not sure how something is to be, I can look at your pictures. I’m working on the Dish and needed it for the face. I needed pictures because I gave the book to my daughter in law and the picture from the kit, lost. You did a fine job on this quilt.
November 27, 2022 at 10:53 am
Thanks for your comment! I’m glad the pictures help. I have a few others I didn’t post, so if there’s ever something you need a close-up of that isn’t in the post, feel free to ask.
October 6, 2022 at 1:16 pm
Your work is beautiful. Please send me the pdf of the instructions. It would so help
November 3, 2022 at 2:04 pm
You were kind enough to send me the pdf for the Mother Goose quilt and I have been working on it as time allows for several months now. I am almost finished, but have run into a question on the feather. There are several “lines” denoted with heart symbols, but I don’t find a corresponding entry in the outline stitch guide. If you remember what you used, I’d be grateful. If not, I’ll wing it. I could not have made it this far without the pdf you supplied so many thanks to you.
November 3, 2022 at 2:48 pm
That’s a good question! I don’t remember what I used, but maybe Bright Blue since it’s listed right below the other two feather tip colors. I checked my pictures but unfortunately I can’t tell from those.
December 1, 2022 at 5:03 pm
Hi Emily! You’re a life saver! I would love it if you could send me the PDF…the cart is atrocious!! I’ve always done counted cross stitch and I thought this would be a breeze…boy was I wrong!!
December 1, 2022 at 5:28 pm
Sure, I’ll send it to you.
February 4, 2023 at 11:33 am
I finally finished the quilt and it is just beautiful. I added the baby’s name and birthday to the border along with the beginning lines of the rhymes. It has been fun sharing this experience with a fellow stitcher. This blog has made it a little less daunting . Good luck on your future stitching projects.
February 4, 2023 at 11:36 am
Congratulations! It sounds beautiful. :)
February 9, 2023 at 5:00 am
Emily, I’m finally finished with the main part of the quilt and working on the border. This cross-stitch is one of the most challenging I’ve ever done! Can you tell me if you are supposed to use outline thread on the border too? I can’t tell if the white spaces in the border have any of the green thread on the outside of their boxes or not or if there is gray outline thread used. Their photo looks like the border is outlined. and I’m not sure what to do.
February 9, 2023 at 8:37 am
I outlined the entire border (including the green and white boxes, and the flowers and leaves) with the gray outline color. I don’t think outlining the boxes in green would do much because it would blend in with the satin stitches.
March 4, 2023 at 1:02 pm
I have just started on this crib cover and, like everyone, have had difficulty with the chart provided. I would appreciate you sending me the pdf you used. Also, the photos of your work are great and will be a big help to me. You mentioned that you have other photos and I would be appreciative if you could send those, as well. You did a great job on your baby quilt! And thanks for sharing the tips and troubles you found along the way.
March 4, 2023 at 4:40 pm
I’ll send you the chart.