Finishing is hard…

So, it’s been just a few days since I made my resolution to finish quilts rather than starting new ones. Which, per the laws of the universe, means I’m now flooded with ideas to start quilts.  It’s going to be a long, but satisfying year.

Instead of dwelling on all the things I “can’t” start, I’m going to dwell on all the pretties I can finish. Like this quilt.

Feed Company BOM for Gramma by Smiles Too Loudly

This one is for Gramma. I had meant to finish it by Christmas, but got distracted by the ribbons, glitter, eggnog, etc. Lucky for me, Gramma is a patient lady, and has a birthday soon.

Feed Company BOM for Gramma by Smiles Too Loudly

I don’t want to quilt it too much – the embroidery is too wonderful to distract from. So, I’m thinking simple spiral quilting on all the text sections, then accent feathers around the embroidered blocks. A big half feather in the grey border should round it out nicely.

Feed Company BOM for Gramma by Smiles Too Loudly

I chose a nice 1″ gingham for the back. You may be able to tell that I purposely skewed the quilt top.  Let’s face it, perfectly aligning the quilt top to that gingham grid on the back would have been a nightmare — and it probably would have shifted while quilting. This way, I’m not going to be upset at the end. It’s already skewed, any further distortion isn’t going to be noticeable.

Feed Company BOM for Gramma by Smiles Too Loudly

And of course, my quality inspector was nearby. Every time I tried to get him to move off the quilt, he’d just move to a different section… Oh well. At least it meets approval.

Feed Company BOM for Gramma by Smiles Too Loudly

Feed Company BOM for Gramma by Smiles Too Loudly

Feed Company BOM for Gramma by Smiles Too Loudly

I hope you’re not tired of this quilt… there’s probably at least two more photo dumps coming…

Feed Company BOM for Gramma by Smiles Too Loudly

A gifted bag

Hi! Today I want to share with you something I actually finished back in 2015… yes, I’m a slow blogger. But see, this was right before the holiday craziness set in… Ok, enough with excuses, on to the pretty pictures!!!

A lined drawstring bag by Smiles Too Loudly

I made this bag for Jessica, for the drawstring bag swap at the end of the year guild party. Everyone who wanted to participate had to make a lined drawstring bag following this tutorial from Jeni Baker. We were each asked to fill out a questionnaire to make it easier on our makers.

A lined drawstring bag by Smiles Too Loudly

Well, I’ve known Jessica for a few years now, so the questionnaire wasn’t really needed, but helpful nonetheless. (I love that word: nonetheless. Always feels like it should be three words, but nope! All one word).

Purple is not really my strong suit. That’s putting it mildly really. I hardly ever find a purple I like. And when I do, it’s more of red purple than a blue purple. My husband is going to roll his eyes at that sentence — the man believes there’s only one purple.  I had happened to pick up this purple Cotton and Steel print at QuiltCon earlier this year. Yes, it’s purple and Cotton + Steel. Hey, I told you 2015 was stressful, see what stress makes me do?

A lined drawstring bag by Smiles Too Loudly

Combine the blasphemous purple print, with a cute semi-novelty print I’d picked up on a whim a few days before, and make a flange out of leftover binding from this quilt – ta-da! Instant wonderful bag!

A lined drawstring bag by Smiles Too Loudly

Except it wasn’t all that instant. This was my fifth set of fabric choices. See? Purple and me aren’t really the best of friends. I have about 7 purple fabrics in my stash, and went through nearly all of them with different combinations until I remembered this print still tucked away in the QuiltCon Swag Bag (why, no, I’m not fully unpacked from the trip I took in February).

A lined drawstring bag by Smiles Too Loudly

Add a few musical touches (she’s a music teacher, so that part was a no-brainer), and fill it up with goodies. The end.

A lined drawstring bag by Allison Coe for Smiles Too Loudly

Oh well, except for the part where I received one! Allison made me this adorable bag with a cat face on each side, filled with yellow and cat fabrics, and yellow thread! And I’ve already tucked some  knitting into it…

A lined drawstring bag by Allison Coe for Smiles Too Loudly

2016: Finish, Finish, Finish

Hi! I’m back today to share all the details, and thoughts behind, my 2016 resolution: Finish quilts.

Here’s the deal — I have tons of unfinished projects. No, seriously, I keep them all listed here on the blog. Well, all is subjective, because I forget to update the list, but most are on the WIPs page. Go ahead and look at them, I’ll wait.

Yup, still waiting, because there’s a lot for you to read through.

Some I put aside waiting for my skills to improve. Like this one:

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Started pre-blog, circa 2011. I knew I wanted to go to town with FMQ in all that aqua space, but I didn’t even have a free motion foot for my machine at the time… But now I have the Juki! No more waiting. I just need to decide on a back for it.

Then there’s this one:

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I started it not long after the Ruby quilt above, 2011, maybe 2012. I started with the Crazy Nine Patch pattern, then quickly fell out of love with the design in my head. Recently, I got some new inspiration from, of all places, the design on the sandwich bags from our favorite pizza/sub shop. I just have to actually execute the new design…

By my count, I have 7 8 9 quilt tops, all done, just needing quilting. For a gal with Juki that’s almost downright criminal. I’ve run out of excuses on those – and some of them are charity quilts, like this one:

2014-05-26 09.57.25

Then there are quilts that are for me, that I’ve just kept pushing down the priority list. Like this one:

Smiles Too Loudly: Two Friendship Supernova Blocks

My Supernova Friendship Quilt that’s been waiting over a year for me to make my half. Or my Farmer’s Wife quilt, that’s been waiting even longer for me to just put them together.

Smiles Too Loudly: An idea for reimagining the Farmer's Wife Quilt

As well as more recent projects, like this quilt for Gramma:

Feed Company BOM for Gramma by Smiles Too Loudly

I have started 3 4, yes 4, Christmas quilts over the years and never finished a single one of them. It’s time, don’t you think?

Christmas Bow Ties are Cool

So, this is the year of no new projects. I am not going to start a single quilt. Now I’m a realistic person, so I understand that I will most likely not meet this goal. In fact, there are two exceptions for this: two baby quilts I need to make by March. But, my true aim is to finish as many of these lovelies (and this wasn’t all of them by any means) as I can by 2017. This year, I finished 4 adult-sized quilts. Last year I finished 2 adult-sized quilts.  Let’s see how many I can finish this year!

And I’m sure this guy will be doing his uptmost best to help in every possible way.

Hello, I'm Woody

 

Welcome 2016!!!

I know there are many who are exclaiming their dismay at the end of 2015 — I’m not one. This past year has been, well, let’s just say not easy. Emotional roller coaster would also be apt. Several family deaths, births, weddings, and more drama, stress, and hurtful words than, well, than I’ve known what to do with. I’ve been ready for 2016 since July…

Brake Lights, a Moda Bakeshop Tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

 

 

Lucky for me, I had quilting, and quilty friends, through all of this. So, let’s celebrate the good and put aside the bad, shall we? Because there were some really great things that happened this year.

I attended QuiltCon and met so many dear wonderful people – and only took pictures of quilts.

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Quilts of Gee’s Bend

I participated in several blog hops.

I just love this shot :D
I just love this shot :D

Video Killed the Radio Star w/ the T

I had a quilt published on Moda Bakeshop.

Brake Lights, a Moda Bakeshop Tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

I got to make baby quilts for wonderful friends who showered me in thanks.

2015 Baby Quilts

I finished 4 throw-ish sized quilts, 4 baby quilts, and 2 mini quilts. And a few other smaller projects I forgot to blog about. Oops. Oh, and there was a commissioned quilting job in there that I forgot to take pictures of too…

2015 quilt collage

I’ve had my Juki for an entire year now, and what a difference it’s made in my quilting skills.

2015 Quilting Details

I’ve gotten more comfortable with my camera, and improved my photography skills.

2015 Pictures

2016 is going to hold great things, I just know it. Several of those things will be quilts! Yes, that’s right, I’m making a resolution: Finish more quilts.  I’ll be back in a few days to share the details of that, but for now:

May 2016 be everything you need it to be!!

 

Top 5 of 2015

Hi Everyone. There’s been a bit of radio silence here for awhile… oops. But I’m here to share my top 5 creations of this year. Cheryl of MeadowMistDesigns has created a linky party for all of us to share our top 5, and it sounds like a great way to round out the year.  I must admit though, I didn’t use any highly scientific criteria to choose these.

1. Most Exciting and Nerve Wracking

Fearless Sparrows, a block tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

Definitely the Fabric Quilt New Block Hop. Designing a new quilt block, and writing a tutorial… not for the faint of heart.

2. Fastest Quilt

I had just under a week to finish this quilt, between the fabric arriving late, the deadline, and a family commitment. Good thing it was an easy sew — and I had made a practice one.

Brake Lights, a Moda Bakeshop Tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

3. Most Physically Demanding

You’ve heard the phrase “blood, sweat, and tears”? Well, no blood went into this quilt, but I sprained my wrist, so that has to count, right? To date, this is hubby’s favorite quilt, so I’m calling it worth it.

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4. Most Fun I’ve had all year

I attended QuiltCon!!! And met up with so many amazing quilters, both at QuiltCon and here at home.

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5. Most Honest

It can’t always be sunshine and smiles, and I appreciate this space, and the support from you so very, very much. I did finally finish a quilt just for me – then let guilt drive me to “loan” it out. There’s still work to be done… but maybe one day soon.

Play That Funky Music, by Smiles Too Loudly

 

May 2016 be a good one. :D

Girly isn’t really my thing – A baby quilt

Those of you who have met me in real life are probably laughing hysterically at that title, because it is so true. I hardly ever wear makeup, dresses, jewelry, high heels. I don’t go get mani and pedis. Shopping is not a sport, well, unless it’s fabric shopping of course. But my dear, dear friend Marci was expecting a girl earlier this year. Her third child and first daughter, so something girly was in order. Insert wide eyed panic here.

A baby girl quilt, with a drunkard's path border, by Smiles Too Loudly

I went through several idea iterations… none of which were captured in photos. At the brilliant suggestion of Stephanie, I added yellow (duh), and ended up with this pull. It’s mostly from a fat quarter bundle of Summer Song I’ve had for ages (but not quite as long as the selvadge would indicate… maybe only since 2011?)

A baby girl quilt, with a drunkard's path border, by Smiles Too Loudly

Around the time I was considering my options curve quilts were all the rage, so I thought why not? Ummm, yeah. Those are 3″ squares, it was going to be a really long time till I did an entire quilt this way, even a baby quilt.

A baby girl quilt, with a drunkard's path border, by Smiles Too Loudly

And then I found this fabric in my stash. It’s a Masha D’yans print and the colors worked perfectly. I think it adds a little extra girly-ness too, but, hey, what would I know? I even managed to get Marci’s approval of it on Instagram – without having to reveal the secret!

From here it went pretty much like clockwork. I added a little extra border of white, then just happened to have the perfect amount of this Kate and Birdie print to make a decent sized quilt.

A baby girl quilt, with a drunkard's path border, by Smiles Too Loudly

I quilted it with spirals on the pieced section, and lots of feathers in the border. And of course, pink binding. Every little girl quilt needs pink binding right? It’s a little formulaic, but I do think it worked here.

A baby girl quilt, with a drunkard's path border, by Smiles Too Loudly

A baby girl quilt, with a drunkard's path border, by Smiles Too Loudly

Rounded corners just seemed to fit, so I traced around a dinner plate. Very high tech here in the Smiley Workshop.

A baby girl quilt, with a drunkard's path border, by Smiles Too Loudly

A baby girl quilt, with a drunkard's path border, by Smiles Too Loudly

The colors in this Briar Rose print just seemed to work perfectly for the back. It is now in the adorable little fists of Marci’s little girl, being loved and abused. Exactly as it should.

Trying to make a girly-girl quilt was quite the challenge for me. How do you deal with difficult design goals? Is there a certain style you struggle with?

An Oceany Baby Quilt

Do you remember waaaaay back this spring when I mentioned I was working on several baby quilts? Yeah, probably not, but, this is one of them. I finally got my act together and sent it off… Apparently, trips to the post office are harder than basting a quilt.

A fun, oceany baby quilt, with improv borders and an icosahedron center, by Smiles Too Loudly

I started this back in February, according to the date stamps. The first iteration was this quick, improv, strip quilt top. Though hubby adored it, it left me a little meh. So, what’s a girl to do? Cut it up! And then let it sit in a pile for a few months…

A fun, oceany baby quilt, with improv borders and an icosahedron center, by Smiles Too Loudly

It was dug up for a quilting retreat project in April. Right around that time, I ran across Jessee Artschooldropout’s Icosahedron pattern, and knew it’d be perfect for the center of a medallion style baby quilt. The fussy cutting sealed the deal, as it usually does.

A fun, oceany baby quilt, with improv borders and an icosahedron center, by Smiles Too Loudly

I used the cut up pieces from February, and some more of the ocean friends fabric, and put it together in just a few hours.

A fun, oceany baby quilt, with improv borders and an icosahedron center, by Smiles Too Loudly

This was for my friend Laurie, who I’ve mentioned here before. I knew her children have an affinity for voile backed quilts, so I thought I’d try it for the first time… and the last time. I know it’s a popular choice out there in the quilty world, but I just don’t think it’s for me. I won’t say I’ll never try it again, but it’s going to be awhile.

A fun, oceany baby quilt, with improv borders and an icosahedron center, by Smiles Too Loudly

My basting helper didn’t seem to mind in the least…

A fun, oceany baby quilt, with improv borders and an icosahedron center, by Smiles Too Loudly

Because of my issues with the voile, I went with really simple quilting. Some squiggly lines and loopy stipple. (Very technical terms here).  Overall, I still love this quilt very, very much. And Laurie has already shared her love — I even got a picture of the baby on it! (Which is the best thing after you’ve made a baby quilt, wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

A fun, oceany baby quilt, with improv borders and an icosahedron center, by Smiles Too Loudly

I have one more baby quilt to share in a few days (and two more to make for 2016…)

A collaboration with Gramma

Gramma is a very special person around these parts… after all, she taught me to use a sewing machine. That’s kind of a big deal to a person who lives, breathes, eats quilting.

At the end of last year, Sweetwater Co announced their latest (at the time) fabric line and an embroidered block of the month pattern which was perfectly Gramma. Most of you don’t know her, so you’ll have to take my word for it, but it really is perfectly Gramma. I sweet talked her into a collaboration — she does the embroidery, and I’ll do the piecing and quilting, and then send the finished quilt back to her.  After all, if we waited for me to embroider all the blocks it’d be done in about 10 years…

Feed Co BOM quilt, by Smiles Too Loudly and Gramma

Well, she finished all the blocks up in no time at all, and sent them to me this summer. She even wrapped them in yellow tissue paper! A couple of weeks ago, with the holidays looming, I was feeling a little homesick, so I pulled them out and started to put them together.

Feed Co BOM quilt, by Smiles Too Loudly and Gramma

Even with my busy schedule and lack of work-life balance, this was a quick put together. And it was wonderful to work with Gramma’s embroidery and feel all the love I know she put into them.

Feed Co BOM quilt, by Smiles Too Loudly and Gramma

I did change up the final border. The pattern called for the same black gingham, but I would have had to piece it … and non-matching gingham would have driven me crazy. Major thanks go to Jennifer, my friend and local fabric dealer, for choosing the red border.

Feed Co BOM quilt, by Smiles Too Loudly and Gramma

A full reveal will have to wait until the weather and my quilt holder cooperate… he’s sleeping off turkey.

Feed Co BOM quilt, by Smiles Too Loudly and Gramma

And yes, Gramma, I will make sure to get a shot of Woody on your quilt.

A comfy, happy place

As expected, I can’t really maintain momentum on Calm and Serene. For some reason, calm is taxing. With a new job, taxing isn’t always what I’m looking for in this sewing addiction. So, I switched to quilting. Quilting is always my comfy, happy place.

Large Hexagon made of strings, offset on background by Smiles Too Loudly

Bad days, terrible drivers, ruined dinner… all made better by quilting.

Large Hexagon made of strings, offset on background by Smiles Too Loudly

You may remember this quilt, or you may not. I have trouble keeping up with them all some days… 2016 may be the year of “no new projects” we’ll have to see.

Large Hexagon made of strings, offset on background by Smiles Too Loudly

Matching all these thread colors means I’ve gotten really good at threading the Juki. Like, really good.

Large Hexagon made of strings, offset on background by Smiles Too Loudly

If you have eagle eyes, and an obsession for Anna Maria Horner, you may notice I used a couple of her prints in this. They work here. I might be coming around to AMH afterall. Just don’t get too excited, okay? This could just be a funk I’m in…

Large Hexagon made of strings, offset on background by Smiles Too Loudly

Large Hexagon made of strings, offset on background by Smiles Too Loudly

And the always needed shot of the back. Yes, it’s purple. Boy, I’m really stretching myself these days…

Large Hexagon made of strings, offset on background by Smiles Too Loudly

Where is your comfy, happy place? Does it involve quilting? Perhaps reading with a cup of cocoa?