Calvin and Hobbes Inspired Baby Quilt

Hi there! Today I want to share a baby quilt I started in 2016, finished in 2017, and am now writing about it in laaaate 2018… so, a little delayed. 😀

I made this for a friend of my husband’s — he painted the nursery with an awesome Calvin and Hobbes mural. Which of course meant I had carte blanche to do a yellow baby quilt. Don’t have to tell me twice!

I based the design off of an image I saw from QuiltMarket ages ago.  At the time, it wasn’t a released pattern (it is now though!) so I just kind of made it up to work in a baby sized quilt.

As you may be able to tell, I went a little ham with the quilting. It was fun to try new things! Especially new things in yellow thread!

Calvin and Hobbes inspired baby quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

There’s a mix of puzzle pieces, swirls, feathers… it’s a little hard to tell, but the print sections are done in a figure eight. Nice and quick. I was in “just get it done already” mode, so quick was important.

 

Woody of course was dedicated quilt inspector. I even put a label on the quilt!

 

There are sooo many quilts to show you dear readers! Let’s hope I get to them all before I forget about them! 😀

 

A “Man Color” Quilt

A few years ago, I started a quilt for my father-in-law. I inquired of my husband what colors to make it in — uhhh, man colors? That was interpreted as brown, black, cream, with a splash of red, which worked really well with the Penny Patch pattern from Stitched in Color.

Both of these shots were taken at the quilts original inception. In 2014. Yup, I finally finished a long term WIP. Cue confetti. 🙂

In the works….

Last fall I decided to finish it up in time to give as a Christmas present. I got it done in plenty of time, but the weather and life weren’t cooperating for pictures. A few weeks ago we visited my inlaws and I took the opportunity to photograph the quilt. Lucky me, they had recently acquired a slightly rusty tractor, which makes a great photodrop.

Manly Penny Patch by Smiles Too Loudly

All that snow is gone and it was 90F yesterday… clearly there’s a lag in my photoediting and blogging time. You don’t mind, right?

Manly Penny Patch by Smiles Too Loudly

This was a pretty easy quilt to make; I’m not sure why I took so long to finish it. Maybe the lack of bright colors?

Manly Penny Patch by Smiles Too Loudly

I backed it in a small plaid flannel and quilted it with a topography-esque style of FMQ. This was also the first quilt I ever spray basted, and I’m definitely a fan.  I used the Dritz spray basting spray, 505 was a little much for my nose/allergies.

Manly Penny Patch by Smiles Too Loudly

I tried to use several fabrics that would have meaning to my father-in-law: French script (the family’s French-Canadian), barcodes and software, glasses, coffee text, maps, a great print with visual instructions on how to build a campfire (he was a scoutmaster for several years), bicycles, and several ‘manly’ blenders.

Manly Penny Patch by Smiles Too Loudly

Manly Penny Patch by Smiles Too Loudly

Manly Penny Patch by Smiles Too Loudly

 

Would you believe that this still isn’t my oldest WIP? It’s not… maybe someday I’ll finish all of them? Ha!

Cloudy Skies Baby Quilt

Hello! A few months ago I got the chance to make a baby quilt for a coworker of mine. He and his wife are a little more on the conservative side and the nursery was painted with gray and white stripes, so my normal over the top color wouldn’t have really worked.

full-on

One afternoon I just had this flash of using squares and rectangles, with measurements all multiples of 4. The smallest squares measure 4″ square, finished. The largest are 16″ x 16″ and 12″ x 20″.

in-the-breeze

Then, to add a little color, I added the stitch and flip corners. Originally, they were just going to be royal blue, but it looked a little blah. Rainbows to the rescue!!

in-the-wind

I tried really, really hard to force free motion quilting onto this quilt — it just wasn’t going to work.  1/2″ spaced straight lines won out. Boring for me, but great for the quilt.

rolled-up

I backed it in a great Lotta Jansdotter print I’ve had for more than few years, and bound it in a great Karen Lewis print.

close-up-of-lambs

With some of my favorite prints, its no wonder I really wanted to keep this one. Those little sheep are just to die for, and when you combine that with glasses, Architextures, and the cutest paw print, just, ah. Love this quilt.

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against-the-trees

Another Baby Quilt…

Large Improv Curve baby quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

First, thank you for all the house congratulations! I very much appreciate all the warm wishes. We’re still taking our time unpacking. Hopefully, we’ll feel completely settled soon (and I can show off my sewing space!)

Until then, I have another baby girl quilt to share. I gave a little sneak peek of it a few weeks ago with this picture:

A girly charm square quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

And I’ve talked about it before here but you haven’t seen the final thing. Are you ready?

Large Improv Curve baby quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

Ta-da! I made it for a semi-cousin (close friend of my husband’s family) – I knew from the grapevine that she was going with coral and gold with a hint of black for the nursery. And, I must say, it was nice to work with coral more than pink.

Large Improv Curve baby quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

I started with this inspiration. I pieced the two sides with random-ish sized strings; one lighter side and one darker side. Then I laid both sides on the floor, overlapping slightly, and drew a curve. I cut along the drawn line with scissors, then marked an indicator dash every few inches to be able to line up and pin the curve accurately. This is very similar to the improv curve method in Sherri Lynn Wood’s book: The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters. (I just used scissors rather than a rotary cutter, and the pieces were huge).

Large Improv Curve baby quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

After piecing, it came time to decide on a backing. I went to my awesome local quilt shop and after hemming, hawing, and petting all the pretty fabrics, landed about this unicorn print by Sara Lawson. Perfect, right?

Large Improv Curve baby quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

Basting. There’s really never too much to say about basting, is there? You kick on some tunes, change into super comfy stretch pants, and just go for it. At least it was baby sized…

Large Improv Curve baby quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

Then comes the super fun and kind of hard part — how to quilt it. I had found some gold metallic thread at the LQS while shopping for the backing, and that seemed to be the perfect choice. However, I’ve used metallic thread before, and it is not really fond of being intensely free motion quilted. I needed something straightforward and simple (so the thread wouldn’t break a jillion times) but still interesting. Talking it over with my husband, he suggested the triangle paisley I did on this quilt. Genius! The angles would counteract a little of the sweetness, and the metallic thread could hold up.

Large Improv Curve baby quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

At first the thread did break a few times, then I accidentally hit on the secret: Leave my stitch length at 2. I’m not sure at all why this worked, or if it was just merely a coincidence, but I left my stitch length dial alone for the remainder of the quilt with zero problems. None. I’ll have to do some more experimenting to see if this is truly correlative, but if you’re having trouble with metallic thread, give it a try!

Large Improv Curve baby quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

I bound it in a black sketchy print. I’m not sure if it was actually Architextures, or the Timeless Treasure Sketch (I didn’t have the selvedge anymore), but it compliments it nicely.

The quilt has now made it’s way home to the precious little girl, and I can cross another baby quilt off the list.

Large Improv Curve baby quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

Conservative…

Hi! Thank you for the great responses to my tutorial I share over a month ago — has it really been a month? Wow, I guess I’ve been busier than I thought.

Recently, I had the opportunity to escape the busy and go on a quilt retreat with several dear friends. In between the catching up, laughter, and margaritas, I even managed to finish a few things! [Insert completely shocked face here] Before I went, my new-ish boss challenged me to make something more conservative than normally my style. See, I have a few minis hanging in my office (which I have never blogged about, tsk tsk) which, as you may guess, are very bright and colorful and well, yellow. Kona Sunny to be precise. Not high on the conservative scale…

A conservative mini by Smiles Too Loudly
This is the back…

The night before I left for retreat I grabbed a semi-random assortment of tans, browns, and a few blues. On Sunday morning, about 5 hours before leaving I decided it was time to whip it up. Since I was running on almost no sleep, I didn’t do my normal ‘agonize over every detail’ thing and just went with what looked good. I think it worked out. Does this read as conservative to you?

A conservative mini by Smiles Too Loudly

(please forgive the terrible picture)

I couldn’t resist including the little mouse on a bicycle. Whimsical can still be conservative, right? Well, for me.

A conservative mini by Smiles Too Loudly

A little quick wood grain quilting and Ta da! No yellow, no bright colors, very little whimsy, and would you look at that, it’s still a quilt I like. Maybe yellow isn’t everything… Maybe.

A conservative mini by Smiles Too LoudlyOn the right there, you can just see a little peek of the other project I worked on during retreat. Complete opposite.

When was the last time you jumped outside of your comfort zone? Was it to do something more conservative, like me? Or the other direction?

Potholders, finally!

Recently, I needed a little break from quilts for others. I really enjoy making quilts that go off to get loved and snuggled, but sometimes you have to make something for yourself.

Bright potholders by SmilesTooLoudly

I started by cleaning, well, really digging, through some piles and ran across potholders that I started…oh, ummm… I’m actually not really sure. Judging from the fabrics used and the poor tension of the quilting, I’m estimating these are about 3 years old.

Bright potholders by SmilesTooLoudly

They had gotten a little wear in the pile — loose threads, frayed edges. So I trimmed them up. I dug some binding fabric out of my scrap bin and made some double fold binding (I cut it 2″ wide).

Bright potholders by SmilesTooLoudly

First step was to bind the top of the pockets. See, my husband is not really safety inclined when it comes to the oven… he’s constantly burning the top of his fingers, so a quilted pocket top is pretty needed.

Bright potholders by SmilesTooLoudly

Bright potholders by SmilesTooLoudly

Then comes the fiddly part. Putting the binding around everything. I initially tried to just clip the binding in place all around then stitch down. That turned out… well, it’s only a potholder. It doesn’t need to be perfect.

Bright potholders by SmilesTooLoudly

For the next one, I tried a more quilty binding technique. Very precise technical terms. I stitched the binding to the back first, then top stitched to the front.  It turned out much less wibbly wobbly, and I’ll definitely do it this way again.

Bright potholders by SmilesTooLoudly

Oh, I forgot to mention. There’s a layer of Insulbright in the gray sections. Make sure you keep the metallic side down (facing where the hot dish would be). Then there’s a scrap of batting on top of that.

Bright potholders by SmilesTooLoudly

The one on the left has the quilt-esque binding, the one on the right is the “winged it”.  And both loops are just what made sense in the moment.

After waiting three years, this whole project, including pictures, took only about 2 hours. And now I have two potholders! Ta-da!

Linking to Finish it Up Friday

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…)

BQF: Somebody Told Me (Brake Lights)

Hi, and welcome to Smiles Too Loudly!!! It’s that time of year again — time to be envious of all the people at Quilt Market, and time to drool over all the entries in the Blogger’s Quilt Festival hosted by Amy’s Creative Side.

I know you have a lot of other quilts to go see, so I’ll make this as succinct as possible. That is not really one of my virtues though, so I might go on and on and on.

Brake Lights, a Moda Bakeshop Tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

This is a quilt I made for the Moda Bake Shop, and you can find the tutorial here. Even though the name of the pattern is Brake Lights, my husband has named it Somebody Told Me. (My husband names all the quilts, otherwise we’d end up with boring names such as giant triangle in yellow.)

Brake Lights, a Moda Bakeshop Tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

All of the prints in the quilt come from Bright Sun, a new collection by Sherri and Chelsi for Moda. The solids are coordinating Bella Solids in Goldenrod and Horizon Blue.  The whole collection is really really swoon worthy, at least to me. I even love the pinks, which if you’ve been around here for awhile, you’ll know that is hard to believe.

Brake Lights, a Moda Bakeshop Tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

The blue field is quilted with figure eights that change in size as you go up the quilt, and the yellow space is quilted with straight lines of varying density. If you look closely you can even see that a few of the lines were done in hot pink. I wasn’t sure of that idea at the time, but now it’s one of my favorite features.

Brake Lights, a Moda Bakeshop Tutorial by Smiles Too LoudlyIn the effort of brevity, I’ll just leave you now with a few more pictures to look at. I hope you enjoy the festival!!!

Brake Lights, a Moda Bakeshop Tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

Brake Lights, a Moda Bakeshop Tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

Oh, I’m entering this into the Original Design Category. Ok, that’s all now for reals.

Woody Approves, Brake Lights, Smiles Too Loudly

Brake Lights, a Moda Bakeshop Tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly