Secret Revealed!!!!

Brake Lights, a Moda Bakeshop Tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

Hi Everyone!!!! Today I finally get to reveal the secret I’ve been holding onto for the last couple of months! YAYAYAYYYY! I’m really excited, can you tell?

Drumroll please….. I wrote a tutorial for the Moda Bake Shop! I submitted a design, and they actually liked it! (Hubby says I shouldn’t be so surprised, of course they liked it, I’m awesome — but you understand my excitement, right?)

Brake Lights, a Moda Bakeshop Tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

A few months ago, after a wonderful quilty day with friends, I got stuck in traffic. Fueled by a day full of talking about quilts, I started seeing quilts everywhere, including the brake lights I was staring at. A little more refining and thinking, I had this:

Brake Lights, a Moda Bake Shop Tutorial, by Smiles Too Loudly

This is the first time I ever made a fully detailed drawing of a design in my head (and I’ll share more about this in a few days). I am so amazed that it came out exactly like I saw it in my head!

Brake Lights, a Moda Bakeshop Tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

I designed the quilt around using just one charm pack. So many of us can’t resist those little cuties, and collect them almost obsessively. But what do you do with just one charm pack? Especially if it’s a few years old and you can’t find coordinating fabric anymore? Find two coordinating solids and make this!

Brake Lights, a Moda Bakeshop Tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

I really wanted to intensely quilt it, of course, but time constraints just wouldn’t allow it. So this quilting scheme was proposed by my husband. Something simple, but impactful. No sprained wrists, no running out of thread at 3am, just easy and carefree. Well, until the thread kept breaking… My machine DEFINITELY prefers poly thread.

Brake Lights, a Moda Bakeshop Tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

There’s random straight line quilting in the foreground, with two colors: yellow variegated and hot pink. Yes, I used hot pink thread! The background is done in figure eights that gradually get bigger as you move up the quilt. A very fun way of playing with the negative space, but very easy. I just marked out the sections with masking tape.

Brake Lights, a Moda Bakeshop Tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

Moda sent me the new Bright Sun fabric by Chelsea and Sherri from A Quilting Life.  It’s like this fabric was made just for me! Yellow, turquoise, polka dots, arrows… what’s not to adore? I hope you guys like the fabric too, you’re going to be seeing a lot of it here in the next few decades. I can’t wait to see what their new line is going to look like!!!!

Brake Lights, a Moda Bakeshop Tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

And of course, Woody had to help. Just as he’s helping type this… Purring away and making it difficult, but he’s so cute, I never have the heart to move him.

Woody Approves, Brake Lights, Smiles Too Loudly

Oh, and if you’re a frequent visitor, you may have noticed the change of scenery. My normal photo site was cramped with extra siding, so hubby suggested the local lake beach. (He’s really smart.) They had all these wonderful spots to snap pictures (and that gorgeous yellow tree!) that I’m sure you’ll be seeing it again.

Brake Lights, a Moda Bakeshop Tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

Please, please, please let me know if you have any issues with the tutorial, or need a little extra help. I know there’s a few tricky parts, but it’s really not as difficult as it may look.

No more secrets for awhile, okay guys? I’m not good with secrets….

(Linking to Sew Cute Tuesday and WIP Wednesday)

Finished: Play That Funky Music

Play That Funky Music, by Smiles Too Loudly

This is possibly my new favorite quilt! There are sunflowers, batiks, yellow, awesome quilting, metallics — what more could a girl want?

Play That Funky Music, by Smiles Too Loudly

It all started with the sunflower print. Surprised? I saw it at Joann’s — yes, Joann’s — and fell in love. After I brought it home, I consulted the stash, and the fabric stores, to find coordinates, found the pattern in Quilty, and got started. The quilt top itself came together very quickly, then languished in a corner for far longer than it deserved.

Play That Funky Music, by Smiles Too Loudly

A few weeks ago, I whipped it out, made a quilt back, and got to work! I scoured the internet for FMQ designs so I could make each block different. Shall we explore some of these?

Play That Funky Music, by Smiles Too Loudly

On that tan print, it’s just a simple loopy meander. I really wanted to use the metallic thread on that print (the circles are slightly metallic), but didn’t want to worry too much about tension. Also, my favorite print of the back is right behind this block, and I didn’t want to quilt too densely. The yellow print is from Salt Air by Cosmo Cricket (love their fabrics!) and is … well, I don’t actually know what it’s called. Maze? Curvy connected matchstick? The orange print (Julianna Horner) and the lower Pearl Bracelet I shared here. The sunflowers are in a great modern leaf design from The Inbox Jaunt.

Play That Funky Music, by Smiles Too Loudly

These were mostly all shared in the last post as well, except that upper left brown batik. That was actually the very last block I did in the entire quilt and I was starting to get a little worn out. So, I chose something very simple — branches from Leah Day. Super, super easy, and it really worked well to highlight the fabric here. I’m not sure it’s a design I will use often, but on semi-organic designs it works really, really well.

Play That Funky Music, by Smiles Too Loudly

On the upper orange print, I tried to do cobblestones from the book Beginner’s Guide to Free-Motion Quilting by Natalia Bonner. Her examples ended up far more rounded and cobblestone-y than mine. Mine looks more like stacked moving boxes… Still fun, and a great texture.  The brown sketch print I marked out with painter’s tape every three inches, then just did a figure eight pattern between the tape. Easy, but very striking. The sunflower print has a design I “invented” myself. It was late at night and I wanted something easy, but angular, that wouldn’t detract from the print. At the request of Jenn, I’ll be sharing a tutorial on that soon. The design in the center batik is probably the one I’m most proud of, so of course it’s the hardest to photograph. There are three free handed ovals, with feather frames. Then I echoed inside the ovals with metallic thread. It’s a little easier to see here on the back:

Play That Funky Music, by Smiles Too Loudly

Speaking of the back, I used a few of my favorite fabrics. After all, that’s what the Summer of Sarah Sewing is about. Making quilts for me to enjoy, and what’s more enjoyable than using your favorite fabric?

Play That Funky Music, by Smiles Too Loudly

Play That Funky Music, by Smiles Too Loudly

I’ve been hoarding that bear fabric for what feels like forever, and it was just perfect for this! The yellow roses are leftovers from the back of this quilt (my former favorite quilt), and that brown and orange print near the top was used in this quilt. Not to mention the scraps from making the top that made their way to the back. I do still have all those HST trimmings that will become something…someday…

Play That Funky Music, by Smiles Too Loudly

More of my own triangular design, and dot-to-dot quilting on the Comma print. That was…hmmm, not difficult, but it definitely required concentration. I definitely need more practice to keep the lines straight. Shucks darn, I guess I have to make more quilts.

As you may have noticed, I bound the quilt in the Copper Metallic version of Pearl Bracelets. I bought it specifically to bind this quilt when it came out last year. Unfortunately, I was going to be shy a few inches, so what’s a smart talented quilter to do? Match one corner of the binding to the quilt top, of course!

Play That Funky Music, by Smiles Too Loudly

Recently, I saw Rachel at Like To Sew do a matched binding and I thought it added a lot to the design, so I did it too. Because copying is the sincerest form of flattery, right? That block is quilted in swirls with and without pebbles, and a few leaves thrown in, just because I could. (I’m starting to think that should be my tagline…)

Play That Funky Music, by Smiles Too Loudly

After the last post, my aunt shared that this quilt reminds her of childhood memories with my mother, and in that moment, the name was chosen. See, my mother would play loud, upbeat music whenever we were cleaning, and Play that Funky Music was amongst her favorites. And you know, it kind of fits with the vibe of this quilt. Also, this was the same aunt who sent me the sunflower seeds… so it’s kind of perfect.

Play That Funky Music, by Smiles Too Loudly

That connection to my mother, through this quilt, is what makes it my new favorite. And reminds me why I quilt.

Diamonds of Friendship

A few years ago, I decided to join my local guild, then waited a few more months to work up the nerve to actually attend. The first meeting I went to I met Laurie, plus a few other great people, but today’s story is about Laurie. If you’ve met Laurie, you can skip ahead a little bit, as you already know this, but for others — Laurie is awesome. She’s super super nice (seriously the most tactful person I know), funny, and really supportive. She’s the reason you are reading this and kind of the reason I’m a social quilter at all. So when she proposed we do a private mini swap a few months ago, there wasn’t a single hesitation in my yes.

Snow banks are very handy for holding a quilt at camera level.
Snow banks are very handy for holding a quilt at camera level.

Then came the worry. I’m sure there are others of you who have experienced this; I was sending a quilt to a quilter, and a quilter who I admired greatly. “Was it going to be good enough?” played through my head over and over and over, and the deadline got closer and closer and closer. I finally just bit the bullet and went with it. (Spoiler: she loved it!)

Pretty roses that tie in all the colors -- and hides any quilting issues.
Pretty roses that tie in all the colors — and hides any quilting issues.

I knew that Laurie and I shared a love of Blue Elephant Stitches, and she had this quilt pinned on Pinterest. It felt like a great place to start, so I drafted a paper piecing template to get me to about the size I wanted. Here’s the other hiccup though – Laurie loves AMH and pink. Pink! (See further journeys with pink here.) AMH and pink do not exactly hold a prominent fixture in my stash. But this is Laurie! I can do this!


Lately I’ve been watching a lot of Angela Walters Craftsy classes, and I’m pretty sure it’s altered my brain chemistry — I want to densely quilt all the things. With the negative space on this mini, densely quilting was actually going to work, and be shown off! For added fun/difficulty, let’s add ghost shapes! Why not? There are straight lines (in yellow!) down the diamonds, clamshells on the right, and pebbles with spirals on the left.

Laurie loves Matryoshkas, so I had to include one. :)
Laurie loves Matryoshkas, so I had to include one. 🙂

I even hand sewed the binding down, because that’s what you do for really good friends. And, well, it was a mini. 😀

Don't mind the wet spot, it was snowing when I took these.
Don’t mind the wet spot, it was snowing when I took these.

I’m so, so very happy you loved the quilt Laurie. ❤

(you can see the gorgeous mini Laurie made me on her blog, here. I haven’t gotten my act together enough to photograph it properly)

Finished Quilt: FQS Layers of Charm

So a couple of months ago, Fat Quarter Shop contacted me to test/blog a new quick quilt of theirs – Layers of Charm. Yes, there was a frantic text to friends and a happy dance! Little ole me was going to get to participate in one of those big giant blog hops. Squee!!!

Warm quilt, cold snow and my in-laws wood pile... I'm sure there's some kind of statement in here...
Warm quilt, cold snow and my in-laws wood pile… I’m sure there’s some kind of statement in here…

But then came the agonizing. What layer cake to use?? Do I buy something new and fun? Do I use something I have? At some point, I’m pretty sure my husband was ready to cut off my internet access as I kept sending him link after link after link, to see what he liked. As a good husband, his response was always “Whatever you like honey.” NOT HELPFUL!!!!

Figure 8 quilting, but only on the prints!
Figure eight quilting, but only on the prints!

In the end, I went with Social Club by Eric & Julie Comstock. Not too super old, but very me. And very little chance of someone else using the same line. See, that was my worry. With so many super popular lines out there, I didn’t want to do the same quilt as someone else. I guess that’s the little quilty rebel in me.

The back full shot. Lots of trees!
The back full shot. Lots of trees! And I love the solid strip that shows all the quilting.

There was one other slight hitch. The pattern, as written, finishes at about 58″ square. Not having children, and having a giant husband, 58″ square is just not too practical. So, I asked the nice people at FQS if I could add borders, or change up the pattern, and they said yes! (Hence, nice people :D) So I added a few borders, used up the few extra layer cake pieces. (And added one square from a different line of fabric. Can you spot the April Rosenthal fabric?)

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

I know I briefly mentioned before that my wonderful husband gave me a new Juki 2010Q for Christmas this year. And the day after I opened up the box, I started this quilt. So not only is it my first quilt for someone like FQS, but also my first quilt on my Juki!!! And boy does it do a great job – especially on the quilting! I really went to town on the quilting and just jumped in with ideas, without a second thought as to whether it was possible. And it’s so fast! I think I made the whole quilt in under two weeks (which for me, is INCREDIBLY fast!) Now it’s up to you to decide if the credit goes to a fabulously quick pattern, or a fabulous machine.

I just love woodgrain quilting. And those giant pebbles!!! Soooo much fun to do!
I just love woodgrain quilting. And those giant pebbles!!! Soooo much fun to do!
Just a few little spirals along the bottom.
Just a few little spirals along the bottom.

If you’re looking for a quick quilt, Layers of Charm is definitely a great option. Even more for fabrics with large prints, like the alphabet print here. I would hate to loose some of those letters with tiny piecing. With the borders I added this finishes at about 58″ x 90″ which is a pretty good lap size. I would know too. It’s been heavily quality tested the last few weeks, and gets approval all the way around. Husband and feline approved.

This quilting was soooooo much fun to do!!!
This quilting was soooooo much fun to do!!!

Quick Stats:
Pattern: Layers of Charm by Fat Quarter Shop
Fabric: Social Club by Eric & Julie Comstock, Best Day Ever by April Rosenthal, Bella Chartreuse
Batting: Pellon Natural Touch
Backing: Roughing It by Laurie Wisbrun + scraps
Binding: An older Moda print from my LQS (which I’ve considered as a binding THREE times before, and finally made it happen!)
Size: 58″ x 90″

Just a peak of the back and the great striped binding
Just a peak of the back and the great striped binding

Finished: Bailey Squares

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Whew! This one was a beast. That’s probably not really the best way to start a post, but honest at least.  Also, please note the unimaginative name – the hubs doesn’t like naming quilts we don’t get to keep, so we’re left with what I can come up with. The fabric is mostly Heather Bailey, and they’re squares. Ta-da!

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So this quilt started with a request from a friend of my husband’s cousin – a patchwork quilt to use at her wedding. Not too much input on size, or color, just simple patchwork. The wedding colors were a light purple and blue, so I went with Heather Bailey’s newest (at the time) collections — Lottie Da and True Colors.  A charm pack of each, plus one of neutrals, toss in a little stash and I’ll be golden, right? [insert evil maniacal laughter here]

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Turns out, not all charm packs are the same size. They weren’t so far off that I noticed while sewing late at night, but just far enough that when I started to sew rows together, there were some noticeable scant seams. [Now insert swearing]

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So I did what all frustrated quilters do – eat chocolate and grab the starch can. I starched all the defiance out of the pieces I had sewn, and trimmed where I could to full 1/4″ seams on the rows. So the squares, well, they’re not really squares, but an 1/8″ is hardly noticeable. I was still very worried about those seams though. If this had been a quilt for me, it would have been no big deal.  I can fix busted seams 4 years down the road. This quilt wasn’t for me, it was going out into the world with my name on it; I couldn’t let poor craftsmanship escape.

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Enter the help from Instagram — Quilt it to death. I’m not sure if I quilted it to death, or just into submission, but if any of those seams ever bust open, they can only travel about 1/2″ at most. At very, very  most.

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After that it went, well not smoothly, but smoother. Turns out quilting dense paisleys (or clamshells depending on what you call them) is not easy on the wrists or shoulders. But its done. Done. Done.

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224 5″ squares

8 spools of thread

1 sheet from Target

5/8 yd of Kona Lime binding

#$^&###^##&^*# hours

42 ibuprofen

6 bowls of ice cream (chocolate of course)

1 can of spray starch

2 Tula Pink prints

1 AMH print

3 batiks

1 Kaffe Fasset

2 Pearl Bracelets

2 Denyse Schmidt

2 Glimma

1 Zen chic

1 Charcoal Solid

# I can’t remember at all…

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And one very happy bride. Though her groom might have had a small part in that. I can’t claim all the credit.

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