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! 😀

 

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.

thumb_dsc_1499_1024

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

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…)

Summer of Sarah Sewing…

Well, the Summer of Sarah Sewing was supposed to start yesterday, did you remember? I got so excited by the idea a few weeks ago that I ignored all my deadlines and started early — so now I’m frantically playing catch up.

Basting for a deadline
Basting for a deadline

 

Well, I have to make sure it is flat before you baste it...
Well, I have to make sure it is flat before you baste it…

For one of my deadlines, I needed a piece of voile for a quilt back, so of course I ordered it from Hawthorne Threads (not affiliated, just a fan). Of course, I added a few more things to my order, as you do. Unfortunately, when it came there was a few wrong pieces. The customer service at Hawthorne Threads is just amazing, and they got me the right fabrics in just a matter of days — and let me keep the wrong ones!!! Now, getting to keep fabric you didn’t order may sound terrible, and I’ve heard and seen some really crazy fabrics being sent wrongly. However, my “wrong” fabric was Architextures text print, so I was pretty excited.

My guild had a birthday!!! I survived the first year!
My guild had a birthday!!! I survived the first year!
Quilting, quilting, quilting
Quilting, quilting, quilting

It sat on my (very messy) sewing table for a day or two, then a scrap of binding fell on top of the black text print, and when I saw that I knew I had my first Sarah Sewing project.

Binding prepped
Binding prepped

The binding is a cotton sateen that I picked up at a local quilt store to use on this quilt. Since I so rarely measure my quilts, I had picked up a yard to be on the safe side — the very very safe side it turned out. I used all the extra cut binding to make several of these slash blocks, with additional black fabrics. Side note: who knew a yellow loving girl would have so much black fabric in her stash? Oh yes, Gramma knew, she calls me Bumblebee…always has.

Only a few of the blocks...
Only a few of the blocks…

 

I love piles of trimmings
I love piles of trimmings

So now, once I stop procrastinating and finish those deadlines, I get to finish this. I’m thinking lots of white space between the blocks… Then super awesome quilting in my best imitation of Pretty Bobbins and the Elven Garden.

How do you like my design floor?
How do you like my design floor?

Finished: Woodland Improv baby quilt

It’s very hard to believe it’s June already, but June it is! Today I’m sharing another baby quilt I made recently. It’s the second woodland inspired baby quilt I’ve made (first is here) but it’s so very very different. At least I think so.

Woodland Improv

I started with a few wonky log cabin blocks, thinking I’d do the entire quilt that way. Well, it turns out that wonky log cabin blocks are kind of boring. I think if I was working from scraps, I might have enjoyed the process more, but I was trying to challenge myself to use just a limited color palette, and only a few fabrics. Since I wasn’t allowing myself to add more colors or more fabrics, the only other options were to either slog it out with the log cabins, or add more blocks. I’m not one for slogging.

The first few log cabin blocks
The first few log cabin blocks

I kept adding different kinds of blocks, and fussy cutting deer, just really making whatever I felt like at the time. Then the giant jigsaw that is an improv quilt came — and it was so much fun to try to fit all the pieces together! (That’s not sarcasm, it really was fun!).

Taped up on the design wall
Taped up on the design wall
The finished flimsy
The finished flimsy

Around the same time the top was finished, “Hello, Bear” was released, and we know how much I love Bonnie Christine! So it was a perfect, and very logical choice for the back of the quilt. Since the top was so busy, I wanted to keep the quilting simple, just an easy loopy meander.  I always forget how quickly light, easy quilting goes — especially on a baby sized quilt. I was done in the matter of an afternoon, which is almost a record for me.

Woodland Improv, side detail

Hello Bear! Hello Doe! Hello Owl!
Hello Bear! Hello Doe! Hello Owl!

For the binding I did the ‘brave’ thing and cut it on the bias. I knew from nearly the beginning that I wanted to use that great dark grey vine print from Simply Color. It’s been in my stash for eons, and it really, really complemented the quilt and woodland theme beautifully. However, cut straight on, I was worried about the print lining up, and how much you would see of the leaf detail. On the bias though, it looks great! Bias binding really wasn’t that hard. I did try the “magical” approach, but it was honestly just easier to cut it on the bias, then join the strips together, like a normal binding.

Can you see how cute the bias binding is?
Can you see how cute the bias binding is?

Woodland Improv

I forgot to take final dimensions (I really need to remember to do that someday!), but the back was a 1.5 yard cut, and I had very little left over. So, rough estimate, the quilt is about 40″ x 50″, at least before washing.  The quilt is off in its new home, and I’m sure will be snuggled constantly.

Woodland Improv

 

Linking with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Friday.