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. ūüėÄ

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! ūüėÄ

 

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.

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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″.

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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!!

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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.

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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.

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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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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…)

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.

Affectionately, VKRS

Do you guys remember that quilt I did, oh 4 months ago? It was for the Bonnie Christine Ribbon Tour. Let’s refresh our memories
Video Killed the Radio Star w/building

 

I have a confession: it wasn’t done. See, I quilted it for about 3 days straight, 12 hours each day. Some of you might be wincing right now because you know where this story is going. I sprained my wrist from all the free motion quilting. It swelled up, I couldn’t even pick up my coffee cup, let alone keep quilting. But the deadline!!!! Well, my husband had a great idea. The ribbon portion of the quilt was done, it was just the border. So, what if I just zipped around the whole outside, trimmed it, and then through the magic of photography it will look finished? Did it work? Did I fool you back in March? (The entire left side of the quilt in the picture above is unquilted — and there’s no binding…)

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But it’s done now!!!! Well, actually a few months ago, actually. I procrastinated on the binding.¬† Readers, please meet Video Killed the Radio Star, or affectionately, VKRS. I believe, to date, this is my husband’s favorite quilt — he’s asked to hang it above the sofa so it doesn’t get matted with cat fur. That’s a good sign.¬† Also, I will apologize now for the photo overload. I am so happy that it’s done and I get to share it in all it’s done glory that I may have went overboard with the pictures. VKRS is very photogenic, though, wouldn’t you agree?

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I really, really went to town on the quilting (hence sprained wrist) – I think every single thing I had learned from Angela Walter’s Craftsy videos to date is in there. Not the dot to dot quilting though, I watched that one after VKRS was done. There are feathers, tiles, clamshells, woodgrain, swirls, swirls mixed with leaves, big negative space bubbles like I did here, and sooooo many more. As with most quilts, you can see the quilting better on the back.

 

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I’m so incredibly proud of those tiles. This was the first time I had ever tried them — they are a LOT easier than they look!

 

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The back was pieced with some scraps and a 3yard cut I had of the yellow beehives. In the beginning, I really wanted to match the beehive print, but that was just not going to happen. Especially, after I struggled with it for three hours. So, instead, it’s a scrappy back, and I still have three more yards of the beehives for a future project. A win-win I would say, because the solids that are pieced in show the quilting sooooo very well.

 

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Do you want to have a picnic?
Do you want to have a picnic?

 

I’m starting to run out of things to say…Hmmmm. Maybe I should just add some more pictures now?

 

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Oh, the binding! So I tried about three options I believe, and none of them were right. First it was a light gray solid, and it was okay, but it didn’t provide enough contrast. Next, was a pretty coral and teal print from Art Gallery. It was okay, but not very assertive, and I felt like VKRS needed an assertive binding.¬† Then I was out at a not-quite local quilting store and they had this perfect purple sateen. Then the bears came home and found Goldilocks – oh wait, that’s a different story.

 

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This won’t be the last time you see this binding. I bought too much of it (of course!) and it has already started to make its way into another project.

 

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Aaaaaand, the end.

 

(Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday, since it’s been finished for many Fridays)

Lizzy House Mini Swap

It might not come as a surprise to many of you, but I love Lizzy House fabrics. They’re quirky, fun, great colors, and just awesome. Though as I’m sitting here thinking about it, I haven’t used them very often. Maybe that’s because they’re such “me” fabrics, I don’t want to use them on anyone else. Anyway, I digress. Back in April, a good friend of mine, Jo from Riddle and Whimsy, asked if I’d help her moderate (and participate in!) a Lizzy House Mini Swap on Instagram. Of course I said yes!

Now for those unfamiliar with this sort of thing — everyone who signs up makes a mini quilt featuring Lizzy House fabrics, and then they receive one (if everything goes well…). We had over a hundred people sign up! Which made for a monumental task for Jo and me to keep track of everything, but that’s a post for another day. This one is about the mini I made.

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My partner loves blue, strong geometric design, but didn’t want anything too cutesy. Umm, okay. Lizzy House, but not cutesy… good thing I love challenges! After debating, both in my head and with husband and friends, I decided to go with blocks from the Tula Pink City¬†Sampler book. The blocks provided a good opportunity for fussy cutting (a must with Lizzy House fabric), but if I used the same background on all the blocks, it could take it away from the Awwww side of things. Choosing the background was bit of a process too. I didn’t want to use white — far too easy to look too cutesy with white. Black seemed too harsh, so I dug through my piles of fabric until I hit on this teal. What’s that? It looks familiar? It should be. It’s the same color background I used for this mini earlier this year. This was the last of it though, so I’m going to need to find a new background for future mini quilts.

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Out of the 100 blocks in the book, I needed to choose 9. Nine blocks that went together, had the same core themes, provided good opportunity for fussy cutting, could utilize the cohesive background element, and weren’t too recognizable. The number of times I flipped through and through and through that book… well, let’s just say my book is nicely worn in now. For reference, the blocks I went with are: 12, 33, 34, 35, 60, 83, 96, 98, and 100.

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Layout was another puzzle. Trying to get a good balance of negative space, but without any of the prints touching (that weren’t already touching inside the blocks), and also not end up with all the yellow clumped in one corner, was actually fun. Though, I’m that weird kid who did 5,000 piece puzzles for fun. I spent a few days dithering on what to do for quilting. Finally, with the deadline approaching, I just went with pebbling. I knew it was going to take awhile (running out of thread at 10pm didn’t help either), but it was a good call. I love the effect pebbling gives a quilt, and an 18″ mini is a really good chance to use it.

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I actually hand stitched the binding on this one! Let’s all pause for the applause. I really dislike hand stitching, but to do my standard machine binding, I would have lost some of the balance and scale in the blocks. Artistic pride won over physical discomfort.

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For these finished pictures I followed Yvonne at Quilting Jet Girl’s tutorial. It worked really, really great, even on brick and stone. Even better, since I had the tape, I was able to secure all four corners and didn’t have to time pictures around the wind.

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The mini is now residing in its new home and was very happily received. It felt good to stretch creatively, kind of like when you get dressed up and wear heels to go to a party. I don’t want to wear heels everyday, and my jammies are far more comfy than party dresses, but it’s still good once in awhile.

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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Done.

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Done.

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Done.

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Stats:

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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Finished: Aerial Quilt

I recently participated in the Schnitzel and Boo mini quilt swap. There were over 600 participants!!! That’s a lot for anyone to keep track of, but Kristi and the moderators have all done a wonderful job. I was hoping to share the mini I received, along with this posting, but I’m still waiting. But that just means the awesomeness coming my way will need it’s own post!

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My recipient was Crystal at Two Little Aussie Birds — and let’s just say there was a bit of panic when I read that her favorite color was pink! Pink! Luckily, Stephanie talked me off the cliff and said to just treat it like yellow…. Not super helpful, but it did remind me that pink is just another color, and I COULD make this work. Crystal’s other favorites were teal and gray; she wanted very modern and said she was allergic to “nana florals”. After a little friendly sleuthing/stalking, and lots of thinking, I decided to go with the Aerial pattern by Carolyn Friedlander.

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Now that decision on its own is pretty intimidating — I knew I was going to hold my work up to my favorite versions. Both Mel from Melintheattic and Daisy from Ants to Sugar did absolutely gorgeous versions, and I wanted to love mine as much as theirs. Lucky again for me, Mel was very helpful and responded to my cry for help on Instagram. I was originally going to go with only 4 fabrics, and she suggested having more variety. So thank you Mel!

After all that hemming and hawing in the planning phase, the piecing actually went together incredibly smoothly. If you’re looking for a beginner friendly paper piecing pattern this is definitely one. Since its all geometric, there’s no worries that your feather (or bird, owl, moose, etc) will actually be recognizable. And you can precut all your strips which makes it go very, very fast. Though I did manage to make a mistake in the final layout (and 10 points if you can find it!), but unless you study very very hard (or are Carolyn Friedlander) you can’t really tell.

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I used as much variety in textures and colors as I could get my hands on locally. Peppered cottons, Andover’s textured solids, Moda Crossweaves, Kona, Free Spirit, and Essex Linen all made an appearance. And you may have noticed, I had trouble constraining myself to only pink, teal, and gray. Afterall, if I treat pink like yellow, what looks better with yellow then more yellow? And yes, those bits of yellow were leftover scraps from Take the A Train. Just in case you were wondering.

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For quilting, I originally thought of doing FMQ, but I couldn’t find my FMQ foot, so straight lines with the walking foot it was. Of course, that gets a little boring, so I threw in a few angles and changed directions. I don’t know if it was the changing directions, a poor basting job, or all the different textures, but I had more puckers and extra fabric issues with this mini than any other quilt ever. I think I’m going with the poor basting job, and a lack of starch. I’ve learned recently that starch is my friend. Not my best friend, but it at least deserves a card at the holidays.

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The back is a Tula Pink print (one of Crystal’s favorite designers) and the colors happened to match fairly well. I recently got a logo (!) and had a few labels printed at Spoonflower. I think they’re going to work out very well for future labeling needs. I bound it using Ashley’s fabulous tutorial, though if I ever use peppered cotton as binding again, I’m going to starch the stubbornness out of it.

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Whew, that was a lot of talking for such a small quilt…