Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Pachyderms - minis and baby quilts WIPs

I've moved on from goldfish to elephants! Working on a mini quilt for a instagram favorite designer swap and another baby quilt. (I told you it was a season of baby showers!)

I started with a layer cake of Figures by Zen Chic for Moda and a free download pattern from Windham Fabrics.  Don't worry, I'll post the link at the bottom of the post.

Isn't that little elephant cute? Eventually, with some fusible web, some tracing, cutting and a whole lot of ironing, my mini looked like this:

I'm loving it so far. Still need to decide if I'm going to add a border before I sandwich and quilt it. And then decide how to quilt it of course.

For the baby quilt, I first pieced together a few of the layer cake squares and cute my larger elephant out of that. It was super cute in my head but once I got it cut out, I really didn't love it.  So I started over and went with a solid dark navy.
Ah! That was better.  This elephant is four times the size of the little one. Basically I just cut the first one out on his regular printer size piece of paper. For the big one, I blew him up 200% like the pattern suggests. I did the same with the drops and splashes although my elephant's spray isn't exactly like the pattern.
This is the pieces all laid out but not yet ironed down. I still have most of the peeling of paper backing and ironing process to do. But I'm happy with it so far.

You can download the pdf for this pattern here.
This is what their version looks like:
It's quite a different look with this fabric line, called the Raj Collection by French Bull. Some of their water splashes are fussy cut from a paisley print fabric. But that is half the fun of using a pattern right? Making it your own.

I found some awesome fabric at that is white with blue peanuts on it. It's perfect for the backing.

Thanks for stopping by today. As always, I'd love for you to leave me a comment. And now I'd best be off so I can trot around the web and see what everyone else is working on this week!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at

Friday, May 22, 2015

Little Guppy Baby Quilt Finish

Pieced, quilted and bound! "Little Guppy" is done and ready for her baby shower this weekend.

I called her "Wonky Charm" in the tutorial post but didn't love the name. My daughter suggested "Little Guppy" which I think is much cuter for a baby quilt. So that's what went on the label.
I am loving the back! Those ombre orange dots are darling but the quilting looks yummy on this tone on tone backing fabric.

Another look at the back, the spare fish block I added to the backing, and my label.

"Little Guppy" finished at 41 x 43 inches.
You can find the tutorial for piecing her in this post.
And a post about quilting her here.

 The new owner of "Little Guppy" (who isn't quite born yet) has a 3 year old big brother. So I made him a mini quilt with his initial on it. I'm going to buy him a stuffed animal to go with it. I used a thick variegated thread with this one and tried lots of designs from Angela Walter's Shape by Shape book. So much fun and great practice. This finished just under 18 inches square.

Thanks for stopping by. I'd love for you to leave me a comment or follow my blog. It always makes my day to have notes from new quilty friends!

linking to Finished It Up Friday at
and Whoop Whoop Fridays at

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

WIP Wednesday - mini quilt practice squares

Two weeks ago I showed you some small quilt squares I had made.
I just grabbed some random solid (ish) fabrics for the fronts and some bright novelty fabrics (the kind you buy but then never end up using) for the backs. My plan was to continue practicing my FMQ using my Angela Walters Shape by Shape book and to make older sibling gifts to go with the many baby quilts I've got in the works. 

I finished my first baby quilt late last week (there will be a post on that soon, I promise) and started on the accompanying big brother mini. My plan was to start with a large initial for big brother's name and then just go from there filling in the space with various fmq designs I wanted to try. 

So here's the first in-progress picture. After the letter E, I moved on to the pea pods and pebbles. Then I got really brave and did that swirl border. I've been drawing this one on paper several times trying to get down the movements and flow of it. I think that really helped me to stitch it without two many issues.  Then for the top corner I just used one shape from the swirl border and repeated it over and over. 

The thread I'm using isn't showing up too well in these photos. It's a variegated Superior Threads King Tut cotton #932 in gorgeous jewel tones. Its a 40 wt, which makes the stitching show up a lot. Great for something like this but probably heavier than I would use on a real quilt. I like a thinner thread that blends better. 

After my swirl I did some simple matchstick quilting, then some wavy lines, a feather, and some spiral squares. All of these are straight out of the Shape by Shape book. I literally propped open the book on the page I was working from and tucked it under the foot of my clear extender table.

I finished up up with some clams, some swirls and then some intersecting lines. Honestly, those lines look easy but they were hurting my brain!  

Overall I'm pretty psyched about how it turned out.  I really think that FMQ is mostly a matter of muscle memory. That is why practice is so important. And these small squares (they are each about 18-20 inches) are great. No drag and no pulling and pushing a large quilt. You can just focus on the pattern you are trying to perfect. 

I posted a couple of these progress pics on Instagram and used a Shape by Shape hashtag along with an Angela Walters hashtag. And the coolest thing happened!
Angela Walters (angelafmq, second from the bottom) actually commented on my picture!! I was quilt geeking out! 

I have about four more of these to do and at least two baby quilts. And four real minis for swaps I'm in. So I better get busy!

Linking to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
and Free Motion Maveriks at

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Working with Shape by Shape by Angela Walters

I'm just about ready to bind my Wonky Fish baby quilt (really gotta come up with a better name than that) which is good because the baby shower is fast approaching. But I thought I would share a bit of the quilting process with you.

I ordered two Angela Walters books recently. Free Motion Quilting and Shape by Shape.  I had borrowed them from my BQF Vicki at Orchid Owl Quilts and quickly decided I needed to own them. Two days later they were at my front door. (Thank you Amazon Prime.) They are both fantastic books and well worth buying.  I think the Shape by Shape book is my favorite so far.
I love that she breaks this book down into squares, circles, triangles, borders and negative space.  That format makes it a great reference when you are staring at a quilt you don't know how to quilt.

Oh, that reminds me. If you are a Modern Quilt Guild member, Angela did a great webinar on deciding how to quilt your quilt. You should go to the MQG website and check it out.

So in quilting my Goldfish quilt, I tried out some of her designs.  For example:
I tried this border design for a serpentine line for one of my orange borders.
Honestly, it can use some improvement. I would like my lines to be a bit more uniform. I need to practice this one some more. But the one I chose for the inner orange borders -
this Dot -to -Dot border, which had fabulous instructions -
I thought turned out pretty well.  It gave that section a cool upholstered feel like it just needed orange buttons on the points. I used a double layer of batting with this quilt. The very last of my Hobbs 70/30 blend. I'm glad I did the double layer because it made these diamonds puff up nicely.

I had tried her signature design on my owl pouches from a few posts ago. I decided to use it again on the main section of the goldfish quilt.

This is the back of the owl pouch fabric on top and the back of the goldfish quilt on the bottom.
I used a much thinner thread this time which made the quilting blend beautifully. I think I executed it better this time. Something to do with muscle memory I think. As you practice, your hands get better and doing what your brain is asking them to. Does that make sense?

I love how it looks like moving water currents.  I can see why she likes to use this design so often.
I'll get the binding on and put up some completed pics soon. Hopefully this week.

But in the meantime, I definitely recommend this book. The diagrams are fantastic and easy to follow. She has tips for making it work and all kinds of variations on each design in each section. I really want to get better at my Free Motion Quilting and I think her books are going to be great tools to do so.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Have a quilty day!

Linking with Free Motion Maveriks at

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sunshine and Mustaches

         I just love the instant gratification that is a baby quilt. Long projects are great but sometimes they are just so.... well, long. A quick baby quilt project (or two) can be a great boost when my patience and perseverance on the bigger quilts is running low.
       Fortunately for me I know some pregnant people!! And some recently pregnant people. Always nice to have a convenient pregnant person around when you want to make a baby quilt. Plus they really make the coolest baby shower gifts ever.  (The quilts not the preggos.)

     Baby quilt number one is called Scattered Sunshine and was made for my newest niece, Savannah.
I tried out a great technique described by Jenny of Missouri Star Quilt Company in this tutorial. It's a variation of her pinwheel block tricked up by 3 Dudes Quilting. Anyway, it's really easy but with the high contrast of the fabrics and the smaller block size I used, the quilt top turned out quite busy. There wasn't anywhere for your eyes to rest.  So I added a wide border of yellow, which I liked but then it was way too yellow.
So I bought some giant ric rac, something I'm been dying to work with, and stitched that over the narrow white border. It took me a while to figure out how to do the corners but I think it worked to bring the girliness back a bit.
I LOVE love love the backing to this. All the fabric were from a kit I bought from Stitches and Sew Forth months and months back. But I didn't love the pattern so it was no hardship to use it for this quilt instead.
I have promised to put labels on all my quilts now so here is the label I did for this one.  Still trying to decided if I like putting the label on before the quilting or after.  Once it was finished and washed up nicely I put it in the mail for Utah, where it will live at my brother's house.

Quilt number two was for a cute young mom at church. We discovered one day that her mother and my mother grew up in the same little town in Arizona. And my grandpa was her mom's bishop. Small world.

For this quilt I tried another technique I've had my eyes on. After looking at this quilt by Modern Material Girl and this quilt by I'm a Ginger Monkey, I came up with this:

You can see my block dimensions are different. I was working with leftover layer cake squares - the Comma by Zen Chic line. And I didn't have duplicates. So if I wanted to have a mustache and a matching solid block, I would have to make the blocks rectangular instead of square.  I cut three inches off each ten inch block. That was enough to use the mustache template provided by I'm a Ginger Monkey.

I was afraid that the colors weren't masculine enough so I added a few more greys to the mix and kept all of them in the center diagonals of the quilt. The backing is also grey, in a delicious chevron striped minky I bought at Quiltique, my sort of local quilt shop.  The chevron stripes are not heat pressed into the fabric like the raised dots on some minkys. They are sort of shaved in, if that makes sense. So they won't disappear with heat or wear.
I also tried a new binding technique. (Baby quilts make an awesome venue for trying out new things.) It's called Susie's Magic Binding. You can find the tute here. The technique is not hard but I still managed to misread the directions and ended up with grey binding with a tiny green flange instead of the other way around. Oh well, I like how it turned out.
The green is easiest to see on the label, which I attached after I was done quilting. I think I like that better but I'm not sure it will be as sturdy.

Due to a scheduling conflict I wasn't able to go to the baby shower.  But Cynthia loved the quilt and the mustache pacifier I ordered from Amazon to go with it. Have you seen those? They are stinking cute!
I'd love some feedback on the label question - when to you attach it? And any fun new techniques you've recently tried out, on baby quilts or otherwise.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

What I'm working on - Fish and Elephants

Life is super busy right now so squeezing in time to quilt has been more difficult. But I am managing to make progress on a few things.

1. Wonky Charm Goldfish Baby Quilt

I finally starting quilting this baby. It has to be finished in about two weeks so I'd better get moving. So far I'm liking it but I'm still on the fence as to how to quilt the ombre dots fabric.

2. Another baby quilt and a mini
The small elephant is going on a mini for a IG swap. The large one will be the center of another baby quilt that is still mostly in the planning stages but needs to get into the actually happening stage SOON!

3. Practice/mini quilt squares.
Last night I made up several practice quilt sandwiches. I'm still loving Angela Walters book, Shape by Shape, and I want to do some skill practice. And since most of the new babies I'm making quilts for have older siblings, I thought I would turn them into little mini quilts for those big brothers and sisters. I'm going to quilt each child's initial into the mini and pair each one with a stuffed animal. Voila! Practice for me and a bonus gift for the kiddos. I'll report back when I get one or two of these done. 

4. Fall Out will be delivered to its new home today!
You can read about this quilt and its construction herehere, and (for finished pics) here. My parents drove through and spent the night with us on their way up to Utah so I prevailed on them to be my quilt delivery service. My mom will be visiting my friends today to deliver the quilt.  I wish I could have done it in person but at least this is more personal than putting it in the mail.  I hope they like it!

I'm also running my first Instagram swap with my friend Vicki from OrchidOwlQuilts. That is keeping us pretty busy as we are still in the organizing partners stage. 

Life is good. 

Linking up with Freshly Pieced Work in Progress Wednesday

Friday, May 1, 2015

Small Blog Meet Up at Lily's Quilts

I'm loving have a blog dedicated solely to my quilting. I feel very blessed right now to have found a great niche of quilters here in Las Vegas and am expanding my reach into the online quilting community.  So many great inspiring quilters out there! Lynne from Lily's Quilts is most definitely one of them. And she is kind enough to do a linky party for small (but growing) blogs at the beginning of each month.  Today I'm linking up with her.

If you are visiting, welcome! Have a look around. See if you can find a bookcase quilt, a Poe spiral quilt and a crazy foot pocket quilt. Take a guess at which one of those is my favorite. And see if you can figure out what country I lived in during 2012-2013 before moving here to Vegas.

I recently had a wonderful artist friend of mine create a logo for my new blog. I'm really thrilled which what she created. Today in the mail I received my custom printed quilt labels from Spoonflower. I'm so happy with how they turned out.
This quilt has been waiting patiently for a label.
And now that they have arrived, I can sew one on and send it to its new home in Layton, UT to some dear friends. Sh!!! It's a surprise.

Thanks again for stopping by.  I'd love for you to leave a comment or to follow me on bloglovin'.