Monday, July 27, 2015

ooxxooXoXXx Baby Quilt

Big Kiss Little Kiss baby quilt was finished in time for the shower! Actually I finished it on Thursday night so I could have time to shop, cook, clean like a mad woman, and decorate. Oh, and take a few pictures of the quilt before popping it into its tissue-festooned gift bag.

 I included a quick and dirty tutorial of sorts in my WIP post for this quilt so you can jump back to that is you want an explanation of how I put it together.

I found a great Dear Stella print at my LQS for the backing. I would have loved to piece in a row of charms from the Lucy's Crab shack pack I started with but time demanded that I do simple, non-pieced backing. I was amazed though at how well the grey thread quilting blended into this backing. The thread was just a shade or two lighter than the charcoal solid I used for the front. But you can hardly see the quilting on the back at all! In fact, while still blending fairly well, I think the quilting was more visible on the back than on the front.

 This is my favorite little quilting detail - a cute four petal flower between the kiss blocks.

This shot is after I washed the quilt. The texture just makes me giddy! I wanted the quilting to create hugs to go with the kisses so I chose spiraled circles joined by wavy lines.  Every so often (7 times in fact) I traced a perfect circle with my disappearing ink marker and the top of a tin I keep my measure tape in and quilted around it. So I got my hugs in and some really great way line texture as well.

As you can see from the label, (and this post title) the actual name is ooxxooXoXXx - a direct quote from Nacho Libre. Go watch the movie. You'll hate me for 2 hours but then you'll be quoting it forever. For example, we can never have tortilla chips at our house now without someone reminding us that "These are the Lord's chips!" The parents-to-be are big Nacho fans so they appreciated the reference.

I also gave away this mini to the soon to be big sister along with a teddy bear. Hailey's favorite color is blue so I did well on that score. Mom sent me a picture later that day of her watching TV with her new bear friend, who was seated in the center of the mini quilt.

A bit of honesty here - hosting events at my house stresses me out. My innate gifts don't really extend to party planning and flawless hostessing. So I was running around at the last minute trying to get fruit and veggies out onto platters and tape up fluffy tissue paper decoration things and make sure I had enough pencils for the hopefully-not-stupid party games and so forth. I completely ran out of time to use the helium tank and balloons I bought for the occasion in matching colors. But stress and last minute panic attacks notwithstanding, I think the shower went pretty well. And I did pull off two little cute things that I'm rather proud of:
This was my table centerpiece. I hung the fluffy tissue things above it with spiral streamer things coming down from them. Hopefully they looked like rain coming down on this sweet paper parasol.

Update* The day after the shower, one of my children was messing with examining this lovely creation and ended up knocking it onto the tile floor. My favorite vase shattered into a billion pieces.

And these are what is left of a caprese salad tray. Fresh mozzarella slices topped with basil leaves from my front porch, half a grape tomato and olive held together with a dab of hummus.  The spots are a thick pomegranate syrup called Nar that we dressed salads with in Turkey. Aren't they darling?

So now what is on my quilt to do list? One more practice/sibling quilt, three more minis for swaps, and finishing my elephant baby quilt. But it feels good to be done with this quilt. And this baby shower.

Thanks for coming by today!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Big Kiss Little Kiss WIP

Currently I'm working feverishly on the third baby quilt, no wait - fourth, baby quilt within a two month period. Really, I think I just need to make a stash of baby quilts ready for next summer! This one is for a shower being held at my house, hosted by me, this Saturday. So I'd better get busy and get it finished!

Here is the flimsy, which is as far as I've gotten. I called it Big Kiss Little Kiss, which is a Nacho Libre reference. What? You're not into goofy humor movies?

I started with a charm pack of Lucy's Crab Shack and two yards of Kona Charcoal. I had a specific color scheme in mind so I chose 20 charms in the orange and navy colors. Then after cutting 40 2.5 in squares from the grey, I made five Kiss blocks.
I tried the Jenny Doan's tip of pressing the grey squares to create my sewing line instead of having to mark them all. Worked great!
Here's one kiss block finished. I stitched the five blocks one on top of the other to create a strip of big kisses.
Then I made little kisses by cutting 2.5 inch squares from an orange solid and 1.25 squares from the grey.
These squared up to 4.25 inches. I cut five strips of that width from my grey solid and inserted the strips at random levels so they would appear scattered over the quilt.

The rest of the grey I cut at random widths to place between by little kiss strips. I sewed one thick strip to the left of my big kiss strip and then stacked the remaining strips to the right.

I'm debating tracing large and small circles onto the quilt to outline during the quilting stage. Then it would be Kisses and Hugs!  We'll see. I have enough orange left to bind the quilt.  I think a grey binding would look more modern but I used all my grey and don't have time to get more. So orange it is!

Thanks for stopping by. Linking up with WIP Wednesday at FreshlyPieced.

Friday, July 17, 2015

FMQ practice Square - Henry

I finished another practice square/sibling quilt. This one went pretty fast and I branched out to do a bit more of my own thing instead of just copying designs from my FMQ books.
 I'm happiest with this stack of squares. I tried to use a different type of line filler for each square.

It is a bit harder to do these for a boy. I feel like it limits me a bit on which designs to choose. But flowers can become sunbursts instead and bubbles and paisleys seem pretty universal. 
This will go along with the Violet mini and one more I still need to make and be sent along with the crib size elephant quilt. (If I ever get that finished.)

Meanwhile I need to get crazy busy on a baby quilt for a shower next Saturday. And I'm hosting it! Wish me luck!

Linking with Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts and
Can I Get  Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop

Hello blog hoppers! Welcome to IdaRatherBeQuilting. Thanks for stopping by on your cruise around the quilting blogasphere!

By way of introduction - I inherited my old fashioned name from a maternal great-grandmother. I've never really minded my name because by all accounts, she was one amazing lady. And it set me apart from other gals my age. I've never met anyone younger than 70 with the name Ida. (just for reference, I'm 40. . . ish.)
This is my Freedom Star quilt, one of the quilts I made while living in Turkey. 
I've been married for a really really long time, the first 8 years of which my husband was in school. He graduated from medical school in 2001 and joined the Air Force, which has been our life ever since. As a family, we've lived in 5 states and overseas in Turkey. My husband could add half a dozen more countries to that list where he's visited or deployed while I kept the family together back home. Speaking of which -

I am blessed to be a stay-at-home mom of five children, all girls except for four. ;)
They make me both crazy happy and just plain crazy. And it is true that just when they start to get really interesting, they leave home.

I had a bit of a rocky start in quilting, which you can read about on my About Me Page, but began quilting in earnest just before we moved to Turkey. I even packed a giant batting roll in our household goods shipment. I started a blog about that time to keep friends and family up to date on our travels and adventures overseas. It was called after my favorite book, The Magic of Ordinary Days  by Ann Howard Creel. I posted quite a few finished quilts amongst the travel/adventure posts and began to participate in the online quilting community.

When we returned to the states and I became involved in the local modern quilt guild, I decided that it was time for my quilting to have its own online home. Thus began IdaRatherBeQuilting. I imported all the quilt posts from the other blog and have been blogging here since!

Here are a few of my favorite quilts:

Gateway to Imagination - A book quilt made for a special teacher in Turkey

Twin House Quilts for my parents (red) and a sister (purple) who moved in the same year.

Eleplay - a mini for a swap, two things I've recently discovered a love for.

I've never had any of my quilts long armed or quilted by anyone else. Mostly out of frugality but also because I love modern quilting's emphasis on creating a quilt yourself, start to finish. So improving my free motion skills has always been a goal and a practice.

Recently I've been creating practice square mini quilts to be given to older siblings when I make a baby quilt (I do a fair number of those). You can check those out in my FMQ Practice Minis Gallery.

My best blogging tip is to make sure your sister marries a nice patient man who is well versed in html code and accepts cookies as payment (real cookies, not the digital kind.) But if that doesn't work out for you - read and google and ask and learn all you can about the technical side of blogging. It can be scary but also immensely satisfying to expand your digital know-how. 

Also to let your personality shine through your posts. As quilters we want information but we also want to connect with real people. 

My quilting tip is along the same lines - join a guild! Meet real people to learn from and to share with and to inspire. The online community is wonderful. I wouldn't be a quilter without it. But we all need real time connection and guilds are a great place for that to happen.  

If you are interested in improving your FMQ skills - buy Angela Walter's books, use only good  quality thread (I like polyester threads from Superior or Aurifil) and practice. I promise - you will get that muscle memory going and it will get easier.  And prettier. 

Finally, a few random facts:

-I love disaster movies. 
-As a child I lived in Iran for 3 years.
-I once visited a chocolate factory in Switzerland and spent quite a long time in their tasting room.
-I watch MASH reruns while I quilt. They are the soundtrack of my childhood and I don't need to look up to know exactly what is on the screen.

Be sure to visit my fellow spotlighted bloggers for this week:

Many thanks to the helpful and wonderful hosts of this year's New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop:
Yvonne@QuiltingJetGirl (my fabulous hive leader)
Visit all the hosts for a giveaway and links to the other hive bloggers for the week.

Thanks for visiting my blog today, I hope you come back! 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

'Set Sail' Nautical Baby Quilt - Finished!

Thanks to all who paid me compliments on this quilt while it was a work in progress. It is now finished and just in time too because the baby shower is today! 

If you'd like to read about the design process and find get the link to the sailboat block tutorial I used, go back to this post. If not, keep scrolling for some detail shots.
Okay, technically this isn't a detail shot but I was pretty tickled by it since I tried really hard to create the feeling of rolling waves in my quilting to go along with the sailing theme. 

Here's the back, you can see the wave texture better here than on the dark navy front. Besides, isn't this Turkish fabric pretty awesome for this quilt?  I bought it on my last fabric shopping trip in Adana so its been aging for about two years. I love how that full ship looks like it is riding the waves. 

Still makes me super happy to use my custom labels from Spoonflower!

A closer view of the chevrons I quilted into the green negative space on top. (This picture isn't upside down, I hung the quilt over a tree. Here in the desert where there are no barns or rail fences, you have to get creative.)

Hopefully you can see the waves in the navy on this one. And the wood grain design I used to quilt the boats. I learned something from that experience - thread makes a difference!! I use Aurifil or Superior Threads and sometimes Isacord now. But when I started I was told to use Gutterman. Going back to that brand now makes me realize how much needless frustration from breakage and shredding I dealt with as a beginner FMQer. 

You can also see that I used two different bindings for this quilt. Half green and half navy. It takes a little extra work but I love the seamless look it gives those two large negative spaces; like the chevrons and waves are just running off the edge of the quilt with no interruption. I did this with four different colors on my Fall Out quilt. Two colors were much easier. 

I find it difficult to take pictures (or edit them) in a way that clearly shows the quilting. Especially with blending thread. But hopefully you can see the quilting on this close-up. I was aiming for wind gusts surrounding the sails. And I matchstick quilted both the area around the boat and the white stripes on border. That made the navy strips puff up nicely and created some fun texture. 

Okay, so it is possible that I might have over-quilted this. Maybe less detailed quilting would have been more appropriate for a baby quilt. But on the other hand, this quilt is for the little brother of the recipient of this quilt, which had a ton of negative space quilting. So they had to match, right? 

Plus, I had a lot of fun quilting it. 
Here's shot of the quilt at the baby shower. Thanks for stopping by today. Hope your weekend is going great!

Linking up with A Quilting Reader's Garden
and Creative Goodness at Quilt Shop Gal
and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

FMQ Borders Practice Mini - Violet

For this practice mini/sibling quilt I decided to work on borders. Borders have always intimidated me a bit and I end up doing something boring with them. But armed with Angela Walter's books, Shape by Shape and Free Motion Quilting, I marked some horizontal lines on this mini and got stitching.

I drew on Violet's name and then filled in that largest border first with the lovely flower filler. I'm getting pretty comfortable with that one now.

I also tried out the herringbone pattern which was simple and quick to sew. I marked two inch sections with disappearing ink before I started.

I'm most pleased with this Dot to Dot border from the Shape by Shape book. I used it in my Little Guppy baby quilt but this time I tried one of Angela's suggestions to fill in the inside triangle and then I really got in over-achieve mode and filled in the outside triangles as well.

The Swirl Chain in the larger section is one I've tried before but I'm still getting the hang of its flow, so to speak. The Wood Grain on top is new but fairly easy.

Here's a view of the back. I used the same King Tut Variegated thread on the top but this time tried a thin Superior Highlights 40 wt for the bobbin. I wanted it to blend a bit better with the print on the back and since the blue color was one of the colors in the variegated, I wasn't too worried about little thread pokes on the top. The combination worked beautifully.

This will go with the larger elephant quilt (if I can manage to finish that before the baby turns one!) but there are two other sibling mins that need to accompany it. Good thing there are still a few designs in Angela's books that I haven't tried yet!

Linking up to Kelly's Needle and Thread Thursday, who was kind enough to feature my Nautical Baby Quilt in this week's linky. Thanks Kelly!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Elephant Mini Finish

I seem to have a bad habit of finishing projects in the reverse order of their deadlines.  You all remember I'm working on two elephant projects, right? One is a baby blanket for a baby who is already a couple of months old. And the other is a mini for an IG swap whose shipping deadline isn't until the end of the summer. So which one do I finish first? The mini, naturally. 

Oh well. At least now I'm well practiced in quilting this design when I get around to finishing the baby quilt.  

I used a double layer of batting this time - cotton under a wool. First time I've ever used a wool batting. I love the weight it gives to the piece and the extra loft of the two layers. Totally a fan. 

I wasn't sure how to quilt the elephant and ended up just quilting around the blue balls in a navy thread to bring them out. It gave some fun lumpy texture to the elephant but was a bit tricky and made me wish I had stitched down the elephant in the navy rather than a light blue because any travel stitching I needed to do really stuck out.  In fact - not by way of apologizing for my work or pointing out its flaws, but more in the line of what I learned from this project - I wish I would have done all my applique stitching after I had it sandwiched rather than before.  

As it is I ended up doing a lot of close echo stitching around each splash just to get them to puff up. Stitching them down after sandwiching would've accomplished that on its own. So  - lesson learned.

But I still totally love this and am super happy with how it turned out.  This is my first swap and I'm a bit intimidated by the talent of my partner. But now that I have this finished I'm feeling more confident about sending it to her. Maybe that was why I finished this project first?  Hmmm. . . there could be a whole branch of quilter psychology, you know? Or would it be quilter psychopathy?

Anywhoo, the fabric line is Figures by Zen Chic Moda which I also used for the backing -

The mini finished at roughly 20 in square. 

Linking up with Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts and
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

WIP Wednesday - Modern Nautical Baby Quilt

I've started another baby quilt. No, I haven't finished the elephant one yet but luckily for all of us, it's not a requirement to finish one project before starting the next.

I was asked to make this quilt for another upcoming baby shower. The nursery colors will be navy and bright green and the mom likes modern designs. I pulled a few prints,  ordered some solids and came up with this:

I'm pretty tickled with these little boats.

They are a modification of a sailboat block tutorial found at Sunset Family Living

For the back I used some leftover pieces from the front and paired it with this awesome sailing ship fabric from my stash:

Not very baby-ish but I think it goes well with the theme. This is actually a piece of fabric I purchased in Turkey. You can read about my fabric shopping trip and even see this piece in this post.

I've got this one all sandwiched up and ready to go. I'm thinking of quilting the wavy lines pattern I used on this Little Guppy baby quilt because it turned out looking like water. No ideas yet on how I will quilt the rest of it. I have until July 11th but I'm hoping to start on it soon so I won't feel rushed.