Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Whale of a Time - Quilt

Ekk!!  Those happy rainbow whales make me so happy.  This quilt is for Baby Siedor, another of the 2015 babies.  Baby Siedor is due right around the same time Abby was due, early September and I knew that my quilting time would quickly evaporate when our #2 arrived so I started on this one pretty early because I wanted to have it finished before our little one was due.  Lauren and Brian decided not to find out the gender of the baby (which I love), so this is the first time I've quilted without knowing the sex.  While I love NOT finding out (we've done it with both our kids) it sure does make picking fabric for the little one extra challenging.  You can't go wrong with rainbow though right??

Onto the details.  I used the Preppy the Whale pattern by Elizabeth Hartman.  Clicking the link you'll see that I didn't venture too far from her own fabric choices for this quilt.  I'm still working on developing my own "eye" for fabric and matching so I often find that I replicate quilts that I love...almost exactly. Elizabeth Hartman has some SUPER cute patterns including this Fancy Fox pattern that was a close second to this whale quilt.  In fact, you may see that one for a baby in the future, maybe even our little one.  Foxes hold a special place in our household since Ryan's company is called Fox River Millwork.  I digress....back to quilting.

Don't you just LOVE the backing I picked?  I've got a little something special planned for it which I'll share in a later post. Here's a quick run down of the fabric I used:
Whales - Robert Kaufman Brights - Layer Cake
Sashing - Essex Yarn Dyed in Denim  **I love the look of this fabric.  You'll see it again in my current WIP.  It's think though so it is interesting to work with in conjunction to normal quilting cotton or even more so to the Liberty of London I'm using in my current WIP.
Backing - Dress Me Playground by Wee Gallery - so perfect for a baby quilt!  I've been dying to use it in something since I first came across it months ago.
Binding - from stash.  I feel so fancy saying that since I don't "stash" much fabric.  I typically buy for specific projects which helps keeps the quantity of fabric I own low AND the amount of money I have invested in the hobby reasonable.  However, it sure is nice to just have something "on hand" and it stashing fabric can lead to scrappier looking quilts...which seems to be the style I lean towards...I just don't have the fabric stash to support it - yet.

This quilt is probably one of the most complexly pieced quilts I've worked on to date.  Each whale is made of up of no fewer than 16 pieces - the smallest of which is 1x1!  These babies took some TIME.  If you were paying attention, you'll notice that all my whales face the same direction, which was TOTALLY not on purpose.  The pattern has them in alternating rows, left then right facing.  I totally wasn't paying attention to the pattern and ended up with 27 of these guys facing the same way.  Nobody would be the wiser if I hadn't just spilled the beans though so it's fine.

I went for a fairly large scale and easy loppy-loop quilting design.  I debated trying something more complicated but after sketching a few things out on paper I just wasn't happy with anything so I went for this look.  It's subtle with blue thread on the top and even more subtle on the bottom with white thread.  The whales are meant to be the main focus of this quilt anyways.

As for the name of this quilt - I couldn't resist.  It just came to me one day and I finally Googled the meaning just before writing this post.  The phrase "a whale of a time" means you really enjoyed something.  This idiom alludes to the fact that whales are so large and impressive.  I think it's a prefect fit for welcoming a little baby into a new family.  They bring so much joy and love with them!!

Lo - I hope you love this quilt as much as I do!!!  Happy baby shower!

Monday, June 1, 2015

What's on my Kindle? - Summer Edition

The best part of these book roundups is that they keep me accountable!!  I have a real hoarding problem when it comes to books.  I want to read. all. the. books. So I end up making lists and lists of to-reads and don't always get around to actually reading them.  There is no end to the list of books I want to read, but these roundups keep me focused and I can look back at them and remember the books I once fell in love with.  Here's what's I've been up to and where I'm going this summer:

1. Boy, Snow, Bird:  I admit it.  I am a sucker for a good "21 books you should read" type list.  A few weeks ago there was a list flying around FaceBook and it's influenced what's on my kindle reading list.  This is one of them.  I'm about 15% into this book as we speak and not totally sure where it's going but I'm going to give it some time....

2. Land of Love and Drowning:  Another one from the "list" I was just referring to....

3. The Goldfinch: Another one that I picked from the list to tackle this summer.

4. The Husband's Secret:  By the same author as Big Little Lies, I've heard great things so I'm adding it to the list.  Big Little Lies was on my last Kindle list and I finally got around to reading it over Memorial Day weekend.  I enjoyed Big Little Lies and would recommend it to others.  It was a quick and easy read and while I could sort of guess where the ending was going it wasn't until I'd finished it that it all finally came together.  Somewhat predictable...but don't be surprised to find a twist or two that you didn't expect.  I'm hoping this second book by Liane doesn't disappoint.

5. Leaving Time:  It's been a LONG time since I picked up a Jodi Picoult book.  I loved her for probably two years straight back during the My Sister's Keeper book/movie.  But, her style is very predictable and I just needed a break.  This was a great one and I'm so glad I gave it a chance.  If you've taken a break from her like me, maybe give this one a try.  It's a good one.

6. All the Light We Cannot See:  This one has recently started popping up on my social media feeds.  Once I see a book on a few peoples lists I consider adding it to my own.  Two of my favorite people to get book recommendations from are currently reading this one...so on the list it goes!!!  This might be the next one I pick up after Boy, Snow, Bird.

7. The Rosie Project: Mom suggested this one to me and I really enjoyed it.  A quick read about a guy who likely has Aspergers.  It's cute and an easy beach read though I found the ending a bit abrupt, I'd recommend this one to others.

8.  The Rosie Effect: The sequel to The Rosie Project.  I figured as long as I was at it, I might as add the followup!  I haven't started this one yet.  I usually need a break for the characters before diving back in.  I expect good things from this one though.

9. The Lifeboat: The final book from the "list" I linked to earlier that I chose to read.  I was surprised how few books I'd heard of when I read through that list so I read the synopsis and reviews on them all and added these 4 to my "to read" list.

What books have you loved lately?  Anything I should add to my list??  I love a good book recommendation so feel free to comment below!!