Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Island Batik Modern Batik Challenge


Displaying Modern Batik Challenge.jpg

Hi!  This month Island Batik challenged the Ambassadors to make something modern.  Modern quilts, by definition, use one of the following. 
      • the use of bold colors and prints
      • high contrast and graphic areas of solid color
      • Improvisational Piecing
      • Minimalism
      • expansive negative space
      • alternate grid work
Most of my quilts are more traditional, so it's not as easy for me to play with Modern designs. I know some of my designs can be considered Modern.  This time I decided to play with negative space, as well as variations of the same block, but in different sizes.  I picked the Churn Dash block for my main element.  I chose to use the left-overs from the Zen collection I was sent to make my pattern, Zen Baskets.  The background is from an older collection, and is a pale aqua.  

This is one of the photos I shared on Instagram and Facebook, and had a few questions about the size of the blocks.  I'm glad I got questions!  As for the size, the large block is 24", and the small is 3".  I thought it was interesting that someone guessed the large block to be about 9" and that the small one should be just about an inch, total.  I'm NOT that crazy, lol.   I also made 2 6" blocks, a 9" and a 12", and assembled them into a square, using more of the Island Batik background fabric, to float them in the space.  I used random pieces of fabric, until they were all 12" blocks.  



When I added the border, it changed the look of the top, making it seem like the 2 largest blocks are floating in blue, and the others are floating in the background. Maybe I should have added a small border of the background?  If I make something similar again, I'll have to test out the borders first.  I plan to get some Minkee type fabric for the backing, as this would be a great baby size quilt.   I also plan to have fun quilting it with Aurifil.  I'm not sure if I'll get this quilted in May.  I have other secret sewing and some gifts to make.  

Some other recent news:  The pattern for Zen Baskets will be available soon.  It uses 2 1/2" strips and some additional yardage, so save one of your favorite bundles.  

And I'm now also an Aurifil Artisan!  I'm so excited.  You know I use lots of Aurifil in my work, so I'm thrilled that they will provide more thread for me to use.  

Now, if I can get a company to sponsor a long arm, lol. 

If you're looking for more inspiration from the Island Batik Ambassadors, check below.  

Nan from Purrfect Spots Designs
Turid from Den Syende Himmel
Stephanie from Quilt’n Party
Pamela from Pamela Quilts
Anna from Ark Angel Creations
Kathy from Kathy’s Kwilts and More
Jessica from Desert Bloom Quilting
Connie from Freemotion by the River
Kate from Seams Like a Dream
Sharon from Yellow Cat Quilt Designs
Tina from Quilting Affection Designs
Jennifer from The Inquiring Quilter
Barb from Bejeweled Quilts
Sally from Sally’s Quilting Corner
Jeanette from Inch Worm Fabrics
Connie from Kauffman Designs
Joan from Moosestash Quilting
Bernadine from Needle and Foot
Bea from Beaquilter
Cheryl from Cheryl Lynch Quilts
Maryellen from Mary Mack’s Blog
Joyce from Hearts Creations
Marlene from Kissed Quilts
Karen from The Quilt Rambler
Marian from Seams to be Sew
Laura from Slice of Pi Quilts
Linda from Inspired Layers
Vicki from Vicki’s Crafts and Quilting  (You are here)
Nancy from Masterpiece Quilting
Carol from FunThreads Designs
Terri from Meanderings Along Lizard Creek
Alison from Little Bunny Quilts
Suzy from Adventurous Applique and Quilting
Jean-Sophie from Sophie Junction
Janet from Whispers of Yore

Thanks so much for visiting!
Maryellen

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

#AdventurousApplique and more.

Displaying Adventurous Applique Graphic.jpg

Hi!  Catching up.  Here's some of what I've been doing.  As an Island Batik Ambassador, we have monthly challenges.  April is Adventurous Applique.  I don't often choose to do applique, but don't actually mind it.  It just takes more work.  But for this challenge, I decided to do a "bucket list" quilt.  A number of years ago, (more than 8), I went to The Cloisters Museum.  It's a great place to visit, just north of Manhattan, overlooking the Hudson river.  I highly recommend it if you have a chance.  The gardens are based on medieval type gardens, and the place has period tapestries, among other things.  It's very inspiring. (And a little creepy because there's a tomb).  One thing I found in the gift shop inspired me to try to do a Stained Glass style quilt.  


It's a book mark, with enamel cherry blossoms.  It's patterned after Tiffany Stained Glass and was inspired by an artist from China (I can't remember the artist, sorry!)  
I also had a book that I picked up at a school book fair. Victorian Doorways could be used as a coloring book, or for inspiration for a quilt.  I used all of the above.  

I taped 4 pieces of paper together, and drew a basic plan.  I put fusible web on the back of the fabrics, and cut them out, and then placed them on my background fabric.  I also had a roll of Clover fusible bias tape.  I know there are a few ways to do this type of quilt.  Some designers use the tape, and others use black background fabric, and fuse fabric on that, to make it look like the leading in stained glass.  In my case, I decided to use the blue Island Batik fabric for the background, and add the Clover tape and black stitching to achieve my look.  So far, all of this has been ironed down.  I do plan to add more of the Clover tape, and stitch the rest of the "leading" with Aurifil black thread, and a wide zigzag.  



So far, I'm happy with how it looks, but have lots of stitching to do.  I haven't gotten to that yet.  

Island Batik also asked the Ambassadors to make a sample with the fabrics soon to be shown at Quilt Market.  My group was Cherry Berry, and we were asked to make it Kennel Quilt size.  I used Aurifil 50wt Mako in 5001, pale yellow, for the simple quilting, using a curvy stitch on my machine.  The yellow background fabric is an Island Batik basic/blender.  
And I finally finished a long-overdue gift for my sister-in-law.  I LOVE making things for people who appreciate the care and work.  My brother and SIL recently moved to Denver. They down-sized into a condo, so the table was smaller, so my original design needed to be modified.  She loved this bunny print, so I picked pinks and greens to make tulips for the center.  It's great for Spring, not only Easter.  I had fun doing some simple quilting in the tulips and leaves, and feathers in the border.  I used Aurifil 40wt Mako in 3660, a sweet pink variegated, and Superior Masterpiece in 129, green, for the leaves.  It's the first time I tried Superior Masterpiece, and was pleased with it.  It was in the latest Ambassador box.  



Arlene was sweet and sent me a photo of the runner on her table.  And the runner on the side board in the back was made by me, too.  Really made me smile to see she was using both!  

And my friend, Christine, is preparing for her daughter's wedding.  I finished the ring-bearer pillow she designed and cross-stitched.  I added a satin frame, and back, and the handle, and stitched the pillow together, after sewing on the buttons and ribbon.  The wedding is this Saturday.  I can't wait to celebrate with her. 



 I also worked on embroidery, stitching the Aurifil 2012 DOM Reboot, and entered that in the linky to hopefully win some Aurifil embroidery floss.  This one was done with Aurifil 12wt Mako thread, and the border is Island Batik scraps.

And I'm working on a gift for the bride and groom, a lap size Triple Irish Chain quilt using Island Batik Rain Forest, a collection from 2016.  I need to finish the borders, and this probably won't get quilted before the wedding on Saturday, but it will be done soon.  The pattern is from Quilt In A Day.  
I guess I've been more productive than I thought.  I did have 3 small finishes to share, but nothing new to add to my store.  I have lots more to do over the next few weeks, so I'll try to keep updated here.  Thanks for visiting, and have a wonderful day.  




Friday, April 7, 2017

Furry Fridays

Image may contain: cat and text

Hi, and welcome to Furry Fridays!  I want to introduce you to two special animals who are looking for their Furever home.  First up is the pretty Carlee, a 3 year old female.  Aren't her colors and markings pretty?  You can go to Petfinder to find out more about her, and adopt her in Freeport, Florida.  
 Image may contain: cat and indoor
Bristol, our puppy, has the sweetest face!  You can find out more about her Here.  She's in Waldorf, Maryland. She reminds me of my first dog, Taylor.  Shepherd mixes are wonderful.  
Image may contain: dog and outdoor
If these two aren't near you, or were not what you were looking for, please consider adopting one from your local shelter. Use Petfinder's search for one in your area.  

Island Batik Ambassadors were asked to make kennel quilts in February.  Here's a photo of my rescue dog, Hazel, checking out the ones I made.  



Hazel was adopted as a puppy 8 years ago, from North Shore Animal League, and was a rescue. She's a sweetheart, who loves to play, and makes me laugh every day.  I got my first dog from North Shore Animal League, too.  Taylor was awesome, too.  I will only adopt pets.  I do plan to make more kennel quilts, and donate them to NSAL. 

If you haven't heard about kennel quilts, please go to The Quilt Pattern Magazine and join the Small Kennel Quilt Team.  Quilts are fast, easy to make, and a great use for scraps. The measure 12 by 18", and are not bound.  Just layer the backing, batting and top, stitch around the side leaving an opening to turn, and then stitch closed.  It's a great place to practice some quilting motifs, also.  You can donate them to the shelter that's requested them, or to your own shelter.  

A great group of companies are sponsoring this endeavor to get more pets adopted, and to make more kennel quilts.  Aurifil, Island BatikQuiltyBox, The Quilt Pattern Magazine, Benartex, and today's sponsor is Hancocks-Paducah.  You'll find fabric, thread kits, and more, all to benefit this cause.  

Please consider adopting a pet.  Unconditional love, friendship, and laughter will be part of the package.  

Thanks for reading.  

Maryellen

Friday, March 31, 2017

Sew Many Colors Aurifil Thread Spools Quilt

Hi.  Have you seen the Sew Many Colors quilt?  I saw photos of it at Quilt Con, and it has the actual size spools of 270 colors of Aurifil.  How awesome is that ?   I can't imagine doing all that, and making all those bobbins for quilting.  

I wanted to try the 10 Year Anniversary design, because I'm working on other foundation/paper pieced things right now, and happened to have a charm pack of a Robert Kaufman's Kona Cotton, plus some white Kona yardage.  

I pulled threads to match 10 of the charms, in my favorite colors.  

Here's my almost finished top.  It's about 16" square.  


 Aurifil 50wt thread colors used, clockwise from top, are 2610, 2250 (red), 2535, 4225, 1200, 2000, 2775, 2810, 6720, and 4182.  I used all the colors in the quilting, and light grey in the foundation piecing.  I decided to quilt the spools to look like there is thread on them, similar to the designer's quilt for Aurifil, but added swirls of the threads to look like I had unwound some, to test the colors on the quilt.  I plan to add some more background quilting, in white, and I'm thinking I may make this a pillow cover.  I have a guest bed in my studio, and this would be a fun accent there.  I haven't decided yet which fabric to choose for the pillow back, so that's why it's not completed, yet.  
 I had fun making this.  The pattern was great, and the process of choosing the thread to match the Kona cotton charms was interesting.  Which came first, the charm or the thread?? Some of each, actually.  I pulled some charms based on my favorites, but didn't have the best thread to match, so had to switch one or 2.  I used Warm & White batting, and the backing fabric is also Kona Cotton in white.  
Here are some of the process photos I shared on Instagram.  




I'm entering the contest, and hope to win something fun from Aurifil!  I love their thread.  Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

More Projects

Hi.  
I'm in the mood to do foundation piecing.  It's #MarchMiniMadness for Island Batiks time, right?  So, I decided to try out some foundation stuff I was given.  I've used typing/computer paper, and  Carol Doak's Foundation Paper, and found the foundation paper to be easier to use, made flatter seams, and was easier to tear. 

What I'm using now is Fun-Dation, a non-woven interfacing type thing.  It's easy to see through, so that's a plus, but it's not as easy to tear.  Also, when I put it through the printer, I needed to hand feed it.  It's thinner than regular paper, and my printer was grabbing 2 sheets at once.  I don't remember that happening with the paper.  I think if your printer can be set for specialty paper, you may be okay.  I didn't try it on mine.  

Comparing the prices, I think the Carol Doak's is a better deal, for initial cost.  The "tear away" sections of Fun-Dation can be used under embroidery or when making buttonholes, though.  I may end up pulling some of the larger scraps out of the garbage bin, just to keep for re-using.  I also need to find my SewLine glue stick.  It's great for holding the first piece in place.  So, my hints?  Save time, and get foundation paper, and a temporary basting glue stick.  You can also chain piece, sort of.  There's usually space between the block sections, but I didn't clip threads, just pulled the one stitched piece out enough to get the new one positioned under the needle.  

I didn't do anything with Island Batiks, since the Mondo bag, though.  I'm working with regular fabrics.  The first thing I finished was a table runner for my QBFF's daughter, who is getting married.  I wanted to make something for her shower.  Her dishes are yellow stoneware, and the other linens are grey.  I looked through my stash and found a pretty red rose floral on a yellow background, with a touch of grey in the leaves.  I sent a quick photo to my friend, to make sure her daughter would like the print, and was told "Yes".  So, I went back to one of my earlier designs with the Accuquilt GO! cutter, and used a Ribbon Star for the blocks, with a red accent fabric, grey and a pale yellow for the background.  I only had to purchase the grey.  


When I first pulled fabrics, I tried to NOT use red.  I looked for a deeper yellow/gold, and  even a sage-y green, but couldn't find anything to really match, and look good with the grey.  When I pulled the red, the other colors seemed to work.  I layered it with a cream backing, and used Aurifil 5001, Ocher Yellow, to quilt it.  I put a simple swirled design in the star center, and feathers surrounding the rest.  I used the same floral fabric for the binding, and she loved it.  I didn't know until she was opening other gifts that she had picked red for her oven mitts, towels and accents in the kitchen.  It should look pretty on her table.  I need to plan a throw size quilt for the wedding.  The shower was wonderful!  


Now, I'm working on a tulip table topper for my Sister-in-law, (photos to come) with an Easter print for the border, and I started using Kona Cotton for the Aurifil Sew Many Colors.  I started it tonight.  Creating the spools is so much fun!  Here's the first two.  

I have to finish so many other things, but just couldn't resist the spools!  There's a contest, if I can get this finished by March 31, and then I plan to do another one, in Island Batik (of course) and try the Carol Doak paper again.  I know it's rare for me to sew something non-Island Batik, but I recently reorganized my fabric, and need to use it! I'll share photos of my studio when I get it reorganized.  

Thanks for visiting!  

Thursday, March 16, 2017

March #MiniMadnessIB Ambassador Challenge

Displaying Mini Madness.jpg
Want to laugh with me?  I got the memo for this.  I really did.  I knew it was a MINI challenge, "Finished size under 24"."  I also knew it was either foundation pieced or English Paper Piecing.  

I also knew I was offered a chance to be an ambassador for QuiltSmart.  They make pre-printed foundations on fusible interfacing.  Sounds like I can combine these 2 things and meet the goal of the Island Batik challenge, right?  Sure.  No problem.  Choose a Stamp pack (5" squares) of gorgeous (no, really gorgeous) Island Batik Desert Rose, cut 8 more 5" squares, add in strips for handles and fabric for lining, and I can make a Mondo bag.  


                                      Mondo Bag Girls
Mondo Girls from the Quiltsmart website.  

This is where I went wrong.  Mondo means big.  As in BIG!  But it's only a bag, with a 10" base and 17" sides.  Sounds less than 24", right?  Keep laughing.  Maybe I should have looked at the Mondo Girls photo sooner, lol

My Sister-In-Law was visiting, and I asked her to model for me.  She's petite, but still, this bag is huge!  Past her knees! lol  Totally a #MarchMadnessMiniIB fail, lol.  

 Using the fusible interfacing was fun.  The directions were good, and the prep and sewing was quicker than expected.  I took the squares out of the pack and arranged them on the interfacing panel, right on my ironing board.  Once I liked the color order, I made sure all the squares were touching, put an applique pressing sheet over it, and pressed.  I did all 4 sections, and then just sewed along the fold lines between the squares, as directed.  I think I had all 4 sections pressed and sewn, and the bag outer body assembled in about an hour.  

The bag is beautiful, and was really fun to make.  I decided to use the 5" squares as they were, not cut them to 2 1/2".  I added a Basics Raspberry lining, and used some of the ribbon from the Stamp pack for trim on the key clip tab.  I also put in 2 pockets, using their directions.  Although I have something to turn the straps, I wanted to do the type where you just press it in half, place the fusible fleece at the fold, and press in the edges, to meet, and topstitch the edges.  If I make it again, I'll add patch pockets, after getting the inner bag assembled.  The ones they recommend are actually angled, where I would prefer them to be parallel to the top.  

So, my Mini Challenge isn't mini.  It's big enough to carry my sewing machine, lol.  It'll make a great project bag, or for the pool or beach.  My mom thinks it's hers, lol.  Anything with purple fabric?  She claims it.  

So, there you have it.  But, maybe I didn't fail the challenge?  I did make the sunglass case and check book covers.  Those are mini.  But not foundation pieced.  Hmmm.  I do have 2 other foundation pieced things to work on.  Maybe I'll get them done in time for this challenge.  

I'm still laughing.  
Thanks for visiting.

Maryellen

Sunday, March 12, 2017

A Little Sewing Time

Hi!  I finished a special order Pirate Shirt this week, but forgot to take a photo before it was shipped. This photo is of a previous one.  I need to count how many I've made, but I'm sure it's over 25 by now.  I like hearing who will be wearing it.  This one was for a dancer in a competition, but others were for Renn Faires, including the Groom's shirt for a wedding.

I also made 2 check book covers and 2 sunglass cases.  I had given a previously made case to my mom, to protect her sunglasses, and needed to make another, but just hadn't taken time.  Do you do that?  Make for others, and push off something for yourself, that will take less than an hour to do?  I think we all need to give ourselves permission to do something for us.  It's not selfish, especially when it's saving money over purchasing the ones from the big-box sellers.  And using up some scraps.

 The first case, on the right, was too small for my sunglasses, but will work for my readers.  I had forgotten it would get smaller with binding and that my sunglasses were more curved when closed.  This was fast and easy, I just quilted some @IslandBatik fabric strips, about 3 1/2" wide by 12" long, curved one end, and folded it in half and added binding around the 3 sides.  The first one was a 2 1/2" strip.  I used Aurifil 50wt thread and Warm & Natural batting scraps.

 I also needed 2 checkbook covers.  Mine is the pieced one, and the other is for the checks for my mom's account.  Again, some sweet Island Batik fabrics, and Aurifil thread.  These have Pellon Shirtailor fusible interfacing in the pockets, and the pieced one has fusible fleece for the quilting.  The other is more interfacing, to give the cover support, and durability.  Aren't my checks cute?  I found a Quilt design through BJ's Wholesale Club's check company.
 I'm so happy I took time to make these.  The older checkbook cover I had made was actually too small, and didn't have interfacing.  I'm going to enjoy using these and finding them easily in my purse.
In other news, I finally have the backsplash done in my kitchen.  Charley from Allbright Construction had the light colored tiles, but not enough for the whole thing. After looking for additional 3 by 6 pieces to create a "scrappy quilt" look, I opted for a Mosaic from Home Depot called Amalfi Cafe for the center, with the 3 by 6 top and bottom. We had done something similar in Mom's kitchen, only with white marble and white and silver glass mosaics.  It was easy to cut and install, in my case, very cost effective. I'm happy with the results, and enjoy using this kitchen now.  I still need to replace the flooring and paint the walls, but this is good progress after living with the broken cabinets and ruined top, and leaking sink for so long.  The upper cabinets are the original ones, and the base and granite countertop was installed in November.  I'm still unpacking after my move 14 months ago.  I'm just happy there's progress.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Please be on the watch for the Island Batik Ambassadors March Mini Madness posts.  Mine will be coming soon.  I have 3 ideas, and I'm not sure which I want to do, but all 3 will probably get done at one point, lol.  With the blizzard coming on Tuesday, I'm planning some Sew days!

Maryellen