Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Island Batik Four Seasons Blog Hop City Culture

Hi, and welcome back to my second day on this hop.
Today's Summer feature is City Culture 2.  I received a bundle of Fat Quarters and 2 2-yard pieces of this to create something for this hop, in my Island Batik Ambassador box.   

This was one of "those" bundles.  I looked at it.  I set it out.  I waited for inspiration.  I looked to see if I had other pieces in the box that would work with this, and even thought about some of my older Island Batik Ambassador boxes, or Island Batik I've purchased.  I petted it a few times, and pulled out certain designs.  There were colors that didn't make my heart flutter, but the purples, burgundies and wines caught my attention.  I wasn't sure what to do with them, though.  

I had been working on a new design project, and set this aside.  Then I realized that the request to use as many of the fabrics as possible in our project reminded me that my Zen Basket pattern needed to be done in other colors, and that I could cut strips from the Fat Quarters.  So, that is what I decided to do.  I used the yardage pieces for the Stakes (the uprights in a basket) and made this top.  

Pieced with Aurifil 50wt, 2324, the large cone I received as an @AurifilArtisan. 

The designs in this collection are interesting.  There are some simple sketched stripes, the grid-like design that almost mimics a giraffe (but more geometric), some round stone look designs, and the grass-look and leaf-look prints. 

This is one of my favorites, but it's purple and gray, so that's obvious, right?  

As much as I had hoped I could get borders added, and have this quilted for today, that didn't happen.  Although my brother and sister-in-law were here for 10 days, and left early Monday, and I did get more sewing time than usual (because they could visit with Mom so I had more free time) it didn't quite get me to where I hoped to be.  I should be able to get borders on and get it quilted, soon, though.  I even have a great place to do some photos planned.  Since I live near a city with lots of culture, lol

In the meantime, while you wait for me to finish it (because you all need to see more, right?lol) please visit the other Island Batik Ambassadors that are sharing more about City Culture today and tomorrow.  

My give-away today is a copy of my Zen Baskets pattern, and some 5" squares of City Culture 2.  Just leave a comment below.  What's your favorite thing to do in your nearest city?  I love going to the Empire State Building, and to Broadway shows, but that doesn't happen often.  I think it's been over 5 years since I went for a show, but I've been to Quilters Take Manhattan more recently. 

Original Zen Basket quilt.  It works in other colors, too. 
And please check the Island Batik Blog for links that you may have missed, as well as Fall, coming next week.  Remember to enter their give-away, too!  

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Four Seasons Blog Hop

Hi, and welcome!  Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you've been enjoying all the inspiration and eye candy along the way with the Hop.  Today's posts kick off 4 days of Summer, with gorgeous fabric and lots of give-aways.  

Today's group of fabrics is called Paisley Dot. It will be shipping to stores soon, so please ask your favorite shop for it!  

Last Winter, a call went out to the Island Batik Designers to use this (or any of the new collections) in a pattern we designed, and wanted to create.  Island Batik accepted my idea, and I created this quilt and pattern to feature the Brights part of the group in an easy quilt for Stacks, 10" squares.  I now have published the pattern, and I'm selling copies in my Etsy Shop, Mary Mack Made Mine.  You can also contact me or Island Batik about wholesale purchases for your shop.
First, I need to tell you that this group is just stunning.  The colors are bright, rich, and joyous, and the design of the dots is just fun.  It adds a great texture where you need a blender or supporting fabric to mix with a pretty screenprint (non-batik), but also works so well as a group.  There are a few multi-colored designs, too.  I used one in the border.  

As for my pattern, you need 42 10" squares, border, binding, and just a little bit of the border or binding yardage to finish the blocks.  This is a perfect beginner quilt, because there are no major seams to match, just the actual squares.  It's fast, too, and great to feature larger prints within a Layer Cake.  
Wouldn't this be pretty as a picnic quilt?  Or on porch swing? 

I have a give-away today.  Comment below about something you love in Summer, and I'll choose a winner on Feb 2 for a copy of my Stack Tiles pattern, and some 5" squares of this collection, that I'll cut from the fabric provided for the pattern.  

Also, please remember to enter the Island Batik give-away, with the Rafflecopter widget.  Even if you don't have a Facebook account, you can still visit, and get credit for that action.  

And, please visit today's Bloggers 
January 22 – Paisley Dot

If you've missed any of the previous posts, please check the list on the Island Batik blog page.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Table Scraps with Island Batik

Hi!  I hope you've had a wonderful December, and are ready for the new year.  This is the last Island Batik Ambassador challenge for 2017!  Hopefully not my last.  January is the Blog Hop with the new collections, and I hope I'm accepted again as an Ambassador for 2018.  I'll let you know as soon as I do.  

So, December is #TableScraps.  I had ideas floating in my head all month about what I could make, using some of the scraps from any of the multiple collections I've received over my 5 +years as an Ambassador.  I've even pieced scraps together to make table runners before.  My Zen Basket pattern has a runner from scraps.  So, I looked through my scraps.  I looked through patterns.  Then last week, I purchased some of the new patterns from Quilt In A Day, one of my favorite designers.  So, Friday, I get a package.  It's the order, with 3 new patterns, including Table Scraps.  Yes, the pattern and challenge have the same name.  How can I ignore that??  Kismet!  Fate!  Easy, decision finally made.  So, which scraps to use?  I have sections of the Cherry Berry Collection, pieces left from my Apple Core top. (Yes, still need to finish quilting that, it's on the UFO list for 2018).  
I have enough pieces left from Lake Life, and also from Paisley Dot, the fabric in my newest pattern, Stack Tiles.  
But going back to Table Scraps, I think I need to use lemons, cherries, grapes and that leaves Cherry Berry.  I decided to stick with the theme, lol.  Table Scraps using the Table Scraps pattern made with scraps with food designs.  Yes, corny and goofy, I know, but a girl's gotta find the laughs somewhere. 

So, here's my project!  
Blocks are assembled.
I can't believe how quickly this went together.  I had spent time cutting the squares and background last night, and hoped to get the blocks done tonight.  I ended up spending about 2 hours sewing, and TADA, the table topper is done!  I couldn't believe I had it done that quickly, and that Mom was actually fairly cooperative during that time.  (Before then, not so much, which is why I went up to sew earlier than normal, she was driving me crazy.)
 I do love these colors together, and the background, Moo Milk, offers a great chance for pretty quilting.  I also love the split border look, the blocks go into the border area.  I think I'll use either the other dark purple or one of the multi-color fabrics for binding, when it's done.  I'm thrilled I got this much done before the end of the month.  That was a challenge in itself.  

 Pieced with Aurifil 50wt, the large cone that I was provided as an Aurifil Artisan. I love that it's just always there!  I can thread my machine and not worry about running out.  Not for a long time.

Now, to decide on the quilting design for the pieced block, and find backing.  Which Aurifil thread should I use for the pieced blocks?  Any suggestions?  
 Remember to visit in January for the Four Seasons Blog Hop. 

Thanks so much for visiting, and I hope you visit the other Island Batik Ambassadors for more inspiration.  Enjoy!  And check back for more finishes from me, including this one.

Here's a list of possible links.

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
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

Friday, December 29, 2017

A Gift for Father Rudy

Father Rudy Pesongco is a Phillipino priest in our parish for 12 years.  He's been visiting my family for most of that time, once he discovered that our house is across from the closest high school track.  He often stops during his exercise in warmer weather, and takes a moment to chat and rest before walking back the almost mile to the church rectory.  Over the years, he's had a few desserts with us, as well.  He and my dad used to chat.  Dad was a Knights of Columbus, usher, member of St. Vincent de Paul society and overall volunteer at St. Anne's.  When Dad passed away May of 2016, Fr. Rudy was the one who visited him in the hospital, and gave him last rights. 

A few weeks after Dad passed, my brothers came over to choose some of Dad's cuff links and tie tacks, and from his collection of rosary beads and crucifixes.  Among the crucifixes was a reliquary.  I hadn't realized what it was, but after some research, I discovered it's similar to this one.  (photo from youtube, not my father's).
Image result for crucifix reliquary

There was a small screw holding the top and bottom together, and when the crucifix is opened, there are tiny glass pieces with labels that identify the saint the relic is from.  According to the family research, this may have been given to my paternal grandfather, after his near death as a New York City fireman, back in the late 1920s or early 1930s.  He was injured in a building collapse and fire, and since many of Dad's cousins and a few aunts were nuns, it's possible one of them gave this to help my grandfather heal. (Joe actually figured out his own physical therapy and was able to walk again, much to the surprise of his doctors.)  My dad's brother figures this scenario to be the best story of how Dad got this reliquary, after their parents passed. 

As John (my oldest brother) and I discussed, we had hoped to present this reliquary to St. Anne's in Dad's memory.  But unknown to me, on that day, my youngest brother claimed he was "getting the remaining items cleaned at his jeweler" and we haven't seen the reliquary since.  I was really disappointed that a special memorial from Dad, who was such a part of the parish for 64 years, was not presented.  Nothing special was done in Dad's memory, which bothered me.

During this summer, Fr. Rudy started visiting again, and asked about my sewing, and then asked me to do some repairs and alterations for him.  I was happy to help.  He also mentioned that he would be celebrating his 35th year as a priest, with a parish celebration on December 3.  One of the things he asked me to repair and restyle was one of the white albs he wears.  I wanted to make something for him, in Dad's memory, to celebrate his day, so I did some research on albs and fabric, and some discussion with him, and decided to make one.  I happened to have a small bolt of white poplin, and found a pattern in my stash I could use, and added a label to commemorate his jubilee and my dad's memory. 

I was honored he wore this for his celebration mass, and that he loved that the label included my dad in his day. 

 Front, he wanted an easy zipper closure.


During the procession.  I LOVE the windows.  The church is beautiful. 
Fr. Rudy celebrating the mass.  

I'm still hoping the reliquary will be returned so we can present it to the church, so others can benefit from the prayers and comfort it can bring.  But at least now there's something at St. Anne's in Dad's memory.  

Thanks for reading.  It's not often I share about non-quilted items I make, and this was a creative use of things I had in my stash.  Dad would be proud of that.  


Thursday, December 28, 2017


Hi.  I'm linking up with the #2018PlanningParty!

2018 Planning Party

My biggest hope and plan is to actually spend more time sewing.  That time has been missing lately, and I feel crunched because I'm not getting deadline sewing done on time.  Mom's dementia has progressed rather quickly, and she's been more needy, so I'm looking into getting an aide to visit with her (and take some chores off my shoulders) so I have more time to sew (work). 

2.  I want to have at least 3 more patterns submitted for Island Batik.  4 would be better, lol.  I also want to submit to a magazine.

3.  I need to get my studio more organized so I can work more efficiently.  I have a new bookcase to build and hopefully that will clear about 3 bins out of the room, making the space more usable. 

4.  I need to finish some UFOs.  I did fairly well with last year's list.  5 out of 12 were finished, and 3 more had progress.  Other projects were completed, and others, not on the list, had progress, too.  I also did 11/12 of the Island Batik Ambassador challenges.  I have 3 days to do the last one.  If I get the top done, I'll be happy with that. 

5.  I need to confirm my 2018 UFO list, and make sure that some of the "doable" projects get found and put in the pile I grab when I have time.

6.  I want to get the vintage Singer 301 cabinet cleaned and moved into the house (it's in the garage) and get the machine cleaned and working.  I have a spot planned, so need to get that area organized, as well.  It will be fun to have 2 different vintage machines for projects down in the basement apartment. 

I have more quilts to make for my shop, as well, and a few quilts that are in the planning stage.  I just enjoy the process, from beginning to end, and must take the time to work on them.  One is a quilt for my friend's daughter, who is expecting her first child.  I will need to purchase fabric for that one, but most of the others will be from stash. 

That's really most of the sewing plans.  I have other personal goals, as well, but I'm not listing them here.  I keep them more private. 

I need to get more of this listed in my 2018 Quilter's Planner, too.  I have a few projects due within the next 2 weeks, so that's my immediate goal. 

What are you doing?  You can have a chance to win some great prizes if you share your plans with the #2018PlanningParty linky.  Just click on the above photo to get the info. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Finished Gift


I'm so excited.  I love getting things done, and lately, it's not often I get to finish and celebrate it.  I may have mentioned that I'm the caregiver for my mom, who has dementia.  I  live with her, and my sewing studio is above her bedroom.  She hasn't been feeling well over the last few months, and goes to bed early, which means I can't sew.  Well, I can't quilt or cut stuff out.  I can piece tops, using the vintage machine in my bedroom in the basement.  So, things get started, but not much gets finished.  Her memory issues are progressing faster than anticipated, and she needs more companionship, which means I can't go up to sew, unless she's having a good day.  I have to see if I can find someone to come sit with her a few hours a week.

But I digress.  I do want to share a quilt I made for my friend, Christine's daughter.  Megan and Joe were married in April.  I had hoped to get the quilt done for the wedding, but other things had priority, so I did get most of the top done, and then waited because I ordered more fabric for the outer border.

The top was done and pinned, but I didn't have time to quilt it.  I do all my own quilting on my Viking Sapphire 850.  It has nice throat space, and the table I had built for my studio here offers lots of space, so I can quilt large quilts.  This one is a large twin size, mostly because Joe is over 6'2" and I wanted to make a lap quilt they could snuggle under.

I used Lake Life, an older bundle from Island Batik.  Christine was an Island Batik Ambassador, and had quite a bit of this left, so I added the neutral background, and border, and was able to have enough of the colors to make this.  I used the Triple Irish Chain book from Quilt In A Day.   For the main part, I followed the Scrappy version, and for the Seminole border, I followed the planned scrappy.  I didn't have enough of the main cream for the top and bottom of the border, so I was careful how I planned it, using a light sage for the outer pieces.  It was a little bit of a challenge, but I do love thinking and planning.

I used a leaf circle stencil to quilt the 7 cream center blocks, and did a variation of interchained circles or orange peel in the pieced chain blocks.  Instead of hitting every corner, I actually made circles.  I didn't want to over-quilt this because I wanted it snuggly, not stiff.  I used Warm & Natural batting and had a cream floral wide backing for the back.  
For the cream first border, I did a vine chain design.  The Seminole border has the same circle shape as the blocks, and the outer border has feathers.  I used Aurifil 50wt cotton 2325 Linen, my big cone, for the piecing and the quilting of all except the outer border.  I used 50wt in Very Dark Grass Green 2890 for that.  
 My original plan was to use another group's rusty/orange Island Batik for the binding, but when I put it next to the green border, I didn't like it.  So, I pulled all the greens from the original Lake Life bundle, and cut enough strips to make the binding, one from each.  It's basically a scrappy binding, but not as noticeable, because it's close in color to the green border.  The rusty orange was a great match for the pieces in the quilt, but didn't add a nice frame to the green.

Fun fact for Megan and Joe, there are animals in the outer border.  You may find a moose or deer or a mountain cat, if you look carefully.  They are hidden among the forest and water design.

So, I know I've mentioned this before, but being an Island Batik Ambassador is just wonderful.  The fabrics really are the best, and the colors in the collection are always so pretty.  I love working with the fabrics, too, because there is little to no fraying.  Being an Aurifil Artisan is also the best experience.  I've loved Aurifil since I tried my first spool more than 6 years ago.  It's awesome, and the colors are always perfect.  Would you guess that a tan thread did such a good job of "hiding" among all the colors of the chain blocks?  It did.  And the green in the border just blends in, too.  I wanted the fabrics to shine in this.  It's just the way I had hoped, and it's done.  I just need to get together with Christine, Megan and Joe to deliver it.  We're working on that.

Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Creative Borders and Binding

Hi, and thanks for visiting!  Island Batik Ambassadors were asked to share creative borders and binding.  I have a few items to share.  Get your favorite beverage, this is going to be a long post, lol. 

First, getting creative with borders is actually fairly easy.  I love to play around with borders from printed patterns, and you never know what you can do unless you try.  I often do this, especially if I have more stamps (charm squares) or extra yardage, or even if I'm running low on the yardage and want to make the quilt as large as possible.  I use EQ7 to plan, creating the inside of the quilt with just colors, and adding border options and checking the fabric requirements based on the ideas. 

I've recently designed a quilt that will be at Market with the Island Batik booth.  It's a Christmas Tree Skirt, or could be a lap quilt, and I designed the block in honor of my father, who passed away last year.  I did a Piano Key border, and my pattern will have good directions for making the corner blocks mitered without being mitered, lol.  You'll have to wait for the pattern, lol.  

Consider a Piano Key when you want to add pizzazz and have enough strips or fabric left to cut into strips.  Sew longer strips together, then cut to the desired width of your border, and then join until you have the length you need for the sides.  Much easier than sewing individual rectangles together.  

I'm also working on a Triple Irish Chain quilt, that has a Seminole border.  It's from the Triple Irish Chain book by Quilt In A Day, and will be a wedding gift.  Yes, the wedding has passed, but I'm hoping the quilting will be done by the 6 month anniversary, so I can deliver it.  I have 5 more days, lol.  In this case, the fabrics are Lake Life, a collection from a few years ago.  I had a bundle and didn't have enough for the same cream edge in the Seminole border, so I used the scrappy version in the directions, making sure the creamy one was at the top, and the greener one was at the bottom.  I had the darker green for the outer border. 

 This was a pile of tops I had just pinned/basted for quilting.  

This is before the outer green border was attached.  It really does need it as a frame.  That's another hint about borders or binding.  It's part of the frame of the quilt, so try out a few ideas and fabrics to make sure you're happy with them before you commit to sewing it on.  

My next hint is about making your binding.  DO make sure you sew the strips with a diagonal seam and press the seam allowance open.  It really does help make the seam disappear within the edge.  You'll barely notice the seam allowance, but if you do just straight end to end, you'll feel the bulk.  Also, DO get into the habit of putting all the strips on the same way, so your seams run the same direction.  My first strip is open, but the second one stays folded.  I line the first up with the second, in an L shape (Upside down L, actually) and sew from the top left corner to bottom right corner. My next strip is placed the same way, and I check the fold to make sure the strip is in a flat V shape.  Each seam will go the same direction, then.  My other hint involves the starting section.  Trim that to a 45* angle before you sew it on.  I put my newly sewn strips on my cutting mat, and check the direction of the next seam, using the wrong side.  It's always from bottom left to top right.  I grab my 6" ruler, line the 45* line along the top edge to the end of the strip, and cut off the triangle, from bottom left to top right.  

I then fold this cut end in 1/4 to 1/2", and press, then press the strip in half.  Put this folded end about 8" from your "start sewing" spot.  (Leave the tail for joining the ends later).  

Sew your binding around, as usual, mitering the corners.  Stop about 7-8" from the tail you left before.  Here's my trick.  Tuck the remaining tail inside the folded end, and make sure it's smooth and flat to the top of the quilt.  Pin baste the folded end to the top layer of the inner binding, on top and the bottom to the bottom layer.  

Try to pin just the pressed seam fold line to the inside part of the binding, as if it were sewn along the fold.  Double check the fit.  

Then, carefully open the binding where the pins join it.  It should be an upside down L shape, with the diagonal pressed line hitting the top and bottom edge, and the center fold of the binding making an L, also.  

Adjust the pins so you can sew along the pressed angled line.  Lay it flat on the quilt top again, and make sure it's a good fit.  If so, trim the remaining binding off, leaving about 1/4" allowance, finger-press the seam allowance open, and sew the remaining section to the top.  

No one will guess where you started and stopped, because all the seam angles will be the same. and you didn't need a specialty ruler or trick to finish the seam, just a little prep before and some pins during.  

Did you happen to notice the flange border on that top?  It's another Island Batik challenge piece I recently finished.  I chose to add the dark blue flange because I wanted a separate line between the blocks and border, since I was using the same red fabric.  I didn't want it bigger, just an accent, and wanted the extra frame.  Notice how it's along the red, not the blocks.  It adds a little extra oomph to the red, don't you think?  I cut the strips 1 1/2" wide, and pressed them in half (wrong sides together.  Oh, wait, batiks don't really have a wrong side, lol)  I pressed it to the red border.  In this case, I didn't add quilting to the red, just the blocks and outer border. I wanted the flange to just hang out.  There are other quilts where I just quilt over the flange.  

Now, my final hint has to do with strange angles.  Every once in a while you'll find a pattern that has a different angle, not a 90* corner.  How do you handle that?  Well, in my research, I found this video, and since I think her explanation is perfect, I'm sharing it.  I think if there's someone who explains it well, or the design is already out there, I'll let them tell it, and save my breath.  Why copy when there's someone else who already has it done?  Marci Baker of Alicia's Attic has this great video.  

Here are 2 recent finishes that needed special binding angles.  I refer to this video often, and have it saved as a link on my "Best Quilting Practices" Pinterest page.  

So, that's a lot of information!  I didn't realize my main focus this month for this challenge would be just sharing information.  I actually didn't have to make anything special, because I had creative borders and binding with my other projects.  I kind of feel I got off easy, lol.  
Some of the other Island Batik Ambassadors have shared really creative NEW projects.  I hope you find the links on the Island Batik Facebook page.  If not there'll be a wrap-up post that I'll share later.  Some of the projects are GORGEOUS and you really need to see them.  

Thanks for visiting, and don't be afraid to try something new.  Let me know if you try my binding hint, too, or if you have any questions.  I may be able to post a video about binding soon.  Have a great time finishing your quilts!