Saturday, December 8, 2018

Better Late than never Island Batik Challenge October Needle Paper Scissors

I'm so happy that Island Batik isn't angry when an Ambassador fails to get a challenge in on time.  This is late, but it's done.  Not just a top, like many of my other projects lately.  They know I'm also caregiver for Mom, who has Alzheimer's, and her needs come before my sewing time.  I am so grateful for that, and for the fabrics they provide, and for being an ambassador.  It keeps me motivated and looking forward, when the daily issues and stress can drag me down.  

Enough about that.  October's Ambassador Challenge was Needle Paper Scissors.  We're supposed to do something with foundation (they specified paper, but I think they'll allow this).  English Paper Piecing is something I've done, and I do enjoy it, but wasn't in the mood to cut pieces for the shapes I have.  I thought about paper piecing a star or something, but again, couldn't come up with a design or pick fabric.  So I started cleaning, and remembered I have a few sample kits from Quiltsmart.  They had asked me a few years ago to try them, and blog about them.  Sort of like an Ambassador.  I've used the Mondo bag kit, and they have some for applique shapes, but again, those didn't appeal.  I did find the Tumbling Blocks kit, and thought that would be fun to try.  I had gone to a quilt show recently that had a Tumbling Blocks quilt in multi-colors, and had wanted to see what I could do with the foundation/fusible printed interfacing they provided.  But I also knew I had other projects, so this would have to be table runner size.  16 1/2 by 42 1/2, that works for me.  

But then Halloween Costumes and Mom's change in behavior put a "hold" on it.  And not deciding how to quilt it, too.  Sometimes a project needs to wait until it inspires the next step.  

So, Step 1.  Pick Fabrics.  Put them back, and pick again.  Decide, finally, on Alpine Ice, in shades of gray and slate, and Dot for the background.  I needed strips cut to rectangles.  And one sheet of the interfacing for the runner.  Step 2, put back the fabric.  Step 3.  Play with the idea on EQ8.  Step 4, pull the fabric again.  Yes, there was some indecision. lol  Finally, cut it, and sew the pieces together, sew it to the interfacing, trim it and turn it with the Dritz Quick Turn (Which I've had for years, and constantly find great uses for, in dressmaking and in quilting) and be careful because the interfacing may rip a little.  Step 5.  Decide again how to place the designs, and make sure the beginning and end pieces/blocks work for that design.  Step 6.  Fold background fabric and press it well to form lines for you to fuse the strips down.  Step 7.  Fuse, and use Aurifil Clear Monofilament thread to applique down the edges.  Step 8.  Admire it, sew on the side borders, and press again, then baste it with batting and backing (I used Island Batik's new White solid fabric. Awesome!!)  Step 9, (procrastinate, if needed, lol) Quilt about 1/4" from the edges of each strip with Aurifil 50wt 2605 Gray, with a walking foot (I know, it's not Free Motion for a change!), and bind with Island Batik's new Gray solid fabric.  Again, awesome.  So, here's the finished project.  

 That's the back, showing some of the quilting detail, and the White fabric by Island Batik and the Gray binding.  The fabric patch is a left-over, but basically that's what you make, before sewing them in a row, and then to an interfacing strip.
I think it looks like 3-D in this view.   
The whole thing.   
Not so much a 3-D look in this view, but kind of a cool zig-zag thing. 
Ah, the 3-D blocks appear again. 
I'm so happy it's finished.  I have some other projects to finish and start some holiday gifts, soon.  I will let you know when they're done.  The December challenge for Island Batik Ambassadors is Whimsical or Wonky.  I'm going for Whimsy this time.  I hope to share that soon.  In the meantime, I'm also ready to quilt the November Log Cabin challenge, the one I appliqued lights on.  I'll have the directions and file for the lights ready soon.  

Thanks again for visiting, and I hope you enjoyed reading this book, lol.  

Friday, November 30, 2018

Cozy Cabin with Christmas Lights

Hi.  I'm SEW excited to share this!  I love being an Island Batik Ambassador, and love the fabric they provide for these challenges.  This is something I've wanted to make for a few years.  The timing, fabric and embroidery machine finally happened!

Our challenge this month is Cozy Cabins, and I love Log Cabin blocks.  

I'm a HUGE fan of Hallmark movies.  I think it's good for Mom, too.  They are uplifting, positive, and fun, and she seems to enjoy the fun and music.  It's Christmas movie time, and although this is inspired by an older movie, I'm also in the mood to sew Christmas quilts.  So, I grabbed my pack of Alpine Jingle and some Sprinkles and set to work.  


Filmed in 2013, the movie Let It Snow shows Candace Cameron-Bure waking up under a Log Cabin quilt that has applique in the Barn raising Setting.  I looked for a photo of the quilt, but I guess you'll just have to watch it again. It's on this weekend.  I think the quilt had poinsettia or holly for the applique.  I wanted something different.  I wanted Christmas Lights.  I grabbed the new Quilt In A Day book 40 Fabulous Years for the Log Cabin blocks, but they use 1 1/2" strips, and I didn't want to cut the strips smaller.  The older Log Cabin in a Day book uses 2 1/2" strips, as does the new 6th Edition Log Cabin, which happened to arrive in the mail as I was finishing the blocks. LOL. Timing.  Yes, the assembly could have come from this new book, but I've made a number of Log Cabin quilts, and just went scrappy.  

I searched online for the perfect size applique light, and couldn't find one.  I recently got an embroidery machine, and I'm learning a lot about it, but don't own the program to digitize my own drawings, yet.  I drew out the design, and figured the number of lights, and how to do the wire, but wanted to use the Pfaff Creative 1.5, not do hand guided stitching.  I contacted QuiltShopGal, aka Darlene, knowing she occasionally does digitizing for her own use.  At first she didn't think she could, so I also contacted Marian at Seams to be Sew, whom I met last summer doing the Row by Row shops in Colorado.  She offered one version, but Darlene also did one, and I picked Darlene's.  

So, here's the top.  At least so far.  I'll explain...


I want to add the outer border, but it may need something in the corners. I haven't decided what, yet. 

Each bulb is about 4 3/4 long, and the black "wire" is Clover Quick Bias Tape.  

So, here's how to make your own version.  
1.  Get a strip pack and some yardage.  I did the 16 block Wall Hanging size, because I could get it out of 1 pack, plus an extra strip or 2 of the different gold, which is Border 2.  Get yardage for the creamy side.  And the book.   And border yardage.  Island Batik provided mine.

Make 16 blocks that are "scrappy" looking, trying to mix up all the fabrics in the block.  
Not like this one. 

I did actually leave this block as is.  I don't think you'll be able to find it easily.  
The house elf who sewed this has been sacked, lol.

2.  Sew the blocks in the Barn Raising setting, with the Sprinkles forming a diamond. 

(The 2 stitch-outs of the bulb are modeling the placement)

3.  Pick Island Batik scraps for the lightbulbs.  I picked 6 colors for 12 bulbs, 2 of each color, and since I like Multi-colored lights, I went with that.  Yes, purple, too.  Just because I wanted it.  Apply fusible web on the back, and trace the shape of the bulb.  Pick a green strip for the base of the bulb and apply fusible web and trace the bulb base shape, leaving a little extra at the top.  Carefully cut out the shapes.  A template for the shapes will be included with the program download.  

4.  Decide on a basic placement and order, and load the embroidery program into your machine.  I'll provide a link to the file soon.  Get the hoop loaded with the quilt top, and the stabilizer, and one of the bulbs pinned into place, so you can adjust the placement on the machine to where you want it.  Be prepared to shift the location, and flip as necessary.  You really do want the bulk of the quilt to go to the left of the machine.  I also did a basting line (which is an option on my machine, not included in the file) to define the space, and to make sure the stabilizer and quilt would not shift.



5.  Stitch out Step 1 and 3, for placement lines. I skipped 2, which is the tack-down for the base.  If you don't want to precut the shapes, you can do the tack down, then trim really close, then iron.  If you cut out the shapes first, remove the paper backing and carefully iron the base shape first, then the bulb.  The bulb overlaps the base. 

Place and press carefully.


If you're using a light colored bulb, and the base shows through, trim it before pressing, or put an extra layer of interfacing under the bulb.  I trimmed the base to about 1/8th inch over the placement line. 

Step 4 of the stitching is the hold-down line for the bulb.  Make sure you don't have too much over the edge of this stitching, or trim as needed.  Change the thread for the base color, and it will sew the satin stitch zig zag for the base.  Change the  color for the bulb, and stitch the bulb.  If you wish to change the thread for the accent, you can, but I didn't.  I did change to a lighter green for the accent on the base.  



6.  Move on to the next bulb, varying the angle and direction as you wish.  

7.  Decide on placement for the "wire".  I made a loop and played until I liked how it looked, then ironed it.  After the wire is placed, you'll need to sew it down.  You can either sew down both edges, or do a wide zig-zig over the whole thing (my choice).  



So, what about the borders?  I have the red and gold on, and the sizes are based on the fabric I had remaining, 1 1/2" and 4".  I have this great green for the outer, but think I need something for the corners.  I plan a 6" finished border, which makes the top about 82" square. 

 Do I put 6" Log Cabin blocks?  Or do I put another light bulb?  
Here's a mock-up in EQ8.  



Vote and let me know in the comments!  I would love to have this quilted before Christmas.  I know some of what I want to quilt, but need to decide more.  I think I'll have to do outlines around the bulb and wires, and maybe swirls around them, but want feathers in the "dark" part of the blocks.  



HUGE thanks and hugs to Darlene and Marian for the help with digitizing.  

Thanks to Island Batik for the fabric, and to Aurifil thread for providing some of the colors needed, within the Island Batik Ambassador box.  I have a good collection as well.  

As soon as I can finalize the file for the applique, I'll let you know.  So far, it's only in VP3, but I may be able to change it.  I'm a newbie, so please give me time (or tell me how). 

Thanks for visiting.  I can't wait to get this done. 
Maryellen








Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Mid November Catch Up

Hi. 
There's some finished stuff here, and info about my last blog post's winner.
Comment 44 was chosen by Random.org, and I've contacted PK for her mailing info.  Thanks so much for hopping along on the Pick a Pumpkin hop. 

I've also done a few other projects recently.  I made another Hogwarts robe for a custom order, but forgot to get photos before.  I do know the wearer enjoyed it.  

Next, the baskets.  After my father passed away, May of 2016, my brother John and I wanted to do something in his memory at his church.  Dad was a fixture at Mass.  He went daily, was an Extraordinary Minister, Usher, counted the collections, did minor repairs, was involved in the Knights of Columbus, St. Vincent de Paul Society, took videos of special masses, and so much more.  Even the children knew him, and if they saw him, would ask him to bless their new rosaries.  Dad would send them on to the priest, and smile for days.  He was there over 60 years.  Last year, when Fr. Rudy was celebrating his anniversary, I made a new robe for him, in Dad's name, but it wasn't for the parish, it was a gift for Dad's friend.

I've been friends with some of the other ushers, and when they needed help, I offered.  I had watched Dad since I can remember, so it was fairly easy to figure out how to handle the baskets, and did it weekly for more than a year.  Another man asked, so now I'm the sub.  Along the way, I noticed some of the baskets were crumbling.  The rattan wrap on the handles was worn and breaking, and some of the edges of the baskets were damaged.  I discussed it with John, and we decided to replace the baskets in Dad's memory.  It's fitting, since that was how most knew him.  When I spoke to Sr. Judy, she made arrangements to order the new baskets, and suggested I embroider something to state they were in memory of Dad.  I had just purchased an embroidery machine, so designed a simple patch, and stitched it out.  Since the liners were removable, I was able to easily stitch the patches in.  

I've been honored to carry Dad's baskets a few times, and seeing the patch brings back wonderful thoughts of him.  The other ushers knew him well, and they're also happy to think of him.  

Here's a few shots of the baskets and labels.  It says "In Memory of Jack McAuliffe, Usher and EM, 1929-2016.  

Mom and I with one of th
John, who also served as a substitute usher, was here when they were first put into service, as well.  

I also finished the January Island Batik Blog Hop top, featuring City Culture.  Click the link for the memory, lol  I  had the quilt pin basted for a while, and finally had a few days to quilt it.  I had other projects I needed to work on, but couldn't grab them when I had time to sew. Long story, not needed here.  

I did a swirl/hook design over the top, which uses my Zen Basket pattern, using Aurifil 50wt Mako 2605, Gray, 50wt.  For the inner blue border, I used 4644, Smoke Blue and a vine or branch design, plus 5023 Medium Green in a fern/feather design for the outer border.  I used a grey wide back for the backing, and Warm & Natural batting, and added a green batik binding.  Here's a few shots. 





City Culture should be in stores now, and I've gotten tons of compliments on the colors and design for this pattern.  It's really easy to do, using 2 1/2" strips.  


In addition, I've also started selling Island Batik fabrics in my Etsy shop.  I have a few 10" square Stacks and white, Sprinkles and Lavender yardage so far, plus some of the scarves, which I hope to get listed this week.  If you need something, let me know!  


Thanks so much for stopping by to catch up with me.  I am currently working on the November Cozy Cabins challenge, using Alpine Jingle for my Log Cabin quilt.  I have something fun planned for it, using my new embroidery machine.  You'll just have to wait to see what happens.  Here's a little teaser, where I am tonight on the blocks. 

 Next strips are cut.  2 logs of greens, then assembling the top.  And then the fun...
Happy Thanksgiving, and thanks for visiting.  

Maryellen

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Pick a Pumpkin Blog Hop!


I'm SEW honored to be a part of  Creatin' In the Sticks
Pick a Pumpkin Blog Hop.  Carla has done a wonderful job of making this fun hop happen.  If you click on the link above, you'll see some info about prizes she's offering.  If you read below, you may see something about a prize from me.  

Here's my pumpkin project.  
First, the background info.  

I've been wanting an embroidery machine.  Like really wanting.  That and a long arm, because making big quilts, like I like to do, is not fun to baste on a dining room table.  I don't mind quilting them on my Viking Sapphire, as it has a great amount of throat space, but it would be so much faster and easier with a long-arm.  But back to the embroidery.  I've been watching videos and reading blogs and stuff for years.  I "snuck" into a lesson that one of my sewing students was taking on hers, about 6 years ago.  I spoke to my favorite machine guys and gals, and spoke to fellow Quiltsy Team members who have them.  And priced some.  Then I saw a shop on Long Island was going out of business, and had great prices on the brand I wanted.  But, she didn't have that model.  I asked about another, and she said she had a Pfaff Creative 1.5, and quoted a price that was in my budget.  I took the machine home, knowing I would have to google for lessons, and go to Pocono Sew and Vac for supplies and accessories because she was not able to provide support.  I set up the machine, and played, and was able to stitch out the designs.  So, I've been playing, and wanted to try adding some embroidered applique to a project.  

The designs included didn't show a pumpkin that I liked, so I browsed through Embroidery Library and found this one, which is supposed to be a trivet, in the hoop.  I read the instructions, and figured I would try just as an applique, for this hop.  I just bypassed the step to add the backing fabric.

Then I figured I wanted something small that I could finish quickly (because being a caregiver for Mom, who has Alzheimer's takes more time each day, less sewing time).

I had made some of this style table topper, using the Pieced Tree Center Stage pattern, and figured the design would show off an applique nicely.  I think I was right.  Plus, it's done.  
Double win.  Especially since I have a few projects from last month that aren't done.  More  on that in another post. 
 I like how the background makes a star shape around the applique pumpkin.  That looks really cool in person, and inspired the twist in the feather design.  I didn't quilt over the pumpkin, but did stitch close to the outer edge to set it off a little, and make it puff a bit.  


The applique fabrics are from Island Batik, which is provided to me as an ambassador.  Thread is either 40 or 50 wt Mako cotton by Aurifil, based on the color I had.  I should have picked a slightly darker color for the embroidery on the pumpkin, but I'm still learning.  It should have more contrast. 
 It finishes about 24 1/2" side to side.  The octagon shape is fun.  
 The background, pumpkin print, and tan print are from my stash.  I know the tan is from Andover.  

I hand-guided the feathers with Aurifil 50wt, and used Warm & Natural batting.  I'll be listing this for sale in my Etsy shop soon.  I can't wait to play with more embroidery designs!  I also love mixing in Island Batik with other fabrics.  Next up is something for Christmas.  

Please check the other bloggers for more fun and inspiration, with pumpkins.  And please leave a comment, either a suggestion for other embroidery designs, or something you love with pumpkin, and I'll pick a comment next week to win something from me.  I have a new pattern coming out, so that may be included.  I often pick some Island Batik to give away, too.  I love being an ambassador!  

Pick a Pumpkin Blog Hop Schedule


Wednesday, November 7th

Thursday, November 8th


Thanks so much for visiting!  Please follow my blog if you don't already, and check out my Facebook page.  I'm going to go bake some chocolate pumpkin cupcakes to celebrate the finish!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Starstruck September


Have I mentioned I love being an Island Batik Ambassador?  Even the blog photo is inspirational.  I really do want to make something like that one of these days.  

For September, the Island Batik Ambassadors challenge was Starstruck.  Anything with a star, and any size.  I planned to try to work on a UFO that has lots of stars, but decided to make something new, because we're supposed to use more current collections.  I pulled a variety of fabrics, knowing I needed at least 1/2 yard for the borders and binding.  I tried a few different colorways, but this one spoke the loudest.  I used some of the scraps from the August Spring Blossoms quilt, especially the pink bird design.  I had a piece of pink with little dots, grabbed some scraps for the background, a larger dot, and the dragonfly fabric from Spring Blossoms, too.  

I made my Friendship Star, or Ribbon Twist Star runner.  I wanted to show you that even your "non-batik" designs can use batiks, just as well.  

Here's the Island Batik version. 




But wait!  I just made this in traditional Christmas fabrics.



I've used traditional colors, too.  Blue and yellow; yellow, gray and red; strawberries, with red and blue, so many others.


See?  You can use batiks in anything.  I happen to love how the twist makes the star disappear.  It looks like a ribbon is weaving around squares.  

If you haven't tried Island Batik, you really should.  The colors are gorgeous, and the fabric is wonderful.  I am so spoiled.  When I make something with Island Batik, there's hardly any fraying.  When I work with other brands of fabrics, the fraying edges seem so bothersome and numerous!  It's so annoying to work with other stuff, now.  I was finishing something recently, with another brand of quilting fabric, and was really surprised at how many strings had to be trimmed, from units, blocks, the border. It felt like such a waste of time, because I seldom have to do it with an Island Batik project.  I know part of it is that the fabric is washed so many times, that it's shrunken, and the fibers are now meshed and closer together.  It's also because Island Batik starts out with a great base fabric, to begin with.  It does matter.  

Try it, and let me know.  

On a side note, the family of my Airplane commissioned quilt send this.  Little C looks so happy to have his Aeronautics quilt.  The quilt is about 62" square, so it looks like he'll be snuggling with it for a while.  I'm so happy he's happy!  


Also, I received my Teal Mini Quilt from my swap partner.  I think she did a wonderful job for a very new quilter.  The wing is the teal fabric that we were given to use.  I know this bird will make me smile.   Becky also sent a Kansas pin to add to my collection.  The Map quilt was given to me by my partner the first year I participated.  I'm collecting pins from other states I visit as well, but missed a few. lol



That's all my news for now.  Thanks for visiting!  
I'll be sharing the quilt I'm sending to Becky soon.