Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Looking Back April Island Batik Ambassador Challenge

Hi, and thanks for visiting. What inspires your quilts?  Why did you start?  I know when I officially started quilting.  It was about 1989.  I was married at the time, my son was about 2, and we had a house built in the Poconos of PA.  I was making the curtains, and had all the rooms planned for colors.  I had been sewing since I was about 5, so I knew what quilts were, but I hadn't made one yet.  I found a small quilting fabric store, and they were having a class featuring the Quilt In A Day Log Cabin book.  I wanted to make a quilt for my bed, picked some pink, rose, and blue calicos and took the class.  We all worked as long as we could, but my top was done in the afternoon and we layered it, flipped it, and tied it before class ended. I can't remember how many others were done, but my queen size was on my bed that night.  I was so excited.  I do have one extra block.  I need to take a photo of it, to add to this.  I wanted to do the Log Cabin for my bed, because of the history of it.  It first appeared as a block in the 1860s, and the center red square symbolized the hearth of the home, and the lights and darks, the ups and downs of life.  Our new house was in the woods, and although it didn't look like a cabin, I was hoping the light side of life would shine for us.  It didn't, for long, but that's another story.  When the divorce happened, he took that quilt.  I'm sure it's buried in a landfill at this point, which is fine.  I have one block, and the memory of that class, my first Olfa rotary cutter, and mat, and a love for making quilts.  

Island Batik asked the Ambassadors to use fabric they provided to create something new based on the vintage design.  I picked the log cabin, again.  It's actually a favorite block.  I've done a number of Log Cabin quilts, and always stick the the Quilt In A Day method I learned 28 years ago, although I use a newer edition of the book.  (I do still have the original, with the notes about how many skeins of crewel thread for tying).  I've even played with Island Batik and a Log Cabin.  

 This  was for the  Ambassador Summer in the Country hop, September 2015
This was from the Eerie Nights Hop, October, 2016

This was started for the Modern Challenge in 2016, and finished in Feb 2017.  It uses the Wonky Log Cabin ruler by Quilt In A Day.  You do know Eleanor Burns is one of my favorite teachers and designers, right?  

So, I'm back with another Log Cabin, but my first more scrappy.  I received a Fat 8th bundle of Season's Shades in my 2018 Ambassador box.  The pieces were 10 by 18, which gives a nice view of the colors and textures, but is a challenge to find a pattern that would work.  I added in some Egg White from the Foundations Neutrals, and cut a pile of 2 1/2" strips.  

I used the brighter pink for the central square, but the rest of the "dark" side is a variety of prints.  I tried to keep the lighter shades to the center, and the darker to the outer edge.  As I was sewing the blocks, I thought about how to make it more modern.  I decided to make 10 blocks, again, and make another bed/table runner with the zig-zag edge.  I even used the same layout, although I did play with options before deciding.  There's so much you can do with this block! (Read the previous post for more info, and the book that inspired it)

 I worked on quilting it, and have all the colored parts, and maybe 1/2 of the background parts done.  It's now officially May 1, though, and I wanted to get this posted.  I must admit I'm pretty happy I got almost done this month.  That's better than usual.  Yay, me, despite all the other issues challenging me this month. 
 I'm using Aurifil 50wt thread for quilting.  I used 3817 Marakesh, which is a bright variegated thread.  It adds a little punch to the colors in the dark side.  I picked 4651 Bari for the light side.  It's also a variegated, with pastel yellow, pink, and lavender, and adds some punch to the light side.  It's also unexpected.  I didn't want to be too bold, but did want interest.  Egg White has a pastel swirl dot design.  The thread looks great on it.  I know Wendy Sheppard, one of my favorite quilters, suggests using a thread with a little color, as an unexpected pop.  I decided to take her advice. 
 I'm quilting feathers.  I'll share more close-up photos when this is done, and I did cut out the batting behind the zig-zag edge, so you can see where this is going.  I can't cut the other side until it's quilted, because sometimes the block shifts.  I don't want any issues!  
I'm not sure if I'll do just an Egg White binding, or use scraps from the bundle, or maybe something that coordinates with the green or purple fabrics.  I have to check my stash, and see what's available.  

Thanks for visiting, and please check out all the Island Batik Ambassador projects, and how they were inspired by vintage quilts.  Island Batik shares it on their Facebook page, or you can check on my previous posts for a list of 2018 Ambassadors.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Use It Up with Island Batik Ambassador Alumni

The current and past Island Batik Ambassadors have remained friends, and have a private group on Facebook.  I'm still current, and have lots of stash left, but feel really bad for those who are close to the end of their fabric supply, provided to the Ambassadors by Island Batik.  I hope they're not jealous of me, lol. I have a tote-full left, and have 3 patterns to make for Fall Market, too. 

Anyway, Patti Bochey suggested this fun hop, sharing scrap projects, and I jumped in!  Then I had a time crunch (caring for Mom, and other issues).  I had made 2 clothesline baskets for the Island Batik March New Technique challenge, and had a bit of the clothesline left.  I grabbed some 2 1/2" strips left from the Zen collection (I designed a pattern for it, and had a few scraps left from making the cover quilt).  I do love this line.  The blues are so pretty.  So, I grabbed some strips, some other scraps, and the rest of the clothesline, along with a small spool of light blue Aurifil 40wt Mako cotton thread.  

I cut the fabric scraps into 3/4" strips, and grabbed a Lapel Stick washable glue stick, to join the ends as I wrapped the clothesline.  Wrap, glue on new strip, wrap.  I should have grabbed a few Clover Wonderclips, too, as I was wrapping while watching TV with Mom.  I decided to start with the darker strips, then add the aqua, light blue, and end with more darker blues.  
 Change the needle to a 14 Jeans needle, put a different foot on the machine, thread with Aurifil 40wt, and start sewing the rope together, and form a circle.  Actually sewing and forming the basket is fun, and doesn't take much time. 
 I wasn't sure how big I was going to get with this one, since I didn't have a lot of the clothesline left, so when I got to the aqua color strip, I started curving toward the side, forming the basket.  It's about 4 1/2" this time (last time was closer to 6").  Just keep zigzagging the coil together.  

Yes, these can get addicting.  It's a fun way to use scraps, and come up with something different and useful.  This bowl ended up about 8 1/2" wide at the top, and about 3 3/4" high.  It's so pretty!  I do plan to purchase more of the rope.  I got 3 good size baskets out of 100 feet.  I think these would make some great gifts, and it's a good way to use scraps of any type of fabric.  

Oh, yeah, this was a new spool of Aurifil 40wt when this bowl was started.  I wound 2 bobbins, and used one and half the second, and have this much left on the spool.  When I order the clothesline, I need to order more 40wt thread, too.  Big spools. Yup, addicting. 

Check with the other Alumni to see what they did to use up their scraps.  

Monday, April 16, 2018

Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Mary Macks Blog (Thanks for visiting!)

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Thursday, April 19, 2018 

Friday, April 20, 2018

Saturday, April 21, 2018 

Sunday, April 22, 2018 

Leave a comment and I'll pick someone for some Island Batik fabric.  It's so hard to choose, so you'll just have to be surprised.  Have you tried making a clothesline bowl?  What size do you think would be practical for you? Also, please follow my blog! Thanks for visiting.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Try A Technique with Island Batik

March's challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors was to try something new.  It could be any size, any technique, but something we hadn't done before.  So, since I've been sewing since I was 4, what haven't I done?  Trapunto?  Done it.  English Paper Piecing? Done it, but not with batik.  Garments?  Done it.  I haven't done hand quilting, but wasn't really in the mood for that yet.  Any blocks I haven't done?  Can't think of many.  But that's piecing and quilting, so that's not really new.  The other Ambassadors had a list going on our private page.  Some great ideas were passed around, and I'll share a link to some, so you can be inspired, too.  

One thing I've wanted to do for a while was to make a fabric covered basket, with clothesline.  I've had a large hank of 3/16" cotton clothesline for a few years, with this intention.  Ambassador Sally Manke is also a friend from Quiltsy Team on Etsy, and I remembered she did a tutorial on her page about making them.  I had some basic info (I do have a good memory for things I read, but asked her for a quick verification) and decided to use some of the Southern Blooms fabric I have left from remaking the Funky Friends Factory Easter Bunnies.  I made these for Fall 2017 Market, but was asked to make them again, and was sent more fabric.  

Sally said to cut 3/4" strips, preferably of batiks, use a 14 or 16 needle (I used a Schmetz Jeans 14), and to wrap the clothesline while watching TV, lol.  I cut strips of each color Sunday afternoon, and started wrapping.  After a while I realized the wrapping was not coming out smooth, as I had expected, but I kept going.  Then I realized that the strips were larger than an inch.  I KNOW I had cut them to the 3/4" line, but they were wider.  I kept wrapping.  After Mom was settled in bed, I went up to sew.  I also looked at my ruler.  It's the newly purchased Creative Grids 6 1/2 by 24 1/2" ruler I got to replace the broken Fiskars Donna Dewberry ruler that's no longer made.  The Donna Dewberry had a purple edge to the left, which was the extra 1/2".  I always kept it to the left.  I have the Gypsy Gripper handle on the Creative Grids ruler.  I had just picked it up, and looked for the 3/4" line, not realizing it was also the side with the extra 1/2". So, my strips are actually 1 1/4".  Don't do that.  Keep the strips 3/4".  I won't make that same mistake again.  I'm going to put some glowline tape on the bottom right corner of the ruler to mark it, and also realized that the extra 1/2" has more gripper than the right side.  It only shows if you look closely (but with my vision issues, I wouldn't have noticed unless it was about 4" from my face, not arm's length when using to cut).  I do like the lines on the ruler, though.  The extra 1/2" makes it so easy to cut 6" border strips, and the grip is great.  Just make sure it's not upside down.

Anyway, basically, you wrap, then sew the wrapped clothesline with a zigzag stitch.  I grabbed a Clover WonderClip to help hold the fabric as I was sewing.  Keep sewing the rope to the previous round, and tilt it to help shape it.  My basket ended up at about 10" across, and about 3" tall.  I do plan to make another.  And probably more.  It's fun, and you can be really creative with the colors.  This one, I did 6 strips of the pink, and then 6 of the butterfly design (the original ones I cut) then I added  one 3/4" strip of butterfly, then 3/4" of pink, just to finish it.  Sally and others on the Quiltsy team make scrappy versions, add swirls at the end, even add handles.  You should take a look.  There are books with more info, too.  I hope you try it! 

I used Aurifil 40wt Mako in 4660 Pink Taffy, top and bobbin, which I think worked really well.  I wouldn't suggest 50wt thread for this.  The 40wt shows well, and will be durable.  The variegated really shows on the bottom.  40wt also stands up to the repeated stress of going through the rope and layers of fabric.  No fraying or breaking while sewing.

 Mom watched me take this photo, and snagged a bag of M&M's, lol.  

I love the way the colors worked in the middle.  You can see how fun it is to use a batik.  
I made tags from the tape Island Batik uses for their Stack Pack 10" squares, and added them to the bunny bottoms.  The tails are made by gathering a circle, adding some fiberfill, and sewing them on.  So cute in the contrasting fabric. 

Here are links to the other Island Batik Ambassadors. Check out their March #TryATechniqueIB challenges!  
Barbara at Bejeweled Quilts
Bea at BeaQuilter
Carole at Carole Lyles Shaw
Connie at Kauffman Designs
Dione at Clever Chameleon
Geraldine at Living Water Quilter
Janet at Whispers of Yore
Jeanette at Inchworm Fabrics
Jennifer at Curlicue Creations
Jennifer at Dizzy Quilter
Jennifer at Inquiring Quilter
Joyce at heARTs Creations
Kathleen at Kathleen McMusing
Leanne at Devoted Quilter
Mania at Mania for Quilts
Maryellen at Mary Mack Made Mine
Michelle at Creative Blonde
Pamela at PamelaQuilts
Sally at Sally Manke
Sandra at MMM Quilts
Sherry at Powered by Quilting  
Stephanie at Steph Jacobson

Thanks for visiting! 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Megan's Baby Quilt

My friend's daughter, Megan, is expecting her first little one.  She and Joe got married last April, and I made the Triple Irish Chain quilt for their wedding gift.  I knew I had to make something special for the "little peanut", which is their nickname for the baby.  They're not revealing the baby's gender or name until birth, later in April, so that's exciting!  Megan mentioned she wanted yellow and gray, with elephants.  Although I wanted to use Island Batik, I felt this quilt would be better in a print.  I found Little Safari, which included elephants and other cute animals in yellow and gray, at Fat Quarter Shop.  They had a Fat Quarter bundle which included the panel, and I ordered yardage for the border and binding.  I love how quickly they ship!  

When using flannel, I prefer to prewash.  Flannel shrinks and frays.  A lot.  I lost 3/4" inch from each FQ, plus fraying, and almost 2" from the total of the 2yd border piece.  The ball of frayed thread was larger than a tennis ball.  But the fabric came out nice and soft.  

I looked on Pinterest for a few elephant themed quilts, and knew fellow Island Batik Ambassador Jessica of Desert Bloom Quilting had a design, as well.  I decided to use her's for my inspiration.  I played on EQ8 to change the borders to suit the panel squares, which after washing yielded 5 1/4" squares.  If I made it 5", I would have lost some of the giraffe heads, and tails of some of the others.  

I cut an oversized piece of white flannel for the applique background, centered the applique pieces, using a fusible web, and ironed them down.  I used 2605 Grey, 2615 Aluminum and 5001 Ocher Yellow Aurifil 50wt threads to machine stitch them, and then used Aurifil embroidery floss, 3 strands, in black, to create the eyes, instead of using Jessica's suggested dots.   I quilted around the elephants with 2021 Natural White, and added a paisley feather design in the background.  I used 5001 again for the yellow border feathers.  

After sewing the side squares for the first border, I measured them, so I could cut the background to size.  I did the same with the top and bottom squares, then added them to the background.  I then added different strips from 2 of the FQs to do the next borders, and added a nice border from the yellow yardage.  

I used Warm & White for batting, and a soft Minkee backing.  

The quilt ended up about 47 by 57".  Christine planned a lovely shower on Sunday, and we had a really nice time.  The food at Rachel's Waterfront in Freeport was good, the cake was delicious, and I won 2 of the games.  They loved the quilt, which makes me really happy.  I can't wait to meet the little peanut!  I do hope they have photos taken with the baby on the quilt, wearing the crocheted diaper cover and hat that Christine's sister, Katie made.  It's an elephant!  

I offered to bring some balloons, and had fun choosing the elephant. 

So, welcome, little peanut!  I can't wait to meet you.  

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Mini Love with Island Batik

Hi!  I know this is late, it's February's challenge, but better late than never.  

I'm so thrilled to be an Island Batik Ambassador again.  It really is the best thing!  I get tons of fabric (okay, 22 lbs) and get to make things with it.  And getting Aurifil thread is wonderful.  

Before I get the photos of my mini, I wanted to share about my experience last week.  This started back in September, 2017.  I sell my quilts, and do the craft/vendor fair at our church's Spirit Day. A woman came with her daughter, looking for a quilt for the granddaughter's bed.  They picked one featuring Island Batik fabric I had purchased.  I mentioned being an Ambassador and Aurifil Artisan. She said that she's also a quilter, but couldn't make a similar quilt for my price, so they purchased it.  (Yay!!)  A few days later, I got an email from Pieceful Patchers Quilt Guild in Williston Park, asking me to do a presentation and show quilts, related to being an Ambassador and Artisan.  In preparation for this, I wrote to my contacts at both companies and asked for handouts.  Aurifil provided brochures, as well as small spools of thread for each member, and a 12 spool kit for a raffle prize.  Island Batik sent a Stack of 10" squares, a Strip Pack (2 1/2" strips) and a Stash Builder pack.  My talk was well received, and they were totally thrilled with the raffle prizes.  It made for a really fun night, and I'm also really grateful my friend Christine attended, and videotaped it.  She also tried to set up a small PowerPoint slide show I did of sold quilts, but the borrowed projector didn't agree.  I'm so grateful to both Island Batik and Aurifil for helping launch this new aspect of my business.  I can't wait to do it again, and the group may ask me to teach a class next year.  They want one of my projects as a pattern.  
Yay for me!  

So, in prepping for that, I've finished a few older challenge pieces, so yay for me again.  UFOs off the list are a wonderful thing.  But that also explains why I'm late with this.

When Island Batik asked for #MiniLovewithIslandBatik, I didn't know what I wanted to do.  But I do have a large tote of fabric from prior years, plus stuff I purchased, and looked through it.  Then Island Batik did the hop for Blue Moon and Marie Bostwick's "The Promise Girls" novel and I really wanted to make Stormy Stars.  Avery, one of the sisters in the book, is a mermaid. I love all of Marie's books, and really enjoyed reading this one.  Stormy Stars is designed by Deb Tucker, Studio 180 designs.  The pattern is free (there's a link on that blog post).  I loved how it looked, and would love to make the Blue Moon version of the full size quilt.  I thought about choosing other colors, but when looking through the box of fabric, I found this turtle print from the Boondocks collection, I think from 2014.  I figured Avery's mermaid would love a turtle quilt!  

I played in EQ8 to figure out the placement of different fabrics, based on what I had available.  I came up with this version. 

The turtle fabric is in the border and center star design and I fussy cut some of them for the smaller squares.  The royal blue has waves, and the green dot is from the 2017 Foundations group.  

 The other green, with purple accents, is from the scraps of the Funky Friends hedgehog, and the light blue around the waves is from a stash buster roll.  

I did have a few issues getting this right.  When I first printed the pattern, I used regular paper.  I have Carol Doak's foundation paper, though, and printed enough of the blocks for the units, on another day.  Then I made 4 of the units, and was trimming them when I realized they were 3/8" smaller than they should be.  When I printed just the foundation paper, the printer made it fit, instead of printing full size.  I had to remake those units, after printing all the foundation papers again.  Yup, first set in the trash, so they wouldn't get used.  Then I realized I had not cut enough fabric, and had to cut more.  Then I realized I miscounted the units, and had to print more.  Most of the sewing went well, until tonight, adding the border.  I had put one border on with the Triangle in a square blocks the wrong way.  I just took off those blocks, sewed them back on the right way, and finished the border.  So, this needs a backing and quilting and binding, which may happen soon.  I have a few deadline things to do, first.  

One more thing!  The challenge said under 24".  I know it's a request, and many of the Ambassadors did very well with that.  Me?  Not so much.  This is 27".  But this closer to the right size, compared to my challenge piece from last year.  

I'm considering the 24" just a suggestion, and the fact that I used a pattern from Island Batik's blog should count for bonus points, right? 

You should check out the other Ambassador's posts featuring their minis.  Lots of fun inspiration.  Now to March's challenge, something new to me.  What haven't I sewn yet?? Not much! 

Thanks for stopping and reading.  

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Happy Galentine's Day!

Island Batik Ambassadors are celebrating our Gal Pals!  This is our second year, and it's just as fun.  It's actually a fictional holiday based on the TV show "Parks and Recreation", but it's still a really sweet way to celebrate women in our lives.  

I needed to start this before my 2018 Ambassador box arrived (sewing time is limited, especially lately.  Mom's dementia is progressing, and we've had quite a difficult time over the last 3 months).  I also found 2 12" blocks from last year (also known as UFO's or UnFinished Objects).  I wanted to make 2 placemats for Mom's table.  Yes, I get to use them too.  Since she thinks I'm her best friend, I figure she won't remember to get me a gift, and I don't want to buy something for myself.  So I'm doing it for both of us. Her dining room table always has a fabric tablecloth.  I noticed that using placemats last fall made a difference in keeping the cloth cleaner, so I want to make some for each season, to go along with a runner I have already made.  The runners aren't with Island Batik, but that's fine. I'll use them anyway.

I cut out squares to make Half Square Triangles (HSTs) and 3 1/2" squares, from my collection of Island Batik scraps, including some from Cherry Berry.   I picked a background that has a little bit of a peachy color dot.  Last year's hearts were 8" squares, made with 2 1/2" units with a 2 1/2" border.  This year I decided to make them bigger, using 3 1/2" units, for a 12 1/2" square (12" finished).  For the placemats, I just added a 6 1/2" piece to one side, so the mats finish about 18 by 12.  

Mom has one pretty floral plate, but a sweet collection of rose glasses from her mother, so I added them for the photo. 

I opened a new spool of Aurifil 50wt thread in 4660 Pink Taffy to quilt feathers in the hearts and border, and a swirly feather in the sides of the placemats.  I pieced these with Aurifil, too.  Batting is Warm & Natural.

 I was given this sweet heart print a few years ago, and just love using it for backing. It's a vintage piece, only 36" wide, from an estate but so cute!  I often list other vintage things for sale, but this one is mine.  I love hearts!

A friend from grammar school recently contacted me.  We "found" each other on Facebook a number of years ago, and chat often.  She recently asked for prayers for a medical issue, so I plan to drop one of the mug rugs off to her.  Hopefully it will bring a little cheer and let her know I'm still praying for a good result.  I'm not sure who will get the second one.   My besties got some last year.

I'm so happy with how these came out, and hope to make more placemats for other months.  
How are you celebrating your Gal Pals?  Let them know you care, especially today.  

Saturday, February 10, 2018

2018 Ambassador Box and...

I'm an Island Batik Ambassador!  This is the beginning of my 5th year, and I'm still thrilled.  I get 2 boxes of Island Batik and assorted other brand items, to sew with, create with, and play with.  Island Batik has monthly challenges for the Ambassadors, and 2 annual blog hops to help showcase their gorgeous fabrics.  

I made a video of my box opening.  It's on my Facebook page. I wanted to show another photo.  

Yes, the gorgeous blue scarf with green leaves is missing from this photo, because I wore it yesterday, as soon as I opened the box.  :)  Aurifil thread supplied a large cone of 2024 50wt white thread, as well as 2318 in a spool, and 40wt threads in 2510, 2225, 4020, 2430, and 2255.  Hobbs batting supplied a twin size Heirloom, which is an 80/20 cotton, and Thermore, a queen size thin polyester batting.  

There's also a large bundle of gorgeous fabrics with sweet designs on it, but you'll see that later.  I can't wait to play with it. 

I'm also a member of Quiltsy Team on Etsy.  It's a seller's team, almost like an international quilting guild.  We cheer each other on, support each other's businesses with advice and suggestions, and also support our personal lives.  It's the best team.  We also do a charity component.  Last year we sent quilts to Tennessee to help the people affected by the brush fires.  This year we're working on things for California, the fires and mudslides.  I've made 3 pillowcases so far, and need to make a quilt block to send.  I do think I'll be finding some green fabric from my Island Batik boxes and get that ready to mail for Monday.  

I used some fun novelty fabrics, so hope they cheer up the children who receive them.  Green Lantern, construction equipment, and cell phones.  

The last little thing I made tonight was a little pillow for this box.  I have a jewelry box, but most often only wear this necklace and earrings.  I put them in a small box, on top of my big box.  I saw this purple (my favorite color) box in the Avon catalog, and a percentage of the sales goes to help victims of abuse.  I'm a survivor, so wanted to get this box to replace the damaged little gift box I was using, and because it was purple.  I wanted something inside to help protect my necklace and earrings.  I grabbed a purple scrap of Paisley Dot and made a little pillow with batting inside.  It's so cute!  I'm thrilled, and know my necklace and earrings will be easy to find and safe. 

Thanks for visiting!  I can't wait to show you more of fabrics and the challenge pieces.  My Galentine's project will be done for Tuesday, and then there's a mini coming.