Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Seaside Summer Blog Hop

Welcome to the Seaside Summer Blog Hop!  I hope you have been following the Island Batik Ambassadors on their daily blog posts Aug 15- Sept 2.  Today is my day to share with you.

The Island Batik fabric collection I received to create with for this blog hop is called Equinox.

Aren't these lovely fabrics!  They are a great mix of oranges, greens, and browns with a pop of red and burgandy.  I had these fabrics for several months before they announced what the theme of the blog hop would be. I had visions of pumpkins and quilts with leaves....and the theme became Seaside Summer!  Oh my!  Well, I was told I should make anything that showed off the fabrics- even if it didn't match with the theme of the blog hop.

So I finally decided to just go with my first instinct and make a fall themed project.  Here is my quilt  called Looking At Autumn.

I had a lot of fun using 20 fabrics from this collection - the more colors the better!  The colors were wonderful for mixing and matching half square triangles.  There is a quick and easy secret to making the inner border that sparkles. This project is much easier than it looks!  I used Aurifil 2360 and Superior Fantastico 5131 to piece and quilt with.  You can see how well the colors work with the fabrics.

I still felt I needed to make something with a summer theme- even if it wasn't a large quilt.  Here is my mini pineapple block- thanks to the free pattern from Red Brolly  And only about 11 colors in this one!  This was quilted with a 4" arc template from Westalee, and using their foot for quilting on a domestic machine. I will be posting about these fantastic templates in future posts, so stay tuned to my blog.

Pineapple is so refreshing for summer snacks. Since my small block is a pineapple, I thought my recipe should have pineapple in it. This recipe is super quick and easy - great for a hot summer day.

Pistachio Pudding
6 oz pkg cool whip
small can (8 oz) crushed pinapple
Instant pistachio pudding
small marshmellows
Mix everything together and cool

To enter to win a 5" x 5" Stamp pack of Island Batik London Fog fabrics (they look like summer to me) leave a comment on what is your favorite "summer" color.  Make sure that I can reach you by email if you should win.

Enter the rafflecopter below to be entered to win some beautiful Island Batik fabrics.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here is the full schedule for the blog hop- be sure to visit everyone!

Monday Aug 15 - Rain Forest

Tuesday Aug 16 - Red Tide

Wednesday Aug 17 - Sand Dune

Thursday Aug 18 - Seashore

Friday Aug 19 - Surf Squirt

Monday Aug 22 - Tradewinds

Tuesday Aug 23 - Equinox

Wednesday Aug 24 - Sea Canyon

Thursday Aug 25 - Sea Foam

Friday Aug 26 - Spoolin' Around

Monday Aug 29 - Tide Pools

Tuesday Aug 30 - Wind and Sea

Wednesday Aug 31 - Spring Zing

Thursday Sep 1 - Splash

Friday Sept 2 - Landscapes

Monday, August 15, 2016

Seaside Summer Blog Hop

Today starts the Summer Blog Hop with the Island Batik Ambassadors.  Join us for 15 days of quilting fun.  Lots of beautiful fabrics, patterns and giveaways!  Check out the schedule of stops below.  Be sure and come back here on the 23rd when I post using the Island Batik Equinox fabrics.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

My machine quilting journey

Machine quilting....how many of you like to do it?

It has always been a struggle for me.  I never had trouble doing stitch in the ditch, but was never happy with quilting designs on my domestic machine.

For awhile I invested in a mid arm machine.  I did this for a couple reasons:

1)  It was expensive to send quilts out to long arm quilters
2)  I thought I could quilt my own large quilts
3)  I thought it would be faster to quilt on the mid arm than my domestic machine

The mid arm I purchased was a low end/low priced one.  The shop I purchased it from offered free classes on all their machines....but they never did offer any support for the mid arms they sold.  That was my first mistake.  If you EVER purchase a mid arm or long arm machine- be SURE they offer classes and support!

I found out several things while having a mid arm machine:

1)  I could send out MANY quilts to my long arm friends for what I paid for the mid arm.
2)  I found out I didn't really make many bed sized quilts
3)  I found out it really wasn't faster because of problems with thread, tension, thread, tension, and did I say thread problems?

Then  there was the issue of needing to purchase acrylic rulers and pantos, leaders and all kinds of

paraphernalia that you don't think of when you purchase a machine.  I also found out that you need to spend concentrated time quilting on the machine to begin to master it.  With all my design work and piecing, the times I needed to do the quilting was sometimes far apart.

I eventually sold the mid arm and was glad to have it gone.  While the whole experience with a mid arm was rather frustrating, I did learn A LOT. Now when I do send things to a long arm quilter, I am much more aware of what they do and what they are looking for.  It also helps me to think more about the quilting design process.  I also learned to really appreciate the acrylic templates for quilting- but more on that later.

I also invested in a stitch regulator for my domestic sewing machine.  I thought THIS IS IT!  I tried it for a long time.  I can't say I struggled with it, but it never flowed for me.  I still got jerky stitches no mater what I did.  I finally gave that up also and have been DETERMINED to master machine quilting on my domestic machine.  I went back to how I first began, with using the darning foot, dropping the feed dogs or not dropping the feed dogs, adjusting stitch length, etc.  Finally things started to flow for me.  Maybe it is the years of experience since I last tried, I don't know what finally clicked.   All I know is now I feel more in control and my stitches are ones I can feel good about.

But...I have really missed the acrylic rulers that you can use with long arm and mid arm machines.  I even contacted my sewing machine company to see if they had a foot that you could use acrylic templates with- no luck there.  What I HAVE found is the Westalee Ruler Foot for domestic machines.  I am over the hill happy with this foot!  I have loads of things to share with you about this foot and all the templates you can use with it.  Since this post is already getting long,  I will tell you more exciting news in future  posts- so stay tuned! 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Autumn Glow

The August/Sept 2016 Quilter's Newsletter magazine has my quilt pattern for Autumn Glow.
This quilt is made with the Sweet Georgia Peach collection from Island Batik.  These are lovely soft colors of peach and green and browns.  This is a lap quilt 47" x 59" and was quilted by my talented friend Ande Stephens in an all over quilt design.

The pattern in the magazine is given with pieced blocks, but I actually made this with paper piecing.  You can go online at www.quiltersnewletter.com to get the foundation patterns.  There are only a couple paper pieced blocks and that makes it a pretty quick and easy project.  Look for the Sweet Geogia Peach fabrics in your local stores

Friday, July 15, 2016

Christmas in July

Whooo's thinking of Christmas in July?
 The Island Batik Ambassador's challenge for this month was Christmas In July

Our fabrics for this challenge were from the Holiday Happenings collection
This is a lovely collection- but the fabrics I was given were the darker brown blends, with some purple, black and golds - not what I usually work with for Christmas quilts.  
So I thought and thought....Finally decided if I was really going to work on Christmas projects in July, I'd probably be working on gifts.  After more thinking and thinking about my colors and what kind of gifts to make with them,  I finally decided to make pincushions!  Falling back to ideas on Pinterest- I found this cute little owl pincushion.  Only three fabric pattern pieces and one cardboard circle.

I started with one owl to test the pattern, then proceeded to make him a bunch of friends...

I couldn't resist posing them a couple different ways.  The fabric colors worked great to make these cute little woodland creatures!

This pattern was really quick and easy- a great project for little gifts.  Make a few!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

EQ's Birthday!

This year Electric Quilt turns 25!  They are having a great contest along with Island Batik this month.  Island Batik is giving away a copy of EQ7 - a $190 value.  You can enter by going to their website/blog or by clicking here:  Island Batik blog

Electric Quilt is giving away a 10 yard bundle of Island Batik fabric.  It's just beautiful!  You can enter by clicking here: Electric Quilt Blog

Be sure to enter!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

2016 Quilt Garden Quilts

With summer comes the lovely Quilt Gardens in Northern Indiana.  I've been privileged to make a quilt representing the Nappanee Welcome Center's quilt garden for several years.  Because this is Indiana's Bicentennial - all the quilt gardens on the tour ( 19 gardens and many quilt murals) selected traditional quilt blocks for the gardens.  The Nappanee Welcome Center selected the Whirligig pattern.

Here is a photo of the garden in full bloom - it's really lovely.

photo courtesy of the Nappanee Welcome Center facebook
And here is a photo of the quilt.  I always add a border around the central garden quilt block design.
This year Ande Stephens quilted the quilt.  You can't see the quilting, but in the borders she added a torch from the Indiana flag, the Indiana State Bird- Cardinals, Indiana's State flower- the Peony and the dates of the bicentennial.  Just beautiful quilting!

The quilt is available for view in the Nappanee Welcome Center located behind the garden.  As an added bonus this year- all the quilts from past gardens are also on display.                                      

I've also  made a quilt for Lintons Enchanted Garden for the past three years.  This quilt is made using some of the current Vera Bradley fabrics and the quilt is offered as a raffle with the money going towards breast cancer research.  This year  Linton's garden block design was the traditional Card Trick pattern.  Here is a photo of their lovely garden.
photo courtesy of the Nappanee Welcome Center facebook
This is a photo of my quilt called Playing With a Full Deck.  I named it this in case anyone counted how many "cards" are on the quilt.  If they counted - it may not add up correctly - until you look on the back where I added enough cards to make a full deck!

If you are interested in touring the quilt gardens, you can find more information at:  http://www.amishcountry.org/explore-the-area/quilt-gardens
The gardens are a lovely way to spend a day or two and enjoy the added attractions in Northern Indiana