Monday, July 24, 2017

July - Oh Baby Island Batik Challenge

The July challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors was to make some kind of a baby quilt.  What a great challenge!  Who doesn't like to make baby quilts!

Once again, my mind was spinning with what to make with the fabrics I'd been given.  I wanted to do something with a lot of color, so I went to some of the small strip pieces we'd been given.  They were about 3" x 10".   That gave me some nice color.  I should have taken a photo of the colorful strips- but I jumped into cutting before I thought about it.  I cut the blocks 3" x 3".

What pattern to use?  I usually make baby quilts that look very cute and baby-ish.  This time I was still thinking about the modern challenge we had a couple months ago, and thought maybe I'd do something with squares and with more of a modern look.

Have you ever gotten ideas in your head that don't go away?  When we had the modern challenge, there were all sorts of patterns I thought about using.  Then we had the curves challenge and all I could think about were curves - ha!  This baby quilt let me use one of the modern patterns that I liked.

Here is a photo of the finished quilt - with a little friend.

The quilt measures 37" x 37".  This quilt was different for me as I didn't start with a pattern.  I started with the colored block size and went from there.  I used a yellow  batik called Swirl Leaf - Blond Ale  from the Twilight Blush collection for the sashings, center squares, backing and binding.

It usually takes me awhile to decide how to quilt, but this time I knew from the start that I wanted to use straight cross hatching.  I used a nice Blendable thread from Sulky. - 4126 for the quilting.  You can't really see it from the photo, but it picked up the colors in the blocks, and looked nice on the back too.

This is a great quilt for using scrap blocks.  It goes together easily.  
Do you need a quick baby quilt?  Give it a try!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Quilt Garden Quilt- quilting with rulers

In my post a week ago, I showed you the local quilt garden and my quilt Crossroads that goes with this years garden block.

I wanted to show you some of the quilting that is on the quilt.  I used some of the new Westalee Rulers for domestic machines.  They are SO wonderful- I can't say enough about them.  I was able to do a variety of quilting designs using them on this quilt and they make quilting so lovely and SO much easier!

Here is a photo of the feathering done on the green fabric- it is very hard to see, but looks very nice.  I used the feather and straight ruler for this area.

Here is a photo of the corner blocks where I used a circle ruler.  These turned out great.  I added a small button to the center for embellishment.

The red area was fun using circle rulers and large arc rulers.  The Spin-E-Fex Ruler No. 4 worked perfectly in the yellow center.

If anyone is interested in learning to do machine quilting on a domestic machine using rulers, be sure and check out the Ruler Foot and Westalee Rulers at 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

McCall's Quilting- Guest Blogger

Today I'm a guest blogger with McCall's Quilting Editors Blog.  Check it out at:
and be sure to enter the drawing for a strip pack of the lovely Island Batik Surf & Sand fabrics.

Monday, July 10, 2017

McCall's Quick Quilts - Waterway

My quilt Waterway has been published in the Aug/Sept 2017 issue of McCall's Quick Quilts.

The cool refreshing look of this quilt comes from the Surf & Sand fabrics by Island Batik.  I especially loved the focus fabric that had the blue/green curvy lines that looked like seaweed in motion.  I quilted along those lines which made the quilting fast and easy.

You can find more info on the quilt and purchase a digital copy at McCall's Quick Quilting.

McCall's has provided two sample issues as a give-a-way.  Just leave a comment below to be entered. USA residents only please.

Monday, July 3, 2017

2017 Quilt Garden and Quilt

It's summertime and time for another beautiful quilt garden and garden quilt.  Nappanee IN is part of The Quilt Gardens Along the Heritage Trail in Elkhart County IN.  This year is the 10th Anniversary of the Quilt Garden Tours.  There are 19 gardens on the tour along with garden murals in many spots.

I've helped to plant the gardens for several years and also design and make a quilt each year with the garden block highlighted in the center of the quilt.

The garden in Nappanee this year was a quilt block with no name, so they called it Crossroads.

The symbolism is that it portrays the two highways that go thru our town (US 6  and St Rd 19).
The directional sign in the center of the garden shows the distances from this location to the other towns in the county that also have gardens on the tour.  This garden is very unusal this year as the color comes from non- flowering plants!  I'm sure this is a first!

This year the tour also includes 56 life-size sculptures by Seward Johnson.  You can find out more about all these sculptures at: These sculptures are wonderful and our garden is graced by one of the smaller sculptures called There, Now You Can Grow.
Isn't she adorable!  I'm sure she will take good care of our garden this summer!

Here is a photo of the quilt that accompanies the garden.  It is hanging in the Nappanee Center next door.  Be sure to stop in and see the museum and several quilts from past gardens.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Curvalicious Quilts - June Challenge

I love the logo above.  The June challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors was to make something with curves.  This was an interesting challenge.  I spent weeks thinking of what to do.  

I thought about doing curves like in New York Beauty blocks.
Photo from Pinterest
I love New York Beauty Blocks and thought something like that would be fun.
Then I thought about simple curves like Orange Peel.
Photo from Pinterest
I also thought that many blocks give a curved image, but are made from straight lines- like the snowball block.
photo from Pinterest
This is just one of many I thought mind was spinning!  And time was running out...

Then I thought about fusible applique!  You can cut and fuse any kind of curved shape you can imagine....and I love to do this technique....
This is my Falling Leaves quilt.  It's so easy to fuse, cut and sew any shape.

So what should I do?  I finally decided to go the traditional route and to sew the curves on the machine.  I found a block I liked and decided to use the Dotalicious Earth fabric I had in 5" squares. I like to make small things, so I decided to make a hot pad using a selection of the blue squares.

These are my pieces- three pieces to a section and 8 sections.
Just a word of caution to someone just starting to sew curves - they are easier with larger pieces.  These are relatively small pieces and I found it was easier to put about 5 pins in to help sew the larger curve.  The inner curve was fine with three pins- one in the center and one on both sides.

Here is my completed block/hot pad.  The colors blended nicely.  I used a layer of Insul-Bright from The Warm Company and a layer of cotton batting for the inside.

Of course I didn't want to waste a scrap- it took nine 5" squares to make the front.  I added one more square to the scraps from the front to make a scrappy back.
I used the new 80 wt Aurifil thread for the quilting. It quilts beautifully! 

I like the back too- you could use either side!

Three more partial squares were used for the scrappy binding.  I used thirteen 5" squares for this project, with only a few small strips leftover.  Success!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Business Tote Pattern

The pattern on the cover of this book is my pattern called Evergreen Business Tote.  The pattern was originally published in an Oct issue of Quilter's World Magazine and later republished in this book Quilted Purses & Totes for all Seasons.  It's always a thrill when a project is featured on the cover!

I love to see my photos of my projects that people have made.  Recently Bea Lee sent me a photo of the tote that she made for her daughter.  Bea is a fellow Island Batik Ambassador- so I get to see a lot of her work (and she's prolific!)

Here is her business tote/laptop bag

I think it's lovely in the cool blues that she picked out - actually I think Bea let her daughter pick out the fabrics.  She did a great job!

You can see more of Bea's work at her blog :

Friday, May 19, 2017

Funky Friends at Spring Quilt Market

Island Batik had us make a few Funky Friends (cute stuffed animals) for their booth at Spring Quilt Market. Quilt Market is going on now in St Louis. The patterns are by Pauline McArthur of the Funky Friends Factory.  They have a load of cute patterns.  We made our animals using the new fabrics coming out at Market.

I made a Cherished Teddy using Retro Batiks by Tammy Silvers that are new at market

These fabrics are made with coordinating teal colors.

I also made Gertie Gecko using a couple other new batiks.  This guy can be made into a heat pack.

You can see these Funky Friends at the Island Batik booth in a video on the Island Batik facebook page.  Take a look at all the lovely new fabrics and patterns that will be coming to stores soon!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Symphony in Silhouette

I love it when people make a quilt from one of my patterns and sends me a photo of the finished project.  Here is a photo of my pattern Symphony in Silhouette by Sue McEachern.

She did a lovely job- thanks for the photo Sue!

*The winner of my Island Batik fabric scraps from last weeks post is teachpany.  Your fabrics are on the way!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May IB Modern Challenge

It's May!  The challenge this month is a Modern Challenge.  When I think of modern quilts I first think of quilts with a lot of open background - or negative space like in the logo above.  Other definitions of modern quilting are to use bold colors and prints, and to have high contrast and/or  to update classic quilt designs.

I decided to use the River's Edge fabric I was sent because I liked the contrast in the light and dark fabrics.  I had the strip package and two background colors.

The challenge to myself was to make a modern quilt using the 2 1/2" strips and the two background fabrics. The quilt I made is 36" x 36".  It has a more traditional block, with the light background fabric used as the outside strips on half of each block and the dark background used as strips on the other side of each block.  This made a strong light/dark look to each square. I call this quilt Shadow Land.

I used two different Superior Threads for this quilt- Masterpiece 159 in the piecing and King Tut 983 for the quilting.  They worked great.

I actually used parts of the background and strip package of River's Edge for the March Island Batik Applique Challenge.  This is the Nighttime at the Nest I made in March.

I debated whether to use the same fabrics for two challenges, but I thought it might be interesting for everyone to see how much you can do with just one strip pack.  Strip packs come with 40 strips- two of each design.  That's 100 " of fabric- over 2 yards of fabric in a wide variety of prints!

My first quilt Nighttime at the Nest measures 20" x 15" and the Shadow Land quilt measures 36" x 36".  I did use some of the two background fabrics also, but this shows you that you can do a lot with just one strip package!

I was surprised at how many strips and part of strips I had left after making two projects!  Quite a bit actually.

Anyone want my leftover strips?  I'm sure there's another quilt in there somewhere...
Just leave a comment and I'll draw a name next week.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Quilting With Rayon

Have you ever sewn with rayon fabric?  Last year Island Batik sent the Ambassadors  a yard of two different colored rayon batiks.  They would have made great scarves, but I don't really wear scarves, so the fabric was just sitting in my stash waiting for inspiration.

One day one of my sisters was visiting and requested a couple place mats like my pattern Riverbed Place Mats that were published in Table Runners and Toppers by Annie's.  I still had some of the fabrics from the original place mats (French Roasted Collection from Island Batik) leftover, but had run out of the main background fabric.
Photo used courtesy of Annie's
In going thru my stash, we found that one of my pieces of Island Batik rayon matched really well, but it was rayon!  Rayon is soft and rather stretchy.  Not what you want in quilting.

The solution?  I backed the rayon with French Fuse.  This is a soft, light fusible that I use when backing t shirts for t shirt quilts.  It stabilizes the fabric without adding thickness.
Here's a photo of French Fuse

Here's a photo of the fabric and the fabric with French Fuse ironed to the back.  Once the fusible is attached, you can use the fabric like any other cotton.

This worked great!  So when you're in a pinch- don't forget those other non-cotton fabrics in your stash.  You may be able to use them!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Applique Challenge with Sweet Pea

 It's April and time for another Island Batik Ambassador challenge.  This month the challenge for all the Ambassadors was to make something using applique and our lovely batik fabrics.  I like to do fusible applique, so I thought about making a mini quilt of a cute little rabbit from a book a friend of mine has written.

My friend Marcia Leiter is a wonderfully creative artist and has recently published two children's books.  The books are about a darling little rabbit called Sweet Pea.  Here is a sneak peek of Sweet Pea.  Isn't she darling?  Sweet Pea is always busy doing something- here she is cooking some spaghetti...I wonder why?

And here's a photo of Marcia- she's just as darling!

Sweet Pea has lots of friends and a cute following of little mice (meece) you can find on almost every page.  Every book has a fun adventure and loads of  illustrations with fun Seek and Find things to search for.  Marcia has written the stories and created all the cute illustrations.

The first two books are Sweet Pea's Tale of Too Many Tomatoes! and Sweet Pea's Christmas.  You can find these books to purchase on Amazon.

Marcia has several more books in this series that will be coming out in the future- keep your eyes open for them!

Here is my mini quilt with Sweet Pea tipping her hat to you and saying "hi".  This quilt is only
6" x 6".  It was fun to make- but the applique pieces are really, really, REALLY small!  I had fun embellishing with seed beads and embroidery.  Do you see the little mouse in her purse?

The stand the quilt is hanging on is from Ackfeld Manufacturing and just fits a 6" x 6" mini quilt.

I thought it would be fun to interview Marcia and ask her a couple questions so everyone could get to know her a little better.

Me:  Marcia- every since I've known you, you've been making cute doodle pictures of people and things.  When did you first start drawing?

Marcia: As far back as I can remember it was always my favorite thing to do.  Drawing has always transported me into another world, to a safe comfortable place where troubles and time don't exist.  This sounds very silly but the first picture I recall making is a watercolor of an upright vacuum cleaner at age 4.  That always mystified me because we did not have one.  I must have seen one at my Grandmother's house.  Sweet Pea has a vacuum cleaner, but she does not have electricity.  To see how that works, you have to read the book!

Me:  One of my favorite things in the books are all the little illustrations and how things are named.  I have to share with everyone that I'm so proud that Marcia put my name on a booth in the book Sweet Pea's Tale of Too Many Tomatoes!  The booth is called Connie's Quilts!  Can you tell everyone something about all the names in the books?

Marcia:  I wrote Sweet Pea's Tale of Too Many Tomatoes one summer after growing too many tomatoes myself.  For some unknown reason I started drawing one page a day about a little bunny with the same problem, and posting it on Facebook. (I was hoping she would find a way to solve it.)  Friends started to read my story, so I started hiding their names in the pictures, to see if they would notice.  It just took off from there.

Me:  Sweet Pea has her own blog called Sweet Pea - can you tell us a little about it?

Marcia:  Sweet Pea has her own website called  That is where all nine of her stories are posted, in their prototype form.  You can go there to read them and then write to Sweet Pea and let her know what you think.  She will write back to you.  It is nice to get a letter from a bunny.  There are also some pretty bad poems and a picture album that shows Sweet Pea in all of her various moods.

Me:  I love Sweet Pea and all her friends.  Can you share with us what books may be coming out in the future?

Marcia:  Book 2 just came out in December:  Sweet Pea's Christmas, of course.  The next one to come out will be Sweet Pea's Journey. (after hosting all those bunnies for Christmas she needs to get away!)  After that are :  Sweet Pea Gets a Job, Sweet Pea on the Rampage, Sweet Pea's T Party, String Bean to the Rescue, String Bean Strikes Out, and Sweet Pea for President.  String Bean, by the way, is Sweet Pea's best buddy.  He puts up with a lot.  (Sweet Pea can be a handful sometimes.)  There are mice too:  helpful mice and naughty mice.  Kids love to hunt for the mice and see what they are up to.  Which reminds me, at the back of each story (in hardcover form) is a Seek & Find.  Readers will see what they need to hunt for on each page.

Me:  Is there anything else you'd like to share about yourself/your family/your work, etc?

Marcia:  Each book will be dedicated to someone important in my life.  My husband's patience and diligence is a model for the helpful mice, always taking care of important things in the background.  My oldest son was an adventurous world traveler like Sweet Pea will be in the next story.  For many years he kept asking me "Are you writing stories yet?"  He knew what I should be doing.  My younger son is the inspiration for String Bean and is like him in many ways.  He is a graphic designer and is a big help to me.  Like Sweet Pea, I live in the middle of a garden, get in a tizzy sometimes, and do not like to clean house.

Thanks Marcia!
Keep your eyes open for the tales of Sweet Pea and for more books in the near future!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Island Breeze published

My pattern Island Breeze was published in the May/June 2017 McCall's Quilting magazine.

This pattern used the Tradewinds collection by Island Batik Fabrics.

Monday, March 27, 2017

March Paper Piecing Challenge

One of the fun things about being an Ambassador for Island Batik is that we all have a challenge each month.  Every month is something different, and this month it was a challenge to make a small quilt with either paper piecing or English paper piecing.

Since I love to paper piece, I decided to work with that instead of English paper piecing.  I also thought it might be fun to do something besides just repeating blocks which I have done a lot of in the past.
After a lot of thought and effort - this is my finished quilt called Nighttime at the Nest.
Size is:  20" x 15"

This quilt was a true challenge for me.  I decided to use the fabric Rivers Edge.  Island Batik sent me this lovely 2 1/2 strip pack that includes strips of the different fabrics in the line.  I find that 2 1/2" strips work really well when doing paper piecing.

When I got to really looking at the fabrics I noticed that the fabrics all tended to fall into dark/black, medium brown and lighter brown.  Not a lot of variance in the colors.  I didn't know what to do for a long time.  What could I make with basically three colors?

I decided it would probably be a night scene, and the browns looked like they could work for animals or birds.  I found the free bird foundation pattern on Pinterest
I changed a line or two on the pattern and reduced it to the size I wanted.  I also reversed one pattern so that I could have two birds facing each other.

I was happy with how the birds turned out.  I used three different fabrics for each bird- hoping this would give the subtle look of a male and female.  Do you see the printed fish swimming on the black background at the top?  I did NOT want fish in the quilt, so I deliberately cut the black fabrics so they were not recognizable.

I decided to make the birds perched on the edge of a nest. One bird is angled slightly.  I wasn't quite sure how to proceed with making the nest.  I wanted to put two eggs in the nest.  I picked out a blue Island Batik basic called Shark for the eggs because the blue matched the blue in the black/blue fabrics I later used for the borders.  I needle turned the eggs and put two layers of light batting inside to give them a curved look, then added scraps of leftover fabrics, bits of thread and cord for the nest.  I partially sewed some strips, lightly glued some and left some to fluff out.  I did this before basting and finishing the quilt.

Notice how the piecing above the birds heads doesn't have any fish now!  There are actually three different black fabrics in the background.  They are very similar.

I wanted to make it look like the birds had made a nest in the rafters, so I created a paper pieced pattern to give that effect.  It is actually one pattern and one reversed pattern. There were a couple fabrics that had black backgrounds with blue designs, so these were used in the rafter blocks.  Eyes were added with small beads.

Here is the quilt again - Nighttime at the Nest

This was part of the March Mini Madness Challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors.

You might want to check out the other Ambassador blogs to see what they've been doing for the March Challenge

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