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.