Friday, December 20, 2019

String the Lights

My quilt String the Lights is on the cover of the November/December Love of Quilting Magazine

 This was a fun quilt to make with lots of scrappy plaids.  I had fun quilting trees in the borders to hake this a fun holiday lap quilt.

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 2, 2019

3 D Challenge

Okay, this post starts with a puzzle.  Can you guess what this is?

 Here's another clue.

 Know what it is yet?  Here's one more clue

 Did you guess it?  These are sweet little thread catchers.

I found this pattern on pinterest and thought it was so cute.  You can find the pattern on Pinterest if you look under Thread Catchers (this link also has a link at the end to a video that is helpful). I'm not giving detailed directions because there are good directions there.  There is even a video on how to make them.  I thought this would be great to make for the Dec. Island Batik 3 D Challenge this month.

These are very simple- only one sewn seam and the rest is all hand sewing.  If you like hand sewing- it's a great project to make.  I decided I wanted to make these as gifts for my local quilt guild ladies (12 in all) so it ended up being a LOT of hand sewing in a short amount of time!

All it takes is one piece of fabric and a 1/2" slice from a Pringles can.  Cutting the slice from the  Pringles can was actually the hardest part.  You sew up the long side of the fabric, press both ends under 1/4" and slide the cardboard circle up the middle.
*thanks to Island Batik for the fabrics for this project supplied thru the Island Ambassador Program

Then you fold the fabric back over the cardboard and line it up with the other edge.

You cut out two cardboard circles and two circles of batting and two larger fabric circles.

Of course I had to multiply everything by 12.....

You put the batting on a cardboard circle and then sewed around a fabric circle, but the cardboard and batting inside and made it like you do a yoyo.

You sew one finished fabric circle to the bottom lining and turn it out (see video and/or pinterest pattern) and sew the other circle on - all by hand as I said before.

When it is all sewn, your little thread catcher stands up.

You can put it beside your sewing machine to catch any little threads or scraps.  This is especially nice to take to classes or retreats.  When you are finished and ready to go- all you need to do is twist the top and bottom and collapse the bottom into the cardboard rim.  All your threads are contained inside, so it's all nice and cleaned up and ready to go!

Here's another look at my group of thread catchers all ready for Christmas.  Aren't the colors yummy!

If you want to make a quick gift for a quilter in your life- these are great!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Tool Time

Tool Time is the Nov. theme for many of the Island Batik Ambassadors this month.   And no- it's not about Tim Taylor's show Tool Time on the television show Home Improvement!  My husband and I like to watch the reruns of the show - but I digress...

The tools we are thinking about here are quilting tools.  This month's challenge was to use and highlight a special quilting tool.  My favorite new tools are the quilting rulers for domestic machines.  I decided to use some of them for this project and I'll be telling you more about them later.

I relieved a strip pack of the Crystal Sea Island Batik collection in my second Ambassador box.  This is such a beautiful collection of blues and purples that I wanted to so something really special with it.  I played around with a lot of different ideas most of the year and just couldn't decide what to make.  Many of the designs I had in mind were pretty detailed and it came down to a time issue and what could I get done by the end of Nov?

I was sent coordinating yardage in a light and dark blue and two matching Aurifil threads that would work well together.  

I finally looked over some patterns that I've always wanted to try and decided on one called  Terrace Floor by Helen White that was in Quilter's Newsletter Magazine in 1999. Do you have patterns in your collection you've never tried?  I'm glad I pulled this one out.  This has a simple 8 piece block that is very easy to use with 2 1/2" strips - perfect!

I first thought the block could easily be made by sewing a triangle and strip together to make each of the four large triangles and then sew the 4 triangles into a block.

The more I looked at this layout, I decided that it would be quicker to sew four strips together into a block and sew the blocks on the diagonal.  Can you see the difference?  My picture shows the corner of the quilt- so you are also seeing the outside triangles on the corner, but look at the blocks towards the center.

Then sew the blocks together on the diagonal.

I ended up using a darker blue Aurifil thread to match the darker background fabric - 40 wt 1320, and the light purple Aurifil 50 wt 2520 for the top.  They blended perfectly.  I also used Hobbs Cotton batting and was pleased with how well it showed the quilting.

I ended up using 4 different quilting rulers.
          12" Inside Out Curve 3
          6" arc
          4" arc (one of my favorites)
          Florish (I used a portion of the curve which worked out great)

I'm continually pleased with how great these rulers are and how they improve my quilting and speed up the process.  I read recently that they call this kind of quilting- guided quilting.  Not free motion, not computerized or long arm quilting.  I like that term- guided quilting.  The rulers do seem to "guide" the needle along the edge of the ruler.

Most of my collection of rulers are from Sew Steady- made by Westalee, and I have their special foot for the machine that allows ruler work, but I am finding some other companies that are also making new rulers.  I have a short shank on my machine that only allows me to use the thinner rulers (3mm- the thickness of your regular cutting rulers).  This is a drawback as there are some nice rulers on the market that are the thickness of long arm rulers and I can't use them.  This is my plea to those companies to also make the thinner rulers!

Here's a close up of the quilting

And here's the finished lap quilt in colors I love.

If you have a domestic machine and have never tried using quilting rulers I encourage you to try - I think you'll fall in love!

Thanks to Island Batik, Aurifil and Hobbs for supplying the products for this project thru the Island Batik Ambassador program.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Nov. A Piece of Blog Hop

It's November and time for another Island Batik Blog Hop.  The Blog Hop theme this month is A Piece Of.  It will be interesting to see what the 22 Ambassadors come up with from this theme.  This year about half the Ambassadors are participating in this hop, the rest of us did a blog hop in August.

This month the featured fabrics are from the Summer 2019 Collections that will be in the stores soon- so be on the look out for them.  The hop starts today!

Here are the fabric lines and the Ambassadors that are participating:

Monday, November 4:
Janet Yamamoto
Emily Leachman

Wednesday, November 6:
Anja Clyke
Lori Haase

Thursday, November 7:
Suzy Webster
Alison Vermilya
Friday, November 8
Blog Round-Up Week 1

Monday, November 11:
Jennifer Fulton
Barbara Gaddy

Tuesday, November 12:
Sarah Goer
Stephanie Jacobson

Wednesday, November 13:
Anita Skjellanger
Kim Lapacek
Friday, November 15Blog Hop Round Up Week 2

Monday, November 18:
Denise Looney
Geraldine Wilkins

Tuesday, November 19:
Jackie O’Brien
Sally Manke

Wednesday, November 20:
Jennifer Thomas
Leah Malasky
Friday, November 22:Blog Hop roundup Week 3
Be sure and visit the Island Batik blog to enter their giveaways.  Each week they will be giving away a Precut bundle.  This week they are giving away a Precut Bundle of Little Sir and Miss - be sure to enter!
Visit each participating Ambassdor's blog for exciting projects and other giveaways.
I'm not involved in this blog hop as I participated in the Beat The Heat Blog Hop in  August.  I will have a blog project later this month (I'm working on it now) - so be sure and check back in with me.
Enjoy the Hop!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

October Island Batik Challenge 2019

The October Challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors was to make a holiday table runner with some kind of applique.  Great challenge!  Table runners are fun and relatively quick to make.  They also make great gifts and this is a good time of year to start on those projects if you so desire.

One challenge for me is just to choose from the great fabrics that Island Batik has sent in two boxes this year thru the Ambassador program.  There are so many fun possibilities.  Do you ever just look thru your stash and think of what you might make before you go out and buy something new?  It's a fun challenge and always surprising what you can come up with!

Maybe because it is fall I decided to work with the collection Soil and Seeds by Kathy Engle. I was sent a 10" square pack of this collection as well as two pieces of coordinating yardage in light and dark.  I also received  8 pieces of basics and blenders that coordinate.  This is a great collection and I want to make a larger quilt with it, but thought I could also probably get a runner out of it too.

Aurifil Threads also sent coordinating threads in the Ambassador box.  Isn't it all just eye candy!

The colors are very earthy and I could envision pumpkins and gourds...  Then I had to decide what size and shape of runner to make.  I decided to make a square table mat for our coffee table.  Most runners I make are rectangular, so this would be a bit different. 

Off to the drawing board to sketch out some pumpkin and gourd shapes.  Once I decided on the outlines I reversed them and drew them on the back of the fusible web (I like to use Lite Steam-a-Seam II) and ironed them to the correct fabrics.  This time I left a small edge of fusible around the outside of each shape and cut the inside fusible out before pressing to the fabrics. This way I was hoping the appliques wouldn't lay so stiff and flat.

I decided on the dark brown for background to be a bit different than the light backgrounds I usually use and I thought the applique colors would pop.  Was I right?

Once I had the appliques fused I layered the backing and batting and basted it together.  I used Hobbs Cotton batting.  I had a leftover piece just the right size.  Don't you love it when that happens!

Instead of doing a buttonhole stitch around each applique, I just sewed close to the edge of each piece and added lines thru the applique to give them more shape. 

The flying geese were a mix of the fabrics and quilted in the ditch.  I ended up only using the Soil and Seed fabrics for the whole table mat (not any of the coordinating fabrics).  They worked so well together!

Here is the finished runner.  It doesn't have a name yet - so feel free to leave a name suggestion in the comments!

Here it is on our coffee table.

Note the beautiful wood on each side - it never looks like this!  There are usually piles of books and magazines on each side which is why I made the mat to fit in the middle.

I added the candle and leaves for another look.

I also added a hanging sleeve in the back in case I want to hang it sometime or give it as a gift so it could be used either way.

I hope you all enjoy the cooler weather, the colors and excitement of this fall season.

                  (Fabrics, batting and thread were provided thru the Island Batik Ambassador program)

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Rayon Jacket

I don't do much garment sewing anymore.  I never felt like I was really good at it, and haven't much lately.  In the first box of fabrics from Island Batik for the Ambassadors this year there was a 2 yard piece of lovely Forest Fern Rayon fabric.  Rayon is lightweight and not as stable as cotton- it tends to shift around when you are working with it.  Last year I made a top from Rayon, but I wasn't excited about working with this piece, so I gave it to a friend  -  Elaine Mast who is great at garment sewing.  I also thought the color suited her.  (see the bundle of fabric- the red is a lovely rayon scarf).

She surprised me this summer when she made a jacket to go with an outfit and entered it in the Elkhart County Fair in Elkhart IN!  Here she is modeling it on the red runway.

 It looks great.  She did an amazing job and earned a blue ribbon from the Fair.   Thanks Elaine!

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Sept Island Batik Challenge

I can hardly believe it is the middle of September!  Some of our trees are already turning color, so it looks like an early fall.  I do look forward to the burst of fall colors.

While I am waiting for fall colors I have been excited about the colors in this bundle of fabrics from the last Island Batik Ambassador box.  This is the Sunny Side Up Collection by Kathy Engle.  It's a great combination of yellows and blues in a lovely mix of prints.

These fabrics are wonderful and I was excited to use them in something...

September is time for a new challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors.  This month the challenge is called Child's Play!  

Each Ambassador was sent a new BOB die from Accuquilt Go!  A BOB is called a Block On Board because it contains all the dies needed to make a certain block- all on one die.  The BOB I was sent is an Ohio Star 12" block. and we were to use it in this months challenge.

I like the Ohio Star block- but have to admit I was a bit dismayed that it made a 12" block.  If you know me at all, you know I tend to make smaller blocks and projects...What to do?

The challenge was to make a child's quilt using this die.  To me that could be about anything that is bright and cheerful and the Sunny Side Up fabrics fit that qualification.  So I played around with design ideas and color placements.  I decided to include the solid white from Island Batik in the design and the solid gray for the back as I had enough yardage for that.  These three solids were included in our last Island Batik box.

Here is a poor photo (sorry) of an early layout of the quilt as I was deciding color placements for the stars.  I decided to overlap some of the stars to "hopefully" make the design a bit smaller...

Progress.  I was still trying to decide whether to use some white or yellow color placements in the center.  I like the mix of yellows in the background.  I ended up using all but a couple fabrics from the collection.

I liked the design and it was already pretty big, but I really wanted to add a pieced piano key border.  This quilt just kept getting bigger and bigger!  It ended up being 61 1/2" x 61 1/2" which is actually large enough for an adult lap quilt.

Now for a final photo.  I decided to try for a photo in my backyard.  The problem is we have good breezes thru the yard, so it was a challenge.  I did have to run and catch it a couple times before it all fell over...

Here is a close up of the quilting.  I kept it pretty simple.

I used a solid yellow thread for quilting except for white thread in the inner border.  I used a Sulky Blendable thread for the back so a little color would show up on the solid gray fabric.  I do prefer to use a printed fabric for the backing for more color and it shows the quilting less.

I liked the BOB, but you can also make the Ohio Star using their Cube dies.  I could have made the Ohio Star using my 8" block dies and the quilt would have been smaller.

All in all- it's a nice cheerful quilt.

Thanks to Island Batik and Accuquilt Go! and Hobbs Batting  for supplying materials for this project thru the Ambassador Program.