Tuesday, December 1, 2020

December Challenge - Medallion Quilt

December Medallion Quilt

Sedona Sunrise by Connie Kauffman

It's hard to believe it is December already!  This is the last challenge of the year for the 2020 Island Batik Ambassadors.  This month the challenge was to make a Medallion Quilt.

I don't think I've ever set out to make a Medallion quilt.  Looking at a lot of different quilts I got many ideas for blocks and borders.  

I decided to use the 2 1/2" strip pack of Floralicious Island Batik designed by Kathy Engle for this project. These fabrics are in the shops now. I just LOVE this collection.  You can see how beautifully they are displayed in the package.  Have you ever gotten a package like this and not wanted to open it up for fear you'd lose the arrangement of the colors?  I wanted to keep the colors in this arrangement, so I just took out the strips on one side of the package to use to begin with.  (You can also just take a photo of the package for future reference!)  I have to say the 2 1/2" strip packages are my favorite precut.

Because I wanted to use the 2 1/2" strips- this limited the size of the blocks I could use in the quilt.  I don't mind smaller blocks, but I did have to think about the size of each one.  I decided on 4 different borders with  4 small unpieced borders.

I also received two other fabrics to go with this collection - a light blue and a dark blue.  This was great as they could be used where I needed more than just the precut strip.  They also helped to tie all the colors together.

I picked the flying geese in the outside border especially to showcase the colors in the arrangement that was in the package.  I did have to leave out a couple colors due to how many flying geese I needed.  Because I wanted to use these- I actually did the outside border first!  Not always advisable, but by making them with paper piecing, I knew the measurements would turn out correctly.

I'm sorry I don't have any photos of the quilt in progress - sometimes I get to involved and just forget to take photos!

I used a beautiful selection of Aurifil thread that matched the fabric colors perfectly.  Isn't this just eye candy!

Hobbs Cotton Batting and Schmetz Chrome Microtex needles were also used to complete the project.

It has been a very interesting and challenging year this year as an Island Batik Ambassador.  I've loved the challenges and working with all the creative Ambassadors and sponsors in the program.  Thanks to Island Batik, Hobbs Batting, Aurifil Threads and Schmetz Needles for suppling the materials for this project thru the Island Batik Ambassador Program.

The sponsors this year along with Island Batik Fabrics were:

* The winner from the Inspired By Nature Blog Hop drawing on my blog was Diantha.  The fabrics are on the way to her- congratulations!

Monday, November 23, 2020

My Quilted Garden- Inspired by Nature

November Inspired by Nature Blog Hop

My Quilted Garden  by Connie Kauffman

The November Island Batik Ambassador Blog Hop has the theme Inspired by Nature.  I love this theme and had so many ideas of what to do.  First I waited to see what fabrics were in my surprise bundle that I was to use for my project.  My fabrics were from the Tiki Punch Collection designed by Kathy Engle for Kate Colleran of Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs.

I was excited by this bundle as they were so lovely and bright.  So inspiring!

I used all but two of the fabrics in the quilt.

I decided to go with a garden theme as these reminded me of sunshine and flowers. 

I don't know about you- but I have block patterns that I collect when I see something I might like to make someday.  I also have favorite block designs of my own that I like, but have only used once.  This seemed like a great time to pull out some favorite blocks and see what I could do with them.

I started this project VERY early and it's a good thing I did.  This quilt took a long time- but it was a labor of love.  

I picked blocks that were things in my garden or symbolized things found in my gardens.  Once I decided on what blocks I wanted to use I had to decide the overall size and design of the quilt.  I had been thinking about a medallion design with borders around a central block, so I decided to put a birdhouse in the center and have my garden blocks surround it.  I don't have a bird house- but I do have several bird feeders.

One thing that took a long time was resizing most of the blocks to fit the quilt.  I only had a couple blocks that would work without resizing.  Then came the fun part- choosing the colors to go with the different blocks! I did add a couple fabrics from the Island Batik Basics collection (cat and squirrel and bird beaks and part of bird house)

I had a wide variety of blocks using both paper piecing and fusible applique.  I used Schmetz Super Nonstick Needles which work really great with the fusible applique.  

I still had some of my favorite batting to use - Hobbs 80/20 Fusible Cotton Batting.  I can't say enough about this batting.  It is so easy to use and saves so much time not having to baste!  It's a winner!

Aurifil threads in many colors added to the quilt.  It's great to have a selection on hand.

It was fun after the quilt was finished to add many different buttons and beads for embellishment.

My garden does have daffodils, forget me nots, daisies, iris, leafy ferns and beautiful butterflies.  We have many birds- cardinals and orioles are some of the favorites.  We also have several cats that visit our yard- none of which are ours!  One of them is black.

Squirrels scamper all around- they especially like all the birdseed the birds drop from our feeders.  This squirrel likes nuts.

Here in Northern Indiana we have some squirrels that are black.  Some people have never seen black squirrels.  I sat by the patio door one day to get a photo to show you.

And of course- what is a garden without bees and bugs!

I had the top finished in time to get a photo outside with some Black Eyed Susan's while they were still blooming.

Many thanks to Island Batik,  Hobbs Batting Schmetz and Aurifil for supplying products for this Inspired By Nature project.

I have a drawing for two full half yard cuts of two lovely fabrics from this Tiki Punch Collection

Please leave a comment about what is in your garden to enter.  USA entries only due to postage.  Winner will be drawn by Random.org at the end of the blog hop.

Be sure to enter Island Batik's Bog Hop drawing to win one of two fat quarter bundles-Venetian Marble or Tiki Punch- they are great!

Check out the other Ambassador blogs- there are only a few days left in the blog hop. Suzy Webster has a post today also using the Tiki Punch Collection- be sure and visit her site to see what she made. 
Here is one more photo of the quilt top with my petunias to leave you with.

"My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece"  Claude Monet

"Earth laughs in flowers"  Ralph Waldo Emerson

"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need"  Cicero
(I might add fabric to this list!)


Monday, November 9, 2020

Inspired by Nature Blog Hop

Today starts the November Island Batik Blog Hop -Inspired by Nature.  This is a great theme and for the next three weeks you'll want to check out what the Ambassadors do each day with the newest fabric releases.

There will be lots of drawings on the different blogs and you can also enter each week for a great drawing of batik bundles at the Island Batik Blog- be sure to enter!  This week the prize bundles are from the collections William's Garden and Peacock Galore.

 Here is the schedule of Posts and fabric collections:

November 9:

November 10:

November 11:

November 12:

November 13:

Blog Hop Round-Up Week 1 and Giveaway

November 16:

November 17:

November 18:

November 19:

November 20:

Blog Hop Round-Up Week 2 and Giveaway

November 23:

November 24:

November 25:

November 26:

November 27:

End of Blog Hop and Round-Up

Monday, October 26, 2020

2021 Island Batik Ambassador Sign Up

If you have a blog and would be interested in becoming a 2021 Island Batik Ambassador, I encourage you to apply!

Click on the link for more information and the application:  https://forms.gle/WapggDZQEKsmcaZu9

Thursday, October 8, 2020

October Island Batik Thread Painting Challenge

Thread Painted Quilt 
         46" x 58"
By Connie Kauffman

The October Island Batik Ambassador Challenge was to create a thread painted quilt with Island Batik fabrics and Aurifil Threads.  


This was an interesting challenge.  I was given the Mandala Magic fabrics designed by Jackie Kunkle of Canton Village Quilt Works to make the project.  These are bright, sort of wild prints and some black and white prints.  These fabrics are the summer 2020 line and are in your stores now.

What to make?

This time we were also allowed to request coordinating threads from Aurifil to make this project.  That was great.  I got 6 colors that went really well.  Aren't they beautiful!  And they are all 60 weight which is my favorite.  I loaded up a bobbin in each color. This was getting exciting!

I thought long and hard about what kind of thread painting to do.  I kept going back to doing something like Zentangle with the great colored threads.  Maybe something on white.  I looked at loads of pictures and drew up some of my own. Then I got to thinking about an attachment I'd gotten for my machine many years ago and had only used twice.  It's called the Circular Embroidery Attachment. It makes different sized circles and you can use all the fancy stitches on your machine!

It really is very easy to use.  It attaches with a single screw.  You put the fabric on the pin at the left and the pin can be moved to the right and left to make the size circle you want.

I've mentioned in earlier posts how I love Hobbs Fusible Batting.  I used this batting in the project.
I had to experiment awhile to see how to  make the blocks and what would work.  I made the blocks in the same way you make a Quilt as You Go project.  

I took my center white square and cut another square a bit larger for the backing.  I cut the fusible batting as large as the whole block would be after the borders were attached.  I pinned the white block on the front and pinned the other white block in the same place on the back and then pressed them with the iron.  You make the bottom block a bit bigger in case you didn't get it perfectly squared up with the front- ask  me how I know!

The first thing I did was baste around the white block on the top.  This was an important step in that it stabilized the block.  I then had fun sewing circle after circle, after circle!  It was really fun to use the different embroidery stitches.  I must have used about all of them!  I used each of the pretty Aurifil Threads a couple times in each block.  I used Schmetz Chrome Microtex needles that worked very smoothly with all the embroidery.

The greatest thing I found out was that the design was the exact same on the back as on the front!  Since I used the fusible batting and had stabilized the block, I didn't need to use any additional stabilizers.  They recommend you use a stabilizer- but I didn't need it.

I only needed to make a wall quilt for this challenge, but with the project being reversible, I couldn't resist making a larger lap quilt.

After I had all of the center blocks sewn, it was time to add the borders.  This was done like a regular Quilt As You Go project.  Lay your border strip on the top and bottom (same color strips) and sew the strips on and press them back - front and back.  With the fusible batting, once pressed it was stable and ready for the next border strip.  I had a small black and white inner border and four bright colors in the outer borders. Very easy!  I did a simple straight line quilting in the border strips.

Once all the blocks had the borders sewn on, I did a final trim to size.  Then it was time to lay them all out and sew the sashing strips.  The back sashing strip was 1/4" wider than the top strip.  I laid the the bottom strip on the back along the side edge of the block and the top strip on the top side edge of the block and sewed a 1/4" seam.

Then the top sashing was pressed back and sewn to the next block.  Then you turn the two blocks over and turn under the sashing and hand stitch it to the other block.  You do this for block after block.  Then do the same thing to join the rows.

I have to admit there was a lot of hand sewing and many, many, many thread changes in this quilt, but over all it went together pretty quickly.  I did a very simple curved quilting over the small sashing strips to help stabilize the joined battings in the middle.  Then add the binding and it's done!

Pretty neat that it's reversible!

It was interesting that I was given some of the same fabrics for my It's In The Bag Blog Hop.  It looks nice in a bag too!

Many thanks to Island Batik, Aurifil Thread, Hobbs Batting and Schmetz needles for suppling the products for this challenge.

The winner from my September drawing for two stash builder bundles was Kathleen.  Congratulations! The fabrics are on the way to you!