Monday, June 1, 2020

June Island Batik Ambassador Challenge

The June challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors is a Free Theme!  They gave us a month to do anything we wanted!  That's so great!  I've thought about this challenge for months.  What to do?  So many ideas....

I had saved my 2 1/2" strip pack of Sundance fabric from my first box because it was one of my favorites.

I played around with making some kind of Pineapple block quilt, but as the Corona Virus hit, I just couldn't find the spark to work with the dark fabrics.  I wanted to make something bright- something positive, something to inspire....but rest assured- I'll be making something from this collection before long!

I was thinking a lot about flowers as spring was all around, and a sunflower quilt came to mind.  I love the bright petals on sunflowers and how tall and strong they stand.  Each stem is sturdy and resilient and a field of them is a wash of sunshine.

So I went to my stash of Island Batiks and found a lovely sky background called Aqua from the Basics Collection.  I found many yellows and greens to make leaves and petals.  Batiks are wonderful for collage type quilts when you want a range of color and texture.

Here is my quilt that I named Stand Strong.

Stand Strong 
by Connie Kauffman
26 1/2" x 35 1/2"

I looked at several photos of sunflowers and drew out one that is looking to the sun and bravely waving it's leaves in the wind.  I used a method of fusing fabrics with Lite Steam-a-Seam 2 , cutting them to shape and applying to the background. I fused them all once they were where I wanted them (except for the end of the right hand leaf where I wanted it to lay on top of the inner border).

For the quilting I drew from a collection of Aurifil Threads.  See how wonderful the colors work!
I used Schmetz Super Nonstick Needles and they were wonderful to sew thru all the fused fabrics with no problems.

Here are a few photos showing my process of making the quilt.

First I looked at lots of photos of sunflowers - looking at the petals, the centers and the positions.

I found one l liked and enlarged it on the printer and printed it off in several sheets that I taped together.

Then I drew the outline on a piece of Soft and Sheer from Sulky. This is a thin Cut a Way Stabilizer that I fused the fabrics to once I had them where I wanted them.

Progress on the stem and leaves.

I did the center before adding the petals.

I guess I got involved in making petals and forgot to take a photo of this step.  Once I had everything where I wanted, I fused it with an iron.  Then I cut around the whole flower and could place it on the background.

Here I'm trying to decide on the inner border.  First I put the right hand leaf behind the border, but my sister (thanks Jody) suggested I put the leaf on top of the border and I liked that a lot!

I thought about extending the inner borders to the outside- but decided to go with my first thought of just an inner rectangle brown border.- like you are looking thru a frame.

Once this was all decided, I added a layer of Steam a Seam 2 Lite behind the flower, fused it in place and sewed the borders.

I used Hobbs 100% Cotton batting which quilted up nicely.

This quilt is a sunny reminder to all of us to stand tall, stand strong and stay safe every day.

Thanks to Island Batik, and sponsors Aurifil, Schmetz Needles, and Hobbs Batting for supporting this project with their materials.


  1. It is wonderful and it looks right at home on the fence.

  2. I love it! So positive and inspirational. Just what the world needs in this moment.

  3. Wow, this is gorgeous! Love it, and I enjoy seeing your process.

  4. So pretty! Great project, and love the design inspiration.

  5. This sunflower is so pretty! So bright and cheerful! It was fun to read about the process! :-)

  6. Gorgeous sunflower and perfect project for June!

  7. The sunflower is great! Will definitely bring some sunshine into the house next winter!

  8. I love the depth you got with your use of fabrics for this project. I have a question about the use of Sulky soft and sheer. Did you include this as a stabilizer for your thread work or was there another function? Since it's a cutaway stabilizer, did you have much trouble cutting it back enough that it did not show? Thanks.

    1. Laura, I used it as a base to fuse the pieces to. Then I cut around the flower and could move it all in one piece. If I did it over, I would have fused to a piece of parchment paper and ironed the pieces to that and could move the whole flower. That would eliminate one layer behind the flower

  9. Stunning thread work, Connie!

  10. Powerful, positive, and stunning. Love the title and those fabrics.A winner in every way.

  11. I love this art quilt. The batiks replicates the different shades of the sunflower petals perfectly and the various shades of threads makes it so life-like. I agree with Nancy. This is absolutely stunning!

  12. I love everything about this quilt, especially the symbolism, and thank you for sharing the design process. The flower is so lifelike and great advice from your sister because it makes it even more lifelike, 'leaning out' of the frame! I do believe I have some of that Sulky Soft and Sheer from ages ago...must investigate.