Friday, July 5, 2019

Quilts of Valor Island Batik Blog Hop




Hi, and thanks for visiting.  This wonderful blog hop is brought to you by Island Batik and Jennifer at The Dizzy Quilter.  Jennifer organized this to help promote her favorite cause, and Island Batik donated a very generous bundle of fabric to each participant so we could make a quilt that would wrap a soldier in a hug.  




2 yards of solid white, a yard of each dark blue, the medium blue and 2 different reds, plus a Stack of 10" squares.  Seriously??  Island Batik takes such good care of their Ambassadors, especially when we're quilting for a cause.  

I knew I wanted to use as many of the 10" squares as possible, with little waste.  It's a goal, lol.  I played around with a number of ideas before realizing it was crunch time, and decided on a Friendship star with a red center, and a wide strip pieced block with the red squares to accent them, and then sashing and red cornerstones.  I did a design mock up in EQ8, and played with block sizes to get the most out of the fabric, and keep within the recommended sizes for Quilts of Valor.  I also needed to decide who I would donate this to, either to the Organization for them to distribute, or if I knew of someone I really wanted to give a quilt to.   I've made quilts to honor Veterans before, and was able to present one to Dad before he passed away.  I was touched when my brother asked that it drape over the coffin at his wake, since it was something he was proud of receiving.
My son asked if a friend from church was in the army, and then I remembered that there was someone who has done something special for me, who was a chaplain.  When I googled him (he moved to another parish recently, and I needed to get contact info) I discovered an interview he did about his reason for serving and his 2 tours.  That convinced me.  But that's going to be another post, after it's presented.   This will finish about 65 by 86, larger than suggested, but it's for a tall person.  

This was the plan.  But my printer was out of ink. My "note" copy printed in yellow and gray, lol and I forgot that I wanted to use blue (used red) for the cornerstones and decided not to add the red border.  I just used Island Batik's Navy mottled for that, and will also use it for binding.  I just purchased a bolt of Navy and 2 Stack packs and Strips for my Etsy shop.  I also have a good red, and the White Solid, plus Sprinkles and another new white batik, so I have extra.    

As with all other plans, I've been working on this, hoping to have it ready to quilt by last Sunday, June 30th.  That didn't happen.  Mom wasn't "herself" the last few weeks, and refused to get out of bed last Wednesday, and again on Thursday (June 27), and after I finally got her up, she was mumbling incoherently and falling asleep at the dining room table.  I called 911, and they took her to the hospital.  Although no infections or other issues were found, and no "cause" of her incident was determined, I have a theory.  I think it's more than just the next step in her Alzheimer's disease, since it was more of a nose dive, not step.  She spent 5 days in the hospital, and is now in a rehab facility to build her strength.  So, my time has been with her, mostly 6 to 7 hours a day at the hospital, and 3 to 7 at rehab.  I did bring my laptop, and did some calculations for the sashing and cornerstones while with her, but no sewing time.  I got the top assembled July 3rd and borders added on July 4th.  Here are some current views. 



 I love how it came out.  I chose to use the 4 stars with the navy and red Poppy design in the corners. and mixed the rest of the blue stars in, plus the different reds are mixed.  I also like the red cornerstones, and the simple blue border makes a good frame (I did test out other ideas, but Navy won).  


I have a wide backing in a navy design (not batik) and a package of Hobb's Heirloom 80/20 bleached cotton batting ready to load on to Vanna, my Handi Quilter Amara, and a cone of Aurifil's Liberty red, white and blue variegated thread.  I plan to do an edge to edge design, possibly the same I did on the table runner last week.  That may change, lol.  I will share when it's done, plus more photos and hopefully the presentation photo.  

I do hope you've seen the others sharing today, and earlier this week.  It's been a wonderful hop filled with gorgeous Patriotic quilts.  There's also a give-away on Jennifer's blog, so remember to visit that.  You could win your own bundle of Freedom.

Participants
July 1
Becca Fenstermaker — Pretty Piney
Denise Looney — For the Love of Geese
Gail Sheppard — Quilting Gail
July 2
Pamela Boatright — Pamela Quilts
Anne Wiens — Sweetgrass Designs
July 3
Bea Lee —Bea Quilter
Carla Henton — Creatin’ In the SticksJuly 4
Emily Leachman — The Darling Dogwood
Joan Kawano — MooseStash Quilting
Jen Strauser – Dizzy Quilter
July 5
Steph Jacobson — Steph Jacobsen DesignsLeah Malasky — Quilted DelightsAnja Clyke — Anja Quilts
Maryellen McAuliffe — Mary Mack Made Mine

Thanks for visiting, and I hope to have this done this month.  I'm going to make it my One Monthly Goal, with Elm Street Quilts.  Happy 4th of July!  Have a great weekend. 








Saturday, June 29, 2019

Another Finish Scrappy Challenge


Quiltsy Team has a few challenges a year, and this month's challenge is to make something scrappy, table runner or larger.  Sounds easy?  Like a "must do"?  I thought so, even though I already had 2 projects due at the same time.  There will be a chance to vote on your favorite.  I do have scraps, and had ideas about using the scraps from a purple, black and white quilt I did last year.  But those scraps were in a basket under a box behind a mess, lol.  I was in the process of making the 63 foundation pieced squares using Island Batik Freedom for a secret project, and had some pieces left over.  They had originally asked for a 70 block quilt, then changed it, and I had some squares cut, plus left over pieces from cutting the strips to the right size.  So I grabbed them and started sewing 4 patch units.  I had no plan at first, which is NOT my usual way of designing.  I ended up making 16 patch blocks by sewing 4 units together, and paid attention to which way I placed the blue and red patches.  I then played on EQ8 to see what I could do with some of the longer strips I had.  I kind of wanted to play with a Log Cabin type design, so just sewed blue strips against the red patches, and red against the blue.  When I placed the 4 blocks next to each other, I really liked the opposite L that showed up.  I added red border to the blue side, and blue to the red, which further accents the L shape.  I placed this on my new Handiquilter Amara aka Vanna the Longarm. with scraps of Warm and White batting and white fabric from Island Batik.  I chose the 3 Tours Wavy Stripe on the Prostitcher, and Aurifil Liberty, red, white and blue 50wt variegated thread.  I learned so much about resetting the machine and doing an edge to edge design as this was stitching.  For some reason the thread kept breaking, so I needed to rethread and reset the machine.  A few too many times, but I have ideas to help for the next few quilts that I plan to use that thread for.  It was a good lesson, though.

Here are more photos of the quilt, as well as the quilting design.  







I'm so excited to have finished this, and have it listed in my shop.  I do have more blocks made and probably will come up with something fun with them.  I am also working on another quilt using Freedom, and have an idea for those scraps, too.  Maybe some place mats will be coming soon.  Or something else.  That's part of the fun in making something from scraps.  
I'll let you know when you can vote for your favorites.  Watch my Facebook page to see the others.  
Thanks for visiting! 

Maryellen

Friday, June 28, 2019

June One Monthly Goal

 My One Monthly Goal for June is done!  I'm SEW excited.  After I took the class with Pam at Pocono Sew and Vac, to learn how to use the Prostitcher on Vanna, my Handi Quilter Amara, I knew I wanted to do some computerized quilting on the blocks in this quilt.  This was the March Island Batik Ambassador Vintage Reimagined top.  It features the EQ8's block, Garden Patch Variation, and I played with the cornerstones and sashing squares to give it a little extra detail.  I also used Island Batik Solids in black and grey for sashing and background.  The purples are ones from my stash, and the Dragonfly design for the border is for sale in my Etsy shop.  

I had fun picking the design for the blocks and setting triangles.  Once I set the "area" to be quilted, I tell the machine what to do, and it made a beautiful design, just the size I wanted.  I did have a question after doing the first 2 corner setting triangles, which had a minor error in the design.  I was told I may have "stretched" it too large, but there was a larger design in the folder, so I used that for the remaining setting areas, and it's perfect.  I decided to do hand guided quilting for the black sashing, inner border and do a hand guided feather design for the outer border.  For that, I used Aurifil 40wt in a lavender/grey color, which adds just the right texture.   I used a pale grey 50wt and black 50wt for the main section quilting.  I used Hobb's Tuscany Silk batting for the first time, as well.  I love the texture it gives to the quilting, and it was so easy.  I want to see what it looks like when washed, and if it softens and drapes a little more.   
 I used the Solid Grey on the backing, as well.  I have the black and grey for sale, too.  The solids are wonderful.  I love how much body they have.  The thread count is the same as the batik, so it feels wonderful.  

Some Close Up Shots of the blocks and quilting.  I loved the feather design with the hearts, and the swirly ends.  I try not to have too much quilting, as I want my quilts to be loved and used.  This one is going to be a great snuggle quilt, measuring about 54" square.  Great for a lap quilt.  







Thanks for visiting, and I hope you have checked out the other OMG posts.  I'll have another quilt or 3 to share soon.  Next up is some more binding, and finishing the Quilt of Valor top and getting it quilted for next week's blog hop.  Wait until you see it!  The colors are stunning.  And my design is fun.  I have to make arrangements for presenting it, too.  Stop back soon! 
Maryellen

Friday, June 14, 2019

Island Batik Ambassadors Try It Part 2

This is my second Try It this month!  I do like trying something new, and learning, and making.  I've had this idea for a while, though.  If you read my last posts, you know I won a prize on Wheel of Fortune from their Secret Santa give-away last December, and purchased a Handiquilter Amara, now known as Vanna, with the money.  I've won lots of little prizes, too.  I would enter almost any give-away, and have won quite a bit of fabric, patterns, magazines, buttons, quilt kits and a Fatquarter Gypsy Pop Up package, featuring 3 sizes of springs, and a pattern.  I've been wanting to TRY making one for a while.  

I must have won a second give-away for a Pop Up, as well, because I discovered I had 2 medium size springs, and a pattern for a decorated outside.  I decided to make one, to help organize the tools and accessories for Vanna.  I don't often get time to just do something for me, so I grabbed an hour and a half this afternoon to sew, taking advantage of Mom being calm and comfortable watching TV.  That's rare, too.  Evenings are difficult with Sundowning.  I needed to do something other than foundation pieced blocks, for a change. 

I couldn't decide on one particular fabric I wanted to cut up, so I grabbed an assortment of scraps Island Batik had sent in one of my orders from them (I do sell some fabrics and pre-cuts in my Etsy shop, free shipping).  I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, but this rainbow of colors seemed to be a good start.  I pulled some of my favorites, the purples, aqua, pinks and reds and sewed it together.  Each strip was about 3" wide by 20" long.  I think they are left from cutting 10" squares in the factory.  Not sure, but the size, and even edges when I got them seemed to suggest that.  

I needed a piece that was 9 1/2 by 26", so once I got about 14" wide, I cut it in half, sewed the 2 sections together, and added the interfacing (I used Pellon Shirtailor), as the package directs, and trimmed to the right size.  I used a purple fabric from making a Funky Friend animal, that had a large enough scrap, and got the bottom circles and the lining and ties cut.  The tricky part was finishing it with the metal spring inside.  I took the large table off my machine and used the Free Arm option.  It was really easy hem the top edge with Clover Wonder Clips.  I'm so glad I have some!  The directions for making it are good, and it's pretty fast.  Check out the link above and see the cute versions they have, too. 

You can flatten this for travel or storage.  The ties will hold it to about an inch high.  
It's colorful and fun!  No quilting required, but you probably could add quilting and batting if you wanted.  The bottom outside is the same as the lining, because I had enough fabric.  I didn't want to make a pieced bottom.  

Mom's Hollyhocks and roses are so pretty!  




I'm not sure if I will use it like this yet.  The smaller clips of Red Snappers are in there, and a few scraps of batting for cleaning the track and wheels, and the lint roller for getting those last stray threads off the top, backing and batting before quilting.  I do need a thread and scrap bucket, and since this has ties, I may just end up using it for that, tying it around the edge of the table.  Or I may make something smaller for that.  You can see I put a Wheel of Fortune logo on the side of Vanna.  It's a photo I printed off and used Command strips to attach it to the machine.  I am trying to figure out how to make a "cling" type thing with Vanna on it.  I don't want a decal that may be permanent.  If you have suggestions, let me know.  I've looked at a few options, but don't want to have to use water on the side of the machine.  

In the meantime, thanks so much for stopping by.  You know I'll have more Island Batik to share soon.  There's a Quilt of Valor blog hop, plus another patriotic I'm working on, and then July's challenge uses Aurifil thread.  And the other Island Batik Ambassador have been sharing wonderfully creative things.  Check them out!  You can find links on the Island Batik Facebook page.  

Maryellen


Friday, June 7, 2019

Try It! June Island Batik Ambassador Challenge

I have SEW many things I want to try!  But I have also tried so many over the years.  What's new for me?? Well, here's my first "try it". 
This time it's Long Arm Quilting.  Okay, yes, I started in May, officially.  But when I tried to use the Prostitcher on my Handiquilter Amara (aka Vanna), I had NO idea how to get the design where I wanted it.  The videos online are good, but I am so glad I had a class with Pam at Pocono Sew and Vac.  She showed me how to create the area for the design.  So far, I've done pretty well, although the first design size I picked, and made larger, has an error.  I texted Pam, and she said you can't make some of them  more than 30% bigger.  So the last 2 sections with the same design, I picked the larger and made it a little smaller to fit.  I'm happy with the results. 

Here's a few shots.  This is the Island Batik Challenge quilt from March, using the grey solid, black solid, and some purple prints I had.  I'm using Hobb's Tuscany Silk blend batting, which is 90% silk, and 10% polyester.  Come to think of it, this batting is also my first time using or TRYing it! So far I love the definition of the stitching.  It's giving great texture, even for this fairly simple design. 



 I think it's very productive for me to be able to eat ice cream while quilting.  
I love multitasking.  
 There's a mistake in these corners, but making the design too large is probably what caused it.  See the center area between 2nd and 3rd left feather under the heart?  I can just take that out later.  This was on both top corners.  The design came with the machine, in 2 sizes, with a matching block design.
When I tried using the 16" design, smaller, on the bottom 2 corners, it didn't happen, so I know for next time.  I'm using Aurifil 2615 50wt thread, and love how it looks.  My next step is to do the black sashing and then the borders.  I am not sure if I'm going to use free-motion or pick a design for that yet.  I'll be playing later tonight, though.  There are TONS of designs to TRY, so I'm having fun.  My next quilt after this will be an edge to edge design, and I still have to TRY to figure out how to create it and get it to do the size I need.  I think I'll be texting Pam again and watching more Handiquilter videos.  I should have taken notes!  

Thanks again for visiting.  I have more I want to try this month, as well.  I'll share when that's done! 

Maryellen

Sunday, June 2, 2019

June One Monthly Goal

Hi.  Quick check in.  There's a lot going on this month. 
I always have more than one goal for the month, and this month is no exception.  I like to link up with Elm Street Quilt's One Monthly Goal.  There are prizes for each month, if you post a before and after of the project, and I LOVE prizes! 

So, for June, I hope to get this quilt quilted and bound.  It's almost on the frame. Well, it was on Vanna's frame, but my son came for a quick visit, and I needed his help to get the frame leveled again (we kind of moved the frame after it was level, and the floor is NOT level, so Vanna was sliding towards the kitchen.  Matt got it all fixed, but the quilt needed to be off the bars so that the machine could easily slide on the tracks.  I use Red Snappers, so I unsnapped the backing from the take up bar so the head could move.  I did get the backing reattached, but need to take off the batting and top again (which were just smoothed, not stitched) and do it right.  I did take the class last Friday, so I THINK I can do the quilting the way I want.  

Here's the top to be done.  It was the Island Batik challenge for March, I think.  I'm using Hobb's Silk Blend batting in this, and the light solid is actually Island Batik, as is the black sashing.  


In the meantime, I'm also finishing up the blocks and designing a setting for the Aurifil Thread's Design of the Month quilt from 2014, which has been sitting too long.  It's blue and white, and should be really pretty when done.  Their suggested setting won't work with the fussy cutting on the blocks I did.  Stay tuned.  But that's actually productive procrastination.  

I have to make a Quilt of Valor, and also another red, white and blue quilt sponsored by Island Batik, and both are due in the beginning of July.  As in done, quilted, bound and delivered.  And I'm learning more about using Vanna and the Handiquilter Prostitcher every time I turn it on.  Too bad I can't piece at the same time, but the machines are on 2 different floors.  And June's Island Batik Challenge is Try It.  I don't think Vanna counts, but maybe I can use something I've learned on her.  I do have a few other small ideas.  I'll let you know which I do. 

Let's hope this is a productive month!  Thanks again for visiting, and please check out the other OMG (One Monthly Goal) projects at the above link.  



Wednesday, May 29, 2019

May Make it Modern with Island Batik and Hobb's Batting



This month, Island Batik and Hobb's Batting requested the Island Batik Ambassadors to make something modern, using Hobb's batting, and larger than a baby quilt.  I'm NOT a really modern quilter, although occasionally I'll do something that looks more modern.  The Modern Quilt Guild defines it as the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, Minimalism, expansive negative space, alternate grid work. I have seen some modern quilts that I like, some I love, and some that just don't do it for me. I decided to pull fabric and see what I came up with. I don't normally do that first, I usually play in EQ8 first, and then find fabrics, but this time I decided to use Pressed Petals, and the navy and orange fabrics I was sent in a previous Island Batik Ambassador box. I also wanted it to use one of the Hobb's Lap size battings we were sent last year, which are 60" square. On a side note, many of the quilts I'm doing this year are square, trying to use last year's batting, and this year we got Queen size, and I haven't figured out what I want to use those for yet, lol. The dilemma of having such generous sponsors.

My original plan was to see if making as many flying geese as big as I could, and half square triangles would make a good design.  Yes, it does, but it's not modern enough.  I may make that as a pattern (the block is really cool!).  I made 42 geese blocks that would finish about 4 by 8, using the darkest blues and oranges, plus the red and yellow.  
 When I played again, knowing I had 2 yards each of the navy and orange fabrics, I decided to use large half-square triangles to divide the geese.  I picked 8 each of the 2 darkest orange/blue geese, plus 8 of the next orange/blue, and then 4 of the yellow/bright blue just to add a spark.  The rest are waiting for another project.  
I sewed these into blocks, added the HSTs to mix, and came up with a 2 way quilt.  I even carried that into the border.  It has lots of open space, bright colors, and is a good size for a baby quilt, tummy time, or a smaller lap quilt.  I'm SEW happy to be part of the Ambassador team.  As soon as I shared my dilemma about it not being modern enough, I was offered some great advice and google search ideas.  When I went back with this idea (which I had then drawn up in EQ8, because I needed to see it before committing more fabric), I got lots of thumbs up.  

I got the top webbed together and shared again (without borders) and got more thumbs up.  

I try to lay it out before sewing the rows together, just to make sure I did everything right.  Yup, looks good to me.  Lots of open space. Bold and bright, and unusual but using a traditional unit. 

Next up was to load it on Vanna the Long Arm, on top of a navy dot textured "minkee/cuddle" from JoAnn's.  I didn't want to piece the back, since it measures about 48".   I used Hobb's Tuscany Cotton Wool Blend, which offers a little more loft than the standard cotton, but is still washable and can be air dried (try to keep it flat).  I grabbed a 50wt navy blue thread, and 50wt orange from Aurifil, and decided to try out the computer/Pro-stitcher on my new Handiquilter Amara (AKA Vanna).  I haven't gotten to take the class yet, so I'm just testing and playing, (class is this weekend).  I did goof for the solid blocks, trying to get the right size and placement.  I may take it out and fix it.  I also tried using the ruler for the straight lines, and did more free motion work inside the HST blocks and the border.  (Not exactly going modern style with the quilting, but I know I learned a lot!)  There's so much to learn!  But it's done enough, although far from perfect.  Except for binding and label, that is, and better photos.  The lighting was doing something weird to the orange.  It's not that deep electric a color, but still a vibrant orange.  



I'm not sure if I'll do the binding before I go back to Pocono Sew and Vac for my class and to pick up my Viking Sapphire 850, which is nice and clean and working better, I'm told.  I miss it!  I do plan to keep orange and blue going into the binding.  I just need to figure out how to do a mitered corner without having too much bulk, so the split is right there, along the same line.  I may end up doing a facing instead. 

I did do the binding on the Accuquilt GO! Baby quilt challenge from April, which I quilted last week.  I used a minkee backing on that, too, and did an all-over FM design on the center, and a similar style on the border, and feathers on the outer border, with Aurifil thread.  I have a spool of the 40-3, so used that for the main section, and a 50wt in pink for the borders.  I decided to turn my Pfaff Creative 1.5 back to a sewing machine and use the built in walking foot, just to get that done for the One Monthly Goal.  Taking off the embroidery module, putting the feed dogs back up, changing the foot, winding the bobbin, etc.  Not as easy as doing on the Sapphire, which is just a foot change.  Still need to add a label to that, too, but it's done.




This was such a good match for my gorgeous roses!  


Thanks so much for visiting, and I hope you enjoyed my modern quilt!  It's been an adventure to push outside of my comfort zone (how many quilts do you see me doing with orange??  Not a favorite) and try things on Vanna.  It's been a good challenge.  
Please check out the other Island Batik Ambassadors to see what they've done this month.  And check back for June's Try It challenge.  I have a few ideas about that.  Now need the time!  We also have a Quilt of Valor blog hop coming and something else, which I'm not sure I can discuss yet. lol  

Have a wonderful day!
Maryellen