Monday, February 19, 2024

Loc Cabin Blog Hop with Island Batik

 I'm so excited to show you Romance Garden, the new collection for Sherry Shish by Kathy Engel.  This collection is shades of pink, lime and grass green and purples, and filled with butterflies, tulips, ferns and other garden tjaps.  It's so pretty!  The Ambassadors were asked to make a Log Cabin style lap size quilt, and I created a great design.  Have you seen the ones from the last 2 weeks?  There are some stunning quilts. 

We were given 20 1/2 yard cuts, and 2 yards each of the Frosting and 2 yards of the darker purple floral. We were also given additional background fabric, and I picked Almond for my background.  I always piece with Aurifil 50wt thread, and use a new Schmetz Microtec 12 needle.  

On to my design.   

I planned a really pretty quilt inspired by a Thistle or Bromeliad type flower.  I started making the top, and then had an accident.  If you've read my blog over the years, you may know I have an eye disease called Keratoconus.  My left eye was worse, and after a failed cornea transplant 2 years ago, my left eye doesn't see anything.  My right eye is treated with a Rigid Gas Permable lens that must be custom made to fit my eye and correct my vision.  It basically pushes the cornea back into place and allows about 20/40 vision.  I use readers for computer and sewing, and although the other issues with keratoconus are present, I've adapted.  I've been in need of a new lens, but finding a qualified eye Dr on Long Island who accepts my insurance has been a challenge.  Well, last week, I lost my lens.  It's probably down the sink drain, but I'm basically blind without it.  3 inches away from my face, everything is blurry.  And although I've tried to work on the blocks, the seam allowances are not accurate enough, and it's painful to stitch hunched over, and unsafe to cut anything.  So, I've been unable to work on the blocks successfully.  As you can see, there are multiple stitching lines.  And the blocks are not measuring correctly, as you can see by the leftover edges.  

The Corner Beam blocks I made first, before I lost the lens, were perfect.  I used the Studio 180 tool.  

My Bromeliad, which was my inspiration.  A thistle was also something I was thinking of, but this looks more like my blocks.  

Some of my favorite fabrics from this collection are below.  I LOVE the butterflies.  They are large, and would make fun fussy cuts.  The Dragonfly and butterfly print is really pretty, too, and the colors on the design are lovely.  The photos don't show the beauty as well as the fabrics in person. 

I hope you visit the other ambassadors on the hop, and check out the give-away from Island Batik.  I'll share more about this quilt when it's done.  I'm scheduled to get the first trial lens today, and hope that the lens works.  Normally Dr. Shovlin likes to try 2 or 3 lens before he's happy, so I don't know when I'll be able to see but I'm so grateful that my son can work from home, and he's come to help me with everything until then, including driving me back to Scranton for the eye Dr.  He's helped with writing this post, too.  He's awesome.  I'm grateful and blessed.  

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Friday, January 26, 2024

2024 Island Batik Ambassador Unboxing Video

 Oh, my goodness!  This is such a treat to be an Island Batik Ambassador for my 11th year.  I did a video of what's in the first box we received from Island Batik and the industry sponsors, and some photos.  

Sponsors include Oliso Irons, Aurifil Thread, Studio 180* Designs, Schmetz needles, Hobb's Batting and Funky Friends Factory.  Island Batik has planned a wonderful year for the Ambassadors, with great challenges and fun projects, as well as give-aways for YOU!  Follow along on this adventure with me and the rest of the team for inspiration and to see the latest fabrics and projects.  

Here's a link to my video. 

Jan 2024 Unboxing Video

Some of the items I've received are in photos below.  There's more to come, and details to follow soon.  There's a Log Cabin blog hop in February, so you'll see my project with Romance Gardens then.  

4 yards White, Black and Grey solids, and 1/2 yard cuts of a variety of Foundations, including solids, and the background fabric, 6 yards of Almond. 

Schmetz Needles, Stash Builder rolls, 4 Patch Square Up tool from Studio 180*. 

Precuts:  Strip Sets of Playful Purples gradations, (always available) Squiggles, Dots and Lines, a new collection, plus 10" squares of Precious PInks, and new Dots and Doodles. 

Oliso TG1600 Pro iron in Butterscotch. 
Also included was Hobb's Wool batting in Lap size. Additional batting and Aurifil thread will be in another box coming soon, and a second shipment will come in June.  I'm so blessed to have this opportunity to create, be challenged, and inspire others.  

Please check out the Ambassador tab on Island Batik to meet the rest of the team, and see their unboxing videos.  Watch for the announcement for the February blog hop and a chance to win a collection that will be showcased, and shipping to stores soon.  

Thanks for stopping by!  

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Island Batik Ambassador Celebrations Challenge

Have you seen some of the fun Celebrations challenge pieces from the Island Batik Ambassadors?  So far, there's a really cute and personalized Christmas tree skirt, a great blue quilt for Solstice, and other fun projects.  It's always fun to see what the others choose to make when we have a little more freedom to create something.  The suggestion was to celebrate any holiday, and any size.  For my project, I have 3 possible ideas, but one is done.  My Sister-in-law's twin, E, asked me to make her 2 table toppers.  I've done some before, but she didn't have Autumn, or Christmas.  She has a smaller table, so likes the octagon shape, but gives me creative license for the fabric, and what I choose to do for the center.  I love customers like that.  I also love that it fits with this challenge.  I was in a red and green mood, so did the Christmas one.  

For the project, I used the Pieced Tree pattern, a little laminated card, called Center Stage.  It's the size E likes, as well as a cute, easy pattern, and I can do some fun embroidery for the center, or make a pieced block.  I really want to use my embroidery machine more, so looked through my purchased designs from Embroidery Library, and found Silent Night Poinsettia sketch.  I looked through my Aurifil 40wt threads to find 2 shades of green, 3 reds and a yellow, my favorites to use with embroidery.  Next step is to pick fabric.  I had Buttermilk, a neutral, that I wanted for the background, and looked through my Stash Builders rolls for 2 the same red, and green.  I was able to find 2 of the green with gold pine branches, and ended up using red from a half yard bundle Island Batik includes in the Ambassador boxes.  I have quite a bit.  It's so much fun to be an Ambassador! 

So, after adding some iron-on featherweight interfacing on the fabric, and loading a tear away stabilizer, I started stitching the design. 

I did enlarge this design, it's as big as the hoop would allow.  
Next step is making the half square triangle units for the borders.  I love making mine a little larger and trimming with the Quilt in a Day ruler.  With the unit folded, you only have to trim 2 edges when you put the ruler line on the seam line.  Then you trim the "dog ears" (those little triangles to the left) and press the unit open.  Other tools have you press open first and trim 4 edges.  
Next step is joining the units in the pattern.  And pressing them all on the wool mat and using a clapper to help them lay flat.  My friend, Jeremy of Dietrick Woodworking made me 2 custom clappers, and they are perfect.  I love that he added purple resin on them, and they are smooth, and heavier than standard, so my blocks are flat!  Aurifil 50wt thread helps with that, as well.  I have a large cone I use for piecing, and always a Schmetz needle, usually size 12 Micron.  

Chain piecing!  I love it because it saves me time, and I can check the units before I sew them as a larger square to make sure the design layout is correct.  

I took a photo with a flashlight to show E, to make sure she wants this.  Yup, she loved it! But then again, I know her tastes, I've known her since I was about 7. lol.  

I used more Buttermilk for the backing, and had a scrap of Warm & Natural batting the right size, so I loaded it on my Handi-Quilter Amara with Pro-Stitcher, picked the Holly Days Poinsettia  panto from Intelligent Quilting, and picked Aurifil 40-three in 2026 for the stitching.  I I went right over the whole top, including the embroidery.  The thread is light enough that it barely shows on the embroidery, so it doesn't detract from that design.  

Next step is trimming the extra backing and batting, and adding the binding.  I had another 1/2 yard piece of a nice dark green, so used that.  The corners are mitered! I also added my label on the back, and hand stitched the binding to the back.  I usually do that by machine, but this looked better. 

Here are the finished photos. 

Ta Dah!  A finished project for E.  Next step is to mail it to Colorado, and work on the Autumn one, or the other idea I have, after finishing up a few customer projects.  

Please see the other Ambassadors for more inspiration!  

Emily Leachman, The Darling Dogwood

Sarah Pitcher, Pitcher’s Boutique

Claudia Porter, Create with Claudia

Brenda Alburl, Songbird Designs

Elita Sharpe, Busy Needle Quilting

Reed Johnson, Blue Bear Quilts   

Suzy Webster, Websterquilt

Preeti Harris, Sew Preeti Quilts

Renee Atkinson, Pink Tulip Quilting

Denise Looney, For the Love of Geese

Gail Sheppard, Quilting Gail

Anorina Morris, Samelia’s Mum

Sandra Starley, Textile Time Travels

Susan Deshensky, Lady Blue Quilts

Randi Jones, Randi’s Roost

Brittany Fisher, Bobbin with Brittany

Lisa Pickering, Lisa’s Quilting Passion

Victoria Johnson, Forever Quilting for You

Mania Hatziioannidi, Mania for Quilts

Lana Russel, Lana Quilts

Pamela Boatright, Pamela Quilts

Jennifer Thomas, Curlicue Creations

Maryellen McAuliffe, Mary Mack Made Mine

Leah Malasky, Quilted Delights

Connie Kauffman, Kauffman Designs

Before you go, I wanted to share the photos of the Divide and Conquer By Annie bag I finished last month.  I was not finished by my day on the hop, but didn't get a chance to update my blog.  It's awesome, and I love the fabric.  This will come in handy for quilting classes.  It holds supplies, fabric, and more.  Heather wants it for her toys and supplies, though.  PS, if you try this bag, there's a lot of bulk along the bottom seams.  I used a denim needle and my walking foot, and the Janome 9450 went right through it all, as I made sure I went slowly.  No needles broken.  

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope to have more to share this month.  Happy Holidays!    

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

It's In the Bag with and Island Batik


Honestly, this is one of my favorite challenges!  There are lots of great challenges, but making something like a bag is different!
Island Batik asked the Ambassadors to choose a bag, and pick fabrics from an assigned group, and By Annie would send us all of the supplies needed to make that bag.  Island Batik includes the fabrics. 

My fabric collection is called Limerick.  It was designed for Raija Salomaa by Kathy Engle. Some precuts are in shops now, and yardage will be available soon. 

This was the Surprise bundle included in our June boxes, but we got the yardage needed for the bag as well.  So generous, and simply gorgeous.  My Irish heart loves the Celtic theme tjaps, and the purple, teal, navy and green are so pretty together.  You know I love purple, and Teal is also a favorite.  

By Annie had packaged everything I needed for my pattern, Divide and Conquer, a great organizer tote, including the vinyl, zippers, interfacing, mesh, Soft and Stable foam batting, buckles and slides, and strapping for the handles. 

Included with pattern is an Add On Video coupon, so you can watch the videos specific to this bag, free.  They were SOOO helpful.  They always are.  This bag is a little different from other By Annie I've made, but I'm always up to a challenge.  I opted for the larger size, which will be about 11 by 16".  It has 2 clear vinyl pockets on each side, and 2 double sided pockets attached in the center, with mesh and zippers.

I picked the dark purple square print tjap for the outside, the white and aqua Celtic design for the inside, and teal Celtic triangles for the accents, which include binding, handles and trim sections.  

I put the main fabrics on my Handi-Quilter Amara with the Soft and Stable in the middle and used Pro-Stitcher to quilt the layers for the bag.  I think next time I'll baste extra trim on the backing yardage so I can really quilt the whole outer fabric.  Island Batik did give us a little more for getting it on the long arm.  Again, so generous.  

The Surprise bundle.  No, I didn't need to use any of these, I'm saving them for a sew along with my guild.  

So after quilting, and cutting all the pieces, I added stickers to keep them organized.  Annie provides a page you can copy to tag the pieces.  I printed it on my shipping label page, and cut out the ones I needed, and could stick it right on the pieces, then clipped the sections together (bag front and bag back have one sticker, so clipping them with Wonder clips helps!)  

Although my bag isn't completed yet, I have a good start.  As some of you may know I've had some health issues lately, and was sick again last week.  I got an appointment with an ENT who works with an allergist to see if there's something that we can do to help me feel better more often.  Unfortunatly, the medicine he wanted me to try, an inhaler, caused several side effects, which knocked me down again.  I need something that isn't medicine, but I have so many allergies.  Anyway, back to the bag. 

Since I haven't sewn clear vinyl lately, I really was happy to try the By Annie version.  It's wonderful.  It's thick, but clear, and sews pretty easily.  In the video, Annie suggests using painter's tape to cover the bobbin cover on her machine, which is the only place the vinyl seems to "cling".  I didn't have painter's tape handy, but did have a post-it note, and used that over my bobbin cover, and the vinyl slid through the feed dogs like any other fabric.  I was impressed!  I also used my Janome 9450's walking foot with the skinny foot, because I know that foot is 1/4" from the needle.  I usually use the zipper foot on zippers, but this worked just as well.  Of course, I used a Schmetz Microtex needle for the parts I've done so far, and will switch to a Denim 14 when I get to the thicker parts of the assembly.  I'm using a matching aqua cotton thread in 50wt and a 40wt purple for sewing, and changing often to match the fabric I'm sewing.  Both are from Aurifil.  

Current progress:
Bag front, with zippered pocket.
Bag back, with a zippered pocket, and the teal section is actually a strap to slide over the handle of a wheeled bag.  It's attached in the center by hook and loop tape, which was also included in the supplies. 
This is one side of the inside of the bag, showing my quilted design, but the clear vinyl zippered pocket will be attached by a side strip, so it becomes about 3" deep.  

This is the front and back of one of the inside flip pockets.  Both sides have mesh and zippers, so smaller items like a seam ripper, needles, thread, etc can go in here, and fabric or blocks or other larger supplies can go in the clear vinyl sections.  If I choose to use it for sewing, that is.  I haven't decided yet! 

Keep watching my blog for updated finished photos.  I'll share again.
While you're waiting, I hope you visit the rest of the blogs for this hop.  Leave a comment here before the end of November for a chance to win some fabric from my overflowing Island Batik stash!  USA has free shipping, but if you live outside the US and agree to cover the balance of a flat rate envelope, you can enter as well. Thanks!

Leah and Emily are also sharing this gorgous collection and their bags today, so please go to their blogs

Brenda Alburl ~ Songbird Designs Renee Atkinson ~ Pink Tulip Quilting Pamela Boatright ~ PamelaQuilts Susan Deshensky ~ Lady Blue Quilts Brittany Fisher ~ Bobbin with Brittany

Preeti Harris ~ Sew Preeti Quilts Mania Hatziioannidi ~ Mania for quilts Reed Johnson ~ Blue Bear Quilts Victoria Johnson ~ Forever Quilting for You Randi Jones ~ Randi’s Roost

Connie Kauffman ~ Kauffman Designs Emily Leachman ~ The Darling Dogwood Denise Looney ~ Quiltery – For The Love Of Geese Leah Malasky ~ Quilted Delights Maryellen McAuliffe ~ Mary Mack Made Mine

Anorina Morris ~ Lisa Pickering ~ Lisa’s Quilting Passion Sarah Pitcher ~ Pitcher’s Boutique Claudia Porter ~ Create with Claudia Lana Russel ~ Lana Quilts

Elita Sharpe ~ Busy Needle Gail Sheppard ~ Quilting Gail Sandra Starley ~ Textile Time Travels Jennifer Thomas ~ Curlicue Creations Suzy Webster ~ Websterquilt

In addition to all the lovely bags and inspiration, Island Batik is giving away 2 bundles of fabric, including Limerick.  Click on the Rafflecopter link to enter, and remember to leave a comment.  The full schedule of the blog hops are available at Island Batik's blog

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