Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Quilt Modern Blog Hop

 Hi, and welcome to my day on the Quilt Modern Blog Hop for Island Batik Ambassadors!

Have I mentioned lately that I love being an Island Batik Ambassador?  We were provided a secret bundle in the January box that I'm sharing today.  We're also provided Aurifil thread, Schmetz needles, and Hobb's Batting!  I always have Schmetz needles in my Janome Horizon 9450.  I love how long the Microtex needles last and how wonderfully they sew Island Batik fabric.  Aurifil is always used for piecing, and as often as possible for quilting.  

This gorgeous Jewel Quest collection for Nan Baker of Perfect Spots was my secret bundle.  I also got 2 yards of a dark and a light.  The dark was the dark wheat print fabric I used in the border, and the light was the aqua dots.  That's 14 yards!  With that generosity I like to make something large, and we're supposed to try to use as many of the fabrics as possible.  I think I used 19 out of 20, and that's only because I dropped the half yard piece and didn't notice when I was cutting the squares!  lol.  

The tjaps (chops, wax stamps used in batiking) include leaves, grapes and leaves, pine and holly, corn and wheat, and lots of dots.  

After playing around with different ideas, I went with a pattern from Quilt in a Day that I've used before, Sew Radiant.  It uses squares of fabric plus the background divider, and can be made larger if you want.  I played on EQ8 using a Signature block (one of the basics) so the illustration is not exact, but coloring it in solid colors gave me the plan (I didn't upload the fabrics since it would be scrappy looking, anyway).  I decided to make it 10 by 10 blocks, for a total of 100, and add borders on all 4 sides, so it's larger than the pattern suggests, but the idea is the same.  I think it's graphic and fits the alternate grid design, since it's not centered.

I sorted the collection into purple and green/blue and then sorted those by light, medium and dark.  The 2 lightest would be the lighter round of lavender, and the purples would hopefully shade enough to make the rounds radiate.  I tested the white strips, plus grey and black, and asked Megan Best of Best Quilting (she's also posting today) and she suggested white.  I'm not usually someone who makes modern style quilts, so this is always a stretch for me, but since Modern is classified by alternative grids, bold use of color and negative space, and she does an awesome job of it, I took her advice.  
And if you haven't visited her yet, you must!!  I can't believe her photo shoot for her quilt in this collection, it's perfect.  Just come back to finish reading my post, please, lol. 

I counted up how many of each color way I would need, and grabbed the fabrics I wanted to use for that group.  I cut each color as I went, but soon I had a pile of pretty blocks, all nicely squared. 

My son came for Mother's Day weekend, and that put off some of my sewing time.  The project that got the attention was the replacement of the closet doors in the Long Arm room.  Vanna, my Handi-Quilter Amara has her own room, lol.  She just fits!  The closet was finally cleared of my mom's hoarded things, and I wanted to store the bolts and precuts from my Etsy shop in there.  The bolts, unfortunately, would not fit on the rack with the original 70 year old doors.  While I could have just removed the doors and put up a curtain, I wanted a place for a peg board system to store quilting rulers and thread, among other things.  I picked up a Barn Door kit, and that's what was installed this weekend.  Thanks, Matt!! Best Mother's Day Present! 

I still have more organizing to do, but this is a good start, and will give me room in my sewing studio and the guest room (which is also bolt storage, lol  Please buy some fabric from me!!)  

So, since he was also painting the closet I didn't get time to quilt this top yet, but it's on Vanna tonight, and will be quilted soon.  

Here are more photos.  The top measures 74" square, and I'll use Bubbles Everywhere panto and Forty3 in Dusty Lavender, color # 1243.  I have a dark green wide back for the backing, and Warm & White batting, since I don't have any cotton Hobb's white left.  I prefer white when using the white fabric for the background, as the natural batts tend to have a little show through.  It's less with Island Batik's solid white, but I wanted to be safe.
I opted to continue the design into the borders, but on 4 sides, following the pattern directions.  

It will look better after quilting, but I didn't get that far yet, and needed photos.  I misread my calendar and thought I was supposed to post on Wednesday, so here it is. lol  I'll share other photos when it's done.

Triangles continue into the border.

Ready to be quilted, with the color of Aurifil chosen.  I love Forty-3, which is a 3 ply Mako cotton that works so well with the high speed of a long arm, and adds a great texture to the top.  

Close Up of the blocks.  Aren't the colors gorgeous?  

So, since you've gotten this far, please leave a comment on my post for a chance to win some Fat Quarters from me.  I'll get a bundle together, and will ship to US addresses.  If you are from another country, and wish to pay the difference in shipping cost, then I'll make it worth your cost and stuff a flat rate envelope.  

Island Batik also has a give away, with the Glacier Bay collection, using the rafflecopter link below. 

Please also visit  
For today's posts, and check with the Island Batik blog for the rest of the schedule.  

Thanks so much for stopping!  Enjoy the hop! 


Monday, May 3, 2021

April's Finish and May Blog Hop

 Hi.  First, some info:  As you may have heard Feedburner is going away, and if you follow my blog via email, that will stop in July.  I do ask that you continue to follow me, and sign up under the Bloglovin tab, but I'll be finding a way to continue sharing by emails.  I plan to do a newsletter type thing, and will ask you to sign up when I get that set up.  Thanks!  I appreciate that you follow and occasionally read my posts.  

Second, my April Island Batik Challenge is finally done.  

These last few months have been a challenge for me.  I'm not sure why, but I've been procrastinating my sewing.  I have a custom project that is not one of my favorites, and I want to get it done, but other things keep jumping in front, then deadlines loom and I have to get the challenge pieces done.  I started this top with the intention of getting it done by April 28, and would have by Vanna, my Handi-Quilter Amara was giving me issues.  There's a wire on the back that connects the carriage to the computer, and that seems to be the problem.  I was getting motor errors, and if I stopped the machine to change the bobbin or check tension, the Run button on the tablet would not work.  I would have to shut the tablet computer down, check the wires (which all seemed to be connected) then turn it back on, and then reposition the design.  For this top alone, I had to do that about 10 times.  I called Handi-Quilter, and the tech support suggested a temporary fix of taping the wire to the head of the machine, and that got me through.  They are sending a new wire and a clamp that will hold the wire and prevent the issue in the future.  I think they discovered the issue and new models already have the clamp.  Vanna is celebrating 2 years with me, so she's getting the repair.  

But back to the quilt.  I used French Blue collection, which was from 2017, and coordinating yardage that Island Batik supplied in one of the previous years.  I saved this collection for something special, but didn't have a specific design until I thought about using my older pattern, Zen Basket, to make a twin size quilt.  The pattern is available in my Etsy shop.  It uses 2 1/2" strips and a little extra coordinating yardage, plus borders, and is fast and easy.  I had the blocks all done in just about an hour, and the top was assembled in less than 2 hours.  The borders took about another hour to add.  Using precuts speeds up the top, and it's so pretty.  It works with strips cut from yardage, too.  

I had a pretty blue floral wide backing that looked perfect with the Island Batik fabrics, so loaded it all on Vanna. 
Then I couldn't decide which edge to edge design to use.  I tested 8 or 9 using Prostitcher Designer software.  You create the design and place it over a photo of the top.  Some looked okay, but others would not work.  So, I texted Megan Best, another ambassador and Handi-Quilter expert, and she suggested Dancing Flowers from Mycreativestitches.com  I had looked at that, but wasn't sure, but when I tested it on the computer, it worked.  The tjaps have flowers and since the quilt design is straight lines, I wanted something with curves.  I offset the rows of the design to add more interest.  

For the finish, I decided to do a faux piped binding.  It just adds a little color on the edge.  
Here's the binding, prepped and ready to sew it on. 

Some more shots of the quilt.

 I used Aurifil Forty-3 for quilting, 3770, Stonewash Denim variegated.  It looks so pretty, and the texture is perfect.  I used Forty-3 2725, Light Wedgewood for the bobbin.  

Other projects in April included the Evening Star Quilt Guild Mystery, which was a Zoom presentation and fund raiser.  Mary, the guild president, found the design from Fort Worth Fabric Studio. 
Here's a photo of my top, but I may add borders.  The program was fun!  We were given directions for some prep sewing, and made the lily blocks on Thursday night and finished the rest of the blocks and assembly on Saturday.  I had my top done in about 2 1/2  hours, and the rest of the participants finished theirs by lunch.  I guess I'm speedy!  I used some of the Mystery collection by Claudia Pfeil for Island Batik for this.  The colors are prettier in better lighting.

It's a good thing I'm a fast quilter.  I need to get my top designed and done for the Island Batik Blog Hop, which starts today, and showcases all the new collections shipping to stores now!  I have about a week. lol.  

I haven't decided what to make yet, and LOVE the design in this photo for it.  Please click on the link for Island Batik above to see the list of bloggers and the schedule.  Below you'll find the Rafflecopter link for their give-away.  I'll have one next week, too.  

Thanks so much for reading along.  I have to go cut some fabric after I design my project.  Have fun hopping!  See you next week.


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

April One Monthly Goal

 I missed setting the goals in March, and I missed completing the goals I would have set.  It was a challenging month in many ways, and I'm hoping that April brings better news, but so far, there's more challenges.  

I need to focus on the happy challenges, though, the ones I set to finish a project and that make me happy.  One Monthly Goal with Elm Street Quilts.

In addition to the Island Batik April Challenge, I want to make a table runner for a friend.  

It's All Up to Me, so the challenge says.  I can decide what to make.  Although the table runner is going to use scraps and Island Batik fabric, I'm using an older group, so I'll make something else, too.  I have some quilted fabric left from making the bags last year, and may make some project bags or something.  Or I'll make a few runners.  Or maybe a quilt.  I don't know yet, but I'm hoping that I'll get inspired soon. So, I don't even have photos to share with fabric pulls.  

In addition to that, I have customer quilts to long arm, plus a charity quilt, and hope to finish the project I was working on in March, the Scrap Quilt, plus finish quilting the medallion.  

This is on Vanna, my Handi-Quilter Amara now. 
What are you working on?  Do you have a goal for this month?  

Thanks for visiting.  


Sunday, March 28, 2021

Long Overdue

 Hi.  Thanks for stopping by.  This is going to be a long, overdue post.  Yes, the comma is in the right place, lol.  I was an English professor, as a matter of fact, so I do know the comma's uses.  

I missed getting my blog post done for the March One Monthly Goal start, so I can't enter, but I do plan to link up with Elm Street Quilts for this post.  I need the accountability. 

I do have finishes, and I'm still working on the Island Batik Ambassador Scrappy March challenge.  I have almost half of the blocks done as of tonight, so I'm hoping to get them done Sunday, and have the top assembled by Tuesday.  

So, now to the finishes.  

First, I finished this quilt for my son.  We went to Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion National Parks last March, just as the shut down started, on the Collette tour I won from the 2018 Secret Santa Wheel of Fortune prize.  It was a great trip, and shortly after we came home, I discovered that Riley Blake Designs had panels for the National Parks, by Anderson Design Group.  I purchased a bolt of Grand Canyon, and Bryce parks, plus the pillow panels (available in my Etsy shop) and designed this quilt top with EQ8, using fabrics from Island Batik as well as more from Riley Blake.  I wanted the pieced border to resemble mountains, and I think it came out great.  I quilted it with the Navajo panto from Urban Elementz on my Handi-quilter Amara with Pro-stitcher.  I did design it to be long, since my son is tall, and I know he loves having quilts that cover his feet.  It's a long overdue, since it was initially intended for Christmas.  And it's long, get it?? lol  I had to make a trip to Pennsylvania a few weeks ago, so I was able to give it to him.  He promised to keep it away from his puppy (who actually chewed an older quilt that night).  Aurifil 40-3 thread for quilting, Warm & Natural batting, and cotton sateen backing.

Next finish:
Fruit Salad. 

This was started in 2017, part of an Island Batik Blog Hop for the Cherry Berry collection.  I used the Accuquilt GO! Apple Core die, and had the top together, but Island Batik is very generous with the Ambassador bundles and I had a 2 yard piece of the blue/lemon design that I really wanted to use.  I also had a few more of the other blocks cut out, and wanted to use them, as well.  I sewed the remaining pieces, and cut the strip in half, and added it to both sides of the top, to make it wider, and give a straight edge for adding a border (I could have just cut off the sides, but would have lost about 5" in width, and didn't want that to happen.)  I decided to cut some of the blue and do the same thing, to make the top and bottom even.  I did end up cutting a few more pieces, and even grabbed a scrap from a recent collection to add to this.  Once the top was done, I searched and found Fruity panto, which I thought was perfect for this top.  Quilted in blue Aurifil 40-3 weight thread, and used Warm & Natural batting.  Grey swirl wide backing.

Lemon/orange slices, apples, cherries, and other fruit shapes!

This is for sale in my Etsy shop.

I also finished the vintage Trip Around the World top I was asked to quilt.  My customer's mom had started this in the 1990's and passed away before finishing it.  Although she had done some of the hand quilting, other family members decided to add stitching as well.  Maureen didn't want that stitching removed, even if it would have made it easier to finish, so I left it all, including the ones that didn't bury the knots in the layers.  I decided to finish it in the same pattern, of 1/4" or so inside each block, and used rulers to get that done.  Then I searched my stash for a blue fabric that would work for binding.  I must have pulled about 15 different ones, until I decided on this stripe.  I knew it was perfect when the selvage dated it to 1990.  It's similar in shade to the blues in the top, plus the stripe is fun, and that little pink flower is similar to the pink flowers in the calico.  My customer has seen it on Etsy and is happy.  I'll deliver it Sunday.  

I made myself a new Easter egg mask, and I'm hoping it will make Mom smile when I'm allowed to see her again.  It's scheduled for this week.  

I also quilted 2 customer quilts, and have one more here to go, plus a few that are lining up for soon, and I was also asked to make banquet cushion covers.  It's getting busy!  That's good, and I'm being careful to NOT schedule too much, because I also need to do my quilts.  I have more UFOs plus the monthly challenge, and other things for my shop I want to make.  I also want to make a Bryce Canyon quilt for me!  If I don't occasionally sew for myself, I get frustrated.  Sewing and quilting is my passion, and my love, but it can't all be work, or it feels like work.  It's not exactly balanced, but it's better.  I've gotten burned out before, and felt so much better after making something for me.  It's not selfish sewing, it's sanity!  I also took a class from Megan Best at BestQuilter.com to learn more about Pro-Stitcher and Designer, and did my first sample of embroidery on the long arm.  I want to make more, some for me and some for the shop.  I also finally got the new Janome 550 Embroidery machine working.  A few screws came loose in shipping, but the tech at Pocono Sew & Vac fixed it quickly.  I have more things I want to embroider as well as things for the shop.  I'm just going to keep moving forward, keep sewing, and keep blogging my finishes. 

Thanks so much for reading this long post about long quilts and more!  Have a wonderful day!  

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Island Batik Create for a Cause Blog Hop and Giveaway


Okay, that's a little teaser and hint to the idea behind my quilt.  Welcome to my day on the Create for a Cause hop, with Island Batik Ambassadors.  The fabric collection I got was Melody, designed by Claudia Pfeil for Island Batik. 

This collection was in my Ambassador box in January, and will be in quilt shops soon.  It's a gorgeous mix of pink, purple, plum, and shades of green.  The tjaps (chops) have gorgeous feather quilting designs, and vines, plus circles and squares.  
This just spoke Flowers to me.  Happy Spring flowers.  Our objective this month is to make a quilt that will be donated to a charity.  I was stumped!  I knew I wanted to make something large, at least a throw size, and it needed to have flowers in a field of grass.  Which charity?  I'm still not actually sure which charity I'll be able to donate this to.  I'm contacted my church, and a local nursing home that does raffles, but haven't heard back yet.  The nursing home is one where my dad volunteered for many years.  Mom's nursing home doesn't do raffles, so I can't donate it there.  I also contacted my high school, and they would love to accept it, but aren't doing raffles or auctions at this time because of Covid.  I would love for the proceeds of this to go towards tuition for a smart girl that would benefit from being a student at Sacred Heart Academy.  It should bring in a nice sum of money if raffled or auctioned.  

So, without really knowing where I could donate it, I was stumped on the design, except that it needed to look like flowers.  I played around in EQ8 and drew something that looked like petals around a center.  I picked the 7 favorite pink/purple pieces, and 6 of the greens, plus the Circles in green, which was the 2 yard light piece included in my Ambassador box, plus some Egg White for background.  When I drew the block, I knew I was going to use the Corner Beam tool from Studio 180, plus the Flying Geese ruler by Quilt in a Day.  I was thinking of doing a pieced center with yellow and green, but decided to just use the collection colors, and a full square (faster that piecing one).  
So, 13 blocks later, plus 12 squares of the variety of greens created the center.  I used a border of the green circles, and then finished with a nice wide border from the dark coordinate in the box, the Vine in Dusk fabric, which is also the center flower.  The Flying Geese units are stitched to a rectangle of the same fabric, to make the petal shape.  Let's just call them Star Flowers, and the quilt is Garden Melody. 

Garden Melody measures about 80" square, and would be so pretty on a twin or full size bed, or hanging on a large wall.  I quilted it with Aurifil Forty-Three in 4660, Pink Taffy, a variegated thread that picks up all the colors of cotton candy to fuchsia.  It looks great on the green fabrics, too, and blends into the border.   I used the panto Maggie's Rose from Urban Elementz on my Handi-Quilter Amara with Pro-stitcher.  If you think you want to make something similar, let me know and I'll write the pattern.
The backing is a grey swirl wide back, and batting is Hobb's Heirloom Cotton with scrim, one of the queen size battings they added to our Ambassador boxes.  And I always use Schmetz needles, and love Microtex for piecing with batiks.  It's the best and lasts so long, even with doing multiple layers of binding, batting, top, and backing.  
I went to Hick's Nursery to get some photos, because the weather was too overcast and snowy for outdoor shots.  Thanks to the staff person who volunteered to hold this for me!  
Here are some other fun shots.  
Look, a garden bench painted to match!   I had to stop for another photo, lol.  I think the guy behind me on line thinks I'm nuts!! I had purchased a few house plants and a flower pot, and had just folded up the quilt.  Had to unfold it, toss it on the bench, grab the camera, then fold it again, lol.  
On my queen size bed.  It's a little small for it, or will need pillow shams.  
This fabric is my favorite in the collection.  It's one of my favorite colors, with my favorite.  I posted on Instagram that my shirt matched this the day I was sewing this block, and I do have nail polish to match, too. 
A little of the tread detail in quilting.  The color change is fun, and adds a pretty touch to the fabrics.  

Island Batik is having a give-away on their blog, and here's the Rafflecopter widget.  

You can win Mystery, the other collection by Claudia Pfeil.  It has similar tjaps, but features other colors. 

Please leave a comment on my post to enter to win some fabric from me.  I'm not sure what I'll share yet, but you'll be happy, as I'll stuff a flat rate envelope with Island Batik.  A US winner will have free shipping, and if you are from another country and agree to cover the difference in shipping, you can enter too.  This give-away will close on February 21, 2021.  Please sign up for emails of my blog posts, and consider following me on Facebook and Instagram!  Thanks!

Please visit this week's blogs for more inspiration, and to enter give-aways on their posts.  

February 8:

February 9:

February 10:

February 11:

February 12:

Blog Hop Round-Up Week 2 and Giveaway

Thanks so much for visiting!   Have fun on the hop, and get some good inspiration.