Monday, May 15, 2023

Tool Craze with Studio 180* and Island Batik

Midsummer Meteors

Welcome to the Summer Twilight day on the Tool Craze blog hop!  I'm so excited to share this pretty collection by Tammy Silvers of Tamarinis for Island Batik.  There's a list below of a few shops that ordered Summer Twilight, and you can always check at for shops that carry the gorgeous collections.  Aqua and Teal, black, purple, green, fuchsia and hot pink play well together.  There are tulips, large multi-petal blooms, leaves, feathers and a great dotted tjap that looks like a clamshell design.  That was the inspiration for the quilting pattern, but more on that later.  
Meet Midsummer Meteors, my design for this hop. 

I also received a neutral and 2 yards of Blackberry, which I'll save for another project.  I used some of the 6 yard piece of neutrals that Island Batik provided in the box, and Wisteria from my shop.

The Ambassadors were asked to use the Studio 180* tool that was sent in the first box for 2023 with the 1/2 yard surprise bundle.  We were asked to use as many fabrics as we could and use the tool in multiple sizes, with at least 30 units, with the quilt being any size.  Okay, I met most of the requirements.  But I went big and used ALL the fabrics.  I couldn't think of a way to use multiple sizes of equilateral triangles but actually, maybe I did use multiple sizes within the design.  Some were cut at 4" and some at 6 1/2".  I used multiple Technique Sheet designs, as well.  Can you see the Checkerboard, Framed, Capped, Quad or Striped units?  Doing the math, I made 170 triangles, plus 20 side units, and of the 170 triangles, 60 had various pieces totaling 150 smaller pieces.  280 pieces in this top, plus borders.

I was provided the Star 60 tool.  It's designed to make 60* stars, or 6 pointed stars in 17 sizes from 1" to 9", but you can go larger using a combination of the Star 60 and your other longer rulers. You can use the triangles to make hexagons and there are also directions to make the ends straight, to square your units.  Watch the video where Deb Tucker explains this tool, and some of the uses.  

After watching the video for the tool, and for the technique sheets, I got to work on EQ8 to see if I could figure out what I wanted to do.  First, there are a number of squares that use the 6 point star, and some of them would have worked, but I wanted something different.  I looked through the One Patch quilt suggestions, and they had one that was triangles, similar to the 1000 Pyramids designs.  That sparked my interest, so I played with a few ideas using the colors in the collection.  I also played with background colors.  My only issue was I didn't know how to draw the different Technique Sheet designs within each triangle.  More on that later, also.  I tried a navy background, but thought it was too dark.
EQ8 draft
 This was the start.  The triangles could be adjusted to the size and angle, so I played with 8" tall, and decided to use 6" tall.  The quilt could be made fairly quickly and would finish about 80" square with the borders.  I printed this out, and then used a pen to draw possible Technique Sheet designs within the units, and to add more fabric choices.  After I looked at all the white space, I decided to add the units that look like smaller stars.  Those end up being 12" tall, but the large ones are 24".  I also changed the color combinations as I cut each star.  The background fabric is Snow, a pale creamy white with a little hint of grey. Each triangle is sized perfectly with the Star 60 tool.  If you're not familiar with Tucker tools, they make oversized units that are then trimmed down to perfection.  I've used many of the tools for previous projects, and love them!  It's so easy to get better at piecing when the units are close to perfect.  You can see some of the lines on this tool on the pink fabric.  They line up with the triangle sections, and there are lines for vertical and horizontal, plus trim lines to get the bottom edge correct.  Any lost points in piecing are my fault, not the tool's, lol  

I add pink Highlighter tape to certain lines when needed, so it's easy to find the mark.  I could have used it on the 6" V line, but since I was cutting 4", 6" and the diamonds for some of the centers, I didn't want to keep moving the tape, although it is repositionable.  

I added a new Schmetz Chrome size 12 needle to my Janome 9450, and wound about 5 bobbins with Aurifil 50wt, because I use a large cone, just for piecing.  I also used my Prairie Spirit Alpaca pressing mat to help get the units flat.  These 3 products are always in use here.  They make my pieces accurate, which leads to a better top.  But first, the oops.  Lost at bobbin chicken when adding the borders.  3 more stitches would have been nice, but I had more bobbins wound, so no time lost.  Don't worry, I cleaned out the bobbin case after the next bobbin change.  

Oops again.
Making the checkerboard units, I didn't pay attention to how to join the pieced diamond units.  Had to redo 4 out of 6, and then do another one more time because I knew I could do better at the center match point.  In the above photo, the bottom one is correct.  Below is one of the oops. 

I do plan to write a pattern for this top, so if you're interested, give me some time, and I'll share it when it's done.  It was actually fun, and fairly quickly pieced.  I contacted EQ8, and they offered information on creating the pieced triangle shapes.  Diane was super friendly and helpful.  I'll figure it out and get the pattern ready. 

Here are more photos of the top.  I used Hobb's Heirloom Cotton batting for a soft drape, and used a cream sateen wide back for the backside.  I added borders and binding in Wisteria, one of the Playful Purples Foundations. I have this for sale in my Etsy shop, if you need it. 

Quilted on my Handi-Quilter Amara with Pro-Stitcher using Clam Shell Feather Edge to Edge by and Aurifil Forty-3 in 2026 Chalk, a pale creamy white that perfectly matched the Snow background. 

Framed units with the matching smaller side triangles, alternating with single color triangles. 

Striped and Checkerboard units. 

Capped units.

Quad Units. 

Heather is checking out my son who is holding the quilt.  His dog was there, too, lol. 

Some Shops that carry Summer Twilight.
Around The Block-WYCheyenneWY
B&F Variety-SDGregorySD
Backdoor QuiltsBillingsMT
Quilter's Quarters-AZCottonwoodAZ
Bill Ellsworth TextilesPrescott ValleyAZ
Cate's Sew Modern-CTMadisonCT
Fabric Shoppe-CACamarilloCA
Foust Textiles-NCKing's MtnNC
Island Batik is giving away bundles of fabric.  Here's the link.  

WEEK 3 Schedule.  

May 15

Victoria Johnson, Forever Quilting for You

Leah Malasky, Quilted Delights

Maryellen McAuliffe, Mary Mack Made Mine

May 16

Renee Atkinson, Pink Tulip Quilting

Sarah Pitcher, Pitcher’s Boutique

May 17

Suzy Webster, Websterquilt

Preeti Harris, Sew Preeti Quilts

Lisa Pickering, Lisa’s Quilting Passion

May 18

End of Blog Hop + Final Round Up

You can find more information including the previous weeks posts on the Island Batik blog page, and many of the ambassadors have additional give-aways.  I do, too!  Please comment below if you've used any of the Studio 180 tools.  Keep in mind I'm happy to order anything for you, if you can't find it in your favorite shop.  Just send me a message, and we'll discuss the next steps.  I'll pick a random comment to send some of the scraps of Summer Twilight to you.  Free shipping to US, but if you're in Canada, and will help offset the cost difference in shipping, I'll send you a very full flat rate envelope, after May 25.

Thanks so much for getting to the end of my long post.  I hope you are inspired by my project and the ones by Tori and Leah with this collection, and different tools, and enjoy the hop!  


Sunday, April 30, 2023

Crazy Fun! the Island Batik Ambassador Challenge for April

 Crazy Fun!  Island Batik asked the Ambassadors to work with the provided Aurifil thread pack to make a crazy quilt.  

So, how does one go crazy with stitching?  I don't know, I had fun, it wasn't crazy at all.  But that's the name for the type of quilt shown above.  I was lucky enough to see and touch one that my cousin Elizabeth had at her house.  A number of years ago, way too long because I miss them all, Elizabeth invited all the girl cousins from my dad's side to her beach house in Cape Cod for the weekend.  Arlene, my sister-in-law, was included as well, because she's been good friends with my cousins for years, too.  Elizabeth's mother-in-law was a big quilter, and co-founded the Long Island Quilting Guild, and had a shop.  When she passed I was lucky enough to get some of her fabric and a machine from Elizabeth, but I digress.  Elizabeth knew I loved quilting, and showed me this stunning example of a crazy quilt.  

This is an amazing blend of satins, velvets, polyester prints, lace, embroidery and more.  I was in awe.  The other thing that amazed me was that there was no binding.  The edge fabric folded over and started on the back.  Front and back, crazy patches of fabric and stitching, and lace and trim sewn together.  I couldn't figure out how it really didn't end, and how the fabric was folded and continued.  How did the maker do it?  It's like she made one huge top, folded it in half, and then just sewed the jagged edge fabric from one side to the other to make it reversible.  Elizabeth said she found it in a thrift shop.  There was no label on it.  I asked Elizabeth to send a few photos, so I hope you can see how the edge was done.
Can you see the corner?  It's mitered, almost, but the purple is on both sides.  I hope I can visit with Elizabeth again and look closer, now that I have more quilting information and can really puzzle this out.

But for now, let's talk about my Crazy Quilt.  
I was given the Aurifil thread box for Jade Vine in the January
Ambassador box. 
2830 Mint, 4654 Turquoise Foam, and 4662 Creme De Menthe, in the 50wt Mako cotton size.  Turquoise Foam and Creme de Menthe are variegated.  
 Since the shades of thread were lighter, I knew I needed a strong darker background on the fabric to show it off.  I also needed to play with my Janome 550 embroidery only machine, and learn how to use some of the 350 stitches on my Janome Horizon 9450.  Both machines were purchased during the pandemic, and I haven't been able to get actual lessons on either yet.  I'll have to remember to request them again from my favorite shop, Pocono Sew and Vac.  I get all my machines from there, and the staff is awesome. 

I played with a number of ideas but decided that I would stitch out 2 designs on the embroidery machine, and make a wall hanging for the long arm room.  I picked hand crank sewing machine, and a stunning butterfly on bloom, both from Embroidery Library.  I should have looked for instructions on my machine to reverse the machine design, but it stitched out so well the first time I didn't worry about it.  I used Aurifil 2021 Natural White for the thread, and Creme de Menthe for the body.  It's stitched on Hyacinth  Basics, with a fusible interfacing on the back, and tear away stabilizer.  I realized after stitching that the shades of thread don't really show much, but it's pretty anyway.  The butterfly was stitched with Turquoise Foam and that looks awesome.  The design is meant to be whitework, but the color change of the thread adds so much! 
Schmetz Embroidery needle used in both machines.

I did a rough trim on the designs and then added strips of fabric, mostly from Royal Crown, until I had something that was larger than 12 1/2".  
The center block starts with a rough pentagon shape, and is bordered with multiple pieces of fabric.  I cut a 14" piece of tear away stabilizer to start, and used some Elmer's glue stick to hold the pentagon in place, then put favorite sides together, stitched a seam, trimmed off the excess, and added another strip.  I had rough cut a variety of strips about 2 1/2" wide, most from the Royal Crown collection that I used in the Puff quilt challenge in February.  I figured the greens would work well with the thread collection, and the purples would offer enough contrast to show the thread. 
Progress adding the fabrics. 

 Yes, favorite sides together.  Most batiks are the same front and back, but if you look closely, there are minor differences.  One might have more little bubbles or one might have a cleaner line from the tjap (chop, stamp used with the waxes for the design).  I look to see which I prefer, but if I forget to look, it's not really an issue, no one will know.  Once I added the piece, I finger pressed the seam open, and added the next piece, until the stabilizer was filled.  It was really fun to just add the variety of fabrics, almost like using a foundation paper piecing pattern, but without lines.  

All the threads used.  See the little needle and thread?? So cute!

Then it was time to do the fun stitching designs.  I had a blast using so many!  I tried something from each section, and changed threads multiple times.  Each seam had a different design, but I think I used the needle and thread twice.  There are scissors, and spools of thread, too.  Satin stitches, long stitches, and designs, hearts, leaves, swirls.  I didn't add extra stabilizer to the crazy patch block, but did put it under the embroidered squares, to make sure the designs stitched well.  I even used the alphabet to write my name.  
Stitch options.  350 plus alphabet, and you can mix and match them to create your own designs.

After it was all stitched, I trimmed the blocks to 12 1/2" and sewed them together, added a border from the collection scraps, and decided to quilt it on my Handi-Quilter Amara with Pro-Stitcher, using Aurifil 40-3 in 1243 Dusty Lavender, and a stipple design.  I haven't done much with cropping out areas from a design, and didn't want to quilt over the machine and butterfly, so I played with that option, too.  Lots of learning happening lately.   I used a scrap of wide backing I had available, and Hobb's Poly Down batting.

When my son comes, I'll have him help me hang this on the back wall, but for now, it's done.  I had an 12" Ackfeld metal hanger and decided to use it for this.  I'm thrilled with how it came out, and hope you enjoyed the information.  

Please remember to check the other Island Batik Ambassador posts for their projects using Aurifil Thread for a crazy project.

Also, Island Batik has announced the May Ambassador blog hop, so please go see what we're planning, and enter to win fabric.  I'll be posting May 15, so make sure you see all the uses of the Studio 180 tools and new fabric collections shipping to stores soon. 

Brenda Alburl ~ Songbird Designs

Renee Atkinson ~ Pink Tulip Quilting

Pamela Boatright ~ Pamelaquilts

Susan Deshensky ~ Lady Blue Quilt Studio

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– you are here

Leah Malasky ~ Quilted Delights

Maryellen McAuliffe ~ Mary Mack Made Mine

Anorina Morris ~

Lisa Pickering ~ Lisa’s Quilting Passion

Sarah Pitcher ~ Pitcher’s Boutique LLC

Claudia Porter ~ Create with Claudia

Lana Russel ~

Elita Sharpe ~ Busy Needle Quilting LLC

Gail Sheppard ~ Quilting Gail

Sandra Starley ~ Textile Time Travels

Jennifer Thomas ~ Curlicue Creations

Suzy Webster ~ WebsterQuilt

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

March Ambassador Challenge

 The Forgotten Post.

Although I finished the quilt in March, I forgot to write this post, and got involved in finishing some customer quilts.  It's been a little wacky here, but what else is new. 

My choice!  I love this type of challenge, and can often think of multiple uses for it.  Killing 2 birds with one stone, as they say, but this was a 3-fer. 

Back in February, the Pieceful Patchers of the Park had a sewing party on that super Sunday.  It's an annual thing.  Pat, the instructor for the day, picks a pattern, and offers a fun day of sewing at the village hall.  We have pizza brought in for lunch, and everyone picks their fabric choices, based on the preview during the previous months.  It's fun, and a great way to get something started.  This year, the pattern chosen was Open Options by Material Girlfriends Quilt Shop.  It's a fairly easy pattern, using 10" squares, but has over 14 different setting options, so it's easy to have a variety of fun tops when you're done.  I picked Island Batik's Solid Grey for background, and Maple Island 10" squares for the blocks. 
The pattern calls for 24, so I used 12 matching ones, and added in a few more, because I wasn't sure how large I wanted to go.  So, Bird 1, having the class for the pattern, and needing 10" squares.  Bird 2, the March Open challenge.  Bird 3?? I've decided to make or give away some of my quilts for my college glee club friends.  We've reconnected, and they are so much fun, and the memories are great.  These were my bridesmaids, and good friends, and their current friendships mean so much.  (It's over 30 years worth of friendship, and some of us are celebrating big birthdays, or have already, lol)  My friend Bernadette loves green, and her birthday is in March.  I don't usually make just green quilts, so that's why Maple Island was the choice.  One stone. 

Maple Island has all shades of green, from deep forest to light sage, and a little aqua and teal thrown in.  The tjaps (designs) feature leaves, birch trees, and ferns, pinecones, and berries and the solid Grey was a great background for the blocks.  

Blocks in progress.

Lots of blocks in progress.  Pieced with Aurifil 50wt in cream and grey, on multiple machines.  I also have some blocks left over, and I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them yet.  

Next step is to pick a layout.  I looked at the suggestions in the pattern, there are 14 of them. I picked one that I thought would look good, and played with the placement of the squares.  As I worked, I realized I had 2 of each in the background, and 2 of each with the grey.  I decided to use this as a design element, too. 

As I placed each block, I put the matching one in the opposite location.  So, top left is the same as bottom right.  Top right is the same as bottom left.  Top second column is the same as bottom 5th column.  I placed the darkest fabric blocks at the corners, and worked lighter towards the center, but if you flip the "bottom" to the "top, the quilt is the same.  Symmetry.  

After the top was pieced, and double checked for block orientation, (there was an oops, but I fixed it). I decided to add borders.  I had an older collection piece of dark forest with leaves, and more of the solid Grey, since the Ambassador boxes are so generous. I added a 3" finished Grey, and 4" finished green, which left me just enough to use that for binding, as well.  

I had a piece of wide backing that was the right size, and loaded the top with Warm & Natural batting on my Handi-Quilter Amara with Pro-Stitcher.  I used Harvest Winds from Urban Elementz for the panto.  I felt this gave the larger open areas great texture.  I used Superior King Tut Oasis for the top and bobbin, as it was the best option for the way I wanted the quilting to look.  I wish Aurifil had more colors in 40-3, but the greens are limited.  

Here's the finished top, and I think Heather approves.  Bernadette is thrilled, too.  

Disclaimer: Fabric for the top and borders, as well as Schmetz needles and Aurifil thread is provided by Island Batik, for their Ambassadors.  

Please check with the other Ambassadors for their projects.  And check back soon to see what we're going crazy with for April, with Aurifil Thread's challenge.  
Thanks for stopping by!