Monday, September 7, 2015

My Winner

Hi! It's the day to draw the winners.  Island Batik shared their #Summerinthecountry winner on their blog HERE, along with the directions to create the Barns quilt, which is adorable.

And my winner was picked by, Comment #28.  Nancy has been notified and has responded with her address, so a bundle of beautiful batiks will be on their way to her.

If you didn't win, please check with your favorite stores and look for Island Batik, and ask them to carry it if you don't find it.  Also, Quilt In A Day and Hancocks-Paducah, among other online shops, do carry a good assortment of Island Batik, so please check your favorite online stores and get the best batiks!

I enjoyed all the comments on my post, and although I don't respond I do read them all.  I do hope you've tried the recipe, though.  I know you'll love it!

Thanks again to Island Batik, the other Ambassadors and to my readers for making this so much fun!
There's lots more fun in store, so I hope you check back soon!  Thanks for visiting!


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Summer in the Country Blog Hop and Give Away


Hi, and Welcome to my day on the Summer in the Country Blog Hop with Island Batik. 

I LOVE being an Ambassador for Island Batik!  It's fun and exciting, and the fabrics are really wonderful.  The colors are great, and the base fabric is quality.  I've compared batiks from other companies, and have found that others fray and the fabric is thinner than Island Batik.  You can feel and see the difference.  

Since I live in the country, in the woods in the Pocono Mountains of PA, I adore Summer in the country.  The trees are so full, the lakes and streams are so pretty, and the crickets chirping at night just make me happy.  It's a lovely place to live.  And you'll find a few beautiful Log Cabins.  I used the Log Cabin as my inspiration for this country theme runner. 

My very first quilt was a Quilt In A Day Log Cabin.  Shortly after I moved here 27 years ago, a small fabric store opened, and had a class for this "new" method of quilting using rotary cutters.  Since I had been sewing since I was 5, I wanted to try quilting.  And I had a new house to decorate.  I took the class, and have loved Quilt In A Day and quilting since.  I'm not sharing a photo of that quilt today, but I do want to share my latest Log Cabin quilt. 

The three lighter colors, and the first on the "dark" side are from Wishing Well, The Buttermilk collection. The 2 darks and binding were from the Green Acres Collection. and the center is Plum from the Basics Collection.  I wanted the center to be close to the traditional red, and it's such a pretty shade to go with the others.  

Displaying Wishing-Well-Logo-Transparent.png        Displaying Green-Acres-Logo-Transparent.png

But the setting is not traditional!  I saw a runner similar to this, done by a friend.  She used a book called "Mostly Table Runners by Calico Printworks.  I've created my version and want to share what I did with you.  

I made 10 Log Cabin blocks, using the Quilt In A Day book.  I used the 2 1/2" strip count for the 9 block baby quilt, but needed an extra 3rd Dark strip (the green/blue animal print in my runner).  

These ended at 14 1/2" (will be 14" in the top).  You can use your favorite method and size of blocks, though.  

Then I played with layouts on EQ7.  I created a template that had 10 blocks in an On Point setting.  Here are some choices (I used a standard colored block from the data base.  It was important for me to see the light/dark not the colors.) 

I picked this first one.     

The really fun thing about Log Cabin blocks is there are so many ways to lay them out, and you'll get a great quilt.  I ignored the setting triangles in these templates, though.  I wanted the jagged border. 

So, after I figured out how to lay them out, I sewed the rows together.  Normally when you sew blocks on point, the ends of the diagonal rows have triangles to fill in the spaces.  We're not doing that, so you'll have some weird looking matches, but it's actually fun and easy.  I numbered the diagonal rows.  Row 1 has 2 blocks, so sew them together.  Row 2 has 3 blocks, and those get sewn.  Row 3 has 3 blocks, and row 4 has 2.  Make sure you leave the numbers on through the next steps.  I used card stock, and just wrote the numbers with a sharpie, and pinned them on.  

Put them back on your design wall, to figure out which seams should match, and which block just hangs out.  I drew an arch for where you need to match the seams.  Block 1 in row 2 only matches to row 1.  Block 3 in row 3 only matches to  row 4. 

I layered the top with backing and batting, and quilted feathers using Aurifil Mako 50wt in 2783, a dark teal blue for the "dark" sections of the blocks, and 50 wt 2000, a pretty cream, for the light sections.  I didn't quilt the center squares.  I adore Aurifil for quilting and piecing. The colors were perfect to melt into the top and just add texture.

I cut 6 strips, 2 1/2" wide, for binding, using the navy and green pine tree fabric (which is Dark #2). The trickiest part is binding this, because of the inner corners.  Here's what I did. First, before quilting, I basted about 1/8" from the entire edge, using my walking foot.  I felt this was needed because of the inner corners, and since this layout made the edges a bias edge on the backing (the front is straight strip pieces, not bias).  Next, after quilting, I trimmed the backing and batting even with the top, especially on the inner corners.  I started stitching the binding to the quilt top, and when I got to the outer corners, did the usual miter fold.  The inner corners need some special handling, but it's not difficult.

First, mark 1/4" on the inner corner, like an X.  When you get to this spot, stop with the needle down, right in the center of the X, through the binding, and quilt.  You can back up 2 stitches, and go back forward, if you want.  Carefully, with the needle down, lift your presserfoot and pivot the quilt so you can go towards the next edge.  Line the binding up with the new edge, and fold/pinch/push the quilt carefully under the foot, so it's actually as straight as you can make it.  Basically, you are UNbending this fold, and continuing to sew the binding.  By pleating the quilt, to the left of the needle, you can straighten the binding. You are NOT forming a pleat in the binding or top, just straightening the section where the binding is sewn.  NO miters or tucks!!  I used a stiletto to help make sure the area under the foot was as flat as possible.  Take 2 or 3 stitches, and you can let the pleated top go, and readjust the binding.  Continue to the next corner, then miter.  Then do the same X mark, pleat the top and continue around the next inner corner. There's only 4 of them, so it's not that challenging.
Mark 1/4" seam lines on the quilt top at the inner corner. 

Stop at the mark with the needle down.   I didn't trim my batting and backing until I was approaching this inner corner, but it's easier to cut out the triangle with scissors before it's under the machine.
Pleat and fold the quilt to the left of the needle, and make the edge where you're sewing the binding as straight as possible, the part you just sewed, and the next block's side. Continue sewing the binding along the next edge.

I machine sew my bindings to the back. I did the cream sections first (the bobbin thread is cream, top thread was dark navy)  I didn't want the cream to show on the blue sections of the front, so I changed the bobbin thread for those areas to match, And then I decided to hand sew the inner binding spots to the back.  It was easier than trying to do it by machine.

This is pretty easy, but to make it look good, you need to take your time (and use a little help from a stiletto).  Start tacking your binding to the back, by hand, as usual. When you get to the inner corner, where the stitches make the L, form a small tuck/pleat to "absorb" the extra fabric in the binding.  Use the stiletto to help tuck this little pleat in, then hand sew the pleat in place on the front and back. Continue sewing the remaining binding down to the back of the quilt. This photo shows the TOP of the inner corner, with the pleat sewn in place.  It makes a nice sharp square, doesn't it?? It's pretty easy, just a little "detailed".  

And you have this awesome runner to show for the effort!  I think it's stunning.  The batiks are gorgeous, especially the paisley in the first dark section, and you have to smile at the trees going around the binding.  The shaped edge just adds something unique to this piece, and I love it!

Mine finished at 40 by 80, and I decided to see what it looked like as a bed runner.

It would look better over a plain blue, grey,  or cream quilt, I think. It makes my purple quilt look weird! lol But I'm keeping the purple in my room.

Here's another photo of it draped over the guest room day bed.

When I saw Buttermilk as the collection name on the cream grouping of fabrics, I knew I had to share my Chocolate Chip Loaf recipe!  It uses buttermilk!  It's perfect for brunch or snack, and with afternoon tea. 

Chocolate Chip Bread

3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
`3/4 tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup butter melted
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup mini chocolate chips (I use 1 1/2 cups regular chips)
Preheat Oven to 350*
Grease and flour 3 small (approx 4 x 6) loaf pans, or 2 regular size loaf pans (approx 6 x 9)
Whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt) and set aside.
Cream butter and sugar until well blended. Mix in egg and vanilla until well combined. Stir in flour and buttermilk, alternating, until combined. Stir in chocolate chips, and pour into the prepared pans. Bake 35 to 45 minutes, until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Let cool.
Place ¼ cup chocolate chips in a zip-loc type bag, concentrated in one corner. Place bag upright in a microwave safe bowl, and melt the chips until liquid, about 2 minutes. Snip a small hole in the corner, and use the opening to drizzle chocolate over cooled loaves.
MY hints:
Double the recipe, and once the drizzle is cooled, wrap in aluminum foil, and freeze loaves in ziploc bags. Keeps for months. I use 3 smaller pans and 2 large ones. Batter is similar to cake batter, or pancake batter. I use regular chocolate chips, and about 1 ½ cups per recipe (about 3 cups if doubled recipe). 

Recipe was originally found in a magazine years ago (can't remember which one), but I add more chocolate chips!   

Remove from the freezer a few hours before you wish to serve them, or they make great hostess gifts.  Everyone who has tasted this says "I could eat that all day!"  

And, if you've made it this far, I have a give away.  I'll select 4 FQs of some of the latest collection to send to you.  Please leave a comment to enter.  I would LOVE it if you could show my FACEBOOK PAGE some love, too.  If you haven't already, please LIKE the page. I'm really close to 300 followers, and I'll add a second prize of FQs to the drawing if I get over 325 by the end of the hop, on September 8.  One comment per person, and please make sure I can get in touch with you.  I'll pick one or two winners from the comments here.

If you've missed the other days on the hop, here's the list.  Many of them still have give-aways open.  

Also, Island Batik is giving away 2 bundles of fabric.  Use the Rafflecopter Widget at the bottom to enter! 

Thanks so much for visiting and reading my book/blog post, lol.  Enjoy the rest of your hop! 

8/17 – Island Batik
8/18 – KISSed Quilts – Part 1
8/19 – Kauffman Designs
8/20 – Adele Mogavero
8/21 – MooseStash Quilting
8/22 – Pamela Quilts
8/23 – Freemotion by the River
8/24 – The Patchwork Pearl
8/25 – Fun Threads Designs
8/26 – For Quilts Sake
8/27 – Lemon Tree Snippets
8/28 – Bejeweled Quilts
8/29 – Tamarinis
8/30 – KISSed Quilts – Part 2
8/31 – Beaquilter
9/1 – Purrfect Spots Designs
9/2 – Maria Michaels Designs
9/3 – Mary Mack Made Mine  You're HERE!  Thanks!
9/4 – Made In Scraps
9/5 – Happy Cottage Quilter

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