Monday, August 15, 2016

Island Batiks Seaside Summer Blog Hop

Hi and Welcome to my day on the Island Batik Ambassador's Hop!  I'm glad you're stopping by. 

My collection is Red Tide.  It's a mix of colors, and I had an assortment of orange and red, purples, and greens.  There are some lovely designs in this collection, and I especially love the purple swirls.  

What would you do if you were given a group of 1/2 yard cuts?  I  wanted to make a quilt.  Nothing too big, as it's hot and my new studio only has fans, so far.  I don't have a long arm, and do my own quilting.  So, smaller works for summer projects.  

I wanted something different, too.  Not a published pattern, but something fun.  I went looking for block designs for inspiration.  Nothing was named for Red Tide, or Seaside.  I didn't want boats, because I was going to use the orange and purple selections.  So, for inspiration, I went to Quilters Cache and found the Triangle Chain block.  I love the look.  It's different.  But I wanted it bigger.  Marsha has it as a 9".  
I played in EQ7 #EQ25 to change the size and make it easier to cut.  I decided a 16" block would work.  That made each quadrant  8".  The lighter purple Half Triangle Square finishes at 4", the sashing and "cornerstones" are 2" (cut 2 1/2"), and the smaller orange HSTs finish at 3".  Large purple HST piece is an 8 7/8 square, cut on one diagonal.  Larger orange HST is a 6 7/8 square, cut on diagonal.  Each section should be 8 1/2" before you join them to make one square.  

Then the fun begins!  What happens when you play with the layout??  

Here's the EQ7 layout.  
 I love it!!  

And then I found the green/purple fabrics I had actually set aside for a different top, and liked them better.  So, change the orange to green.  I made 4 large blocks, added a 2" border (cut at 2 1/2") and a 4" (cut at 4 1/2) border, because that would need 4 strips, and I had 1/2 yard.  

I went to the Island Batik website and downloaded the actual photos from the fabric, to upload into EQ7, and see what the prints will look like.  I also played with a dark blue for the cornerstones, but liked the bright green better.  
I love being able to get an idea of the quilt using only EQ7 on my computer.  I knew I didn't have lots of fabric, and couldn't afford to make a mistake in cutting.  
Although I knew I wanted the quilt to look like a large star, I put the blocks on my design wall to see how they worked in a different arrangement.  I put the border fabrics next to them, just to double check.  While this is a fun layout, and the purple and green sections make really interesting designs, it didn't have the impact I was hoping for.  

Ah, Eureka!  That's it!  I love the purple star points!  Don't be afraid to play with your blocks to see what happens when you change the direction.  The difference here is just turning the block, all pointing a green section to the center.  

So, here's the finished top.  

Here's one of the blocks, with a hint at the quilting.  

Yes, I actually, finally, have something quilted!! It's been a while.

This one finished at about 45" square.  The larger blocks were fast and easy to make, and made a quick top. 

And my summer recipe!  
I love zucchini bread.  Since it's something you can make ahead and freeze, it's the perfect thing to bring to the beach, for a treat after swimming.  Although when I'm eating it at home, I prefer it lightly toasted and buttered, it's great for a quick snack, too.  

Zucchini Bread
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom (optional)
¼ tsp baking powder
3 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups peeled, grated raw zucchini (I always add a little more).
1 cup chopped nuts (I use pecans).
  1. Preheat oven to 350*. Grease and flour 2 large loaf pans (as in photo), or 3 small pans. (My small ones are about 4 x 6).
  2.  Cream eggs, oil, sugar and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Sift together the remaining dry ingredients, and stir into the egg mixture. Add zucchini, nuts and vanilla, and stir until combined.
  4. Pour into the prepared pans, and bake for about 1 hour. Knife inserted in center should come out clean, but moist.
Hints: Double the recipe, and freeze the extras. To freeze, wrap each cooled loaf in aluminum foil, and place in a large zipper freezer bag. It keeps well for about 2 months.

Seaside Summer Blog Hop Schedule
Monday Aug 15 - Rain Forest

Tuesday Aug 16 - Red Tide

Wednesday Aug 17 - Sand Dune

Thursday Aug 18 - Seashore

Friday Aug 19 - Surf Squirt

Monday Aug 22 - Tradewinds

Tuesday Aug 23 - Equinox

Wednesday Aug 24 - Sea Canyon

Thursday Aug 25 - Sea Foam

Friday Aug 26 - Spoolin' Around

Monday Aug 29 - Tide Pools

Tuesday Aug 30 - Wind and Sea

Wednesday Aug 31 - Spring Zing

Thursday Sep 1 - Splash

Friday Sept 2 - Landscapes

Now for the fun!  Island Batiks is sponsoring a sweet give-away.  Follow the directions on the Rafflecopter link below.

I'm offering a second give-away, and I'll use to choose a winner on Saturday, September 3rd.  US winners only, unless you wish to pay the additional shipping fees.  Just become an email follower of my blog, and follow my Mary Mack Made Mine Facebook Page and leave a comment that you follow, and if you've tried Island Batik fabrics.  You have a chance to win something from my Island Batik Ambassador box.  It will be a surprise!  

Thanks again for stopping by!  I hope you enjoyed my novel, lol.  Please remember to visit the other Ambassadors!  

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Jelly Roll Race Challenge

I love being a member of Quiltsy Team on Etsy.  It's a seller's team, and we have members from all over the globe, many of whom chat about everything.  It's like a huge, global, small sewing guild.  I consider many of the members friends.  We all have a different style, but we all support each other's business on Etsy.  Recently, Gail and Lauren decided to coordinate a Jelly Roll Race challenge.  36 members signed up to make a Jelly Roll Race style quilt, using fabrics from our stash, or a pre-cut package of 2 1/2" strips.  The strips are sewn end to end, in one LOOOOOONG piece of fabric, then that's sewn, long edges together, and sewn again, and sewn again, until you have rectangle for a quilt top.  It's almost mindless, and you can't often control where the fabrics end up.  You can add insert/accent squares between the longer strips, or just use leftover pieces from making binding.  It's fun.  The challenge was to pick your fabrics, submit photos, which would be featured in the Group page on Facebook and have the top completed and ready to list by September 1.  

Any guesses how many of the strips chosen were the same, from 36 of us??  If you guessed NONE, you would be correct.  NO ONE picked the same fabrics!!  So, although each quilt would be the same style (or similar), none would be the same fabrics and colors.  

Here's my pack.  I chose Viola by Island Batik.  It's an older pack.  I've used it before in a different quilt, but had 2 of them.  It seemed like the right time to use it.  I also added some neutral strips to the mix.  As an Island Batik Ambassador, we sometimes get cuts of fabric that are left from making pre-cuts.  The bundle I had (admittedly for a while, but didn't know what I wanted to do with it), was 20 strips of 3 1/2" wide, all neutrals and light batiks, about 10" wide.  My idea was to add them between the strips, but sew them on the 45* line, instead of straight squares or rectangles.  I thought it would add interest and movement to the top.  I cut the scraps down to 2 1/2" strips, then into 5" pieces.  I mixed them up and added them at the end of every color strip, on the diagonal.  

Then, when all the strips are one big long strip of fabric, you fold it in 1/2 and sew.  Forever.  And ever.  Just keep sewing.  Oh, and wind another bobbin.  
You're going to need it.  (I thought this bobbin filled with Aurifil looked so pretty!)

Then, when you get to the end of that strip, you have a piece that's about 1/2 mile long and 4 1/2" wide.  So, make it 1/4 mile by 8 1/2".  Then by 16, and 32, and...

  Then by 16, and 32, and...Kind of like a marathon during the Olympics.  
And before you know it, you've made a whole quilt top, and if you've picked Island Batik, it's going to be gorgeous.