Monday, March 26, 2018

Try A Technique with Island Batik

March's challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors was to try something new.  It could be any size, any technique, but something we hadn't done before.  So, since I've been sewing since I was 4, what haven't I done?  Trapunto?  Done it.  English Paper Piecing? Done it, but not with batik.  Garments?  Done it.  I haven't done hand quilting, but wasn't really in the mood for that yet.  Any blocks I haven't done?  Can't think of many.  But that's piecing and quilting, so that's not really new.  The other Ambassadors had a list going on our private page.  Some great ideas were passed around, and I'll share a link to some, so you can be inspired, too.  

One thing I've wanted to do for a while was to make a fabric covered basket, with clothesline.  I've had a large hank of 3/16" cotton clothesline for a few years, with this intention.  Ambassador Sally Manke is also a friend from Quiltsy Team on Etsy, and I remembered she did a tutorial on her page about making them.  I had some basic info (I do have a good memory for things I read, but asked her for a quick verification) and decided to use some of the Southern Blooms fabric I have left from remaking the Funky Friends Factory Easter Bunnies.  I made these for Fall 2017 Market, but was asked to make them again, and was sent more fabric.  

Sally said to cut 3/4" strips, preferably of batiks, use a 14 or 16 needle (I used a Schmetz Jeans 14), and to wrap the clothesline while watching TV, lol.  I cut strips of each color Sunday afternoon, and started wrapping.  After a while I realized the wrapping was not coming out smooth, as I had expected, but I kept going.  Then I realized that the strips were larger than an inch.  I KNOW I had cut them to the 3/4" line, but they were wider.  I kept wrapping.  After Mom was settled in bed, I went up to sew.  I also looked at my ruler.  It's the newly purchased Creative Grids 6 1/2 by 24 1/2" ruler I got to replace the broken Fiskars Donna Dewberry ruler that's no longer made.  The Donna Dewberry had a purple edge to the left, which was the extra 1/2".  I always kept it to the left.  I have the Gypsy Gripper handle on the Creative Grids ruler.  I had just picked it up, and looked for the 3/4" line, not realizing it was also the side with the extra 1/2". So, my strips are actually 1 1/4".  Don't do that.  Keep the strips 3/4".  I won't make that same mistake again.  I'm going to put some glowline tape on the bottom right corner of the ruler to mark it, and also realized that the extra 1/2" has more gripper than the right side.  It only shows if you look closely (but with my vision issues, I wouldn't have noticed unless it was about 4" from my face, not arm's length when using to cut).  I do like the lines on the ruler, though.  The extra 1/2" makes it so easy to cut 6" border strips, and the grip is great.  Just make sure it's not upside down.

Anyway, basically, you wrap, then sew the wrapped clothesline with a zigzag stitch.  I grabbed a Clover WonderClip to help hold the fabric as I was sewing.  Keep sewing the rope to the previous round, and tilt it to help shape it.  My basket ended up at about 10" across, and about 3" tall.  I do plan to make another.  And probably more.  It's fun, and you can be really creative with the colors.  This one, I did 6 strips of the pink, and then 6 of the butterfly design (the original ones I cut) then I added  one 3/4" strip of butterfly, then 3/4" of pink, just to finish it.  Sally and others on the Quiltsy team make scrappy versions, add swirls at the end, even add handles.  You should take a look.  There are books with more info, too.  I hope you try it! 

I used Aurifil 40wt Mako in 4660 Pink Taffy, top and bobbin, which I think worked really well.  I wouldn't suggest 50wt thread for this.  The 40wt shows well, and will be durable.  The variegated really shows on the bottom.  40wt also stands up to the repeated stress of going through the rope and layers of fabric.  No fraying or breaking while sewing.

 Mom watched me take this photo, and snagged a bag of M&M's, lol.  

I love the way the colors worked in the middle.  You can see how fun it is to use a batik.  
I made tags from the tape Island Batik uses for their Stack Pack 10" squares, and added them to the bunny bottoms.  The tails are made by gathering a circle, adding some fiberfill, and sewing them on.  So cute in the contrasting fabric. 

Here are links to the other Island Batik Ambassadors. Check out their March #TryATechniqueIB challenges!  
Barbara at Bejeweled Quilts
Bea at BeaQuilter
Carole at Carole Lyles Shaw
Connie at Kauffman Designs
Dione at Clever Chameleon
Geraldine at Living Water Quilter
Janet at Whispers of Yore
Jeanette at Inchworm Fabrics
Jennifer at Curlicue Creations
Jennifer at Dizzy Quilter
Jennifer at Inquiring Quilter
Joyce at heARTs Creations
Kathleen at Kathleen McMusing
Leanne at Devoted Quilter
Mania at Mania for Quilts
Maryellen at Mary Mack Made Mine
Michelle at Creative Blonde
Pamela at PamelaQuilts
Sally at Sally Manke
Sandra at MMM Quilts
Sherry at Powered by Quilting  
Stephanie at Steph Jacobson

Thanks for visiting! 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Megan's Baby Quilt

My friend's daughter, Megan, is expecting her first little one.  She and Joe got married last April, and I made the Triple Irish Chain quilt for their wedding gift.  I knew I had to make something special for the "little peanut", which is their nickname for the baby.  They're not revealing the baby's gender or name until birth, later in April, so that's exciting!  Megan mentioned she wanted yellow and gray, with elephants.  Although I wanted to use Island Batik, I felt this quilt would be better in a print.  I found Little Safari, which included elephants and other cute animals in yellow and gray, at Fat Quarter Shop.  They had a Fat Quarter bundle which included the panel, and I ordered yardage for the border and binding.  I love how quickly they ship!  

When using flannel, I prefer to prewash.  Flannel shrinks and frays.  A lot.  I lost 3/4" inch from each FQ, plus fraying, and almost 2" from the total of the 2yd border piece.  The ball of frayed thread was larger than a tennis ball.  But the fabric came out nice and soft.  

I looked on Pinterest for a few elephant themed quilts, and knew fellow Island Batik Ambassador Jessica of Desert Bloom Quilting had a design, as well.  I decided to use her's for my inspiration.  I played on EQ8 to change the borders to suit the panel squares, which after washing yielded 5 1/4" squares.  If I made it 5", I would have lost some of the giraffe heads, and tails of some of the others.  

I cut an oversized piece of white flannel for the applique background, centered the applique pieces, using a fusible web, and ironed them down.  I used 2605 Grey, 2615 Aluminum and 5001 Ocher Yellow Aurifil 50wt threads to machine stitch them, and then used Aurifil embroidery floss, 3 strands, in black, to create the eyes, instead of using Jessica's suggested dots.   I quilted around the elephants with 2021 Natural White, and added a paisley feather design in the background.  I used 5001 again for the yellow border feathers.  

After sewing the side squares for the first border, I measured them, so I could cut the background to size.  I did the same with the top and bottom squares, then added them to the background.  I then added different strips from 2 of the FQs to do the next borders, and added a nice border from the yellow yardage.  

I used Warm & White for batting, and a soft Minkee backing.  

The quilt ended up about 47 by 57".  Christine planned a lovely shower on Sunday, and we had a really nice time.  The food at Rachel's Waterfront in Freeport was good, the cake was delicious, and I won 2 of the games.  They loved the quilt, which makes me really happy.  I can't wait to meet the little peanut!  I do hope they have photos taken with the baby on the quilt, wearing the crocheted diaper cover and hat that Christine's sister, Katie made.  It's an elephant!  

I offered to bring some balloons, and had fun choosing the elephant. 

So, welcome, little peanut!  I can't wait to meet you.  

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Mini Love with Island Batik

Hi!  I know this is late, it's February's challenge, but better late than never.  

I'm so thrilled to be an Island Batik Ambassador again.  It really is the best thing!  I get tons of fabric (okay, 22 lbs) and get to make things with it.  And getting Aurifil thread is wonderful.  

Before I get the photos of my mini, I wanted to share about my experience last week.  This started back in September, 2017.  I sell my quilts, and do the craft/vendor fair at our church's Spirit Day. A woman came with her daughter, looking for a quilt for the granddaughter's bed.  They picked one featuring Island Batik fabric I had purchased.  I mentioned being an Ambassador and Aurifil Artisan. She said that she's also a quilter, but couldn't make a similar quilt for my price, so they purchased it.  (Yay!!)  A few days later, I got an email from Pieceful Patchers Quilt Guild in Williston Park, asking me to do a presentation and show quilts, related to being an Ambassador and Artisan.  In preparation for this, I wrote to my contacts at both companies and asked for handouts.  Aurifil provided brochures, as well as small spools of thread for each member, and a 12 spool kit for a raffle prize.  Island Batik sent a Stack of 10" squares, a Strip Pack (2 1/2" strips) and a Stash Builder pack.  My talk was well received, and they were totally thrilled with the raffle prizes.  It made for a really fun night, and I'm also really grateful my friend Christine attended, and videotaped it.  She also tried to set up a small PowerPoint slide show I did of sold quilts, but the borrowed projector didn't agree.  I'm so grateful to both Island Batik and Aurifil for helping launch this new aspect of my business.  I can't wait to do it again, and the group may ask me to teach a class next year.  They want one of my projects as a pattern.  
Yay for me!  

So, in prepping for that, I've finished a few older challenge pieces, so yay for me again.  UFOs off the list are a wonderful thing.  But that also explains why I'm late with this.

When Island Batik asked for #MiniLovewithIslandBatik, I didn't know what I wanted to do.  But I do have a large tote of fabric from prior years, plus stuff I purchased, and looked through it.  Then Island Batik did the hop for Blue Moon and Marie Bostwick's "The Promise Girls" novel and I really wanted to make Stormy Stars.  Avery, one of the sisters in the book, is a mermaid. I love all of Marie's books, and really enjoyed reading this one.  Stormy Stars is designed by Deb Tucker, Studio 180 designs.  The pattern is free (there's a link on that blog post).  I loved how it looked, and would love to make the Blue Moon version of the full size quilt.  I thought about choosing other colors, but when looking through the box of fabric, I found this turtle print from the Boondocks collection, I think from 2014.  I figured Avery's mermaid would love a turtle quilt!  

I played in EQ8 to figure out the placement of different fabrics, based on what I had available.  I came up with this version. 

The turtle fabric is in the border and center star design and I fussy cut some of them for the smaller squares.  The royal blue has waves, and the green dot is from the 2017 Foundations group.  

 The other green, with purple accents, is from the scraps of the Funky Friends hedgehog, and the light blue around the waves is from a stash buster roll.  

I did have a few issues getting this right.  When I first printed the pattern, I used regular paper.  I have Carol Doak's foundation paper, though, and printed enough of the blocks for the units, on another day.  Then I made 4 of the units, and was trimming them when I realized they were 3/8" smaller than they should be.  When I printed just the foundation paper, the printer made it fit, instead of printing full size.  I had to remake those units, after printing all the foundation papers again.  Yup, first set in the trash, so they wouldn't get used.  Then I realized I had not cut enough fabric, and had to cut more.  Then I realized I miscounted the units, and had to print more.  Most of the sewing went well, until tonight, adding the border.  I had put one border on with the Triangle in a square blocks the wrong way.  I just took off those blocks, sewed them back on the right way, and finished the border.  So, this needs a backing and quilting and binding, which may happen soon.  I have a few deadline things to do, first.  

One more thing!  The challenge said under 24".  I know it's a request, and many of the Ambassadors did very well with that.  Me?  Not so much.  This is 27".  But this closer to the right size, compared to my challenge piece from last year.  

I'm considering the 24" just a suggestion, and the fact that I used a pattern from Island Batik's blog should count for bonus points, right? 

You should check out the other Ambassador's posts featuring their minis.  Lots of fun inspiration.  Now to March's challenge, something new to me.  What haven't I sewn yet?? Not much! 

Thanks for stopping and reading.