Wednesday, August 7, 2019

August One Monthly Goal

Hi!  What do you hope to get done this month?  My main project is the Island Batik Beat the Heat blog hop project.  My day is August 26, so I'm hoping to have the quilt completely done by then.  I may not have it quilted, but I'm hoping.  

Here's the collection, called Steam Engine.  I don't want to show the blocks yet, because I want it to be a great reveal for the blog hop.  

Here's the official "flat lay" photo from Island Batik. 
The gear fabrics are great, plus the fans.  So much fun to work with.  So, any guesses as to the design or block I'm using?  

In addition to getting this done, I'm also finishing another quilt made with Island Batik Freedom, for a secret reason, so I can't show that now.  It's on Vanna the long arm. and I want to finish my Friendship Stars quilt, the blue, yellow and white one, from the Christmas Collection blog hop last week.  And I need to make an octopus

So, I'll let you know how it goes!  

Elm Street Quilts One Montly Goal

Friday, August 2, 2019

Masterpiece Quiltings. Christmas Collection Blog Hop

Hi, and thanks for reading.  

As an Island Batik Ambassador, I've met some wonderful quilters online.  When Nancy asked for help to promote her book, Masterpiece Quilting Christmas Collection, I wanted to help.  You can order her book from Amazon.  There are many great designs in this book, and I picked 2 that I liked.  Nancy suggested I choose the cover quilt, the Friendship Stars Throw.  My initial idea was to use scraps, but when I looked at the design again, and the piecing instructions, I decided to just choose 2 colors, like the original, but not for Christmas.  I also wanted to use older fabrics that I had, and not purchase anything.  That also meant I didn't use Island Batik.  I know, this is so unusual for me, not having an Island Batik quilt!  It was fun to dig through my fabrics, and I pulled out a Hoffman print from 2008, based on the yardage listed in my copy.  I had a 3/4 yard piece of yellow that looked pretty with the blue and yellow floral, and had a large enough piece of white tone on tone with a lacey look design to go with it.  

After I began cutting out the pieces, I realized that the published requirement was off.  And it was too late to try to find more of the blue fabric, so I made do with another blue print that looks okay, and only needed to use it for the center block, as I squeezed the Hoffman print scraps to make it work.  

The piecing directions and photos are great, but I opted to use my favorite method for creatign the blocks, using Quilt in a Day rulers.  That's one thing I love about using patterns.  If you prefer another method, use it.  I could have used the Accuquilt GO, as well.  

Please note, if you choose to make this design from the book, you'll need at least 2 yards of the RED fabric listed for blocks and borders.  There was also a missing cutting direction for the "GREEN" 2 7/8" squares for the Friendship block, you need 26.  It's the C square in the directions.  Just check your directions before proceeding, and verify that the yardage listed is enough to do the piecing.  I am opting to use a different fabric for binding, which is the same I used for the center block.  

 Hmm, if you happen to have a FQ or a 6" by 12"  scrap of that Hoffman fabric from 2008, please let me know.  I may opt to change out that center block.  It doesn't look bad in regular light, but with the sun coming from behind, it shows.

I love it and can't wait to get it on Vanna (my Handiquilter Amara) to be quilted.  I think I'm just going to do an edge to edge, but that may change once it's on the machine.  I'll share a post when it's done.  

Please also stop at the other bloggers for this hop to see their take on Nancy's designs, and to enter to win some of the patterns from Nancy's Masterpiece Quilting post.  
Lets Gather Table Runner

Wreath Runner and Wallhanging

Holly Topper

Becca - Pretty Piney
Suzy - Webster Quilt

Mug Rugs and Coasters

Poinsettia Bed Runner and Pillow

Stephanie - Quiltn' Party

Jingle Bells Quilt and Wall Hanging

Marian - Seams to be Sew

Mistletoe Magic Throw and Pillow

Marlene - Kissed Quilts
Rohn - Rohn Strong
Tammy - Tamarinis

Tree of Presents Wallhanging

Oh Christmas Tree

Joanne - Quilts By Joanne

Friendship Star Quilt

Anorina - Samelia's Mum
Ellen - Handmade 3D
Maryellen - Mary Mack Made Mine

Thanks for visiting!  I hope you choose to follow me by email, and have a great weekend!  Now I want to make the Mistletoe Magic quilt, too.  That would be fun scrappy.  What are you going to make?  

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Island Batik Unboxing Video July 2019

Hi!  I'm so excited to share the latest Island Batik Ambassador Box!  I am overwhelmed by the generosity of Island Batik, Aurifil Thread, Hobb's Batting and Accuquilt for the ambassadors.  They are all so generous.  

Here's a link to my video on Youtube.  I had fun making it, and really did just open the box on camera, although I had watched a few other Ambassadors open their boxes on videos.  We have a secret Facebook page, and some of our members had posted they had notice a box was coming.  Not just any box, but a 23 POUND box from Island Batik.  We were teasing and joking until someone got their box, and then we were oohing and ahhhing and trying to guess which die and which bundles we would get.  

My brother John, and sister-in-law Arlene were visiting and I asked John to tape the video for me.  He's a retired professional, and although he can use my tiny Sony Handicam from a few years ago, he has higher aspirations for my videos during the editing stage.  Which of course is not easily done with the free programs, lol.  It it what it is, no music added, no titles, etc.  But it's me (without makeup, lol, and hair in ponytail because it was in the 90's and would be a frizzy mess) and Arlene was eating ice cream (you can hear her scraping the bowl and John shushing her, lol)  But she was really impressed, and I was amazed.  Here's the video link, and I've also included some photos of the gorgeous 
MaryMackMadeMine July 2019 Unboxing

If that doesn't work, please click here.

This is a fat quarter collection of Graphic Gems, which your shops can order now.  
(I have 10" Stack packs in my Etsy shop)
Islander Strip Pack with the awesome Octopus fabric for borders, and coordinates from the Basics and Blenders collections. 

Petal Pushers and a beautiful collection of 1/2 yard cuts that coordinate, from the Basics and Blenders collection.  

About the Blenders and Basics:  They are available all the time, and since there are many that coordinate with the seasonal collections, you'll always find something that you can use to do borders, sashing or binding for your projects. 

We also got 4 yards of neutral, and 4 yards each of Black, Grey and White solids.  As I mentioned on my video, more solid colors are on the way, including red, turquoise, purple, lime, fuchsia and so many other great shades.  The best thing about these solids is that the base fabric (griege) is the same base used in the batiks, so it's a higher thread count.  Less fraying, easier cutting, perfect for applique, and again, will be available for a long time.  

These fabrics, die, batting and thread will be used in future Island Batik Ambassador challenges, so I hope you'll stop back to see what I create.  Please also follow the rest of the Ambassadors, as they share their unboxing videos and projects.  It's fun and inspirational.  

Huge thanks to Island Batik and industry partners Aurifil Thread, Hobb's Batting and Accuquilt.  Being an Island Batik Ambassador is the best!  It's also a huge thing that gets me through the rough patches in caring for my mom, who has Alzheimer's.  She recently had a big downslide in her abilities, and was in the hospital for 5 days and then 3 weeks in rehab.  She's home now, but needs a lot more assistance to do anything than she did a month ago.  It's going to be a long road, but playing with fabric makes each day a little brighter.  This box was truly a gift when I needed it most.  

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Presentation of the Quilt of Valor

Hi!  I was able to present my Quilt of Valor to its recipient today, and I wanted to share the photos and his information.  During the week, I also was able to get some great pictures of it, in honor of the recipient.  If you want to read the post about making the quilt, it's here.

I met Fr. Timothy Valentine when he was assigned to St. Anne's Church in Garden City, which is my home parish.  I was baptized there, so it's been my church forever.  They have a program called Senior Scene, an activity I bring Mom and my brother's mother-in-law, Mom's friend, Helene to.  It's a social time for them, with cake and coffee or tea, and then Bingo, every 2 weeks during the school year.  Fr. Tim was moderator while he was at St. Anne's, and was very supportive of my efforts as caregiver to my mom, who has Alzheimer's, and the issues caused by my 3 other brothers.  His time and compassion, calmly listening to my frustrations and just being a friend meant so much to me.  Then he met Helene and they became instant friends.  He spoke of his military service with her, because her grandson is now a Marine.  Helene is Jewish, and he made an extra effort to visit her when she was in the hospital last February.  Our church does a special presentation for Veterans, and he was honored among the others.  When Jenn from The Dizzy Quilter asked fellow Island Batik Ambassadors to make a Quilt of Valor, I volunteered, but didn't know who I wanted to present the quilt to.  My son suggested someone from church, and that's when I thought of Fr. Tim.  He's been made a Pastor at St. Mary's church in Roslyn, so I went to visit him and present the quilt.  I'm honored that I could do this for him, as a small thanks for his service and for his friendship with me, my mom, and with Helene.  

I'll write a brief summary of his service, but it you want to hear more and read about him, here's the link I found.  Fr. Tim was a priest with PhD teaching at Fordham University on the morning of 9/11.  A student said that planes had hit the World Trade Towers, and from the windows they watched the towers fall.  He knew in that instant he needed to be there for the soldiers that would fight this horrible attack, so in his 40s, he decided to enlist, went through Boot Camp, and then Officer's Training school to become a chaplain.  He served 2 tours in Iraq.  He's now a parish priest for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, NY.  But anyone who meets him knows he has an amazing spirit. He deserves this small recognition.  

I took the quilt to Eisenhower Park, and got photos (with the help of my brother John) near a tank, for Fr. Tim's Army service.  I went to the 9/11 memorial at Rath Park in Franklin Square to photograph the quilt with some of the steel from the towers that fell and changed his life, and all the soldiers he served.  Finally, the photo of him receiving the quilt and the hug it represents.  

This quilt measured about 65 by 88", uses Hobb's Heirloom 80/20 Bleached cotton batting, the backing is a navy wide backing fabric, and the label above was embroidered with Aurifil 40wt thread, with the cross design from Embroidery Library.  I used Aurifil 50wt in Liberty for the quilting on my Handiquilter Amara, and the Wavy Stripes and stars design that came on the Prostitcher. Thanks to his secretary for getting me the correct title for his service, and to Fr. Tim for the promise he'll use this quilt.  Thanks also to Jenn, and to Island Batik and Hobb's for providing the fabric and the batting.  

Friday, July 5, 2019

Quilts of Valor Island Batik Blog Hop

Hi, and thanks for visiting.  This wonderful blog hop is brought to you by Island Batik and Jennifer at The Dizzy Quilter.  Jennifer organized this to help promote her favorite cause, and Island Batik donated a very generous bundle of fabric to each participant so we could make a quilt that would wrap a soldier in a hug.  

2 yards of solid white, a yard of each dark blue, the medium blue and 2 different reds, plus a Stack of 10" squares.  Seriously??  Island Batik takes such good care of their Ambassadors, especially when we're quilting for a cause.  

I knew I wanted to use as many of the 10" squares as possible, with little waste.  It's a goal, lol.  I played around with a number of ideas before realizing it was crunch time, and decided on a Friendship star with a red center, and a wide strip pieced block with the red squares to accent them, and then sashing and red cornerstones.  I did a design mock up in EQ8, and played with block sizes to get the most out of the fabric, and keep within the recommended sizes for Quilts of Valor.  I also needed to decide who I would donate this to, either to the Organization for them to distribute, or if I knew of someone I really wanted to give a quilt to.   I've made quilts to honor Veterans before, and was able to present one to Dad before he passed away.  I was touched when my brother asked that it drape over the coffin at his wake, since it was something he was proud of receiving.
My son asked if a friend from church was in the army, and then I remembered that there was someone who has done something special for me, who was a chaplain.  When I googled him (he moved to another parish recently, and I needed to get contact info) I discovered an interview he did about his reason for serving and his 2 tours.  That convinced me.  But that's going to be another post, after it's presented.   This will finish about 65 by 86, larger than suggested, but it's for a tall person.  

This was the plan.  But my printer was out of ink. My "note" copy printed in yellow and gray, lol and I forgot that I wanted to use blue (used red) for the cornerstones and decided not to add the red border.  I just used Island Batik's Navy mottled for that, and will also use it for binding.  I just purchased a bolt of Navy and 2 Stack packs and Strips for my Etsy shop.  I also have a good red, and the White Solid, plus Sprinkles and another new white batik, so I have extra.    

As with all other plans, I've been working on this, hoping to have it ready to quilt by last Sunday, June 30th.  That didn't happen.  Mom wasn't "herself" the last few weeks, and refused to get out of bed last Wednesday, and again on Thursday (June 27), and after I finally got her up, she was mumbling incoherently and falling asleep at the dining room table.  I called 911, and they took her to the hospital.  Although no infections or other issues were found, and no "cause" of her incident was determined, I have a theory.  I think it's more than just the next step in her Alzheimer's disease, since it was more of a nose dive, not step.  She spent 5 days in the hospital, and is now in a rehab facility to build her strength.  So, my time has been with her, mostly 6 to 7 hours a day at the hospital, and 3 to 7 at rehab.  I did bring my laptop, and did some calculations for the sashing and cornerstones while with her, but no sewing time.  I got the top assembled July 3rd and borders added on July 4th.  Here are some current views. 

 I love how it came out.  I chose to use the 4 stars with the navy and red Poppy design in the corners. and mixed the rest of the blue stars in, plus the different reds are mixed.  I also like the red cornerstones, and the simple blue border makes a good frame (I did test out other ideas, but Navy won).  

I have a wide backing in a navy design (not batik) and a package of Hobb's Heirloom 80/20 bleached cotton batting ready to load on to Vanna, my Handi Quilter Amara, and a cone of Aurifil's Liberty red, white and blue variegated thread.  I plan to do an edge to edge design, possibly the same I did on the table runner last week.  That may change, lol.  I will share when it's done, plus more photos and hopefully the presentation photo.  

I do hope you've seen the others sharing today, and earlier this week.  It's been a wonderful hop filled with gorgeous Patriotic quilts.  There's also a give-away on Jennifer's blog, so remember to visit that.  You could win your own bundle of Freedom.

July 1
Becca Fenstermaker — Pretty Piney
Denise Looney — For the Love of Geese
Gail Sheppard — Quilting Gail
July 2
Pamela Boatright — Pamela Quilts
Anne Wiens — Sweetgrass Designs
July 3
Bea Lee —Bea Quilter
Carla Henton — Creatin’ In the SticksJuly 4
Emily Leachman — The Darling Dogwood
Joan Kawano — MooseStash Quilting
Jen Strauser – Dizzy Quilter
July 5
Steph Jacobson — Steph Jacobsen DesignsLeah Malasky — Quilted DelightsAnja Clyke — Anja Quilts
Maryellen McAuliffe — Mary Mack Made Mine

Thanks for visiting, and I hope to have this done this month.  I'm going to make it my One Monthly Goal, with Elm Street Quilts.  Happy 4th of July!  Have a great weekend. 

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Another Finish Scrappy Challenge

Quiltsy Team has a few challenges a year, and this month's challenge is to make something scrappy, table runner or larger.  Sounds easy?  Like a "must do"?  I thought so, even though I already had 2 projects due at the same time.  There will be a chance to vote on your favorite.  I do have scraps, and had ideas about using the scraps from a purple, black and white quilt I did last year.  But those scraps were in a basket under a box behind a mess, lol.  I was in the process of making the 63 foundation pieced squares using Island Batik Freedom for a secret project, and had some pieces left over.  They had originally asked for a 70 block quilt, then changed it, and I had some squares cut, plus left over pieces from cutting the strips to the right size.  So I grabbed them and started sewing 4 patch units.  I had no plan at first, which is NOT my usual way of designing.  I ended up making 16 patch blocks by sewing 4 units together, and paid attention to which way I placed the blue and red patches.  I then played on EQ8 to see what I could do with some of the longer strips I had.  I kind of wanted to play with a Log Cabin type design, so just sewed blue strips against the red patches, and red against the blue.  When I placed the 4 blocks next to each other, I really liked the opposite L that showed up.  I added red border to the blue side, and blue to the red, which further accents the L shape.  I placed this on my new Handiquilter Amara aka Vanna the Longarm. with scraps of Warm and White batting and white fabric from Island Batik.  I chose the 3 Tours Wavy Stripe on the Prostitcher, and Aurifil Liberty, red, white and blue 50wt variegated thread.  I learned so much about resetting the machine and doing an edge to edge design as this was stitching.  For some reason the thread kept breaking, so I needed to rethread and reset the machine.  A few too many times, but I have ideas to help for the next few quilts that I plan to use that thread for.  It was a good lesson, though.

Here are more photos of the quilt, as well as the quilting design.  

I'm so excited to have finished this, and have it listed in my shop.  I do have more blocks made and probably will come up with something fun with them.  I am also working on another quilt using Freedom, and have an idea for those scraps, too.  Maybe some place mats will be coming soon.  Or something else.  That's part of the fun in making something from scraps.  
I'll let you know when you can vote for your favorites.  Watch my Facebook page to see the others.  
Thanks for visiting! 


Friday, June 28, 2019

June One Monthly Goal

 My One Monthly Goal for June is done!  I'm SEW excited.  After I took the class with Pam at Pocono Sew and Vac, to learn how to use the Prostitcher on Vanna, my Handi Quilter Amara, I knew I wanted to do some computerized quilting on the blocks in this quilt.  This was the March Island Batik Ambassador Vintage Reimagined top.  It features the EQ8's block, Garden Patch Variation, and I played with the cornerstones and sashing squares to give it a little extra detail.  I also used Island Batik Solids in black and grey for sashing and background.  The purples are ones from my stash, and the Dragonfly design for the border is for sale in my Etsy shop.  

I had fun picking the design for the blocks and setting triangles.  Once I set the "area" to be quilted, I tell the machine what to do, and it made a beautiful design, just the size I wanted.  I did have a question after doing the first 2 corner setting triangles, which had a minor error in the design.  I was told I may have "stretched" it too large, but there was a larger design in the folder, so I used that for the remaining setting areas, and it's perfect.  I decided to do hand guided quilting for the black sashing, inner border and do a hand guided feather design for the outer border.  For that, I used Aurifil 40wt in a lavender/grey color, which adds just the right texture.   I used a pale grey 50wt and black 50wt for the main section quilting.  I used Hobb's Tuscany Silk batting for the first time, as well.  I love the texture it gives to the quilting, and it was so easy.  I want to see what it looks like when washed, and if it softens and drapes a little more.   
 I used the Solid Grey on the backing, as well.  I have the black and grey for sale, too.  The solids are wonderful.  I love how much body they have.  The thread count is the same as the batik, so it feels wonderful.  

Some Close Up Shots of the blocks and quilting.  I loved the feather design with the hearts, and the swirly ends.  I try not to have too much quilting, as I want my quilts to be loved and used.  This one is going to be a great snuggle quilt, measuring about 54" square.  Great for a lap quilt.  

Thanks for visiting, and I hope you have checked out the other OMG posts.  I'll have another quilt or 3 to share soon.  Next up is some more binding, and finishing the Quilt of Valor top and getting it quilted for next week's blog hop.  Wait until you see it!  The colors are stunning.  And my design is fun.  I have to make arrangements for presenting it, too.  Stop back soon!