Sunday, January 31, 2021

January 2021 Island Batik Ambassador Challenge

 So much news!  First, The Island Batik Ambassador challenge for January 2021 was Placemats.  I couldn't decide what to do, or which season I needed placemats for.  I have for Valentine's, Spring, and regular time, and have other fabric for July, but not batik, so I grabbed the scraps from the quilt above (new pattern for Stars and Bars coming soon).  The collection is Freedom 2, which is shipping to stores now.  I know precuts are available, and fabric will be coming soon.  I make tumbler flags, and thought it would be fun to use the Accuquilt GO! 4" tumbler die for placemats.  I decided 6 across by 3 rows would be a good size, and made 6.  I had scraps left, so cut more shapes and alternated the colors for a patriotic table runner. 

My mats measure about 19 by 12, and I left the edges with the tumbler shape angles, instead of cutting them straight.  I thought it was more fun.  The runner measures about 28 by 12", again with the angled edges.  

As you can see from this photo, I didn't get the binding finished on 4 of the mats, but that will happen tonight.  The project required 12 strips of binding, so the edges are longer than most king size quilts.  It takes a while!  

I put the runner and 3 place mats on one strip of wide backing, which was at the end of the Medallion quilt.  

I used Aurifil 40wt in Liberty to quilt them, and the remaining Hobb's Heirloom cotton batting, but didn't have enough room on the backing for the last 3 mats.  

The panto is Celebrity from My Creative Stitches.  I actually set up one area for all 4 pieces, with each piece basted individually.  Just a few minutes later I had them all stitched. 

This week was pretty hectic.  I did finish all of the FMQ on the Blazing Star medallion before starting the quilting on the runner and mats, and will put the Blazing Star back on the frame soon to do the side borders (I don't know how to chunk the computer designs to work with vertical stitching space, so I just remove and reload the quilt sideways, then I can set the area and stitch across, like I did on top and bottom).  

I added more backing fabric and also taught my sister-in-law and her twin how to use Vanna.  They're new quilters, and I'm so excited for them.  They had a blast, and are thinking of their next project, which we'll do in a Zoom class, since they're back in Colorado.  Ellen even bought a sewing machine!  Arlene is getting the one I purchased for my mom about 8 years ago, and Ellen's is the same.  They'll have twin machines (I think one needs stickers, lol)  

They picked their strip colors from an assortment of Island Batik pieces I sometimes get when I purchase for my Etsy shop, and each set was long enough for 2 mats.  They picked their thread color and the designs for quilting, and did the edge basting, and loved watching Vanna do her thing.  After the mug rug pieces were quilted, I added my last 3 placemats onto the backing, plus another topper (I'll share after it's bound) and quilted them.  Then I cut their mats into large mug rug size, and did the binding for them, so they could take finished projects home.  But binding 8 mug rugs takes time, too.  That's another reason I didn't get to bind all my placemats.  

Arlene and Ellen were in NY for almost 2 months, to help their siblings clean out their Mom's house, after her passing in December.  I was glad to have so many chances to spend time with them while they were here, and show them why I love sewing.  They made mask pouches, a zipper pouch and pillow covers from their mom's clothes, we worked together on cleaning out more of my house (Mom's stuff) and sewing lessons, plus some shopping, lots of good food, and even the holiday light show at Jones' Beach.  They gave me one of their mom's china sets, so I'm looking forward to getting them in my cabinet, and will remember Helene with love every time I use them.  She loved my cooking, and my treats.  

And I also have another new project.  Someone on a local Facebook page asked me to finish a quilt her mom started about 20 years ago.  It has some hand quilting, and she's happy with having it finished on the machine.  I'll have to find coordinating binding. 
I'll have to stitch extra fabric on the backing to get it loaded, then will just do a similar 1/4" line with rulers.  When I met Maureen today at The Flower Shoppe, where she works, she handed me a gorgeous bouquet of flowers as thanks for agreeing to finish the quilt.  I was shocked and thrilled!  
I had to go put the arrangement I made on the new runner, just because! lol  

I'm going to show you how to do the angled edge with regular binding (no bias cut binding needed) in another post.  This one is long enough.  

I'm linking up with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal.  
I did finish other projects this month, and put them in another post.  I know some of my goals switched after I set them on my calendar, but it's all good.  I do have finishes.  

Thanks for reading my novella! lol 

Some of the products used in this post were given to me as Island Batik Ambassador.  
Others were purchased, or left over from a catalog quilt. 

Island Batik Ambassadors are doing a blog hop starting February 1 (tomorrow) for Create for a Cause quilts using the new Fall 2020 Collections.  Please go to Island Batik to enter to win this week's give away and the schedule.  

Thanks for reading!  I told you there was a lot of news!


Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Island Batik Ambassador Unboxing 2021

 I'm thrilled to announce I'm an Island Batik Ambassador for my 8th year.  It's been amazing, and gets better every year.  If you're thinking of applying, the applications open in November, and you need to have an active blog, share the Ambassador and Island Batik posts on social media, and LOVE to work with gorgeous fabric.  In return, you're part of an amazing team of awesome quilters and designers who genuinely support each other.  We're from all over the world, in Greece, US and Canada, and Great Britain.  Seriously, it's the best program and so much fun.  

Two times a year, we get boxes of supplies from Island Batik, and industry partners Schmetz needles, Hobb's Batting, Aurifil Thread and Accuquilt GO, among others, and we are asked to do a challenge each month, in a variety of styles.  We grow as quilters and designers and have so much fun, and work with the amazing staff at Island Batik, including Kathy Engel and Natasha Khiev.  

January starts the new team, and we have a few new members.  I hope that you follow them to see what they're inspired to create this year.  The list is below, so please check out their blogs, Facebook pages, Instagram feeds and You Tube channels.  We have 4 blog hops each year, and there are give-aways and so much inspiration.  

Here's my video for 2021.  My friend Christine came over to help me tape, and it was so much fun to see her go to the boxes and look up-close as soon as the camera was turned off.  A few photos of the products and fabric are shown below, and you'll get a chance to see more as the next few months play out.  

Yes, play, and fun.  It's awesome!! 

Mary Mack Made Mine 2021 Unboxing

Accuquilt GO! Hattie's Choice die, Schmetz needles, Aurifil Thread in 50wt and 40wt, and 6 yards of background fabric. 

Hobb's Queen size assortment of batting.

Napa Valley 10" Stack pack.  This will be available in stores in May, but precuts may be available sooner. 

Rayon, Stash Builder rolls (great for applique, scrappy quilts and give-aways) and 4 yards each of black, grey and white solids.

Mystery 2 1/2" Strips pack by Claudia Pfeil.

Basics and Blender 1/2 yard cuts.  These are always available, a variety of solids and prints.  The solids use the same base fabric as the batik prints, which is awesome.  They don't fray as much as other brand solids, and the weight and texture is awesome.  

This is Melody by Claudia Pfeil for the February Charity blog hop.  You'll find this in shops in February. This photo is washed out, the colors are so much prettier. 

Please check out the other Ambassador videos, and follow us for more fun this year!  
Megan Best ~
Pamela Boatright ~
Elizabeth DeCroos ~
Jennifer Eubank ~ Archipelago Quilting (New!)
Jennifer Fulton ~
Preeti Harris ~ Sew Preeti Quilts (New!)
Joanne Hart ~
Mania Hatziioannidi ~
Emily Leachman ~
Denise Looney ~
Leah Malasky ~ Quilted Delights
Maryellen McAuliffe ~
Claudia Porter ~
Gail Renna ~
Brianna Roberts ~
Michelle Roberts ~
Gail Sheppard ~
Andi Stanfield ~
Jennifer Thomas ~
Janet Yamamoto ~

Thanks so much for stopping by! I'll be back in a few days to share my Placemat challenge finish.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

How to sew a 2 colored mitered binding corner

 As you may have seen in my last post, I finished a UFO baby size quilt that had 2 bold colors meeting at the 45* line in 2 corners.  I wanted to continue this into the binding, and finally got around to asking if anyone had a tutorial.  I saw one, but it didn't specify how to make the join without a specific tool. 

I'm more of the "Can this be done with a tool I have" kind of sewer, since it's not a thing I'll be doing often.  I looked again online and found this video.   Joyce Dean Gieszler does a good job of explaining, but specifies that she uses 2 1/4" binding, and a 7/8" square.  I prefer 2 1/2" binding, so I tried a 1" square.  I had another change, as well.  

First, I was working with a fully trimmed quilt, so I couldn't leave the extra on the edges like she said.  No problem, work with a trimmed project if that's what you have.  There were no issues with this step for me. 

Step 1.  Prep your binding as usual.  You'll need an extra 4-6" longer than usual for your top, in each color.  Since mine was only 2 colors but each side was 49", I cut 3 strips of each color.  The all blue and all orange corners will be a traditional miter, no special treatment.  But if you want to do 4 different colors, make your pieces at least 6" longer than the side.  I sewed my 3 with an angled join. pressed that seam open, and then pressed wrong sides together.  The next photos are on sample fabric.  The grey is actually backing from another project that still had batting attached, but it works for the demonstration.  

Step 2.  Mark 1/4" (or your standard binding seam allowance) on the corner, and put a pin where the dot is, to mark your start/stop point.  I started the orange at the dot on the far corner, did the regular miter on the orange corner, and came to the last orange point, and stopped, and backstitched.  

Start at that point to attach the blue (next color), with at least 3" off the edge.  Be careful to not catch the orange in the seam, but get as close as you can and backstitch.  Fold the orange up, out of the way. 

I put a pin right where the orange and blue met, and then put the needle down right in that spot, then pulled the pin out.  Go forward a few stitches, and backstitch, but don't hit the orange.  You can feel it with your fingers, or go back and sew it again if you didn't get close enough. Finger press the bindings away from the top at this point, to make sure the next part is as neat as possible.  

This shows the corner start/stop point on the right side. Fold the binding back to the wrong side again for the next steps.

Step 3.  Fold both bindings so the tails go the same way.  The orange will have a miter, but the blue will be straight.  
Again, finger press the orange mitered fold. Put a pin in the end (on the right) to hold the tails even.  The orange is showing just a bit in the photo, for the photo, but make sure the edges are actually even.  

4.  With a standard ruler and marking pencil (I love my Sewline pencils, because the lead is thin.  You don't want a thick line here.).  Use the ruler to mark the lines for the existing seams sewn.  The orange binding seam is marked on the blue, and the blue line continues out to the tail, by at least an inch.  (Joyce used 7/8" here, for 2 1/4" binding, you need 1" for 2 1/2" binding).

From the marked lines, create a 1" square.  Then mark an X in the square, from each corner. This is the magic that doesn't need a special tool.   Thanks so much, Joyce!! 

Step 5.  Sew over a scrap of fabric, so you have a "leader" to start this next part.  While holding the pinned tails together, fold the quilt with the backing out, top in, on the diagonal.  Make sure the top is not caught in the area you'll be sewing.

You will be sewing from the outer edge of the binding, to the center of the X, then back to the quilt top in a V shape.  Backstitch at the beginning, and again, just a little, at the point, and as you hit the first marked dot on the quilt top.  

If you start on a scrap, it's easier to line up the binding and be able to back stitch.  

You're not sewing the whole X, just half, the V on the left side.  

Carefully trim a scant 1/4" away from the stitching line (again, the V).  Trim the point to remove some of the bulk.

 I finger pressed these seams open, using my stiletto on the right side to help support the seam.  It alleviates bulk on one side.  

Carefully turn this out, and flip it to the back side of the quilt. 

I machine stitch my binding to the back at this point, but you can finish as you usually do.  

I hope this helps add some information to Joyce's video, especially if you use a 2 1/2" binding.  
Thanks so much for following along.  I'm always happy to share the best info I've found, and what I think makes it work for me.  

Thanks for stopping by! 


Finishes this week

 Hi.  First, I want to say I'm so excited to announce I'm an Island Batik Ambassador for the 8th year!  I have my boxes and did the video, which you'll see next week.  The new members of our team are excited and already showing wonderful inspiration for you.  

I have some finishes this week! 

Pam, one of my Quiltsy team friends, asked in the chat about doing a binding that doesn't have mitered corners.  I suggested something like a waistband, but mentioned I needed to know how to do a 2 color miter, for this blue and orange Make it Modern with Hobb's challenge quilt I made in 2019.  I hadn't taken the time to do a search for information on it, but Pam had found a link.  I decided to find the yardage set aside for binding, and looked for other information.  I found one from CMT, but again, it wasn't exactly right, but her idea would work for my purpose.  I'll explain it in another post.  I didn't take photos of the process, but love the finish.  

I wanted the mitered binding to follow the diagonal line of the top.  I also looked at my quilting.  This was the second I had done on Vanna, my Handi-Quilter Amara with Prostitcher.  I think I've greatly improved!  It's great what a little practice and time will do.  This quilt measures about 49" square, and has a minkee back and Hobb's Cotton Wool blend batting. 

Another finish is the practice block for the Accquilt GO! challenge that year, which was using the Spider Web BOB die.  The block I made didn't seem to have enough contrast, but I didn't want to waste it, so I made it a mug rug/snack mat, or candle mat.  I wanted to use the same orange binding, so it was easy to cut an extra strip, sew it to the other 3 needed, and bind the square first.  I only needed a few inches, and knew that the baby quilt would have extra.  

Both of those are now listed in my Etsy shop.  

The other projects I've worked on this week include the baby quilts for the Evening Star Quilters guild.  Someone donated 4 tops, and I took 3 to finish.  
Two are finished quilting, and my friend is bringing the binding for one tomorrow, and we'll make the other binding, as well.  

Here's some photos of them.

I used orange Aurifil 40wt thread on the top, and a light grey Forty-3 on the back, since the backing is a white tone on tone.
I thought the Spaceman panto was perfect for the rockets on the fabric.  I think it's adorable!  
The yellow/blue quilt has a variety of bugs in the print, so I used Flutterby for the panto, in Aurifil 40wt Marrakesh, a variegated thread in red, yellow, blue, green and orange.  Christine has a striped fabric that should look cute for binding, and I have orange solid from Island Batik, for the space quilt.  The third is red, white and blue stars, and Christine will use it as a practice for loading a quilt on Vanna.  

The progress so far on the Medallion challenge for Island Batik's Ambassadors December is good.  I have about 1/2 the star done, and 3 of the 4 triangles.  When I get the bottom border done, I'll take it off the frame and turn it to do the remainding borders.  I don't have enough info on chunking the borders using Prostitcher, but an educator said to just take it off and turn it.  I'm using a combination of Prostitcher, ruler work and Free Motion quilting.  I hope to have it done by the weekend. 

On top of all of this, I've been teaching my sister-in-law and her twin how to sew.  They've made some memory pillows from their mom's clothes, and asked to make pouches for masks.  I'm excited to share this with them, and they're doing really well, and having fun.  

I have to get back to the other goals I set in the beginning of the month, as well.  The Island Batik Ambassador challenge is Placemats, and if you check the Island Batik Facebook page, you'll see links to many of the finished ones so far.  Mine?? Not a plan yet.  I have a couple of ideas percolating, then need to choose fabric.  I also want to start my son's quilt, and 2 pairs of pajamas and the APQ challenge is #7, which for me is the Apple Core quilt I started many years ago.  It needs borders and quilting.  But I jumped in with the orange and blue because Quiltsy team's challenge was a baby quilt listed this month.  

Am I doing too many challenges??  Maybe, but I hope to have progress on them all.  It's good to have goals.  It pushes me to sew something every day, and hopefully make something that someone wants to buy.  I enjoy knowing that I make something that gives someone a pretty item in their home, or that hug and warmth that only a handmade quilt can give. 

Thanks for visiting, and wish me luck on the rest of my goals for this month!