Monday, December 5, 2022

Island Batik Ambassador Lone Star Blog Hop

Just wait until you see the inspiration with this hop!  The Island Batik Ambassadors were asked to use the collections shipping to stores soon, and make a lone star style quilt.  I'm sure you'll see some unique ones, and I can tell you the colors and collections are gorgeous.  Thanks for stopping by on my day.  Lone Stars are a very popular design, using a variety of diamond shapes to create a larger diamond, which becomes a star with setting triangles and corners.  I used the book Radiant Star by Eleanor Burns for my quilt.  I've done a few this way, and think the directions and design options are great.  

I was given the Baby Bloomers collection, by Kathy Engle for Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler. It's a collection full of pastels: lavender, yellow, aqua, pink and gorgeous cotton candy multi blends, and the tjaps include clouds, moons and stars, checkerboards, and the cow jumping over the moon. It's sweet and happy, and I loved using it. We were also provided Hobb's batting, Aurifil thread for piecing, Schmetz needles for the domestic machine, and a great Alpaca and wool pressing mat to make our seams flat, by Prairie Spirit Alpacas. The bundle was the Surprise bundle in our June Ambassador boxes.

The first step is to decide how many colors you want to use, and I picked 7, but the book has options for 4 and 6.  The second step is to make strip sets, which are then cut on a 45* angle to make the diamond strips that make up the design in the large diamond. 

We're asked to use as many fabrics in the collection, and I used 17 total. I sorted them into shades of lavender, pink, yellow and aqua, then the multi color ones. The deeper lavender is the center and star points, and the medium lavenders are the Radiant row. The multis surround that row. We were also given 2 yards of a light and a dark, which I used for the 2 outer borders and binding. I used White solid for the background, after trying out Sprinkles and some of the other batik Neutrals. White seemed to make the colors and shades stand out more. Here's photos of me testing out the backgrounds, once I had some of the star wedges done. Of course, when tying to use as many fabrics as possible, I went big. Like really big. My quilt finishes at 94" square. That's a large queen size.

I lay out ideas on the guest bed, and take a photo.  It helps me decide.  

I opted for the small stars for the corners, and think it adds more sparkle to the top.  This photo is just before adding borders.  First I used a white solid, then leftovers of the strip sets for the diamonds, then the Yellow Oatmeal dots I got as the light, and Pink Raspberry dots for the outer border. 

I quilted it on my Handi-Quilter Amara with Pro-Stitcher, using Feather Dreams edge to edge panto from My Creative Stitches, and a Aurifil 40-3 in 2410, Pale Pink.  I wanted something that added a little to the white, and still looked good on the other colors.  Subtle, but pretty.

I used Hobb's Tuscany cotton bleached batting, and a wide white tone on tone backing I had.  As you can see, it's a big quilt.  The frame for the long arm is 10 feet long.  

Details: Baby Bloomers collection
Pattern: Quilt in a Day's Radiant Star
Size: 94" square
Thread:  Aurifil 50wt for piecing and 40-3 for quilting.
Schmetz size 12 Micron needle for piecing. 
Batting :  Hobb's Tuscany bleached cotton King size. 
Machine pieced and machine quilted by me!  

On my queen size bed. 
Early Morning in  the frosty air.

Pieced Border details, along with the Little star.
Center shot.
What happens when you swirl the star?
Little star with detail of the quilting texture.

True colors in the sunlight.  It was a challenge getting the photos.  Thankfully, my son is visiting and he's tall, but the quilt is huge.  The colors is so much prettier in person.
Please stop by Gail's blog to see what she did with the same collection, and click on the link for the Rafflecopter for Island Batik's give away.  Please comment here, as well, if you want to be entered in a give-away for some Island Batik fabric from me.  Have you made a Lone Star?  I do hope you're on my mailing list!  

Remember to check the blogs for the rest of the week, too.  Have fun, and get inspired, and see the new collections coming to a store near you.  If they don't carry Island Batik, ask them to get the collection you love, or check on the Island Batik website for stores that carry it.  I have some for sale in my Etsy shop, and can't wait to get more of the new collections.  


December 5

Maryellen McAuliffe, Mary Mack Made Mine (Thanks for stopping by!)

Gail Sheppard, Quilting Gail

December 6

Megan Best, Bestquilter

Brenda Alburl, Songbird Designs

December 7

Preeti Harris, Sew Preeti Quilts

Emily Leachman, The Darling Dogwood

December 8

Jennifer Thomas, Curlicue Creations

December 9

Blog Hop Round-Up Week 1 and Giveaway 

Thursday, October 6, 2022

PINKtober Blog Hop

Welcome to my day on the Pinktober Blog Hop, hosted by Brianna at Sew Cute and Quirky, and sponsored by Island Batik, Aurifil Thread, and Quilter's Perfect Klip

Breast Cancer.
Just the phrase is so scary.  What do you do when your sister-in-law gets that news?  What about a good friend who is also your hairdresser?  What about her best friend, who's dealing with metastatic breast cancer now?  And the wound care nurse who takes care of your mother in a nursing home?  

When a message is posted by Brianna asking for volunteers to join the hop, you say yes.  
You pray for them.
You make a quilt.
You share your story.
You provide emotional support.
You pray.
If you can, you provide food, respite care for them or their children, ask if they want someone going to the appointments with them, offer to clean or take them out, give them items that will help with healing and comfort.  You listen and let them vent, share their fears and tears.  Research companies that help, like house cleaning, etc.
You make a quilt.

Island Batik supplied a gorgeous precut for us.  I picked the Positively Pink Stack, 10" squares, and requested Magenta for the borders and binding, and Tea Rose for the accent.  

Positively Pink may look like traditional batiks, but it's also printed.  Some of the fabrics are printed on batik, and others are printed on solids.  The designs are sweet.  There are hearts, ribbons, Hope text print, and roses.  The colors are deep burgundy, shades of pink, touches of red, and white.  

It's been so long since I used a printed fabric that I actually had to concentrate to make sure I was sewing right sides together.  I often choose my favorite side when using Island Batik fabrics, but if there's an error, it usually doesn't matter.  This time, I had to check.  

To the above fabrics, I added in White solid, which is included in my Ambassador box.  Island Batik is very generous with their ambassadors, and it's an honor to be one.

Aurifil Thread provided a spool of pink thread, and Quilter's Perfect Klip provided 2 bags of wonderful clips.  

I went to EQ8 to figure out what I wanted to do with the 10" squares and the additional fabric.  I looked for blocks I thought would look good in a variety of pinks.  I found a block called Key Lime Pie, and thought it would be fun to make, and a happy thought for a block.  I added sashing in Tea Rose to the design, and used some of the prints for the cornerstones.  The blocks, which finish at 12", could be made with the Accuquilt GO! 8" Qube, so I layered the background and fabric with right sides together for the smaller triangles for the Combination Units, and cut strips for the 4 patch corners, which also use Magenta.  I threaded my machine with Aurifil 50wt in cream, a cone I use for most of my piecing, and made the units.  I made 2-4 blocks at a time, to keep the units together.  But I had an oops. lol

Or 2.  Easy to fix, just take out the seams, rotate the unit correctly, and sew again, and press again.  And double check the other 10 blocks 3 more times to make sure they are all correct. 
After assembling the top, I put it on my Handi-Quilter Amara with Pro-Stitcher with a white tone on tone wide backing fabric and Warm & White batting, and load Aurifil 40-3 on the machine.  I used 4660, Pink Taffy, a variegated thread that adds a sweet touch to this quilt.  I used the free Hearts and Ribbons design from Urban Elementz.  

Here are the photos, taken between rain and thunderstorms, on the 5th day of storms caused by Hurricane Ian.  Luckily for me, it was only rain and a little wind.  

I'm calling it Hopeful Hugs. It measures about 52 by 67".

Back has Pink Taffy thread, too. 

Fussy Cut Hope for one of the cornerstones.  

I am dealing with cancer.  I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer just about a year ago.  I had a full hysterectomy and then brachytherapy radiation for a few weeks through March, 2022.  I wish someone had offered me dinner, or sent flowers.  My brother did send a gift card for Bath and Body Works, which was nice.  A quilting customer did bring me a lovely bouquet.  What did I do with the diagnosis and healing?  I prayed.  I rested.  I tried to do a little more each day.  Since I'm self employed, I prayed for items in my Etsy shop to sell.  My treatment was during the pandemic, so I couldn't have anyone going to treatment with me.  Brachytherapy isn't horrible, except that you need to lay down with a cylinder in your vagina for up to a half hour.  I brought a quilt to help keep me comfortable and give me something tactile that's better than the scratchy blankets or stiff sheets at the hospital.  I brought chocolate to reward myself after the treatment.  I requested my favorite songs.  I went for ice cream afterwards.  Although I may technically be cancer free, I'm not celebrating that I beat it.  It's too soon.  It's still scary, and although there are days I don't think about it, it's always there, and there's a "thing" I have to do 3 times a week to prevent scar tissue from forming because of the radiation.  Next year it will only be 2x and the year after, only once a week, then maybe I'll feel like I'm better.  There's a 4% chance of recurrence.  I'm so grateful for the friends who called and made me laugh, took me away from the fear and frustration during the worst of it, and the ones who prayed.  Luckily I didn't need chemo. 

In the meantime, I breathe.  I quilt.  I pray, and I schedule mammograms, colonoscopies, and need to find a dermatologist.  And I pray for sales so I can pay bills.  I was so grateful when my Radiation Oncologist purchased one of my quilts.  If you know of anyone who might want a one of a kind gift, or if you may be looking for fabric, please check out my etsy shop. Every little bit helps.  If you don't see something you need, ask me.  I'm also long-arming quilts, and would be happy to work with you on your tops.  

I'm so grateful for Island Batik, for providing me with gorgeous fabric and wonderful challenges.  I love Aurifil thread, and I'm excited about having Quilter's Perfect Klips.  They are so helpful with keeping pieces together, and holding binding while sewing.  I'm not sure what I'll do with this quilt yet.  I want to check with my care team to see if they want to auction it to support others going through cancer.  I may give it to my quilt guild for their charity quilts, or maybe to my friend's friend, or Mom's nurse.  Maybe I'll hear of someone who is just diagnosed and would benefit from the comfort of this, and the hugs built into it. 

Please check out the other bloggers for this hop.

Thanks.  I'll pray that you never have to deal with cancer, but if you do, know I'll listen.  Hugs.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Tool Talk with Studio 180* Wedge Star Tool

Welcome to my day on the Tool Talk Blog Hop! 
Have I mentioned I love being an Ambassador?  Island Batik is so generous with their collections for the hops, and I am able to make gorgeous large quilts. The Ambassadors received 1/2 yard cuts of all 20 different SKUs in the collection, as well as 2 yards each of a dark and a light coordinate.  We also got a new tool from Studio 180* and Deb Tucker.  I'm working with the Wedge Star tool, and Midnight Glow   from Island Batik.  This collection should be shipping to stores this month, so now is a great time to look for it.  If you can't find it, let your shop know you want it.  

Midnight Glow is so pretty.  The lightest tan color is called Wicker, and the darkest blue is called Storm.  I got both of these as coordinates, so Wicker became the background, and Storm is the border and accent blocks in my design.  The colors are prettier in person.  

I LOVE that Studio 180 tools have multiple sizes on each tool, so you can really play with the size of the blocks used in the quilt.  Want to make a 9" block larger?? Just follow the chart to take your pattern's instructions to the new size.  The Wedge Star tool has instructions for 3 different blocks, plus a whole ton of different combinations you can make, and Deb has produced a number of videos to go along with using the tool, as well as specialty Technique Sheets to make the Diamond 4 Patch and Twisted Wedge versions I tried.  The sheets are provided to the Ambassadors so I planned to use them.  

I started playing on EQ8 and decided I also wanted to play with the size of the blocks.  So, the center star is a 24" block.  Perfect to show some of the colors of Midnight Glow.  Doing the math, I created a 12" row of blocks surrounding it as a "border".  Then, I made an 8" border of blocks, before adding the final 6" border, so I ended up with a quilt that's about 76" square.  

I shared some teaser blocks on Instagram and Facebook, and my cousin mentioned she had no clue how I was going to get these different size blocks into a top.  Well, I added a few others.  That's how, lol.  

To learn how the tool works, I made 4 8" blocks first.  These became the outer corners.  I added more 8" Wedge blocks, as well as half square triangle blocks, which were made 8 at a time, and trimmed with the Tucker Trimmer.  I also cut 8 Wicker fabric squares for this border.  
Next, I wanted to get the big 24" block done.  
This is before adding the corners.  The colors were fun to play with.  I used a dark teal with a gorgeous plum purple, and the deeper gold to really make this glow.  

I picked more colors to make these Twisted stars, and used a total of 15 different fabrics in this top.  I didn't get to use 2 of the lighter plum colors, and set aside the brighter red, as well.  There were other tan fabrics, too, which I felt were too close to the background, and I didn't need them, since I had the 2 yards of Wicker.  I do plan to give away some of these as well as some larger scraps, so check below for details. 
It was fun to choose the multi-colored prints for some units, as they added depth to the design.  The similar blocks all use the same fabrics, it's the fabric color that changes, not the unit.  You can see this in the wedge blocks.  

Although I had set the actual fabrics in place in EQ8, I changed them when I was picking the pieces for the blocks.  Using the plan is a good starting point, but it's fun to change things up, as well.  

Are you ready to see the whole top?  

Heather thinks it's really pretty, and thinks it looks really good with her coloring.  She got very comfortable as soon as she saw it on the chair.  
Okay, enough teasing. here's the top. 

Center Diamond 4 patch, with the setting Wedge squares, and the Twisted in each corner.  

A closer view of the Twisted, along with more Wedge blocks and the Wedge Star in the corner.  

I added the HST blue/wicker blocks to help accentuate the center star.  I also liked how the different blocks didn't actually "match" at the edges, so the center block has a very dynamic shape.  

Of course, I used Aurifil 50wt for piecing, and a new Schmetz size 12 needle.  It's the perfect combination for great blocks.  Another thing??  The new Prairie Spirit Alpaca pressing mat made my seams super flat.  
The seam toward the front was pressed with the same iron as the seam in the middle.  The front and back seams were pressed on the Alpaca mat, and the middle one was just pressed on my ironing board.  No steam was used.  Do you see how much closer to the block the front seam is from the middle?  To get even better results, I also use a wood clapper (just behind the block in this photo) my good friend Jeremy from Dietrick's made for me.  I'm trying to see if he'll make more, lol.  

So, using the best tools makes a huge difference in the quilt blocks.  I was actually surprised at how good my seams matched.  Without really trying, I had some perfect points and match sections.  I try to get close most of the time, and will take out something if it's really off, but this time?  It was pretty easy to get almost perfect blocks.  See the Diamond 4 patch wedges below?  That inner point is perfect, and by the way, NOT a Y seam.  

I loaded the top on my Handi-Quilter Amara with Pro-Stitcher, and used Aurifil Forty-3 for quilting.  I used color 4150, Creme Brule, a variegated gold color, and Anne Bright's Florence pantograph.  I felt the Florence had similar leaf and scroll designs to the tjaps in the fabric, and using the gold, even against the Storm border, would add another layer of elegance to the top.  Backing is a wide back from my shop.

The binding was sewn on by machine, with Aurifil 50wt 2784, Dark Navy, which is a great match to the border and binding. 

So, I hope I've convinced you to try Studio 180 tools, especially the Wedge Star, and to look for Midnight Glow in your favorite shop.  

Island Batik is sponsoring a give away, so please click on the Rafflecopter link to enter.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Then, please also check out Megan Best's blog for her gorgeous quilt using Midnight Glow, and her tool from Studio 180.  

Have you been following the blog hop?  Please check out the other Ambassador's projects.  The links for each collection are on the Island Batik blog.  

Please leave a comment below if you've ever used a Studio 180 tool and I'll pick one comment to win some fabric from this collection.  If NON-USA, please let me know if you're willing to pay the additional difference in shipping if you win.  I'll make sure the flat rate envelope is stuffed.  I'll use to pick someone when the hop is over.  

Thanks again for stopping by to see my quilt.  Please remember to check out last week's inspiration, and look for a new give-away from Island Batik Friday, for next week's Ambassadors.