Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Island Batik Ambassador Unboxing Video

Hi!  It's that time of year again, where the Island Batik Ambassadors get boxes of wonderful things to create our challenge projects for the next 6 months.  This is my 9th year, and it never gets old.  

I'm honored to be an Ambassador again.  The team of 25 have been working behind the scenes to get to know each other, and to start our projects.  You may have seen my Gradations Geese in the Garden quilt last week, but here's the box that started off the year. 


A few notes, if you are curious.  My son's dog, Freya, the 80+ lb Rottweiler puppy, was doing the heavy breathing, lol.  Matt tried to keep her quiet, but we were lucky she wasn't squeaking her ball.  The ice maker decided to empty and refill, too.  On top of it all, I was 1 week past major surgery when this was taped, so any lapses and issues with my memory will be blamed on the after effects of anesthesia and pain.  My son had to lift the boxes onto the table for me, because I was under restrictions for how much I could lift, as evidenced by the sparkly package, which felt really heavy.  It had a bad ending, but I cropped it off, lol.  I was still talking, so you get to see my open mouth.  It is what it is, though, and that's the extent of my editing skills.  I hope you smile a little, and enjoy the colors and info.

But the fabrics are gorgeous, I'm excited to show the projects as I get them done, and it's going to be fun. 

Here are some photos of the fabrics, up close.    The background in the photos is Egg White, the 6 yard piece I got as a neutral.

Playful Purples Gradations for the January challenge.

This is Chantilly, by Kathy Engle for Karen Overton, and my bundle for the February Blog Hop Row by Row challenge.  

Black, White and Grey solids for background and backing, as needed, 4 yards of each, and 1/2 yard cuts of a variety of Basics, in Solids and Blenders.

Strip Pack called Lace and Grace with 2 yards of a medium and dark coordinate, plus 2 packs of Stash Builder Rolls,  5" width of fabric strips, 4 to a roll, with a total of almost 3 yards per package.  One is mostly solids and the other is a variety of batiks, all tied with cute Island Batik tapes! 

Plus the surprise bundle, which I'll use for the May blog hop.  You'll just have to wait.  

Thanks for following along with me on this adventure.  Special thanks to the Industry partners that work with Island Batik to make this the best program out there!  

Hobb's Batting, Aurifil Thread, Accuquilt GO!, Studio 180 Tools, By Annie bags, Schmetz needles and Funky Friends Factory.  

Saturday, January 15, 2022

January Step by Step challenge

 January 2022 Island Batik Ambassador Step by Step challenge

I'm honored to be an Island Batik Ambassador for my 9th year, and so happy to have been given the Playful Purple Gradations bundle for this challenge.  We were asked to use shades of one color in our projects, and to show the possibilities with the Basics collection from Island Batik.  Many shops carry a good selection of the shades, and can make you your own fat quarter bundle.  

I wanted to use all 20 hues in my project, and decided to use Flying Geese.  I added Almond, one of the Neutrals I've had included in my Ambassador boxes, and wanted to make 4 at a time.  My favorite way is the Quilt in a Day Flying Geese process and tool.  I looked in EQ8 for a block that has 4 geese, and the one I picked had 3 1/2" pieces on each side of a 3 by 6" flying geese group of 4.  Easy!  Pretty, and fast.  That was the objective, fast.  I have so many projects due in the next few weeks, I needed fast!  So, I cut out the squares of Almond and the purples I needed, and pieced then trimmed them.  I kept them clipped together the entire time, because some of the hues are very close.  Wonder clips worked great.  After trimming them all, I put them in shade order, from lightest to darkest.  I decided to alternate the gradation rows to add interest.  I tried a grey solid for the sides of each block, but decided to use Opalescence.  It looked better.

80 flying geese units, in color order.  I did use the black and white filter on my phone to make sure this was a good array of colors.  

After sewing the geese in rows, chain piecing each color to the line, I decided to cut a length of fabric of Opalescence and cut into three 6 1/2" widths, and two 3 1/2" widths, which made the top complete with just 8 seams, not individual blocks.  But once I got it together, I realized that the 3 inner sections were a bit boring.  It could have played with quilting designs on them, but really felt that flowers on a vine would be more interesting and fun.  I couldn't find my Accuquilt Go!  Rose of Sharon die, so decided to just cut out 5" squares, back them with fusible web, and hand cut the flowers and accents.  I found a 1/2 yard piece of Pineneedle for the green accent, and cut a square to make bias binding for the stem.  I used the Clover Bias tape maker to press it at 1/2", and a glue stick to hold it in random curves until I sewed the edges using Aurifil 50wt thread in matching green.  I fused a rectangle of the green with paper backed web, and cut out leaf shapes.  For the flowers, I folded the squares like snowflakes, and cut the edge in a variety of designs.  Some were simple petals, like the top curve of a heart, and others had dips and more petal shapes.  I took the lighter squares to make smaller accent pieces, and scraps from the others to make dots.  I fused the smaller section to the larger, then placed the flowers within the strips, and pinned them.  I peeled off the paper backing and fused them in place, adding leaves as I went.  I used an applique stitch on my Janome Horizon 9450 to stitch them in place, but didn't change thread color.  I wanted this to be fast.  I did use green on the leaves.  Then I added the Amethyst borders.  I estimated I spent about 20 hours on making the top, which includes trimming the geese and doing the applique.  

I did switch to a Schmetz Non-Stick needle because of the fusible web, and it was perfect. 

Before quilting.

I loaded it on Vanna, my Handi-Quilter Amara, and considered a few floral pantographs, and decided to use Dancing Flowers edge to edge 1 by My Creative Stitches.  I used Aurifil 40-3 in 3840, French Lilac, variegated, for quilting.  Backing is a wide back and batting is Warm & Natural.  

Here are the fancy photos from the shoot at Hick's Nurseries as well as my house. 
The quilt is so much prettier in person, as the photos make the purples look more blue than reality, but that's what happens with purples.  

Stats:  20 shades of purples, plus Opalescence for the sashing and Amethyst for border and binding. 
Measures 62 by 72", so a nice lap quilt, or twin bed quilt or a throw over a full size bed. 
Aurifil 50 wt for piecing and applique and 40-3 for quilting.
Total time on the project:  About 30 hours.

I'm thrilled with this quilt and so happy to be an Ambassador for Island Batik.  There were many people who stopped to look at the quilt while I was taking photos, and all wanted to see the colors up close.  Thanks to the staff at Hick's Nurseries and to my friend Richard who helped by holding the quilt.  

Thanks for visiting, and please visit the other Ambassadors to see their Step by Step projects. 
Stay tuned for the February blog hop with the rest of the Island Batik Ambassadors, and our Unboxing videos, coming soon. 

Brenda Alburl ~ Songbird Designs
Megan Best ~ Bestquilter
Pamela Boatright ~ Pamelaquilts 
Elizabeth DeCroos ~ Epida Studio
Jennifer Fulton ~ Inquiring Quilter

Preeti Harris ~ Sew Preeti Quilts
Mania Hatziioannidi ~ Mania for quilts
Jane Hauprich ~ Stitch By Stitch Custom Quilting
Reed Johnson ~ Blue Bear Quilts
Connie Kauffman ~ Kauffman Designs

Emily Leachman ~ The Darling Dogwood
Denise Looney ~ For The Love Of Geese
Leah Malasky ~ Quilted Delights
Maryellen McAuliffe ~ Mary Mack Made Mine
Anorina Morris – sameliasmum.com

Lisa Pickering ~ Lisa’s Quilting Passion
Claudia Porter ~ Create with Claudia
Gail Renna ~ Quilt Haven Threads
Brianna Roberts ~ Sew Cute And Quirky
Michelle Roberts ~ Creative Blonde

Gail Sheppard ~ Quilting Gail
Andi Stanfield ~ True Blue Quilts
Sandra Starley ~ Textile Time Travels
Jennifer Thomas ~ Curlicue Creations
Suzy Webster ~ Websterquilt


Friday, January 7, 2022

New Year, News and One Monthly Goal

 Hi, and thanks for stopping by to read my blog.

First, I'm delighted and so honored to be accepted as an Island Batik Ambassador for my 9th year.  This amazing program is so much fun, because I get to play with gorgeous batiks, plus batting from Hobb's, and Schmetz needles and Aurifil Thread,  Then there's the Accuquilt GO! die cutting system, Patterns by Annie bag, and even a Funky Friends Factory toy this year.  The challenges make me grow as a quilter and designer, and I work with the best team of ambassadors and awesome people like Natasha, our coordinator.  We've received our boxes, and you'll see the video of me opening it soon.  The fabrics are gorgeous, and I can't wait to share the monthly challenges with you.  

Our January challenge is to use the Gradations bundles in a lap quilt, and mine is well on the way.  I plan to add a little more to my original design, and then borders, and hopefully you'll see it next week, but in the meantime, I'm using this bundle of gorgeous purples.  Check with your favorite shop for yardage, or ask me to make a fat quarter bundle for you.  

Second, if you noticed, I didn't publish anything in December.  Partly because I had another medical issue that resulted in a major surgery.  I had issues after the surgery, too, but I'm finally feeling better.  I'll explain more about that whole thing later, too, but please keep me in your prayers for a healthy 2022.  I do still need to reschedule the cornea graft, but I have to see if I can get the insurance company to agree to a change of venue.  Maybe this time it will restore my sight in my left eye.  

Lining Up with Elm Street Quilts' One Monthly Goal. 

So, although I have tons of projects to work on this month, and more customer quilts to finish, my goal for January is to get the December 2021 Island Batik Ambassador challenge finished.  It was English Paper Piecing, and I've gotten this far.  I plant to finish the handle using EPP, but will applique it on a background, add a border or 2 and quilt it.  It's a wall hanging.  I used the Peacock Plumes collection.

Vanna, my Handi-Quilter Amara long arm has had a Spa day, and that was good timing because just before it was going to be picked up, I got a bad thread jam behind the bobbin race.  I was unable to finish the last 5 inches of a customer quilt, but she's been so sweet about the delays (from my health to Vanna's), and I'm hoping when my son brings it back for me Saturday, I'll be able to finish the customer quilt and do some charity quilts while I finish the January top, and the EPP basket.  
I also decided to join the #FQSSewDown challenge, and started a new cone of Aurifil on January 1, with a new needle and a new project.  

I've collected the empty spools and cones of Aurifil from just 2021, and sewed and quilted over 23,402 YARDS of thread.  Some of these were started before 2021, but I have others that were started last year, and will be finishing soon.  As you can see, I love Aurifil thread and have lots more sewing to do!  
The yellow cones are 40-three, the 3 ply thread in 40 wt made for long arms.  The orange are all 50wt, which I use for piecing and embroidery.  
Thanks so much for stopping by and reading my blog.  Check out the Fat Quarter Shop's post about the sew down for more info.  
Have a wonderful week!