Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Island Batik Ambassador Celebrations Challenge

Have you seen some of the fun Celebrations challenge pieces from the Island Batik Ambassadors?  So far, there's a really cute and personalized Christmas tree skirt, a great blue quilt for Solstice, and other fun projects.  It's always fun to see what the others choose to make when we have a little more freedom to create something.  The suggestion was to celebrate any holiday, and any size.  For my project, I have 3 possible ideas, but one is done.  My Sister-in-law's twin, E, asked me to make her 2 table toppers.  I've done some before, but she didn't have Autumn, or Christmas.  She has a smaller table, so likes the octagon shape, but gives me creative license for the fabric, and what I choose to do for the center.  I love customers like that.  I also love that it fits with this challenge.  I was in a red and green mood, so did the Christmas one.  

For the project, I used the Pieced Tree pattern, a little laminated card, called Center Stage.  It's the size E likes, as well as a cute, easy pattern, and I can do some fun embroidery for the center, or make a pieced block.  I really want to use my embroidery machine more, so looked through my purchased designs from Embroidery Library, and found Silent Night Poinsettia sketch.  I looked through my Aurifil 40wt threads to find 2 shades of green, 3 reds and a yellow, my favorites to use with embroidery.  Next step is to pick fabric.  I had Buttermilk, a neutral, that I wanted for the background, and looked through my Stash Builders rolls for 2 the same red, and green.  I was able to find 2 of the green with gold pine branches, and ended up using red from a half yard bundle Island Batik includes in the Ambassador boxes.  I have quite a bit.  It's so much fun to be an Ambassador! 

So, after adding some iron-on featherweight interfacing on the fabric, and loading a tear away stabilizer, I started stitching the design. 

I did enlarge this design, it's as big as the hoop would allow.  
Next step is making the half square triangle units for the borders.  I love making mine a little larger and trimming with the Quilt in a Day ruler.  With the unit folded, you only have to trim 2 edges when you put the ruler line on the seam line.  Then you trim the "dog ears" (those little triangles to the left) and press the unit open.  Other tools have you press open first and trim 4 edges.  
Next step is joining the units in the pattern.  And pressing them all on the wool mat and using a clapper to help them lay flat.  My friend, Jeremy of Dietrick Woodworking made me 2 custom clappers, and they are perfect.  I love that he added purple resin on them, and they are smooth, and heavier than standard, so my blocks are flat!  Aurifil 50wt thread helps with that, as well.  I have a large cone I use for piecing, and always a Schmetz needle, usually size 12 Micron.  

Chain piecing!  I love it because it saves me time, and I can check the units before I sew them as a larger square to make sure the design layout is correct.  

I took a photo with a flashlight to show E, to make sure she wants this.  Yup, she loved it! But then again, I know her tastes, I've known her since I was about 7. lol.  

I used more Buttermilk for the backing, and had a scrap of Warm & Natural batting the right size, so I loaded it on my Handi-Quilter Amara with Pro-Stitcher, picked the Holly Days Poinsettia  panto from Intelligent Quilting, and picked Aurifil 40-three in 2026 for the stitching.  I I went right over the whole top, including the embroidery.  The thread is light enough that it barely shows on the embroidery, so it doesn't detract from that design.  

Next step is trimming the extra backing and batting, and adding the binding.  I had another 1/2 yard piece of a nice dark green, so used that.  The corners are mitered! I also added my label on the back, and hand stitched the binding to the back.  I usually do that by machine, but this looked better. 

Here are the finished photos. 

Ta Dah!  A finished project for E.  Next step is to mail it to Colorado, and work on the Autumn one, or the other idea I have, after finishing up a few customer projects.  

Please see the other Ambassadors for more inspiration!  

Emily Leachman, The Darling Dogwood

Sarah Pitcher, Pitcher’s Boutique

Claudia Porter, Create with Claudia

Brenda Alburl, Songbird Designs

Elita Sharpe, Busy Needle Quilting

Reed Johnson, Blue Bear Quilts   

Suzy Webster, Websterquilt

Preeti Harris, Sew Preeti Quilts

Renee Atkinson, Pink Tulip Quilting

Denise Looney, For the Love of Geese

Gail Sheppard, Quilting Gail

Anorina Morris, Samelia’s Mum

Sandra Starley, Textile Time Travels

Susan Deshensky, Lady Blue Quilts

Randi Jones, Randi’s Roost

Brittany Fisher, Bobbin with Brittany

Lisa Pickering, Lisa’s Quilting Passion

Victoria Johnson, Forever Quilting for You

Mania Hatziioannidi, Mania for Quilts

Lana Russel, Lana Quilts

Pamela Boatright, Pamela Quilts

Jennifer Thomas, Curlicue Creations

Maryellen McAuliffe, Mary Mack Made Mine

Leah Malasky, Quilted Delights

Connie Kauffman, Kauffman Designs

Before you go, I wanted to share the photos of the Divide and Conquer By Annie bag I finished last month.  I was not finished by my day on the hop, but didn't get a chance to update my blog.  It's awesome, and I love the fabric.  This will come in handy for quilting classes.  It holds supplies, fabric, and more.  Heather wants it for her toys and supplies, though.  PS, if you try this bag, there's a lot of bulk along the bottom seams.  I used a denim needle and my walking foot, and the Janome 9450 went right through it all, as I made sure I went slowly.  No needles broken.  

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope to have more to share this month.  Happy Holidays!    

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

It's In the Bag with and Island Batik


Honestly, this is one of my favorite challenges!  There are lots of great challenges, but making something like a bag is different!
Island Batik asked the Ambassadors to choose a bag, and pick fabrics from an assigned group, and By Annie would send us all of the supplies needed to make that bag.  Island Batik includes the fabrics. 

My fabric collection is called Limerick.  It was designed for Raija Salomaa by Kathy Engle. Some precuts are in shops now, and yardage will be available soon. 

This was the Surprise bundle included in our June boxes, but we got the yardage needed for the bag as well.  So generous, and simply gorgeous.  My Irish heart loves the Celtic theme tjaps, and the purple, teal, navy and green are so pretty together.  You know I love purple, and Teal is also a favorite.  

By Annie had packaged everything I needed for my pattern, Divide and Conquer, a great organizer tote, including the vinyl, zippers, interfacing, mesh, Soft and Stable foam batting, buckles and slides, and strapping for the handles. 

Included with pattern is an Add On Video coupon, so you can watch the videos specific to this bag, free.  They were SOOO helpful.  They always are.  This bag is a little different from other By Annie I've made, but I'm always up to a challenge.  I opted for the larger size, which will be about 11 by 16".  It has 2 clear vinyl pockets on each side, and 2 double sided pockets attached in the center, with mesh and zippers.

I picked the dark purple square print tjap for the outside, the white and aqua Celtic design for the inside, and teal Celtic triangles for the accents, which include binding, handles and trim sections.  

I put the main fabrics on my Handi-Quilter Amara with the Soft and Stable in the middle and used Pro-Stitcher to quilt the layers for the bag.  I think next time I'll baste extra trim on the backing yardage so I can really quilt the whole outer fabric.  Island Batik did give us a little more for getting it on the long arm.  Again, so generous.  

The Surprise bundle.  No, I didn't need to use any of these, I'm saving them for a sew along with my guild.  

So after quilting, and cutting all the pieces, I added stickers to keep them organized.  Annie provides a page you can copy to tag the pieces.  I printed it on my shipping label page, and cut out the ones I needed, and could stick it right on the pieces, then clipped the sections together (bag front and bag back have one sticker, so clipping them with Wonder clips helps!)  

Although my bag isn't completed yet, I have a good start.  As some of you may know I've had some health issues lately, and was sick again last week.  I got an appointment with an ENT who works with an allergist to see if there's something that we can do to help me feel better more often.  Unfortunatly, the medicine he wanted me to try, an inhaler, caused several side effects, which knocked me down again.  I need something that isn't medicine, but I have so many allergies.  Anyway, back to the bag. 

Since I haven't sewn clear vinyl lately, I really was happy to try the By Annie version.  It's wonderful.  It's thick, but clear, and sews pretty easily.  In the video, Annie suggests using painter's tape to cover the bobbin cover on her machine, which is the only place the vinyl seems to "cling".  I didn't have painter's tape handy, but did have a post-it note, and used that over my bobbin cover, and the vinyl slid through the feed dogs like any other fabric.  I was impressed!  I also used my Janome 9450's walking foot with the skinny foot, because I know that foot is 1/4" from the needle.  I usually use the zipper foot on zippers, but this worked just as well.  Of course, I used a Schmetz Microtex needle for the parts I've done so far, and will switch to a Denim 14 when I get to the thicker parts of the assembly.  I'm using a matching aqua cotton thread in 50wt and a 40wt purple for sewing, and changing often to match the fabric I'm sewing.  Both are from Aurifil.  

Current progress:
Bag front, with zippered pocket.
Bag back, with a zippered pocket, and the teal section is actually a strap to slide over the handle of a wheeled bag.  It's attached in the center by hook and loop tape, which was also included in the supplies. 
This is one side of the inside of the bag, showing my quilted design, but the clear vinyl zippered pocket will be attached by a side strip, so it becomes about 3" deep.  

This is the front and back of one of the inside flip pockets.  Both sides have mesh and zippers, so smaller items like a seam ripper, needles, thread, etc can go in here, and fabric or blocks or other larger supplies can go in the clear vinyl sections.  If I choose to use it for sewing, that is.  I haven't decided yet! 

Keep watching my blog for updated finished photos.  I'll share again.
While you're waiting, I hope you visit the rest of the blogs for this hop.  Leave a comment here before the end of November for a chance to win some fabric from my overflowing Island Batik stash!  USA has free shipping, but if you live outside the US and agree to cover the balance of a flat rate envelope, you can enter as well. Thanks!

Leah and Emily are also sharing this gorgous collection and their bags today, so please go to their blogs

Brenda Alburl ~ Songbird Designs Renee Atkinson ~ Pink Tulip Quilting Pamela Boatright ~ PamelaQuilts Susan Deshensky ~ Lady Blue Quilts Brittany Fisher ~ Bobbin with Brittany

Preeti Harris ~ Sew Preeti Quilts Mania Hatziioannidi ~ Mania for quilts Reed Johnson ~ Blue Bear Quilts Victoria Johnson ~ Forever Quilting for You Randi Jones ~ Randi’s Roost

Connie Kauffman ~ Kauffman Designs Emily Leachman ~ The Darling Dogwood Denise Looney ~ Quiltery – For The Love Of Geese Leah Malasky ~ Quilted Delights Maryellen McAuliffe ~ Mary Mack Made Mine

Anorina Morris ~ Lisa Pickering ~ Lisa’s Quilting Passion Sarah Pitcher ~ Pitcher’s Boutique Claudia Porter ~ Create with Claudia Lana Russel ~ Lana Quilts

Elita Sharpe ~ Busy Needle Gail Sheppard ~ Quilting Gail Sandra Starley ~ Textile Time Travels Jennifer Thomas ~ Curlicue Creations Suzy Webster ~ Websterquilt

In addition to all the lovely bags and inspiration, Island Batik is giving away 2 bundles of fabric, including Limerick.  Click on the Rafflecopter link to enter, and remember to leave a comment.  The full schedule of the blog hops are available at Island Batik's blog

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 3, 2023

Quilt the World with Accuquilt and Island Batik


 Have you done quilts or projects for charity?  It makes you feel so good knowing your time and effort will surround someone with a hug.  I've donated quite a few, and long arm tops for charity, too.  I've done Quilts of Valor, and presented quilts to special people in my life who have served in the armed forces.  My dad, and my sister-in-law's nephew, and a priest were 3 of the men who got quilts, but I've donated blocks, too.  I donated to my guild, as well.  This one is going to Pieceful Patchers of Williston Park, part of their drive for quilts for a children's charity.  It's not quilted yet, but will be soon.  Things have been a little crazy lately, and my sinus infection makes it worse.  

Heather likes to check out my work.

I wanted something bright and cheery.  I had packs an older collection of 5" squares aka Stamps from Island Batik, and a pack of neutrals, and decided to start this at the charity sewing day back in March.  I used the Quilt in a Day Tossed 9 Patch pattern, but made a mistake in the cutting (maybe too much chatting, not enough check it twice??) and then the time at the center was ending.  I set the blocks aside until I figured out how I wanted to fix the mistake.  I ended up actually making a replacement block, and cut them all correctly, lol.  I added some borders, Almond and Birthday Spikes for the outer border.  It measures about 52" square, and I have more Spikes for the binding ready to go.   I know some child will enjoy snuggling with this bright, fun and happy quilt.  Although the squares were precut, Accuquilt dies would also work for this design, and I did use the strip dies for the borders and binding.  

 Island Batik and Accuquilt have prizes up for grabs if you share your quilts on Instagram or Facebook and use the hashtag #quilttheworld2023

So, find a charity, make a quilt and share it.  You'll feel great, and so will the person who gets to cuddle with the quilt.  My other guild has a number of charities we support, and recently donated 26 quilts to help cover the students, teachers and families involved in the Freeport band bus accident.  The students lost 2 teachers, and many others were injured when their bus went off the road into a ravine in PA, on their way to band camp.  We also collect kennel quilts for a local animal shelter, and donated quilts to some of the local food banks to give to the families who need a hug.  Knowing my efforts help another is such a great feeling.  You'll agree when you create something for another.  And you may even win a prize.  

Thanks for reading, and I'll share the finished quilt soon.  

PS, Island Batik Ambassadors are doing a blog hop this month.  You can read about it and get the schedule and enter to win fabric, too.  By Annie bags are awesome.  Check it out! 

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Falling for Accuquilt with Island Batik


For October, the Island Batik Ambassadors were sent the North Carolina Star die for our Acccuquilt GO! Cutters, and asked to make something featuring the die, or parts of it.  

The North Carolina block may look complicated, and have over 50 pieces in 12" square finished, but with the die, a BOB block on board, it's actually much easier than you would think, and so much easier than trying to figure the angles, and use Y seams.  But the units are also able to be used in other designs.  The small quarter square triangles (E on the board) measure 2 1/2" unfinished, when sewn.  The triangles (the brighter orange and green going towards the corners (B on the board) are 3 1/2" tall, so you could also just make rows in a quilt.  They do sew in a straight line if you do it correctly, and the cream units (C on the die)  can be used to straighten the rows.  C and D will make a 2 1/2 by 4 1/2" unfinished Triangle in a Rectangle.  But that's for another project. 

My first idea was to see if the North Carolina star was the same in EQ8, but I ended up drawing it.  Then I played with color placement.  I usually do this with just colors, not using fabrics, so I can get a feel before I pull fabrics.  As I played, I thought the triangles could look like flowers petals.  I thought of the blue Sunflower tjap fabric I had left from another project a few years ago, and sold a bolt in my Etsy shop.  I had about 3/4 yard left.  

Next step was to search the piles of Island Batik fabrics to see what colors I have that might work for sunflowers.   I have 1/2 yard Foumndation pieces from Ambassador boxes, and a number of scraps, so I grabbed a few yellows, a great green from the Royal Crown collection, and some basics for the brown and the cream, and scraps for the outer blue triangles.  I counted up how many of each shape I would need for 3 blocks, and made a list so I would cut all the pieces.  Layer 
 up to 6 pieces of fabric and roll them through, and sort them according to the shape.  It's pretty fast to get them all cut.  

Sewing the blocks was easy, because Accuquilt trims the dog ears and makes lining up the edges easier.  I chain piece them for efficiency and speed.  I had 3 blocks done in just a few hours, but then again, there are over 50 pieces in each block.  Lots of pressing followed.  I love using my Alpaca wool pressing mat, and some wood clappers my friend made for me, which makes the places with lots of points and seams meeting flat.  Aurifil thread helps with that, as well.  I always use Aurifil 50wt for piecing, and a new Schmetz size 12 Microtex needle.  
(I did resew the center section on this to have better matching points)
Once the blocks were done, I searched agin for something for the sashing and cornerstones, and setting triangles, and added the border to frame it all.  It measures 24 by 64", a very generous table runner size, or could be a bed runner for a twin or full bed.  I found some scraps of backing and batting and loaded it on my Handi-Quilter Amara with Pro-Stitcher and picked the Joyful pantograph.   

Before quilting.  Kinda flat looking. 

During quilting, starting to show the texture.  I used Aurifil 40-3 in Chalk for quilting.  
There was a little space on the backing, so I got a scrap of batting and quilted this block.  It'll become a mug rug after it's bound, but the Island Batik fabrics from a few years ago are so pretty.  I have no idea why I made it, but now it's going to be something else.  
Back to the North Carolina Sunflowers.

I did a quick trim and took a few photos while I still had sunlight, but couldn't go up to the studio to finish the binding because I had to give out candy to the trick-or-treaters.  

I think this is really cute, and very happy and bright.  It would be a fun table accent during the summer and early Fall, when sunflowers are at their peak.  

Have you checked out the other Ambassador projects for this month's challenge? 

And for November, we're doing By Annie bags, and a blog hop, so you'll get to see some great projects and get a chance to win fabric.  Check Island Batik for the schedule and to win. 

Brenda Alburl ~ Songbird Designs Renee Atkinson ~ Pink Tulip Quilting Pamela Boatright ~ PamelaQuilts Susan Deshensky ~ Lady Blue Quilts Brittany Fisher ~ Bobbin with Brittany

Preeti Harris ~ Sew Preeti Quilts Mania Hatziioannidi ~ Mania for quilts Reed Johnson ~ Blue Bear Quilts Victoria Johnson ~ Forever Quilting for You Randi Jones ~ Randi’s Roost

Connie Kauffman ~ Kauffman Designs Emily Leachman ~ The Darling Dogwood Denise Looney ~ Quiltery – For The Love Of Geese Leah Malasky ~ Quilted Delights Maryellen McAuliffe ~ Mary Mack Made Mine

Anorina Morris ~ Lisa Pickering ~ Lisa’s Quilting Passion Sarah Pitcher ~ Pitcher’s Boutique Claudia Porter ~ Create with Claudia Lana Russel ~ Lana Quilts

Elita Sharpe ~ Busy Needle Gail Sheppard ~ Quilting Gail Sandra Starley ~ Textile Time Travels Jennifer Thomas ~ Curlicue Creations Suzy Webster ~ Websterquilt
I wanted to also share the finished top for the Pieced to Perfectio hop. I still need to quilt it, but it's so pretty, featuring the Earthly Greens collection, and Autumn Pines pattern by Quiltworx.

This should have custom quilting, so as soon as I have some extra time, without customer quilts, I'll get to this. First I need to make a bag!  November is the blog hop for By Annie bags! Check Island Batik for the schedule and to win. 

Another (actually finished) thing this month was the Pieceful Patcher's President's Challenge, using our birth month flowers in a quilt. I opted to use an embroidery design from Embroidery Library called Sweet Pea, and made a topper. The fabrics are all Island Batik, and the threads are all Aurifil.  It's so pretty!

And this post is delayed because my internet went out on Monday.  I didn't get a chance to finish the editing and add the last photos until Thursday.  Wacky week, after wacky month.  
Thanks for stopping by, and please check out the bag hop!