Wednesday, July 10, 2024

A Multitude of Finishes.

Hi.  I have a few quilts done, and wanted to share about them.  It's been a while since I had so many at one time, and I know there are more to go, but I needed to get some off my "plate", so once the machine was set up for binding, I decided to keep binding.  

First, I finished my Sleep in Heavenly Peace donation quilt, the June Islnd Batik Ambassador challenge.  I added a label with that info, as well as washing instructions, to the back, and it's ready to ship.  These photos are over the deck rail, because I broke my clothesline trying to hang this one up.  Add another item to purchase for the to-do list.  

I used the Studio 180* 4 patch square up tool, and Squiggles, Dots and Lines, by Deb Tucker for Island Batik strip pack.  I made a ton of 4 patch units, added sashing and I love how it looks.  It measures about 68x80", so it should give some child a comfortable sleep.  I used a red wine wide back I have in my shop, and the panto is Whisper, by Mycreativestitches.

That set me off on doing more binding.  I have a Janome Horizon 9450, which has a special walking foot, and a single hole plate that you use together.  Once that's on the machine, if I have other stuff to bind, I usually try to do it.  If I'm set up for piecing, with the 1/4" foot with guide and standard plate I tend to keep piecing.  

Anyway, I used a great matching wine color thread for the binding, which I machine stitch to the front, then make sure the bobbin matches the border (or most of the border, if pieced) and stitch the binding to the back of the quilt, and sew in the label along the way.  

Quilt #2 was sitting in a pile, and the binding was already made.  So, change the thread to golden yellow, and get that done.  This was a tossed 9 patch quilt (pattern by Quilt in a Day)  I started about a year ago, during a sew day for charity quilts.  I made an error when cutting, though, and set it aside until I could decide how to fix it.  I finished the top earlier this year, and did the quilting, but never got it bound, until this week.  Fabric is an older 5" collection by Island Batik, with a fun multi-color border called Spikes Birthday, that I sell in my shop.  

This was taken before quilting.  The one I took tonight was too dark, but it's now done.  I used a white wide back for this and the next quilt, getting both quilted on one back, with the same Aurifil 40-3 Marrakesh variegated thread.  2 charity quilts, one backing, and no extra thread changes.  That's efficient when doing charity work.  
Panto is Dancing Flowers. Binding is made from Spikes Birthday, too.  It's a fun, bright quilt and measures about 52" square.  My guild has a few charities that love to get quilts, so this will make someone happy. 

#3 is this one.  It's a top that someone made and donated to the Evening Star guild and I volunteered to finish it.  I've had it for a while, but it's done.  

This is a smaller one, about 37 by 47" and the colorful fabrics have all sorts of fun prints, including robots.  That inspired me to use Robot Road for the panto.  I made the pantos large on both, so the quilts would be really snuggly.  This one has striped binding, which was donated, as well.  

But wait, there's more! 
#4 is another top that was donated.  This one came with backing, batting and fabric for binding, so I just needed to quilt it and do the binding.  

I used a bronze colored thread, again 40-3 by Aurifil, and the Malachite panto.  
These 3 will be going to Evening Star at the next meeting. 

And #5.  

I made this in January, as a door decor for February.  I got it quilted on Sunday while I was waiting for someone (stuck in traffic) to come pick up a chair.  Quick story, I ordered new recliners.  One wasn't working, so they sent a replacement and told me to keep the other.  A local charity that fixes/rehabs homes for needy people suggested another, who would be able to fix the chair and give it to someone who needs a lift/recliner.  So, rather than waste time, I threw this on the Handi-Quilter Amara, put in the Double Hearts border panto, some pale pink Aurifil 40-3, and it was done in no time.  
Pattern is Made with Love, free from Fat Quarter Shop.  Mine measures 17 1/2 by 33", and was made with scraps of pinks from Island Batik.  I added a hanging sleeve, because I have a hanger I plan to use on the door.  I plan to make other seasonal quilts.  This may hang for a little bit, though, lol.  It's too cute to put away.  

And #6.  Yes, 6 newly complete quilts, all done since Friday.  I said I was on a roll, lol

I need to get a better photo of this open, but it was too dark outside.  It's a duplicate of a quilt I made last year, Geese in a Row.  I submitted it to Island Batik for their Fall catalog, and it was accepted.  I had to make it again, for the catalog, and didn't get the binding done before photos.  So, now it's done, and will be added to my Etsy shop.  It uses the Brilliant Blues 10" Stack collection, part of the Basics, and solid Grey for the accent, plus some shades of blue for the setting rows.  If you want the pattern, let me know.  I highly recommend the Wing Clipper tool from Studio 180 for this.  Quilted with Aurifil 40-3, in a variegated blue, using West Wind panto from Mycreativestitches.  The original didn't have Island Batik on the back, so they asked me to make a second, in case a shop wanted the patterns and trunk show. 
This is the original. 

All 6 have labels, too.  I'm thrilled I got so much off my UFO list, and hope to start something new Wednesday.  I'm getting ready for another cornea transplant next week so I think that's why I NEEDED to get something done.   I have keratoconus, and it's especially bad in my left eye.  I had a transplant about 12 years ago, and it lasted for a while, but the stress of taking care of my mom, with Alzheimer's, caused it to need a partial replacement.  That was done in September of 2021, but my eye never cleared.  I guess I rejected the donated part.  It took me a while to find another group of doctors that accept my insurance, and then to get an appointment for surgery.  I'm hoping this second full transplant will allow me to see again, from my left eye.  Right now it's like looking through a curtain.  I can see colors and some shapes, if the lighting is good, but nothing clearly.  I'm grateful that my right eye works pretty well with the RGP contact lens I have. (20/30)  I'm also hoping it lasts about 10-12 years.  Just say a prayer that it works, please.  I appreciate it!  I'm not sure what will happen if it doesn't, but I've gotten used to being half blind.  It would be really sweet if I could see to thread a needle.  Right now?? Not usually.  It's more of a luck thing.  

Thanks for reading, and I hope you get some quilts done, too.  It's a great feeling to celebrate.  

5 large and one small!  Yay, me! 
Yes, the UFO pile is still big, with more to quilt, and maybe some small stuff to bind, but the binding is not made, lol   I had the binding already sewn, pressed and tagged with the name of the top for these.  


Monday, July 1, 2024

June Challenge with Sleep in Heavenly Peace, and Quilts Across America

For June, the Island Batik Ambassadors were asked to work with the Studio 180 tool we received in our January boxes and make a quilt for Quilts Across America, which supports Sleep in Heavenly Peace. 

Our challenge info sheet included the following information:

 "All children deserve a safe, comfortable place to lay their heads. Across the US, too many boys and girls go without a bed—or even a pillow—to sleep on. These children end up sleeping on couches, blankets, and even floors. This can affect their happiness and health. That’s where Sleep in Heavenly Peace comes in. A group of volunteers dedicated to building, assembling, and delivering top-notch bunk beds to children and families in need. 

So many great charities provide clothing, meals, and toys to families in need. But as wonderful as this aid is, few organizations offer suitable beds and bedding to the kids in these families. Sleep in Heavenly Peace fully believes that a bed is a basic need for the proper physical, emotional, and mental support that a child needs. If a child needs a bed, Sleep in Heavenly Peace wants to make sure they get one. NO KID SLEEPS ON THE FLOOR IN OUR TOWN!

Quilts Across America is a program that relies on the generosity of quilters everywhere to provide a quilt with each bed that is delivered. Quilts Across America was initiated by Studio 180 Design and Tucker University in July 2023. Help make this the largest quilting project in America and complete the process of getting kids, Off the floor, Into a Bed, and Under a Quilt. "

When my cousin Anne called about 2 weeks ago, and mentioned seeing all the challenge quilts she also mentioned that Mike Rowe did a video about Sleep in Heavenly Peace. Mike Rowe Sleep in Heavenly Peace

In my case, Murphy's Law has been very active this month.  If anything could go wrong, it will. 

More on that as I show you what I'm working on. 

Studio 180 sent me the 4 Patch Square Up tool.  All Studio 180 tools have you make the unit oversized, and trim it to perfection.  For this project, I worked on a few 4 patch designs on EQ8, and decided that using the Squiggles, Dots and Lines strip pack, with the additional yardage from my January box would be a great choice for something for a child: gender neutral, and it was also designed by Deb Tucker, of Studio 180.  The package came with 2 yards of Rain, and 2 of Wine.  I added some Moo Milk for the background.  All the fabric, tool, and thread came from Island Batik, Studio 180 and Aurifil for my role as ambassador.  

Here is the plan from the EQ8 version:  Using only 20 strips, make as many 4 patch units as possible.  It works.  Use the 4 patch square up to verify the units are square.  I added Moo Milk between the blocks, and a Wine square for the center of each one.  I tried to make sure that the 4 patch units were varied in each larger square, which ends up at 10 1/2".  Adding Rain as sashing and a blue cornerstone (from Basics), makes the top.  I like adding sashing to blocks.  It's a fast way to add length and width, and although my blocks would nest if pressed correctly, this alleviates the need to battle seams matching.  Speeds up the sewing.   I did make sure that the darker of the 2 squares in each 4 patch would add to the Chain look, so they actually point to the outside corners of each 10" square, which was a design choice as I thought about it.   

Pressing with the Oliso Iron, another brand sponsor for Island Batik, is great!  Flat blocks, especially after using my favorite clapper, made by my friend. 

After the top was done, I played with border choices.  We were reminded to make the quilts fit a twin size bed, so I actually added a second border, and made the outer one 6".  This now measures 66 by 78".  

But wait, when trimming the strips into the 4 patch units, there's a bit extra, but not enough for another 4" finished unit.  But the borders will be 2 1/2" strips, so I sewed the little scraps, too, and made tiny 4 patch units for the corners. 

I "web" the top, as Bonnie Hunter has explained.  I work in columns.  Row 1 to sashing, add sashing and cornerstones between blocks, then next block to sashing.  Row 2 gets added to sashing, with the cross sashing added between. Next is sashing/cornerstones, then blocks, then sashing/cornerstones, and finally blocks.  Then you sew across, with the top attached by threads between the rows.  I finger press the seams to go towards the sashing, away from the blocks and cornerstones.  When it's done, I press the whole thing, making sure everything is flat, and then measure for borders. 

The inner border is Rain, and the next border is Ravine, which I thought looked really good with the darker blue from the collection.  Wine makes up the outer, and will be the binding. 

I needed to set this aside for a few days, to make a dress for me to wear to a wedding.  Again, things didn't go as planned, and for some reason my Janome decided to not cooperate making the buttonholes.  But the dress looked good, and the wedding was fabulous.  It was for the couple that received the boat/beach scene topper back in April.  
Here's me in the dress, with my friends.  The bride requested pink attire, and the floral print seemed like a great choice for me.  (on the right).  

So, next up is getting backing, batting, choosing thread, and getting it loaded on the long arm.  
I picked a medium blue Aurifil 40-three weight for the quilting, and the backing is a deep red wide back I have in my shop inventory.  I used Warm & Natural batting, mostly because I made an error trimming up the Hobb's Poly Down I planned to use, making it too small.  Oops!  The thread almost disappears on the blocks, and really only shows on the border, and the back.  I quilted it with Whisper panto.  

Tiny cute 4 patch corners!  Each square is 1" finished.  The rest are 2" finished.

So, back to the Murphy's Law.  Yes, the Janome was cranky about sewing buttonholes.  I was sewing buttonholes and adding buttons until 1 pm Friday, and the wedding was at 3.  
So, Saturday was my plan to quilt this but Mother Nature had other plans.  She decided to knock down a large branch from one of my trees onto the power lines in my neighbor's back yard.  So, the entire neighborhood was without power.  It went out about 10:10 am, and was not restored until closer to 4:30 pm.  I was exhausted from dancing the night before, and didn't sleep well, so add to that the stress of no power, no ac, and having to wait for the power company and tree crew, and then the noise of the tree saws, and then having to clean up the branches (was told it's my responsibility).  Saturday was lost.  Sunday was filled with a number of thunderstorms, and I won't plug in the long arm if there's a chance of power issues.  It's too expensive to have the computer blow!  Best protection is unplugged completely.  A surge protector isn't foolproof.  But the storms cleared out this evening, and I finished the quilting.  I'll share the finished top probably Tuesday, if I can get photos, but you can see the idea behind it, and the actual top on the long arm.  It's pretty, and the panto will add just enough texture to keep the quilt cuddly for the person who will get it.  Island Batik has asked us to send the quilts to them, and they will share them with Quilts Across America to give to Sleep in Heavenly Peace.  

Please look for Sleep in Heavenly Piece in your area, and if you can, donate a quilt that's at least 50-60" wide, and 75-90" long.  If you try my design, you can get 2 quilt tops from 1 strip pack, plus about 2 yards for each quilt for outer border, accent squares and binding, and 1 for the inner border, sashing.  Cornerstones needed 5" width of fabric (or 2 strips) and the second border was about 1/2 yard.  Give a child a hug, and a safe, warm comfortable place to sleep. 

Please check out the other Ambassador projects.  You can find the list of blogs on the Ambassador tab on