Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Island Batik Unboxing July 2024

 It's Christmas in July for the Island Batik Ambassadors, and this month, we're showing you what Island Batik has sent us for the next 6 months worth of challenges.  Go grab your favorite iced beverage (we're in a heatwave) and check out my video!  

I love the fabric and collections I received, and can't wait to make the projects.  

Here are some quick shots of the 48 pounds (according to UPS) that were sent to me.  And the challenges are great.  August is a mini, September is an applique quilt with Aurifil Thread and the collection shown.  October is the By Annie bag.  November is another hop.  Lots of great chances to inspire you and for you to get your hands on gorgeous collections.  Check your favorite shop, or use my code for a 20% discount off a purchase over $50 at Missouri Star Quilts.  

Twilight strips, plus 2 yds of a gold and brown, Bodacious Blacks strips, Glorious Greens 10" Stack, and 2 packs of Stashbuilder rolls, 5" strips by width of fabric, with 4 strips per roll.  That's about 18 yards of fabric. 

The background is Moo Milk, 6 yards, Top is Black, White and Grey solids, 4 yards each, and the rest are Foundations, Basics, and Solids.  Another 24 yards.  

This is Geometrica for September.  20 half yard cuts, plus 2 yards light (Egg white) and dark (Persimmon).  Another 14 yards, plus 5 shades of Aurifil 40wt to coordinate.  

By Annie Bag, the Round Trip Duffle, plus fabric, Soft and Stable, mesh, interfacing, zippers, buckles and clasps, and the plastic base and pattern.  It's about 6 yards of fabric, plus the rest.  Wow!  So generous. 

Did you add it up?  It's over 60 yards of fabric, plus thread, batting and more! 

Thermore in Queen, Tuscany Silk in Lap, Tuscany cotton, Black queen, and Fusible queen.  Great batting to make the projects on the list.  Again, very generous.  

Thanks to Hobb's, Aurifil thread, By Annie patterns, Studio 180 Designs, Oliso irons, and Schmetz needles.  I'm so grateful that I get to do what I love with gorgeous supplies provided by wonderful companies!  

Please check out the rest of the ambassadors to see what they got.  Lots of pretty quilts and bags will be coming soon!  

Thanks for stopping by. 


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  

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Snowed In Celebrations Blog Hop

 Welcome to my day on the Celebrations Paper Piecing Blog Hop with Island Batik Ambassadors.  

Have you been inspired, and have you been entering to win the fabric collections and other blog prizes?  It's been a great hop! 

My collection is Snowed In.  It's a perfect assortment of blues, starting on white and going to dark navy.  There are wonderful designs including deer, snowflakes, trees and pine boughs.  I received the 1/2 yard bundle, with 2 yards of the dark and light fabrics, in the surprise bundle in January's Ambassador box.  

The colors and tjaps (chops) are perfect, and so ME!!  I love blues, maybe not as much as purples, but snow theme are also a favorite.  I love winter!  My curly hair loves winter, too. lol.  

I wanted to do another Quiltworx pattern, and picked Summer Solstice because it would work with the 1/2 yard bundle, and they showed versions in blue and white.  It's supposed to measure 60" square, and I do have some of the dark Prancing Deer print, so may add an additional border.  Unfortunately, the quilt is not finished yet, but I hope it will be by Friday, so I can share a top for the recap post.  

Quiltworx has great patterns.  They are well written and the foundation designs are great, and printed on newsprint.  One of my favorite features is the template for cutting the shapes.  

This is for the background of the small section of the NY Beauty blocks.  One of my issues is not knowing how large to cut a piece of fabric to cover the paper once it's sewn.  Judy has thought of that.  Some of the pieces for the larger NY Beauty section could have been a little smaller, but the template allows the pieces to be assembled with the grain going in the correct direction for the block.  Very smart! 

So, Summer Solstice is now Winter Solstice.  Winter is a great season to celebrate, but Winter Solstice marks the beginning of longer days.  It's also right before Christmas, and a blue and white snowy quilt for the holiday season is always a welcoming and cheerful sight.  

As most quilters know, the time you plan to get something done is never enough.  Life seems to get in the way, and Spring allergies have hit, so the time I was hoping to sew has not been as productive.  My sewing machine had an incident, too, so this was started on my back-up, Janome 5300.  It did really well, and I was thrilled it has the same clear foot with the red arrow to mark the needle position.  It's my favorite for sewing on the lines.  My Janome Horizon 9450 enjoyed the spa days at Pocono Sew & Vac, though, and I'm thrilled with how it's been working.  

Some progress shots. 
The center Lone Star starts with strips, and my Oliso iron does a great job of getting the seams flat.  It's also been great for pressing sections as I go.  Nice, hot, and flat units, especially with the clapper my friend made for me.

The 5300 is pretty, and yes, I got the purple version (Grape), and it has a knee lift, which makes it easy to get pieces under the foot, or pivot when needed.  Here's I'm working on the star sections, and the magnifier, included, and the clear foot with red arrow are so helpful.  As always, I'm using Aurifil 50wt to piece, and a new Schmetz Micortex Chrome needle.  

8 large star diamond sections later. 
I've done Lone Star quilts before, so this was a different way to assemble.  The others were strip pieced, cut and sewn again.  These were foundation pieced.  The strips were sewn to paper, the paper had lines to cut the rows, and they were then sewn together.  Both are fun!

Next section was the NY Beauty blocks. 

I'm working on the 9450 again.  I love the faster speed and larger throat space.  The 16 smaller sections are the same, but the larger ones are 8 left and 8 right, and the quilt top does NOT have Y seams because of this design element.  I used Island Batik White Solid for the background here.  I was saving the white snow and swirl fabric for the next section, where the design would show more. 

I'm working on Part C.  This includes a pieced diagonal border, an inner frame border, and the background.  I've never done a quilt that had the medallion go into the border before, so there are 4 pieced sections to each 1/4 of the quilt, and those get joined to the background, which joins to the NY Beauty and then the Star diamonds.  I have 1/8th actually done to that point.  

The dark blue next to the white is the back of a quilt on the bed.  The bottom left is actually the Island Batik section that's finished (Okay, I do plan to adjust the joining seam so the dark frame border has a better match).  I think it's going to be gorgeous.  

Tuesday progress update!  1/4th done!

I'll share updated photos soon.  The link to all the other blogs is below.  Please check them all out!  Look for Snowed In and all the new collections in your favorite shops soon.  If you don't see them, ask them to get it for you!  

Another note, I'm now an affiliate with Missouri Star.  Please use the following link and you can save 20% off your $50 minimum order.  Use it again and again!