Friday, March 24, 2023

March 2023 Island Batik Ambassador Challenge - It's All Up to You

This month we get to make whatever we want for our Island Batik Challenge! I have to admit that I had so many ideas running through my head that I didn't know where to start.  All the products used for this project were provided by Island Batik and their program partners as part of the Island Batik Ambassador program.  

I decided to work on a project that I've been playing with in my head (and in EQ8!) for a while now and see if I could make it work - and it was really fun!  I used this Stack of 10 in squares in the Exuberance collection - designed by Deb Tucker of Studio 180 designs - from my January Ambassador Box.  Such pretty colors!  

If you would like to purchase these fabrics, you can find them at:
 Amy's Quilt Room, PA
Block Party Studios, IA
Creekside Quilts, OR
Hancocks of Paducah, KY
Tucker University, OH
Castle Sewing Centre-CANADA BC
Mulqueen Sewing & Fabric Centers, AZ

I got started sewing up blocks and had so much fun mixing and matching these beautiful fabrics to create them!

Each block uses three different fabrics, so it's really challenging and enjoyable to find the next great combination.  

I put my handy dandy GO! cutter to good use to cut the accent strips in the blocks as well as the sashing strips. (This light fabric is Doughnut from the basic collection!)  It's so fast to cut a load of 2 1/2 inch strips with it!  The ease and accuracy of cutting with this tool from AccuQuilt is so awesome!

I used Schmetz Microtex needles for both the piecing and the quilting - the 80/12's work great for both! They have no problems with stitching through the batik at all!


I used Hobb's Heirloom 80/20 Black Batting in this quilt.  It is my definite favorite for dark quilts as it has such a wonderful soft feel to it!  And it always quilts up great!  And black solid from Island Batik was the perfect choice for the backing.

For the quilting, I used the same Auriful thread I used for a project last year - Desert Dawn. 

 I just love the looks of the variegated thread against the black solid from Island Batik that I used for the back of my quilt.  I amped up the contrast so you can see how gorgeous it looks.

I was very happy with how the quilting looked on the top as well.  I like how the 50 weight shows up just enough to catch my eye without overwhelming the design in the piecing.  Swirl hook is such a fun free motion motif to quilt!  It's definitely in my top three choices!

I really like the way the dark sashing looks like it floats above the light strips in the blocks! (This is smoke, a lovely mottled black in the Bodacious Blacks line of basics.) I decided to call my design Enlaced, and wrote up a pattern for it!

I was hoping to get outside for a photo shoot, but the weather hasn't been very conducive to that.  At least it was bright enough to get some decent inside photos, even if they aren't the best.

For a finishing touch, I decided to add a faux flanged binding.  It takes a bit more time, but is really so easy and that little strip of color adds the perfect pop to the edge!  It's Orange solid.  Can't beat those solid colors from Island Batik - perfect for adding a little pizazz to your quilt.

And with the small pile of leftover scraps, I created a journal cover!  I am trying to use up my leftovers from my projects this year instead of adding them to my scrap bin and hoarding them!  It's really kind of fun to think of something to do with small leftovers like this!  Nothing left to add to my scrap pile, now.

My finished quilt is 66 x 66.  The pattern for Enlaced is available right now in PDF form in my Etsy shop!  This pattern works with 2 1/2 inch strips as well - I'm planning a second quilt soon!

I sure enjoyed creating my own challenge for this month!  I hope you enjoyed reading about it!  Why not set a challenge for yourself next month and create something fun?  You can check out the Island Batik Ambassadors and get some great ideas!

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

Saturday, March 04, 2023

February Wrap-up and Giveaway Winner announced!

 Wow, wasn't the All Puffed Up Blog hop awesome?  One of my fellow Island Batik Ambassadors said that we pretty much covered 25 different ways to make a puff quilt!  It was sure fun to see all the different finishes - if you missed seeing them all, you can check out the Island Batik Blog post to see them all!

I've drawn the winner for my giveaway - congratulations to Beryl!  I've sent you an e-mail and will be happy to get your prize out to you right away!  

February was a super busy month, besides working on my Island Batik challenge, I made a bit of progress on two UFO's.  I've decided that this year I will be happy to make some progress on those projects since I think that there are at least 4 queen size quilts on my list, and several that will take a lot of concentrated effort to finish!  I'm following the APQ UFO challenge list.  January's challenge was a Queen size quilt that needed the final border added, so I did that and purchased a backing.  I even got it basted last weekend, so I can start quilting it a bit at a time.

My February UFO was my Farmer's Wife quilt.  I purchased fabric for the cornerstones and sashing.  I need to choose something for the setting triangles and I can start putting the blocks together so I am on the lookout for the right fabric.  Might take me a while since it's a Christmas quilt which is also a queen size!  But I did make progress!  The March challenge is my Chilhowie top (Bonnie Hunter's 2022 mystery quilt), so I should be able to finish that this month.  I do need backing fabric, but I might piece something together for this one.  

And speaking of Bonnie Hunter, I quilted up my Good Fortune Mystery quilt in February!  I had this basted in December, but hadn't gotten around to quilting it, so I'm happy to have it done now.  

I loved the River Walk fabric I used for my puff quilt so much that I used some of my extra fabric to make this new sample for my CityScape pattern!  I think it came out great!

This is Starburst - I made it just in time for Quilt Run 101, and it was a hit!  I think we have one kit left for this beauty, so I think I'm not the only one who loves it!

And of course, since I had so many finishes, I just had to start something new as well!  I'm working on a scrap quilt made with greens!  I had an overflow of green scraps on my Island Batik shelf, so I decided to make a quilt.  I actually started with these scraps last year, but only ended up with a table runner.  I decided to get serious and actually get a quilt made out of them.  I'm off to a good start!  Interested in following along? 

I'll be sending instructions, tips and requirements by email.  I think it will be fun, and I hope you will join in!

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

River Walk Puff Quilt!

 Welcome to my day for the Island Batik All Puffed Up Blog Hop!  I had so much fun making my quilt from the River Walk Collection designed by Jean Wells - fabric and notions provided by Island Batik and their industry partners for the Island Batik Ambassador program.  The challenge was to make a puff/bubble quilt using as many of the fabrics in the provided collection - always a fun thing for me since I love making quilts with a variety of fabric!

I had never made a puff quilt before; in fact, I was kind of intimidated by the process.  It was serendipitous that right after the challenge was announced that I happened to stumble upon a post from an Instagram friend that she was participating in the Ombre Puff Quilt Challenge and it looked like she was having a great time making her quilt!  So I downloaded the pattern, watched the video and was ready to go - well, almost ready.  I needed to obtain some fiber fill, first.  I ordered a 40 oz bag of Ultra Plush Polyfil, and when I picked it up I was surprised at how large it was - the size of a king size pillow full of stuffing!  Now, I was ready to get started!

Take a good look at this beautiful bundle!  It's always so much fun to unwrap the fabrics and fondle them before cutting them up!  I decided to make a quilt that was a smallish lap size.  I figured out the squares needed, which ended up being 9 of each fabric.  I cut out my squares for the front of the quilt, then for the back of the puffs I needed the same number of squares, only a half inch smaller.  Since these are hidden between the top and back of the quilt I decided to go through my Island Batik scraps from the previous years and chose some leftover hunks and pieces that I knew I wasn't going to be using, plus some 5-inch strips from stashbuilder rolls that weren't my preferred colors.  So, I cleaned out a little of my fabric shelves and made progress on my challenge, too!

As you can see, these fabrics are really lovely!  If you like to create nature inspired quilts, or landscapes, these are terrific!  Jean Wells is a designer and owns the Stitchin' Post in Sisters, Oregon, so I was excited to get to use this collection, since I am also in Oregon.   You can also find these beautiful fabrics at Mulqueen Sewing & Fabric Centers (AZ) and Creekside Quilts (OR)

The first step of sewing is to sew the puff top to the backing around three sides, adding a tuck to take up that extra fabric.  I used a variety of Aurifil threads on this project - I had a cone of 40 weight in an off white that I used for the top thread, and since it is a scrappy quilt, I finished up a whole bunch of random bobbins. I usually like to match my thread to my project, so it was nice to be able to free up some bobbins!  I used an 80/12 Schmetz Microtex needle - and it breezed through all the layers with no problems, I love how sharp the Microtex needles are!  I used a scant quarter inch seam for this part, you leave the fourth side open for stuffing later.  After I sewed all my puffs, I stacked them up by color, then started laying them out to see how I wanted to arrange them.

It seems that not all of my sewing happens during daylight hours, especially in January so the lighting isn't the best for this picture, but you can see the color gradation.  This is the layout I came up with, I liked the diagonal ombre effect, I think it really suits the fabrics.  The next step is to keep your fabric organized because you sew this version together in columns.  I very carefully gathered up my future puffs for sewing, keeping them labeled and clipped together in the proper order.

As I sewed the columns together, I placed them on my design wall so I could make sure I wasn't getting things mixed up!  The openings in the puff all face to the right so you can stuff them easily as you are stitching up the seam.

You start by sewing the first row, one puff at a time, sewing each puff shut as you go, then you stitch the next row to the puffed row and keep repeating!  It's really easy, and fun!  It is a little tricky to judge the amount of stuffing to put in each puff, you don't want them too puffy.  After a while you get the hang of it and it goes quickly.  If you are doing a large quilt, you'd want your sewing machine on a large table, but my sewing desk worked just fine for this size!

I just loved seeing the texture happening!  It makes you want to pat them and squish them!  I found the combination of batik fabric with the stuffing to be very pleasing.

Love these fabrics - they really do remind me of rocks in a river, and I love the earthy colors! Soon I had the entire quilt puffed up and ready to finish!  I chose the method in the Ombre Quilt Tutorial for finishing my quilt and added batting, then a backing fabric to the bottom.  To keep it extra fluffy I used Hobbs Poly Down Batting for the batting!  It's nice and soft, not too fluffy, and lightweight!  

I was also provided with 2 yards of this beautiful fabric from the River Walk Line - aren't the birds nests sweet?  This happened to be my favorite fabric in the collection, so it was perfect to use for the backing!  The backing is topped with the batting, then the puffed up quilt top.  I pinned it between every two puffs to hold it together for the final step.

Of course, I couldn't resist another picture!  I can see why they call it a biscuit quilt, they look like a pan full of fluffy rolls!

I found the perfect shade of aqua embroidery floss in my stash, and proceeded to tie the layers together.  I used a nice sharp crewel needle.  Just a tip - if you have a hard time pulling your needle through the fabric, you need a larger needle!  I had a little trouble getting through the many layers, but it wasn't too bad at all.  I liked the x between the puffs and the little ties on the reverse!

To finish the edges, I trimmed the backing and batting one inch from the edge of the puffs (after stitching one fourth of an inch all around the quilt.  I left the extra batting and folded it into the edge for a fuller look for the edging.  Mitering the corners was the hardest part, but they came out all right.  I think this finish looked nice - it was a little tough to get it straight because the puffs cause the edge to wave a bit, but I decided early on that this wasn't a project where precision and perfection was a high priority!

I had so much fun with this project that I made a pillow to match!  So cute! And isn't this backing sweet?  I am so delighted with it!

Such a photogenic quilt!  I loved working with this fabric collection, it really is just beautiful!  I think you will like it, too.  In fact, I am going to give you a chance to win my leftover fabrics - I've made it a goal to either use or pass on my extra fabrics this year since I am starting to run out of space in my sewing room!  No Scraps Left Behind is my motto this year!

I've got a nice pile of bits and pieces of varying sizes - I know someone will love playing with these! I'll also throw in a Schmetz needle guide booklet and a luggage tag, too.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a great week and enjoy the rest of the All Puffed Up Blog Hop!  Check out Lana's post at Lana Quilts to see her puff quilt with this collection!  Oh, guess who discovered my puff quilt yesterday?  We couldn't find Scamper all afternoon, so I went upstairs, and there he was enjoying an awesome nap on my new quilt!  So cute!

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Monday Musings, 2-20-23

 Sometimes it seems like my weeks go by so fast!  This week went extra fast because I had to spend more time than usual at the quilt shop.  I did make some progress on my quilting projects, though!  

This is a sample for Threads That Bind using the Wild Woods Lodge collection by Wilmington Prints with their Starburst pattern.  This was a fun strip fabric that I really enjoyed making, and it just took a weekend!  I'll bet this sells quickly!  

I've also been working on organizing and sewing up scraps in my sewing room.  I made a 12 1/2 inch block from the scraps, plus a couple of squares with the cut off triangles from this project.  I had a few pieces to throw into the scrap bin, but not much!  

I've been working on a new sample for my CityScape pattern using River Walk from Island Batik!  Wait until Wednesday, when I get to show you my puff quilt made from this collection!  I'm in love!

I've got these strips laid out by my sewing machine to work on this afternoon!  I can't wait to make some more progress on this ongoing project.  One thing is clear - I have enough scraps to make a pile of quilts - I need to pick out a pattern for the next one.

Color sorted piles from a bin that hasn't seen the light of day for at least 10 years!  I remember many of these fabrics from former projects.  One of these days I'll have to try to add up the total of all the quilts I've made over the years!  I'm thinking something like a log cabin might be fun...but I'm going to do some browsing and see what kind of idea I can come up with!

Are you ready for week 3 of the All Puffed up Blog hop?   Here is the schedule:

February 20

Brittany Fisher, Bobbin with Brittany

Lisa Pickering, Lisa’s Quilting Passion

February 21

Victoria Johnson, Forever Quilting for You

Mania Hatziioannidi, Mania for Quilts

February 22

Lana Russel, Lana Quilts

Pamela Boatright, Pamela Quilts

February 23

Jennifer Thomas, Curlicue Creations

Maryellen McAuliffe, Mary Mack Made Mine

February 24

Blog Hop Round-Up Week 3 and Giveaway

This week's Island Batik giveaway features River Walk and Princess Rose!  

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Have a great week - come back on Wednesday to see my Puff Quilt and another giveaway!