Friday, April 05, 2024

Sue the Squirrel says Happy Birthday!

 April's Island Batik Ambassador challenge was to make a stuffed toy using a Funky Friends Factory pattern.  I thought it would be fun to make a special gift for my oldest daughter, so I picked Sue the Squirrel to make for her.  I could choose any fabric from the Ambassador box, and the pattern was also provided, so...the challenge was on!

I had a hard time deciding on a color choice, but then my eyes fell on the pile of leftover fabric from last month's challenge - so black and white was decided on (pebbles charcoal and coconut from the foundations).  I printed up the pattern pieces and got them cut out, then set down with a nice cup of tea and started going through the instructions.  I love the check boxes for each step, it really helps me stay organized and make sure I don't accidentally skip a step.  Since I was using both black and white fabrics, I used both black and white Aurifil 50 wt thread, changing out to match the fabric for each step.  I also used a nice sharp Microtex size 12 needle from Schmetz.  It's always a good idea to start a new project with a fresh needle.I took a chance this time, and worked from my iPad so I had to be careful!  Some of the pieces for Sue are pretty small, so this isn't a pattern for a beginner for sure!  Those little feet were a trick to get stuffed.  I like the way it all sewed together, I did have a little trouble with getting the arms on right, but in the end I got it done!  

I've done a few with embroidered eyes, but I thought the safety eyes would look cute on the squirrel.  I was about halfway done with the stuffing here.  A wooden skewer is a great help in pushing the stuffing where you want it to go.  I always say you need more stuffing than you think, then when you think you are done, add some more!  

Now all she needed was her nose!  

So cute!  She looks like she wants to give a hug!

Scamper had to check her out, but he didn't really want a hug! 

Before I packed her up for her trip, Sue thought she should go out and see the world a little bit.  She loved the tall grass!

But there were no nuts to be found, so she wanted to climb the tree next.

She enjoyed the view from the branch here, but was getting cold, so we decided to head indoors again.

I introduced her to Fifi Fox, who watches over my sewing room.  Fifi is another Funky Friends Factory pattern, and I've made her three times!  Fifi and Sue hit it off quite nicely!  Sue was tired after all of that activity so I tucked her into a cozy box with some bubble wrap and she will be heading off on her journey today - she will carry all my love and birthday wishes to Naomi, my first born.  I sure hope she has a safe journey and know that she will enjoy her new home in Massachusetts.  Lots of squirrels there to keep her company!

Sue the Squirrel was a fun make, and so cute!  Thanks to Pauline at Funky Friends Factory for the opportunity to make another fun stuffed toy, and for the great folks at Island Batik, Aurifil Thread, and Schmetz needles for providing the materials for the project.  Make sure you watch out to see what the rest of the Ambassadors make for their challenge, so many cute patterns to choose from, and fun fabrics!

Brenda Alburl ~ Songbird Designs

Renee Atkinson ~ Pink Tulip Quilting

Megan Best ~ BestQuilter

Pamela Boatright ~ PamelaQuilts

Susan Deshensky ~ Lady Blue Quilts Studio

Brittany Fisher ~ Bobbin with Brittany

Preeti Harris ~ Sew Preeti Quilts

Mania Hatziioannidi ~ Mania for quilts

Kim Jamieson-Hirst ~ Chatterbox Quilts

Victoria Johnson ~ Forever Quilting for You

Connie Kauffman ~ Kauffman Designs

Connie Kresin Campbell ~ Freemotion by the River

Emily Leachman ~ The Darling Dogwood

Denise Looney ~ A Quiltery

Leah Malasky ~ Quilted Delights

Maryellen McAuliffe ~ Mary Mack Made Mine

Lisa Pickering ~ Lisa’s Quilting Passion

Sarah Pitcher ~ Pitcher’s Boutique

Lana Russel ~ Lana Quilts

Julia Schweri ~ Inflorescence Designs

Gail Sheppard ~ Quilting Gail

Carol Stanek ~ Stitch with Color

Sandra Starley ~ Textile Time Travels

Jennifer Thomas ~ Curlicue Creations

Suzy Webster ~ Websterquilt

Wednesday, April 03, 2024

Eclipse Quilt Block!

 Way back in 2017 I did a Quilt Along for my Quilter's Recipe Box pattern, and I had designed a fun block for it - Eclipse.  I think I had it up on Craftsy, but never did add it to my Etsy shop.  Now here we are on the verge of another big eclipse, so I thought that it might be a fun thing for quilters to make to commemorate the event. 

I think I might take a few minutes and make a new one this year, just for the fun of it! 

Eclipse Quilt Block

What are your plans for the eclipse?  We aren't anywhere near the area of totality, but I always enjoy seeing these solar events, that is if the weather cooperates!  

Sunday, March 31, 2024

March 2024 Challenge for Island Batik

What a month it has been!  I wasn't sure if I was actually going to get my challenge done as it has been a most challenging month for me - nothing bad, but just extremely busy and challenging, if you know what I mean.  We've been doing more work on our house, but I'll leave that tale for another day - today I want to tell you about the fun quilt I designed and finished as my Island Batik Ambassador project this month.  This time the parameters of the challenge were open - All Up to You!  With all the wonderful fabric and notions provided for me in the January Ambassador box, it was a fun challenge.  (All the materials for this challenge were provided for me as part of the Island Batik Ambassador Program)

I couldn't resist opening up the strip pack of Zen Funk to use for my project!  This line was designed by Kathy Engle as a signature collection for Jackie Kunkel of Canton Village Quiltworks.  

This is a fun collection of black and white, and it was paired for me with two equally fun fabrics, Pebbles Charcoal and Coconut!  I immediately know I wanted to do a quilt with a fun positive/negative effect.  I played around in EQ8 for a while until I came up with the design that made me want to start sewing it up.

I got started by separating the strips into light and dark - it was a bit tricky deciding on some of them, but I basically made my decision by asking which background contrasted best with the strips.  I cut the background strips as well, then started stitching!

For this quilt I changed up my usual choices - I used Aurifil 40 weight thread for the piecing - and it worked perfectly with my usual choice of Schmetz Microtex Chrome 12 needle.  I've been using the 40 weight more often, and find that it's a bit easier to get my tension just right! (Check out the video on the Aurifil website, I really enjoyed taking a few minutes to watch it!)

I had to lay out the first set of blocks just to see if it was going to be what I envisioned - and yes, it was! I used my new Oliso smart iron for the pressing and was so impressed with how flat my blocks turned out! 

I wish I had saved the post I recently saw that showed a comparison of iron heat.  I was surprised at how hot an iron is recommended for cotton fabric - 400 degrees!  And the Oliso Iron was one of the few that actually got that hot - so I see now how that makes a difference when pressing your blocks!  After I got my blocks all stitched together and the top was finished I decided on a black backing. For backing I used the Hobbs Heirloom Black 80/20.  I really love this batting, it has a super nice feel to it, and quilts up great!

I enjoyed making this one so much that I decided to try one in spring colors!  I don't have this one quilted yet, but I did get it basted.  This one uses Hobbs Polydown.  I love the loft of this batting, it's just right - not too thin and not too thick!

I used a dark green (Pineneedle) and light green (Mint) for the background fabrics with Butterfly Blooms.  This was a 2021 collection, and is so pretty! (I noticed you can still find these at Creekside Quilts)

I finished my quilt up on Saturday, and took it outside for some pictures - it was pretty windy as you can see!

You have to be quick to get a picture between gusts!

Then I couldn't resist a picture on our new couch - it looks so nice on the gray!  If you love this fabric, you can find it at Stichin' Heaven!  Or, ask your local quilt shop to order some in, it's still available!  I was hoping to have the pattern ready for it by now, but unfortunately, haven't had time to finish it up - you'll have to wait just a bit for this one.  It's really a fun and easy project, I'm dying to make one more in jewel tones with black and white background!

Hope you enjoyed seeing my project for this month - I'm running late, but I did make the March deadline, if only by a few hours!  I promise I'll do better next month!