Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Tread Brightly in my Inspired by Nature project for Island Batik

Welcome to my day for the Inspired by Nature Blog hop with the Island Batik Ambassadors!  

I immediately had an inspiration when I read the guideline for this challenge -  "What in nature inspires you: flowers, insects, animals, trees, the ocean, the sky? There are so many places to find the inspiration you need for this challenge!"  There is definitely so much to be inspired at this time of year, with the beautiful earthy colors of fall, along with the ever changing weather - wind, rain and frosty mornings.  Fall is definitley my favorite time of year!

 I've been so excited about this project - it's always so much fun when you have the perfect project in mind for a set of fabric.  And I am so thrilled that it came out exactly like I pictured it!  All of the products I used in this quilt were provided to me as part of the Island Batik Ambassador program, and I will give you the details as I tell you about what I created!  First of all - the fabric:

This line is Tread Brightly designed by Bella Nonna Design studio for Island Batik.  Just look at all the awesome color in this line!  So fun!  I just love those woodcut prints, and the dots.  If you look at the previous fabrics from Bella Nonna Design Studio, you'll see more of the rich colors and fun designs. I really was drawn to these even thought they aren't my usual type of choice for working with.  Tread Brightly is part of the summer collections by Island Batik that are shipping to quilt shops right now.

I was also given a selection of fabrics from the basics line and chose the lime green to go with them.  

I can see so many of the colors of the fabrics I was working with in these colors that my daughter and I collected on a nature walk!

I went to EQ8 to find a project that I had made several years ago - Autumn Winds.  It was super easy to make it the size I wanted to work with - the center is 24 x 36 with the border. I printed full size applique templates, and after piecing together 12 sheets of paper I had my pattern to work with and started putting together the center. One good tip is that when you are working with larger pieces of applique, cut out the center so you can reduce the stiffness of your work.  I chose the lightest fabric in the collection for my face, and this fun stripe for the background.  The bonus is that you can use those center portions for your smaller pieces.

After getting the basic center done I added this lime green border to frame it!  I used EQ8 to audition several pieced borders to showcase all of the lovely fabrics, and in the end decided to keep it simple with strip pieced sixteen patch blocks.  I decided to use the gray solid as a background, to add a little touch of our rainy fall days to the quilt.

Very nice start, but I think she needs a crown of flowers and some leaves blowing in the wind to complete this piece.  EQ8 has lots of great flower and leaf motifs, so I pulled a variety, printed them out at the size I wanted and traced them onto the fusible web, then had fun choosing fabrics for them!

I should have taken more pictures, but I got so into working on my quilt that I didn't even think about it until I had made my final choices of placement!  Well, as you know, making the top is just getting half way done  I still had the quiting to go.  For this piece I decided to try out the fusible batting that Hobbs Batting included in the second Ambasador box that I received.  I was curious to see how the batting would work - I had used a fusible batting years ago, and I was really hoping to find that the Hobbs version would be better.  And it definitely was!
As I unwrapped the batting, I noticed a slight smell - kind of like vinegar, but it quickly faded.  I also noted that the batting had a bit of a tacky feel, and I had to work a bit to unroll it, but it really wasn't a problem.  I cut the batting just a bit bigger that my top so it would be a little smaller than the backing to make it easier to press.

It was pleased at how easy it was to work with this batting.  I just used my regular ironing board and started at one end, working my way carefully to the other end, then moved the sandwich up to press the next area.  I had to press with the iron for about 10 seconds to get a good bond on both sides, even so it probably only took me about 15 minutes to press the entire quilt.  I was super happy to see that the back looked great when I was done, too!  I did have to repress the edges from the back, and when I started quilting I decided to start out with stitching around the edges just to make sure I didn't have any problems.  

When I saw how easily that was accomplished I decided to add some straight stitching to the border while I was at it, and I discovered that I love this batting because I got none of those annoying puckers, and everything stayed perfectly straight!  It also did not make my quilt feel stiff at all.  I suspected at the beginning that I might have to re-press at some point, but I didn't. I'll definitely keep this batting in mind for future projects, especially if I'm going to be doing cross hatching.  It stitched very well when doing the free motion as well and I can't say that the finished feeling isn't any different than regular batting, so definitely a win for the fusible cotton batting!

For the center of the quilt, most of the quilting consisted of quilting around the appliques.  I am very grateful for my stash of Aurifil thread because I was able to find a thread for every color in this quilt!.  I do wish I would have remembered to cut out the centers of the layered flowers because it's pretty stiff in that area, but since this will be a wall hanging it's ok. 

I used the nonstick needles by Schmetz, and I do think that they reduced the amount of skipped stitches and broken threads.  I easily stitched through one or two layers of fusible, but did struggle a bit through the thicker portions.  Still a vast improvement over the usual stitching on fusible, though so I am happy with them!  Don't forget to change your needle when you start a new project - it really does make a difference in your stitching....

After binding my quilt with the lime green I took it outside for a photo shoot - the sun was starting to go down and was so gorgeous on my tree!  Luckily the wind wasn't blowing at the time, but I think this quit really captures how I feel on a gorgeous fall day when the wind is blowing and the leaves are falling from the trees - all the wonderful color and smells make my soul soar!

I added a bunch of inspiration pins to my board on pinterest - so many cool examples of flower crowns!  I could do a whole series of quilts just playing with this theme! And I'm tempted to buy a flower crown for myself to wear, too!

You can see how well the fusible batting performed - not one single pucker or wrinkle on the back!  

I love how the colors mix and match with each other!

This was such a fun quilt to work on.  It was so enjoyable to just play with the colors and do something whimsical!  I hope you enjoy my quilt, too! Autumn Winds finished at 48 inches wide and 36 inches tall.  

I cut some of my leftover fabric up into five inch squares and I have two sets to give away.  Each set has two each of 19 fabrics (I used up all the background fabric, so can't share that).  

Don't forget to visit Michelle Roberts at Creative Blonde to see her project using these great fabrics!

Here is the rest of the schedule for this week, followed by the Island Batik Giveaway for the week:

November 23:

November 24:

November 25:

November 26:

November 27:

End of Blog Hop and Round-Up

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Last, but not least - a big Thank You to Island Batik, Hobbs Batting, Schmetz Needles, and Aurifil Thread for the fantastic products used to make this challenge quilt!  I loved working with them and am so happy with my finished quilt!

I am thankful for being able to be an Island Batik Ambassador - what a fun year 2020 has been - one more challenge, and our year will be coming to a close!  Can't wait to share what I'm working on, and I'll be giving you a chance to join in with my Winter Mini Madness as well...stay tuned for more info this weekend!

Thursday, November 19, 2020

OMG for November - part 1

 I managed to finish up one of my goals for this month - my November UFO challenge!

This is Lone Starburst from the Jelly Roll Magic book by Kimberly Einmo.  It was a fun project and went way faster than I expected!  These pretty fabrics are a little hard to photograph nicely, but are so pretty in person!

I did an overall meander on this one, it's not exciting or anything, but I think it suits the look of the fabrics and design, giving it a nice vintage appeal.

I combined this map print with a floral for the backing.  I really love all the French town names on it!
Four nice crisp corners!   I've added this to my Etsy shop - I think it would be a terrific gift idea!  I'm having a sale next week - everything will be 20% off, so if you are looking for a special something for someone, that will be a great time to purchase.  (And all patterns will also be on sale, too!)

I just got some sample quilts back from Island Batik, so keep your eye out for those beauties - I can't wait to share them as well.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

I love mini quilts (and mini blocks)!

 Have I mentioned lately how much I love mini quilts!  I totally had a blast this weekend catching up on my Sewcialites quilt blocks.  Somehow I was four blocks behind - so now I am current.

I am making my quilt with "Just my Type" by Tammy Silvers for Island Batik - there was just a virtual blog hop with projects made in this fabric line, and they were all just gorgeous!  It's kind of fun to see how the prints look when cut up for these mini blocks.  

And while I am on the subject of mini blocks, I have something to share with you.  With all of the new restrictions starting to take place due to Covid, I am starting to feel a little crazy again.  So...be on the lookout for something fun to entertain us (or at least me!) during December.  The Island Batik Ambassador challenge for December is to make a medallion quilt, so I have designed a mini medallion quilt and am inviting you to join me in the adventure of making the Winter Mini Madness Medallion quilt!  This time we won't be making 30 different blocks, but we'll be making multiples of a few different blocks to create a 36 inch medallion quilt.  

Next week I'll let you know how much fabric you'll need to play along with me - and there just might be a larger version as well, since I know some of you will be asking!  Let's challenge ourselves and have a fun time working on a project instead of moping and stress eating - at least that is my plan.

I really hope you will join in!  

Monday, November 16, 2020

More Inspired by Nature projects from Island Batik!

 I have been sewing away, but can't show you what I'm working on yet!  What I can share with you is that we are starting week 2 of the Inspired by Nature Blog Hop with the Island Batik Ambassadors.  The quilts have been awesome so far, and I know that we are in for more great projects this week!

Here is the schedule for this week - make sure you go all the way to the bottom to see this week's great giveaways!

November 16:

November 17:

November 18:

November 19:

November 20:

Blog Hop Round-Up Week 2 and Giveaway

So - this week Island Batik is giving away two more fat quarter bundles!

So pretty!  These would be so fun for Valentine's Day projects!

This week's prompt is "Quilt is my...."  Leave me a comment telling me what role quiting plays in your life and enter the giveaway!

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Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Sewing Stars and Sixteen Patches

I needed some mindless sewing to do the last few days, so I went to work on quilting the Lone Starburst quilt in a simple meander.  (The pattern for this quilt is in the book Jelly Roll Magic) I think it was the perfect choice, giving this quilt a nice texture and showcasing the lovely fabrics.  I'm hoping to be able to get some better pictures of it today between rain showers!  I think my days of outdoor photography will be in jeapardy, according to the weather forcast for the next week.
I also sewed up a bunch of sixteen patch blocks for my Island Batik Inspired by Nature project.  

I am having such fun with this project, but I've got two more weeks before my post is scheduled, so I'll have to be patient, and so will you!  Luckily there will be lots more fun Island Batik quilts to share with you!  

Yesterday the Bliss collection was the highlight, so you'll have to go visit Carla at Creatin' in the Sticks and Jennifer at The Inquiring Quilter to see their wonderful quilts!  

Today the featured collection is  Coco Cabana!  Can't wait to see what Carolina and Denise do!

 Have an inspired day!

Sunday, November 08, 2020

Inspired by Nature - Island Batik Ambassador Blog Hop

Are you ready to be inspired by nature?  The Island Batik Ambassadors are exited to show you the Summer 2020 fabric collections and the projects we have made with them!  There will be some awesome weekly fabric bundles given away by Island Batik as well as individual giveaways from the Ambassadors, so make sure you visit our blog posts and see what we have made.  These lines are currently arriving in your local quilt shops, so find your favorites and add them to your stash!

Here is this week's schedule - and a peek at the pretty fabric collectons!  I'm currently using Just My Type to make the Secialites Quilt Along blocks, and I am loving the beautiful blues and greens.

 November 9:

November 10:

November 11:

November 12:

November 13:

Blog Hop Round-Up Week 1 and Giveaway

For this week, the Island Batik giveaway features Just My Type as well as Bliss fat quarter bundles!

So many times my creativity is inspired by the fabric.  I love it when I see fabric and know exactly what I want to make with it!  (That's what happenned with my challenge piece this month, and I am sew excited about my project!)  Sometimes I am inspired by a piece of art, or a landscape, or even a phrase that sticks with me.  What inspires your creativity?  Leave a comment telling me and enter the giveaway below!

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I hope you have an inspiring day!

Saturday, November 07, 2020

Change of plans

 We were planning on a visit from family yesterday, but that got cancelled so I spent some extra time in my sewing room.  I got to work on more Dear Jane sewing.  These two blocks were a combination of piecing and applique so I am glad to have them done.  Not too much more applique to go!  

The triangle at the top was appliqued on as well as the three melon shapes.  It's tricky to line up those melons so they are as straight as I like, so I put dots in pencil just below where the points come, and that helps me as I sew.  I'm so glad I have these short applique pins, they help keep the thread from tangling around them.
Here they are all finished up!

I also worked on my secret sewing project and am moving along with the border.  I will say that I am loving using the Studio 180 Large Square Squared ruler set for this!  You won't see this project for a long time, but I am super excited about it!

By this time it was late afternoon, but I still had some time to accomplish something, so I pulled up a movie and got set up for quilt basting.  I use my dining room table for all my basting, I use safety pins, and usually pin about 6 inches apart.  I love these giant plastic clothespins from the dollar tree for my basting!  I line up the top and one side of the back with the edge of my table, then use these to clamp the fabric to my table.  I then place the batting on the backing, and move the clips so they hold both layers.  Then I place the pieced top over these, placing it about an inch from the edges of the table and start pinning until the entire area on top of the table is pinned. 

 I remove all the clamps, and if my top is wider than my table I pull the entire sandwich over until the unpinned area is on top of the table.  I keep the batting and backing edges lined up on the top edge of the table and place the clothespins on this edge.  I fold the pieced top and batting back over the pinned section, then make sure the backing on the table is flat and has no ripplies, clamp it down, then gently fold the batting back into place, and make sure it is smooth and clamped.  Then I fold the front of the quilt into place and proceed to pin this section.  Then it's time to move down the quilt in the same manner.  I always pull the batting back to make sure the backing is smooth before placing the batting and top.  This method has been great and I rearely have any issues on the back!.  Luckily my table is old, so I don't worry about scratching it with pins, though.  If you have a nice table you don't want to mark up, you should use something to protect it from the pins.

Anyway, during my movie I managed to pin my Starburst quilt, a panel quilt, and a table runner.  By then it was time to fix dinner, so I was done for the day.  

Today we are watching the Breeder's Cup races and waiting for our girls from Washington to arrive.  We'll be moving our youngest daughter in with us for a bit.  Changes in our household and I'm shuffling things around, but I'm looking forward to getting to bounce design ideas around with her!  I'm spending the time between races doing a bit of cleaning up and organizing my sewing room and sewing some more border blocks!  And adding a sleeve to my Peacock Galore quilt so I can hang it in my living room :)

Hope your Saturday is peaceful and enjoyable, too!