Monday, March 28, 2022

Island Batik Ambassador challenge 3-22 - Italian Color Builder

 This month's challenge from Island Batik was super fun!  We were asked to make a small quilt (less than 20 x 20) inspired by the Aurifil Color Builder collection we were sent.  I got Como Blue!  The products used to make this quilt were supplied for me to use in my role as and Island Batik Ambassador - thanks, Island Batik!

Lake Como sounds like a wonderful place to visit!  Mountains, a beautiful blue lake, private villas...makes me want to take a vacation!  I started out by looking for an inspriation photo and found this one:

I thought the shading of the mountains in the background would be perfect for highlighting the beautiful shades of blue in this collection of thread.  I found out that this Bellagio - inspiration for the Bellagio resort in Las Vegas.  I didn't realize this until after I finished my piece, but I can totally see it now!

Love these blues!  I almost exclusively use Aurifil thread in the 50 weight (orange spools)  It's perfect for most of my piecing and quilting needs.  I use the plastic cases that hold 12 spools, and have 1 for each color (red, yellow, blue, green, neutrals and other weights)  I need to buy one more for my purples!

I started out by pulling fabric - I had several pieces that arrived in the January Ambassador box, and I found many more in my stash from previous years.  I was really happy to find that piece with the oranges and purples for the city!  I spent quite a bit of time picking and choosing, trying to find the right shading that would make my landscape work.

Finally I settled on a group of fabrics, then spent an equally long amount of time trying to decide on how to actually put this together.  I drew out a rough pattern on freezer paper, but didn't really want to try to quilt through a bunch of layers of fusible web, and figure out reversing templates, and well it just seemed like too much work, if you know what I mean.  I just wanted to get the fabrics laid down and start sewing!

Then I remembered the Fusible Batting that was included in my Ambassador box!  Hobbs included this in our batting selection, so I thought why not give it a try and see how it works out for this type of project!  I got out my large wool pressing mat, cut a piece of batting to fit the background fabric I picked out and started cutting and layering pieces of fabric to create my landscape!

I was so involved in my process that I forgot to take pictures until I had all the pieces cut out and pressed.  It worked pretty well, I cut out from behind each piece so that everything was at least partially on the batting so when I pressed it it was pretty well stabalized!  I flipped it over and pressed the back as well to make sure it was all firmly in place as well and was ready to start the quilting!

I began with the darker thread and stitched the darkest two fabrics in place.  Looking good so far!  The edges of my fabrics weren't as stable as they would have been had I used fusible web, but it was also kind of nice to be able to fold the uppermost layer on top and stitch behind it a bit!

For the next step I used orange thread to quilt boxy shapes in the buildings, then add some reflections in the lake.  I was very happy with how it came out and was excited to finish stitching the blue sections now!

This part was were I ran into the issue of my edges wanting to travel a little and buckle up.  I persevered, though and got them stitched down into place!  I filled each section in with stitching, just easy wavy lines to give some texture.

After that was done, the sky and water were ready for stitching.  I tried to make watery looking squiggles in the lake and bigger cloudy squiggles for the sky!  (Technical quilting terms...haha!)  I used the darker blue for the binding - I used 2 inch strips, stitched 1/4 inch from the edge on the back, flipped to the top and topstitched for a quick finish.  If I had more of the city fabric, I might have done a faux flange binding, but as I only had half of a 2 1/2 inch strip it wasn't enough for that.  

I'm very happy with my finish!  It makes me want to try my hand at more of these.  It finished at 12 x 16 1/2 inches.  The beautiful blue threads from Aurifil were perfect for the intense stitching on this piece, and I really like that pop of orange!  My favorite part of this was the boxy quilting in the city - it just worked perfectly! I love that you can do a lot of stitching with the 50 weight thread without getting too much thread build up.  My piece is perfectly flat even though there are some variations in the density of my quilting, so that's a big win! 

I used a Chrome Quilting needle from Schmetz 75/11 - no shredding or skipping so I was delighted.  These were provided in my January Ambassador box as well.  I noticed a feature on the Schmetz website if you are not sure what needle you need - you can search by machine type as well as other variables.  I enjoyed looking through the options for what would work for my particular project and was glad to see that I had the exact needle recommended for what I was working on!  I am really happy with how the professional Chrome needles perform, and highly recommend them.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my Italy Inspired project!  Make sure you check out the rest of the Island Batik Ambassadors and see what they created for their project - sure makes you want to book a vacation to Italy!  If I ever go, I will for sure go check out Lake Como, looks like a beautiful place!

Thanks to Aurifil Thread, Island Batik, Schmetz Needles and Hobbs batting for providing the supplies used in this project!


Susan said...

Thank you for telling us the process you used to make this. I think it turned out very nice.

Kathleen said...

Love this! It is sometimes fun to try something different. Love the reflection of the buildings in the lake...perfect!