Showing posts with label 2019 Ambassador Challenge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2019 Ambassador Challenge. Show all posts

Sunday, September 29, 2019

September Island Batik Ambassador Challenge - Cleo's Kaleidoscope

I'm glad I got an early start on this month's Island Batik Ambassador challenge because it took me until yesterday to actually get it quilted and finished!  I am excited to debut today's quilt - Cleo's Kaleidoscope!

Here is our inspiration for the theme of the challenge:  "Let your inner child come out to play!  Color, fun and playful are all for grabs this month! Make a quilt for a kid that you love or to donate to a kid that needs comfort. Clear out space for magic & whimsy when creating this month!"
We needed to use the new Block on Board die we received in our June Ambassador box, fabric from either of the boxes we received, and make a juvenile inspired quilt larger than 45 x 60. I received the Cleopatra's Fan die from AccuQuilt - so pretty, and this was going to make a good challenge to come up with a quilt that would be fit for a child! This block seemed more like an elegant type of design, so I was intrigued with the idea of making something fun and whimsical out of it.

I decided to use these fabrics that I received in the July box (box 2) They coordinate with the Mermaid's Cove strip pack and are all basics and blenders that are always available! Those and the solid black should make a fun and colorful quilt!

Thanks to EQ8 I was able to create virtual blocks to play with the colors and layout of my fabric before making even one cut! This is what the traditional coloring of the block looks like. Pretty. But I didn't have enough fabric to make the number of blocks I wanted to use in my quilt (12) and I wanted a more playful and whimsical look. So what if you mix the colors up to make some interesting shapes? Like in a Kaleidoscope!
Now we are getting more interesting and fun! It did make the cutting a bit more challenging, but I managed that by figuring out what pieces went where in the block and made a cutting chart for myself. It helped that the die is clearly marked with letters for each piece. I just measured my piece, layered a stack of the appropriate size fabric and cut. It took a few more passes because my layout was a bit complicated, but it really wasn't difficult at all!
You can't cover all the shapes at once because the overlapping fabric would be too many layers, so you do have to alternate pieces when cutting this way. Notice that the pieces are laid out in groups. This makes it possible to use strips for the traditional coloring method and it's easier to cut them out in groups with less fabric waste.
It did get a little tricky because some of my blocks were mirrored and I used two different color stories for my blocks, but by lettering my printouts from EQ8 and making a list of how many of each color I needed that task was accomplished.
Sewing my first block was amazing. I didn't use one pin on this block! The pieces have notches to match up, the instructions include seam pressing instructions and the curves are gentle and easy. Doesn't it look awesome?

My four center blocks were symmetrical, so they were perfect to practice on. First I laid all my pieces out.
Then started sewing! I've done curved seams before so wasn't too intimidated. I like to sew curves with the convex part on top. Start at the top of the curve, matching up the top edges.
Then I use my fingers to line up the edges of the seam, making sure to match the notch. (For a change my fingernails look pretty because of a pre-wedding manicure!) Sew that 1/4 inch seam to the notch, then line up the end of the seam and stitch that:
Ta-da! No pins!
Center blocks up on the design wall. Oh, the possibilities!
After piecing the remaining eight blocks I spent a lot of time arranging blocks! There were a lot of ideas in the running, but eventually I narrowed it down to my favorite - there was a lot of EQ8 involved in this step as well!

It was so hard to pick a favorite, but I finally did and got my top sewn together. I pin basted it, I was really hoping to use the remaining piece from the Hobbs Black batting, which I loved for my March project, but didn't have quite enough left for this project.

I decided to go with the Heirloom Premium 100% natural cotton because it's really a great all purpose batting and would work well for this quilt. I really love the light weight feel of this batting, and the lovely texture you get after washing. Since this quilt is for a child, it will definitely need to stand up to washings!

I was done with this step early in the month, but a busy September kept me from quilting it until this week!
I pulled out all my Aurifil thread and started matching up to all my fabrics. (I also used it for all the piecing - the 50 wt is the perfect thread for nice flat seams!) I found something for every color! I like using the 50 wt for quilting because it really blends in and lets the piecing take center stage. Plus, you don't need to perfectly match the colors to the fabric - this green wasn't quite the same color as the Cherio dots, but it looks great on the quilt!

I stitched a 1/4 inch line around each piece. Yes, that was a lot of thread to clip at the end. I did each color as I finished and it wasn't too bad of a task, plus it gave me a good reason to get up and move, which keeps me from getting knots in my neck! Here is how I keep from getting knots on the back of my quilt:
This is similar to how I pull up the threads if I am going to knot and bury them as well. I bring up the bobbin thread by holding the top thread taught with my thumb, then needle down and up.
You can see the small thread tail that has popped up. I then lift my presser foot and use my tweezers to grab that thread and pull it out.
I then hold both threads together with my thumb, lower the presser foot and take a couple of stitches in one spot to secure the thread. I can then quilt around my shape, coming back to the starting point. I take a couple of stitches again to anchor the threads, then I use the thread cutter on my machine to cut the thread. After quilting all the same color I take my thread to my cutting table and I trim all the top threads flush with the top of the quilt, then flip my quilt to the back and trim all the little 1/4 inch ends that are sticking out. By holding the threads at the beginning you eliminate those nasty little thread ends from tangling up at the beginning of your stitching. If I want to bury my thread ends in the quilt I don't cut my thread at the end of my stitching line, instead I raise the needle and move my quilt a few inches then use the thread cutter so I have longer tails to deal with. I mostly just trim my threads for quilts that will be used and not go out to shows. One of those personal preference things!

For the setting triangles on the sides I used straight lines radiating to the outside of the quilt, and that looks really nice with the piecing, too!

So, there is another lovely finish in the books for September!  I hope you enjoyed seeing how I made my quilt, and maybe you picked up a good pointer or two.  Have you ever done curved piecing?  Are you a pinner or are you crazy like me and like to just sew them with no pins?  I'd love to hear if you have any great tips for sewing curves - it seems like lots of people are a little scared of them, and it would be great to share ideas to help make it a little easier to accomplish them.  I have to say, having the Go! fabric cutter made the cutting a lot easier because that's the part I don't like about curves!  I really love the cutter, and am so thankful to AccuQuilt for providing me with one this year as part of the Island Batik Ambassador program!

As always, a big thank you to Island Batik, Aurifil thread and Hobbs Batting for providing products and inspiration for this project!  I love being an Island Batik Ambassador!

May you be inspired to create something fun as well, today!  Thanks for reading!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Two for One...PQ10.3 is a Magnificent Mini!

Have to blame this entirely on Kim - she suggested to the Island Batik Ambassador group that our monthly challenge would also suit this week's challenge for Project Quilting...oh yes, a double challenge!  (Fabrics and thread for this project were provided in my Island Batik Ambassador box)  With that in mind I set aside my original idea, went to my Miniature Quilt Magazine collection and pulled out an issue at random with the intention of choosing a project for my Magnificent Mini.

I quickly found one that suited me, and met both challenge guidelines - Bigger Than a Breadbox (over 9 x 18 inches) and smaller than 24 x 24 for the Island Batik Challenge.  Of course I chose a project that required 128 one inch finished half square triangles and 32 two inch finished triangles!  That's a lot of cutting!

I started out by cutting all the small tedious!  I did put some Slip Stop onmy Easy Angle Ruler, and that helped keep it from sliding, but it was still a long process to cut sew, and trim all those triangles, even if I only had to trim one side.

I decided to get out the Go! cutting system to cut out the 2 inch finished triangles. (provided through Accuquilt as part of this years Island Batik Ambassador program) I knew it would be accurate, but I really didn't think it would save me that much time since I was cutting them from sctraps, so would only be doing two matching pairs at a time.  Well, I was more than amazed when I realized that I actually cut 32 pairs in about 15 minutes.  And really, the waste was not that much, even from scraps.  I would have thrown out just as much if I had cut them all with the rotary cutter.

Now I really just want to dig in and cut up a bunch of my scraps into useful pieces for quilting.  But, wait...I have a challenge to finish first!

Lots of sewing happened, and of course the seam ripper got pressed into action a few times as well.  It's hard to tell when you get a triangle going wrong in these blocks until you look at them all together!  Finally I finished the top, added borders, then quilted it as suggested in the magazine using a light blue 40 wt Aurifil thread.  I pieced it using 50 wt cream from Aurifil as well - they, and Hobbs Batting are industry partners with Island batik and have been providing supplies for us to use as well!  My batting was another piece of the Natural Cotton batting I've used for the last several challenges.  And here it is my finished quilt:

The pattern is Blues Bayou by Carol J Lewis.  It is in the Fall 1993 issue of Miniature Quilts magazine.  I got many of mine on e-bay, they are great magazines with lots of patterns!
It was as easy as sewing pairs of triangles into blocks -
And arranging them just right to create the diagonal lines!  I did a pretty good job of matching up all those points:
I love the depth that using various backgrounds gives!  I made a small dent in my scrap bags with this quilt, and it was fun seeing different fabrics from various projects make an appearance in this quilt.  I just love scrap quilts for that reason.

I'm calling my quilt Coos Bay Winter Blues, it measures 21 x 21 and was made by me - Pamela Boatright - in Coos Bay, Oregon!  It my Magnificent Mini that's Bigger than a Breadbox :)

Thanks to Island Batik, Aurifil Thread, Hobbs Batting and Accuquilt!  And Kim of Persimmon Dreams for the great challenges!

Linking up with Connie at FreeMotion by the River for Linky Tuesday.