Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Wishing you a Merry ...wait, it's early!

Tuesdays are typically spent, at least a few hours, with local friends piecing quilty things in the classroom space that the school district makes available to the community. We try to donate goods or time to the school or local organizations to thank the school district for this accommodation.

Due to the heat and smokey skies right now, we start at 7am (at least try) and stay until we just can't stand the heat any more --this is an OLD building and does not have air conditioning in this room.

Today I did the first block in the I Wish You a Merry Quilt-a-long. This is a free pattern if you're interested at that link for a limited time, from Vanda Chittenden, Quilt in Piece, from South Africa where it is actually HOT at Christmas time. It is hot here where I am, so I guess we'll both experience these blocks in the heat! Every two weeks the group is issuing another 12" finished block, there will be 12 in all, so you should be able to get it done before Christmas!

I chose to use a piece of #islandbatik Frost for the background and some 'sprinkles' (or something very similar) for the snowflake.

I have this 'Frost' fabric because of my newly released Winter Bright pattern. Have you seen it at Hancock's of Paducah?

I drew the crystals on Steam a Seam 2 very efficiently --right up next to each other.

I also used my #olfa circle cutter set 1/4" apart and cut both sides of a white ring for the center. Since I was cutting through the steam-a-seam paper as well it was difficult to keep the fabric from moving. I wonder if I tried cutting it fabric side up, would it help?

My go to choice -- #aurifil thread to do the top stitching, with this stitch setting on my brother machine. So glad I took a photo a few weeks ago when working on another applique project. I didn't even have to test it, just referred back to my photo and selected my settings.

And here it is! 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Oh Baby! IB Challenge Result with Tutorial

This Month's Island Batik Ambassador challenge is all about baby and crib quilts.
Although our guidelines were(roughly 30” x 40” - 36” x 52”), I chose to just let the fabric speak and finished up at a size of  45"x57" when pieced, but when washed and dried 43" x 54".

I chose to use a Lake Life Stamp set (5" squares) and some Twilight Blush fabric for the background. I love the colorations in this collection!

I thought it would work perfectly using the inspiration from a photograph I had seen several years ago when searching for ideas with another line of fabric. 

This is from Heather's blog and her Chrysalis Quilt. She used two charm packs (total of 80 5" squares) and her quilt turned out just a bit bigger, but she must have used a smaller background piece than I did.

So, here is a tutorial on how I did it.

First step was to cut background pieces. I chose to cut them:
2" x 5" and 2" x 6.5"
Cut enough for each of the 5" squares.

Sew the 5" piece onto one side, then add the 6.5" to an adjacent side. This particular set of 5" squares doesn't have any fabric that is obviously directional within the 5", so I didn't need to worry about how it was going to end up in the quilt. Here are all 42 pieces with their backgrounds added and then placed on my design wall in a possible scenario.

I decided since I did have some yardage leftover from my "Zig Zags at the Lake" (free download pattern) quilt that also used the "Lake Life" collection, that I could add a few more 5" squares if I wanted to. The quilt could have looked just like this (right), but I wanted a bit more of a fade to the outer edges, so chose to add some more 'light' squares and ended up with this (below). This used 63 5" squares.

Pleased with this result, I then wanted to do a similar 'circular' motion in the quilting, but not concentric circles, but a continuous spiral. I quilt just about exclusively on my long-arm and a continuous spiral seemed like a fun challenge.

First I basted horizontally at each new row of piecing --the entire quilt. Not something I normally do, but I wanted to quilt from the center(ish) and wanted things to stay well stabilized.

This worked fairly well, except for a few times the long basting thread caught and stopped me from advancing my stitch line until I snipped it and was able to continue (not ideal).

I used one of Linda Taylor's circle attachments for my hopping foot. The largest one is 1.75", so decided that was what I would use.

By starting in the middle with a tight spiral and quickly getting to the distance of the attachment, I could then use the attachment to eyeball the distance from the past stitching line and just keep going and going, round and round.

I'm already done in this photo, but wanted you to see how the attachment looks on the hopping foot.

TIP: Make sure you load the quilt so that the top leader is at least the distance of the 'attachment' AWAY from the edge of the quilt. Unfortunately I didn't so had to remove it when I got close to the edge and wing it. Should I want to do this again and be a bit more precise, this would be really important to help with consistency of the curve.

The quilting went very quickly, even though once I had reached the greater size of my stitching path, I did have to roll the quilt back and forth as I would go around. But, with the entire quilt basted, I just didn't worry about the clamps on the sides until I got out to the edges and then just hand held it as I came by to make sure it was kept taut.

I used The Warm Company's Warm & Plush for batting. Here it is after binding it. I used two different fabrics from the Lake Life collection and pieced them together for the binding. They are the same motif, just slightly different colorations.

Here it is after washing and drying it (yes, it gets wrinkly and cuddly):
I'm calling it "Legend of Lake Roosevelt"
--Lake Roosevelt is the lake you can see in the background.
I think this colorway is so peaceful and could really calm a baby but is also happy and cheerful.
Hope you enjoyed this episode of my IBA Challenge Results.
#ohbabyquilts #islandbatik

Friday, June 30, 2017

Celebrating America

One of the biggest weekends in our community revolves around the Fourth of July! The local Chamber of Commerce hosts a "Festival of America". This year it is going to be during the weekend and not on the actual 4th of July, but that's ok. We still get to celebrate America, the land where we live.

Today through Sunday, 10am-5pm in Odessa, WA is a Red, White and Blue Quilt Show. It is being held across the street from Experience Quilts! I've got two quilts in the show that I've just finished up. They were original tests done by Carol Cricenti, admin on the Quilt of Valor Stars Facebook group. The flag (ish) design is using a kit of Island Batik fabrics from my shop and with Flyover she used her own fabrics but I could kit it in a similar way. Both of these are 'bonus' designs included in my "Dangling Diamonds" pattern. I quilted both using 80/20 batting and an edge to edge (panto). The flag(ish) one has soaring eagles and Flyover has words (valor, honor, bravery, courage).

This month as an Island Batik Ambassador our theme was 'Curvacious Curves'...I have two designs formulated, but honestly, just have run out of time. I've been focusing on designs that will be released at market in October. Crazy! Right? Yes, there is a lead time in this industry that makes reveals seem very anticlimactic. I'd love to show you what I've just put in the mail yesterday and what is being finished on my long arm table today for another designer that is also headed to Fall Market. Beautiful things coming along, can't wait to show you more than just 'sneak peeks'!

Here is a bit of a cheat as you might have seen this before --these are the 'curve' blocks from my co-authored book, You Can Quilt!, Chapter 8. I'm calling this finished piece, Flightline. Here are finishing instructions and other ideas for blocks in the book.

This one is a bit scrappy, but primary block elements are made with fabrics from the French Roasted collection. You just can't go wrong with these beautiful Island Batik fabrics. I still have a couple of 10" stacks available in the shop from this collection.

My top for next month's challenge is done, so just have to quilt it and the queue is a bit lighter to accommodate Row by Rowers--hope you stop by! Maybe I'll get this month's done too.

Happy Birthday America!

Monday, May 29, 2017

IBA Modern Batik Challenge and Tutorial

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you know I've been away on an extended vacation with my husband. It has been a long time since just the two of us went on truly JUST a vacation! Not a working one or to see family or friends or whatever, but just us. We had an incredible time going to Easter Island and Machu Picchu and enjoying a cruise up the coasts of South, Central and North America from San Antonio, Chile to San Francisco, CA. We really had a fantastic time especially at these two highlights.

We had planned to be gone just short of 4 weeks and in the end both of us got sick on the cruise (not food borne) and on the way home our flights were delayed, we missed flights and my husband ended up having a kidney stone in flight so at our connection airport we went to an Emergency Room for help, missing our rebooked flight. Fortunately Alaska Airlines was gracious and booked us out the next morning and we had a friend in the area who helped out immensely with transportation to leave the ER, get meds, get to a hotel, etc. so we could leave out early in the morning from the airport. So, we were gone 4 weeks! It took almost another week for him to finally pass the stone, so even though we got home, we weren't really 'over' the vacation! HA!

Some of you may remember my thyroid and food journey ...I was nervous that I would have difficulties on the trip, but it turned out to go quite well, lost more weight, felt great most of the time, but after potatoes were an easy option the first week on the cruise, my muscles were restless at night so I decided to quit the potatoes and I felt much better. My main 'trigger' categories are gluten and dairy and I have been questioning nightshades. Well at least for now potatoes for sure. I was able to get a standing order of avocado while on the ship and that helped to get some healthy fat and I could combine that with gluten free bread that was available upon request to make a great sandwich or add to eggs for breakfast or whatever. East Indian food was a common option and for the most part was the best option for lunch/dinner meals.

#modernbatikchallenge #islandbatik
I worked hard before I left to get several things made in anticipation of our Island Batik Ambassador challenges in the coming months, but still needed to quilt them! This month's "Modern Batik Challenge" I chose to use the "Glowing Embers" line of fabric. It came as a set of 42 - 10" squares (Stacks) and two pieces of yardage.

I started thinking about our personal experience last fall when we had a fire occur across the lake from our home. We arrived in the dark from a weekend away to the flames moving down the hill towards the water. Here you can see the night we arrived and the smoke the next morning where it was still burning. Given the name of the fabric line, I chose to be inspired from this and create something using the fabrics that in an abstract way perhaps represents the stages of fire.

I laid out the squares so that they sort of progressed in coloration from already burnt, to burning, to not burnt yet. Choosing two squares together and making sure no two combinations were the same, I put right sides together, drew diagonal lines and sewed a 1/4" seam on both sides of each line. Then cut vertically, horizontally and on the diagonals to yield 8 half square triangles (HSTs).


Trim them so you have a consistent size.

Starting with 42 squares in the stack, this yields 168 squares.

I decided 10 x 16 (160) and the extra 8 could float in the border.

Using a design wall, I just put them up randomly and played with it until I was satisfied. Here are a few stages. Ultimately the idea of the burnt out areas on the upper left moving towards the actual fire on a diagonal and in the lower right the unburned areas. Taking photos along the way really helps to see what works to your eye or what doesn't. If you move too far you can always use the photo to go back to something you liked better! There were more iterations, but here are the key transitions.

Using the yardage I thought the dark purple made for a nice border and allowed the extra HSTs that were in the same color to float into the border. I used warm & natural batting, Superior Threads Omni-V thread on top and So Fine! on the bottom. Using Fantasy Flame 2 pantograph I hand guided the stitching.

The dark purple was also used for the binding and attached completely by machine using #Aurifil thread.

Here is the backing with the other yardage and a bit more of the purple to make it big enough.

Will still add a label later today and it will be complete!

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Have some "Stacks" (10" squares) sitting around? Hope you are inspired to make something.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Adventurous Applique - Round 2

We're at it again...Island Batik Ambassadors are on another challenge and as much as I really don't like applique projects, I'm amazed that I did two this month. #adventurousapplique #islandbatik
Both satisfy interests of mine to finish started projects and to use my co-authored book "You Can Quilt! Building Skills for Beginners" as a jump off point for new pieces. In this case I used Chapter 10's first block -- Orange Peel Block. I also enjoy doing multiple sized shapes in order implement the golden ratio of design. In this case I used 2" peels, 4" peels and 6" peels. Each with a different Island Batik Fabric from the Seas the Day collection being released at market in May.

I traced the shapes onto Steam-a-Seam Lite 2, applied to the backside of the fabric and then cut them out.

I might call this Sea Anemone given the fabric line, but  I'm calling it Orange Blossom in ode to the shape and the colorations.

If using shape sizes that change on the golden ratio, it is easy to just keep building and building the size of your square. In this case I just took a square piece of fabric that I knew would be oversized from my finish size, folded it on the diagonal and pressed it, and did the same for the opposite diagonal. This gave me a guide for placement. Line up the first four peels at the center point on the lines and just keep adding until you are done. Use a long ruler to keep the outer edges in line as well.

Once they were in place and I was happy, then I ironed it down with a pressing sheet between to keep any possible 'fusing' from getting on the iron. Then I stitched a small zig zag with Aurifil thread around all shapes in one continuous path. This helped to highlight the green peels that are similar in value to the background.

I quilted this with one layer of wool batting Aurifil #2340 40 wt on top, A&E Tex 30 Taupe on the bottom. After stitching a continuous path around all peels, I stitched a similar shape using the background fabric as registration marks for the entire background. The largest (green) shapes have a smaller shape stitched into them since they were too large for me to comfortably leave un-quilted. It also gave them a bit of 'leaf' dimension. I then blocked it and used a faux piped binding method (also found in my co-authored book) to complete it.

This is just one way it could have been quilted, but given the busy background I thought it interesting to have the same similar shape as a continuous background texture against the larger orange peel shapes.

Hope you enjoyed today's presentation of this month's IBA challenge. You can see this quilt in person and several of my other quilts at the Odessa, Washington Spring Fling Quilt Show, April 28 and 29, 2017.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Adventurous Applique - Round 1

Our Island Batik Ambassador Challenge this month is 'Adventurous Applique'.
#adventurousapplique #islandbatik

I had worked on this RaNae Merrill designed paper pieced heart in February for our Valentine's/Galentine's inspired challenge and just wasn't sure what to do with it. This month's challenge gave me an idea and this is the result.

To the paper pieced heart, I stitched mistyfuse to the front of it, by stitching on the paper line exactly the size I wanted it finished. I happened to have some scraps that two pieces coming together at the center of the heart were just wide enough. That gave me my automatic 'split' to turn it inside out. The 'valley' of the heart and the 'point' of the heart gave me a bit of a challenge since the two pieces of mistyfuse didn't stitch well right there, but I got it ironed in place on the backing and was satisfied. The finished edge with little bulk added by using the mistyfuse makes this a super each stitch down too. Next I did a very small blanket stitch in red on the lower 2/3 of the heart and in white on the upper 1/3. Then I put it on a piece of wool batting that fit the size of the heart and basted it right next to the heart (this is where I should have used water soluable thread) and trimmed the batting close to the stitching. yes, I even did my first attempt at trapunto. For a first go, I'm really pleased. I think stuffing a piece of batting cut to the shape and stuffed inside the mistyfuse would also work.

Now I loaded it on my long-arm with backing, a layer of 80/20 and then a layer of wool on top and stitched right next to the heart and in the shape of the inversion of the paper piecing --this got a little tricky as it is quite thick with the many small sections. I also wanted a thin string hanging below the heart as if it was a big balloon in the sky. One stitch path and I decided it needed dimension so added a second one close to it. Then I stitched in the cumulus clouds, inspired from Gina Perkes book.

A simple all machine binding finished it up to make it a fun whimsical wall hanging that I'm calling "Love is in the Air".

The adventure this love balloon is on represents me and my husband and our taking off into the sky tomorrow morning for a big adventure ourselves!