Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Earth Stars

As the school year wraps up, that means it is time to finish up the teacher quilts in time to gift on the last day of school.  This year I am making four teacher quilts for Fire Monkey's teachers: his two classroom teachers (dual language school, so one English and one Spanish teacher) and the two before-school teachers, both who have been there since he was in Kindergarten. I finished the first three back in March with Island Batik's It's All Up to You challenge, which left only Ms. O's quilt to finish.

According to Fire Monkey, Ms. O's favorite color is Brown.  And Green.  Earth Colors.  Well, I'm not really an Earth Colors gal, but I was determined to give Ms. O a quilt she will like.  I went through all my Island Batik scraps and pulled out everything green or brown, and I was pretty broad with what I considered in the brown family.  I found more than I expected.  

I chose a pattern that I had made before, also in Island Batik fabrics but tropical colors.  The pattern is Star Blossoms from the book Scrap-Basket Beauties by Kim Brackett. It is designed for 2 1/2" strips and works great as a scrappy quilt.  I was able to cut the whole thing with my Accuquilt Go! cutter.  I used the basic Wicker for the background and Seaweed print in bright green for the star centers, and the rest were scraps and leftovers.  The binding is Walnut.  I call this one Earth Stars.  

Tropical Stars, August 2019

I'm relieved to have all the quilts done.  I'm almost done with labels, and then I'll be ready to gift!  I do really enjoy making them each year, and am glad Fire Monkey is not sick of me doing this yet!

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Sea Cookie Sparkle

Welcome to my day on the Tool Craze Blog Hop!  As part of our January boxes, each Island Batik ambassador was sent one of the newest Island Batik collections as well as specialty tool from Deb Tucker's Studio 180 Design.  I was sent the beautiful Sea Cookies collection by Kate Colleran of Kate Colleran Designs.  I love the sand dollars, starfish, and other doodles in these fabrics, as well as the bright colors! 

 There were multiple elements to the challenge prompt:

  • Use as many of the different prints as possible from your designated collection
  • Make at least 30 units using your designated Studio 180 Design tool
  • Must contain at least 2 different sizes of units from said tool
  • If you have other Studio 180 Design tools, combine them with your assigned tool


I'm happy to say that I was able to meet all of these challenge elements!  All 20 fabrics from Sea Cookies are in here, each in at least 2 but no more than 3 blocks.  I was sent a coordinating light and dark from Island Batik's always available collection: Celery & Pinecone.  I did use Celery in a few blocks because I felt I need another light for contrast.  I wanted something other than black, white, or gray as the background, but I didn't love the dark green Pinecone as a background for this.  Instead, I substituted Merlot, a different Foundation fabric, as I felt the dark purple would complement the colors in Sea Cookies without being overpowering.  

My tool from Deb Tucker's Studio 180 Design was the Corner Pop III tool.  This tool has you "pop" or remove a triangle from the corner, but in a 3 to 1 ratio, meaning it's a long skinny triangle. I admit, I was a little stumped by this unit, so I browsed their Blockbusters.  Blockbusters are blocks made with 1 or more of Deb's tools; they come out with a new free block every month, going back to 2016.  I got great inspiration from all those blocks, but only two featured the Corner Pop III tool.  I ended up combining elements of one of those with elements of another block that caught my eye, and adding some of my own elements to make a new block.  This new block also uses the Diamond Rects tool, the very first Studio 180 tool I owned, meeting another aspect of the challenge.  Here is my test block, made with Island Batik fabrics but not yet cutting into Sea Cookies.


test block

Each block involves 8 cuts from the Corner Pop III tool.  (Corner Pop III makes cuts instead of units.)  With 16 blocks, that's 128 cuts with the tool!  I sped waaay past that 30 cuts minimum!  Here are the 16 completed blocks on my design wall at this point.


Problem is, all my cuts were the same size, so I needed to think of something to get a second size in.  I decide to do a smaller cut with the tool to get some neat accent diamonds in the middle when the blocks were sewn together.  I only did this second smaller cut with center blocks that would meet together in the center.  This lighter purple is Lavender, also from Island Batik Foundations Basics.  Because of the diamonds from the smaller Corner Pop III cuts and the Diamond Rects tool, I am calling this Sea Cookie Sparkle.

The products featured in this post were given to me by Island Batik, Studio 180 Design, Aurifil, Hobbs, and Schmetz.   


The blue fabric with pink dot flowers is my favorite in the line

Once the top was done, I layered with Hobbs 80/20 cotton/poly batting.  Since there is a wide difference between the dark and light fabrics in this top, I decided to quilt it with Aurifil's monofilament in Smoke, thinking that would be least obtrusive.  I did the piecing with Aurifil 2600 Dove Gray.  I used a Schmetz microtex needle for the piecing and the quilting.  There are a few places in the block where a lot of seams come together at the same point and the Schmetz needle had no trouble sewing through the bulk. 

You can really see the sand dollars in this one!  

Two other Island Batik Ambassadors were also give Sea Cookies to play with.  Be sure to visit them both to see what they made with these beautiful fabrics and their Studio 180 Tool.

Claudia Porter, Create with Claudia
Anorina Morris, Samelia’s Mum


Sea Cookies is shipping to stores soon!  Here are some of the shops that have ordered Sea Cookies in the United States:

  • Accent Sewing Inc   Murrells Inlet, SC
  • Appletree Fabrics   Auburn, MA
  • Betty's Quiltery   Rapid City, SD
  • Bird in Hand Fabric   Bird in Hand, PA
  • Bismarck Sewing & Quilting   Bismark, MD
  • Boutique 4 Quilters    West Melbourne, FL
  • Cinnamon's   Jacksonville, FL
  • D & D Sewing    Plaistow, NH
  • Divine Threads   Manlius, NY
  • Fab Fabrics   St. George, UT
  • Fiberworx   McQueeney, TX
  • Gruber's    Isanti, MN
  • Handcock's of Paducah   Paducah, KY
  • Mulqueen Sewing & Fabric Centers   Mesa, AZ
  • Nine Patch Fabrics   Chantilly, VA
  • People, Places, & Quilts   Summerville, SC
  • Quilted Threads   Henniker, NH
  • Quilters Quest   Woodridge, IL
  • Sew Jersey   East Hanover, NJ
  • Sew With Me   Lake Elmo, MN

Monday, May 1, 2023

Tool Craze Blog Hop

Welcome to May! In addition to being the start of a new month, today is the start of a new Island Batik blog hop.  This month, we'll be highlighting Island Batik's newest collections, hitting shops soon, and fabulous tools by Deb Tucker's Studio 180 Design.

Each ambassador was sent a generous half yard bundle of a new Island Batik collection and one of Deb Tucker's tools.  The challenge is use as many fabrics from the collection as possible, and to make at least 30 units using Deb's tool--and since all Deb's tools make units in a wide range of sizes, we have to make units in at least 2 different sizes.

I was sent the beautiful Sea Cookies collection by Kate Colleran of Kate Colleran Designs and the Corner Pop III tool by Studio 180 design.  I love the blues and pinks with hints of green in this collection.  You'll have to wait until May 10th to see my quilt, but be sure to check in on each ambassador throughout the hop to see what beauties they have created!  Many ambassadors will over giveaways, and Island Batik does a weekly giveaway that starts each Friday, so check out their blog every week.


May 1

Susan Deshensky, Lady Blue Quilts

Randi Jones, Randi’s Roost

May 2

Elita Sharpe, Busy Needle Quilting

Mania Hatziioannidi, Mania for Quilts

May 3

Brittany Fisher, Bobbin with Brittany

Pamela Boatright, Pamela Quilts

May 4

Connie Kauffman, Kauffman Designs

Denise Looney, For the Love of Geese


May 8

Reed Johnson, Blue Bear Quilts

Sandra Starley, Textile Time Travels

May 9

Gail Sheppard, Quilting Gail

Lana Russel, Lana Quilts

May 10

Emily Leachman, The Darling Dogwood

Claudia Porter, Create with Claudia

Anorina Morris, Samelia’s Mum

May 11

Brenda Alburl, Songbird Designs

Jennifer Thomas, Curlicue Creations


May 15

Victoria Johnson, Forever Quilting for You

Leah Malasky, Quilted Delights

Maryellen McAuliffe, Mary Mack Made Mine

May 16

Renee Atkinson, Pink Tulip Quilting

Sarah Pitcher, Pitcher’s Boutique

May 17

Suzy Webster, Websterquilt

Preeti Harris, Sew Preeti Quilts

Lisa Pickering, Lisa’s Quilting Passion

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Crazy Quilts with Aurifil & Island Batik

All month long, Island Batik & Aurifil are crazy for crazy quilts! Each Island Batik ambassador was sent one of Aurifil's Color Builder sets and challenged to feature those threads in a crazy quilt project.  The 2022 Color Builder sets honor plants from the rain forest and highlights Aurifil's variegated threads.  I was sent the Stinking Corpse Lily set.  Despite the pungent name, the set features beautiful threads in sort of a coral colorway. The set includes 4250 Flamingo, a lovely light variegated thread, 4668 Strawberry Parfait, a variegated thread with lengths of darker coral added to the lighter shades, and 2435 Peachy Pink, a solid color thread that looks exactly as it is named.  

The products featured in this post were given to me by Island Batik, Aurifil, Hobbs, and Schmetz.  

I knew that for crazy quilt, contrast was going to be key.  I decided to pair the Stinking Corpse Lily threads with a strip pack of Playful Purples.  It is no secret that purple is my favorite color, so I wanted to make something that I would get to see or use regularly, so I could revel in all the beautiful shades of purple.  When I was looking for smaller projects, I came across a tutorial for a covered composition notebook by the Quilt Rambler, who happens to be a former Island Batik ambassador.  


I made two notebook covers.  For the first, I essentially did the crazy quilting as I went.  I started by layering white solid as my foundation, which does not show in the final project, with a layer of Hobbs Thermore batting.  Thermore is a thin polyester batting that I have really come to love.  It's fabulous for small projects. Then I randomly picked two bits of fabric from Playful Purples and sewed them together.  

After rolling over the seam with my seam roller, I picked one of the three Stinking Corpse Lily threads and a fancy stitch from my sewing machine and stitched the decorative stitch across the seam.  I kept adding pieces of purple and using more stitches until I filled a piece slightly larger than needed for the notebook cover.  Each time, I picked which of the three threads I thought would look best.

For the second cover, I did a few things differently.  First, I drew dogwood blossoms on a four pieces of fabric to include. It's spring, so dogwoods are blooming here in North Carolina!  I sewed all the playful purple fabrics together first, rather than adding decorative stitches as I went--it certainly was much faster that way!   I also chose a single stitch, one I particularly liked in the first piece, and I only used the variegated Flamingo thread.  

I started the project with a brand new Schmetz microtex chrome needle, and it stitched all the decorative stitches beautifully.  I think both have the fun look of a crazy quilt.

Once I had all the crazy stitches done, I trimmed the pieces and got down to making the notebook covers.  I had some yardage of Thistle, the lightest of the Playful Purples, that I used for the lining.  The tutorial calls for ribbon, but I made my own using some of the strips pressed into quarters.  The tutorial was fairly easy to follow, and I really like that it includes a small vinyl pocket for pens.


It's fun to have an occasion and an excuse to use the decorative stitches on my machine.  A few years ago I made myself a stitch reference of all my machine's stitches --stitched in Aurifil thread, of course!  It was a handy reference to have for this project, as it reminded me what each stitch looks like when it is stitched out.  I used a lot of decorative stitches in two previous ambassador projects: in January 2020 I made a crazy quilted machine cover for the Let's Get Scrappy challenge, and in October 2020 I used decorative stitches as a form of thread painting for my Funky Flower in that year's Aurifil challenge. It was fun to have a crazy quilt challenge, and I'm pleased with my playfully purple notebooks!

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Stay at Home Round Robin Winners

 For the first time this year, we had prizes for the Stay At Home Round Robin!

Several of the hosts got together on a Zoom call and used a random number generator to pick winners.

Clockwise from top left: Roseanne, Gail, Emily, Anja

Gail has already contacted all the lucky winners.

  • Island Batik fat quarter bundle:  Mari @ Academic Quilter
  • Island Batik fat quarter bundle: Julie Ann @ Quilts and Costumes
  • Island Batik fat quarter bundle: Janice @ Sing Read
  • Hobbs Wool Batt: Bernie @ Needle & Foot
  • Aurfil Thread:  Heather F
  • Oliso Mini Iron : Laura Kate @ Daily Fiber Fun
  • Pattern from For the Love of Geese (Denise): Dawn at Quilting by Dawn
  • Prairie Spirit Alpaca Pressing Mat: Diann at Little Penguin Quilts
  • Gift Certificate of choice from Chris: Carol @ Quilt Schmidt
  • Fat Quarter Shop Gift Certificate: Gretchen from Gretchen’s Little Quilts
  • MSQ Gift Certificate from Roseanne: Joy at The Joyful Quilter

We had several people ask if we will do the Stay at Home Round Robin again next year, and we absolutely will! 

Friday, March 31, 2023

Glow of Spring


In under the wire with a third Island Batik finish for March's It's All Up To You challenge.  I'm using the challenge as motivation to finish this year's teacher quilts.  I have four to make and three are completely done!  This beauty is for Ms. B, the director of and one of the teacher's at Fire Monkey's before school program.  She had his group when he was in Kindergarten!  

Her favorite color is yellow, so I set out to make some cheerful yellow flowers.  I went through all my Island Batik scraps and picked out all my yellows and golds.  The green is an always-available Foundation called Lemongrass, the background is solid white, and the flower center is tangy dotted fabric left over from one of last year's teacher quilts, though I don't know the name of it.  I love how it turned out -- it is very bright and looks like spring! Because the yellows make it almost glow, I named it Glow of Spring.

I'm not sure where I got this block, I don't remember if I saw it somewhere or what.  I do know I cut out all of the pieces with my Accuquilt and the shapes from the 8" Cube.  I quilted in organic wavy lines on the diagonal with Aurifil thread 2134, Spun Gold.  The batting is Hobbs 80/20 and I used Schmetz micrtoex needles for all piecing and quilting. 

The products featured in this post were given to me by Island Batik, Accuquilt, Schmetz, and Aurifil.


I cannot resist using the incredible skyline-view terrace from work for the backdrop of these photos.  Check out that city view!  (That's Charlotte, NC.)

Thanks, Island Batik, for the motivation to get these teacher quilts done early!  I've got one more that isn't quite done yet, but will be well before school starts. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2023


I'm using March's Ambassador's Choice challenge as motivation to get some of the this year's teacher quilts done early.  Today's quilt is for Ms. L, one of the before-school teachers.  Both before-school teachers have had Fire Monkey since Kindergarten, so I'm excited to make quilts for them this year.  Ms. L's favorite color is red.  The medallion quilt on my living room wall has a round of Hattie's Choice blocks, cut with my Accuquilt, and I've been wanting to do a quilt with just that block.  So that's what I picked for Ms. L.


The products featured in this post were given to me by Island Batik, Accuquilt, Schmetz, and Aurifil.  

All of these fabrics are from Island Batik's Foundations line, so they are all available all the time.  The red, black, and orange fabrics are all Blenders, and the yellow is a Basic called Amber.   I used just two color variations of the block and alternated them. Hattie's Choice is an 8" finished block, and I decided on a 7 x 7 layout.  I wanted to emphasis the red a little more, so I added a 3" border, making this finish at 62" square.

the two colorways I used

Once I had the top completed, I layered it with Hobbs 80/20 batting, my go-to batting for most quilts.  I used Schemtz needles for all piecing and quilting, as they are the only needles I will use.  I quilted diagonal lines through the kite sections of the blocks using Aurifil 2692 Black and 1104 Neon Orange.


Hattie's Choice is probably my favorite of the BOB dies that I have.  BOB stand for Block on Board,  meaning you can cut everything for the block in one pass of the cutter.  It's a really striking block and can really change looks depending on how you choose to color each part of the block.  I used it in my ambassador challenge in March 2020 and then made that same pattern again last year for one of the teacher quilts.


That's two down, two to go!  Thanks to Island Batik for the open theme and the motivation to get these done!