Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Lavender Blue with Island Batik (plus giveaway!)

Welcome to my stop on Island Batik's Pieced to Perfection blog hop!  Our challenge was to use our assigned collection and any form of paper piecing to create a lap size or larger quilt.  I absolutely LOVE English Lavender and was thrilled to have received this gorgeous collection by Kathy Engle.

But.  They don't call them challenges for nothing.  I do not enjoy paper piecing.  I know how to do it but I don't like; it takes me a really long time, my brain gets really mixed up, and I always make a lot of mistakes.  I do enjoy English paper piecing (EPP) but only for small projects, and there was no way I had enough time to do a large quilt with EPP.  The size was a problem even for standard paper piecing, as I didn't have a huge amount of time from when I received the fabric to when my project was due and paper piecing takes me a lot longer than traditional piecing. So I tried to come up with a way to paper piece that I could do a fairly large project and not curse it the entire time.

Materials used in this project were given to me by Island Batik, Aurifil, Hobbs, and Schmetz.


When I think of paper piecing, I think of sewing on the lines and trimming and matching and flipping and all this stuff that my brain struggles with.  But there are also more and more foundation papers on the market, where you do stitch with paper and fabric, but you use the paper more as a platform for stitching and/or trimming and there isn't all the flipping and such that confuses me.  So I looked around at some options and found Triangles on a Roll from It's Sew Emma (Fat Quarter Shop).  You lay out the paper on the right size strip, pin in place, stitch on the dotted lines, then trim on the solid lines and presto!  Half Square Triangles of your chosen size, no trimming needed.  This would work!  It met the paper piecing/foundation piecing requirement without me losing my mind.

Next step was to pick a pattern with lots of half square triangles.  I have been playing with some designs using the classic Carpenter's Star or Carpenter's Wheel block.  Each block needs 40 half square triangles.  I liked a 3 x 3 layout, so that meant 360 half square triangles!  Plenty of foundation piecing! The final quilt measures 56" square.

Piles of Triangles!

I used 18 of the 20 fabrics in the English Lavender collection. I also used Navy in the blocks and Pearl as the background; both are from the Basics Foundations collection and are always available.  Fun fact: we are sent 2 different 2-yard cuts that coordinate with each collection in our boxes.  One of my collections earlier in the year was matched with Pearl and Harbor.  Clearly someone in the warehouse had fun with fabrics & names. 🙂 

All those papers, removed

I used Aurifil thread 2562 Lilac for the quilting.  I chose diagonal organic way lines that followed the lines of the blocks.  I chose a Cotton & Wool blend batting from Hobbs' Tuscany Collection.  I love this batting!  It gives such a lovely texture and definition to the quilting!  Schmetz needles are always my needle of choice; Kimberly Jolly of It's Sew Emma and Fat Quarter shop recommends a size 90 topstitch needle for the triangles on a roll, so that's what I used.  Schmetz needles make going through the fabric and the paper so easy!


This collection is such a beautiful representation of my favorite color combination of blue and purple!  English Lavender pre-cuts are in stores now and yardage is shipping soon.  Here are a few shops in the US that already have English Garden in 2 1/2" strip packs or 10" stacks.
    A& J Sewing Studio -- Morgantown, WV
    Bill's Sewing Machine Company -- Hildebran, NC
    Bird In Hand Fabric -- Bird In Hand, PA
    Creations Quilt Shop -- Clouquet, MN
    Laural's Fabric and More -- Lino Lakes, MN
    Mary Mack Made Mine -- Franklin Square, NY
    Quilt Cottage Co -- Hays, KS
    Quilter's Cove -- Newport, OR


What's a Blog Hop without Giveaways?!  For 2" finished HSTs, I needed to cut my strips of fabric 6 1/2" wide.  I have some leftover partial strips of many of the English Lavender fabrics and I have bundled them with the rest of the Triangles on a Roll papers.  Leave a comment and visit The Darling Dogwood on facebook for entries.  Any blog comment will do, but if you need a prompt, tell me your favorite classic star block.  Carpenter's Star is one of mine!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to visit my fellow ambassadors Jennifer of Curlicue Creations and Anorina of Samelia's Mum to see what they made with the beautiful English Lavender collection!

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Pieced to Perfection blog hop starts today!

The Pieced to Perfection blog hop with Island Batik starts today!  In our July boxes, each ambassador was sent a half yard bundle and challenged to use as many fabrics as possible from that collection in a lap size (or larger) quilt.  The theme this time around is paper piecing, which could be either foundation paper piecing or English paper piecing.

I was so excited to be sent the English Lavender collection designed by Kathy Engle!  It's an absolutely beautiful mix of purples and blues--my favorite color combination!  My day to post is September 13th.  Come on back to see what paper pieced creation I cam up with using these gorgeous fabrics!

Every week, Island Batik has a giveaway of a pre-cut of one of the spring collections. The Island Batik giveaway changes every Friday.  Many ambassadors will have additional giveaways with their posts. I'll have a bonus giveaway as well, on September 13.

Don't miss a single day of the Pieced to Perfection blog hop!  Here is the full schedule:


September 5

Elita Sharpe, Busy Needle Quilting

Denise Looney, For the Love of Geese

September 6

Sandra Starley, Textile Time Travels

Sarah Pitcher, Pitcher’s Boutique

September 7

Connie Kauffman, Kauffman Designs

Brenda Alburl, Songbird Designs

Preeti Harris, Sew Preeti Quilts



September 11

Brittany Fisher, Bobbin with Brittany

Gail Sheppard, Quilting Gail

September 12

Susan Deshensky, Lady Blue Quilts

Maryellen McAuliffe, Mary Mack Made Mine

September 13

Emily Leachman, The Darling Dogwood

Anorina Morris, Samelia’s Mum

Jennifer Thomas, Curlicue Creations

September 14

Claudia Porter, Create with Claudia

Victoria Johnson, Forever Quilting for You


September 18

Lana Russel, Lana Quilts

Lisa Pickering, Lisa’s Quilting Passion

September 19

Randi Jones, Randi’s Roost

Suzy Webster, Websterquilt

September 20

Mania Hatziioannidi, Mania for Quilts

Pamela Boatright, Pamela Quilts

Leah Malasky, Quilted Delights

September 21

Renee Atkinson, Pink Tulip Quilting

Reed Johnson, Blue Bear Quilts

Monday, August 28, 2023

Overflowing Heart

For August, Island Batik is leaving it up to each of us what to make. Instead of a set theme, challenge, or restrictions, we can use any Island Batik fabric we like and create whatever we want.  Well, Challenge Accepted!  I knew exactly what I wanted to make.  

This is Overflowing Heart, my version of Jen Kingwell's Boho Heart.  I started it in February of 2021 as part of a Quilt Along on facebook.  I kept up fairly well, but this quilt has a lot of blocks.  A LOT.  One hundred and eight, to be exact, in seven different block sizes.  Over the past 2 1/2 years, I've focused on getting a few blocks done at a time.  At the start of 2023, I had 63 blocks completed, which means I still had 45 left to complete.  Plus, you know, putting all the blocks together (and this thing is a puzzle!) and quilting it and all the usual completion steps.  

close-up of some of the left side

Items used in this project were provided to me by Island Batik, Schmetz, Hobbs, Accuquilt, and Aurifil.

The quilt is assembled in 4 vertical panels

One of the things that I really liked about this pattern was that I knew how many blocks of each size I needed, so I could swap out the blocks in the actual pattern and sub in pretty much anything I wanted.  I added several blocks to personalize it.  With a blog named The Darling Dogwood, I added a dogwood blossom, of course!  (Pattern by Southwind Designs.)  There are 2 trees, a house, a fish, a penguin, a butterfly--and that might not even be all!

Knowing I wanted the quilt to be a bit like a treasure hunt for people looking at it, I also fussy cut some of the great Island Batik fabrics I've had over the years.  Like this moose, for example, from the Glacier View collection in 2020.  There is also other fussy-cut treasures to find, and some of them are even conveniently grouped together for a photo!  (Coincidence, I swear!)

Jen Kingwell is known for hand-piecing her quilts.  I do not, but there are a variety of techniques used, including needle turn applique, machine applique, English paper piecing, and traditional (machine) piecing.  I cut a lot of the blocks with my Accuquilt Go, including at least 2 different Block on Board (BOB) dies.  

daisy cut with Accuquilt

This is a truly scrappy quilt.  Every inch of it is Island Batik.  I could not even begin to guess how many different fabrics are in this quilt.  There are at least 50 different fabrics in the background alone.  I think there is at least one fabric from just about every collection I've been sent and used over the last 5 years.  As in Jen's original, I wanted there to be a lot of different colors.  I didn't worry too much as I was making the blocks; I knew if I used a wide variety of fabrics and colors, it would all work out.

detail, bottom right

The finished quilt is 68" x 80".  The background is in 1" (finished) strips, so I quilted with organic wavy lines along those vertical lines using Aurifil Thread 2562 Lilac, which I think blends really well with the wide variety of colors in the quilt.  All piecing and quilting was done with Schmetz needles.  The batting is Hobbs Heirloom 80/20, my favorite batting. 

Sunflower is a Southwest Designs block created in early days of invasion of Ukraine as a fundraiser

The sheer number of blocks and the fact that each one is essentially different made this initially daunting, but being part of the quilt along helped (even if I didn't keep up!) and I made myself a spreadsheet that I sorted by block size.  That way, I could keep track of the blocks I made and the blocks I substituted.  With the project taking so long to complete, I'm glad I created some way to track!

I knew I would change the name, as I don't love the term Boho, but I didn't know what to change it to.  A friend who saw pictures as it was being assembled said the final quilt looks "like a heart that's overflowing with colors and shapes."  Since my heart overflows with giddiness when I look at it, I took his suggestion for Overflowing Heart.  This quilt does make my heart happy!

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Bonus Summer Unboxing

When Island Batik sent out our July Ambassador boxes, the Summer precuts and some of the solid yardage wasn't available yet, so we got a bonus Ambassador box in early August.  Talk about Happy Mail!  I had forgotten there was more coming after the incredible bounty of the July box, so I was pretty thrilled to come home one day and have more beautiful Island Batik fabric waiting for me!


First, I had a strip pack of Morris Tiles, designed by Kathy Engle for Tammy of Tamarinis.  Morris Tiles has a really interesting combination of browns, aqua, and peach fabrics.  I love it!  I started working with it right away and actually have two kid-sized quilts made using Morris Tiles, but you'll have to wait until October to see them.  I love the flower and leafy patterns in these fabrics. Morris Tiles precuts are in stores now and yardage will be in shops in November/December.


With Morris Tiles came 2 yards each of a light and dark from the always-available Basics collection.  I was sent Shell and Mini Dots in Coffee.   

In each box, we usually are send 4 yards each of white, black, and gray, a great variety to use as background.  This time, there was a surprise!  Instead of gray, we were sent the Dark Gray.  I've had 1/2 yard cuts of the dark gray before, and used it making the road sashing on my Busy City quilt last year,  but never had enough to properly use it as a background.  Very excited to have 4 yards!


And, last but not least, I received 3 sets of stash builder rolls.  These are 5" x WOF and are a fun way to get a lot of different fabrics in a variety of colors, from a variety of collections.  I love using stash builder rolls for scrap projects and applique.


Thank you, Island Batik, for all the beautiful fabric!

Monday, July 17, 2023

Christmas in July -- Cookie Mats

Welcome to Christmas in July!  When Siobhan of CDM365 Studios asked me about participating in her Christmas in July blog hop, my first thought after "Yes!" was that I needed to pick a project.  I remembered back to Christmas 2021 when my son & I made a cookie mat to put Santa's cookies on--we put our cookies on the side of the fireplace, so we wanted something nice to be there for Santa.  I decided that making some new ones would be a fun project for us the weekend of July 4th.

I got out my box of Island Batik scraps and some of my AccuQuilt dies and we went to town!  I had set out some lighter scraps for backgrounds and let Fire Monkey (age 9) dictate which he wanted and what size.  We both started with the dinosaurs and added Santa-inspired hats.

Then we moved on to Snowmen.  Fire Monkey really got into it, he picked his fabrics, I added fusible web, then he ran the fabric through the Accuquilt cutter--he loves cranking the handle!  He wanted to fuse in the shapes in place on his background, so I let him use the iron for that, with me hovering nearby.  I hate stitching the fiddly little tiny circles for eyes, so we used fabric markers and drew on eyes instead.

This could be a fun holiday project with the kids of grandkids.  Finished size doesn't really matter, we ended up with 2 that are essentially mug rugs and 2 that are more like placemats, and one sort of in-between.  If you like the larger size, you could have kids make custom placemats for the holiday season.  It doesn't matter if you use these for Santa's cookies or your own!

We used Accuquilt to cut our shapes, but don't despair if you don't have one.  Trace cookie cutters for lots of fun shapes!  When I was pregnant with Fire Monkey, my friends hosted a baby shower and we made a mobile by tracing shapes from cookie cutters onto felt.  You can do the same thing with quilting cotton--fuse your fusible web to your fabric, then trace your cookie cutter shape and cut it out.  You can do that beforehand with younger kids or have older kids do it themselves.  Don't want to mess with tiny little decorations like we did?  Use fabric markers!  

Fire Monkey picking out fabric and Accuquilt dies

I used Hobbs Thermore batting because it's really thin and therefore good for placemats.  For three of our cookie mats, I layered the top, batting, and backing and just used the satin stitching around the applique shapes as my only quilting.  For the larger snowman mat, I did not stitch the appliques down but instead did a 1/2 inch crosshatch quilting, knowing that would keep all my applique shapes down.  I used scraps of leftover bindings for all of them, so this entire project was all scraps.  The 5th cookie mat, the one with the actual cookie in it, did not get finished in time, but I think I can have it done by the time Christmas actually rolls around!  😀

I hope you enjoyed these fun and fairly fast cookie mats.  Be sure to visit all the other bloggers helping to make it Christmas in July.

July 10th- Siobhan of

July 11th- Joise of guest blogging on 

July 12th- Lissa of

July 13th- Jen of

July 14th- Swan of

July 17th- Emily of

July 18th- Siobhan of


Thursday, July 13, 2023

Island Batik Upboxing #2

Twice a year, Island Batik Ambassadors receive shipments of their ambassador boxes.  This is always a very, very exciting day because the boxes are stuffed with gorgeous Island Batik fabrics and other quilting related goodies that are meant to be used in the next 6 months' worth of challenges.  

My July boxes (there were 2) weighed 28 pounds and were packed with fabric fun!  I made a video showcasing everything I received.  You can view it here.  If you have trouble with that link or just don't want to watch a video, here's an overview of what I got and when you'll see it in projects.  First, the industry partners.

Accuquilt sent their North Carolina Star die.  I'm particularly excited about this, because I live in North Carolina!  Each ambassador got the same die and you'll see our projects using the block or components from it in October.  I just finalized my design in EQ for this challenge and I am soooo in love with it!  I'm itching to get stitching!

Hobbs sent four (4!) different battings.  There is Thermore, a thin polyester batting, Heirloom Premium wool batting, 100% cotton batting with scrim, and cotton/wool blend from the Tuscany collection. 

Aurifil sent 5 spools of thread, each a different weight.  The red spool is wool thread in 12 weight (color Light Blue), the orange spool is 50 weight (color Peacock Blue), the wooden spool is 80 weight (color Mist), there is a spool of Aurifloss (color Shining Green) and a spool of monofilament thread. 

By Annie sent a kit to make a bag of my choice.  This is one of my favorite challenges every year!  I spend all year deciding which bag I want to make next and Annie sends me everything I need to make it--pattern, hardware, supplies, and naturally Island Batik fabric.  I am using fabric from a line called Limerick, which will be in stores in December. I chose the Out and About pattern, which is a small backpack absolutely loaded with pockets.  We will all showcase our bags in November, though truth be told, I'll have a hard time waiting that long to make mine!

And then there's the fabric!  First, I have a half yard bundle of English Lavender, an absolutely gorgeous collection of purples and blues.  I love this collection!  With it, I have 2 yards each of foundation fabrics Frosting and Eggplant.  English Lavender is a spring collection; pre-cuts are available now and yardage will be coming to quilts shops soon.  Spring collections will be featured in a September blog hop.


I received a 10" stack of Buds & Blooms, another spring collection, plus 2 yards each of the foundations Moonstone and Dandelion in Plum.  I love the colors in Buds & Blooms!  

I was sent two more pre-cuts, both gradations.  Gradations are from the always-available Foundations fabrics and include 20 fabrics of the same color family.  I got a strip pack of Glorious Greens and a 10" stack of Ravishing Reds.

A good neutral is frequently a must for a quilt, and I was sent a whopping 6 yards of Almond, one of the neutrals from Foundations.


Then there is a surprise bundle!  This is a half yard bundle of one of the collections that will be in shops around December, so I can't show it to you yet!  These collections will be highlighted in November. I didn't get a picture of it wrapped up.

And finally, a Foundations bundle of half yard cuts that coordinate with English Lavendar and my surprise collection.  All of these are from the always-available Foundations fabrics, of which there are three families: Solids, Blenders, and Basics.  Solids are what they sound like, Blenders have a pattern to them, and Basics are subtle batik dyed fabrics.  For solids, I was sent Green, Turquoise, Dark Gray, and Amethyst.  For Blenders I have Round Petal Floral in Lemonade, Small Pointed Floral in Turquoise, Wavy Dots in Bluebird, and Small Petal in Purple (my favorite!).  And in basics I have Purple, Teal, Jade, and Sky.

I just love all the beautiful fabrics and fun goodies!  I can't wait to show you what I make with all this bounty in the next 6 months!  Many thanks to Island Batik, Accuquilt, Aurifil, By Annie, and Hobbs!