Monday, November 14, 2022

Creative Christmas Stockings with Island Batik

November's Island Batik Ambassador challenge is creative Christmas stockings.  We were to make a stocking, and that was the only directive; it could be any color or design we wanted.  Some challenges, I immediately have ideas while others need time to percolate.  This was one of the times that I needed time to ponder the possibilities.

Unrelated, back in September, I saw a block that Laura of Slice of Pi quilts designed for Island Batik's Woodcut Blossoms line.  She called the block Woodcut Roses and I absolutely loved it.  It wasn't too many days after I fist saw Woodcut Roses that I realized those flowers would look stunning on a Christmas stocking. I had the prefect fabric, too, leftovers from Woodblock Bouquets, a signature collection earlier this year for Carol Moellers that includes deep red-pinks, dark greens, and golds.  Perfect for a Christmas color palette!

applique laid out on the stocking

I selected a lovely cream from Woodblock Bouquets as my background.  I used Heat-n-bond Lite for the flower pieces.  When I was happy with the layout, I fused them in place  Then I layered the stocking with Hobbs Thermore batting, a thin polyester batting perfect for small projects and stitched a small cross-hatch with Aurifil Thread color 2000 and a Schmetz mircotex chrome needle.  Since the flower pieces were fused on and the stitching is pretty close together, I didn't do any additional stitching around the applique shapes.  I used Island Batik's solid white for the lining of the stocking.


layering with Thermore

You can still download the free Woodcut Roses pattern at the Slice of Pi Quilts website.  Laura made a beautiful table runner with hers, if you are looking for other ideas. 

Stocking back     

layered together

Ta-da!  Finished stocking!

We haven't started decorating for Christmas yet so I tried to get a picture of the stocking hanging over my fireplace, but it looks empty without other decorations or stockings to keep it company.

Be sure to check out all the Island Batik Ambassadors to see their creative Christmas stockings!  There have been some really fun ones, and the month is only half over!

Brenda Alburl ~ Songbird Designs Megan Best ~ Bestquilter Pamela Boatright ~ Pamelaquilts Elizabeth DeCroos ~ Epida Studio Jennifer Fulton ~ Inquiring Quilter Preeti Harris ~ Sew Preeti Quilts Mania Hatziioannidi ~ Mania for quilts Jane Hauprich ~ Stitch By Stitch Custom Quilting Reed Johnson ~ Blue Bear Quilts Connie Kauffman ~ Kauffman Designs . Emily Leachman ~ The Darling Dogwood Denise Looney ~ For The Love Of Geese Leah Malasky ~ Quilted Delights Maryellen McAuliffe ~ Mary Mack Made Mine Anorina Morris – Lisa Pickering ~ Lisa’s Quilting Passion Claudia Porter ~ Create with Claudia Gail Renna ~ Quilt Haven Threads Brianna Roberts ~ Sew Cute And Quirky Michelle Roberts ~ Creative Blonde Gail Sheppard ~ Quilting Gail Andi Stanfield ~ True Blue Quilts Sandra Starley ~ Textile Time Travels Jennifer Thomas ~ Curlicue Creations Suzy Webster ~ Websterquilt



Friday, November 11, 2022

Call for 2023 Island Batik Ambassadors

Island Batik is currently accepting applications for their 2023 brand ambassador program.  If you are active on social media and love beautiful batiks, you might make a great Island Batik Ambassador!


I love being an ambassador!  The monthly challenges are so much fun and have been so great for my creativity, artistic expression, and growth as a quilter.  You can read more about what Island Batik is looking for here, and that link also includes the application.  You have until November 15th to apply, so don't delay! 

Just for fun, here is one of my ambassador projects from my first year as an Island Batik Ambassador. 

This is Tropical Stars and was made with the Islander collection for the Star Light, Star Britght challenge in August 2019.  The pattern is Star Blossoms from the book Scrap-Basket Beauties by Kim Brackett.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Gotham Quilts has created a panel of six fun pillows to celebrate their love of New York City.  The panel coordinates with their My NYC fabric line, which I was pleased to sew with over the summer.   While of course you can use the pillow panel to make pillows, Jennifer of Dizzy Quilter is hosting a blog hop showcasing some other uses for these fun motifs.

I admit, my idea is not super original.  My son has recently started asking to visit New York City and I knew he'd love an NYC-themed shirt.  He has always loved different vehicles, so I knew I'd make one with the taxi.  When I showed him the images, he also liked Lady Liberty.  I bought 2 long-sleeved shirts from Target.

The process for these was not difficult and I didn't really stop in between steps and get many photos.  I rough cut about a half an inch outside the design, I ironed the image onto some Heat-n-Bond Lite, and then I cut carefully cut out the shape. 

rough cut, before fusing

Being sure to only have the top of the shirt on the ironing board, I fused the image onto the shirt, then used a narrow satin stitch to secure it to the shirt. 


Admittedly, these images are fairly large.  I think they'd fit better on clothes for larger people; my son is on the small side for his age, and I even bought shirts up a size so he'd be able to wear them for a while. I did pre-wash both the pillow panel and the t-shirts.  I'm not normally a pre-washer, but since this is clothing, I thought that I should get any shrinkage out of the way before adding the applique to the shirt.


Any of these images would look great on a sweatshirt or on the back of a jacket.  Or, as Jennifer's mom proved, on an apron

I know the assignment was "something other than a pillow" but I could not resist making the pizza rat pillow.  Fire Monkey (my son) loves it!  I put flannel on the back so it is nice and cuddly.  Cuddly for a rat, anyway!  😀

Be sure to check out all the ideas for making non-pillow items with the pillow panel from Gotham Quilts!

November 1: Jen Strauser * Dizzy Quilter

November 2: Swan Sheridan * Swan Amity Studios

November 3: Lissa LaGreca * Lovingly, Lissa

November 3: Emily Leachman * The Darling Dogwood ⮜ You Are Here!

November 4: Deborah Fisher * Fish Museum and Circus

November 5: Siobhan Fitzpatrick * CDM365 Studios

November 5: Autumn Shatto * Geometry And Joy

November 6: Laura Piland * Slice of Pi Quilts


Sunday, October 30, 2022

Double Zip Gear Bag, Patterns By Annie

Island Batik's ambassador challenge this month is one of my favorites: It's In the Bag with By Annie.  Each of us got to choose one of Annie's fabulous patterns and the beautiful Island Batiks to make it with.  I chose the Double Zip Gear Bag and made all three sizes.  The fabrics are from the Bee Kind collection by Kathy Engle for Swan Amity Studios.  I was sent a bit with absolutely everything I need to make all three double zip gear bags!


Annie's patterns all have a page that you can photocopy with little boxes for each piece you cut out, so you know what it is cut out of, the size, and the role it plays in the bag.  Since I was making all three size bags and each would feature a different colored fabric, I photocopied each size onto colored paper that coordinated with the color of the bag.  This helped eliminate mixing up the pieces from the different sized bags.  I made the medium (green) bag first.


I quilted each of my three bags with a slightly different quilting pattern, though all used straight lines.  I matched my Aurifil thread to each fabric and used a Schmetz topstitch needle for the entire process. 

The products featured in this post were given to me by Island Batik, By Annie, Schmetz, & Aurifil.


Annie's bags have a lot of steps but that's part of what I love about them--they are so thorough!  And you end up with very professional looking bags.  Many patterns, including double zip gear bag, have an add-on video that walks you through the more difficult steps of the pattern.   These videos are really helpful.  Annie also has a series of general videos on her website that go over some bag-making basics, like working with zippers and beautiful bindings.


I love my completed bags!  They are really useful and have a lot of pockets.  Each bag has two large zippered pockets on the exterior, one made with mesh and one with quilted fabric.  On the inside, there are slip pockets with elastic on both sides, and those can be subdivided into smaller pockets as desired.  I think the medium is the most useful size, though I know I will be happy to have and use all three. And when I'm not using them, they nest together!  


While Double Zip Gear Bag is not the easiest of Annie's patterns that I have made, if you follow the instructions and go step by step, you will end up with a beautiful, useful, professional looking bag!

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Prize Winners!

I have some prize winners to announce!  First, I had many leftover 10" squares of Island Batik's powerful Positively Pink collection.  Sandy is the lucky winner!  I have sent an email and will get them in the mail as soon as I hear back.


I also have a copy of the pattern Arabella's Garden by Preeti Harris of Sew Preeti Quilts to give away.  Kathy E. is the lucky winner.  She should be hearing from Preeti soon.  If you are disappointed that you didn't win, you can get a copy of Arabella's Garden in Preeti's Etsy shop.  The pattern gives four different sizes and includes a coloring sheet for you to audition colors.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Pink Magnolia Buds for Pinktober

I am honored to be a part of the Pinktober blog hop hosted by hosted by Brianna of Sew Cute & Quirky and sponsored by Island Batik, Aurifil, and Quilter's Perfect Klip

I've playing with a flower pattern for a while and all these shades of pink were perfect for it.  The block comes from a book that I stumbled upon at my library (meaning the one where I work) called The Collector's Dictionary of Quilt Names & Patterns by Yvonne M. Khin.  The book is from 1980. This block is called Magnolia Buds and is originally from the Kansas City Star.  I liked the idea of a quilt full of flowers bringing comfort to someone fighting breast cancer. 


Island Batik sent me a 10" stack of their Positively Pink line and I could choose 2 coordinating fabrics from their always-available Foundations collection.  I chose Linen, a lovely warm neutral with yellow tones for the background and Raspberry for the flower bud centers, the sashing cornerstones, and the binding.  I also used two Foundations I already had: Chameleon for the leaves and Bermuda for center of the leaves/stems.  Aurifil send me a spool of a lovely pink thread, which I used for the serpentine stitch quilting.  Quilter's Perfect Klip sent two packages of their clips.  They are a little larger than the other clips on the market and I love the pink color!

I have known many people diagnosed with breast cancer.  A family friend.  An aunt.  A college friend.  A very close friend's mom.  A colleague.  A teacher.  Their stories are not mine to tell, so I won't give details here, but I do what I can to spread the importance of self tests, annual mammograms, and early detection. Early detection saves lives!

Like many women, I started getting annual mammograms at age 40.  Before Covid, my workplace brought the mobile mammography unit to campus twice a year.  It was great to be able to schedule in the middle of my workday, walk across campus for the exam, and then go right back to work.  No time off, easy to fit into my workday.  That's the kind of thing that workplaces can do to make it easy for their staff to take this important preventative measure.  But even now that the mobile unit hasn't come since Covid, I still make my annual appointment.  Early detection is so important.

I do not have a recipient in mind for this quilt.  I find that quilts usually know who they are meant for.  I'm sure a person or a cause will make themselves known to me.  I'd be happy with an individual, a clinic or mobile mammography unit, or an organization that raises funds for breast cancer research and/or treatments.  I'll hang on to it until the right recipient appears. 

With careful cutting, I was able to make two blocks with just one 10" square.  This means that I have a lot of Positively Pink squares left--18!  There are many things you could do to make a quilt of hope for someone with those squares, so I'm offering a giveaway for those eighteen 10" squares.  Enter via the rafflecopter; giveaway runs through the end of the Pinktober blog hop and I'll pick a winner on October 23rd.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thanks to Brianna for hosting a blog hop to spread awareness!  Be sure to check out all the beautiful quilts made for the Pinktober blog hop. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Giveaway updates plus Pinktober!

I can't believe it's already October!  Fall is my favorite time of year.  October is a busy month at my house, both Fire Monkey and Husband have October birthdays and our anniversary is in October.  Lots of celebrations!

October is also breast cancer awareness month, and I am thrilled to be participating in Island Batik's Pinktober blog hop, hosted by Brianna of Sew Cute & Quirky.  Island Batik has created two beautiful collections honoring the fight against breast cancer, Positively Pink and Hope & Heart.  


For most of the month, featured bloggers will be showcasing these collections and telling how breast cancer has affected them or their loved ones.  My day is October 10th, so come back and see the Positively Pink quilt I made. Other sponsors of the hop are Aurifil and Quilter's Perfect Klip. Here is the full list of participants:

Speaking of Blog Hops, September's Tool Talk blog hop was a success!  The winner of my giveaway of three beautiful blue Island Batik fabrics from the Prairie Blue collection is Maryellen!  I've already contacted Maryellen and will get her prize in the mail.

Looking for another chance to win a prize?  Preeti of Sew Preeti Quilts is giving one of my readers a copy of her newest pattern, Arabella's Garden.  Check out this post and leave me a comment there by October 7th to enter.