Thursday, November 28, 2019

Islander Squares (and giveaway winner)

When I made my August Island Batik challenge quilt, Tropical Stars, I had some strip remnants left from my original Islander strip pack.  I thought the leftovers would make a great leaders and enders project.  I used the Accuquilt 2 1/2" strip die to subcut those leftovers into 2 1/2' squares.  I didn't use the strips from the two lightest fabrics in Tropical Stars, so I had all of those plus some extra of the yellow mini bubbles. I cut those into 2 1/2" squares as well.  I thought that I had roughly equal light yellow and everything else, so a classic 4-patch checkerboard would look nice.

Perfect for island sunbathing
It's not big, but I like it!  It's 28" x 32".  Not huge, but fine to be donated to the local children's hospital to brighten someone's day.

The weather wasn't cooperating much so I had to take pictures on the deck.  I grabbed some of Fire Monkey's toys--can you tell he's on a shark kick?--for a photo shoot.

I did diagonal quilting on the light yellow squares with bright yellow Aurifil thread color 1135. The binding is actually from Flea Market but the greens and dark yellows blend really well with Islander. These are such fun, bright fabrics that I didn't want to let any go to waste!

Speaking of Island Batik, the winner of my giveaway from my stop on the A Piece Of blog hop is Beth T.  Congratulations Beth!  I haven't heard back from her yet, so if you are Beth or know Beth, let her know to get in touch.  If I haven't heard from her in a few more days, I'll redraw.  My prize package includes scraps from Black Pearl, including almost a yard and a half of the octopus print!  Plus a lovely Island Batik black and white scarf.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Quilted Sunshine (Cheryl's Quilt)

Today, I got one of the best experiences I think those of us who makes things can have--I got to give someone a quilt I made just for them.  And in this case, it was a total surprise for the recipient.

My coworker and friend Cheryl is having surgery next month with an anticipated hospital stay of 3-5 days.  I looked into making a cheerful hospital gown but the ones I found are too garment-like for my non-existent garment sewing abilities.  I did offer to convert a nightgown for her and I'm working on that (I ran out of snaps and have to order more; I'll post what I did once I'm done) but I knew that I also wanted to make a quilt to brighten up a dreary, boring hospital room.

Cheryl is a HUGE Disney fan.  I've participated in a lot of I Spy swaps over the years and some allowed licensed character fabrics while others did not.  I keep any licensed character 5" squares separated from my regular 5" I Spy squares.  So my first step was to look to see what I had.  Several Mickey or Minnie, Cinderella, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, Snow White & Belle, 101 Dalmatians, Sully from Monsters INC, Tinkerbell, and Olaf.  Okay, great start!  I also pulled Hello Kitty, Snoopy, and some Dr. Seuss characters.

I decided to alternate I Spy squares with bright colors.  I went into my bin of Kona solids and used my Accuquilt to cut scraps into 5" squares. Kona colors used are, in the order that I cut them: Lagoon, Lavender, Leprechaun, Emerald, Marine, Blueberry, Seafoam, Purple, Clover, Robin Egg, Citrus, Lime, Jade, Parakeet, Malibu, Candy Green, Pond, Prussian, Niagara, and Medium Pink.

After I pulled all the Disney characters I had, I started through my I Spy squares to pick the rest.  I picked fabrics I thought Cheryl would like, think were funny, or had significance. 

I bought a Mickey & Minnie fleece print to use for the back.  I love using fleece on the back of my quilts--I don't use batting in these.  The fleece plus the top make a great weight--not too heavy.  I went with a scrappy binding--everything was stuff I already had except for the backing fleece.  The fabrics in the binding are Kona Lime, Blueprint, Hibiscus, Orange, Tomato, Azure, Camellia, and Curry. 

I knew I would see Cheryl today (we work at different locations and don't see each other every day) so I washed it last night and rolled it up, then brought it in this morning.  She was about as speechless as I've ever seen her.  It was fun to see her discover the different fabrics.  I'm so pleased that she liked it and that she will have something cheerful with her at the hospital, as well as at home with her during recovery.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

My fabric doppelganger (bee block catch-up)

I'm behind in posting my blocks for Stash Bee.  This is my fourth year in the online bee and I really enjoy the variety of blocks I am asked to make.

November is Queen Velda of Freckled Fox Quiltery.  She's making a quit inspired by the phrase and song "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and asked each of us to make our likeness in fabric, with the Pippi Longstocking block by Just Jude as the template.  So here's mine:

Yes, I know the bottom is shorter than the rest of the block.  It's improv!
Looks just like me, right?  I made my dress longer than the original tutorial and used a purple batik (from Island Batik, of course!) and kept my feet bare instead of adding shoes.  This block combines my love of batiks with my love of Kona solids--the skin is Medium Pink and the hair is Chestnut.  It's a tad darker than my actual hair but it was the closest match among my Kona scraps.

October Queen Heather asked for a Hunter's Star block with bright colors.  She asked that we keep the quadrants separate and not sew it together so she can mix and match later if she wants.  Here are mine:

This was my first Hunter's Star.  I didn't love the angles of the pieces but I do like how it looks.

September Queen Kim created a fabric wampum block.  Her brother-in-law is a citizen of the Oneida Nation, part of the Iriquois Confederacy.  She plans to make a quilt of the flag of the Iriquois Confederacy and asked for blocks that simulate wampum for the quilt.  Here are my blocks:

Are you interested in joining on online bee?  Stash Bee sign-ups are open for 2020!  I really enjoy Stash Bee!  I get to meet a great group of quilters from all over and it's fun to see the variety of blocks chosen.  Plus I get to make a new block each month without the commitment of a while quilt!
Sign-ups are open through November 17th.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Week two of "A Piece Of" blog hop

We're in week two of the A Piece Of blog hop highlighting the new collections from Island Batik. This week's prize is a precut bundle of Sand Bar. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can find the full blog hop schedule here, and in case you missed some, there's a great recap of week one here.  

And if you haven't entered my giveaway for some lovely Black Pearl fabric, be sure to check out my last post with my Octopus's Garden quilt.  My giveaway is open until November 24th.  

Monday, November 4, 2019

Octopus's Garden, part of the A Piece Of blog hop (plus giveaway)

Today kicks off the start of Island Batik's A Piece Of blog hop and I'm so excited to be on the first day!!  I received the collection Black Pearl by Kathy Engle as my surprise fabric back in January and I started my project in March.  So, without further ado, here is Octopus's Garden!

I pretty much started singing Octopus's Garden by the Beatles from the moment I saw my fabric and haven't stopped since. My inspiration was this guy:

The fabric is aptly named Octopus and is in the color Frozen Pond.  I knew I wanted to start with an octopus.  I looked at several patterns and finally chose this one from a Sew Mama Sew post by Elizabeth Hartman from 2008. This particular octopus is very opinionated.  She told me very early in the stitching process that her name was Petunia.  I told her that was ridiculous, I couldn't name her after the not-at-all nice aunt from Harry Potter!  But she insists that her name is Petunia.

Petunia the Octopus, from a Sew Mama Sew tutorial by Elizabeth Hartman
Once I found an octopus pattern, she needed some clam shells in her garden.  The clam shells were the first part I actually stitched. The template and method I used is now a dead link--the pitfalls of starting months ago! I stitched down the clam shells with Auriful monofilament in smoke. The center panel contains 17 of the 20 fabrics in the collection.  I saved the Octopus print and another with sea turtles to be featured in the rest of the quilt, and I used the 20th fabric (Fern Leaves in Gun Metal) for the sashing and binding. 

Coral and Fish also from Elizabeth Hartman tutorial
My vision for the rest of the quilt was to have other sea creatures and the fabulous Black Pearl fabrics surround the octopus in her garden.  I wanted it to feel fairly random, and I pictured something similar to the Mondrian-inspired quilt patterns that Liz of Savor Every Stitch has created.  I did not end up using her generator--I graphed mine out using graph paper and pencil--but her pattern generator was part of my inspiration. The experience of graphing it out has told me that it's time to consider buying quilt design software!

My old-school design method
There are a total of 18 blocks of animal applique or piecing that surround Petunia the Octopus.  All are on a background of Island Batik's gray solid.  I used a few scraps of the solid black and white as eyes for various animals.  My train die for the Accuquilt Go! has two different size circles and I use those for eyes whenever I can--it's a great time saver and, unlike me, the Accuquilt cuts perfect circles. All twenty fabrics from Black Pearl are included in Octopus's Garden and all make multiple appearances.  

Fish Pattern from Animal Parade by Cheri Leffler
I wrote down a list of sea creatures I wanted to include and went about collecting possible patterns.  I started with those I already owned.  Several fish plus the sea turtle, seahorse, crab, and jelly fish came from the book Animal Parade by Cheri Leffler.

Sea Turtle from Animal Parade by Cheri Leffler.  Trio of fish from tutorial by Elizabeth Hartman
 I picked out the fabric for each animal as I made it, so there wasn't a lot of pre-planning.

Seahorse from Animal Parade by Cheri Leffler
I did not originally have a shark on my list of ocean animals to include, but my son entered a big shark phase this summer and insisted that I add at least one shark.  I let him help me pick the fabric for the shark; he liked the lines in this one and says it's a tiger shark.  The outline came from a downloadable coloring page I found online. 

My son wanted more sharks so we agreed to call this little guy a shark as well, even though I originally meant him as a fish.

The whale is another pattern I already owned.  It's from the book Fat Quarter Baby by It's Sew Emma.  It came together really quickly and is a pattern I'll use again.

whale pattern from Fat Quarter Baby by It's Sew Emma
The whale and this row of fish (below) are the only animals that are traditionally pieced; all others are applique.  I used a variety of Auriful threads for the satin stitch around my applique pieces.  I didn't write them all down, but my main threads were 2783 (a medium blue), 2785 (dark blue), 4020 (bright pink), 2520 (a lovely lavender), 2615 (gray) and 2710 (light blue).

fish pattern is Summer School by Missouri Star Quilt Company on their YouTube channel

I also used the 2710 (light blue) for the quilting.  I considered many different threads but I wanted something that wouldn't be too dark against all the gray solid background.  I used the wave stitch on Willa the Wonder Machine (my Pfaff) because I wanted it to look like waves in the ocean.  The lines of stitches are every two inches.

jellyfish from Animal Parade by Cheri Leffler
The batting is Hobbs Heirloom 80/20, my favorite batting.  This is a queen size batt.  I made the quilt for our guest room bed which is actually a double/full, but the quilt fits even our queen bed.  The guest room is also my sewing space and I'm sew excited to have this special quilt where I will see it every day!

I really wanted a mermaid but man, were those fingers hard to stitch around!!

crab from Animal Parade by Cheri Leffler
I started this when I thought the quilt would be a part of the August Beat the Heat blog hop, and I thought that being under the ocean would fit that theme well.  Then there were some changes to the hops for this year and I was moved to A Piece Of.  Bonus is that I got more time!  Downside is that I wasn't sure how to make this fit the new theme, even though we're told we don't have actually have to fit the theme.  But I put so much of me into this quilt that I now think of it as a piece of me, so it fits after all!

Want the full schedule for the hop?  You can find it here. Island Batik is also doing a giveaway each week of the hop.  This week, it's a precut bundle of Little Sir, Little Miss.  Hop on over and check it out!

starfish from Keepsake Transfer Collection: The Big Book
There are two of us who were lucky enough to get Black Pearl to play with for today's hop.  Be sure to check out Janet Yamamoto at her Whispers of Yore facebook page to see what she did with these lovelies.

fish from Animal Parade by Cheri Leffler
You can see that I added the octopus fabric throughout the quilt. 

dolphin from 150 blocks for Baby Quilts by Susan Briscoe
The materials used in this quilt were provided to me by Island Batik., Accuquilt, Aurifil, and Hobbs.

fish from Animal Parade by Cheri Leffler, squid from a coloring sheet
Now that you've made it through all those pictures, want a chance to win some fabric?  I have scraps of Black Pearl to give away.  You can see two piles of scraps, below.  Some are fairly substantial, meaning you could cut at least a layer cake square.  The pile on the far right has the smaller scraps, but they would be great for improv or EPP.  And there is almost a yard and a half of Octopus in Frozen Pond, plus an Island Batik black and white scarf.

prize package includes yardage of Octopus, black and white scarf, plus scraps of Black Pearl
Enter using the Rafflecopter below.  If you need a prompt for blog comment, tell me your favorite aquatic animal.  We visited the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta last weekend and I particularly loved the beluga whales. Giveaway is open for the duration of the A Piece Of blog hop and closes November 24th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, November 2, 2019

A Piece Of Blog Hop coming soon!

Island Batik's blog hop featuring the summer collections that are about to be available in stores starts on Monday.  And my day is the very first day!

Each ambassador got a secret collection in their January ambassador box.  I got Black Pearl, an absolutely beautiful collection by Kathy Engle.

 I'm so excited to share what I made!  In the mean time, here are the rep samples I made back in March.  One of our ambassador responsibilities is to make a sample for the sales reps to use to show off the fabric.  These are made to the size specifications of Kennel Quilts so they can be donated to an animal shelter once the sales reps no longer need them. 

The front was meant to show off the octopus and sea turtles in the fabrics.

You can see why I was so excited to get these fabrics!  Come back on Monday to see what I did with them!

To celebrate the blog hop, Island Batik is giving away a prize every week.  This week's prize is a precut bundle of Little Sir, Little Miss.

a Rafflecopter giveaway