Monday, August 31, 2020

Jelly Snowflake

Rose from Something Rose Made and I agreed to do another QAL together this year--the first two we didn't realize the other was doing, but this time we chose together.  After looking at a different things going on at the time, we decided on the Jelly Snowflake Mystery Quilt hosted by the Fat Quarter Shop.  Here is my snowflake:

I used the Glacier View collection designed by Kathy Engle for Island Batik.  This means it matches my Christmas Tree skirt that I made earlier in the year, though I haven't decided if I'm keeping the snowflake yet.  I love all the shades of blues in this collection--perfect for a wintery snowflake without being limited to Christmas.  

I didn't love the long skinny blocks in the original so I took a page out of Rose's book and did strips instead.  I chose to have mine radiate from lighter blues to dark navy.  Rose calls this being a QAL Escape Artist 😀  Rose's version, which she named Frosty Flake, makes an appearance on this post on her blog.

I did spiral quilting.  If I had it to do over, I'd do a slightly closer spiral, but overall I'm happy with it.  I set Jelly Snowflake as my One Monthly Goal with Patty of Elm Street Quilts.  My goal was to finish the top but I'm pleased to have a finished quilt.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Stuffed Animal Quilt by Fire Monkey

 I've talked here before about how my son occasionally likes to sew with me.  Our last project was the quilt for his teacher last school year, and we've been planning to make a small quilt (or two or more) for his stuffed animals.  In what is possibly the most adorable thing ever, he's even told me that his animals have been asking for quilts.  So when I had sizeable offcuts from snowballing the corners of Stormy Seas, I stitched and squared up the resulting HSTs and set them aside for him to play with.


I gave them to him one afternoon, along with a lime green fleece remnant for backing, and had him lay out the HSTs however he wanted.  I had to assist a bit to get a shape that we could actually sew, but the layout was completely his.  When we sew, I steer the fabric and he uses the foot pedal, which we place on the table so he can use his hands.  (A brilliant tip from Kathleen McMusing that was a game-changer for us!)

You can see his aesthetic is much more modern than his mama's!  I wanted it to truly be his, so I didn't push for a recognizable pattern or layout.  

Fire Monkey loves the "fancy stitches" on my machine and is always disappointed that we can't use them for piecing.  So I let him go nuts when we get to quilting.  For this, we did straight lines accross the short side so we'd have more rows and therefore more stitches.  My favorite is the star.  He picked some fun ones, including this tree that I don't think I've used before.  We agreed on the bright yellow Aurifil thread.

Since these fabrics are from Island Batik's Colorpop collection, I pulled what I still had of the fat quarter bundle and let him pick a binding.  He picked a multicolored dot.  We used fancy stitches to stitch it down.

You can see that Bunny, the current favorite, loves their new quilt!  Fire Monkey is ready for his next project but I don't think he's chosen one yet.  He certainly has more stuffed animals that could use blankets!

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

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Purple Peaks

When I made the Quilt for Teacher with Fire Monkey in the spring, the pattern created some cut-off triangles of a good size.  I saved them and sewed them together into HSTs knowing I would have enough for a small new project.  The teacher quilt had 60 blocks, so I made 4 extra HSTs to give myself 64 and therefore an 8 x 8 layout.

Obviously with HSTs there are a lot of layout options.  I decided that a simple peaks & valleys layout would look good.  For the quilting I followed the peaks & valleys on both sides.

For the back I used a piece of minky or similar that someone gave me back in Project Linus days.  It's fairly small but so is this quilt, so it worked.  You can see the back a bit through the white sections of the quilt but I decided that I didn't care.  This will be a donation quilt to the local children's hospital and I doubt a kid will be upset that they can see the birdie on the other side.

I conveniently finished this during purple month with Angela at So Scrappy.  It's not my regular Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks, but it is made of scraps and it is purple, so, win!

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

I Spy a Heart!

My cousin Tim & his wife Nichole had their second child, a girl, in late June.  Nichole is a quilter, so I get a little nervous about baby quilts!  I made an I Spy quilt with stars in it for their oldest daughter Emma when she was born.  I asked Nichole if she had any preferences--same design but different color?  Nichole said she would love another I Spy, but maybe something with a heart?  See, at 20 weeks they were told that Baby Girl had a heart defect and would require surgery.  Nichole has been using the heart as a symbol of strength.  And I knew exactly what to make!

A few years ago, Val who is now at Val's Quilting Studio posted an I Spy quilt she made with a heart in the middle.  Her blog has changed some and I can't find it to link.  I liked hers a lot but wanted more definition around the heart.  I used graph paper to sketch it out.  Then I went through my stash of 4" I Spy squares from a swap hosted by Val herself maybe two years ago? Those were the background, so no red, and I made HSTs from 5" I Spy squares.

I wanted to use one fabric to surround the heart to better make it stand out.  I wasn't sure I had anything that I liked, and this was fairly early into the pandemic shut down.  My LQS had just gotten in some elastic and was doing curbside orders.  Wanting to support them, I put "pink with small print" on my list, and this is what they brought me.  It's called Sugar Speckles and I used it for the binding as well.

For the back I used the same print that's on the back of big sister Emma's quilt.  My mom bought something like 5 yards of this for $1 at a yard sale quite a few years ago.  I'm glad the backs will match but the fronts are different--perfect for sisters! 

Speaking of big sister Emma, you may remember that I already made her big sister present.  This is William Whale by Funky Friends Factory made in Island Batik fabrics.

I am pleased to report that baby Nora is doing fine.  She did not have to have surgery right after birth; they'd like her to gain a little more weight before the surgery.  I suspect it will be in the next month or so.  I need to get this labeled and mailed off to her!

Friday, August 7, 2020

Stormy Seas: An Island Batik Challenge with Studio 180 Design

For our August challenge, Island Batik partnered with Deb Tucker's Studio 180 Design.  Each of us was sent one of her tools and had to make at least 16 units with that tool.  Tools were assigned randomly and I was sent the Diamond Rects tool.  This makes one unit, a diamond inside a rectangle, most commonly found in the Storm at Sea block.  Well, truth be told, I had never been tempted to make a Storm at Sea before, but as soon as I realized that was the best fit for my tool, I envisioned a sail boat in the center of a traditional Storm at Sea block.  I had a fat quarter bundle of Colorpop by Kathy Engle and the bright colors just screamed fun and child friendly.
Photo by K. Mellnik

Remember when I teased this sneak peak of brightly colored sailboats?  Now you know what I had planned!  The background is Coconut from the Neutrals collection; there actually isn't much of it in the finished quilt, as the corners are essentially snowballed to create the Storm at Sea block.  I named this Stormy Seas as a play on the traditional block.
This was my first time working with Deb Tucker's tools and it was great!  I'm not a perfectionist quilter. I don't try to be nor do I claim to be.  Deb's tools have you make slightly oversized units and trim them down--and the tool makes this not a chore.  I did watch the video tutorial for the diamond rects tool a few times and seeing it in use helped.  The Studio 180 Design website also has the instruction sheets as well as diagrams for left-handed quilters. 
The diamond rect units were easy to make and trim with the tool. The tool makes 5 different sizes.  I used the next-to-largest size as I wanted my blocks to be big enough to put a boat in the middle.  My layout required 24 diamond rectangle units, comfortably above the minimum of 16 for the challenge. 
I use painters' tape to mark each unit's placement

I used EQ8 to adapt the Storm at Sea block and to test my color placement.  I'm still learning the program but I was able to get a pretty good feel for the final quilt.   I used the design in EQ8 to help me with the color placement as I made the units--one of the hardest parts for me when they are not all the same.

Photo by K. Mellnik.  Knees by me.

I used Hobbs fusible 80/20 batting.  I quilted in organic wavy lines, hoping to simulate waves, with Aurifil thread color 1231, a lime green that matches the green in Colorpop.  I used Schmetz chrome microtex needles and love how well they go through the batik fabrics--and how long they last.

Photo by K. Melnik
Photo by K. Mellnik

Materials used in this project were provided to me by Island Batik, Deb Tucker's Studio 180 Design, Hobbs, Aurifil, and Schmetz.

I really wanted to photograph this with a boat but I don't have access to any boats.  I decided near water was the next best thing so I arranged a social distanced take-out picnic with a friend at a local nature park with a lake.  She's got a better eye for photography than I do, so she took the pictures of the finished quilt.
Photo by K. Mellnik

It's not a traditional Storm at Sea but I'm hoping the block comes through and I can't help but smile when I look at it.  I think the diamonds inside rectangles would make a really nice border so I'm excited to play with this tool some more to see how I use can the units.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

August OMG: Snowflake

I started the Jelly Snowflake mystery quilt along with the Fat Quarter Shop in July, but I have not finished it.  I made the first two blocks and then waited to see the final design before continuing because I thought I might change a few things.  I'm probably not changing anything, at least not anything major, so now it's time to make the rest of the blocks and finish the top.  I am setting having a completed top as my OMG, or One Monthly Goal, with Patty of Elm Street Quilts.

I'm using Island Batik's Glacier View collection designed by Kathy Engle.  I have yardage rather than a jelly roll, which actually gives me a bit more flexibility to make some minor changes.  The centers of the stars for block 2, for example, were background in the original pattern but since I had yardage and wasn't limited to 2 1/2" wide, I used a print from the collection.

I'm looking forward to seeing this one put together!