Friday, July 23, 2021

Never Too Early: Wreath

Island Batik has decided that it is Never Too Early to be ready for the end of the year holidays!  They challenged each ambassador to plan ahead and make something for the holidays now.  I chose an intentionally broad interpretation of "end of the year" and decided to do three small quilts to use as decorations for my front door, once each for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  Here's my third project for the challenge, a Christmas wreath.

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



I've been wanting to make a quilted wreath for a while.  I was originally planning on using log cabin blocks, but I saw a few variations of this HST layout on Pinterest and decided I liked it better.  I went through all my green Island Batik scraps and cut no more than 4 triangles of any green that looked good.  I even had a green that must have been a Christmas print so I fussy-cut the motifs; I think that fabric was from a stash builder strip from a previous box. I did all the cutting with my Accuquilt Go! which is my favorite method for HSTs.  I love how they always come out perfect and the dog ears are already cut off.  

The background is the neutral Yolk, a lovely creamy pale yellow that I really love.  Sadly, I'm almost out.  To match the Yolk, I did cross hatch quilting with Aurifil 50 weigh color 2115/Lemon. I used Schmetz needles for all the stitching.  I used a scrap of Hobbs fusible batting which was so easy!  I love using the fusible batting because layering the quilt is my least favorite part of the process.  

I am now ready for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas!  Or at least my front door is.  I appreciate the push from Island Batik to get ready early, since extra time at the end of the year can be hard to come by!

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Island Batik Ambassador Unboxing #2

There are a lot of really awesome things about being an Island Batik Ambassador: the monthly challenges and the creativity they inspire, the fabulous group of ambassadors and how well we support each other, the chance to see fabric before it's available in stores.  The best, though, is probably the amazing twice-a-year ambassador boxes.  These boxes are stuffed with gorgeous Island Batik fabrics and various goodies from industry partners.  My second box for 2021 did not disappoint!  

Want to know what was inside?  Check out my unboxing video!  I didn't know what was in the box and this is a true unboxing in that I opened the boxes on camera, which means some thinking on my feet.

Don't feel like watching the video?  Let me show you what was inside!


First, the fabric!   In the lower left you will see *TWO* fat quarter bundles of Fancy Feathers.  Fancy Feathers is a Spring 2021 collection designed by Kathy Engle and will be shipping to quilt shops in September.  I just cut into this fabric yesterday and it's soooo pretty! Above the fat quarter bundles are two yards each of a dark and a light from the Foundations line, which are fabrics that are always available.   The middle row features six cuts of a half yard each of more Foundations that coordinate with Fancy Feathers.  Not pictured is my surprise collection from Summer 2021, which I can't show you yet, and the row on the right are half yard cuts that coordinate with that collection. Spring 2021 collections will be featured in August and Summer 2021 collections will be featured in November.  There is also 6 yards of the neutral Milkshake plus 4 yards each of solid white, gray, and black, all great for backgrounds.  And last but certainly not least, there are two packages of stash builder strips, which are 5" by width of fabric.  These are super versatile and you can see that my packages are predominately my favorite purple!

Hobbs batting was particularly generous in this box, sending FOUR different batts plus fusible batting strips perfect for jelly roll rugs or fabric baskets.  I was particularly excited to get more of the Thermore batting; I had some in my very first ambassador box and I absolutely love it for small projects. I've used all of my first package and had trouble finding it at my local quilt shops.

Aurifil sent me one of their Color Builder 2021 sets.  These feature 3 spools of 40 weight thread in one of twelve colorways, and this year's color builders are inspired by endangered species around the globe.  I was sent the purple color builder, inspired by the Cross River Gorilla.  The color builders will be featured in a really fun challenge this October.  

Deb Tucker's Studio 180 Design is sponsoring the August challenge and sent each ambassador one of her tools.  I got the Wing Clipper tool, plus bonus Quilter's Magic Wand.  I used the Wing Clipper for the first time yesterday and it sure is slick!  Perfect points on my flying geese!

By Annie is sponsoring the September challenge.  Each of us was asked to choose a By Annie pattern to make and we got to pick out our fabric!!!!  This is the first time I got to pick out fabric for an ambassador challenge!  I chose the Ultimate Travel Bag 2.0 and picked out fabrics from the Butterfly Blooms collection, another spring 2021 collection by Kathy Engle.  My bag kit features everything I need for the bag: By Annie hardware, strapping, elastic, Soft & Stable, base stabilizer.  By Annie patterns have really changed how I think about bags, I've been obsessed with her patterns since making Running With Scissors last year.

Aren't all the goodies amazing?!!  I'm so excited to play with everything and show you what I make.  Thanks again to Island Batik and industry partners Aurifil, Hobbs, By Annie, & Studio 180 Design!

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Gobble Gobble

Welcome to my second Island Batik Ambassador project for July!  We were tasked with planning ahead for holidays that fall at the end of the year.  I chose to interpret "end of the year" broadly and decided on three projects to decorate my front door, one each for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. This week, Thanksgiving!

Now you can see why this post is titled "Gobble Gobble"!  This fun turkey is based on a pattern by Island Batik Ambassador alumni Vicki of Vicki's Crafts & Quilting.  I thought the harvest-based fabrics from Kathy Engle's Napa Valley collection would work great for a holiday that celebrates the fruits of harvest.  Napa Valley features grapes, corn, pumpkins, and wheat.  The dark green border & binding are a dark green from the Foundations collection, everything else is from Napa Valley.  Even the back, where I used the corn print.  


Corn on the back

Want to make your own turkey?  You can find the pattern in Vicki's etsy shop.  It's for a table runner but I just made one turkey.  She's got other fun table runner patterns, too. 

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

I used three different colors of Aurifil 50 weight thread for the applique: 2785 Very Dark Navy (feathers), 1135 Pale Yellow (beak), and 2340 Cafe au Lait (body). I also used the Cafe au Lait for the cross hatch quilting.  Everything was stitched with a Schmetz needle, the only needles I use!  The batting is Hobbs 80/20.

First time using my fusible applique mat!

I've been wanting a turkey on the door for Thanksgiving for several years, so I'm glad to have been given the push to finally make one.  And to have holiday decorations done early is great because now I won't need to think about it, just hang the turkey on the door.  You can see the Halloween decor I made here.  Be sure to check back later this month to see what I made for Christmas!

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Hagatha's House with Island Batik

For July, Island Batik Ambassadors were challenged to plan ahead and make something to celebrate "whatever holidays you celebrate around the end of the year."  I chose to interpret "end of the year" broadly and decided on three small projects, one each for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  We don't really decorate for holidays much but I do like to add seasonal flair to my front door with small quilts. I'll be showing off these door-quilts one per week as we move through July.   First, Halloween!

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

Former Island Batik Ambassador Joan of MooseStash Quilting teamed up with Carol of Just Let Me Quilt to create a Halloween-themed BOM they call Hagatha's House.  I absolutely love the center block designed by Joan and as soon as I saw it, knew it would be my Halloween project.  The center block is no longer free but you can find this month's blocks as well as details about the BOM here.

I still had the lovely blacks and golds of Sundance out from Harvest Vines, so I started with those fabrics as the house and the moon.  I added in some basics from the Foundations collections--the fabrics that are always available and don't cycle out with the collection cycle. The trees are Iceberg, the inside of the house is Sky, and the background is Vino.  I also used the batik solids in black (witch) and white (ghosts).

The Back

I did a combination of blanket stitch and satin stitch around the various applique shapes.  The threads are both Aurifil 50 weight, color 2692 (black) and 5004 (gray smoke).  I used Schmetz super nonstick needles and did not have any trouble with the needle getting sticky from the fusible web.  The batting is a scrap of Hobbs black batting, great for projects with dark backgrounds.  The back is Island Batik's solid gray and I layered the pieces before stitching the applique, so those stitches acted as the quilting and you can see the stitching on the back.  The finished quit is 20" x 24" so I didn't feel that I needed additional quilting.

The colors aren't as true in this door shot but I do like the look of it hanging on the front door.  I'm so glad Island Batik encouraged pre-planning for the holidays later in the year!  Keep an eye out for my two remaining Island Batik projects this month!


Napa Valley

I've been woefully behind on pretty much all things blog related, including others' posts and writing my own.  Transitioning back to 100% on site for my job as well as finishing out Fire Monkey's school year and trying to get his summer sorted out took a lot of my mental energy in May & June and I forgot to select a winner for my May giveway of 8 Fat Quarters of Napa Valley.  Using a random number generator, I finally pulled a winner today and it's Kathleen! I will be in touch to get your address, Kathleen, and get these out to you!

Monday, July 5, 2021

July OMG: a new leader and ender

I enjoy using leaders and enders as I sew.  I don't waste nearly as much thread, I feel like I don't waste as much time, and I love the progress that can be made on projects with lots of pieces.  Projects with no deadline or timeline work best for leaders and enders. The problem is that I have to pick a project and prep the pieces.  I currently need a new one and I'm using the One Monthly Goal as my kick in the pants to choose something and do the prep work.  My goal will be successful if I pick a pattern, decide what scraps I will use for it, and cut out a bunch of pieces to start.

I have not yet chosen a pattern but I have this new book by Cheryl Brickey of Meadow Mist Designs and I will likely use a pattern or inspiration from the book. Thanks to Patty of Elm Street Quilts for the monthly motivational link up!

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Take a Stand, large size

My goal this month, with Elm Street Quilt's One Monthly Goal, was to take the two pieces of needle turn applique work that I did as part of the QuiltCon class Everyday Applique with Sarah Fielke, and turn them into a large size Take a Stand tote.  Take a Stand is By Annie pattern that includes two sizes.  I made the smaller size during my winter break and I use it as my every-day purse.  I frequently take hand-sewing projects in the car and on trips.  The bag I've been using is falling apart and I thought the large size would make a nice replacement.  And I love using a hand-stitched project as the feature for my bag to carry hand stitching projects!

I mentioned in my goal-setting post that my husband was very concerned about the lack of eye on the bird.  I added a lovely little bead for the eye--no way was I going to applique a tiny eye! All the fabrics are Island Batik.  The main fabric/applique background is a basic called Mystic, the accent elements like the strap and bindings are Peacock, another basic, and the lining fabric is from the Glacier View collection last year. The fabrics in the applique designs are essentially scraps and many, though not all, of them are from Floralicious, also from last year.  

You may notice the floral trim on the heart side.  While I think it works as a design element, it's really an Oooops camouflage!  When cutting the quilted fabric, I didn't center it properly and cut off too much on one side.  I had enough extra that I could have left it off-center, but I knew that would bother me.  So I zig-zag stitched it back together and wanted to hide the stitches.  I found some fun trim in my trim bin and added it on the sides. To make it look a little more coordinated, I added trim around largest of the hearts.

I am super-duper in love with this bag!  I took it on our annual family trip to a cabin in the mountains and it was PERFECT!  When I'm not driving, I like to sew binding in the car.  In addition to my supplies, I was easily able to fit the quilt I was binding -- Harvest Vines!  I couldn't have fit a bed-size quilt in there, but most lap or child size quilts will fit easily.  Then once I got to the cabin and Harvest Vines was finished, I switched to more needle-turn applique and added my lap-app to the bag.  That kept everything together and it was easy to move to the wonderful big porch during the day and in to the couch inside when it was too dark (or too buggy!) to stay outside.

The mesh pockets inside are great for lots of supplies.  I had two small pouches (the lovely gray & colorful one was made by the beautiful and generous Preeti and held my threads), two different types of glue sticks, pin cushion, headlamp, small ruler, needle book, scissors, safety pins, and everything I thought there was any chance I would need.  I put my pattern booklet and blocks I was working on in the outside zippered pocket on the outside--the one with the heart, because I am working on Boho Heart 💗


I cannot stress enough how much By Annie's bag patterns have been a game-changer for me.  I had a miserable time with bags in the past and almost never finished bags I started because I would get frustrated and/or ruin my supplies.  Annie's patterns are so detailed and through, and many have video extras that walk through the hardest parts.  I'm completely obsessed and now I want to Sew All the Bags! I know I'll use this large Take a Stand for years!

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Harvest Vines, an Island Batik & AccuQuilt challenge

June's Island Batik ambassador challenge is sponsored by AccuQuilt.  Each ambassador was sent a BOB die for the challenge.  BOB stands for Block on Board, which means all the pieces needed for one quilt block are on the same die board and can be cut in one pass through the cutter.  


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

Our assignment was to combine the BOB die with the 8" Go Cube to create a new design.  I was sent the Snail's Trail die which makes an 8" Snail's Trail block, perfect to combine with the 8" cube.  I knew I would want to play around in EQ to create my design.  I had previously learned of this etsy shop that is authorized by both EQ and Accuquilt; she sells the files for the blocks you can make with the Go Cube, to be imported into EQ.  Perfect excuse to buy it!  After playing around, I chose two blocks to combine with Snail's Trail, Windmill and Mosaic #15.  


I had a 10" stack of Sundance by Kathy Engle, a collection from last year.  Sundance is not my normal colors and I thought it would be good to venture out of my comfort zone!  I played around with a few different background colors and as soon as I tried Frog from the Foundations line, I knew I had a winning combination.  The green just made those yellows and golds pop.  The whole thing looks like the harvest to me, and the green weaving between the blocks looks like vines so I named this Harvest Vines.

I find black thread on black fabric hard to see, so I used Aurifil 2784 dark navy for piecing and for quilting.  I started with a brand new Schmetz chrome needle.  I still had quite a few squares left of Sundance so I pieces a back with some 10" squares, smaller scraps, and Island Batik's solid black.  I layered the quilt with Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 black batting.  I love the black batting with dark quilts!  


Part of the assignment is to give this quilt as a gift of comfort. I have not yet determined a recipient.  Quilts will frequently tell you where they are meant to go; I know the right person or cause will make themselves known.  



I had a great time playing with the Snail's Trail die and I know I will use it lots and lots!  I've already got at least 2 quilts in mind that use this die! I love how easy it is to cut all the pieces!