Thursday, January 28, 2021

Whimsical Woods Placemats, An Island Batik Challenge

It's the first Island Batik Ambassador challenge of 2021!  This month, we were tasked to make placemats.  I've been wanting some home-made placemats so this was the perfect push to make something we will use every day.  I had such a good time creating this fun set of placemats that I'm calling Whimsical Woods.

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

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


Fabric wise, I decided early on that I wasn't done working with the beautiful Lemon Grass collection by Kathy Engle.  I love the blues and greens (and small touches of purples) and I just can't get enough.  This is my fourth project with Lemon Grass!  The first was a Running With Scissors bag, the second was my Carolina Lilies at Dragonfly Pond medallion, and third was another By Annie bag, Take a Stand.

In the days leading up to Christmas, accuquilt had some pretty good deals. On one of those days, I splurged and bought myself a few dies, including their new gnome that I had been drooling over since it was released.  I also bought their northwoods medley die, which includes a tree, a bear, and a moose.  

For the placemats, I thought it would be nice to surround an applique center with 3 1/2" squares from Lemon Grass in a random fashion.  I already owned the 3 1/2" square die, so I was able to cut those with the accuquilt, too.  The applique shapes were too tall for my original plan of placemats that measured 12" x 18", so these are 15" x 18".  The bigger space in the center gave me lots of room to create scenes with the applique pieces.

I decided to make each center a little different.  By using the same fabrics in the borders, I thought they would still feel like a cohesive set.  I also opted to include trees in each applique scene for a little more continuity of design.  

While most of the fabrics in the Whimsical Woods scenes are also from the Lemon Grass collection, I did use a few scraps of other Island Batik fabrics.  The background is Island Batik's gray solid.  I used Schmetz super nonstick needles to do a satin stitch around each applique shape.  The nonstick needles are fabulous for use with fusible web; I had no problems with my needle getting sticky or gummy from the adhesive.  

I used a wide variety of Auriful thread colors to do the satin stitching.  I kept Aurifil 6732, Earl Gray, in my bobbin and only changed out the top thread.  I also used Earl Gray for the quilting, which I kept to straight lines just inside the edges of the pieced squares.  All threads were 50 weight.

I had a 2-yard cut of a dark blue background with white trees from the Glacier View collection last year.  It was the perfect backing, and I had the perfect amount.  I originally planned 6 placemats but I got carried away and made 8.  I was just having so much fun with the gnomes, trees, moose, and bears!

The batting is Hobbs leftover from various other projects.  Most of them have the Hobbs black 80/20 batting.  I usually use the black batting with a black background, but it worked great with the gray, too, and the bright colors stay so bright and crisp.


Typically I enjoy hand binding but I didn't think that would work for this project, so I machine stitched the binding.  I'm happy with the results.

I really enjoy seeing these on my table.  I haven't washed them yet but I suspect they will get washed a lot.  Will they get messy?  Sure.  But I knew that as I made them and I'm okay with that.  I can have lunch with gnomes!


Special thanks my mother-in-law for allowing me to use her table for photos.  She has a much nicer dining table and dining room set-up than I do!  Far less clutter!

This was such a fun start to the 2021 Island Ambassador year!  I am so excited to show you a year's worth of beautiful Island Batik fabrics.  Be sure to check out all of the Ambassadors; you can find us all here.  And our February blog hop starts Monday--it will showcase all the newest Island Batik collections coming to stores soon.


Monday, January 25, 2021

Round Robin Round #2 -- Plus Signs

Welcome back to the Stay At Home Round Robin, an idea from Gail of Quilting Gail and co-hosted by a small group of bloggers. We are now at the second round and it's my turn to choose what to use.  And I picked plus signs!

I mentioned last week that I wasn't sure what to do with my piano keys in the corners, so I decided to use the next round as cornerstones instead. Now you can see how that looks.  My husband saw it at this stage on a table and asked if the bear was Swiss, though he admitted the colors were wrong. 😀

These plus signs are 3" finished; I'm still trying to keep it from becoming too big.  I did decide that it needed a 1" border to give it a little space from the next round.  

Are you playing along?  Link up your second plus sign border, cornerstones, whatever you decided to use.  The linky will be open for one week.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


Be sure to check out all the hosts to see what they did with their plus signs, and come back each Monday to see our next round.  Have questions about the Stay At Home Round Robin?  Gail has answers here.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Island Batik Unboxing

I am honored and thrilled to announce that I have been selected to be an Island Batik Ambassador for 2021.  This will be my third year as an ambassador.  I love the challenges, the community of ambassadors, and of course the boxes of fabric!  Twice a year, ambassadors are sent boxes absolutely loaded with goodies from Island Batik and their industry partners.

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

My first shipment was in two boxes that together weighed 32 pounds!! That's 32 pounds of awesomeness.  What to see what 32 pounds of awesomeness looks like?  Check out the video!

Want a closer look at all the goodies?  First, there is a new die from AccuQuilt.  I got the Snail's Trails die.  This is one of their BOB dies, which stands for Block on Board.  You can cut all the pieces needed for the block in one crank of the cutter.  Snail's Trails makes an 8" finished block. AccuQuilt also generously sent a 2-pack of 10" mats for cutting.

Aurifil sent an amazing 7 spools of thread!  Some are 50 weight and some are 40 weight.  I admit to not using the 40 weight much in the past so I'm excited to get more comfortable with it.  I'm super excited that one is a variegated thread in shades of green. 

Hobbs sent four (yes, 4!) queen sized batts!  There is one that's 100% cotton, an 80/20 cotton poly blend, that same blend in black, and poly-down.  I haven't use the poly-down before; I do like the loft and definition you get with a polyester batt.

Schmetz sent a little package of goodies with a really nice note.  I love their needles, I've been using them since I bought my first sewing machine in 1998.  They sent their Chrome needles in a variety of sizes as well as a pocket guide reference, a luggage tag (great one we can travel again!), a notepad, and a microfiber cloth.  

And then there's the fabric!  Island Batik is incredibly generous to their ambassadors.  Here's the shot of all the fabric, with a glimpse of my January project from last year, the sewing machine cover.

This box will cover two Blog Hops that highlight the new collections, Fall & Winter.  My fall collection is Lavender Fields, designed by Kathy Engle for Tammy Silvers of Tamarinis.  Lavender Fields is a beautiful collection of purples of all shades & values, plus some soft blues and whites.  I love it!  This will be featured in February.  My Winter collection is in the wrapped package and is still a surprise; these will be highlighted in May.

Then there was a precut of 2 1/2" strips of Blinded by Science designed by Jackie Kunkel of Canton Village Quilt Works. 

And another precut, this one a "stacker" of 10" squares, of Jewel Quest, designed by Kathy Engle for Nan Baker of Purrfect Spots.  I admit, I'm particularly giddy over this one.  I just love the bright and deep purples and greens!

In addition to the full collections, there is a Foundations bundle of half yard cuts, 6 yards of the neutral Batter, 4 yards each of black, white, and gray solid, and 2 sets stash builder rolls. And a 2-yard cut of a green rayon.  Boy oh boy!  Here are more shots of all the fabric together:

I can't wait to show you what I'm making with all these beauties!  Thanks to Island Batik, Schmetz, Hobbs, Aurifil, and AccuQuilt!

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Hearts on Fire blog hop

Carol of Just Let Me Quilt has put together a fantastic blog hop -- Hearts On Fire.  The challenge was to create something with a heart, but not red.  I knew for sure that I wanted to use some of the fabrics from Island Batik's Tickled Pink collection, but I figured I'd challenge myself to not use the pink fabrics in the collection.  I sometimes have difficulty with white-based prints, so I chose 4 of those from the line and paired them with an Island Batik foundation called Cantaloupe.  

I used the heart block by Cluck Cluck Sew.  This is the 9" finished size in a 4 x 4 layout.  I had *just* enough of the cantaloupe background to finish--that last strip is pieces from several smaller pieces, but I made it! The binding is a multi-colored fabric from Tickled Pink.  I think it sets off the rest quite nicely.

One of my go-to quilting motifs is wavy lines.  These are spaced roughly an inch apart.  I like the texture and flow it adds to the quilt.  I used Aurifil color 2215 Peach and it matched perfectly with the cantaloupe.  Seriously, as if they were the same fruit!

Be sure to check out all the amazing heart projects featured in the Hearts on Fire blog hop!

January 18

Creatin' in the Sticks

Life in the Scrapatch

Freckled Fox Quiltery

All Thingz Sewn

Den Syende Himmel

That Fabric Feeling

 January 19



Words & Stitches

Vroomans Quilts

Quilt Schmilt

Cynthia's Creating Ark

Songbird Designs

 January 20

Selina Quilts

Stitchin At Home

Samelia's Mum

Just Sew Quilter


Karrin’s Crazy World

The Darling Dogwood -- you are here!

 January 21

Quilt Fabrication

Ms P Designs USA


Becky’s Adventures in Quilting and Travel

Ridge Top Quilt

For The Love Of Geese

Sew Many Yarns

Quilting Gail

January 22

Just Let Me Quilt

Karen's Korner

Elizabeth Coughlin Designs

Quilt In A Not-Shell

Storied Quilts

Kathy's Kwilts and More

Homespun Hannah's Blog

Monday, January 18, 2021

Round Robin Round #1--Piano Keys

It's week two and border one of the Stay At Home Round Robin, the mastermind of Gail of Quilting Gail and co-hosted by a small group of bloggers.  This week it was up to Chris at Chrisknitssews to choose what we would use for our first border.  The choice?  Piano Keys!

I decided to have my piano keys be light in the centers and get darker as they moved outward.  Since my starting block was 10" square, I used 5 strips total of 2 1/2" strips.  These are 3 1/2" long so they are rectangular, like piano keys.  My progression wouldn't really work around the corners, though, so I decided that I would use the next round's theme as cornerstones.  I don't like quilts that get too big and with 7 rounds of borders, one for each of the hosts, I was worried it might get bigger than I like working with.  So in the picture above, the top borders aren't actually sewn in.  You'll have to wait until next week to see it completely.

Have you decided to play along?  This is a pretty relaxed sew along and the rules are far from rigid, as you can see by the fact that it's week two and I'm already playing with them, bending them a bit :)  If you do decide to play along, link up your piano key borders with Chris. And here's the schedule for the future rounds:

Have more questions?  Gail has lots of answers that you can find here.  


Monday, January 11, 2021

Round Robin: Centers

Today is the day that the Stay At Home Round Robin starts. Since we're not able to have guild meetings and the like right now, Gail from Quilting Gail has assembled some friends and we're hosting a Stay At Home Round Robin.  The idea is that rather than pass your quilt around from quilter to quilter, you make your quilt your way, but we suggest what to add next.  Today we're starting with our centers.

I decided to do an applique center and I chose a polar bear.  I actually love his outline from the back, too, you can see the satin stitch:

This is a 10" (finished) block. I found a coloring sheet online and used that as the starting point for my outline.  


I am using Island Batik fabrics; the bear is Sprinkles and the background is Bluebird, both from foundations.  I'll be using mostly leftovers from Island Batik's Glacier View collection from last year and I'll add in extra blues and whites as needed.  

Glacier View

Want to play along?  Choose a center, it doesn't have to be big. An orphan block would work well with the added bonus that you'd already be done with this step!  You can link up with Quilting Gail this week to show off your center.  We'll be back each week to suggest the next round of what to add.  Here's the schedule:

Have more questions?  Gail has lots of answers that you can find here.