Sunday, May 30, 2021

Carolina Lily

When I decided to make quilts for 4 of Fire Monkey's teachers, I had to wait to to start until I knew the favorite colors of the teachers.  With the Covid spike after the holidays, we didn't have any in-person school until the 2nd week of February.  That put me on a tight timeline, so I took any shortcut I could.  Turns out that we had two teachers with a favorite color of purple.  I knew right away that I would make Blueberry Hill for one, since I already had the strips cut and planned to make that pattern. I hadn't settled on the second purple quilt yet, and I was starting to get close enough to the end of the year as to be concerning.

Then I was looking through my scrap box of Island Batik fabrics and I found a set of four abandoned Carolina Lily blocks.  For last year's December medallion challenge, I designed a medallion with Carolina Lily blocks at the center.  Except when I started making the center blocks, I didn't consult my design and chose the fabrics from memory--and got it wrong.  When I realized my mistake, I decided I really liked my original design better, better enough to re-make the blocks.  Since those lilies were purple, they were perfect for my second purple teacher quilt.  I did need to add the stems in, but the mostly-finished blocks did give me a nice head start.

I went to EQ to play around with a layout.  During the Stay at Home Round Robin I realized how much I liked the look of a checkerboard border, so I played around with that.  I decided a nine-patch center would tie the whole quilt together.  I strip-pieced most of the border.  As a purple-lover myself, I'm really happy with how this turned out!

purple back from Backside Fabrics

This was my final teacher quilt and I did get it done in time!  All four have now been gifted and the teachers I've heard from seen really pleased and very surprised.  Finishing all four was my monthly goal with Patty at Elm Street Quilts.

Green Pinwheels

photo by K. Mellnik

Blueberry Hill

Bear Hugs

Friday, May 28, 2021

Bear Hugs

Last October, Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs released a new pattern as part of By Annie's Sew Pink blog hop.  It's a scrappy bear paw that she named Bear Hugs.  I fell in love with it immediately.  Cheryl's version was in all pinks.  I wanted to try it with pinks and purples, all from my Island Batik scraps.  I could tell from the pattern that it would be a great leader and ender project, so I broke out my Accuquilt and cut pink & purple scraps and solid white batik in the 2 shapes needed for the blocks. My plan was to expand Cheryl's generous throw-size quilt to full size and make it for the bed in my guest room, which doubles as my sewing room. I started as a leader and ender some time in November.

Fast forward to early 2021 when I decided to attempt quilts for the 4 teachers Fire Monkey has had this school year.  One of the teachers, Ms. H, said her favorite color was pink.  I figured this was pink enough to qualify, and since I had been using it as my leader and ender project, I was making good progress.  I knew that I would be much more likely to be successful in completing 4 quilts in the time I had if I chose easy patters or quilts that were already in progress.  The quilt for the guest room was to be a spare, my Octopus's Garden quilt is on the bed now, so I didn't actually need another quilt for that bed.  And since it's scrappy and we all know that scraps are never depleted, I knew I could make another one if I wanted to, so I decided that Bear Hugs would go to Ms. H.

I quilted using wavy lines with a variegated pink thread.  At first I was sorry I used such a prominent thread, but I think it's grown on me.  The back is a beautiful pink dandelion print from Backside Fabrics. 

This one is my favorite of the four.  It's a great pattern and works well as both a scrap buster and a leader & ender.  I think it's likely I'll make it again.  

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Blueberry Hill

This is the last week of school in our district, so I am coming down to the wire for finishing the 4 teacher quilts I set as my OMG.  (Don't worry too much, I'm farther along in real life than on the blog!)  When I made Lavender Waves for the February Island Batik blog hop, I was cutting 2 1/2" strips of each fabric.  I cut 2 extra strips of each fabric to make a jelly roll and I set them aside to make Blueberry Hill, a fun and quick pattern by Villa Rosa Designs.  I knew that Blueberry Hill would look fabulous in the purples and blues from Lavender Fields.

When Fire Monkey told me that 2 of his teachers said their favorite color is purple, I knew it was the perfect time to get out that already cut out project.  This came together really quickly, which was great when I wanted to have 4 finished quilts before the end of the school year.  For the quilting, I used the wavy line stitch on my machine and followed some of the pieced lines on the top. I didn't get a picture of the backing but it's a fun mottled fabric that I bought as a wide back from Backside Fabrics.  I have leftover and a plan for it, so you will see it eventually, hopefully in the next few months :)

Two down, two to go!

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Crop Rings: a Modern Quilt with Island Batik (and giveaway)

Welcome to my stop on Island Batik's Quilt Modern blog hop!  Island Batik is highlighting their new collections, shipping to quilt shops now.  I was sent Napa Valley by Kathy Engle, a fun collection of purples, greens, and golds that celebrates wine and harvest.  There are grapes, corn, pumpkins, wheat, pine cones, and oak leaves.


photo by K. Mellnik

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


Our charge was to make a Modern Quilt.  One of the (virtual) classes I took at QuiltCon was bias tape applique with Latifah Saafir. I did one Island Batik project with bias tape applique already, and I wanted to play with it some more for this challenge.  Latifah recorded a class with Craftsy (when it was Bluprint) on bias tape applique and one of her projects in that class was a modern take on the Double Wedding Ring.  I used the templates from that class and the tips and tricks from both of Latifah's classes to make Crop Rings.

I named this Crop Rings as a play on double wedding ring and crop circles, not because I have any thoughts on crop circles the phenomenon, but because of the crops depicted in the fabrics.  The background is a neutral called batter. I used 14 of the 20 fabrics from the Napa Valley; the lighter fabrics in the collection didn't have enough contrast with the background for this pattern.


I used Hobbs Heirloom 100% cotton batting.  The quilting is straight vertical lines at 1" intervals with Aurifil 2000/Light Sand in 40 weight, with the same color in 50 weight in the bobbin.  I started with a new Schmetz microtex chrome needle.  With the bias tape applique, there are parts where the needle had to go through several layers of batik fabric and the Schmetz needles don't have any problems at all. The finished quilt is 56" square.

photo by K. Mellnik

Playing with a modern spin of a traditional pattern was one of the possible prompts we were given for this challenge.  Regular readers will know that I don't typically do curves.  I liked this modern, appliqued version of a double wedding ring and I really like the different look of the filled sections.  


Be sure to visit my friend Gail of Quilting Gail to see what she made with Napa Valley.  And you can find the schedule for the entire blog hop and all the featured Island Batik collections here.  


Now for a giveaway!  I have a prize of 8 fat quarters of Napa Valley to give away.  I have had some trouble with Rafflecopter lately, so for this one, just leave a comment by the end of the day Saturday, May 22nd and I'll use a random number generator to pick a winner. A comment on anything will work but if you need a prompt, tell me about a quilting/craft class you've taken and enjoyed--in person, virtual, craftsy, any format.  If you are a no reply blogger, include your email or I won't be able to contact you if you win.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Green Pinwheels (plus OMG)

Last year, my son and I made a quilt for his teacher.  This year, his dual language program kicked in so he has two teachers, one for English and one for Spanish.  Okay, two is do-able.  But his English teacher, Ms H, was on medical leave from the start of the school year through February, so two non-classroom from the school shared the position.  Considering how much of the school year they were his teacher and how challenging this school year has been, I couldn't not recognize them.  Which means I have 4 quilts to finish by the end of this month.

Once he was in school in person, I gave Fire Monkey the assignment to try to find out teacher favorite colors.  He gleefully got all four in one day, telling me in the car, "I need one green, one pink, and two purple."  So that was a good starting point. 

All four will be made with Island Batik, since I have a lot of it.  This is the first of the four that is completely done.  I'm calling it Green Pinwheels.  (Yes, super imaginative name, I know.)  This is for Ms. W, one of the two teachers at his school who was his teacher from August through February. 


I used scraps in any shade of green and used my accuquilt to cut 4" HSTs with Island Batik solid white, which then became 8" pinwheel blocks.  I did a maximum of 2 in any given fabric so there would be a lot of variety.  The cornerstones and binding are a blue fabric from the Lemon Grass collection last year; I thought the touch of blue would be a nice compliment to all the greens.  

For quilting, I used the wavy line decorative stitch on Willa the Wonder Machine and I used a fabulous green variegated 40wt Aurifil thread.  I ordered backing for all 4 teacher quilts from Backside Fabrics; I really like this green sunflower print.  

photo K. Mellnik

Since the school year ends in May this year, I'm using the One Monthly Goal (OMG) with Patty from Elm Street Quilts as an additional motivator to get the other three teacher quilts done.  Two are quilted and just need binding; the fourth is still in the piecing the top stage, so it's the one I'm most worried about finishing.  I told my husband to remind me next year that four is too many!

photo by K. Mellnik

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Quilt Modern Blog Hop

This week starts the Quilt Modern blog hop with Island Batik.  The hop highlights Island Batik's new collections that are in stores soon, and the hop runs most of the month of May. Each Island Batik ambassador was sent one of the new collections and have been challenged to use the collection in a modern quilt.  

My day is next Wednesday, May 12th.  I was sent the Napa Valley collection and I'm excited to show you how I used it!

Island Batik does a giveaway each week; you can find the current giveaway at the end of this post. There's a new giveaway each Friday on the Island Batik Blog.  Check out the full schedule for the Quilt Modern blog hop:

May 3:

May 4:

May 5:

May 6:

May 7:

Blog Hop Round-Up Week 1 and Giveaway

May 10:

May 11:

May 12:

May 13:

May 14:

Blog Hop Round-Up Week 2 and Giveaway

May 17:

May 18:

May 19:

May 20:

End of Blog Hop and Round-Up

To celebrate the start of Quilt Modern! Blog Hop, we are giving away a 2.5″ Strip Pack and a 10″ Stack of the complete Island Batik Forecast collection by Ebony Love of Lovebug Studios!

To enter for your chance to win one of the two prizes above, follow the simple Rafflecopter prompts below.

This giveaway ends May, 7 at 11:59 pm PST. Two random winners will be notified by email on May, 8 and announced on May, 11. If the winners do not respond within the first two days after being notified, two new random winners will be chosen and notified.