Sunday, October 31, 2021

Masala Box (& giveaway!)

My friend Preeti of Sew Preeti Quilts recently wrote a fabulous quick pattern that is featured in the newest Island Batik catalog.  She asked me if I'd be willing to make a version and I jumped at the chance!  The Masala Box pattern gives instructions for three sizes: baby, lap, & queen.  I knew October was a busy month for my family so I made the baby size, which measures 36" square (or 40" if you add an optional border, which I did not).

Masala Box is written for strips, though you could use scraps as well.  It would also work well with partial jelly roll strips. When I am done with a project and have leftover yardage, I cut one or two 2 1/2" strips that I keep in a bin, perfect for projects written for jelly rolls.  When Preeti contacted me, I went through my bin to try to pick a color palette.  I had some Kona Medium Pink that I thought would make a nice background, so I picked out purple and blue strips from my bin. I intentionally alternated the purple and blue thinking it would be a nice look.


Masala Box sews up so quickly!  I did it in about three nights of sewing, but if you aren't limited to an hour after a child's bedtime of sewing time, you could probably sew it in an afternoon or maybe a weekend for the larger sizes. 

I quilted it using what I think of as Preeti-style quilting: wavy lines in a grid.  I love how it looks! I wanted a variety in my prints so I used half-strips instead of full strips.  I used the other half to make a scrappy binding.  The back is a pink fleece; you can really see the wavy grid on the back!

Want to make your own Masala Box?  Preeti has the pattern for sale in her etsy shop.  She is also very generously giving away one copy of the pattern to one lucky reader!  Leave me a comment by the end of the day Saturday, November 6th and I will randomly choose a winner.  You can comment about anything but if you need a prompt, tell me your favorite Halloween memory or treat.  

For more Masala Box inspiration, check out Preeti's post and the versions made by Bernie, Wendy, and Mari.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Upcoming Blog Hop & Call for 2022 Ambassadors

 Island Batik's next blog hop starts Monday, November 1st!  This hop features Island Batik's summer collections that will be arriving in quit shops November or December.  Each ambassador was sent one full collection and asked to create a Storm At Sea quilt--so you'll see lots of stormy seas!  Storm At Sea is a bucket list quilt for a lot of quilters and I'm really excited to see 24 different variations!

I was sent the Petals Provence collection, a lovely group of yellow and blue fabrics by Kathy Engle featuring really lovely flowers.  I'm excited to show the quilt I made!  My day on the hop is November 11th.  I've posted the full hop schedule below.

Do you love sewing with batik fabrics?  Considering applying to be an Island Batik Ambassador for 2022!  I love being an Ambassador!  The monthly challenges are a fantastic way to grow creatively and the Ambassadors are a great and supportive group of quilters.  You can read more about the details of the program here.  That link is also the form to apply.  Applications will be accepted until November 15, 2021.

Storm At Sea Blog Hop Schedule

November 1:

Gail Sheppard, Quilting Gail 

Preeti Harris, Sew Preeti Quilts

November 2:

Pamela Boatright, Pamela Quilts

Jane Hauprich, Stitch by Stitch Custom Quilting

November 3:

Denise Looney, For the Love of Geese

Megan Best, Bestquilter

November 4:

Gail Renna, Quilt Haven Threads

Claudia Porter, Create with Claudia

November 8:

Mania Hatzioannidi, Mania for Quilts

Jennifer Fulton, Inquiring Quilter

November 9:

Joanne Hart, Unicorn Harts

Connie Kauffman, Kauffman Designs

Jennifer Eubank, Archipelago Quilting

November 10:

Jennifer Thomas, Curlicue Creations

Janet Yamamoto, Whispers of Yore

November 11:

Emily Leachman, The Darling Dogwood

Maryellen McAuliffe, Mary Mack Made Mine

November 15:

Elizabeth DeCroos, Epida Studio

Andi Stanfield, True Blue Quilts

November 16:

Brianna Roberts, Sew Cute and Quirky

Michelle Roberts, Creative Blonde

November 17:

Sally Manke, Sally Manke Fiber Artist

Leah Malasky, Quilted Delights

Suzy Webster, Websterquilt

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Small Savanna

I made the mistake of doing some cleaning in my sewing space about a month ago and I found two UFOs that I didn't know about.  One was 4 blocks of Savanna, a quilt I thought I was rid of, sewn together with a small border and more strips of the border fabric cut. 

This was what it looked like when I found it.

I have no idea what I had planned, but I hated Savanna (I detest sewing curves) so I clearly wasn't making more blocks.  I found a fairly small piece of fleece to use as backing and that set the limit for how big it could be.  I had a fun purple mottled print left from a wide back so I cut borders to make it as large as the fleece backing allowed.  It now measures 24" x 30" which is on the small side but should be fine for a tiny baby; I'll be donating this to the local children's hospital.

This wasn't on my original UFO list for my PhD (projects half done) with Quilting Gail but I think it will probably count.  I need to sit down and look at my list and my finishes so far this year to see if I have any chance at all of being successful this year. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Gorilla Family, with Island Batik & Aurifil

The October Island Batik Ambassador challenge is sponsored by Aurifil and is an especially neat challenge.  To start, each ambassador was sent one of Aurifil's 2021 Color Builder set.  Each Color Builder includes 3 large spools of 40 weight thread focused around a single color; each set includes a a warm, a medium, and a dark.  This year's Color Builder sets draw inspiration from twelve species of endangered animals from around the globe, drawing attention to animals that might disappear forever.  I was sent the purple color builder dedicated to the Cross River Gorilla.


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


momma & baby
The challenge was to make something inspired by our featured animal using all three threads in the Aurifil color builder set.  I love that the parameters were both really specific (inspired by Cross River Gorilla) and pretty open (use each of three thread colors however you like).  Purple is my favorite color and I love gorillas, so I was also thrilled with what I had to work with.  I wasn't familiar with the Cross River Gorilla, the least known of the gorilla subspecies. Scientists estimate that there are only 200 to 300 Cross River Gorillas left in the wild, scattered in at least 11 groups across Cameroon & Nigeria.  (I'm a librarian, so I have to cite my source.)


Do you ever "save" quilt techniques or ideas that you want to try but need to find the right project?  That's exactly what happened to me with this project!  In my first year as an Island Batik ambassador, we had a "artsy fartsy" challenge and Joan of MooseStash made a vase using little snippets of leftover IB fabric. 

I really liked the look and wanted to try the technique so I started saving my Island Batik offcuts.  Not so much the really tiny stuff Joan used, but cut off ends from snowballing corners, the end of a strip that isn't quite a 2 1/2" square, that kind of thing.  I've been saving tiny pieces for about two years now.  I went through my bin of tiny scraps and pulled out all the purples and almost-purples.  I bought water soluble stabilizer and put a sheet down on the table.  My piece was roughly 15" square because the stabilizer I had was 15" wide. 


pile of purple scraps

Then I laid dark & medium scraps over it to cover the stabilizer.  I did this pretty randomly, I just wanted to cover the stabilizer I sprayed another piece of stabilizer with basting spray so it would stick and put it on top. 

I took it (carefully!) to my machine and just stitched it like crazy.  I wound a full bobbin of the darkest color, Aurifil 2545 medium purple and used a brand new Schmetz microtex needle.  I stitched and stitched and stitched until I used the entire bobbin in the 15" piece.  I didn't have a stitching plan, I just kept moving around and around.

stitched, before washing away the stabilizer

When the bobbin ran out, I got the piece wet to get rid of the stabilizer and laid it on top of a towel in the sun to dry.  I ironed it like crazy.  I searched for royalty free clipart silhouettes and enlarged one I liked to create a paper template, which I used to cut out a silhouette.  The first one I did, with the dark thread on top and bottom, is the daddy gorilla.   

my new "fabric" drying in the sun

While the first was drying, I laid out another roughly 15" piece and did the same thing.  I used another full bobbin of Aurifil 2545 but I used the medium tone Aurifil 2520 Violet on top, so when it was done I could choose which side of thread to use.  When I cut the out the silhouette later, I chose the lighter thread color; this is the mommy gorilla.  


For my third piece of created fabric, I laid out medium and light pieces, then stitched with Aurifil 2520, again using a complete bobbin.  This became the baby gorilla, so mom & baby have the same thread showing.


Now for the background.  I started with Sky from Island Batik's Foundations fabrics and added a gently slopped piece of the ground fabric--I'm not sure of the exact name, but it's from the Flea Market collection that was in my very first ambassador box!  I layered with Hobbs Thermore batting and Island Batik solid white for the back.  I followed the curve of the ground with Aurifil monofilament in Smoke at varying intervals for interest.  I decided to keep the quilting in the sky in straight lines to mimic the horizon.  For the sky quilting I used the third thread  from the bundle, Auriful 2562 Lilac.



The final step was to applique my gorilla family to their habitat.  I stitched around daddy gorilla in 2545, mommy gorilla in 2520, and baby gorilla in 2562.

I really loved making my own "fabric" from lots of small pieces of Island Batik fabric (and lots of Aurifil thread!) and will absolutely use this technique again.  I don't make art quilts often, really only when the challenges dictate it, but I am finding that I enjoy them so I will need to start challenging myself to make the occasional art quilt, even if it's not for an Island Batik challenge.

our toy gorilla, Strong Arms, with his fabric relatives

Be sure to visit all the Island Batik ambassadors this month as they use Aurifil thread to create art spotlighting 12 endangered species.

Megan Best ~ Best Quilter
Pamela Boatright ~ PamelaQuilts
Elizabeth DeCroos ~ Epida Studio
Jennifer Eubank ~ Archipelago Quilting
Jennifer Fulton ~ The Inquiring Quilter
Preeti Harris ~ Sew Preeti Quilts
Joanne Hart ~ Unicorn Harts
Mania Hatziioannidi ~ Mania For Quilts
Jane Hauprich ~ Stitch By Stitch Custom Quilting
Connie Kauffman ~ Kauffman Designs
Emily Leachman ~ The Darling Dogwood That's me!!!
Denise Looney ~ For The Love Of Geese
Leah Malasky ~ Quilted Delights
Sally Manke ~ Sally Manke, Fiber Artist
Maryellen McAuliffe ~ Mary Mack Made Mine
Claudia Porter ~  Create with Claudia
Gail Renna ~ Quilt Haven Threads
Brianna Roberts ~ Sew Cute and Quirky
Michelle Roberts ~ Creative Blonde
Gail Sheppard ~ Quilting Gail
Andi Stanfield ~ True Blue Quilts

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Catch All Caddy

I currently have Craftsy access so I want to make the By Annie projects that are full classes there while I still can view them; as I haven't decided if I'm going to renew.  I had been wanting to make one of her caddy-style patterns so I was really glad that Catch All Caddy is one of the Craftsy videos.  Here's mine:

The focus print is from Far Far Away by Heather Ross that I've been saving for something special.  I love the color so much, and the flowers, and the unicorns plus it has an especially nice hand/feel to it. Both other fabrics are leftovers of wide backs.  


I want the caddy for my car, to keep all the stuff I occasionally want to access in one place.  I am typically alone in my car or have Fire Monkey in the backseat, so I can keep the caddy on the passenger seat, and when I do have someone sitting there, it's easy to move to the back.  I have it stocked with wipes, lotion, mints, chapstick, dental floss, anything I try to keep in the car in case I need it.  If I make another for the car, I'll just make the beveled dividers for one side; the wipes are really the only thing that I think need to sleeve.  The tissue box doesn't fit in the divider but does fit in the caddy.

I realized when adding items to the pockets that I somehow missed the step of sewing the top down of the zippered pocket, so I need to fix that.  Ooops!



zipper pocket fail

 I'm pretty pleased with it and will definitely make more, they are so handy!