Monday, January 31, 2022

Round Robin #3 - Stars

Welcome back to the Stay at Home Round Robin!  I loved seeing what everyone did with diamonds!  So many great interpretations!  Unfortunately, the internet at our house was out from Tuesday morning through late Saturday afternoon so I was really late in visiting everyone.  But we're back in business now and I was blown away, as I always am, at how many different ways there are to add the same element to a quilt.  Here is where I left off after the diamond round.

This week, Roseanne & Sue from Home Sewn By Us tell us what to add, and they chose stars!  Stars are classic, and there are so many different types of stars to choose from.  I decided to use Friendship Stars.  I'm using fabrics from Island Batik's Fancy Feathers collection and I chose to use the same print in the center of each star and have the spikes of the star be scrappy from block to block.  I was able to use my Accuquilt to cut the pieces which made this border come together pretty quickly.  I'm really pleased with how it turned out!


What kind of stars will you add to your Stay at Home Round Robin?  Be sure to check out the other hosts for inspiration!  Roseanne & Sue have this week's linkup.  Just a heads up that I will be a day late posting next week; Monday happens to be my day on the Island Batik Row by Row blog hop, so I'll have that post on Monday and SAHRR Round #4 on Tuesday.  

Friday, January 28, 2022

Bloom: An Island Batik Challenge

Welcome to the first Island Batik Ambassador challenge of 2022!  This is the start of my fourth year as an ambassador and I think this is my all-time favorite challenge! 


Island Batik recently expanded their offering of Basics, hand-dyed colors that are always available.  They have sorted these into 10 categories of Foundation Gradations.  Yardage of these Foundation Gradations can be found in your local shop that carries Island Batik. For this challenge, we were to show the color change gradient in a Step by Step challenge.  I was sent 20 fat quarters of Precious Pink, from super-soft Tea Rose to bright bold Sangria and all the shades in between.

When I saw all those amazing pinks, I immediately wanted to make flowers.  I could have made single-color flowers and planted a garden with the full compliment of pinks, but I really wanted to show the color change within a single bloom.  I searched around for ideas and found a painted barn quilt that was stunning and very close to what I was looking for.  Unfortunately, there is no source to trace it back to, my least favorite thing about Pinterest.  I opened EQ8 and drew up the block.  


Showing all the shades of pink!

Each flower would use 8 different pink fabrics--perfect to showcase the color changes I wanted.  I planned for a 3 x 3 setting, meaning 9 blocks, with 3 different colorations.  That would allow me to use all 20 pinks.  Version A & Version B use 16 different pinks between them; I used the final 4 in Version C and added 4 other repeats from A & B.

I knew I could cut most of the outer parts of the block with my Accuquilt 8" Cube.  I just bought the Cube Companion sets during pre-holiday sales so I even had the signature block unit!  I wasn't as sure about the inner parts of the block, for the different square-in-a-square rounds.  Then I remember my Snail's Trail BOB.  Jackpot!  Between the Cube and Snail's Trails, I could cut all of the pieces with my Accuquilt!  I did have to do a bit of Y seams, something I have not mastered, but it's good to stretch skills and hopefully I am the only one who will notice how messy those intersections are.  😀


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

In addition to the amazing Precious Pinks, I used the neutral Milkshake for the background and Chameleon, another basic, for the leaves.  I pieced with Aurifil thread 2615 (Aluminum) and quilted in a continuous spiral with Aurifil 2562 (lilac).  Schmetz needles are the only needles I use; this was a Chrome Microtex professional grade. I layered with Hobbs 80/20 bleached batting, perfect for keeping the milky-white of the background looking crisp.  

 I call this Bloom for several reasons.  First, a bloom as a noun is a synonym for a flower, and I really wanted those beautiful pinks in flowers. I also like bloom as a verb and feel like it conveys the feeling of becoming something.  I am absolutely in love with this quilt.  If I didn't have someone in mind when I made it, I would keep it.  It's just so pretty!  Both the challenge of working with the color gradient and the finished project are among my absolute favorite of my Island Batik challenges!  What a great way to start the year with Island Batik!

Monday, January 24, 2022

Round Robin #2 - Diamonds

Welcome to round 2 of the Stay at Home Round Robin!  This week it's my turn to pick what we add, and I chose Diamonds!


Normally, I start with a picture of my completed round but today I want to walk you through my thought/design process for this round.  After I finished the curves, I thought about what to do for diamonds.  While playing around, I realized that what I really wanted to do was turn what I had so far on point.

Would that really count as a diamond, though?  I searched pinterest for "diamond quilts" and a lot of what I saw did indeed have square-in-a-square blocks on point.  It also seems that geometrically speaking, squares are widely considered to meet the definition of a diamond.  So I was leaning toward doing what I wanted and setting my block on point for the diamond round. Then, while putting fabric for this project back in its bin, I noticed one of the fabrics in the Fancy Feathers line essentially had a diamond pattern.  


Quick mathematical calculations confirmed that there was enough to use this diamond-patterned fabric as the setting triangles to put what I had on point.  Bingo!  So, whether you consider what I had so far as now a diamond or the diamonds in the fabric, here is my diamond round.  And it all goes to show you that the point of this is to have fun and it's OK to be creative and perhaps push what a round could include a little.


If you are sewing along, link up your diamond round or whatever progress you have so far.  And be sure to check out the other hosts and see what they did with diamonds!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Island Batik Ambassador 2022 and Unboxing #1

I am beyond excited to share that I was selected as an Island Batik Ambassador for 2022.  This will be my fourth year with Island Batik and I absolutely love the experience.  Island Batik and all their industry partners are so generous, the ambassadors themselves are amazingly supportive and creative, and the monthly challenges have  You all know I love the beautiful batik fabric!  And that's why the best day of the year is the day the ambassador boxes arrive!  This is when I get all the goodies to use for the first six months of the year.  

Want to see what I was sent?  Here is my unboxing video, with special appearance by Fire Monkey.

And here's a photo breakdown of what was sent:

First, I was sent a bundle of Precious Pinks.  This is 20 fat quarters of 20 different shades of pink, all of which are Foundations Basics, so they are always available.  These fabrics will be featured in my January project.

Next, I was sent the Citified Collection, designed by Kathy Engle for Sherry Shish of Powered by Quilting.  All the new collections will be showcased in the February blog hop, so you'll get to see what I did what Citified.  I was also sent coordinating yardage, two yards each of Thistle and Merlot.

Next was a mystery package, my assigned collection for the May blog hop.  But I can't show it to you yet!  There were 12 half yard cuts from Foundations, the fabrics available all the time, that support Citified and the mystery collection. These include solids (top:dark gray, pink, orange, & lime green), blenders (middle: large netting Sand, bubbles Sahara, marble Charcoal, & large netting Ivy) and basics (bottom: daiquiri, turtle, garnet, & mustard).

Then there was a strip pack of the Contempo collection, designed by Kathy Engle for Kate Colleran Designs.  Coordinating yardage included 2 yards each of Banana and Grass.  Contempo is an absolutely gorgeous rainbow, and I've already cut into it for the Exploding Heart quilt along with Laura of Slice of Pi Quilts (also a former Island Batik ambassador). 

There were also two packages of Stash Builder rolls.  These are super versitile, the rolls are 5" by width of fabric, so they can be subcut into a variety of sizes, including charm squares, 2 1/2" strips, or whatever sizes you might need.  


And what's a quilt without a great background?  I got 4 yards each of solid black, gray, and white. Plus 6 yards of the neutral called Muslin. 

And then there an amazing FOUR battings from Hobbs: 80/20 bleached, 80/20 natural, 100% wool batting, and poly-down polyester batting.  If that wasn't enough, there was a package of their fusible batting strips!

And Aurifil sent me 3 spools of 40 weight thread, all in my favorite color of purple.


Isn't it all amazing!  Thanks to Island Batik, Hobbs, and Aurifil!  Due to all the shipping and supply issues, I'll be receiving a second box sometime in January or February and I will be sure to share pictures when it arrives.  In the meantime, if you need me, I'll be sewing with these goodies!

Monday, January 17, 2022

Round Robin Round #1 - Curves

 Welcome to the first round of the Stay at Home Round Robin.  I'm so excited that so many people are sewing along!  Some of the centers I've seen are amazing, and I can't wait to see what they grow into!  This week it is Anja at Anja Quilts who decides what we add, and she picked Curves.

Now, my regular readers will know that I hate curved piecing.  I typically avoid it.  I thought about a couple different options for this round.  I kept coming back to using orange peels.  Then I got an orange peel accuquilt die for Christmas (thanks Mom!) and my plan was sealed.  Appliqueing curves is much more in my comfort zone, and while I'm fine with venturing outside my comfort zone from time to time, I chose not to for this.  I used a satin stitch around the orange peel shapes.

Anja has the link up for this week.  Next week it's my turn!  Be sure to come back to see what I chose.  In the meantime, check out all the hosts to see what they did with Curves.  Seeing how each person uses the theme differently is the biggest part of the fun!

Monday, January 10, 2022

Stay at Home Round Robin 2022 - Centers

Welcome to the 2022 Stay-at-Home Round Robin!  SAHRR for short.  Gail at Quilting Gail came up with this idea: instead of a traditional round robin where you pass materials from quilter to quilter, you make your own quilt in a similar vein.  Gail rounded up some blogger friends, including me, to pre-determine each round, which we'll be revealing every Monday.  We'll also show you our quilts each week so you can see how we interpreted that week's theme.  

If you want to play along, the first step is to determine your center block.  I have had a plan for a few weeks of using my Studio 180 Design wing clipper tool and their Geese on the Edge technique for my center.  I used that technique in this quilt last fall.  Those blocks were 5" finished, so my plan was to make four of them for a 10" center.  But when I started actually sewing, I decided at the last minute to just do one round of "logs" for 3" blocks, which when I sewed them together gave me a 6" center.  If I had planned on this particular design from the beginning, I would have constructed it differently, but oh well.  I am using fabrics from Island Batik's Fancy Feathers collection and my background fabric is Island Batik blender Cat Scratch in S'more. 

Four 3" blocks
If you decide to sew along, link up with Gail for this week's round, your center.  Each week, a different host will have the link-up party, but we'll all link to that person so you can find it easily.  This is a fun way to make your quilt your way, but with some direction.  It's also fun to see how each person interprets each round, so there is a lot of room for creativity!

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

New Year, New Quilt Alongs!

With the beginning of a new comes lots of new quilt alongs!  While I am trying to limit new projects, I do find that I get energized from new projects, so I have a few quilt alongs that I will be joining at the start of this year. 

The first is the Stay At Home Round Robin, or SAHRR.  This is the creation of Gail from Quilting Gail.  It's based on a traditional Round Robin quilt, where you would make a center and then pass your quilt on to another quilter who adds a row, and so on, but instead *you* make all the rows.  Gail has assembled a small group of bloggers, including me, to pick out a theme for each row.  We start on Monday, January 10th and there will be weekly link-ups if you want to join in.  Gail covers more details here.


Next, I'll be sewing along with Laura of Slice of Pi Quilts for her Exploding Heart quilt along.  I've loved this pattern since she first revealed it.  She did a quilt along last year and I was tempted to join in but I had too much on my plate at the time.  She's doing round 2 this year and I just bought my copy of the pattern.  She starts on January 6th; you can get details and sign up for the weekly emails here.   

Last year, I started Boho Heart, a Jen Kingwell pattern, in a quilt along with Anne of Said With Love.  I did not finish it but I've been slowly plugging away at the 108 (!) blocks.  Anne is doing round 2 starting on February 2nd, so I'll pick it up again in earnest.  Details are here if you are interested.  I'd be working on finishing this one even if there weren't a quilt along, so it's a bonus to have the encouragement of other quilters working on the same pattern.

There are lots of other projects starting at the beginning of the year, too, but I'm stopping here. Too many to keep up with get overwhelming, but I am excited about all three of these. 

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Purple Wildflowers

After two somewhat gloomy posts for the end of 2021, I figured I should start 2022 with a beautiful finished quilt.  This is Purple Wildflowers.  The pattern is from Accuquilt, called Wildflower (I added the "s" to make it plural) and this is my second time making this pattern, my first version was for an Island Batik challenge in 2020.  


This uses Accuquilt's Hattie's Choice die (a block on board) and adds a flying geese unit to it.  I really love the look of the block, both in its original form and made into a flower.  

I've made end-of-the-year quilts for Fire Monkey's classroom teachers the past two years.  I plan to do that again, but I also really wanted to recognize the specials teachers as well.  In previous years, there were five specials at his school: music, art, P.E., library, and dance.  All five teachers have been at the school since he started in Kindergarten, so that means they've had him through the entire pandemic and distance learning.  These past few years have been especially challenging for teachers and I just want to show my appreciation in some way.  Fire Monkey started asking for favorite colors the first week of school; I knew I would have to start in August if I wanted to get them all made by June!

This is for Coach M, the P.E. teacher, whose favorite color is purple.  I used various purple Island Batik scraps.  The quilting is wavy lines with purple Auriful thread.  Since purple is also my favorite color, I really enjoyed making this one.  You can't go wrong with Purple Wildflowers!

with a statue at a local park