Wednesday, March 22, 2023


I'm using March's Ambassador's Choice challenge as motivation to get some of the this year's teacher quilts done early.  Today's quilt is for Ms. L, one of the before-school teachers.  Both before-school teachers have had Fire Monkey since Kindergarten, so I'm excited to make quilts for them this year.  Ms. L's favorite color is red.  The medallion quilt on my living room wall has a round of Hattie's Choice blocks, cut with my Accuquilt, and I've been wanting to do a quilt with just that block.  So that's what I picked for Ms. L.


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

All of these fabrics are from Island Batik's Foundations line, so they are all available all the time.  The red, black, and orange fabrics are all Blenders, and the yellow is a Basic called Amber.   I used just two color variations of the block and alternated them. Hattie's Choice is an 8" finished block, and I decided on a 7 x 7 layout.  I wanted to emphasis the red a little more, so I added a 3" border, making this finish at 62" square.

the two colorways I used

Once I had the top completed, I layered it with Hobbs 80/20 batting, my go-to batting for most quilts.  I used Schemtz needles for all piecing and quilting, as they are the only needles I will use.  I quilted diagonal lines through the kite sections of the blocks using Aurifil 2692 Black and 1104 Neon Orange.


Hattie's Choice is probably my favorite of the BOB dies that I have.  BOB stand for Block on Board,  meaning you can cut everything for the block in one pass of the cutter.  It's a really striking block and can really change looks depending on how you choose to color each part of the block.  I used it in my ambassador challenge in March 2020 and then made that same pattern again last year for one of the teacher quilts.


That's two down, two to go!  Thanks to Island Batik for the open theme and the motivation to get these done!

Monday, March 13, 2023

Flamingo Fun

It's hard to believe that this year's Stay at Home Round Robin is at an end.  I had such a good time with this quilt!  I decided to call it Flamingo Fun, because those flamingos are my favorite part.  


After the final round, it looked like this.  I had a multi-colored Island Batik fabric that went well with the color scheme of Flamingo Fun and I considered adding a sizeable border to the top.  Ultimately, I decided I didn't want it any bigger, and finished the outsides with the same Island Batik solid Cobalt that I used for sashing.  I also used the Cobalt for the binding.  I quilted it with a simple cross-hatch design.


I did have quite a bit of the multi-colored fabric, which was leftover from my Rose Arbor quilt last year, so I used it for the back instead.  It wasn't quite large enough on it's own, so I added a stripe of solid Turquoise.  Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of the back while it was still light out, so you're stuck with this indoor shot of just the multi-colored section.

Did you enjoy this year's Stay at Home Round Robin? If you are sewing along, be sure to link up with hostess supreme Gail to get a final entry into our prize drawing.  And don't forget to check out the final quilts of all the co-hosts!


Monday, March 6, 2023

Blue Skies

March's Island Batik Ambassador is Ambassador's Choice, named "It's All Up To You."  We get free reign to make whatever we want with whichever Island Batik fabrics we want. I decided to take this as motivation to get at least some of this year's teacher quilts done with a few months to spare.  First up is for Mr. B, who says his favorite color is sky blue.

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

To give you some backstory, every year I make quilts for Fire Monkey's teachers.  As soon as a new school year starts, Fire Monkey is tasked with finding out his teacher's favorite colors.  This year, I'm making four quilts: his two classroom teachers (dual language school, so one English and one Spanish teacher) and the two before-school teachers, both who have been there since he was in Kindergarten.  For Mr. B's quilt, I went through all my blue Island Batik scraps and pulled everything on the lighter end of the spectrum. There are fabrics from multiple previous collections in this, and I paired the blue scraps with solid white.  This was cut 100% with my Accuquilt.  I used the 4" HST die from my 8" cube. 


I made a very similar quilt in July 2020 for the Island Batik/Accuquilt Christmas in July challenge.  I used the same layout.  The July 2020 version was made with 3" finished HSTs, instead of the 4" HST of this version, but that's really the only difference.  I named that one Sunny Skies, so in keeping with the theme, I'm calling this one Blue Skies. 

Sunny Skies, from July 2020

Blue Skies, March 2023

This has been my leader and ender project for a while, and I'm so glad to see it come together!  I used Hobbs bleached 80/20 batting, perfect for quilts with a white background.   I used Schemtz needles for all piecing and quilting, as they are the only needles I will use.  I chose to quilt in kind of a trip around the world formation, and I did lines on each end that echoed around the square.  I used Aurifil 2770Very Light Delft in the blue sections and 2000 Light Sand in the white sections.

So that's one down, three to go!  I don't think I get can all four done this month, but I am hoping to finish at least two others while the challenges are "all up to me!"

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Bits & Pieces fabric prize winner

Now that Island Batik's Puff Quilt blog hop is over and we have moved into March, it is time for me to draw the winner of my bonus giveaway.  I have four of the fabrics from the Bits and Piece collection, designed by Kathy Engle for Sherry Shish of Powered by Quilting.  There's at least 12" of each, so more than a third of a yard each of four fabrics. Darlene B. is the lucky winner!  I have already emailed asking for her address.  If I don't hear back within a week, I will redraw.

Didn't win and wish you could have some Bits and Pieces of your own?  The following shops have Bits and Pieces in stock now!

Creekside Quilts -- ORHancocks of Paducah -- KYSwifty Stitches -- CACastle Sewing Centre -- BC, CanadaJellyRollFabric.Net -- OnlineMulqueen Sewing & Fabric Centers -- AZ


Monday, February 27, 2023

Stay at Home Round Robin #6 - Pinwheels

Welcome to the final round of the Stay at Home Round Robin.  This week we are in the hands of Gail, the mastermind behind this whole shebang.  Gail chose pinwheels for her round.  With my beachy, outdoorsy feel, the pinwheels seemed right at home!  I love thinking about pinwheels blowing in the ocean breeze.

I used my Accuquilt to cut the pieces for my pinwheels.  (Actually, I used the Accuquilt for every round!)  I was in a pink mood, plus I thought they'd match the flamingos of my center.  Here are all my rounds together.

I love it!  I wanted a beach vacation, and while I didn't get one, I did get a very fun outdoor, warm, beachy feeling quilt top!

If you are sewing along, be sure to link up with Gail at Quilting Gail.  After this week, you have a few weeks to finish your Stay at Home Round Robin before our final linky party opens on March 13th.  Don't worry if you don't finish by then, just link up whatever you have!  It's always fun to see all the different quilts that come out of the Stay at Home Round Robin.  It's probably my favorite online event all year!


Don't forget to check out all of the hosts and see what they did with their Pinwheels!


Monday, February 20, 2023

Stay at Home Round Robin #5 - Square in a Square

Welcome back to the Stay at Home Robin!  This week it is my turn to tell you and everyone else what to add to their quilts, and I picked Square-in-a-Square.  


It's a fun unit, and there is a lot you can do with it.  I started with a light yellow center and an aqua background for the outer squares.  I did all of mine the same, because I knew was going to add something to each square -- I used my squares as a background for fun flowers!

I have a few different flower dies for my Accuquilt and I just cut out a bunch of different shapes and started putting flowers together.  I had a lot of fun and really love the flowers together all in a row.  

So here are all my rows/rounds together so far.  Hard to believe, but we have just one round left in our quilt for this year!


Are you sewing along? Link up and show us your Square in a Square blocks, or whatever round you are up to now.  Remember that there are prizes this year!  You get an entry for every week you link up. 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


Here is a list of the sponsors and their generous gifts!


And don't forget to check out all of the hosts and see what they did for Square in a Square!

Monday, February 13, 2023

Stay at Home Round Robin #4 - Flying Geese

Welcome back to the Stay at Home Round Robin!  This week it is up to Anja at Anja Quilts to tell us what to add, and she picked Flying Geese.  


I went pretty simple with my flying geese.  I used a variety of brightly colored Island Batik scraps for my geese and I made them in pairs, then lined them up radiating from the center.  These were cut with my Accuquilt, which is my preferred method of making flying geese because the dog ears are already cut off.  

I've finally started sewing my rows together, using Island Batik's solid cobalt as my sashing.  I'm really enjoying seeing this come together! 

If you are sewing along, be sure to link up with Anja.  And check out all the Stay at Home Round Robin hosts to see what they did with flying geese.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Stay at Home Round Robin #3 - Hourglass

It's time for another round in the Stay at Home Round Robin!  This time, it is Chris's week to pick, and she chose hourglass blocks.  If you are sewing along, be sure to link up with her at Chrisknitssews.  Hour glass blocks are essentially quarter square triangles with the opposites sites the same, creating the look of an hourglass.  I used a trick I used once before to turn my hourglass blocks into butterflies.


These blocks are 4" finished; I used my accuquilt quarter square triangle die.  I also cut the butterfly bodies with my accuquilt.  Because I had to cut the blocks in even numbers, I ended up with an extra butterfly.  I added antenna to the spare to see how it looks. Husband thinks the butterfly looks better and more recognizable with the antenna; I am still undecided and so have not added anything to my row yet, but I still might.  What do you think: antenna or no antenna?

I forgot to get a shot of the rows I've completed so far while it was still light out, so you are stuck with this indoor shot.  I have a brand new design wall that Husband & I built together as my birthday present.  It's in the hallway, because that was the only place we could put it, and I can see it from the couch.  The rows are not yet sewn together because I haven't decided on an order yet; I'll probably wait until I've finished all my rows to finalize the order. I keep moving them around to see what I like.

Be sure to visit all the hosts to see all the hourglass blocks.  And here's the full Stay at Home Round Robin schedule if you are sewing along:

Monday, February 6, 2023

Puff Quilt with Island Batik

Welcome to the first day of the All Puffed Up blog hop!  Island Batik sent each of their ambassadors one of the brand new collections hitting stores now and tasked us each with making a puff quilt.  I was lucky enough to be sent Bits and Pieces, a lovely and bright collection designed by Kathy Engle for Sherry Shish of Powered by Quilting.  I just love the colors in Bits & Pieces!

If you are looking for the next round in my Stay at Home Round Robin, it will be posted tomorrow, February 7th.


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


I documented my three test attempts here.  In the end, I liked the this youtube tutorial best, and I did it as directed.  I particularly like two things about this method.  First, that you complete your top before stuffing, rather than stuffing individual squares and then piecing those together.  And two, her directions make it clear how to keep the already-stuffed puffs not in throat of your machine, so it's easier to complete.

sewing in the pleats

This was a really fun little quilt.  Once I determined my fabric layout and made sure I had all 20 fabrics from Bits & Pieces included, I whipped up the quilt top fairly quickly.  I did all my piecing with a Schmetz microtex needle and Aurifil thread 5004, Grey Smoke.  This quilt requires quite a bit of stitching that is visible in the finished quilt and the Grey Smoke was perfect for not calling too much attention to itself. It's also sewed together like a pillow case and flipped right-side out, eliminating the need for binding.  

With pleats all sewn in, before stuffing


And after stuffing

This finished at 36" by 44", but while that sounds small, it feels much more substantial than that, likely due to all the stuffing.  My son and I sit on the couch together and listen to Harry Potter audio books each night before bed and this has been the perfect size to cover both our legs while snuggling.  (We're currently on The Order of the Phoenix, for those who may be wondering.) He frequently comments on how big it is, and it's certainly very warm.  He has claimed it, as I knew he would.  Those puffs are irresistible!  He moves it around the house with him, and loves it while watching TV.


What's a blog hop without a giveaway?  I'm offering up what's left of 4 of the fabrics from Bits & Pieces.  There are at least 12" of each remaining, so that's a third of a yard each! To enter, leave me a comment during the month of February.  Any comment will do, but if you need a prompt, tell me if you've ever made a puff quilt, or if you are tempted to. I'll pick a random number as the winner on March 1st.  And be sure to check the Island Batik blog each Friday during the hop for a chance to win more beautiful Island Batik fabric--they set up a new giveaway each week! Many of the other Ambassadors will also have their own giveaways on their post days, so be sure to visit everyone!

You can find the full schedule of the hop here, and be sure to check out Sarah at Pitcher's Boutique to see what she made with Bits & Pieces!

Hiding?  Who's hiding?

Saturday, February 4, 2023

All Puffed Up Blog Hop coming soon

Island Batik's first blog hop of the year starts on Monday.  Each ambassador was sent one of the newest Island Batik collections and tasked with making a puff quilt.  Also called biscuit quilts, a puff quilt is what it sounds like--a quilt stuffed with fiber fill to make little puffs.

My assigned collection is Bits & Pieces, a signature collection for Sherry Shish of Powered by Quilting, designed by Island Batik's head designer Kathy Engle.  Bits & Pieces has such beautiful bright colors!  It's a really fun collection. And I'm on the first day of the hop!  Come back on Monday to see my puff quilt made with the bright fabrics.  (Full hop schedule below)

I had never made a puff quilt before, so I had to look up how to do it.  There are a lot of tutorials out there and a lot of different methods.  I am usually far too impatient to do a test block, but this time it felt important to test out the technique.  I ended up doing THREE small tests! I used Island Batik scraps and stash builder strips (5" x WOF), so I can show you my samples now.  See how much Buttercup the cat loves them all?

First, there was a recent blog post by Laura at Slice of Pi Quilts about doing a puff quilt on her longarm.  I don't have a longarm but I thought I could try it on my domestic machine.  Well, I liked the technique, but because I was doing it on a standard machine instead of a long arm, I had to turn the quilt a lot and there was no way to eliminate having the already stuffed puffs in the small throat of my machine.  I managed to finish my 5 x 5 sample, but the last two rows were tricky and I wouldn't want to do it with anything bigger. She bound hers like a standard quilt and I had every intention of doing that to mine as well, but before I could, my son claimed this sample for the cat and put it on her cat tree.  I figured that Buttercup probably doesn't care about raw edges and left it unbound.

Since I knew that technique wouldn't work for me, I moved on to one of the youtube tutorials I watched, that like Laura's method, uses a completed quilt top.  I went back and watched it again, and then made 2 simultaneous test.  One exactly as done in her tutorial, and another without the tucks.  I figured if I liked the look of my first test and there were no tucks, I'd see if they were really necessaryHere is the test without tucks:


And here is the one with tucks, exactly as in the tutorial.  I do like the look of the test with the tucks a little better.  Not a whole lot better, but better.  One of these also went to the cat, and the third is now a stuffed animal quilt. 

So now that you've seen my test samples, come back on February 6th to see my finished puff quilt made with the Bits and Pieces collection!  And be sure to follow along all month for all the puffy goodness of the All Puffed Up blog hop!  Here is the complete schedule:

February 6

Emily Leachman, The Darling Dogwood
Sarah Pitcher, Pitcher’s Boutique

February 7

Claudia Porter, Create with Claudia
Brenda Alburl, Songbird Designs

February 8

Elita Sharpe, Busy Needle Quilting
Reed Johnson, Blue Bear Quilts

February 9

Suzy Webster, Websterquilt
Preeti Harris, Sew Preeti Quilts

February 11

Special St Valentine’s Day Post
Renee Atkinson, Pink Tulip Quilting

February 13

Denise Looney, For the Love of Geese
Gail Sheppard, Quilting Gail

February 14

Anorina Morris, Samelia’s Mum
Sandra Starley, Textile Time Travels

February 15

Susan Deshensky, Lady Blue Quilts
Randi Jones, Randi’s Roost

February 16

Special Island Batik Designers Feature

February 20

Brittany Fisher, Bobbin with Brittany
Lisa Pickering, Lisa’s Quilting Passion

February 21

Victoria Johnson, Forever Quilting for You
Mania Hatziioannidi, Mania for Quilts

February 22

Lana Russel, Lana Quilts
Pamela Boatright, Pamela Quilts

February 23

Jennifer Thomas, Curlicue Creations
Maryellen McAuliffe, Mary Mack Made Mine

February 27

Leah Malasky, Quilted Delights
Connie Kauffman, Kauffman Designs