Monday, October 30, 2023

North Carolina Star

For October's Island Batik challenge, ambassadors were each sent the North Carolina Star die from AccuQuilt.  The North Carolina Star is a vintage block that was published in the Chicago Tribune in December of 1933.  AccuQuilt recently released a Block on Board (abbreviated BOB) die for the North Carolina Star that eliminated the y-seams in the original.  We were challenged to use the North Carolina Star die or any of its pieces, and were encouraged, though not required, to use fall fabric to celebrate this time of year.

I was really excited for this challenge!  Living in North Carolina, it felt like a gift to honor my state.  The die makes a 12" finished block and has 56 pieces.  Yes, 56!  That's a lot, but that many pieces also means that there are a lot of ways to change the look of this block.  I know that I will eventually play with a lot of different colorations of this block! I didn't want to lay out the blocks directly next o each other because I was worried that would be too busy, so I started thinking about blocks I could alternate with the North Carolina Star rather than using sashing.  Most of the other BOB dies I have are for 8" blocks; I don't have any other 12" BOB dies.  Or so I thought.  I realized that the Hunter's Star die makes a 6" unit, but that unit is actually a quarter of the star, so finished full block would be 12".  Perfect!  I headed straight for EQ8 to play with designs that combined North Carolina Star with Hunter's Star.  I came up with a design that I loved using both North Carolina Star and Hunter's Star.

original design in EQ8

In my most recent Ambassador box, I was sent a 10" stack of Buds and Blooms, a signature collection designed by Island Batik's main fabric designer Kathy Engle for Swan Amity Studios.  Buds and Blooms is a beautiful collection of yellows, oranges, purples, with just a touch of pink and burgundy.  While purple might not be a dominate color in changing leaves, the rest of the collection does remind me of a beautiful view of trees full of fall color.  I added the basic Jade as an accent and used solid black as the background to really set off the beautiful colors in Buds and Blooms.

Because I was working with a 10" stack, I was limited in how much of each fabric I had.  As a result, my quilt is colored a little differently than the original design in EQ8.  I ended up with two different fabric combination in my North Carolina Star blocks.

My finished quilt is 60" x 60".  I used Hobbs 80/20 batting and decided that a large spiral quilting would look good.  I chose to quilt with purple thread, Aurifil #2545 Medium Purple.  All piecing and quilting was done with Schmetz needles.  

marking the center circle for the spiral quilting

Items used in this project were provided to me by Island Batik, Accuquilt, Schmetz, Hobbs, and Aurifil.

I have really enjoyed seeing all the ways my fellow Island Batik ambassadors have used the North Carolina Star die!  I want to try a lot of the different variations that I've seen, so I know I'll be making more quilts using this block and this die.


Sunday, October 22, 2023

Bowl Me Over

Back in April or May, I joined a Slow Along with Randi of Randi's Roost to make By Annie's Bowl Me Over.  Bowl Me Over is a fairly large purse.  The Slow Along ended around the 4th of July but I finished in early September and just never got to posting.  I want to start using it as my daily purse and felt like I needed to post it first!

Note: Slow Along is not a typo.  Randi calls her sew alongs Slow Alongs because she runs them at a very relaxed pace, which is great for bags with as many steps as Annie's bags have!


All fabrics are Island Batik, and I think there are 6 different fabrics.  The main fabric is one I bought because I love it so much, it's from an older collection called Floral Wonders by Jerry Khiev and I bought it at Sew What & Batiks Etc in Wytheville, VA last summer.  The rest of the fabrics are leftover from various collections I've been sent by Island Batik over the years.  

Buttercup does like to come check on my progress every once in a while!

The inside, all clipped together.

I'm excited to see how I like this as my daily purse!

Friday, October 6, 2023

Covering the World, One Quilt at a Time

Creating quilts to donate is one of my favorite parts of quilting.  I like knowing that something I made is being used by someone I never met.  I have given quilts to many organizations over the years, including local charities, national charities, and drives for terrible events like natural disasters and survivors of mass shootings.  For the second half of 2023, Accuquilt has partnered with Island Batik and Baby Lock to Cover the World, One Quilt at a Time.

My favorite donation quilts to make are quilts for kids, so I wanted something fun.  I have the dinosaur die from Accuquilt and feel like dinosaurs are always a hit.  My most recent Island Batik Ambassador box included a strip pack of Morris Tiles, a pretty blend of browns, teals, peaches, and wines. I planned a simple block with an appliqued dino surrounded by a strip from the pack.  


Because the brachiosaurus is so much longer than the t-rex or the stegosaurus, I put them all in middle so that rectangle could be larger. I pulled out the browns and teals of Morris Tiles for the outside of the blocks and used various green scraps for the dinosaur appliques.  The background is Batter, one of my favorite Island Batik neutrals that sadly has been discontinued.

Fire Monkey & Buddy in the trees

After making the fun dinosaur quilt, I still had a lot of strips left, including all the peach and wine fabrics from the collection, so I decided to make a second quilt.  I bought the llama die the day they released it (my sister-in-law loves llamas) but hadn't used it yet.  


First, I had to look up what colors are naturally occurring for llamas.  The answer was all shades of brown, white, gray, and black, and they are occasionally spotted.  I looked for scraps in those colors for the llamas and used leftover bits of the teals from the dinosaur blocks for the llama blankets.  The background is the basic Sky.

These were very simple and fun to make.  I did the dino top in one long afternoon, and the llama top in 3 shorter sewing sessions.  The appliqueing was the only somewhat time-consuming step, and even that didn't take too long.

I will be donating both of these to Levine Children's Hospital here in Charlotte. 

Do you also like making donation quilts?  Island Batik and Accuquilt are offering monthly prizes between now and the end of the year.  You can see all the details of how to enter here.