Sunday, May 26, 2024

Scrappy Joy Blooms

It's the end of the school year, so I am finishing up this year's teacher quilts.  Music teacher Ms. B said "all the colors" when asked her favorite color.  I was browsing older issues of Make Modern magazine looking for inspiration when I saw Joy Blooms by Katy Devlin in issue #22.  It was a neat looking block.  I saw reading through the instructions that it was paper pieced, which I hate, but in looking at the diagram I realized that I could cut it with my accuquilt cube and use traditional piecing.  Score!

I used my 6" cube and each block is 15" finished.  I wanted mine to have a really scrappy, colorful look.  I selected 3 fabrics for each block using my Island Batik scraps, aiming for fun fabric combinations and an over-all broad use of a lot of different colors.  I eliminated the sashing between the blocks from the original pattern though I did add a skinny border on the outside to give a little visual distance from the blocks.

With scrappy quilts I love to use a scrappy binding.  I keep all my binding remnants and I separate out those from Island Batik fabrics.  I got out my bag of leftovers to see what I had and pieced them together to get to the length I needed.  There are 14 different binding leftovers in this quilt!  I love cleaning out my leftovers!

scrappy binding ready to go

I like the orignal pattern name of Joy Blooms so I am just adding the word "scrappy" to it to indicated that these are scrappy blooms of joy. I'm pleased with this as a colorful and scrappy quilt.  I hope it succeeds in having all the colors! 

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Winter Nap: a paper pieced celebration

Welcome to my stop on Island Batik's Paper Pieced Celebrations blog hop!  The ambassadors were each sent one of the newest Island Batik fabric collections and tasked to use paper piecing to create a quilt that was a celebration of some sort.

My fabrics are the beautiful Peppermint Sprinkles collection, designed by Kathy Engle for Heidi Pridemore of The Whimsical Workshop.  I was so excited to get Peppermint Sprinkles, it's the collection I was most hoping for!  I love the red paired with the cooler aqua and light teal, and the winter theme with motifs of snowflakes, deer, pine branches, and reindeer.  The celebrations part of the challenge would be easy, as clearly this would be a celebration of winter. 

I do not enjoy paper piecing, so I was having some trouble deciding what to make.  Then I happened to see an issue of the British magazine Love Patchwork & Quilting at a local quilt shop.  (Issue #127)  This magazine always has some sort of extra packaged with it, and this particular issue had a bonus pattern booklet of 8 animal paper pieced designs.  The inset showed a few of them, including a penguin taking a nap under a quilt.  I snatched that issue up and impulse-purchased it for that bonus pattern!  Penguins would go great with the winter theme of Peppermint Sprinkles!

a single sleeping penguin

I took the pattern booklet home and looked at what I had gotten myself into.  The penguin wasn't going to be *too* many pieces to paper piece, and the quilt part of the block was traditionally pieced.  The original block has a fish sleeping with the penguin but I took out the fish to just focus on the penguin. I decided on a layout of nine penguins.  I used Island Batik's solids for the actual paper pieced penguins: Turquoise for the background, White and Black for the penguin head, and Orange for the beak.  


My friend and fellow Island Batik Ambassador Gail of Quilting Gail knew of my dislike of (foundation) paper piecing and offered to do a zoom call to show me her method of paper piecing without actually sewing on the paper.  I did find her method easier and less terrible than the way I had been paper piecing, though saying I like it now would be an overstatement.  Gail also has Peppermint Sprinkles for this challenge, be sure to visit her and see what she made with these fun fabrics!


back side with interfacing over the eye stitching

The pattern calls for embroidering the sleeping penguin eyes.  I used blue embroidery thread for this, and then used small scraps of fusible interfacing from making By Annie bags to seal the back of the embroidery, in hopes of  securing the stitches.  Funny moment: I had multiple conversations with my husband about the penguins, especially the eyes.  I thought each conversation included the fact that these were sleeping eyes.  Turns out, he thought the penguins were not napping, but holding up the quilts they made!!!!!  How funny is that?!?!  I guess he is just used to a lot of holding up of quilts! 😀

While most of the paper pieced quilts for this hope are foundation paper pieced, we could use either foundation paper piecing or English paper piecing.  I knew I could never do enough English Paper Piecing for a lap-sized quilt, but I really wanted to add some.  I played around with classic hexagons until I got a decent snowflake.  I thought the snowflakes would make a really fun border for the penguins, and would let me use more of the Peppermint Sprinkles fabrics.  I made four EPP snowflakes for the corners, then used my Accuquilt to cut snowflakes to fill in the rest of the border.


Items used in this project were give to me by Island Batik, Aurifil, Schmetz, and Oliso.

I used Aurifil's invisible thread to stitch the EPP snowflakes to the background.  I also used the invisible thread to applique the other snowflakes. As always, I did all the stitching with a Schmetz needle. Schmetz vinyl needs also do really well stitching through fusible web for applique.The piecing was done with a gray Aurifil thread.  My new Oliso iron got all my pieces nice and flat.


For the first time in my six years as an Island Batik Ambassador, I have only a quilt top to show you.  I really, really think that this quilt needs snowflake quilting, so I plan to send it out to a longarmer.  Don't you think snowflakes will look amazing with this??  I am debating Black vs Turquoise for the binding, let me know your thoughts!


Part of this challenge's brief was to be a celebration.  I like to think of these penguins as taking a winter nap on the shortest day of the year--Winter Solstice.  So this is a celebration of winter, of winter solstice, and of naps!  I'm calling it Winter Nap.  I plan for this to be a couch cuddling quit for my family.  We are biathlon fans and the past two years, have watched the full biathlon season.  A quilt with snowflakes seems perfect for watching a winter sport.  Winter nap measures 77" x 66".


If this is a blog hop of celebrations, what better way to celebrate than with a giveaway!  I have put together a prize package including:

  • a spool of Aurifil invisible thread, just like the thread I used for the snowflake applique
  • a package of Schmetz needles
  • a Schmetz quick pocket reference guide
  • a Schmezt photo chart of their different types of needles
  • magnetic pin cushion
  • Island Batik button

To enter, leave me a comment.  I'll pick a winner randomly on Friday May 24th.  You can comment on anything, but if you need a prompt, here are two possibilities:

  • What is your favorite thing about winter?
  • Do you think I should use Black or Turquoise for the binding on Winter Nap?

Thank you to Island Batik for another fun blog hop!  Be sure to check out all the beautifully Pieced to Perfection Celebrations!  You can find the full schedule here

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Reflections blog hop: Fairy Cabin

Welcome to my day on the Reflections blog hop, hosted by Jennifer of Inquiring Quilter!  I was so excited when Jennifer asked me to participate!  First of all, Jennifer and I have known each other in blogland for a long time and I've always loved her designs and her straightforward approach to explaining quilting concepts and techniques.  She frequently uses jewel tones in her quilts, so I was so thrilled when I saw that her Reflections signature collection with Island Batik is full of gorgeous jewel tones!

When Jennifer asked me to make one of my designs with Reflections fabrics, it didn't take me long to land on Fairy Cabins.  I had just finished a quilt for Island Batik's log cabin blog hop and I was really excited about seeing the same quilt in Reflections' deep jewel tones with a black background.  And the finished quilt did not disappoint! (The photo above is in the shade and the photo below is in sun, so you can see the slight difference in how the colors look.) 

I did not remember to take a picture of the lovely fabrics before I cut into them, so here's a shot of some of my leftovers.  I was cutting it really close on a couple!  There are 8 fabrics from Reflections in the top, plus a 9th Reflections fabric for the binding, and Island Batik solid black for the background.  Fairy Cabin is 50" square.  I quilted with organic wavy lines in Aurifil #2784 Dark Navy. 

My friend Kate helped me design this quilt back in January/February, when I brought my laptop with EQ8 to the Mexican restaurant where we were having dinner!  She has seen this new colorway and approves!  I love all the fabrics in this.  The bright pink chain moving across the black background makes me happy. And some of the motifs in the fabric look like quilt designs!

To celebrate Reflections, Jennifer is hosting a giveaway on her blog of a fat quarter bundle of Reflections fabric!  There will also be an instagram loop from May 15th - May 17th --just look for the post by @inquiringquilter.  And finally, Jennifer is doing a quilt along with her beautiful Broken Roads pattern beginning May 23rd and continuing through June 13th.  You can sign up for the quilt along here.  

Be sure to check out all the participants in the Reflections blog hop!  The projects so far have all been beautiful, though how can they not be with such amazing fabric?!

May 1st - Jennifer @ Inquiring Quilter

May 3rd - Denise @ A Quiltery-For the love of geese

May 4th - Lisa @ Lisa Quilting Passion

May 5th - Suzy @ Websterquilt

May 6th - Andi @ True Blue Quilts

May 7th - Connie @ Kauffman Designs

May 8th - Emily @ The Darling Dogwood <<— That's me!!!

May 9th - Jane @ Stitch By Stitch Custom Quilting

May 10th - Brianna @ Sew Cute And Quirky

May 11th - Leah @ Quilted Delights

May 12th - Susan @ Larkspur Lane Designs

May 13th - Brenda @ Songbird Designs

May 14th - Jennifer @ Inquiring Quilter — The Winner is Announced!

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Two blog hops!

May is a busy month for blog hops!  I'm in two in the coming weeks, and I'm so excited to share what I've been working on!

First is the Reflections blog hop, hosted by Jennifer of The Inquiring Quilter.  I've known Jennifer in blogland for years.  We were both part of a group for new quilt bloggers several years ago, and she & I and about 8 others kept a smaller sub-group going for years.  She was one of the quilters whose work with Island Batik inspired me to apply to be an Island Batik Ambassador!  


Jennifer has her own signature collection from Island Batik called Reflections that is absolutely gorgeous!  Seriously, check it out!  Jennifer always makes such beautiful quilts with jewel tone fabrics that I am so thrilled that those colors are in this collection.  I was so honored when she asked me to be part of the blog hop showing off her beautiful collection.  My day to post is Wednesday May 8th, so be sure to come back and see what I made.


In the meantime, check out all the bloggers creating with Reflections. Plus, Jennifer has a chance to win a fat quarter bundle on her blog, and there will be an instagram loop from May 15th - May 17th --just look for the post by @inquiringquilter.  And finally, Jennifer is doing a quilt along with her beautiful Broken Roads pattern beginning May 23rd and continuing through June 13th.  You can sign up for the quilt along here

May 1st - Jennifer @ Inquiring Quilter

May 3rd - Denise @ A Quiltery-For the love of geese

May 4th - Lisa @ Lisa Quilting Passion

May 5th - Suzy @ Websterquilt

May 6th - Andi @ True Blue Quilts

May 7th - Connie @ Kauffmandesigns

May 8th - Emily @ The Darling Dogwood <<— That's me!!!

May 9th - Jane @ Stitch By Stitch Custom Quilting

May 10th - Brianna @ Sew Cute And Quirky

May 11th - Leah @ Quilted Delights

May 12th - Susan @ Larkspur Lane Designs

May 13th - Brenda @ Songbird Designs

May 14th - Jennifer @ Inquiring Quilter — The Winner is Announced!


And then, if that's not enough quilty inspiration, it's time for Island Batik to unveil their most recent batch of collections. Reflections is one of those, of course, and there are eleven others, for a total of twelve gorgeous fabric collections! Each Island Batik ambassador was sent one of the twelve collections and asked to use paper piecing to create a lap-sized quilt fit for a celebration. 


I was sent Peppermint Sprinkles, a really fun wintery collection featuring snowflakes, reindeer, pine trees, and deer. I absolutely love this collection and can't wait to show you my quilt! My day is Wednesday May 15th, so come back to see my celebration of winter naps. 😉 



Island Batik has a new giveaway starting each Friday during the hop; check out their blog for details. Many of the hosts will have giveaways on their individual posts as well; here's the complete schedule:

May 6:

May 7:

May 8:

May 9:

May 13:

May 14:

May 15:

May 16:

May 20:

May 21:

May 22:

May 23:


Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Quilts for Brothers

I have a coworker who is expecting her second son in mid-May.  I did not know her when her 3-year-old J was born, so I knew that in addition to a baby quilt, I wanted to make a quilt for big brother, too.  I decided on simple I Spy quilts with 1" (finished) sashing.

They had a name for baby K early on, so I thought it would be fun to put the boys' names on their quilts.  I used the alphabet die for my Accuquilt.

I spy fun

Fire Monkey helped me pick out the I Spy squares for both quilts.  We had a lot of fun picking out our favorite from my huge collection of 5" I Spy squares.  And I was glad to tell my coworker that the fabrics were kid-approved!


Dino Dreams

I bought the backing fabric for big brother J at QuiltCon.  It is an absolutely fabulous print of Space Dinosaurs called Dino Dreams by Iris + Sea for Paintbrush Studio.  I bought baby K's backing fabric at my local quilt shop Quilt Patch; it's Jungle Paradise by Stacy Iest Hsu for Moda.  

Jungle Paradise

Mama was absolutely thrilled with the quilts and was so touched that I made one for big brother, too.  She said he rolls up in it like a burrito every night--you know that's exactly what a quilter wants to hear!  He likes tracing the letters in his name and finding the different items in the quilt.  I am so happy that to help celebrate this growing family!

Wrapped and ready to give

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Funky Friend Puppy Dogs

This month, Island Batik joined with Funky Friends Factory for the ambassador challenge.  Pauline, the force behind Funky Friends Factory, is an Australian designer who designs the absolute cutest stuffed toy patterns.  She has so many fantastic patterns that it was hard to choose one!  Ultimately I chose Puppy Dog Pete. He's just so cute!!!  I made two puppy dogs.

Truth be told, I struggle with projects that are 3-dimensional, especially stuffed toys.  But Pauline really sets up her Funky Friend patterns up for success.  The patterns are broken down into small steps, and she has a photo tutorial for each Friend that shows in details what it should like. 

Candy Liver

Materials used in this project were given to me by Island Batik, Funky Friends Factory, Aurifil, Schmetz, Oliso, and Hobbs.


Violet the Purple Puppy

I did one thing different than the pattern--I really wanted the ears to have some padding and not just be fabric.  I used scraps of Hobbs fusible batting and fused it directly onto the wrong side of he ear pieces.  I cut the batting pieces without a seam allowance, so that the extra thickness wouldn't be in the seams.  I'm pleased with how that worked!  It did make turning the ears right-side out a little more difficult, but it was worth it!

ears with Hobbs fusible batting
Fire Monkey has named the green puppy Candy Liver. (It comes from a mis-hearing of his dad talking about cantilevers.)  His body fabric is from an older Island Batik collection Lemongrass.  I'm not sure which collection the blue contrasting fabric for the ears, nose, and tail came from, but it's the prefect compliment to the blue spots in the Lemongrass fabric.  Candy Liver's friend is Violet the Purple Puppy.  Her main fabric is Purple from the always-available Basics collection, and her nose and ear fabrics are from last year's English Lavender collection.  I stitched both puppies with schmetz n #2783 Medium Delft Blue for all the sewing machine parts, but used color specific for the hand stitching after stuffing:  Aurifil #2884 Green Yellow for  Candy Liver and Aurufil #2545 Medium Purple for Violet.  I started the puppy project with a brand new Schmetz microtex needle.


Violet's head in process

I have made a few Funky Friends in the past but I had one new trick this time: printing the pattern pieces onto freezer paper that can go into the printer.  My friend Kathleen of Kathleen McMusing recently mentioned these papers to me, and man, did they make the process easier!  I printed Puppy Dog Pete's pattern pieces (say that 5 times fast!) directly onto freezer paper, then used my Oliso iron to iron the pattern pieces directly onto the fabric for cutting.  So much easier than tracing!!  I still had to transfer the pattern markings, but that's not nearly as time consuming. 

I am really happy with our new puppy pals!  Thank you, Funky Friends Factory, for a pattern that made us new huggable friends!