Thursday, June 23, 2022

Prickly Pear -- Island Batik's New York Beauty blog hop

Welcome to my stop on Island Batik's New York Beauty blog hop!  Each of us was sent one of the new Island Batik collections and tasked to feature the New York Beauty block.

I was sent I was sent Woodblock Bouquets, a signature collection by Kathy Engle for Carol Moellers Designs. Woodblock Bouquets has rich dark pinks, deep golds, and delightful greens and many floral motifs. Read to the bottom for a chance to win some of these lovely fabrics!


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

Now, while New York Beauty is on a lot of quilters' bucket lists, it was not on mine!  NYB blocks typically involve paper piecing and curved piecing, two things I try hard to avoid.  I can paper piece but I don't really enjoy it.  Curves, however, I avoid at all costs.  My first thought was to check Quiltsmart to see if they make a New York Beauty fusible interfacing.  And they do!  Quiltsmart takes traditional patterns that can be tricky and use printed fusible interfacing to take away some of the more challenging aspects of the pattern.  In my first few years of quilting, I made their Lone Star and their Double Wedding Ring (both pre-date the blog).  Their Liberty Crown is a New York Beauty block.

Using the Quiltsmart interfacing means I was locked in to the 12" block it makes, and I was locked into the specific arcs of their block.  This took some of the decisions out of my hands, but there was still plenty to customize, including fabric placement and layout. I chose the new neutral Muslin as my background and started with crowns made of the three dark greens in the collection.  When I played around in EQ, the green spikes made me think of plants and prickly leaves which went nicely with the idea of bouquets.  

Once I had the rings of the spikes/points/crowns all pieced, it was time to add the rings.  The rings are fused on and stitched with a zigzag using Aurifil invisible thread--so no curved piecing!!  While the spikes took a while to piece, the rings went pretty quickly. 


I had a layout I liked from EQ and I made blocks based on that design. While the greens were in the crowns, I used all the other fabrics in the collection randomly in the 3 sizes of solid arcs.  All twenty fabrics from Woodblock Bouquets are in Prickly Pear, which is how I thought of the quilt with its dark green spikes. Once I had all the blocks made and I started to lay out the whole thing, I realized I wanted to change the orientation of some of the blocks and therefore the overall layout.  Instead of two caterpillar-like shapes I originally planned, I liked the almost-circle like layout.  And I knew that continuous spiral quilting would look fabulous with the adjusted layout.

original layout


I quilted Prickly Pear with Aurifil 2000 Light Sand, which I also used for the piecing, other than when I used the invisible thread for securing the rings.  I have always used Schmetz needles and the super nonstick needles are great for working with fusible like the Quiltsmart interfacing.  The batting is Hobbs Heirloom 80/20.

While I never would have picked a New York Beauty on my own, I'm really happy with the finished quilt.  These challenges are so great, they make me try things I absolutely would have avoided otherwise.


Want a chance to win some Woodblock Bouquets fabric?  I have a pretty good amount of 8 of the fabrics left.  Leave me a comment to be eligible to win this bouquet of fabric.  You can comment about anything, but if you need a prompt, tell me what quilt block or quilt pattern you have reluctant to make. I will randomly draw a winner on July 1st. 

Island Batik is hosting a giveaway each week for the blog hop, check out this post for this week's giveaway, and come back tomorrow for the final giveaway of this hop.  Also be sure to check out my fellow ambassador Suzy Webster and see what she made with Woodblock Bouquets.  And visit all the Island Batik ambassadors for lots of New York Beauty inspiration!

Monday, June 20, 2022

World's Most Epic Picnic Blanket

For several years, I did a lot of I Spy swaps.  Inevitably, a lot of the fabrics would be food items.  I think one swap might have even been entirely food-themed.  For many years, I have wanted to make an all-food I Spy quilt to use as a picnic blanket.  I can't even remember when I started it, but I took some scraps of solids and my favorite food I Spy 5" squares and made square-in-a-square blocks.  I had about 42 blocks made, and all my food I Spy squares separated out, and it sat in a bag in the closet for years.  I think it's been on my PhD (projects half done) list with Gail every year, and every year I have not touched it. 



Now that the world is waking back up after Covid, it seems likely that my family will need that picnic blanket, so I buckled down to finish it and I couldn't be happier!  There are 113 blocks with a food square in the middle.  There are a few that are food-adjacent, like an ice cream truck, a farmer's market, etc.  The most fun thing about this is some of the foods that exist as fabric!  Pigs in blankets!  Chex Mix! 


I finished this on a recent family trip.  We used it right away, you can see my niece and my son pointing to the S'Mores on the quilt while waiting for real s'mores near the campfire.  

Clearly it's a hit!  While making this, I kept calling it The World's Most Epic Picnic Blanket and that's still how I think of it.  So happy to have it to use for lots of future picnics!

Monday, June 6, 2022

New York Beauty Blog Hop with Island Batik

Today starts another exciting blog hop with Island Batik!  All month long, Island Batik Ambassadors will be showing off New York Beauty quilts and variations made with the Winter 2021 collections, which will be in quilt shops very soon.  Make sure you keep an eye on the Island Batik Blog for a new giveaway each Friday, and many ambassadors will have a bonus giveaway.

I was sent the beautiful Woodblock Bouquets collection, designed by Kathy Engle as a signature collection for Carol Moellers Designs.  Woodblock Bouquets has rich dark pinks, deep golds, and delightful greens.  Many of the designs (tjaps) are floral, as you might guess with "bouquets" in the name 😀

You will have to wait a while to see what I made with these lovely fabrics, as my day isn't until June 23rd. In the meantime, check out each ambassador as they showcase the New York Beauty block!  Here is the full hop schedule:

June 6:

Gail Sheppard, Quilting Gail
Elizabeth DeCroos, Epida Studio

June 7:

Reed Johnson, Blue Bear Quilts
Andi Stanfield, True Blue Quilts

June 8:

Sandra Starley, Textile Time Travels

June 9:

Jennifer Fulton, Inquiring Quilter
Mania Hatziioannidi, Mania for Quilts

June 13:

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

June 14:

Pamela Boatright, Pamela Quilts
Anorina Morris, Samelia’s Mum

June 15:

Michelle Roberts, Creative Blonde Gifts
Lisa Pickering, Lisa’s Quilting Passion

June 16:

Denise Looney, For the Love of Geese
Connie Kauffman, Kauffman Designs

June 20:

Claudia Porter, Create with Claudia
Brianna Roberts, Sew Cute and Quirky

June 21:

Gail Renna, Quilt Haven Threads
Preeti Harris, Sew Preeti Quilts

June 22:

Megan Best, Bestquilter
Leah Malasky, Quilted Delights

June 23:

Suzy Webster, Websterquilt
Emily Leachman, The Darling Dogwood

June 27:

Jane Hauprich, Stitch by Stitch Custom Quilting
Brenda Alburl, Songbird Designs

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Trigangle Try-Out

When I first decided to use my Accuquilt equilateral triangle die for the Triangle Tricks challenge, I knew I should probably make a test project.  I wasn't sure how the seams would nest or how to finish the edges and I didn't want to practice with such an important project.  The die is a great size to use with 5" charm squares, so I dug out a charm pack of Flour Garden by Linzee Kull McCray that I won a few years ago.  I ran the charm pack through the Accuquilt cutter and randomly sewed triangles together.  

It's not particularly big, but it gave me a good chance to test it out and use up some fabric I've had for a while. And since it's fabric I've had for a while, this qualifies for my version of Gail's PhD challenge--while Gail's focus is on Projects Half Done, I am also focusing on using up fabric I've had for a while.  It helps that after doing the PhD challenge for several years, I don't have a lot of UFOs left, but the fabric supply feels like it never depletes at all 😀

Friday, May 27, 2022

Red Nine Patch

My friend Wendy from Pieceful Thoughts of My Quilting Life and I have been doing low-key sew-alongs together for a while now.  This time, we decided to pick a pattern from Cheryl Brickey's book Just One Charm Pack, since we both owned the book.  There are so many great patterns in this book!  We picked Nine Patch Challenge.


I've been working on making quilts for Fire Monkey's teachers and I only have their favorite color to go on. Mr. S, the dance teacher, likes red.  (Dance is one of the specials at our school, along with the more common art, music, PE, and library.)  Surprisingly, I don't have much red, but I did have a 2-yard cut of Island Batik's Imperial.  The yellows are scrappy but everything else doesn't change from block to block. While Cheryl's Nine Patch is much scrappier-looking, it worked to have a bit more of a standard palette.  


All fabrics are Island Batik. Mine is a bit bigger than the pattern, and I used yardage and scraps instead of a charm pack. I quilted it in what I think of as "Preeti Quilting" meaning wavy line stitch in a grid, a motif that the amazing Preeti uses a lot and it always looks great.  

While we chose the quilt together, Wendy & I worked at our own pace.  I know her top is completed but I don't believe she has shared hers yet.  I am working on a second version of this pattern because I do think it sings when there are more fabrics in the 9-patches.  The second version will be rainbow-ish!


Monday, May 16, 2022

Hexagon baby quilt

I have a colleague who recently had a baby boy.  I have made a baby quilt for every born of the library staff at work since starting this job in 2015.  I don't know this colleague very well as they are mostly at a different location, so I didn't have a lot of information to go on.  I had a really fun tractor print that I bought several years ago hoping to use for an I Spy swap, but then realized would have to be fussy cut and set it aside.  

This seemed like the perfect time to use it!  I recently got the Accuquilt large hexagon die that is compatible with the equilateral triangle die I already had.  I used Kona Rick Red for the triangles.  I didn't have enough to bind in red, so I used bright blue Kona Pacific instead.  The back is a fun cow print.  

I had to kind of think about how the rows went together and how to make sure the tractors were all in the correct orientation, but I do think this design and die work really well to showcase a larger-scale print.  It would also work well on a layer cake.  It's simple and it's fairly small, but I'm pleased with how it came out.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Totally Triangles

May's Island Batik challenge is to play with triangles.  I knew from the moment I read the brief that
I would use Accuquilt’s equilateral triangle die, which I had from Christmas several years ago but
had never used.  The timing also meant it would be a good one as a baby gift for a former coworker
who is expecting this month.  Her first child was also gifted an Island Batik challenge project
That one had a teddy bear on it, so I wanted to maybe add an animal to this one, too.  I did
some internet searching and found gold–a pattern called Triangle Friends by Dione
Gardner-Stephen.  The pattern was from Make Modern Magazine issue #26, which I already
owned, and Dione is a former Island Batik ambassador.  Perfect!



Of the seven playful pals in Dione’s pattern, I picked out the butterfly and the puppy dog.  Both are
made entirely of triangles!  I used scraps of various pink foundation basics left from my precious
pinks bundle for the applique animals.  I actually created the animals first, so I would know how
much space I would need on the quilt background for them.



Then I set the appliques aside and concentrated on the top.  I loved the colors of Citified, Kathy
Engle’s signature collection for Sherry Shish of Powered by Quilting. I thought the gentle blues,
purples, and oranges would work great as a baby quilt for a baby girl and the collection
even has
4 different white-ish fabrics, perfect as a background for the applique animals.  I added a few
other fabrics from both scraps and stash builder strips.  I already had Citified out for my Row by
Row quilt and went ahead and got my triangles ready. Cutting the 165 triangles needed for the top
was a breeze with the Accuquilt.
Piecing the equilateral triangles was mostly easy, though I did
have to get used to the seams nesting oddly, or at least differently than squares or rectangles do.


I did my piecing with Auriful thread, color 1135 pale yellow.  I used two different pinks for the
applique, both from the Sardinia color builder, 2425 Bright Pink & 2530 Blossom Pink.  For the
applique, I absolutely love Schmetz super nonstick needles.  They glide right through the fusible
web and I have no problem with sticky residue.  I used Aurifil 2134 Spun Gold for the quilting,
which I did in straight lines to really emphasize the triangles.  The batting is Hobbs Heirloom
Bleached 80/20 cotton/poly
, perfect for a light-colored quilt.



you can really see the triangle quilting in this photo

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

I used the foundation fabric Banana at the end of the rows, the parts that would become the
cut-off triangles to square up the top.  I also used Banana for the border and binding.  I love
these colors together and feel like they work well for a baby quilt but won't seem out of place
when she's a bit older.

I had a lot of fun with this challenge.  I use triangles a lot in quilts but I don't know that I've ever intentionally only used triangles.  And this really is Totally Triangles!