April Flowers

“April Flowers” with a Peggy Martin rose bush.

April flowers is my baby quilt project for April Island Batik Ambassador challenge. The challenge was to make a square baby quilt using the AccuQuilt Go. The fabric for this quilt was provided by Island Batik and the batting by Hobbs Batting. As part of the Island Batik Ambassador program, we also received an AccuQuilt Ready Set Go cutter and dies.

A cutting system for fabric was not something I was considering at this time. As soon as I got this though, I pulled out a pile of medium-sized blue scraps and cut them into 2.5″ strips. It was like magic – my odd sized scraps were instantly transformed into a jelly roll worth of strips. These strips are part of a project-in-progress but that is for another blog post.

For this project, I decided to make a block from the book that accompanied the Accuquilt system. It is by Eleanor Burns and has patterns for several classic 8″ blocks along with instructions on which die to use and how big to cut the strips, etc. I picked the flower basket block – a classic block that I’ve never made before because is has numerous and small half-square triangles. With AccuQuilt, the HSTs were a breeze. I cut a zillion 2.5″ HSTs, 2.5″ squares and 4.5″ HSTs in 20 minutes. It took me longer to gather and clip the pieces for a block. Using AccuQuilt for projects with several identical pieces is a great time-saver. Next time, I will place the pieces that make a HST – the pinks and the background in this project – right sides together before on the die. They go through the cutter together and I can just pick them up and sew. No extra time for matching the pieces.

I used several bright pinks for the flowers, greens for the basket and the Island Batik solid white for the background. The solid white is the same high-thread count batik fabric but it is just white. I used a bleached Hobb’s 80/20 cotton batting that came in my box. The bleached batting retained the bright white of the background.

I quilted an all-over daisy meander in the white space.
Some baskets got straight lines
Some baskets got wavy lines.

I know a lot of you in the northern parts of the Northern hemisphere have had severe weather this past week and even snow storms in April. Here in Houston, TX, we’ve had several weeks of spring already. It was an unusually mild winter with just a few hours of below freezing temperatures. This is very unusual even for Houston. My eggplants and peppers from last year did not die out and have already started blooming and bearing fruit. My Peggy Martin roses, amaryllis and impatiens are blooming. Peaches are done blooming and have tiny fruits. Orange blossoms and baby lemons aplenty on the citrus trees. Enjoying the lovely spring weather and the flowers and their fragrance but dreading the summer heat just around the corner.

Linkups:
Color Inspiration
Let’s Bee Social
Midweek Makers
Wednesday Weight loss
Needle & Thread Thursday
Finished or not Friday
TGIFF
Whoop Whoop Friday
Friday Foto Fun
Freemotion Mavericks

Q2 2019 Finish-a-long

I’m finally throwing my hat into the finish-a-along wagon. Finish-a-long (FAL) is a link up hosted by a community of quilt bloggers where a quilter makes a list of projects that she/he plans to finish that quarter and links up the list on one of the FAL hosts’ linky party.

1. Baby quilt for the April Island Batik challenge. Top is almost done. Needs to be quilted and bound.
2. Be a Diamond blog hop quilt. Construction is in progress. I hope to be done by April 21st! If I can’t get it quilted, I will blog with just the top. I will follow this up with a design process tutorial/post in May. I designed using a combination of EQ8, hand drawn templates and a programming language called Processing. Alison Glass SunPrints 2018 and 2019 on Kona Regal.
3. Complete the Summer in the Park quilt top. May be able to quilt in June? This is a 2+ year UFO.
4. Island Batik May challenge should be a modern quilt. I am planning to do a light, medium, dark 3D illusion quilt and try some heavy quilting.
5. This is currently hanging over the stairs near the kitchen. The pattern is 54-40 or fight. I made this maybe 3 or 4 years ago – before FMQ. I want to take it down and give it some more FMQ to enhance the curve illusion.
6. The Island Batik challenge for June is try a new technique. I’m planning to make two Cathedral window cushion covers using this YouTube tutorial from Missouri Star Quilts:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akKU0zg-qaw . I’ve never made the faux curve before. It will be a new pattern and a new technique for me. The cushions will go on our living room sofa.
7. Quilt the Bali sunrise. Not sure if I will even get this far in the list…
8. Finish the top for the Modern Plus Sign QAL. I worked on this quite a bit last month and I think I can wrap it up in just a couple of days but ……

Finish-A-Long hosts:

February Island Batik challenge – Magnificent Minis

This is my first challenge as an Island Batik Ambassador. The February challenge is Magnificent minis. Our challenge was to make a mini quilt smaller than 24″ X 24″. Fabric used in this project was provided by Island Batik and the batting was provided by Hobbs Batting as part of the Island Batik Ambassador program.

I made not one but two minis for this challenge. My first is a design I had stashed in my sketch book for a while. I am always intrigued by equilateral triangles and hexagons and how well they play together. This is a design that starts with several small half-hexagons. Three half-hexagons make an equilateral triangle. Three triangles make a half hexagon, three of which make a triangle again and so on.

The red and oranges for this mini comes from a “Soul Song” strip set I received from Island Batik and a few others from the stash builder rolls.

The problem with joining half-hexagons to make a triangle is the dreaded Y-seams. A short photo tutorial on Y-seams is at the end of this post.

I quilted using read, orange and yellow threads, though the different colors don’t really show after quilting. A dark red binding would have been better but I wanted to save the rest of the reds from Soul Song for my March project. I used a nice purple for the binding instead. The quilt finishes at about 22″ square.

As I was putting the finishing touches on this mini, the other ambassadors started posting their projects for February and they were all just stunning. I go the feeling that this may be inadequate and started another mini.

For my next mini, I used my tutorial for Spiral Nova, scaling everything down so that the finished size is about 20″. The strips are 1.5″ wide, finishing at 1″. When I wrote the tutorial, I didn’t expect to make anything smaller than 40″. After this project, I went back and added a row for this size in the tutorial.

I started with 8 strip sets. Some are repeated. I wanted to try using strips with relatively low contrast. Most of the blues for this came from the stash builder bundles from Island batik.

After making the spiral nova, I added a 2″ border all around to make sure I din’t cut off the points when I trim and bind. I quilted a tight spiral all around – looks almost like concentric circles. Once done, I used a large compass (the kind used by carpenters) to draw a perfect circle about an inch away from the star points. I had to use a bias binding around the circle.

I used the Hobbs Thermore batting for this mini. Thermore is designed for quilted clothing, table runners, placements, etc. that need to lay flat. It is very thin. After quilting, the piece was unbelievably flat – no warping or curving at the edges. I normally like a bit of loft in my quilts but I am definitely going to use Thermore for my wall quilts, bags and table runners in the future. It is very light and sits perfectly flat, but still shows off the quilting as well as any higher loft batting. .


Layout three half-hexagons correctly.

Here’s the Y-seam tutorial as promised:


Join two of them and press the seams open.
Start sewing with the third piece on top. Stop your needle exactly 1/4″ from the edge (mark with a sharpie if needed) and the intersection of the two pieces in the bottom. Turn the piece on top to align the edge of the bottom piece and complete the seam.
Press seam away from the third piece. Pressing this seam open does not work very well. I am no longer afraid of Y-seams but I need to love a block very much to willing sew Y-seams 🙂
The March challenge is Vintage Re-imagined. This is my fabric pull.  Most of it is from the Soul Song strip set. Any guesses on which vintage quilt pattern I may be re-imagining for my March challenge? Leave a comment.

Do not forget to go to this Island Batik blog post and checkout all the Island Batik ambassadors this year. Visit their blogs and see their awesome projects for the February Magnificent mini challenge!

Linking to all my favorite linky parties:
Linky Tuesday @ Freemotion by the river
Midweek Makers @ QuiltFabrication
Needle & Thread Thursday
Finished or not Friday @ Busy Hands Quilts
Can I get a whoop whoop
TGIFF hosted by Whatahootquilts

Island Batik Ambassador – unboxing the goodies

About a month ago I got a Fedex tracking email saying they will deliver a 24 lb box from Island Batik. Then a day later I got my email from Island Batik announcing the 2019 Island Batik ambassadors and I had made the list! It has been almost a month and I still find it hard to believe I was chosen.


Every year Island Batik chooses about 40 or so quilters and designers to promote their fabric. They send us a huge box of fabric. In return, we have to design and make an item every month that fits a theme. There will be two main blog hops – on in August and one in Jan 2020 featuring their new releases. Island Batik partners with Aurifil, Hobbs batting and AccuQuilt for the ambassador program. I did not know this and I was totally floored when I received this 39 lb box from AccuQuilt! Without further adieu, let’s see what’s hidden in the boxes…

Can’t get better than this!
Intrigued by Do Not Throw!
The other box

 

Here’s everything out of the box and posing for a picture.
This is a strip set of Soul Song (released fall/winter 2018 and available in the stores now) along with 2 yards each of a dark and light from the line.  You will see at least one or two project this year using these bright fabric.
Each of these rolls have 5 five inch wide cuts of color. I got lots of turquoise/blue, gold/yellow, and some nice purples.
3 yards each of solid white, grey and black. These are batik solids – same material as batik prints but dyed a solid color. The black especially is quite impressive – it’s a very saturated black which is hard to come by. Also hiding behind the grey is a ivory/cream batik blender called Milk Shake.
Half yard cuts of various colors from batik Foundations.
Surprise fabric – These wrapped packages contain new fabric lines to be released in Spring/Summer of 2019. I am not allowed to show this now but there will be blog hop in August featuring new fabric released for Spring/Summer 2019. I have peeked into this after I took this picture and all I can say is Wow!
2 Yards of beautiful pink batik rayon fabric and a batik rayon scarf in the most beautiful dark fuchsia. I don’t sew apparel and may be it’s time for me to learn to make a skirt or a top with the rayon.
So many goodies from Hobbs! Three queen-size batting rolls, one silk blend that I haven’t tried before, and a Thermore batting that I’m eager to try on a table topper. Hobbs had been my preferred batting for years, and I’m certain these will be used up very quickly.
A complete Ready. Set. Go! system from AccuQuilt! I had never considered using a cutting system but within minutes of trying it out, I’m hooked!
The Qube includes many convenient sizes – 4″ HST, 2″ HST, 2.5″ squares, etc. I put my small scraps through it and I now have a bin full of HSTs and squares for my next scrap project.
Look at that! A 2 1/2″ strip cutter. I put my larger scraps through this and I not have a bin full of 2.5″ strips
5 spools of Aurifil thread. There are two 50-wt, one 12-wt and two that say “floss”. I need to figure out how to use them all.

Please visit the Island Batiks Blog for info on the ambassador program and all the 2019 Ambassadors. Stay tuned for our February challenge!

Here’s a list of all the 2019 Ambassadors:

Carolina Asmussen ~Carolina Asmussen

Gene Black ~ Gene Black

Pamela Boatright ~ PamelaQuilts

Connie K Campbell ~ Freemotion by the River

Anja Clyke ~ Anja Quilts

Tina Dillard ~ Quilting Affection Designs

Becca Fenstermaker ~ Pretty Piney

Jennifer Fulton ~ Inquiring Quilter

Barbara Gaddy ~ Bejeweled Quilts by Barb

Dione Gardner-Stephen ~ Clever Chameleon

Sarah Goer ~ Sarah Goer Quilts

Vasudha Govindan ~ Storied Quilts

Lori Haase ~ Dakota City Quilter II

Joanne Hart ~ Unicornharts

Mania (Magdalini) Hatziioannidi ~ Mania for Quilts

Carla Henton ~ Creatin’ in the Sticks

Stephanie Jacobson ~ Steph Jacobson Designs

Connie Kauffman ~ Kauffman Designs

Joan Kawano ~ Moosestash Quilting

Kim Lapacek ~ Persimon Dreams

Emily Leachman ~ The Darling Dogwood

Leanne Parsons ~ Devoted Quilter

Bea Lee ~ BeaQuilter

Toby Lischko ~ Gateway Quilts & Stuff

Bill Locke ~ Studio Bill Locke

Denise Looney ~ For the Love of Geese

Leah Malasky ~ Quilted Delights

Sally Manke ~ Sally Manke

Maryellen McAuliffe ~ Mary Mack’s Blog

Kathleen McCormick ~ Kathleen McMusing

Carol Moellers ~ Carol Moellers Designs

Karen Neary ~ Sew Karen-ly Created

Lisa Nielsen ~ Lisa Lisa and the Quilt Jam

Jackie O’Brien ~ If These Threads Could Talk

Laura Piland ~ Slice of Pi Quilts

Michelle Roberts ~ Creative Blonde

Vicki Schlimmer ~ Vicki’s Crafts and Quilting

Gail Sheppard ~ Quilting Gail

Sherry Shish ~ Powered by Quilting

Anita Skjellanger ~ Quilt in a not-Shell

Laticia “Tish” Stemple ~ Tish’s Adventures in Wonderland

Jennifer Strauser ~ Dizzy Quilter

Jennifer Thomas ~ Curlicue Creations

Terri Vanden Bosch ~ Lizard Creek Quilts

Alison Vermilya ~ Little Bunny Quilts

Sandra Walker ~ mmm! quilts

Suzy Webster ~ Adventurous Applique and Quilting

(Debora) Anne Wiens ~ Seams like a Plan

Geraldine Wilkins ~ Living Water Quilter

Janet Yamamoto ~  Whispers of Yore