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:

Bali Sunrise plus Anniversary Giveaway

The Island Batik challenge for March is Vintage Reimagined. We are to take a vintage quilt or quilt block and “re-imagine” it using Island Batik fabric. I picked a traditional favorite, the log cabin quilt block. Rather than making a quilt with several blocks, the entire quilt is a single giant log cabin on point. The fabric for this quilt was provided to me by Island Batik as part of the Island Batik Ambassador program.

The inspiration for this quilt was this awesome picture of sunset in Bali, Indonesia, taken by my friend, Rupa. Rupa took this picture of flaming skies in Lembongan island. She says this is what the sky looking like. No filters used.

I worked with a strip set called Soul Song from Island Batik, along with some other blues, teals and oranges and yellows. I laid out the reds, oranges and yellows on one side and the blues, teals and turquoises on the other.

This quilt top took a long time to complete – longer than I expected. This log cabin was essentially a single block – so no chain piecing which usually keeps things moving faster. Also, as the quilt got bigger, I had to haul the entire 4800 sq in of it through the sewing machine. I was glad when it was all done. I was planning on quilting it before the end of the month but I don’t have time for that now. The quilt measures about 64″ X 84″.

I call this quilt Bali Sunrise after the inspiration picture. I think sunrise sounds better than sunset – it sounds like you got off the bed and went somewhere really early in the morning to see a spectacular sunrise!

Blogiversary: My first post for this blog was on March 27th 2017 – exactly 2 years ago!. It has no more than 22 views to date and has just one comment – from Sandra of mmm! Quilts. (Love you, Sandra!) I had never heard of linky parties and so the post was published but not advertised. Only a handful of people – family and friends – read it after I sent them a link. Sandra tracked me down after I commented on one of her blog posts 🙂 I’ve come a long way since that first post. The best part of this journey has been meeting so many warm, friendly, funny, talented quilters in blog-land. I have also joined the Houston Modern Quilt Guild, and met some wonderful and passionate quilters in real life. Being an Island Batik ambassador has been too good. I get fabric, thread, batting and an AccuQuilt, and all I need to do it design and make quilts and blog about them. I call this a win-win-win! My goal for next year is to take some time to document my ideas and patterns, and to pitch them to quilt magazines, websites for publication.

To celebrate my blog anniversary, and my first year as an Island Batik ambassador, I’m hosting a small giveaway. One lucky winner will get ten 5″ wide strips of vibrant Island Batik fabric and one half yard cut of an off-white fabric (also Island Batik). You get one entry for each of the following actions:
1. Leave a comment on this blog post.
2. Visit any of my other blog posts and leave a comment.
3. Follow me on WordPress or Bloglovin or Instagram (storiedquilts314)
This is entirely informal. I will count up the entries and ask my son to pick a random number within the range. The giveaway will stay open till midnight of April 2nd. I will email the winner on the 3rd to get their mailing address. I live in the US but will be happy to mail the goodies anywhere in the world.

Linking to all the usual linky parties this week:
Midweek Makers
Let’s Bee Social
Wednesday Weight Loss
Needle & Thread Thursday
Finished or Not Friday
Whoop Whoop Fridays
Friday Foto Fun
TGIFF

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