Monday, May 29, 2017

IBA Modern Batik Challenge and Tutorial

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you know I've been away on an extended vacation with my husband. It has been a long time since just the two of us went on truly JUST a vacation! Not a working one or to see family or friends or whatever, but just us. We had an incredible time going to Easter Island and Machu Picchu and enjoying a cruise up the coasts of South, Central and North America from San Antonio, Chile to San Francisco, CA. We really had a fantastic time especially at these two highlights.

We had planned to be gone just short of 4 weeks and in the end both of us got sick on the cruise (not food borne) and on the way home our flights were delayed, we missed flights and my husband ended up having a kidney stone in flight so at our connection airport we went to an Emergency Room for help, missing our rebooked flight. Fortunately Alaska Airlines was gracious and booked us out the next morning and we had a friend in the area who helped out immensely with transportation to leave the ER, get meds, get to a hotel, etc. so we could leave out early in the morning from the airport. So, we were gone 4 weeks! It took almost another week for him to finally pass the stone, so even though we got home, we weren't really 'over' the vacation! HA!

Some of you may remember my thyroid and food journey ...I was nervous that I would have difficulties on the trip, but it turned out to go quite well, lost more weight, felt great most of the time, but after potatoes were an easy option the first week on the cruise, my muscles were restless at night so I decided to quit the potatoes and I felt much better. My main 'trigger' categories are gluten and dairy and I have been questioning nightshades. Well at least for now potatoes for sure. I was able to get a standing order of avocado while on the ship and that helped to get some healthy fat and I could combine that with gluten free bread that was available upon request to make a great sandwich or add to eggs for breakfast or whatever. East Indian food was a common option and for the most part was the best option for lunch/dinner meals.

#modernbatikchallenge #islandbatik
I worked hard before I left to get several things made in anticipation of our Island Batik Ambassador challenges in the coming months, but still needed to quilt them! This month's "Modern Batik Challenge" I chose to use the "Glowing Embers" line of fabric. It came as a set of 42 - 10" squares (Stacks) and two pieces of yardage.

I started thinking about our personal experience last fall when we had a fire occur across the lake from our home. We arrived in the dark from a weekend away to the flames moving down the hill towards the water. Here you can see the night we arrived and the smoke the next morning where it was still burning. Given the name of the fabric line, I chose to be inspired from this and create something using the fabrics that in an abstract way perhaps represents the stages of fire.

I laid out the squares so that they sort of progressed in coloration from already burnt, to burning, to not burnt yet. Choosing two squares together and making sure no two combinations were the same, I put right sides together, drew diagonal lines and sewed a 1/4" seam on both sides of each line. Then cut vertically, horizontally and on the diagonals to yield 8 half square triangles (HSTs).


Trim them so you have a consistent size.

Starting with 42 squares in the stack, this yields 176 squares.

I decided 10 x 16 (160) and the extra 16 could float in the border.

Using a design wall, I just put them up randomly and played with it until I was satisfied. Here are a few stages. Ultimately the idea of the burnt out areas on the upper left moving towards the actual fire on a diagonal and in the lower right the unburned areas. Taking photos along the way really helps to see what works to your eye or what doesn't. If you move too far you can always use the photo to go back to something you liked better! There were more iterations, but here are the key transitions.

Using the yardage I thought the dark purple made for a nice border and allowed the extra HSTs that were in the same color to float into the border. I used warm & natural batting, Superior Threads Omni-V thread on top and So Fine! on the bottom. Using Fantasy Flame 2 pantograph I hand guided the stitching.

The dark purple was also used for the binding and attached completely by machine using #Aurifil thread.

Here is the backing with the other yardage and a bit more of the purple to make it big enough.

Will still add a label later today and it will be complete!

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Have some "Stacks" (10" squares) sitting around? Hope you are inspired to make something.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Adventurous Applique - Round 2

We're at it again...Island Batik Ambassadors are on another challenge and as much as I really don't like applique projects, I'm amazed that I did two this month. #adventurousapplique #islandbatik
Both satisfy interests of mine to finish started projects and to use my co-authored book "You Can Quilt! Building Skills for Beginners" as a jump off point for new pieces. In this case I used Chapter 10's first block -- Orange Peel Block. I also enjoy doing multiple sized shapes in order implement the golden ratio of design. In this case I used 2" peels, 4" peels and 6" peels. Each with a different Island Batik Fabric from the Seas the Day collection being released at market in May.

I traced the shapes onto Steam-a-Seam Lite 2, applied to the backside of the fabric and then cut them out.

I might call this Sea Anemone given the fabric line, but  I'm calling it Orange Blossom in ode to the shape and the colorations.

If using shape sizes that change on the golden ratio, it is easy to just keep building and building the size of your square. In this case I just took a square piece of fabric that I knew would be oversized from my finish size, folded it on the diagonal and pressed it, and did the same for the opposite diagonal. This gave me a guide for placement. Line up the first four peels at the center point on the lines and just keep adding until you are done. Use a long ruler to keep the outer edges in line as well.

Once they were in place and I was happy, then I ironed it down with a pressing sheet between to keep any possible 'fusing' from getting on the iron. Then I stitched a small zig zag with Aurifil thread around all shapes in one continuous path. This helped to highlight the green peels that are similar in value to the background.

I quilted this with one layer of wool batting Aurifil #2340 40 wt on top, A&E Tex 30 Taupe on the bottom. After stitching a continuous path around all peels, I stitched a similar shape using the background fabric as registration marks for the entire background. The largest (green) shapes have a smaller shape stitched into them since they were too large for me to comfortably leave un-quilted. It also gave them a bit of 'leaf' dimension. I then blocked it and used a faux piped binding method (also found in my co-authored book) to complete it.

This is just one way it could have been quilted, but given the busy background I thought it interesting to have the same similar shape as a continuous background texture against the larger orange peel shapes.

Hope you enjoyed today's presentation of this month's IBA challenge. You can see this quilt in person and several of my other quilts at the Odessa, Washington Spring Fling Quilt Show, April 28 and 29, 2017.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Adventurous Applique - Round 1

Our Island Batik Ambassador Challenge this month is 'Adventurous Applique'.
#adventurousapplique #islandbatik

I had worked on this RaNae Merrill designed paper pieced heart in February for our Valentine's/Galentine's inspired challenge and just wasn't sure what to do with it. This month's challenge gave me an idea and this is the result.

To the paper pieced heart, I stitched mistyfuse to the front of it, by stitching on the paper line exactly the size I wanted it finished. I happened to have some scraps that two pieces coming together at the center of the heart were just wide enough. That gave me my automatic 'split' to turn it inside out. The 'valley' of the heart and the 'point' of the heart gave me a bit of a challenge since the two pieces of mistyfuse didn't stitch well right there, but I got it ironed in place on the backing and was satisfied. The finished edge with little bulk added by using the mistyfuse makes this a super each stitch down too. Next I did a very small blanket stitch in red on the lower 2/3 of the heart and in white on the upper 1/3. Then I put it on a piece of wool batting that fit the size of the heart and basted it right next to the heart (this is where I should have used water soluable thread) and trimmed the batting close to the stitching. yes, I even did my first attempt at trapunto. For a first go, I'm really pleased. I think stuffing a piece of batting cut to the shape and stuffed inside the mistyfuse would also work.

Now I loaded it on my long-arm with backing, a layer of 80/20 and then a layer of wool on top and stitched right next to the heart and in the shape of the inversion of the paper piecing --this got a little tricky as it is quite thick with the many small sections. I also wanted a thin string hanging below the heart as if it was a big balloon in the sky. One stitch path and I decided it needed dimension so added a second one close to it. Then I stitched in the cumulus clouds, inspired from Gina Perkes book.

A simple all machine binding finished it up to make it a fun whimsical wall hanging that I'm calling "Love is in the Air".

The adventure this love balloon is on represents me and my husband and our taking off into the sky tomorrow morning for a big adventure ourselves!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Design Wall Monday

Our Island Batik Ambassador Challenge this month is 'Adventurous Applique' ...I took an adventure with two different pieces. So, today you get the progress! Full posts about this will occur over the next week or so. Watch for them!

Love is in the Air
 -- remember my paper pieced heart in February it is used as an applique on this whimsical wall hanging.

Still needs binding.

Orange Blossoms
 - using the orange peel shapes and concepts from my book "You Can Quilt!" I used different sizes to create an effect of smaller to larger in a nice sequence.
2", 4" and 6" orange peel shapes. I used pieces from a new line called "Seas the Day" --you might recognize some from my Sea Bubbles quilt that will be revealed at market next month.

This one is in the 'blocking' stage.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Design Wall Monday

Had a wonderful time at a retreat last week. Great to be home though too. Today was a bit rough (under the weather), but still got a bit more done at our local all day sew-in. (Like I needed more sew-in time! HA!)

This still needs a top and bottom strip of the beige and then the top will be ready for quilting...but alas I need a bit more fabric!!

And here is a first reveal at my row for this year's 2017 Row by Row Experience. A better shot with completed elements when it gets quilted and bound.

ta ta for now.  M.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Furry WIPs

I've got lots going on this week while I am at a retreat on Lake Coeur d'Alene in Idaho. Loving my time out so to speak to just get lots done on piecing projects.

Today is Furry Friday with the Island Batik Ambassadors and I'm sharing with you two adoptable furry friends.

This week’s edition is courtesy of Hancock’s of Paducah.


Bristol and Carlee are looking for new homes. I hope you can help them, if not, please consider spreading the word, even if you share their info on your FB page, perhaps someone can help them out.

Today, you can also visit these blogs to read more about Furry Fridays…

I blogged about making Kennel Quilts a few weeks ago here.

Here is a new Kennel Quilt with a brand new line called Fresh Pickins that will be released at market next month. I quilted it with Fantastico friend--thank you #Superiorthreads!

These are a fun way for anyone to use up scraps because these little kennel quilts are all only 12"×18", you can easily use up old leftover squares, orphan blocks, swap blocks, scraps, panels, just anything and then left over batting, flannel, and fleece to fill them.

When you make these kennel quilts to give to your local shelters or send them to shelters that need them, please consider the guidelines that TQPM has made so that you get the best possible kennel quilt for the pet they are giving them to.

Update on my retreat progress on many WIPs:
Here is a Beginning Paper Piecing sample that I got the binding on the front side and need to finish by hand.

A commission that will be all 'Texan' in attitude when I am done. Lots of fussy cutting on this one.

An Island Batik upcoming challenge project...piecing done! 5" squares are from Lake Life and the background is from Twilight Blush.
This month's IBA challenge-Adventurous done using Aurifil thread to top stitch. Fabrics are from Seas the Day collection.

A future IBA challenge project with "Glowing Embers" collection.

This is a bit of a fixer from a shop hop in 2015. The fence ends in white instead of green now, and I'm thinking a green grass border might just finish it off.

Mitered symmetrical borders just give a quilt one more level of polish.

 Sometimes it is fun to envision and create a group project all in a day. Here is my block in a bigger team project that was very spontaneous while we were here at retreat.

Linking up with Jennifer at Inquiring Quilter's WWL -Wednesday Wait Loss Program to show off my progress. 

Have a great weekend!