The July project for the Island Batik Ambassadors is to make a baby quilt or crib sized quilt using fabric from our ambassador box we received earlier this year.
I actually had two designs in mind, and the month isn’t over with yet, so who knows! I may be able to make two….
This is the pattern I chose and the why…
What’s Old is New Again
The definition of vintage is kinda sketchy. With the exception of cars, antiques should be 100 years or older to be called antique, however, an item can be considered vintage at a mere 20 years. More commonly, something labeled vintage is assumed to be 50 years or older. Needless to say, my baby quilt qualifies as both acceptable definitions of vintage (I still feel twenty!). My baby quilt, made by my mother’s mother, was the inspiration for this month’s project.
Choosing the Pattern and Fabrics for Oh Baby!
When I ran across the pattern Sprinkles, by Jaybird Designs, I knew I needed to replicate my baby quilt….not exactly, but close enough.
I had 2.5″ strips left over from last month’s project in the fabric line of Pressed Petals. In my personal stash I had the perfect Island Batik orange to use as the background. Yes, I’m a woman that likes color! But then again, you’ve figured that out already, right?
Let’s Make a Baby Quilt
Jaybird Design patterns are easy to follow. With such a small amount of fabric (13 strips plus background) the cutting was completed in no time.
The piecing went together rather easily too. I always think “oh I can just whip this little quilt out in no time” but I forget that lots of little parts and pieces, plus taking the time to press between steps, does take a little time. All enjoyable I might add! Nothing better than the hum of the sewing machine to soothe the soul. Especially when accompanied by my favorite Christian radio station playing in the background!
On to The Design Wall
The half hexie units were then placed on the design wall. I have to admit that this is always the part that takes the most time. I study, rearrange, rearrange some more and still have a couple of fabrics “too close” to each other visually. Ah, but that’s the fun of “random” piecing that achieves the scrappy look.
The half hexie units are sewn together vertically to form rows. I think I might have got a block or two out of order, but again, it’s scrappy and I fired the quilt police years ago.
I had high hopes of completing the quilt last weekend, but circumstances beyond my control interrupted. If you follow me on Facebook with my personal account you will understand that “family comes first”. It’s all good, and I will be moving forward soon with this little gem. I just couldn’t wait to share it with you!
To Be Continued:
I love how this is coming together. I am hopeful that I will be able to give you an update before the end of the month with it quilted and photographed next to my original baby quilt. This has been a fun pattern to work with and it goes without saying that the Island Batik fabrics truly make it sparkle!
Check out the progress of the other Island Batik Ambassadors – a link to their blogs is located here.
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, enjoying the process!
How many of you still have your baby quilt? Is it a pattern that you would like to recreate for the next generation? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
I have had a blast, an absolute BLAST, being a new Island Batik Ambassador. I can’t believe the year is half way over. Take a walk down memory lane with me as I review the quilt challenges so far this year!
QUILT CHALLENGE ROUNDUP
You may remember that as an Island Batik Ambassador I received a goody box full of beautiful fabrics, as well as several spools of Superior Threads and Aurifil threads, to use in our monthly challenge projects. Two different shipments of fabrics are scheduled for the year for the ambassadors to use in the projects. The next box should be arriving sometime in July and I can hardly wait! If you missed the excitement of the long-awaited very anticipated first shipment then visit my YouTube to see how exciting it is to receive a mystery box full of Island Batik fabrics or revisit the blog post here.
FEBRUARY Kennel Quilts and Galentine’s Day
Our first project of the year was to make a kennel quilt (or several) as a community service project using beautiful Island Batik fabrics.
I enjoyed making these little quilts. You can read more about the process as well as how to make your own Kennel Quilts for charity here on the blog.
February was a fun packed month as we had an optional additional challenge…to share the love with our gal-friends. You can revisit this post by clicking here.
MARCH QUILT CHALLENGE: Mini Madness
March was fun! We were asked to make a mini quilt using either foundation or paper-piecing. I got a little carried away and turned my challenge project into multiple projects. I think working with these fabrics just gets my creative juices flowing and I don’t know when to stop!
APRIL ISLAND BATIK AMBASSADOR QUILT CHALLENGE: Adventurous Applique
April’s challenge was creating an applique project. I decided to try a new-to-me process called reverse applique while making a banner to celebrate the Easter season.
You can read the entire adventure here on the blog.
ALONG CAME MAY: Modern Batik Challenge
I think May’s modern quilt challenge is my most memorable project so far. Read about my new learning experience as I discovered modern quilt piecing and exploring modern quilting on the longarm.
So far this is one of my favorite quilt challenges because I enjoyed the process – from the inspiration to actual design, the piecing of the quilt top, and especially quilting new design elements.
JUNE QUILT CHALLENGE: Curvalicioius Quilts
I enjoyed this month’s project as I was able to pull out a ruler/ template set and accompanying book that I’d purchased several years ago. I enjoyed working with the “summer colors” from the fabrics in my Ambassador’s box. I think it looks great hanging in my home! The tropical colors fit my temperament perfectly. Bring on summer! You can read the process here.
Can’t believe the year is half over, and I really can’t believe that I’ve made this many personal projects so far this year! It’s been a fun challenge to work on these little quilts “after hours” from my longarm quilting business. I’d like to think that my quilting skills have improved as I’ve been able to “practice” new quilting designs working on personal projects while further exploring my desire to design quilt patterns.
JULY QUILT CHALLENGE: Great Expectations!
Just an expectant mother must be patient, so must you, my dear reader. July’s challenge is a baby size quilt that is in the works. If you look closely in the roundup photo above you can catch a sneak peek!
In addition, I am awaiting my second Island Batik Ambassador fabric shipment for the remaining quilt challenges for the year. I can hardly wait!! The first box was so fabulous and sew much fun! Stay tuned – good things are coming!!!
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, feeling blessed to be counted among the Island Batik Ambassadors.
Have you been keeping up with my fellow ambassadors? Why not take a moment to review the blog roll and follow each of the ambassadors to ensure that you don’t miss out on all our inspirational creations using beautiful Island Batik fabrics.
This past week my fellow Island Batik Ambassador, Laura Piland, Slice of Pi Quilts, nominated me for the Liebster Award. Naturally, I just had to ask … what is this and what does it mean (grin) and I’m sure you are curious too –
The Liebster Award 2017 is an award that exists only on the internet and is given to bloggers by other bloggers. The earliest case of the award goes as far back as 2011. Liebster in German means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.
The award is a way to be discovered but also to connect and support the blogging community.
A Little About My Nominator – Slice of Pi
One thing that I have enjoyed about being an Island Batik Ambassador is rubbing shoulders, so to speak, with a multi-talented group of quilters! Many of the ambassadors have been with the program for several years, and are quite well known and established in their field – some pattern writers, some fabric designers, some moms, some grandmoms, some – like me – are new ambassadors. I am learning so much from this group.
But I want to tell you a little bit about Laura. I think she first perked my interest when I saw her pattern for Sliced. I love watermelon. Nuff said.
As cute as this is, I got really interested in following her blog when I discovered she was going to her first Spring Market 2017. I’ve been to Fall Market since 2004 and I was eager to see Spring Market through her eyes, but more so through the fresh eyes of a first timer. She didn’t disappoint! Not only did I enjoy her market recap on the blog but it was fun to follow her on Instagram to see all the “celebrities” she was meeting within the quilt industry. I hope you will give Laura a follow on her blog and other social media. Slice of Pi Quilts.
Getting To Know You Questions:
As a part of introducing myself to new followers as well as introducing my followers to new bloggers, we’ve been requested to answer a few “getting to know you” questions about ourselves and hope that our nominees will respond and do likewise. Here are a few things you may or may not know about me!
Who Inspired You To Sew?
My mother made almost all of my clothing when I was growing up, as did her mother, my Ma-Ma. Ma-ma had a sister Effie, whom I called “aunt” even though she was my great aunt. All three of these women had an impact on my wanting to play with needle and thread. Mom – clothing, curtains, recovering chairs, etc. Ma-ma was the quilter even though I didn’t begin quilting until later in her life she lived to be 97 and was so proud of my quilting and my longarm. Aunt Effie was a skilled seamstress and did fabulous crafty things for the woman’s group at church. I will always remember the sock monkeys, fabric “paper” dolls and soft sided books.
If You Could Meet One Quilt Personality, Who Would It Be?
I have been blessed to meet many quilt personalities, mainly longarm quilters, due to my association with A1 Quilting Machines from 2008-2014, but I have never had the privilege of meeting Judi Madsen, The Green Fairy Quilter. I do have an autographed copy of her first book – I pre-ordered direct from her (grin).
What Do you Like to Do While Quilting?
Talk. Or Listen. I truly work best when I’m talking. If I’m at a sew in I have lots of friends to talk to, if I’m in the studio I will use my Bluetooth and talk to my best friend Pam, who lives a thousand miles away and is also a longarm quilter. When not talking I listen to Audibles.
Do You Have A Favorite Snack While Quilting?
Dark chocolate – to be specific, Ghirardelli Intense Dark 72% Cacao – but I will be gracious enough to accept any dark chocolate you’d like to share with me!
Do You Look For Quilts When Watching Movies?
Yes, and my husband is quick to point them out too!
What Comes First, Fabric or Pattern?
Whatever catches my eye first. I buy fabric knowing that I can later find a pattern, and I buy patterns knowing that somewhere there is a perfect fabric. Who thought of this question anyway <grin>
What Is Your Favorite Finish?
That’s a hard one. I have several favorites, but generally, it’s the one I just finished. I think currently it would be my “This Is The Way, Walk In It” as it was a challenge to piece and quilt, stepping away from my traditional roots to try something modern. (Thank you Island Batik for the challenge!). You can read more about it here.
Quilt By Hand or Machine?
Domestic sewing machine to piece, A1 Quilting Machine (longarm) to quilt. Still hand-guided since 2004.
One step into my studio and you’d know that answer! I refuse to disclose how many UFO’s I have (grin). I work on several at a time, both mine and customers.
Do You Have A Blog That You Can’t Miss A Post?
In my other life, I’m a bag lady. I love By Annie’s patterns and can’t wait to see the newest patterns so I carefully watch Blogs By Annie.
And The Nominees Are:
In an effort to get to know my fellow Island Batik Ambassadors better I am hoping several will “play along” with the Liebster Award.
Sally Johnson of Sally’ s Quilting Corner. Sally was one of the first ambassadors to welcome me into the fold. We found that we had a mutual friend, longarm quilter Jamie Wallen – and the rest is history. Sally is an encourager and almost always the first one to like a post or photo.
Kathy Bruckman of Kathy’s Kwilts And More. Kathy is a newbie like I am and what I like about her is she’s not afraid to ask other’s thoughts and opinions on her projects. Kathy is faithful to engage through social media – she’s even playing #flatOLFA with me on Instagram .
Pamela Boatright of Pamela Quilts. Pamela likes to write and quilt, so I’m drawn to her because of both talents. I think she’s a little like me – I noticed on a recent blog that she was “catching up” on putting labels on quilts…hum…sounds familiar.
Maryellen McAuliffe of Mary Mack Made Mine. Maryellen has been an Island Batik Ambassador for quite some time. I’m hoping she will share more with us. I’m drawn to her as she just met Jenny from Missouri Star Quilt Co., she’s playing #flatOLFA on Instagram, and her latest Island Batik Challenge was a purple double wedding ring table runner. Have I mentioned that I like purple?
Stephanie Bertics of Quilt ‘N Party. Stephanie is new to the Ambassador program (I think). I don’t know a lot about her but I like the quilts she has blogged about and am hopeful she will play along.
Liebster Award Thoughts
I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know a few of my new blogging friends. I’d nominate the whole group if I could….nominations or not, be sure and click here to find a list of all of this year’s Island Batik Ambassadors. I know you will enjoy getting to know them and see their beautiful creations – many have patterns available too!
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, eager to meet new bloggers!
Now it’s your turn…..what blogs have inspired you? Are you a blogger? Share your thoughts and links below.
One thing I have enjoyed about being an Island Batik Ambassador this year is the creative monthly challenges! This month’s theme was Curvacious Quilts. Originally I had planned on pulling out the Go!Cutter and using my Drunkard’s Path die, but realized that really wasn’t a challenge since I’ve made several quilts using both the 7″ finished die and the 3.5″ finished die.
Something Old is New Again
I am a self-proclaimed ruler queen, believing that there is a ruler for everything and you can never have too many rulers. For this project, I dug deep in my ruler drawer and found a set of templates just waiting to see the light of day.
I chose to use the 10″ Pressed Petal squares that came in my Island Batik Ambassador box earlier this year. I loved the fabric so much that I was able to purchase the 2.5″ strip set – you can never have too many precuts and if you like a fabric you should buy it when you see it!
I was pleased to see that all three of the templates would fit on a 10″ square but I opted for a design change – after all, I did have 2.5″ strips!
The cutting went very quickly as I had decided on a table runner and only needed 12 blocks. The piecing was going pretty quickly too as I followed the book’s instructions, but I wasn’t liking the end result when I pressed the melon away from the first L shape. I knew I could do it better so switched to placing the melon on the bottom instead of the top and the result was much better. See my previous blog about piecing traditional Drunkard’s Path blocks without so many pins. The method worked like a charm for the melon shape and I soon had my 12 blocks pieced.
I loved the way the quilt was turning out, as these are certainly “My Colors” but it needed a little something else…..back to the faithful (and full) ruler drawer and there was my answer! Deb Tucker’s Corner Pop ruler – just what this little quilt needed. Then I dug in my Island Batik stash and found this beautiful raspberry print to top it off!
Time to Quilt
It’s not a quilt until it’s quilted! Trying to find time on the longarm is always a challenge with so many customer quilts in waiting…I love it when the machine is free “after hours”. This little baby took about 4 hours to custom quilt, not counting loading and design time. Yep, just call me The Midnight Quilt Rambler!
Faux Piping Binding
Last summer I did a schoolhouse presentation at my guild on faux piping binding – I thought this little project would be perfect with a scrappy faux piping binding…. you can download a one page PDF tutorial here.
I am pleased with the way this little quilt turned out. What was originally designed to be a counter top/table runner became a focus quilt in my entryway on the backside of my kitchen cabinets. I love how the colors reflect the theme of my home – tropical and bright!
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, loving the Island Batik Ambassador Challenges and especially loving the Island Batik Fabrics!
Are you following me on Instagram? Facebook? or Twitter? There are more process photos posted on social media of this project.
Visit the other Island Batik Ambassadors to see how their projects have progressed.
Generally when sewing curves for a Drunkard’s Path block assembly there are multiple pins involved as you carefully pin all the fullness of the bias curve of the “pie” shape to fit the “L” shape of the units. I’m going to show you an easier way without all those pins!
It Only Takes Three
In my experience, it only takes three locations to secure the units together before sewing – the top, the middle, and the bottom.
What makes this assembly different is placing the L-shaped unit on top of the pie shape. Most instructions have you do the opposite.
The key is to mark the centers of each shape and use a pin or wonder clip to hold into place. Then line up the bottom edge where the two units meet, making sure that the straight sides stay straight.
Begin stitching at the top using a stiletto to keep the fullness dispersed and matching the edges as you gently and slowly sew a quarter inch seam.
Most importantly make sure that the bottom edges meet, preferably making a straight edge connection.
Press with the direction of the pie shape laying naturally towards the L shape.
Small Improvement Makes a Big Difference
I found that sometimes the bottom edges didn’t quite lay perfectly at the straight edge and that resulted in being off just a tad after being pressed open, causing the curved seams from one block to another not to match, and we all know it’s about matching our seams (grin).
My solution was to sew a little from the bottom first to assure they lined up and then go back and sew from the top. This gave me much better results and was worth the extra time spent – still much less time than all those pins!
Since this was just a practice piece I decided to make a design change instead of trimming or ripping out and starting over with the newly discovered technique.
I haven’t decided yet what to do with the block – it’s kinda a Christmas color and it also reminds me of an owl. I originally thought of summer watermelons…so many possibilities….I’m sure it will pop up in a sampler quilt some day!
I hope you have found this simple technique useful and will enjoy a little curve piecing.
Stay tuned for my Island Batik Ambassador June Challenge with Curved Piecing!
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, with a simple trick to simplify your curved piecing of the traditional drunkard’s path block.
Have you tried curved piecing? Do you have a favorite traditional Drunkard’s Path layout? Leave me a comment!
What a great start to summer! So what is “secret sewing,” you ask? Quite frankly a new experience for me – after all, I am The Quilt Rambler, not the keeper of quilt secrets! Do you realize just how hard this has been for me trying to keep things under wraps for the past 12 days!
After coming off a busy graduation t-shirt quilt season (with the last one picked up June 2nd before the June 3rd graduation) you may have seen this on social media posted June 2:
“Shh!! It’s a secret! Actually, I’m working on THREE secret quilting projects right now that all due within the next 10 days. Two I can’t share until Fall Market, the third is super top secret but if it works out I will be able to share in a few weeks. I’m going to be a secret agent and bury myself in fabric…duty calls!”
Secret Sewing Project Number 1
June 2 to June 5
This one kinda snuck up on me with a fast approaching deadline. All I can say is it’s an application to something BIG if it all comes to pass. If not, it was a learning experience and I’ll try again another time. But the pressure was on! Choose fabric – no brainer, I picked Island Batik’s collection Coastal Mist. Measure twice, cut one. Sew sew sew – actually 3 days of sew sew sew, had to do my best work!
Then shipped off to meet the deadline.
I can hardly wait to hear the results. And yes, I will share the results one way or another…I’ve also got plans to repurpose the project “one way or another”… Hopefully, by the end of July, I will be able to reveal this adventure. I can hardly wait!! It’s so hard not to talk about this!
Secret Sewing Project Number 2
June 5 to June 6
This project is an original design pattern that was submitted to Island Batik to showcase one of their upcoming fabric collections that will be introduced the end of October at the Houston Fall Market – a tradeshow for the quilt industry where buyers come to see the latest trends, new notions and of course new fabric!! Orders are placed for fabrics to ship in the spring….
This one is especially hard to not ramble about, even harder not to share photos! But that’s the surprise! The fabric!! Okay, and the design…it’s a new one too.
One little sad frustration while working on this project is that my Oliso iron died. I was pressing all the little parts and pieces as I was sewing and I smelt something burning – evidently, the heating element must have burnt out. Sigh. Backup travel irons don’t compare but I am thankful to report that Oliso has a repair/replace option and I am shipping off the deceased iron today and eagerly awaiting another one. Best iron I’ve ever owned!
Secret Sewing Project Number 3
Thank goodness this project was just a wall hanging! Whew! Pieced in one (long) day! Last stitch 1:30 AM June 8th. And yes, it’s another Fall Market fabric line for Island Batik.
Oh, how I wish I could show you this one! The fabrics are MY colors – that might be too much of a hint, but I can tell you I can’t wait to purchase fabric from this line when it comes out the first of next year!
Let The Quilting Begin
June 8 to June 12
Okay, I did take Sunday off! But I still pulled some after midnight quilting. I couldn’t help myself – I got really caught up in the quilting. Project Number 2 was custom quilted with a little bit of ruler work. According to my stitch counter, this tasty morsel had 136,285 stitches with four thread color changes.
Here’s a legal sneak peak of the backing showing just a tad of the quilting. It’s “legal” because the backing is from a current line introduced at Spring Market called Seas The Day shipping soon to quilt shops.
I really got into the quilting on Project Number 3, even though it was much smaller it had oh so much higher stitch count, with only two thread color changes. I played a lot with ruler work! A lot!
I thought it was fun that the Island Batik backing, from the basics line, was called Rainbow and that I used Superior Threads Rainbows thread to quilt it in a colorway called Carnival (more hints of the fun fabric colors on top!). As you can see – I cut it sorta close on running out of thread!
Binding, Photos, and Off to the Post Office
June 13 to today, June 14
I’ve been doing a lot of machine binding lately, attaching the binding on both sides with the sewing machine, but these beauties deserved a little hand sewn binding love. I just love how my “donut” of MasterPiece threads by Superior Threads offers any and all colors I need to match my binding!
And no, that beautiful stripe orange is not a give-a-way of the secret fall fabric collection – that’s my hanging sleeve made from Island Batik fabric in my stash. You thought I slipped up and let out a secret, didn’t you?
Naturally, I had to have photos taken to document the quilts before shipping them off to Island Batik….that way I can blog about them this fall! Don’t you want to see all the close-up details? Oh, I can hardly wait to show them to you.
I asked for special permission to share this next photo with you – that’s why it’s in black and white, to protect the big reveal of the fabulous colors in Project Number 3….but I couldn’t resist this photo taken in the backyard – lots of critters flying around in the summer time – some of which aren’t alive to fly…
The clock just struck 9:00 AM June 14th – that means the post office is open and I’ve got to head out the door! Here’s a parting shot of the quilts prior to boxing up showing you the beautiful labels my friend Janie made for me (with the pattern name and fabric collection name covered up – it is still a secret after all).
Thanks for joining me in this ramble….I can’t imagine keeping this secret for 136 days – Quilt Market is October 28th!!!
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, talking about quilts while still keeping them secret! who knew!
Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!
As a review, I’m an Island Batik Ambassador and our May challenge was to make a Modern Batik Quilt (here’s Part 1 in case you missed it). I have totally enjoyed stepping out of my comfort zone with this challenge….and the challenge continued….as it was soon time to quilt it!
You Can Never Have Too Many Rulers
I’ve been a longarm quilter since 2004 and have “collected” my share of longarm rulers – many while attending longarm classes with national teachers.
I hate to admit that many of them haven’t been used to their fullest potential. The most used ones were to make spines for feathers, or a circle to make a feathered wreath…I’m a self-proclaimed feather queen…but that’s another ramble….
Modern quilting?!!??! Something I’ve just drooled over at quilt shows, online, and in magazines…not something I’ve attempted…never had the time to experiment!
Personal Challenge – Use Those Rulers!
It’s my understanding that there are not very many rules in modern quilting, that it is very fluid, so I decided to fire the quilt police on this one. I seriously didn’t have a quilting plan….yes, I know that’s dangerous…but as Ben & Jerry’s said: “If it’s not fun, why do it!”
To those of you who are more experienced, my apologies. But it’s my first modern quilt! And here’s just a few of the rulers I used from my vast collection.
As a side note, I had ordered some of Jodi Robinson’s rulers but they arrived too late to be included in this project. I can’t wait to try them in future quilts!
It’s All in The Details
I gained the confidence to try new things as I worked my way down the quilt. It probably would have been a little different had I had a plan (grin)….but I like the way it turned out.
Modern Quilt In The Wild
It was late in the day by the time I sewed the binding on…I have plans to hand stitch the binding on this one versus machine binding….but I was losing daylight so forgive the flapping binding! Here are the outdoor photos that were taken under the tiki hut in the backyard. I’m not a professional photographer so the lighting isn’t perfect, but I think you can see the texture and my attempts at modern quilting.
It’s Not Finished Until You Put A Label on it
I thought it would be fun to make a bright hanging sleeve and cheated a bit turning this into my quilting label. I hope to finish the hand-sewn binding soon and hang this in my studio.
I have truly enjoyed the challenge on this one. The pattern has lots of personal messages to remind me that life is a journey and full of choices. There are plenty of beautiful things to see and do along the way. The verse inspires me to follow God and trust that He will guide my path. In all things that I do, I need to stay true to who I am.
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, Proving That There’s Always Something New to Try In The World Of Quilting!
Do you have a defining style of quilting? Maybe you are fond of applique’ or traditional patterns. Have you tried modern quilting? I’m thinking I’d like to try this again. Leave me your thoughts and comments, especially if you have suggestions on modern quilting.
May’s Island Batik challenge is to make a modern quilt. Well….that’s a challenge! I’ve never made a modern quilt before. I’ve been thinking about it since given the full year’s agenda back in February. Hum…
I’ve found that inspiration comes when you least expect it. For example, I love to take photos of my feet propped up somewhere calling it “my current world view” – most of the times it’s of me relaxing in my hammock, once or twice it was with my feet on a poolside lounger overlooking the water while on a cruise…recently, while on a women’s retreat with my church, I found myself waiting outside a restaurant for my girlfriends and snapped this photo…then the more I looked at it, the more it dawned on me…this was my inspiration to design something modern, and totally outside of my normal quilting!
The Design Process of My Modern Quilt
I’m still learning EQ7 but I managed to flesh out the design in my head as a rough draft on the computer. Knowing that most modern quilts have solid colors and lots of negative space I decided to follow the minimalist mindset. I decided that I wanted to make the colors really pop so I changed the background to a darker fabric.
Since I am more of a graph paper pencil gal I redrew my design and started mapping out the piecing process. I chose fabrics from my Island Batik Ambassador box, picking out the primary colors from the “stash builder” bundles. They were perfect because they were 5″ strips and I could cut them down to 2.5″ strips to make my finished 2″ squares. For the background, I pulled an Island Batik basic from my stash called Storm. I just love this fabric, it’s a midnight blue instead of black and has some really wonderful coloration that gives it lots of movement.
You Can Never Have Too Many Rulers
I’ve shared several times on Facebook and social media that “you can never have too many rulers” to which this project proved to be true! For accuracy, I do prefer to make my half square triangles (HST) and quarter square triangles (QST) with Studio 180 Design rulers, which allow me to over-cut my pieces then trim to perfection, but I was limited in my fabric and had to take the risk of cutting actual size units hoping for accurate sewing. I was close. Pretty darn close if I do say so myself! For the HST I used Omnigrid 96 ruler and for the QST I used Omingrid 98 ruler.
My Modern Quilt Construction
After all my pieced blocks were made it was time to figure out how to do the large negative space background. Back to my graph paper to combine the units into sections – and to figure out the cutting of the background into larger chunks vs the 2″ squares as drawn on EQ7 – one day I will learn how to do this on the computer, but for now…I enjoyed the process of all the figuring!
To make the sections into manageable blocks to join together I found that I would have a single 2″ block to be able to join things together. Really?!? Well, I guess that’s what makes this a challenge – figuring things out and having fun in the process. I have to admit, I was totally in my element! I love a good problem-solving session, especially when it leads to a quilt that I can be proud of!
It’s been a while since I did a partial seam, but it worked!
My Modern Journey Sew Far, So Good
I’m very pleased with how this little project has turned out so far. I call it “This is the Way, Walk in It” based on a Bible verse that came to mind when I first saw that window advertisement during the April Retreat.
Isaiah 30:21 “Your ears will hear a word behind you,‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or to the left”
More to Learn on This Modern Batik Challenge Quilt
Now my next challenge is to learn a few “modern” quilt design elements. The quilt is on the longarm today so stay tuned for part 2!
The Quilt Rambler has been on the road again (yes, you can hum the Willie Nelson song while you read along, I don’t mind). You may recall my recent trip to Arizona to teach my pattern Illuminated Journey….well I have to confess that the bags have been in the living room unpacked – full of quilts – for over 2 weeks now! Too many fun things going on to worry about refolding quilts to put back up in the studio! Procrastination paid off somewhat as all I had to do to get ready for this next workshop was to pull out the quilts I didn’t need, add in my work-in-progress demo kit, update the thread kit, etc. – quick packing if I do say so myself!
Save the Date
Several months ago the plans were put into motion to teach my pattern Double Occupancy to my local guild, the Island Quilters Guild of Galveston Texas. I’ve been looking forward to this – nothing like hometown advantage! I can bring my own sewing machine and chair!! Actually, that’s a bonus but the real fun is quilting along with my friends from the guild, ladies that I enjoy having sew-ins and retreats with. We share more than fabric, we share a lot of laughter!
Friends and Fabric
It wasn’t long before everyone had their sewing machines set up and all their beautiful precut fabrics neatly pressed, labeled and laid out eager to learn a new technique.
This pattern was designed with precut bundles in mind. Specifically 10″ squares and 2.5″ strips plus background. And of course, my recommended fabric was/is Island Batiks. They have the most gorgeous fabrics, and since the majority of the guild members actually live on Galveston Island (sadly I’m a mainlander) most of us have that tropical island outlook in our fabric choices.
That said, my quilting friends are unique individuals and do have different tastes in fabric choices – which I might add, based on experience, varies from project to project! I rarely teach a class where it is a mandatory cookie cutter kit – while there are advantages to kits it is nice to offer a student the option of bringing their own fabric as I feel like you need to love the fabric if you are going to put that much time into making a quilt. Who needs another UFO quilt project! But I have to say, I really enjoyed seeing all the island batik fabrics of those who chose to use them! The other fabrics were equally stunning…A little Moda, a little Kaffe…all beautiful!
When designing this pattern I preferred the Island Batik precut bundles because there are an equal number of duplicates of the fabrics – 20 coordinated prints times two. I based my pattern off of this feature as only one-half of the package of both 10″ squares and 2.5″ squares is needed to make one quilt. The entire packages (plus background and borders) actually make two quilts! But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself!
Demo a Little, Sew a Lot
I love teaching! And I love learning new techniques and designs. In my early years after I made my very first quilt, I turned around and taught 10 ladies and their daughters from my homeschool group to make the same quilt I just learned. For me, “it’s make – one teach ten!” I love sharing what I am doing with my friends!
Double Occupancy uses Studio 180 Design Rapid Fire Hunters Star Ruler in the larger size ruler (there’s a petite size). I demo-ed one step, sent the gals back to the machine to sew, then demo-ed the next step. Following this process most of the day. See one, do one….works for me!
Double the Fun
As I hinted to earlier – the pattern is designed to make two 68 x 68 quilts from one package of 10″ squares, one package of 2.5″ strips, plus background and border fabric. There are 13 different layout solutions in the pattern and I have personally made 9 of them with the remaining 4 being works in progress ( I work on them at sew-ins or work from them as my classroom demo). Sadly at this time, only the cover quilts are actually quilted. Just like the old saying “a cobbler’s children have no shoes”, a longarm quilter is generally behind in quilting her own quilts. I like to call the quilts with the same fabric choices “twins” – two identical fabric kits yet uniquely different. Just like people – no two are really alike. What I have enjoyed as I have taught this class is seeing the students’ completed quilt tops, same fabric + different layout = individual unique quilt. The hunter star is like a log cabin – endless layout possibilities!
Friends Plus Fabric Equals Fun Fellowship
As the day went on the step by step techniques were demoed and the ladies just sewed and sewed. I like to teach to the individual. It’s been my experience that there are multiple learning styles as well as the speed of sewing that varies by the individual. Because of that, I tell everyone that “where you are is where you are supposed to be“. Sometimes the smoking needles are ready for the next step and other times someone needs a repeat demo. That’s what I’m there for. That and making all the mistakes so they don’t have to. I can make some whoppers but I show how to work through them, fix them, or forget them! As I like to say “I fired the quilt police a long time ago.”
That’s not to say that I don’t strive for my best and I do teach proper technique, but I do remind my students that they are there to learn a technique and to allow themselves a little learning curve. Most people don’t sew their best in a group setting….for me it’s usually because I’m focused more on the conversations that my perfect quarter inch seam! Quilting is our passion, but we need to be kind to ourselves sometimes and just have fun. My motto that is hanging in my studio says “Striving to do my best with the skills and knowledge I have at the time with the goal of continually improving.”
I do like to introduce students to a sometimes new to them technique of using a pressing stick to press their seams open as I think you just get better results. Regardless of “press to the dark side” or press open, the proper technique of pressing is always an important detail as is good rotary cutting techniques.
One thing I love about Deb Tucker’s rulers is the success even beginner quilters have when using them – a little wiggle room is added to help with the piecing part and then when the unit is completed it is trimmed to perfection. Genius design makes happy quilters!
All too soon it was time to pack back up and head to the mainland leaving my island gals to their own paths home. While a one-day class doesn’t usually produce a finished quilt top I do believe that everyone went home with the knowledge and experience of using this specialty ruler and it is my hope that there will be lots of Double Occupancy quilts in upcoming Island Quilters Quilt show and tell!
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, on the road but not far from home
Do you enjoy quilting with friends? I’d love to have you share your thoughts, please leave a comment below!
If you have been following The Quilt Rambler on social media the past few weeks you have seen little snippets or sneak peaks of a “secret quilting” project I have been working on ….and now…the big reveal!
Why was it a secret you ask? Well, on occasion, as a longarm quilter I am asked to keep things secret for a time being. For example, not publishing photos of graduation t-shirt quilts before the grad receives it, or especially around Christmas time when I’m quilting customer quilts that will be Christmas gifts.
This time it was because the quilt was to be introduced to the public by the designer – in other words, it wasn’t my story to tell until after its debut and publication.
Why the Secret Quilting
Spring Market was this weekend May 19-21. For those unfamiliar with the quilting world – twice a year Quilts Inc hosts an industry tradeshow where wholesale buyers, distributors, designers and industry leaders gather for the reveal of new fabrics, new patterns, new notions and new trends in the quilting world. The Spring Market this year was in St. Louis. The Fall Market is always in Houston the weekend before the public International Quilt Show. I’ve never been to Spring Market but have attended Fall Market since 2004. Trust me, it’s better than Christmas!
I received this beautiful quilt from Deb Tucker, Studio 180 Design right before my Arizona trip the first of the month, asking that it be quilted and returned in time for her to put on the binding so it could be displayed in the booth at Spring Market. (For the record she had made a reservation earlier so I knew to expect it). I took this photo “before” it was quilted so I could study it on the plane and come up with quilting designs. I fell in love with the design, it goes without saying how much I love LeMoyne Stars. Upon inquiring about the name of the pattern I found it very fittingly named Morning Glory.
Before I go any further sharing the quilting designs I wanted to share what I’ve learned by osmosis.
I’ve been watching social media for all the big reveals at Spring Market – if you do a search #springmarket you will be able to get sneak peaks of upcoming goodies to our local quilt shops later this year. I was especially pleased to see photos of Studio 180 Design booth with Morning Glory hanging among such other beautiful quilts! I love all her rulers and have most of her patterns, having taught several in the past in my studio or local quilt shops. Needless to say, Morning Glory is at the top of my wish list!
As you know, I’m an Island Batik Ambassador having the privilege of working with these wonderful fabrics and looking forward each year to their new fabrics and designs, eagerly awaiting their catalog….sooo….I’m looking through their Spring Market catalog and low and behold I see a different version of Morning Glory by Deb Tucker! I’m guessing that the pattern has different size options and she made one for Island Batik’s booth and the one I quilted was for her booth. Oh, I wish I could have seen both in person at Spring Market. I snagged these photos off social media to share.
On To The Quilting
I determined that I wanted to stitch in the ditch (SID) all the borders and the star outline, but not the individual diamonds. This would give the quilt stability and frame in all the important components. It also allowed me later to roll the quilt up and down as needed to be able to quilt all of one thread color before changing threads vs advancing the quilt and changing threads as I worked my way down the quilt. The SID took the better part of one day but experience told me it would be well worth it.
Next, I would be quilting all the borders and the blazing star units within the borders. This would assure that the borders would be straight and not drawn in by the density of the interior designs had I quilted it first. I quilted the top and bottom borders then “turned” the quilt, which means it was unpinned off the take-up leader bars of the longarm and turned 90 degrees and repinned to be able to quilt the side borders in one long pass vs advancing and breaking thread causing a lot of stops and starts. Extra time to turn, but once again, worth it!
The quilt remained in this side to side position instead of top to bottom for the remainder of the quilting.
Auditioning Design Ideas
Sometimes I will take a plexiglass and use a dry erase marker to audition design elements prior to quilting. Through the years I have found this to be useful and many times what I initially thought I would be quilting had a “design change” after drawing it out.
I had completed the quilt, having unpinned it from the take-up leader bars and was texting Sue Tucker to verify the shipping address when I mentioned that I was sad I couldn’t attend Spring Market but at least I could “be a butterfly on a morning glory” to which Sue responded that she had hoped I was including one of my special butterflies…Oops! Didn’t know that!
As a side note I typically put the butterfly on personal quilts or as special requests as it is sorta my trademark signature….I was flattered by the suggestion and quickly decided this quilt just needed a butterfly!
Do you remember that old song “have it your way”….well, if you don’t, here it is to refresh your memory of singing commercials of yesteryear (or if you are too young to remember, to expose you to some of the finer things in life). I was humming this tune as I reloaded the quilt and found a place for the butterfly!
Hot Off The Frame
And now I will slow down the ramble and let the pictures speak for themselves.
Where Can You Find This Pattern
I know you are going to want to make this as much as I am! Check with your local quilt shop and request that they carry Studio 180 Design Patterns and Rulers. While you are there, also request that they carry Island Batik fabrics if that isn’t already in their line up. I have been a huge fan of both companies for years, having had the blessing of meeting both owners and co-workers of each. You will never find better folks than the Tuckers and the team at Island Batik. I can recommend their products to you and your local quilt shop without reservation.
Stay tuned to The Quilt Rambler as my upcoming blog will include another recent workshop using Deb Tucker’s rulers (this time the Rapid Fire Hunter’s Star Ruler) as well as the progress of my May Island Batik Ambassador #ModernBatikChallenge using their beautiful fabrics.
Why not make it easy on yourself – go ahead and subscribe to my blog so you won’t miss out on a thing!
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, thanking Deb Tucker for the privilege to once again quilt one of her beautiful quilts!
Are you still humming the song in your head? ….. You’re welcome! Please leave a comment and share your thoughts on how you’ve had your own secret quilting projects, or your favorite singing commercial (grin)..