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)..
I have been looking forward to this journey for months! This past week I had the honor of being a guest speaker at the Lonesome Valley Quilt Guild in Prescott Valley, Arizona and able to teach a workshop with my original pattern Illuminated Journey.
I have to say the hardest part of packing was deciding what quilts to bring for my trunk show! Every quilt has a story and this rambler does like to ramble on.
Bags are Packed
My friend Dianne accompanied me on this journey. Fortunately, she travels light so I was able to appropriate one of her allowed check in bags. As you can see, I don’t travel light!
Let the Journey Begin
We flew into Phoenix from Houston Hobby and had a rental car waiting on us. It’ s a good thing that Dianne is a little more up to date with vehicles than I am. I was really surprised when I couldn’t find a key hole in the ignition! She calmly explained to me “put your foot on the brake and press the start button”. But even Dianne was dumbfounded when we couldn’t find the stick shift – who knew it was a knob on the dash!
Our destination was Prescott Valley. I have to thank my friend Larry at church for teaching me the proper way to say this. As a Texan, I thought it was pronounced Press-Scott but he kindly corrected me that it was Pres-cut, the only way I could remember was it sounded like it rhymed with biscuits…
We had a little over an hour and a half drive UP the mountains to our destination. Coming from 10 feet above sea level to over 5000 feet above sea level was breathtaking in multiple ways. The scenery was glorious. Along the way, we saw an exit sign for a visitors center where they shared a location with us to enable us to safely take photos of the fabulously tall cactus we were viewing out the window. If you follow me on Facebook you can see my impromptu Facebook Live video from High Desert Trail. The scenery was truly breathtaking.
By late morning we were joining our hostess, Patsy and Karen (daughter/mother), for a fun tour of the two local quilt shops.
First stop was Quilt ‘N Sew Connection I enjoyed all the shop samples and beautiful display of fabrics. The ladies there were very welcoming. Dianne found her “next quilt” and I’ve been recruited to assist her with some of the teachable moments in the pattern. It’s going to be stunning.
Just down the road was Cloth Plus which offered both quilting fabric and home decoration fabric and supplies. This shop was equally friendly – that’s important in my book! I was pleased to see some Island Batik precuts – they actually had the fabric line that I used in my Illuminated Journey sample!
I’mnot confessing my purchases – but I will say it wasn’t easy to squeeze in more fabric in my already packed suitcases!
Time for Guild Meeting
After an enjoyable afternoon sight-seeing and a late lunch with the girls, it was time to prepare for my lecture and trunk show.
I had brought two little cameras and asked that photos be taken for me….well, low light and a camera that’s not familiar yielded a few shaky shots as well as grainy shots – but if you are a true quilt lover, and I know you are, you will forgive the photo quality and look at the quilts!
I have to say my favorite part of quilt guild meetings are the show and tell by members. I love seeing what others are making and hearing their stories. The Lonesome Valley Gals are extremely generous in the making and donating of charity quilts – so many were displayed during their community service show and tell. In addition, the members shared their own personal quilts. I was able to capture a few.
Time To Ramble
It doesn’t look like 100+ pounds when they are all folded up on the table, but I promise I had 3 suitcases weighing just under the 50-pound limit each full of quilted quilts, unquilted quilts as well as all the teaching supplies for Illuminated Journey. Here’s a small sampling of my trunk show…and yes, this Quilt Rambler did ramble on! I lost track of time and never made eye contact with my “timekeeper” Patsy to know when to stop….umm….yeah…how about an hour of rambling on! I really could have talked all night – quilting is such an inexhaustible subject! I got tickled when Patsy stated, “I don’t think she took a breath!”
Illuminated Journey Workshop
Tuesday morning 14 ladies were up bright and early, toting in their sewing machines and supplies for a full day of learning how to use Deb Tucker’s Studio 180 Design’s Rapid Fire Leymone Star Ruler with my pattern Illuminated Journey.
The ladies were delightful. I truly appreciated their kindness and loved getting to spend time quilting and visiting with them. Once again, thank you to Kim who provided a sewing machine for Dianne to be able to sew during class. Since Dianne had already made Illuminated Journey she worked on her first “Jelly Roll Race” quilt and was pleased to get it totally pieced during class.
The day went too quickly! Before I knew it everyone was packing up and we were headed out to dinner with Patsy and Karen, joined by their husbands. I neglected to mention that these ladies, who are actually from Prescott Valley, spent some years in my neck of the woods – the Texas gulf coast – and we were in the Mainland Morning Guild together (Texas City). This mother/daughter team is a joy to be around. Again, Dianne and I appreciated their hospitality.
All Roads Lead South
Well, maybe that’s not true, but it was time for these Texas gals to head south – but not without another stop on the road for our photo op. This time we stopped at an official rest stop called Sunset Peak, a mere 3000-foot elevation. We weren’t disappointed by the view that’s for sure!
Illuminated Journey in The Wild and On the Road
While taking this photo another rest-stop guest asked if we were going to a quilt show in Utah that weekend…Darn! We would just have to miss that one! Just not enough hours to see all the fabulous quilts in the world!
I truly appreciated the good fortune to share my pattern with the Arizona ladies. Thank you again for your hospitality and allowing me the opportunity to see your beautiful state!
Illuminated Journey was created in 2014 as a pattern to be taught on Cactus Quilt’s 2015 Quilting Cruise. The pattern is available for purchase as a PDF download, written as it was for the cruise. If this is something you are interested in please contact me.
In addition, if your guild would like a trunk show or workshop I would be more than happy to discuss details.
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, Rambling On the Road, Telling My Story One Quilt At a Time!
Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts about guest speakers at guilds and workshops you have enjoyed.
For over a week I’ve been humming that old song “I’m leaving, on a jet plane…” yep. Today is the day! According to Siri “as the crow flies” (or in my case, Southwest Airlines”) I’m a little over 1000 miles into a new adventure!
Several months ago a quilting friend of mine contacted me concerning being a guest speaker at her guild and teaching a workshop. I know Pasty as a fellow guild member of The Mainland Morning Guild in Texas City prior to her moving to Arizona.
I don’t think I’ve ever been to Arizona – unless as a toddler perhaps as my dad was military based in Nevada when I was born and I’m sure we drove home to Texas at some point to visit grandparents. But back to my current ramble…
So began the thought process of trying to decide which quilts to bring for my lecture – which in reality is just a long ramble – so I think I’ve got that covered.
I might add that I have over 200 personal quilts that are actually quilted. One hundred of those live in the built-in bookcase in the studio. That’s not counting the 30+ personal quilts waiting to be quilted and we aren’t even going to talk about the works in progress!
And sew it began! Going through the bookcase, taking quilts off the wall, off the bed, off the table and digging through the quilts in waiting drawer!
I did discover that you can pack more quilts if some are unquilted! Now I don’t feel so bad for not getting around to quilting my own quilts.
Next the decision of what to teach. Having taught in two quilting cruises (2015 and 2016 with Cactus Quilts of Texas City) I have written two different patterns based on Deb Tucker’s Studio 180 Design rulers. Patsy made the choice between the hunter’s star or the lemoyne star – and lemoyne star it is!
Bags are packed. We are waiting to board. Arizona here we come! Be sure and check social media the next couple of days to see the quilting adventures of Karen & Dianne!
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, “on the road again”
Please forgive the formatting and layout – I wrote this on my phone at the airport
At times do you feel like you are in a whirlwind? Not necessarily the devastation kind, but the kind where things just keep swirling with lots of commotion and activity. I think if my life story were to be written focusing on the past month it would almost be a comic book. At least I think I tried to take a little comic relief amidst the mayhem and not let the tidal waves of busyness drown me.
Tax Tornado or Turbo Tax
When I think of April I think of tax time….and that’s about all I want to say on the subject (grin) except that this season seemed to go on forever, especially with my computer issues. Ah, but every good storm has a silver lining. I was blessed with a new computer and after all the transferring of data, I actually filed my taxes on April 15th – even knowing the deadline this year was April 18th. And it’s behind me!Hallelujah!!
Yep, lest life gets too serious – enter Oscar! He’s my son’s adopted stray kitten that has stolen all our hearts. I love that he is an outdoor kitty with indoor privileges who takes advantage of the doggie door to pop in and say hello when he comes to visit me in the studio. It’s nice that they live next door!
Escaping the Vortex
Sometimes you just have to kick back and put your feet up! It’s amazing what a little fresh air can do to revive your mind so you can change gears and get back to work.
After the cyclone of taxes, I totally enjoyed making a baby quilt for one of my customers. We have been working off and on for over a year making memory quilts from her deceased father’s plaid shirts to share with her siblings, children and now her future grandchildren… this precious memory quilt was made for her daughter’s baby shower this weekend. Yes, they are eagerly awaiting the beginning of a 4th generation that will be wrapped up in “daddy’s shirts.” What a legacy!
Stop the Cyclone
When life gets full of activity sometimes it’s just best to stop the spin and do something fun. Like making Rice Krispie marshmallow treats with your son! Granted, we had planned on making these a week ago to share at the family Easter lunch, but making them a week late means we had more for ourselves! Unintentional selfishness I promise!
If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you are already familiar with my habit of posting my “current world view” showing my feet propped up somewhere – if you don’t follow me, well, why aren’t you? (grin). Anyway, one of my favorite ways to relax at home is to put up my hammock in the backyard and take a short afternoon nap. Nothing clears my mind better than being outdoors, even if for just a moment. Seems I have needed to steal away for several of these moments lately. Especially following the recent big rains!
One definition of whirlwind is “something that is done very quickly and without a lot of thought as in a whirlwind courtship”. Well, nothing along those lines but sometimes I do get crazy ideas in my head and just “gotta sew something” and it’s usually done quickly and without a lot of thought. It generally adds “one more thing” to that already busy to-do list…but for me it is the calming in the mists of the typhoon. Nothing more relaxing than the hum of my sewing machine as I create something…
That said, I was looking forward to a retreat with the women of my church this past weekend and knowing I would be arriving early I planned a little downtime to sit by the pool to do some planning and perhaps design…A long overlooked goal has been to seek new recipes for a healthier lifestyle …. well….I didn’t want to be caught “reading” a cookbook beside the pool because those who know me know I don’t cook – so I came up with the idea of covering said cookbook!
And then I decided that my Bible could use a quick cover change too.
Quick as lightening these were done and I was packed and on my way looking forward to a little personal time before joining with my friends for a time of fellowship and fun.
Calming the Windstorm
The antonyms for all the commotion of strong weather words like whirlwind, cyclone, hurricane, or tornado are calm, peace, quiet, relaxation, even laziness. (don’t you just love a good thesaurus!).
Restfulness and refreshing describe this past weekend of the Women’s retreat. I arrived early to take advantage of that rooftop pool and did do a little “reading” in my cookbook.
My husband texted me the following photo, a gentle reminder not to take life too seriously.
A time of worship and Bible study was just what I needed to tame that dust devil of a busy life into a refocused life of choosing joy. A revival of the heart.
Clear Skies on the Horizon – Looking Ahead to May
Taking time to relax, refresh and reflect can be very inspiring. My busy brain is constantly in motion thinking ahead, looking for new opportunities, new ideas….even in the restfulness there is always inspiration if you look for it.
I’ve already got an idea for the Island Batik Ambassador May challenge “modern batik” inspired by my “current worldview” waiting on my friends for dinner prior to retreat…you will just have to wait to see where this leads! It is a little off the wall, so to speak, as I am planning a wall hanging! We’re finishing up the April challenge of Adventurous Applique so why not visit the other Island Batik Ambassadors’ blogs to see how they completed the challenge. You can find their links here.
And speaking of friends. I’m happy to say that Dianne, my church and quilting friend, will be joining me the first week of May as we fly to Arizona to be with the Lonesome Valley Quilt Guild where I will be speaking at their guild meeting on Monday, May 1st, then teaching a workshop on Tuesday, May 2nd.
So much to look forward to in May – but wait! We still have a week to navigate before we take flight! Can’t wait to see what is just around the horizon and in the studio!
Encouragement for Your Whirlwind
This song came on while I was writing my blog and I wanted to share some encouragement with you. We all go through whirlwinds, some whirlwinds of activity are good, some whirlwinds of emotions can be crippling. It is my hope the words of this song will help you not to feel alone in your hurricane.
Hurricane by Natalie Grant
You’re spinning out of control again
Your life feels like a sinking ship
You’re wondering how it came to this
Is it too late?
Is it too far?
For Him to reach you
And come to where you are
Step out on the edge
Don’t be afraid of it
And when you feel the rain
Call His name
He’ll find you in the hurricane
You’re in the wreckage underneath
Your hope is buried somewhere deep
You’re wondering how long it will keep?
It’s never too late
Never too far
For you to reach out
And take a hold of love
Step out on the edge
Don’t be afraid of it
And when you feel the rain
Call His name
He’ll find you in the hurricane
Don’t back down from the fight
He’ll shelter you tonight
Just hold on for the change
Call His name
He’ll find you in the hurricane
There’s a place, there’s a place you can run
When you fall, and it’s all come undone
You’ll be safe in the raging storm
So just let go
‘Cause you are held in His arms
Step out on the edge
Don’t be afraid of it
And when you feel the rain
Call His name
He’ll find you in the hurricane
And when you feel the rain
Call His name
He’ll find you in a hurricane
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, sharing the journey reminding all of us to chose joy even during the storms of life
Can you relate? Does your to-do list get crazy and you feel like all you can do is laugh to keep from crying? Do you ever feel like you just “gotta sew” even if it’s a whirlwind of a little project? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
The April challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors is “Adventurous Appliqué'” and since Easter is in April this year I wanted to make an Easter Appliqué reflecting the meaning behind the holiday. I found the perfect Island Batik fabrics in my stash to represent the idea in my head….
First off I need to apologize to those who have honed their skills as experts in appliqué – for as you will see, I am still at the bottom rung of the ladder. I’ve quilted your beautiful creations admiring your perfectly stitched needle turn appliqué, both hand and machine…sigh…
You’d think as much as I enjoyed handwork as a youth – embroidery, counted cross-stitch, needlepoint, needle punch – that I would have embraced appliqué. I adore looking at it! I appreciate the time commitment…which is why I stick to piecing as I’m a smokin’ needle and want to “get’er done.” In my opinion, appliqué is time-consuming, but as I’m learning, worth the investment.
Raw Edge Appliqué Combined with Reverse Appliqué
In my way of thinking I figured a fused raw edge appliqué would fit the bill for my idea and skills. Even with my limited knowledge of appliqué, I do know that batiks are wonderful for this process as they don’t fray as much as other cotton prints.
I also wanted to experiment with a process I’d read about called reverse appliqué.
Preparing the Design For My Easter Appliqué
So I gathered my supplies and set out to work on this Easter project on Palm Sunday….(kinda cutting it close for Easter, but I tend to work better with deadlines).
Using letter stencils purchased at Walmart, a roll of newsprint and quilting stencils purchased years ago I set out to drawing my idea. Once drawn, I flipped the paper over and darken the lines with a sharpie. Reverse appliqué is just that – reversed, or mirror image.
I then traced the design on double fusible interfacing on the paper side. So far so good. Fast, simple, quick….Next step – fuse to my fabric. This is from my personal stash, it’s an Island Batik fabric called Storm, and since it’s a “basic” you can ask your local quilt shop to order a bolt. I find that I use it a lot for a backdrop to the other beautiful Island Batik fabrics I’ve “collected” through the years.
And then came the trimming.
The Right Tools for the Job
There’s something to be said for having the right tools for the right job. I’m pretty good with scissors and I thought surely I could cut out the project in nothing flat. I then realized it was awkward to hold the project in my hands so I switched to a teeny tiny rotary cutter, something else I was pretty good at using…it wasn’t until our son Jake came by to check on my progress and said “mom, you need a razor blade to cut that out”. Ah ha! Lightbulb moment!
Now you have to realize that I’m not a hoarder or anything. My husband says I’m a “just in-caser” as in I have lots of things “just in case”….which proved to be a blessing as I remembered during my recent deep cleaning of the studio I discovered the perfect Olfa cutter which at some point in my quilting career was my “just in case” purchase.
Yes, the right tools make life much easier!
Next, I needed to audition fabric for the “show through” windows of my reverse appliqué. Again, shopping my stash, I found the perfect print. Now I have to add here that when I purchase fabric I like to write down the name or number from the end bolt “just in case” I run out and need to try to find more. It’s proven beneficial more than once. The fabric for my design is Island Batik #121515164 which I just looked up and it’s from a line called Jersey Shore that may or may not be at your local quilt shop but a good substitute could be from the current line Pressed Petals. I received a 10″ precut package of Pressed Petals in my Island Batik Ambassador box and will be using this in an upcoming project scheduled for June…so stay tuned for that one.
Anyway….back to the current project. I also happened to have a small hand-dyed fabric in my stash from a 2008 workshop in my studio with my longarm friend Jamie Wallen. I thought it would be perfect for the backing.
Beginning to Look like an Easter Appliqué
Next step was to pull away the paper backed fusible and press to my beautiful colorful fabric….It was a little precarious. I either had the iron too hot, because at places it didn’t adhere properly, or I had the wrong type for the job. Something that I need to ask my more experienced friends for future references.
Since I’m not well versed in appliqué I’m also not well versed in machine appliqué on my domestic sewing machine – on to the longarm it went!
I used a double layer of batting, with 80/20 batting on bottom and Hobbs Tuscany Wool batting on top, to give a raised padded look with the lettering and scroll work design.
My goal was to “nail down” the raw edges with what I call artist sketch stitches and then do background fill. I tend to be a dense quilter as the stitch counter on my A1 Platinum Elite documented.
Next Step: Binding my Easter Appliqué
Binding was done on my domestic sewing machine and in no time I was finished with my Easter project. I’d like to say it was completed in one day, but alas, it wasn’t. At least it was completed before Easter! It is now hanging in my entry way for the world to see!
Visit All Island Batik Ambassadors for Their Adventurous Appliqué
I am truly enjoying the monthly challenge projects with being a part of the Island Batik Ambassadors. Don’t forget to check out the other ambassadors to see their monthly creations. There are a lot of fabulous designers in this group all sharing the same passion as I do – Island Batik fabrics!
Piece for Shelter Pets and the Island Batik Ambassadors have been publishing Furry Friday posts featuring adoptable pets via the PetFinder Foundation for a number of weeks now as an encouragement to bring attention to animals needing to be adopted. You may recall that our Island Batik Ambassador project for February was the making of Kennel Quilts and we encouraged your participation – to which we say thank you!
Before I share the pets of the week I wanted to say a word about our sponsor – I can remember when I was first seriously bitten by the quilting bug (around the turn of the century!) and discovered the beautiful full-color Hancock of Paducah mail order catalog, truly a quilter’s fabric version of the Sear’s Christmas Catalog! It was through their catalog that I fell in love with batik fabrics…I would literally circle fabrics and dog-ear pages to create my wish list and place my order. In today’s digital age we don’t have to patiently wait on the mail carrier to bring our catalog but can “shop in our PJ’s” anytime we want! Ah! Progress! Be sure and check them out!
This Week’s Featured Fur Friends
Speaking of dog-ears (don’t you love that cleaver transition) Here’s this week’s featured pup, Bristol, who looks like she’d love a scratch behind her ears!
And for our cat lovers out there we have Carlee looking for a good home.
It is our goal of spotlighting these precious critters to bring attention to the needs of our local shelters to find forever homes for these pets.
As part of our sharing, the Island Batik Ambassadors have also been encouraged to share our own personal pet stories so sit back while I ramble about mine….
Life Without Pets is No Life at All
I’ve always had a pet. Growing up we had a beautiful medium sized “heinz 57” mix dog we called Blackie. She was the runt of a litter from my great aunt’s country home and in my life from 1st grade to my senior year in high school. A few years later my husband and I adopted Bonnie from the local shelter, another “heinz 57” whom we dearly loved and who lived in our fenced backyard during our time in Tennessee. We had her for nearly 10 years with her later years having the addition of Annie, a fun loving “yellow dog” whom was later adopted by my brother-in-law when we moved into an RV full time. (another story for another time). You can see a photo of Annie here as she was much loved by Bill and his family and lived to be a good age, a well cared for outside dog.
Then along came Pixxie. She was actually purchased by our then 12 year old son Jake in 2000 while we were working on the road full-time in our RV – the only critter that I/we had ever had as an indoor pet, and the only pet with papers! Pixxie was a full-blooded registered Chihuahua, weighting in at only 6 pounds 6 ounces full grown! (same size as our sons at a birth – they turned out to be over 6 feet grown – but again, another story for another time.)
Then Along Came Oscar
Pixie was nearing the end of a wonderful life, it was sad to see her losing her sight and mobility – but she still had her sweet gentle personality and had a lot of “life” in her spirt. She was our “one and only” and didn’t really care to be around other animals…that is, until Oscar showed up.
We weren’t looking for another pet, even though we had been feeding stray cats in the front yard for years. Then around the end of September 2016 this precious little orange tabby showed up across the street by our mailbox…a busy high traffic street.
Despite my attempts to coax the kitten to the safety of our yard with tempting treats, it wasn’t until Jake called him that the kitten came to the porch for food.
We weren’t going to adopt him, but we weren’t going to let him starve either. When we discovered that he was getting under the car we all decided he needed to be moved to the fenced in backyard. I will add that Jake has an apartment in the backyard…
We still weren’t claiming him as a pet, just a cuddly friendly stray we were feeding. After all, we didn’t know how Pixxie would react, and she certainly didn’t need a bouncy kitten knocking her over or blind-siding her! As it turned out, they actually got a long….and it wasn’t long before Oscar wanted to come inside…
Yes, Oscar won his way into our hearts in a few short weeks and we made the commitment to “adopt him” by taking him to the local animal shelter that offered neutering and first kitten shots. And Jake put in a litter box in his apartment so Oscar could sleep inside on those winter nights. Welcome to the family Oscar!
Oscar was with us just 2 short months before we lost our precious Pixxie. God answered my prayers and I was able to hold Pixxie until the very end. She died a peaceful natural death and was buried in our backyard with Oscar being a part of our little ceremony early December 2016. To this day I sometimes see Oscar laying over Pixxie’s grave spot under the palm trees in the backyard.
We weren’t looking for a pet but God knew we would need comfort and He gave us Oscar.
Officially Oscar is Jake’s kitten and bunks with him in the backyard apartment. Oscar prefers to be outdoors but has full use of the “doggie dog” and comes to visit in the studio at his leisure. He loves my quilts, and he loves to snuggle when we watch TV in the evenings as he is awaiting Jake’s arrival home from work. I’ve never been a “cat-person” but Oscar lets us treat him like a dog, I find myself calling him “puppy” as that was my pet name for Pixxie. He is a very social kitten and we love him for that.
No, Oscar doesn’t replace Pixxie, but he joins the other pets of my life in his own special place of my heart. Isn’t God good to create such marvelous creatures to love and be loved by!
Won’t You Consider Adopting a Pet
If you don’t have a critter to call your own I would highly encourage you to visit your local shelters – I can almost guarantee that some sweet kitten or precious pup will steal your heart.
Thank you Island Batik and Hancock of Paducah for bringing the awareness to the forefront that there are so many animals that need good homes. And thank you for this opportunity to share my story of how Oscar came into our lives at just the right time, as well as to honor my beloved Pixxie with a small tale of how she touched our lives.
But Wait! There’s More!
Visit the other Island Batik Ambassadors to read about their Furry Friday posts. This week’s bloggers are:
As part of the Island Batik Ambassador program I was challenged in March to make a mini quilt using paper piecing or foundation piecing. I got a little carried away and turned my paper pieced block into a quilted cover for a composition notebook and haven’t looked back since! They are multiplying like rabbits over here in The Quilt Rambler studio so I decided to share the fun by offering a tutorial/workshop on how you can make your own!
Step One: View the YouTube Video
The project requires basic sewing knowledge including knowledge of quilting tools such as a rotary cutter, ruler, and mat and the use of a sewing machine. A confident beginner/intermediate sewer should find the instructions in the workshop clear to follow.
Because I believe that “paper never forgets” I’ve created a guide to go along with the YouTube. To better assist you a time stamp is referenced for each section. This is in the event you want to fast forward to review certain areas of instructions.
Supplies are reviewed in the YouTube as well as listed on the PDF.
It’s my hope that you will enjoy the video and printed instructions to make several of these covers – I think they make great gifts! For yourself or others! Personally I have three that I am actively using. One has my “to do list” and calendar, one has a graph paper composition notebook that I use to draw out quilt designs before I head over to EQ7, and one is being filled with tutorial ideas!
Please do share this blog post, PDF pattern, and YouTube reference with your friends. It’s all free – just remember to give credit where credit is due.
All the quilted samples were designed and pieced by myself, Karen Overton, using Island Batik fabrics, Superior Threads and Aurifl Threads, with zippers By Annie. The Island Batik fabrics were purchased or gleaned from my personal stash with the exception of one precut package of Sweet Nectar from my Island Batik Ambassador project kit.
Oh my goodness! Where have the days gone! March Madness indeed! It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve last blogged.
I promise I haven’t been on a world cruise and forgot to tell you about it. Actually I wish I HAD been on a cruise!
Things have been hopping over here in The Quilt Rambler studio – and just to prove it I’m going to share a few unedited photos of the creative explosions to account for being MIA.
You may recall that the first of the year I totally redid my studio – with several things being moved into the living areas of the house waiting to be sorted. It’s been a slow process to get everything where I want it. So many wonderful things to go through, to get distracted by, to find a new place to store…sigh….One of the recent goals was to remove a large cabinet from the studio….
And that was just one adventure of the past two weeks! However, our motto has always been “we work hard, so we play hard” There wasn’t much time to play however I did manage a bike ride to the bay with my youngest son as well as a date night in Galveston with my hubby…
In addition to all this rearranging of the studio, which is a slow work in progress, there was some serious sewing and quilting going on in the studio! AND videoing!!
Currently in production is a tutorial/workshop on How to Make a Quilted Composition Notebook Cover – the project inspired by the March Challenge of the Island Batik Ambassadors – read about it here.
That said I had high hopes of having this video online by now, but alas, and with a mournful sigh, I am struggling with computer issues….yep…had to restore everything to factory settings and it’s taking way too long (and my patience is thinning) to try to get things back to normal….
What is normal anyway!It’s just a setting on the dryer!
So in between all the fun clean up, the video, the computer mess and trying to get the taxes done (let’s don’t even go there!) I have managed to do just a little personal sewing in prep for an upcoming workshop next month in Arizona…more details on that to come but here’s a sneak peak of the beautiful Island Batik fabrics I’m using in said project.
So there you have it, a brief accountability of the past few weeks! Short and sweet, with unedited photos and unedited ramblings! I’ve got so much scheduled for the month of April I don’t even have time to tell you about it as I do need to crack the whip and get busy!! All I can say is it’s going to be a fast, furious and an incredibly fun month full of fabulous fabric! I can hardly wait to experience it and share it with you!
Thanks for checking in with me! Stay tuned for more, and more often!
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, coming out of MIA to Tell Your Story One Quilt At A Time!
Please leave a comment and share about your busy spring cleaning, or spring project, or a suggestion for future tutorials!