My Adventures As An Island Batik Ambassador – So Far!

Collection of quilts made by Karen Overton, Island Batik Ambassador

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

Fabulous Batik FabricYou 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

kennel quilts
February project – make a kennel quilt, or two, or a dozen!

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.  

 

charity quilts, kennel quilts
Finished is good. Two finished kennel quilts for charity

 

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.

 

 

 

We heart Island Batik fabrics
Shirley pieced the block & Karen quilted and bound it. Truly a Galentine’s Day collaboration between friends.

MARCH QUILT CHALLENGE: Mini Madness

Picture of miniature quilts using Island Batik Fabrics
Island Batik Ambassadors are up to the challenge

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!

I covered a simple composition notebook and then made a dozen or more along with a blog tutorial, PDF download and accompanying  YouTube.

 

bright colors add to the beauty of this paper pieced composition notebook cover
Paper Piecing and Quilting turns a common composition notebook into a stylish planner
Making quilted composition notebook covers is addicting - we bet you can't make just one!
View the complete tutorial on The Quilt Rambler YouTube channel

APRIL ISLAND BATIK AMBASSADOR QUILT CHALLENGE: Adventurous Applique

Appliqué graphic with song birds for Island Batik Ambassador program
April’s Island Batik Challenge is Adventurous Appliqué

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.

 

 

 

 

Man holding up appliquéd quilt saying "He is Risen"
It is Finished

ALONG CAME MAY: Modern Batik Challenge

Island Batik Ambassador Modern Batik ChallengeI 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.

 

Modern Quilting in the wild
This is The Way, Walk In It – original design pieced and quilted by Karen Overton

JUNE QUILT CHALLENGE: Curvalicioius Quilts

#CurvalicioiusQuilts
June Challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors

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. 

Curved Piecing with the Melon Block
Melon Dramatic by Karen Overton. I just love how these colors reflect the decorating tropical theme in my home

ROUND UP:

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.

Collection of quilts made by Karen Overton, Island Batik Ambassador
2017 Island Batik Ambassador Challenges February to June with a sneak peek of July

 

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.

 

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Modern Quilt Island Batik Challenge – Part 2 – Quilting The Quilt

Modern Quilting in the wild

…to continue….

Quilting A Modern Quilt

Modern Quilt design by Karen Overton
Original design by Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler. “This is the Way, Walk in It”

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

Quilters Apothecary Design Ruler Used in Modern Quilting
While not a ruler to use with the Longarm for actual quilting, this is a great tool designed for marking your quilt tops prior to quilting

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!

Modern Quilting using Mystical Square Ruler
I have an abundance of Jamie Wallen’s Quilters Apothecary rulers – this was the perfect size for short straight edge quilting

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!

Modern Quilting Rulers
I appreciated the shape of Jamie’s ruler when I needed to make 90 degree turns
Modern Quilting Ruler
Lisa Calle has an entire line of fabulous rulers that make modern quilting a breeze – or any quilting!
Modern Quilting Ruler for small straight lines
I just love the results of using Lisa’s Quilter’s Groove Proline 16 – makes me look like an experienced modern quilter
Marking curves for Modern Quilting
I’m not even sure how long this has been in my ruler drawer – but today I had a new use for both sides of this ruler designed by Galye Wallace
soft wave ruler is nice to use in Modern Quilting
Another oldie but goodie from my ruler drawer – I have a nice collection by Mari-Lee Seei, Off The Edge Quilting – sadly these are no longer available.
Chalked lines for modern quilting preparation
The Soft Wave ruler made some interesting shapes for my modern quilting. Chalking sometimes “kicks up a little dust”
Making a grid for Modern Quilting designs
There’s less dust and more accuracy when I make straight lines with Quilter’s Apothecary Mystical Designer ruler and Sewline chalk pencil
Longarm Rulers used in Modern Quilting
This is another oldie from the ruler drawer – 3″ zig zag and 2″ curves from the Fabric Art Shop

Rulers

You can never have too many Longarm rulers
This ruler by Sherry Rogers-Harrison was designed to make braided cables (no longer on her website) It was repurposed to make fabulous lines for modern quilting
Circles are great designs to us in modern quilting
I’m beginning to feel thankful for my past ruler investments as I see that my set of circle rulers from Willowleaf Studio are no longer available – instead her site is full of fabulous pantographs for Longarm quilting….But! This set was used for my modern quilting design
Pocket Pebbles Ruler for Modern Quilting
Dusty Farrell has lots of rulers for Longarm quilting – I really liked this one as it pulls apart to insert your Longarm hopping foot and makes perfect 1/2″, 3/4″ and 1″ circles

It’s All in The Details

feet propped up overlooking a window advertisement became an inspiration for a quilt design
My “current world view” became my inspiration for a modern quilt design

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 Quilting by Karen Overton
Current world view – This is the Way, Walk in It – hot off the frame

Modern Quilt In The Wild

Machine Binding made easy with the right tools
More tools of the trade – love my stiletto
by Annie”

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.

Modern Quilt by Karen Overton "This is the way, walk in it"
“This IsThe Way, Walk In It” original design pieced and quilted by Karen Overton
Modern Quilting up close
Close up of top section
writing in the quilting
Can you see “This is the way” in the quilting
This is the way, walk in it - a modern quilt by Karen Overton
Look close – can you see “walk in it”
Karen's Special Butterflies are quilted in this modern quilt
Lower section of the quilt included my signature butterflies
Hidden messages in modern quilting design
More hidden messages – Isaiah 31:20, my initials KEO and the year 2017

It’s Not Finished Until You Put A Label on it

colorful hanging sleeve on the back of modern quilt
Why not combine a hanging sleeve and a label. This is the Way, Walk in 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!

Modern Quilting in the wild
This is The Way, Walk In It – original design pieced and quilted by Karen Overton

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.

Modern Quilt Island Batik Challenge Part 1

colorful Island Batik fabrics will make a beautiful modern quilt

Modern Quilt In The Making

Island Batik Ambassador Modern Batik ChallengeMay’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!

feet propped up overlooking a window advertisement became an inspiration for a quilt design
My “current world view” became my inspiration for a modern quilt design

The Design Process of My Modern Quilt

EQ7 computer quilt design
From inspiration to design

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.

EQ7 design by Karen Overton
With the click of a button the background was filled in with a darker fabric
colorful Island Batik fabrics will make a beautiful modern quilt
Closing from a fabulous stash of Island Batik fabrics for my first Modern Quilt

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.

Paper never forgets, making a piecing map for my modern quilt
I printed the outline view from EQ7 and started figuring out my piecing map
Cutting the 5" strips to 2.5" strips
The 5″ strips from my Island Batik Ambassador box held the perfect color combinations for this design

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.

using Ominigrid 96 and 98 rulers to make triangle units
The right tools for the right job – making half square and quarter square triangles
Colorful Island Batik fabric makes beautiful half square triangles for this modern quilt
Chain piecing made the process quick and easy. Don’t you just love the beautiful Island Batik colors? I pieced using Aurfil 50 wt # 2692 black
Following a graph paper design pieced units are combined to make blocks for the modern quilt
Half square and quarter square triangle units are combined into four patch blocks

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!

Modern Quilt Pattern design in the process
Working through the process on how to form blocks into sections for my modern quilt

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!

sections pieced and laid out for modern quilt
Current world view – Modern Quilt in the making – sometimes the design wall is busy so I have a “design floor” for the layout of my quilts

It’s been a while since I did a partial seam, but it worked!

Marking a partial seam
Sewing just a partial seam, as marked with the chalk pencil, allowed me to sew the four sections together
Modern Quilt partial seam construction
Keeping that partial seam open made it easy to sew sections together

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.

Modern Quilt design by Karen Overton
Original design by Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler. “This is the Way, Walk in It”

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!

In the meantime, check out my fellow ambassadors’ blogs to see their progress with the May Modern Batik Challenge. Here’s a link to each of them.

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, enjoying the journey into Modern Quilting!

Do you make modern quilts? Designing your own or enjoying designer patterns? Leave me a comment with your thoughts and experiences.