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.
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 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!
Who knew that being an Island Batik Ambassador would be this much fun! This month the event is March Mini Madness and our instructions simply stated “foundation or English paper piecing 24” x 24” or smaller.”
Time to get my creative juices flowing using the always inspiring beautiful Island Batik fabrics.
Foundation Piecing or English Paper Piecing?!??!
Okay. Hum. I realize that there’s a whole community built around English Paper Piecing, or EPP as it is fondly referred to, but that’s not my tribe.
Hum…take off the English and it’s just paper piecing, right? Well, that’s not really my tribe either…My UFO closet could prove it – I have a beautiful paper piecing quilt in progress from a class I took from Judy Neimeyer herself back at the turn of the century– great teacher, beautiful designs (ask me how many I have custom quilted!) but this paper piecing thing is just so backwards for me…. now give me a good ruler (or a dozen) and the only paper I need is graph paper….
But! Challenges are just that – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? Besides, it’s a small project, how hard can it be? I got started right after the Galentine’s challenge…. thinking I’d be ahead of the game! But the project kept growing!
I Choose Paper Piecing
Another name synonymous with paper piecing is Carol Doak. I was thrilled to find that she had a section of “free patterns” on her website. As I scrolled down there was one that is available has a handout for teachers to share the technique. Being both the student and the teacher (for this blog post at least) the decision was quickly made and I downloaded the pattern. You can too if you click on this link.
I printed out the paper foundation, gathered my fabrics, I even owned the Add-A-Quarter Ruler! Having the right tools does make a job easier!
I must admit, working with batiks is much easier than my previous dilemma of distinguishing between the right and wrong side of printed fabrics, but that backward thing had me taking my time…it wasn’t too painful as I only had to rip out once!
I must march to the beat of a different drummer – when I did the “what if” I decided I liked an alternative layout….
Design Change Switch to Foundation Piecing
And then I made another interesting decision…I didn’t necessarily have a purpose in mind for a mini quilt – not that there has to be a reason to play in fabric, but I did want to doll up a composition notebook I was using for my to do list….so one thing lead to another!
I figured out that I needed to cut up more of my Sweet Nectar stamps (5” squares) to make patchwork to make this “mini quilt” large enough to cover my notebook. I didn’t want to make binding so I just sewed the quilt top right sides together with a piece of lining and batting, leaving an opening to turn and then top stitch down before quilting on my domestic sewing machine with a little stitch in the ditch…..that’s when I discovered a boo-boo. I didn’t check carefully when I pulled the paper off to make sure I didn’t pull apart my seam. Oh, well. Life goes on.
After quilting I laid the notebook on top of the wrong side of the mini quilt and folded in the sides to wrap around the edges to secure the notebook. I just top-stitched them together and ta-da, I had a stylish planner!
But Wait, There’s More! True Foundation Piecing
I also have a composition notebook with graph paper that I use to sketch out designs for future projects. It needed a cute little cover too! Only it needed a place to keep my pens and pencils…so back to the drawing board.
This time I decided to take the instructions literally when it said “foundation” as I was reminded of foundation piecing string quilts years ago. I had some left-over strips of a beautiful line called Caribbean Splash that would be perfect for a pineapple block! So away I went!
I treated the fabric foundation just as I would if it were paper (that backward thing again) and I must admit, I like the precision of the points coming together at the yellow triangles!
For this cover design, I decided that I needed to wrap the front flap as in the previous cover but that I needed to be able to slip the notebook into a quilted strip to hold it in place so I could wrap the back flap around to the front of the book to secure with a decorative button. Underneath that flap would be my zippered pocket for my pens. And it worked!
A Little Bonus Just For You
I tend to hold on to scraps so I was delighted when a young mom at church shared with me how she uses tiny strips of fabric to make bookmarks for her Bible Journaling…so here’s a bonus for you as a thank you for reading all the way to the end (almost to the end that is).
Third Time’s A Charm! More Foundation Piecing
Well, I couldn’t stop. I still had scraps left from my Sweet Nectar paper pieced composition notebook cover and this time I decided I had fulfilled my “foundation” obligation so I just played. Technically I did use a fabric foundation as I “made fabric” by sewing small pieces together and then sewing the pieces to the foundation with a flip and sew method. It is very therapeutic.
Before too long it was time to quilt. Okay, I’m not much of a free motion quilter. As I like to say “quilting on a domestic made a good woman cuss, so I bought a longarm.”
To the longarm I went. Now this is my tribe! I turned up the tunes and I was in my happy place!
Truly Quilting is an Inexhaustible Topic!
It’s hard to say which one is my favorite. I learned something new as I worked through each one. I don’t think I will ever tire of quilting or rambling about quilting!
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, Telling Your Story One Quilt at a Time
Please leave a comment with your thoughts below. Would you be interested in a more detailed tutorial on how to make your own composition notebook cover? If so leave a request and we will see what happens!
Sometimes a rambler just has to ramble….and what better way than a weekly review of what’s been happening professionally and personally…put your feet up with me and relax a bit as I share this week’s happenings in and around the studio.
I don’t do winters well, and have been more than thankful that our area has been shattering all sorts of weather records for February. Apologies to those of you with snow, but I say “yes please” to sunny days in the high 70’s and 80’s!
So what does the weather have to do with quilting you say? Probably nothing, except I find I’m more inspired when the weather is nice. Something about relaxing for just a few minutes in my hammock helps the creativity flow….
Quilts in the Studio This Past Week
I love it when someone in the younger generation starts quilting. This is Lindsey’s very first quilt! She pieced it for her sister’s baby shower this weekend. I heard it was a big hit, and why wouldn’t it be? It’s gorgeous!
Quilters are so generous – Lindsey’s first quilt was certainly stitched with love and will always have a story to tell!
Not only is a new baby coming soon, but “hello world – there’s a new quilter born!” Welcome to the quilting family Lindsey! Can’t wait to see what you create next!
On the opposite end of the quilting family is my 90-year-old friend Lila. She is simply amazing. I have known her a dozen years and her quilting never ceases to astound me from complex piecing to beautiful applique – we all agree that Lila is a master quilter! She is very well respected and loved in our Island Quilters Guild in Galveston…she will be our featured quilter in this summer’s quilt show so stay tuned for that!
Nothing Like a Good Quilting Challenge
A few weeks ago, my son Jake challenged me to a mother/son quilt off. Seems it’s been 10 years since we last made a quilt together. Challenge accepted.
We have set aside Monday’s to work together in the studio. Jake’s favorite number is 13 and we both thought it very fitting that Monday, Feb 13th was our first meeting of the minds.
We agreed to work with the same fabric line, Pressed Petals from Island Batik which is shipping now to a quilt shop near you! Jake is an artist and pulled his fabric choices and had a sketch done in no time.
This past Monday, Feb 20 we set up the extra sewing machine for his refresher course on the basics of sewing. Kinda like riding a bike, in no time he had his practice block completed.
I look forward to working with him in the studio each week.
Jake lives next door and his kitten Oscar has in and out privileges when the studio screen door is left open so he can use the “doggie door.” Without too much detail here, Oscar was a stray that showed up a few months before our precious Pixxie passed. For those who have followed me for years on my former blog location, you know that Pixxie was my constant companion and known as my “professional quilt model”. Click here to see my Pinterest tribute or here to read about her passing.
Anyway….We are all so thankful that God sent Oscar to us. I’m not really a cat person but this little fellow has certainly warmed my heart. Here’s some photos from this past week.
What’s Up for March in The Quilt Rambler Studio?
Glad you asked! I am in the beginning stage of a childhood memory quilt. Seems two precious little girls were born close to each other and shared a lot of the same clothing.
Mom has saved her favorite outfits from the girls to have made into a quilt!. What a fabulous way to hold on to those precious infant year memories!
In addition, I will be working on my Island Batik Ambassador project for March.
I’m going to wait a few days to share just what the project theme is, but I can tell you that I chose to use my 5″ squares from the Sweet Nectar collection, which is also a current fabric now shipping to your local quilt shop.
With colors like these, every day is a sunny spring day in the studio!
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, Telling Your Story One Quilt At A Time
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