Oh Baby! Baby Quilt – A July Island Batik Ambassador Project

6 pointed star vintage baby quilt

June Challenge for Island Batik AmbassadorsBaby Quilt

The July project for the Island Batik Ambassadors is to make a baby quilt or crib sized quilt using fabric from our ambassador box we received earlier this year.

I actually had two designs in mind, and the month isn’t over with yet, so who knows! I may be able to make two….

This is the pattern I chose and the why…

What’s Old is New Again

6 pointed star vintage baby quilt
My baby quilt made by my grandmother, Mary Brown Pliler, hand quilted with love.

The definition of vintage is kinda sketchy. With the exception of cars, antiques should be 100 years or older to be called antique, however, an item can be considered vintage at a mere 20 years. More commonly, something labeled vintage is assumed to be 50 years or older. Needless to say, my baby quilt qualifies as both acceptable definitions of vintage (I still feel twenty!). My baby quilt, made by my mother’s mother, was the inspiration for this month’s project.

Choosing the Pattern and Fabrics for Oh Baby!

When I ran across the pattern Sprinkles, by Jaybird Designs, I knew I needed to replicate my baby quilt….not exactly, but close enough.

I had  2.5″ strips left over from last month’s project in the fabric line of Pressed Petals.  In my personal stash I had the perfect Island Batik orange to use as the background. Yes, I’m a woman that likes color! But then again, you’ve figured that out already, right?

Oh Baby! Are you bright and modern
These Island Batik fabrics will make a colorful modern “baby quilt”

Let’s Make a Baby Quilt

Jaybird Design patterns are easy to follow. With such a small amount of fabric (13 strips plus background) the cutting was completed in no time.

Cutting diamonds for Baby Quilt
Loving the new Endurance Blade for my Olfa – in no time I had the diamonds cut out and ready to sew

The piecing went together rather easily too. I always think “oh I can just whip this little quilt out in no time” but I forget that lots of little parts and pieces, plus taking the time to press between steps, does take a little time. All enjoyable I might add! Nothing better than the hum of the sewing machine to soothe the soul. Especially when accompanied by my favorite Christian radio station playing in the background!

piecing a baby quilt without pins
Look ma! No pins! My favorite stiletto makes the process quick and painless
chain piecing a baby quilt
Chain, chain, chain….chain piecing is so rewarding – don’t you just love the colorful Island Batik fabrics! Betcha didn’t’ know orange could be considered a neutral!
Pressing blocks for a baby quilt
Good piecing skills, using a quarter inch seam, is equally important as taking the time to press after each seam. Don’t neglect this significant step!
Joining two units to make a baby quilt
And the two shall become one – sounds like a good marriage sermon to me
Half Hexie Unit for baby quilt
And two make three…oh baby!

On to The Design Wall

The half hexie units were then placed on the design wall. I have to admit that this is always the part that takes the most time. I study, rearrange, rearrange some more and still have a couple of fabrics “too close” to each other visually. Ah, but that’s the fun of “random” piecing that achieves the scrappy look.

Baby quilt 6 pointed star units on a design wall
All the units are arranged on the design wall ready to be rearranged and rearranged again

The half hexie units are sewn together vertically to form rows. I think I might have got a block or two out of order, but again, it’s scrappy and I fired the quilt police years ago.

I had high hopes of completing the quilt last weekend, but circumstances beyond my control interrupted. If you follow me on Facebook with my personal account you will understand that “family comes first”. It’s all good, and I will be moving forward soon with this little gem. I just couldn’t wait to share it with you!

Sprinkles Baby Quilt coming together
Sew a row, then sew two rows, repeat, complete (soon!)

To Be Continued:

I love how this is coming together. I am hopeful that I will be able to give you an update before the end of the month with it quilted and photographed next to my original baby quilt. This has been a fun pattern to work with and it goes without saying that the Island Batik fabrics truly make it sparkle!

Check out the progress of the other Island Batik Ambassadors – a link to their blogs is located here.

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, enjoying the process!

How many of you still have your baby quilt? Is it a pattern that you would like to recreate for the next generation? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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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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Melon Dramatic – A Curved Piecing Challenge with Island Batik

Challenge Accepted

#CurvalicioiusQuilts
June Challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors

One thing I have enjoyed about being an Island Batik Ambassador this year is the creative monthly challenges! This month’s theme was Curvacious  Quilts. Originally I had planned on pulling out the Go!Cutter and using my Drunkard’s Path die, but realized that really wasn’t a challenge since I’ve made several quilts using both the 7″ finished die and the 3.5″ finished die.

Something Old is New Again

Closing a template for curved piecing
Melon Block Templates by Elisa’s Backporch have been in the ruler drawer for over 10 years! Kinda hard to peel off the aged paper (gasp)

I am a self-proclaimed ruler queen, believing that there is a ruler for everything and you can never have too many rulers. For this project, I dug deep in my ruler drawer and found a set of templates just waiting to see the light of day.

I chose to use the 10″ Pressed Petal squares that came in my Island Batik Ambassador box earlier this year. I loved the fabric so much that I was able to purchase the 2.5″ strip set – you can never have too many precuts and if you like a fabric you should buy it when you see it!

Tropical Spring and Summer Colors of Island Batik 's Pressed Petal collection
Island Batik Pressed Petal precuts will be fabulous in this project
Melon Block Templates fit the 10" square
10″ squares are very versatile for many projects

I was pleased to see that all three of the templates would fit on a 10″ square but I opted for a design change – after all, I did have 2.5″ strips!

Olfa Cutters are my favorite, testing the new Endurance blade
Design Change! And I’m testing out a new Endurance Blade by Olfa – dated it to see how long it lasts!

Curved Piecing

Sewing the melon to the background
Piecing following instructions in The Melon Block book by Elisa Wilson

The cutting went very quickly as I had decided on a table runner and only needed 12 blocks. The piecing was going pretty quickly too as I followed the book’s instructions, but I wasn’t liking the end result when I pressed the melon away from the first L shape. I knew I could do it better so switched to placing the melon on the bottom instead of the top and the result was much better.  See my previous blog about piecing traditional Drunkard’s Path blocks without so many pins. The method worked like a charm for the melon shape and I soon had my 12 blocks pieced.

Curved piecing made simple
I find it best to put the L shape on top of the melon shape
quick sewing of curved pieced melon blocks
The blocks are coming together nicely, just a little trimming to square up

Design Change

Trimming the Melon Block to make the corners pop
“Off with their heads!” using the ruler to cut off the tip to make the corners pop

I loved the way the quilt was turning out, as these are certainly “My Colors” but it needed a little something else…..back to the faithful (and full) ruler drawer and there was my answer! Deb Tucker’s Corner Pop ruler – just what this little quilt needed. Then I dug in my Island Batik stash and found this beautiful raspberry print to top it off!

You can never have too many rulers
The right ruler for the right job – you can never have too many rulers!
Melon Block table runner
Laying out on the kitchen counter to “visualize” how it’s going to look. Matches my FiestaWare!!

Time to Quilt

Curved Pieced Quilt on the Longarm
After hour quilting is always fun when it’s your own personal project

It’s not a quilt until it’s quilted! Trying to find time on the longarm is always a challenge with so many customer quilts in waiting…I love it when the machine is free “after hours”.  This little baby took about 4 hours to custom quilt, not counting loading and design time.  Yep, just call me The Midnight Quilt Rambler!

 

Custom quilting Melon Block
A little curved ruler work over the melon shape and of course feathers in the background! Superior Threads Fantastico #5011
Hand guided signature butterfly lets everyone know this quilt was quilted by Karen Overton The Quilt Rambler
Added my Signature Butterfly in all three “center squares”
Custom Quilted Curved Pieced Quilt
“Hot off the frame” I just love how the lighting shows the texture of the custom quilting. I used double batting, 80/20 on the back and wool on top.

Faux Piping Binding

Sewing Scraps together for binding
Scraps make great bindings, especially as a faux piping double binding!

Last summer I did a schoolhouse presentation at my guild on faux piping binding – I thought this little project would be perfect with a scrappy faux piping binding…. you can download a one page PDF tutorial here.

 

 

Double binding adds color
Adding a pop of color with the scraps as part of the faux piping double binding

Melon Dramatic

I am pleased with the way this little quilt turned out. What was originally designed to be a counter top/table runner became a focus quilt in my entryway on the backside of my kitchen cabinets. I love how the colors reflect the theme of my home – tropical and bright!

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.

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, loving the Island Batik Ambassador Challenges and especially loving the Island Batik Fabrics!

Are you following me on Instagram? Facebook? or Twitter?  There are more process photos posted on social media of this project.

Visit the other Island Batik Ambassadors to see how their projects have progressed.

Nan from Purrfect Spots Designs
Turid from Den Syende Himmel
Stephanie from Quilt’n Party
Pamela from Pamela Quilts
Anna from Ark Angel Creations
Kathy from Kathy’s Kwilts and More
Jessica from Desert Bloom Quilting
Connie from Freemotion by the River
Kate from Seams Like a Dream
Sharon from Yellow Cat Quilt Designs
Tina from Quilting Affection Designs
Jennifer from The Inquiring Quilter
Barb from Bejeweled Quilts
Sally from Sally’s Quilting Corner
Jeanette from Inch Worm Fabrics
Connie from Kauffman Designs
Joan from Moosestash Quilting
Bernadine from Needle and Foot
Bea from Beaquilter
Cheryl from Cheryl Lynch Quilts
Maryellen from Mary Mack’s Blog
Joyce from Hearts Creations
Marlene from Kissed Quilts
Karen from The Quilt Rambler (this is me!)
Marian from Seams to be Sew
Laura from Slice of Pi Quilts
Linda from Inspired Layers
Vicki from Vicki’s Crafts and Quilting
Nancy from Masterpiece Quilting
Carol from FunThreads Designs
Terri from Meanderings Along Lizard Creek
Alison from Little Bunny Quilts
Suzy from Adventurous Applique and Quilting
Jean-Sophie from Sophie Junction
Janet from Whispers of Yore

 

Linked up with Needle And Thread

 

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.

Can You Relate to My Whirlwind?

cartoon version of The Quilt Rambler studio with the appearance of the after effects of a whirlwind due to the creative clutter

 The Past Few Weeks Have Been a Whirlwind

cartoon version of The Quilt Rambler studio with the appearance of the after effects of a whirlwind due to the creative clutter
Looks like a whirlwind hit the studio – time for a little comic relief
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

Two Mac computers side by side, different screen sizes showing out with the old in with the new
Silver lining to the storm of computer issues,  a new bigger computer
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!

Cute orange kitten peaks out from under an Apple computer monitor
Oscar wants to help with the taxes OR perhaps just play peak a boo

Escaping the Vortex

A pair of tennis shoes peaking out under a quilt showing a relaxing moment
After a long day at the computer, it’s wonderful to put my feet up to relax – and enjoy the comfort of a quilt on a breezy afternoon
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!

Scrappy quilt made from men's plaid shirts and quilted with hearts will welcome a new baby soon
Made from great grandpa’s shirts, soon a new baby be will be wrapped in 4 generations of love

Stop the Cyclone

Young man stirring a pot on the stove with a bowl of Rice Krispie cereal in a large bowl next to it
Remembering when the boys were young and we made lots of cookies and treats in the kitchen
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!

Lady sampling the sticky sides of a bowl after making Rice Krispies treats
Proving that you are never too old to lick the bowl! Not to mention Rice Krispie Treats are more fun in spring colors!

Lady's jeans and shoes laying on a quilt in a hammock
My happy place – relaxing for a few minutes under the tiki hut in my hammock, always with a quilt!
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!

Whirlwind Activity

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…

Colorful fabric book cover surrounds a cookbook
Never judge a book by its cover.
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!

 

Majestic purple fabric covers a well read Bible
Purple represents royalty and spirituality. It’s also my favorite color so it was a perfect choice for a simple Bible cover
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

Lady's jean clad legs stretched out in relaxation overlooking a pool area on top of a Houston motel showing beautiful clouds and building in the distance
Current world view – blue skies and serenity overlooking Houston skyline
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.

cute orange kitten peaking out from a talavera bathroom sink
When mom’s away the kitten does play
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.

Lady's jean clad legs stretched out in relaxation looking at a window in an outdoor mall
When we relax and open our eyes to the world around us even simple things can be inspiring
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. 

 

 

 

Two smiling friends taking a selfie with the skyline of Houston behind them
Couldn’t resist a selfie with the beautiful skyline of Houston behind us – Dianne and I will soon be in the friendly skies headed to Arizona!
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.

Island Batik fabric strips made into leymone star blocks in preparation for an upcoming workshop making the pattern Illuminated Journey by Karen Overton
Working on class sample for upcoming workshop, Illuminated Journey, with beautiful Island Batik fabrics
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

Ooh ooh…

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!

Easter Appliqué With Island Batik Fabrics

Close up of quilted reverse appliqué lettering saying "He is Risen"
Man holding up appliquéd quilt saying "He is Risen"
It is Finished

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

"he is" lettering cut out of fabric in preparation of raw edge appliqué for Easter appliqué project
Island Batik fabrics are perfect for raw edge 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.

photo collage show tracing letter stencils on newsprint in preparation for tracing onto double fusible interfacing for reverse appliqué process
Tracing stencils for the design then reversing the design in prep for fusing to fabric for reverse appliqué

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.

Designed traced in reverse on double sided fusible is applied to the wrong side of fabric with an iron
Iron the double sided fusible to the wrong side of the fabric

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.

Photo collage showing multiple cutting tools used to cut out fabric with a raw edge reverse appliqué method
Trying out several tools to find the best method of cutting out Reverse appliqué

Yes, the right tools make life much easier!

Choosing Fabric

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.

Photo shows two different fabrics, one is Island Batik fabric used for the top of a project and the other is hand dyed fabric by karen Overton for the backing of an Easter project
Beautiful Island Batik fabric for the top and hand dyed fabric 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.

Don’t forget to use an appliqué pressing sheet to protect your iron!

Photo shows an Appliqué pressing sheet as a protection from sticky fusible transferring to the iron when adhering any sort of raw edge appliqué
Anytime you work with fusible you should protect your iron with an appliqué pressing sheet
Photo shows layered top fabric cut out with windows of the easter appliqué design allowing the bottom fabric to show through the window in a process called Reverse appliqué
I love the way the fabrics show through the “window” created by the reverse appliqué method

Time to Quilt

photo collage showing longaram quilting of a reverse appliqué Easter project
Easter Applique on the longarm

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

Machine Binding using Wonder Clips and colorful Island Batik Fabrics
Colorful binding made from the focus fabric

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!

 

Appliqued words "He is Risen" using Reverse Appliqué method with beautiful Island Batik Fabrics
Original Easter Appliqué by Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler

Visit All Island Batik Ambassadors for Their Adventurous Appliqué

Appliqué graphic with song birds for Island Batik Ambassador program

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!

 

Here are the links to others!

Nan from Purrfect Spots Designs
Turid from Den Syende Himmel
Stephanie from Quilt’n Party
Pamela from Pamela Quilts
Anna from Ark Angel Creations
Kathy from Kathy’s Kwilts and More
Jessica from Desert Bloom Quilting
Connie from Freemotion by the River
Kate from Seams Like a Dream
Sharon from Yellow Cat Quilt Designs
Tina from Quilting Affection Designs
Jennifer from The Inquiring Quilter
Barb from Bejeweled Quilts
Sally from Sally’s Quilting Corner
Jeanette from Inch Worm Fabrics
Connie from Kauffman Designs
Joan from Moosestash Quilting
Bernadine from Needle and Foot
Bea from Beaquilter
Cheryl from Cheryl Lynch Quilts
Maryellen from Mary Mack’s Blog
Joyce from Hearts Creations
Marlene from Kissed Quilts
Karen from The Quilt Rambler (this is me!)
Marian from Seams to be Sew
Laura from Slice of Pi Quilts
Linda from Inspired Layers
Vicki from Vicki’s Crafts and Quilting
Nancy from Masterpiece Quilting
Carol from FunThreads Designs
Terri from Meanderings Along Lizard Creek
Alison from Little Bunny Quilts
Suzy from Adventurous Applique and Quilting
Jean-Sophie from Sophie Junction
Janet from Whispers of Yore

Please share in the comments below about your Easter projects or your favorite appliqué project. Tag me on social media too! @thequiltrambler

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, Telling HIS Story in My Quilting

Furry Fridays With Island Batik Ambassadors

Furry Fridays With Island Batik Ambassadors

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!

This week’s sponsor of Furry Friday is Hancock of Paducah.

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!

Bristol is an adorable 13-week-old female Shepherd mix. She is a typical sweet and playful puppy. Bristol is good with other dogs.

And for our cat lovers out there we have Carlee looking for a good home.

Carlee is a sweet shy steel gray and white bobtail cat. She’s three years old and she is looking for a loving home where she can get lots of snuggles and cuddles.

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.)

Pixie was known as The Professional Quilt Model as she always posed with my quilts. 2000-2016

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.

Found: One stray orange kitty

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…

Oscar discovered he liked the shelter under our tiki hut and made himself a home

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…

Pixxie wasn’t so sure about Oscar – he didn’t have any manners – Pixxie was the queen of beggars but she was patient – this kitten was bold in his begging!
Oscar kept wanting to be with us and tried out the doggie door a few times. Or he would sit outside Jake’s apartment waiting for him to come home from work. Thanksgiving found Oscar sharing a meal with Pixxie.

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 certainly is a playful kitten

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.

Oscar is home where he belongs

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:

Mary Mack’s Blog

Hearts Creations

Kissed Quilts

The Quilt Rambler (you are here)

Seams to be Sew

 

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler

 

March Mini Madness – Foundation Piecing

trimming a paper pieced block with the add-a-quarter rule
Picture of miniature quilts using Island Batik Fabrics
Island Batik Ambassadors are up to the challenge

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

Desktop view of supplies for paper piecing project, pattern, fabric, thread
Pattern by Carol Doak, Aurifil thread for piecing,  and beautiful Island Batik fabric

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.

trimming a paper pieced block with the add-a-quarter rule
It’s all about following instructions and having the right tools

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….

colorful paper pieced blocks laid out to form a flower
Four units pieced according to the paper piecing instructions
Blocks are rotated to form an alternate layout for paper pieced units
Auditioning an alternate layout for paper pieced units

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!

there is a hole in the quilt top
Discovered an unsewn seam while stitch in the ditch quilting

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!

bright colors add to the beauty of this paper and foundation pieced composition notebook cover
Paper piecing combined with foundation piecing plus quilting turns a common composition notebook into a stylish planner
Island Batik Sweet Nectar fabric makes colorful patchwork on the inside of a notebook cover
The 5″ Sweet Nectar stamps made beautiful patchwork for the inside flaps and back
Quilted paper pieced notebook cover is laid open to show front and back
Open view of finished project. Superior’s Fantastico 5112 was the perfect thread for quilting!

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.

beautiful blues, yellows and greens make up this pineapple foundation pieced block
The Pineapple Block lends itself easily to foundation piecing

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!

yellow triangles of this pineapple foundation pieced block are precise
Foundation piecing is precision piecing

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!

rectangle foundation pieced pineapple block sparkle in caribbean fabrics from Island Batik
Foundation pieced pineapple elongated block makes a great  composition notebook . Opened up full length  reveals the true splash of the Caribbean colored fabrics
A composition notebook covered in quilted fabric is opened to show the hidden extra of a zippered pen pouch
The right hand wrap over flap has a vinyl zippered pocket to house pens. Pieced with Superior’s Sew Complete 217, zipper “ByAnnie” sewn with Aurifil 2120, quilted with Superior’s Fantastico 5004

A Little Bonus Just For You

Fabric strips are tied to the ends of paper clips to make colorful fringed bookmarks
Make decorative DIY bookmarks from simple items, fabric scraps and paper clips! Easy!

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

a mosaic of fabric scraps sewn together using a foundation piecing method to make a larger piece of fabric
It’s fun to “make fabric” from sewing together colorful fabric scraps Aurifil 2000 is perfect for scrap sewing but Aurifil 2530 was perfect for piecing the raspberry lining

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!

close up of longarm quilting machine needle with small quilting designs on scrap pieced top
Superior Threads’ Rainbow in Bubble Gum complemented the scrap piecing perfectly

 

scrap pieced notebook cover in bright tropical Island Batik fabrics
Finished is good! Thank you Island Batik, Aurifil  and Superior Threads!
Scrap pieced notebook cover is open to show the pages of the notebook and zippered pen pouch
Open the notebook to discover a colorful front flap to hold the notebook and a practical zippered vinyl pen pocket
opened to the back of the notebook the back flap which secures the notebook is revealed in the scrap pieced composition notebook cover
The back quilted tube allows the back cover of the notebook to be held in place
colorful patchwork scraps make a notebook cover using the foundation piecing technique
No rhyme or reason when making fabric from scraps. No stress either! Batiks play nicely together

Truly Quilting is an Inexhaustible Topic!

Three fabric covered notebooks designed by The Quilt Rambler
Colorful, stylish, practical, fun!

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!

Be sure to check with the other Island Batik Ambassadors’ blogs to see their beautiful creations! Follow me as The Quilt Rambler on social media to see more!

Photo for Pinterest showing three quilted fabric composition notebook covers
Pin, Share, Save, Hashtag when you post your creations #TheQuiltRambler #CoveredCompositionNotebook

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello March – Fun Challenges Ahead

Hello March, In Like a Lamb, weather is perfect to kick back in the hammock

Hello March

Hello March, In Like a Lamb, weather is perfect to kick back in the hammock
March 2017 In Like A Lamb

Just a quick hello to say that March entered like a lamb in the Houston/Galveston area today. It was a little overcast but still the high was around 80 degrees with 100% humidity. Gotta love it!

Instagram Challenges

Instagram challenge for quilters to post daily in March
A fun challenge to post daily on Instagram during the Month of March

So, while taking a quick break in my hammock under the tiki hut after lunch I was scrolling through Instagram and found two fun challenges that started today.  First #IGQuiltFest by Amy Ellis .  This one is going to be fun to see what other quilters will have to share. Here’s the schedule for posting each day.

Instagram challenge for small business owners to post daily
Another fun Instagram challenge to post daily

 

The second one I discovered is #marchmeetthemakers by Joanne Hawker. The purpose of this is for small businesses to tell the story behind their brand…this one is going to be more of a challenge because I don’t have an Etsy shop as I think most participants will.  Who knows, maybe later I will!

 

Challenging to wear so many hats, longarm quilter, island batik ambassador, quilt teacher, bike rider
According to the challenges we were to introduce ourselves on the March 1st post

I introduced myself on Instagram as a longarm quilter, quilter, quilting teacher, the maker of t-shirt and memory quilts, Island Batik Ambassador  as well as mentioning my love of riding my bike near the Galveston Bay.

Anyone can join in – whether following or participating! You can find me on Instagram as The Quilt Rambler.

Island Batik Ambassador Challenge

This is the real exciting news!

colorful island batik fabrics at the sewing machine waiting to be turned into a quilt project for the March challenge
Coming up in March – another Island Batik Ambassador Project

The March challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors is “March Mini Madness” and it involves “Foundation or English Paper Piecing, 24 x 24 or smaller.”

Tall order for this traditional piecer who loves rulers and such…. I’ve been working on my project off and on for a few weeks and can’t wait to show you – hopefully by the weekend.

March Challenges

Do you have challenges ahead for yourself in March? Maybe fun quilt related things, maybe family adventures – will you share with me in the comment section below?

Or perhaps you are facing true challenges of the difficult sort? Just wanted to share a word of encouragement – I believe in prayer and if I can pray for you please leave a comment or feel free to email me.

March In Like a Lamb…. I hope not out like a Lion!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, rambling on, Telling Your Story One Quilt at a Time!