Back to School – Island Batik Blog Hop And Giveaway!

Beautiful Diner Days collection by Island Batik
Island Batik Ambassadors

September is back to school month and for a lot of us, back to quilting after a fun-filled action packed summer!

Welcome to The Quilt Rambler, I’m sew happy you have joined me in the Island Batik Ambassador Blog Hop. The Ambassadors have been diligently working to showcase the newest fabric lines from Island Batik to assist you in your fabric shopping list while inspiring you for those fall projects!

So grab that cup of coffee, sit back and enjoy….they don’t call me The Quilt Rambler for nothin’.  Be sure and read to the end for a special giveaway!

Diner Days Collection By Island Batik

Days gone by, Diner Days Fabric collection
So many beautiful designs in a soft sweet color range

The collection I was given to work with is Diner Days. The hues are so soft that they almost reminded me of pastel Easter eggs. Indeed among some of the designs, there were eggs…and kitchen gadgets…and apples with apple cores!  Such imagination and potential!

Blog hop Back To School With Island Batik
A few of my favorite things – fabric, composition notebook, pens and pencils, and a fabulous quilt pattern

I love back to school time. I’m always ready to replenish my school supplies. Elmer’s Glue for glue basting, composition notebooks for jotting down quilt designs or fabric shopping lists. Pencil boxes make great containers to store bobbins, rotary cutters with extra blades or small sewing supplies. And what about file folders or binders to store quilt patterns! There’s plenty of things for quilters when it comes to back to school shopping!

The Perfect Pattern to Showcase Diner Days

One of my favorite block design is the Lemoyne Star, and my all time favorite method to make the block is using Deb Tucker’s Rapid Fire Lemoyne Star Ruler and technique.  I recently returned from Certified Instructor training with Deb, but that’s a ramble for another time….PS I did graduate and am available for workshops, lectures, and demos at quilt shows….

Beautiful Diner Days collection by Island Batik
Back to School Blog Hop

Back to Diner Days….I quickly decided I wanted to use Deb’s pattern Sugar and Spice with this collection. Not only did it mimic her color pallet on the original pattern but it would be perfect to use the majority of fabrics in the Diner Days collection therefore truly showcasing the fabric. Not to mention I would be making my favorite stars!

Back to School Project – Sugar and Spice

Deb’s method calls for strip piecing the background fabric to the “star” fabric and is quickly done with chain piecing.

Colorful Fabric from Diner Days Collection
Strip piecing method for constructing Lemoyne Stars is fast and fun
Units come together quickly with Studio 180 Design method
I prefer to press my seams open – I like the way it makes my blocks lay flater

Before long I had the star point units together and was ready to assemble the 8 pointed star blocks.

As simple as sewing together a four patch! Look ma’ no Y seams!
Using my Tucker Trimmer from Studio 180 Design I then square up my Lemoyne Star blocks
27-star blocks later….the layout is coming together on my design wall

Next Technique

Also using the Tucker Trimmer tool by Studio 180 Design I made the half square triangles and the quarter square triangles to use in the setting solution. I love Deb’s techniques of oversizing the cuts, sewing together, then trimming to perfection. Makes me look good when my blocks all come together!

Studio 180 Design tools
More favorite tools, The Quilter’s Magic Wand and Sewline marking pencil to help mark the quarter inch seams for making the half square triangles and quarter square triangles
The lines on the Tucker Trimmer aid in the squaring up of the quarter square unit

Once all the units were made I played around with switching the scrappy star blocks to make them pleasing to my eye. I am so loving these fabrics!

The interior blocks are all completed, next up add the narrow border and scrappy border

On To The Longarm

As the old saying goes, it’s not a quilt until it’s quilted! It’s hard to say what I enjoy the most, making the quilt tops or quilting the quilt tops. My husband is always telling me “enjoy the process” so I guess in reality I do just that, enjoying each step that I’m on, from the planning stages to the binding. It’s all a joy for me.

Such a happy little quilt under the needle of my longarm
Little by little the fabrics are being covered with hand guided stitches
Sneak peak close up of the quilting and the beautiful fabric collection
Don’t you just love these fabrics!

Presenting Sugar and Spice Showcasing The Diner Days Fabric Line From Island Batik

Admittedly I am pleased with the way this quilt turned out. I’ve had the pattern on my bucket list for a couple of years – ever since I quilted the original one on the pattern cover for Deb Tucker.  At one time my thought was to make it in more tropical colors since that’s my usual color preference, but the moment I saw Diner Days I was smitten. This is a beautiful collection that is currently in stores now – so please ask for it by name! So many design possibilities!

Back to School Blog Hop
Perfect Back to School project

But Wait! There’s More!

In case you have missed the beginnings of the Back To School Blog Hop here’s the schedule. There are lots of giveaways so be sure and visit each of the Ambassadors blogs. We all love to have comments on our blogs so don’t be shy!

WEEK 1

Monday, September 4 – Beaujolais
Quilting Affection DesignsFunThreads Designs

Tuesday, September 5 – Country Dozen
Cheryl Lynch QuiltsInspired Layers

Wednesday, September 6 – Bonsai
Little Bunny Quilts

Thursday, September 7 – Sakura
Masterpiece Quilting

Friday, September 8 – Empress Garden
Dessert Bloom QuiltingSlice of Pi Quilts

WEEK 2

Monday, September 11 – Fresh Pick’ins
KISSed Quilts

Tuesday, September 12 – Lotus Blooms
Kathys Kwilts and More

Wednesday, September 13 – Olivera
Moose Stash QuiltingVicki’s Crafts and Quilting

Thursday, September 14 – Rise & Shine
Den Syende HimmelSally’s Quilting Corner

Friday, September 15 – Diner Days
Ark Angel CreationsThe Quilt Rambler (you are here! Thank you!)

WEEK 3

Monday, September 18 – Seas the Day
KISSed QuiltsWhispers of Yore

Tuesday, September 19 – Vineyard
The Inquiring QuilterInchworm Fabrics

Wednesday, September 20 – Abalone
PamelaQuiltsYellow Cat Quilts

Thursday, September 21 – Batiks Go Retro
Adventures in Applique and Quilting

Friday, September 22 – Captain’s Anchor
Purrfect Spots DesignsBeaquilter

WEEK 4

Monday, September 25 – Cherry Berry
Freemotion by the RiverMary Mack Made Mine

Tuesday, September 26 – Lobster Bake
Seams to be Sew

Wednesday, September 27 – Solstice
Bejeweled QuiltsheARTs Creations

Thursday, September 28 – Sour Apple
Seams Like a DreamKauffman Designs

Friday, September 29 – Zen
Lizard Creek QuiltingQuilt’n Party

Good Things Come To Those Who Read Until The End!

Use the link below to register to win this autographed copy of Sugar and Spice by Deb Tucker

As promised – I have my own special giveaway and it’s not limited to just those in the United States! During my recent visit with Deb Tucker and the gang at Studio 180 Design, Deb was gracious enough to offer the “blog prize” for my post. An autographed copy of her Sugar and Spice pattern so you can make this beautiful 45″ x 62″ for yourself.  The pattern calls for 12 fat quarters plus background, but I didn’t limit myself to just 12! The more color the merrier! I highly recommend fabrics from Island Batik! In fact, I’m going to include a few samples of Island Batik fabrics as a bonus…

To register to win:

Click on the link below to register to win. There are multiple ways to have chances of winning – from commenting to following on social media – but you must click on the link to do so. Random drawing on Sept 30th. I will contact you via email to get your shipping address!

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

a Rafflecopter giveaway

News Flash:

Here’s the giveaway sponsored by Island Batik for more fabulous fabrics!

a
Rafflecopter giveaway

 

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, sew happy to have you join me in this quilting journey!

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Distractions – of the Fabric Sort

Distracted by Beautiful Fabric

I should be packing. My plane leaves in a day for my Certified Instructor Training with Studio 180 Design and what am I doing? Not packing that’s for sure!

Easily Distracted

Sometimes I lose focus. Especially where there’s too much to do, instead of just shutting down I find myself wandering in areas that I shouldn’t be, non-productive areas, sometimes involving my addictions – addictions to fabric that is <grin>

Distracted by Quilt As You Go
Using scraps from my Island Batik stash and an orphan block I got distracted in the Quilt As You Go method

Such has been the case of late. I found myself thinking how nice it would be to have a new covered composition notebook for my trip, after all, I did find an orphan block, a lemoyne star to be exact, that just needed to belong….and having just finished up the August challenge of Quilt As You Go….well…here’s what happened Thursday afternoon.

 

Visit my YouTube for instructions
I love how the star ended up centered on the back…Don’t look, but I discovered why it was an orphan (sigh) not-so-perfect points (GASP!)
Perfect place to keep my notes, with graph paper lines for any design inspiration AND a place to keep my pens. Ready for Class!

But Wait – There’s More (The Distraction is Strong!)

I’ve been doing a lot of online “wishful” shopping concerning travel accessories.  I found this really nifty three zippered pouch that is supposed to fit in the seat-back-in-front-of-you-pocket…Wouldn’t that be great to have things within reach after I put up my carry-on bag? I figured it wouldn’t take much to whip one of those puppies right out, just quick as you please…only I got a little carried away…it was that Quilt As You Go thing again….

Quilt As You Go strips onto Soft & Stable, then aligning zippers
Once placement of zippers has been determined, I cut the vinyl to size to form outer pockets
More pockets – how about mesh pockets for the interior!
.I sewed right sides together to make a tube…would do this differently next time, if there’s a next time
Before midnight I had a bag, of sorts….
At least the inside is light enough to see what I put in there!
One side of my  pocket pouch will hold my snacks for the plane
The other side will hold my iPod and earbuds
The idea was for the interior to hold my travel purse and phone…will they fit?
Ta da! The travel wallet and cell phone WILL fit in my seat-back pocket pouch

I think I would like to try this again, only this time not use the soft and stable, well, maybe just on one side to give it body. I also wouldn’t do the “tube” with my lining – made things too thick to sew the side seams. Bottom line, I’ve proved I’m not a bag expert and will leave the designing up to Patterns By Annie (love love love her patterns). But I’m not too proud to use my little dorky homemade look seat-back-in-front-of-you-pocket holder! And who knows, I might even rework it at some point and actually improve upon it before my next trip….

This is Karen Overton, The Midnight Quilt Rambler, who seriously needs to go pack for my trip!

I must be crazy! All I really need is a toothbrush, right?!!?

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

Quilt As You Go Table Runner

Using a 20+ year old pattern The Quilt Rambler has made a fresh modern table runner. using the quilt as you go method

Island Batik Ambassadors Quilt As You GoThe August challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors was to create a “Quilt As You Go” project. I have to admit as a longarm quilter this didn’t thrill me. But a challenge is a challenge. I was pleasantly surprised that the end results were very satisfying. Perseverance paid off!

Remembering a time BLA (before longarm), some 20+ years ago, when I discovered what was then called “All in One Piecing & Quilting,” I decided to do another “redo” and remake a quilt I made circa 1997. But I’m getting ahead of myself….

With all the wonderful stash builder bundles I received with my two fabric shipments this year from Island Batik I figured it was time to open those fabulous little rolls to see my treasures!

Beautiful Island Batik Stash Builders
So much fabric, sew little time
Colorful 5" x WOF Island Batik Stash Builder strips
A treasure trove of fabulous Island Batik fabrics, 5″ x WOF, a total of almost 10 yards!
A rainbow of fabric colors
Strips are sorted by color family

I asked my youngest son, the artist if he would sort my colors for me. Our conversation led to inquiries concerning my next project…one thing led to another and before I knew it, he was picking out “his colors” for this month’s creation.

I located my original star quilt and the book by Marti Michell, Weekend Star Quilts for People Who Don’t Have Time to Quilt. I was pleased to see that it is still available!

Quilt AS You Go Book and fabrics
Time to remake an old Quilt As You Go quilt with fresh new colors

Back in the day, the “all in one piecing and quilting” method was designed to combine the block construction with the quilting, or as we now call it “quilt as you go,” by piecing the block while joining the backing and batting. This pattern had a few block units that needed to be constructed prior to the all-in-one assembly.

Pre-assembly of units for this Quilt As You Go Block
This Quilt As You Go Block required the prior piecing of 5 units per block

As per the instructions in the book, the blocks were joined by stitching through all layers – block, batting, and backing. It was quick work.

Quilt As You Go technique requires careful piecing just as traditional quilting.
Center the middle unit on the layer of batting and backing, then join the side unit as in normal block construction with a good quarter inch seam, back tacking at the beginning and end of the units.
Quilt As You Go method is quick assembly
Continue building the block by piecing the units through all layers of the quilt. Finger press seams.
Adding setting triangles to the Quilt As You Go block
The final units, setting triangles, are added. Repeat for two more blocks! Almost done!

This process was amazingly fast! Just like assembling a normal block. The bonus was there would be no additional quilting needed after the blocks were joined together!  My original quilt was a lap size, but this time I was making a three block table runner.

All In One Piecing and Quilting method
Original quilt joined blocks together with a hand sewn method – which left “ridges” on the back.

I will mention that at this point I did decide on a design change. Marti’s method had you joining the blocks where they were seamless on the front, with a method of joining on the back that required hand sewing. I can remember this wasn’t something I enjoyed! Fast forward to life with YouTube and I found a quicker method…thank you, Jenny of Missouri Star Quilt Company, for your explanation of joining blocks.

This newer method was much faster – anytime you can do things by machine and not by hand is naturally quicker.

Step 1 of Joining Blocks with Quilt As You Go Method
Trim away the excess batting from the block, being careful not to cut into the backing
Step Two Quilt As You Go Joining Blocks
Trim the backing to one inch larger than the block
Step 3 joining Quilt as you Go blocks
Place two blocks together back to back right sides together and sew a one-inch seam to join
Step 4 Quilt As You Go Joining Blocks
Open the sewn blocks revealing the seam allowance on top, finger press open then fold under to form a faux binding
Stitching from the top, stitch down the seam to complete the joining of the blocks. Repeat to join all blocks
Quilt As You Go Binding
Once blocks are joined together, fold over outer edges as a self-binding to complete your project.

Before long my Sunday afternoon sewing resulted in a nice fall table runner. Again, as a longarm quilter, I’m not used to leaving so many areas unquilted but have to admit that the thrill is having something made so easily that is both beautiful and functional – not to mention FINISHED and finished is good!

I’m actually thinking of making this again in a different color way…who knows!

Using a 20+ year old pattern The Quilt Rambler has made a fresh modern table runner. using the quilt as you go method
Using a 20+-year-old pattern The Quilt Rambler has made a fresh modern table runner.
Quilt As you go table runner and quilt
My new table runner next to my original lap quilt using the Quilt As You Go method

I hope you will check out Marti Michell’s method of  “All in One Piecing and Quilting. She published several books in her series “Quilting for People Who Don’t Have Time to Quilt“.  Proving once again, what is old is new again!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, proving that a longarm quilter can have an enjoyable experience with a Quilt As You Go method on the domestic sewing machine (grin).

Have you tried Quilt As You Go? Check out the other Island Batik Ambassadors this month for more ideas and inspiration.

Quilt As You Go Table Runner tutorial
Save this pin as a reference to link back to this project!

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

What’s in Your Box? Island Batik Ambassador Box 2

Christmas in July for Island Batik Ambassador The Quilt Rambler

It’s like Christmas in July!

Truly.

The Island Batik Ambassadors have been receiving their second shipment for the year these past few weeks.  I’ve enjoyed watching the unveiling and big reveal of “what’s in YOUR box

Without further ado – it’s my pleasure to share with you the joy of being an Island Batik Ambassador.

 

Here’s a link to the other Ambassadors – check out their box openings!

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

Island Batik Fabrics are always a pleasure to work with!
Here’s a close up of the bonus fabric included in my 2nd Island Batik Ambassador Box.

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler – Island Batik Ambassador

What would you make with the beautiful purple stamped fabric? Inquiring minds want to know! Leave me a comment.

Oh Baby (Part 2) – What Happened To July?

Vintage baby quilt with modern remake by Karen Overton

June Challenge for Island Batik AmbassadorsOh Baby Part 2

Wow! July just completely flew by, didn’t it!  Here’s my continuation of the Oh Baby  Island Batik Ambassador Project…

In case you missed the previous ramble concerning choosing the fabrics and piecing the project you can catch up by clicking on this link.

Finishing Touches

Sprinkles Baby Quilt coming together“In our last episode” my little quilt was on the design wall needing only three more seams to complete. I made quick work of it recently during my Sunday sewing (after church). Before too long it was ready for the longarm.

I love to take photos of “hot off the frame” – after working up close and personal with a quilt stretched flat on the frame it is fun to drape it over the leader bars and see how the light reflects off the texture of the quilting.

Oh Baby Part 2
“Hot off the frame”

Since this was a personal quilt I wanted to be sure to add my signature butterfly as well as my initials plus the year in the quilt. Kinda my quilted label so to speak.

Oh Baby Part 2 Binding is complete
It’s not finished until the binding is on – and a label (of sorts)

The quilt top was quilted by the end of Sunday, but the binding wasn’t put on until Monday 7/31 – talk about meeting a deadline!

Photo Finish

Fabrics from Island Batik
Stay tuned for the big reveal as I open my second Island Batik Ambassador box!

Today (Monday) has been a very very busy day – my 2nd Island Batik Ambassador box arrived late last week and I had plans to have my videographer (aka my oldest son) come over today to film the opening of said box…part of “the big reveal” was to include a round up of the projects done thus far with Island Batiks….I literally finished the binding on my July project as he was setting up the cameras!  Watch for an upcoming post and link to my YouTube channel to see the presentation. In case you missed it, here’s the link to my first “unboxing.”

After the filming, I took the baby quilt outside to photograph full view as well as next to the baby quilt my grandmother made me as a newborn. I found it rather fitting that July is also my birthday month so in a way this little quilt not only honors my grandmother but is my birthday present to myself.

Island Batik fabrics make a great baby quilt using the pattern Sprinkles
I just love the bright fabrics in this version of “Sprinkles” pattern
6 pointed star quilts make great baby quilts
I think my grandmother would be pleased with my remake of her quilt, don’t you?

What’s Next?

A new month, a new project – the August challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors is “Quilt As You Go” – I’ve got a neat project planned but won’t be starting it until my next Sunday Sewing….in the meantime, check out all the other Island Batik Ambassadors’ blogs as they too are rapping up the month. Links can be found here.

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler,  Barely Under the Wire on the Oh Baby July Project! Can’t Wait to Talk to You in August!

 

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

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.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

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.

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

How to Sew a Drunkard’s Path Without All Those Pins

Curved Piecing Without a bunch of pins

 Watch Out Curves Ahead

Curved piecing and matching thread
Time to piece, beautiful Island Batik fabrics and matching Aurifl Threads

Generally when sewing curves for a Drunkard’s Path block assembly there are multiple pins involved as you carefully pin all the fullness of the bias curve of the “pie” shape to fit the “L” shape of the units. I’m going to show you an easier way without all those pins!

It Only Takes Three

No Pin Method for Drunkard's Path
Look ma, no more pins! Two wonder clips and a stiletto are all that’s needed

In my experience, it only takes three locations to secure the units together before sewing – the top, the middle, and the bottom.

What makes this assembly different is placing the L-shaped unit on top of the pie shape. Most instructions have you do the opposite.

The key is to mark the centers of each shape and use a pin or wonder clip to hold into place.  Then line up the bottom edge where the two units meet, making sure that the straight sides stay straight.

Watch Out Curves Ahead
Gently stretch the bias to make the edges line up – go slow as you sew

Begin stitching at the top using a stiletto to keep the fullness dispersed and matching the edges as you gently and slowly sew a quarter inch seam.

Most importantly make sure that the bottom edges meet, preferably making a straight edge connection.

Curved Piecing Without a bunch of pins
Slowly work from the center to the bottom of the curve being mindful of matching the ends
Drunkards path pieced
All the curves came together without any puckering

Press with the direction of the pie shape laying naturally towards the L shape.

Pressing Curved Piecing
Press with the seam allowance going towards the L shape

Small Improvement Makes a Big Difference

I found that sometimes the bottom edges didn’t quite lay perfectly at the straight edge and that resulted in being off just a tad after being pressed open, causing the curved seams from one block to another not to match, and we all know it’s about matching our seams (grin). 

comparing curves
Example to the left didn’t match perfectly along the straight edge, the one the right used a special technique that almost guarantees a straight edge
Careful matching seams in your drunkards path
If the piecing is off a bit it will show when connecting the units into a block – one solution is to trim the blocks or “make them fit” by adding a few tucks and puckers….

My solution was to sew a little from the bottom first to assure they lined up and then go back and sew from the top. This gave me much better results and was worth the extra time spent – still much less time than all those pins!

One Simple Trick to Curved Piecing
This simple extra step of taking a few stitches at the bottom before sewing from the top will assure a perfect alignment of your curved piecing

Design Change

Since this was just a practice piece I decided to make a design change instead of trimming or ripping out and starting over with the newly discovered technique.

I haven’t decided yet what to do with the block – it’s kinda a Christmas color and it also reminds me of an owl. I originally thought of summer watermelons…so many possibilities….I’m sure it will pop up in a sampler quilt some day!

Drunkard's Path piecing
Curved Piecing is no longer intimidating with these easy steps

 

I hope you have found this simple technique useful and will enjoy a little curve piecing.

Stay tuned for my Island Batik Ambassador June Challenge with Curved Piecing!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, with a simple trick to simplify your curved piecing of the traditional drunkard’s path block.

Have you tried curved piecing? Do you have a favorite traditional Drunkard’s Path layout? Leave me a comment!

 

 

Summer Secret Sewing

Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, is about to embark on a secret sewing mission

Say that three times!

What a great start to summer! So what is “secret sewing,” you ask? Quite frankly a new experience for me – after all, I am The Quilt Rambler, not the keeper of quilt secrets! Do you realize just how hard this has been for me trying to keep things under wraps for the past 12 days!

After coming off a busy graduation t-shirt quilt season (with the last one picked up June 2nd before the June 3rd graduation) you may have seen this on social media posted June 2:

Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, is about to embark on a secret sewing mission
Shh! It’s Secret Sewing time with The Quilt Rambler

“Shh!! It’s a secret! Actually, I’m working on THREE secret quilting projects right now that all due within the next 10 days. Two I can’t share until Fall Market, the third is super top secret but if it works out I will be able to share in a few weeks. I’m going to be a secret agent and bury myself in fabric…duty calls!”

Secret Sewing Project Number 1

June 2 to June 5

Secret Sewing - all I can show is the trimmings
All that’s left to show is the trimmings – fabric line Coastal Mist by Island Batik

This one kinda snuck up on me with a fast approaching deadline. All I can say is it’s an application to something BIG if it all comes to pass. If not, it was a learning experience and I’ll try again another time. But the pressure was on! Choose fabric – no brainer, I picked Island Batik’s collection Coastal Mist. Measure twice, cut one. Sew sew sew – actually 3 days of sew sew sew, had to do my best work!

Piecing secret sewing quilt blocks
Probably could have shown the fabrics because that wasn’t the secret, can you guess what units I’m piecing?

Then shipped off to meet the deadline.

I can hardly wait to hear the results. And yes, I will share the results one way or another…I’ve also got plans to repurpose the project “one way or another”… Hopefully, by the end of July, I will be able to reveal this adventure. I can hardly wait!! It’s so hard not to talk about this!

 

 

Secret sewing is mailed to a top secret location
After an intense weekend of secret sewing, the project is mailed off to a Top Secret location

Secret Sewing Project Number 2

June 5 to June 6

This project is an original design pattern that was submitted to Island Batik to showcase one of their upcoming fabric collections that will be introduced the end of October at the Houston Fall  Market – a tradeshow for the quilt industry where buyers come to see the latest trends, new notions and of course new fabric!! Orders are placed for fabrics to ship in the spring….

This one is especially hard to not ramble about, even harder not to share photos! But that’s the surprise! The fabric!! Okay, and the design…it’s a new one too.

Oliso Iron stops working, but a replacement is soon to come
Rest in Peace my dear Oliso – you were the best iron I ever had!

One little sad frustration while working on this project is that my Oliso iron died. I was pressing all the little parts and pieces as I was sewing and I smelt something burning – evidently, the heating element must have burnt out. Sigh. Backup travel irons don’t compare but I am thankful to report that Oliso has a repair/replace option and I am shipping off the deceased iron today and eagerly awaiting another one. Best iron I’ve ever owned!

Secret Sewing Project Number 3

June 7+

Thank goodness this project was just a wall hanging! Whew! Pieced in one (long) day!  Last stitch 1:30 AM June 8th. And yes, it’s another Fall Market fabric line for Island Batik.

Oh, how I wish I could show you this one! The fabrics are MY colors – that might be too much of a hint, but I can tell you I can’t wait to purchase fabric from this line when it comes out the first of next year!

Let The Quilting Begin

June 8 to June 12

Okay, I did take Sunday off! But I still pulled some after midnight quilting. I couldn’t help myself – I got really caught up in the quilting. Project Number 2 was custom quilted with a little bit of ruler work.  According to my stitch counter, this tasty morsel had 136,285 stitches with four thread color changes.

Here’s a legal sneak peak of the backing showing just a tad of the quilting. It’s “legal” because the backing is from a current line introduced at Spring Market called Seas The Day shipping soon to quilt shops.

Close up of backing fabric from secret sewing project
Backing showing custom quilting of Secret Sewing Project #2
Stitch counter on secret sewing project 3
I love it that my A1 Quilting Machine has a stitch counter. That’s a lot of thread!

I really got into the quilting on Project Number 3, even though it was much smaller it had oh so much higher stitch count, with only two thread color changes. I played a lot with ruler work! A lot!

I thought it was fun that the Island Batik backing, from the basics line, was called Rainbow and that I used Superior Threads Rainbows thread to quilt it in a colorway called Carnival (more hints of the fun fabric colors on top!). As you can see – I cut it sorta close on running out of thread!

Superior Threads used on secret sewing project
Sneak peak of the backing and custom quilting on Project #3 Don’t you just love Superior Threads!

Binding, Photos, and Off to the Post Office

June 13 to today, June 14

Binding threads on secret sewing project
Always the right color thread for binding with Superior Threads Masterpiece bobbin collection

I’ve been doing a lot of machine binding lately, attaching the binding on both sides with the sewing machine, but these beauties deserved a little hand sewn binding love. I just love how my “donut” of MasterPiece threads by Superior Threads offers any and all colors I need to match my binding!

And no, that beautiful stripe orange is not a give-a-way of the secret fall fabric collection – that’s my hanging sleeve made from Island Batik fabric in my stash. You thought I slipped up and let out a secret, didn’t you?

Naturally, I had to have photos taken to document the quilts before shipping them off to Island Batik….that way I can blog about them this fall! Don’t you want to see all the close-up details? Oh, I can hardly wait to show them to you.

I asked for special permission to share this next photo with you – that’s why it’s in black and white, to protect the big reveal of the fabulous colors in Project Number 3….but I couldn’t resist this photo taken in the backyard – lots of critters flying around in the summer time – some of which aren’t alive to fly…

secret sewing sneak peak
Critters in the backyard…a Cicada shell and my signature butterfly (grin)

The clock just struck 9:00 AM June 14th – that means the post office is open and I’ve got to head out the door!  Here’s a parting shot of the quilts prior to boxing up showing you the beautiful labels my friend Janie made for me (with the pattern name and fabric collection name covered up – it is still a secret after all).

secret sewing quilts rolled up and ready to mail
It’s been a whirlwind of secret sewing, time now to send the quilts on their way to Island Batik. Thank you, Janie, for the labels!

Thanks for joining me in this ramble….I can’t imagine keeping this secret for 136 days – Quilt Market is October 28th!!!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, talking about quilts while still keeping them secret! who knew!

Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

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.