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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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

 

How To Make a Quilted Composition Notebook Cover

Quilted covers express creativity in the various designs used to cover a humble composition notebook
Take ordinary composition notebooks and cover with colorful quilted fabric for a fun fashion statement in organization or journaling
Make one, or two, or a few! Quilted Composition Notebook Covers are addictive

As part of the Island Batik Ambassador program I was challenged in March to make a mini quilt using paper piecing or foundation piecing. I got a little carried away and turned my paper pieced block into a quilted cover for a composition notebook and haven’t looked back since! They are multiplying like rabbits over here in The Quilt Rambler studio so I decided to share the fun by offering a tutorial/workshop on how you can make your own!

Tutorial shows how to cover a composition notebook with quilted fabric
Turn a simple composition notebook into a fun usable fashion statement

 

Step One: View the YouTube Video

The project requires basic sewing knowledge including knowledge of quilting tools such as a rotary cutter, ruler, and mat and the use of a sewing machine. A confident beginner/intermediate sewer should find the instructions in the workshop clear to follow.

Click here to watch on YouTube.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step Two: Download the PDF Instructions

Quilted covers include a vinyl zippered pocket for pens and a button closure
There is a zippered pen/pencil pocket inside the back flap of the notebook cover

Because I believe that “paper never forgets” I’ve created a guide to go along with the YouTube. To  better assist you a time stamp is referenced for each section. This is in the event you want to fast forward to review certain areas of instructions.

Supplies are reviewed in the YouTube as well as listed on the PDF.

How to Cover A Composition Notebook v4.4

Step Three: Enjoy and Share

Simple or complex, each quilted cover is uniquely yours
Quilted Covers on the Composition Notebooks are as unique as the imagination of the maker

It’s my hope that you will enjoy the video and printed instructions to make several of these covers – I think they make great gifts! For yourself or others! Personally I have three that I am actively using. One has my “to do list” and calendar, one has a graph paper composition notebook that I use to draw out quilt designs before I head over to EQ7, and one is being filled with tutorial ideas!

Please do share this blog post, PDF pattern, and YouTube reference with your friends. It’s all free – just remember to give credit where credit is due.

scrap pieced notebook cover in bright tropical Island Batik fabrics
Notebook made from fabric scraps

All the quilted samples were designed and pieced by myself, Karen Overton, using Island Batik fabrics, Superior Threads and Aurifl Threads, with zippers By Annie. The Island Batik fabrics were purchased or gleaned from my personal stash with the exception of one precut package of Sweet Nectar from my Island Batik Ambassador project kit.

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Galentine’s Day 2017 Island Style

Galentine’s Day or Valentine’s Day? Projects for both were made at this weekend’s Sew In with the Island Quilters Guild of Galveston.

What is Galentine’s Day you say?

According to google search Galentine’s Day was “invented” by a fictional character on a program called Parks & Recreation to be celebrated each February 13th – it’s all about enjoying time with your lady friends, saving the romance for February 14th with your sweetheart.

February’s challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors is to make Kennel Quilts but our bonus challenge is to make something for Galentine’s Day.

Love is Sharing Your Island Batik Fabrics

Knowing that I had an Island Quilters Guild Sew In over the weekend I began pulling fabric from my stash to go along with the Valentine fabric included in my ambassador box. My goal was to include my quilting friends in this project – after all, isn’t that the “true meaning” of Galentine’s Day! Girl time! Only thing better than girl time is girlfriend quilting time!!

Island Time – Island Quilters Guild Style

Janie is enjoying piecing together fabrics cut with the GoCutter
Janie makes quick time of her quarter square triangles cut with the AccuQuilt GoCutter

My Galveston Island girlfriends are the best, not only are they creative accomplished quilters, they are gracious and willing to set aside their own projects for a few hours to “play” in my Island Batik. fabrics.

Without further ramble, I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves…sorta….

Sew Many Ideas!

Island Batiks Fabrics in Beautiful Valentine Colors
Ready Set Go – Such A Beautiful Pallet of Batiks to Work With For a Fun Galentine’s / Valentine’s Project

I couldn’t come up with an idea for a mug rug – actually, I had too many ideas! I’d been saving ideas to my Pinterest board but couldn’t seem to narrow it down. When quilting gives you too many decisions just make a purse!

No pattern, just making do. I had a candy wrapper saved from last year – the 150 year anniversary of Sweethearts, which IS my favorite Valentine candy. To protect the candy wrapper I placed a piece of vinyl over it before sewing the sashing strips from my batik stash. On the back, I made patchwork from the fat quarters provided in my Island Batik Ambassador box.

Add a phone pocket to the inside purse lining
Any purse of mine has to have a phone pocket!

I added a phone pocket to the lining piece before using the Fantastico from Superior Threads for the quilting.

Ready to quilt the purse piece using Superior Threads Fantastico, the perfect blend to the Island Batik fabrics

Guild sew ins always include teachable moments….Janie shared with me how to do machine appliqué – something I’m not too well-versed in. I like the way the hearts added to my little purse.

Janie is a willing teacher – she is demonstrating how to use the blanket stitch to go around the heart raw edge appliqué on the Galentine/Valentine purse project
Janie was more than gracious with this teachable moment – that’s what girlfriends do for each other!
Front view of my Galentine/Valentine Purse, perfect for date night
I just love the way the Island Batik fabrics blend together to make this patchwork sing. Enjoyed my first lesson on machine appliqué with the button hole stitch too.

More Projects

Pieced heart block
Dena make a quick project inspired by Missouri Star Quilt Company’s recent heart tutorial

Janie brought her AccuQuilt Go Cutter for our enjoyment. I loved the amazement on Shirley’s face as Janie showed her how a GoCutter worked! Didn’t take Shirley long to make her Galentine’s project.

GoCutter makes quick work of cutting out fabric
Shirley is genuinely amazed as she sees the ease in using the Accuquilt GoCutter in action cutting out the heart appliqué pieces for her Galentine’s Day project
Shirley used the heart die from the GoCutter for her Galentine's Day block
Shirley is all heart when it comes to requests to quilt with friends.
GoCutters are fast and easy to use
Katy used the GoCutter to cut squares for her project
Katy is our resident smoking needle, she makes quick work of any project.
Close up of Katy’s Galentine/Valentine pouch made with beautiful Island Batik fabrics

Our sew-in was a two-day event and I was pleased that more wanted to join in the fun on Saturday.

Braided mug rug made with Island Batik fabrics
Debbie joined the Galentine’s Day project fun with a colorful mug rug made with Island Batik fabrics
Mug Rug and Girl Scout Cookies
Debbie’s granddaughter had a very unique thank you card included with the delivery of the cookies – which look darling on this Galentine’s Day mug rug
Kennel Quilts are fun to make especially in Valentine Fabric from Island Batik
Pam’s Galentine’s Day Kennel Quilt in the Making

Pam decided she wanted to combine the two February challenges and made a Galentine’s Kennel Quilt.

I Have Great Gal-friends to Celebrate Galentine’s Day

We heart Island Batik fabrics
Shirley pieced the block & Karen quilted and bound it. Truly a Galentine’s Day collaboration between friends.
Three Amigas – Happy Galentine’s Day from the Island Quilters Guild and Island Batik Ambassadors!

How will you celebrate Galentine’s Day this year?

Island Batik scraps make a pretty picture themselves
Scrap cutting are the proof of a fun day playing in Island Batik Fabrics

Leave a comment and share!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, Telling YOUR Story One Quilt At A Time

 

 

 

Kennel Quilts – An Island Batik Ambassador Project

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

The February challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors is to make one or more Kennel Quilts – which are  used in animal shelters across the country. This project is coordinated by the volunteer organization TQPM Small Kennel Quilt Team sponsored by The Quilt Pattern Magazine (TQPM). Island Batik is also among the industry partners.

 When disasters strike, team members get busy sewing small kennel quilts for animals in need  -some may be separated from their humans and others possibly injured. There is always the need for more team members or random donations!

How to Make a Kennel Quilt

The guidelines suggest a 12″ x 18″ quilt that will fit in a kennel. In addition the quilt should not have a binding as little claws could rip off the fabric. There are other stipulations, such as prewashing the fabric, so be sure to read carefully.

guidelines to make a small kennel quilt
View the website to have the most current guidelines
choosing beautiful Island Batiks to make a kennel quilt
Island Batiks are perfect for any project

I rummaged through my collection of Island Batik precuts and found a set of 5″ squares to work with as well as some scrap batting and away I went to the sewing machine! Note: I do not pre-wash my precuts, but I will wash the completed quilt before donating.

island batik five inch squares sewn together
Enjoying the hum of the machine and the feel of the fabric.

 

I love simple mindless sewing…the relaxing hum of the needle, the feel of fabulous fabrics under my fingers. An audible (book on tape) playing in the background or perhaps my favorite Christian radio station….just in the zone…sew sew sew!

 

 

In no time I had whipped up a little 3 x 4 arrangement from my 5″ squares.

After  careful pressing I layered the pieced quilt top right sides together with the backing fabric placing the batting under the wrong side of the backing to sew all three layers together at one time, leaving a 5″ area unsewn for turning.

Layer the pieced top and backing right sides together then add the batting. Clip or pin to hold in place for sewing.

After sewing I trimmed the edges with pinking sheers –  just because they were handy. You could easily use your rotary cutter or regular scissors. The idea is to have a narrow seam allowance for reduced bulk.

After sewing trim the edges before turning to reduce bulk.

Time to turn the little quilt, press around the seams to lay flat and press the opening to the inside even along the edges.

Hope you left the opening large enough to put your hand inside for turning!
Pressing Matters

 

Top stitch along the entire edge making sure to close the opening

I then topstitched along the perimeter carefully closing the opening. Followed by simple  “stitch in the ditch” quilting to hold the quilt sandwich together.

Stitch in the ditch using pretty matching threads

 

 

 

 

 

 

Betcha’ can’t make just one!

I think making these little quilts is a lot like eating potato chips. You can’t just make one! I decided to get a little more creative with the next one and instead of just 12 plain squares I wanted to add pinwheels.

The method I used is fairly quick and easy. Simply layer two 5″ squares right sides together and sew a quarter of an inch around all four edges. When complete take a rotary cutter and ruler to cut from corner to corner to produce 4 triangle shapes. Press these open, trim the dog ears, and then piece together as a four patch to form the pinwheel. It’s important to note that once the blocks were pieced I did trim them down to 5″ square to match the precuts.

How to make four half square triangles out of 2 squares
Clockwise: Left top sew around all edges; right top cut into quarters on the diagonal, left bottom press open, right bottom sew into a four patch

I chose to lay the pinwheels every other one with the squares in a checkerboard fashion. Repeated my process  and in no time I had two little quilts!

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

My Kennel Quilt Challenge

Need inspiration? Visit Island Batik’s bog Photo credit Fall/Winter 2016 Island Batik catalog

My local guild makes  quilts to share with various local charitable organizations but I have to admit, I had never thought  about making something for our little four legged friends who are in need of comfort.

 

 

 

Check the website for current details

I’m going to challenge myself to make more of these small kennel quilts as the month goes by – I would like to at least fill up a box! There is information on the website concerning where to donate the kennel quilts as there is always a call to action when disaster strikes. I may even check with my local shelter to see if they have a need.

small quilts, kennel quilts
Small quilts are perfect for pet kennels – will you make one or a few?

How about you? Want to take up the challenge with me and make a few kennel quilts? It’s a great way to use up your scraps or practice a new block pattern.

I hope you have enjoyed this month’s Island Batik Ambassador challenge. Check the Island Batik blog for links to other ambassadors and their projects.

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, Telling YOUR Story One Quilt At A Time….

Please leave a comment below as I’d love to hear from you. Are you going to take up the challenge with me this month? Inquiring minds want to know!

 

 

Ode To The Unknown Quilter – A Double Wedding Ring quilt

Ode To The Unknown Quilter –  A Double Wedding Ring Quilt

By definition, an ODE is “a lyric poem expressive of exalted or enthusiastic emotion.”

I’m not a poet, I’m a rambler…but this post does have what I hope to be enthusiastic emotion.

As a longarm quilter for hire, it’s my job and joy to assist quilters in the finishing of their masterpieces. Sometimes the owner of the quilt top isn’t necessarily the one who pieced it, sometimes the top has been inherited or a special purchase from an estate sale or antique market. Sometimes I don’t even know the story, as in the case of this quilt.

Several years ago one of my faithful customers had a neighbor with a quilt top that needed to be quilted. If I was told the story I have certainly slept since then and don’t remember. All I remember is my customer telling her neighbor that she would show it to her longarm quilter and see if anything could be done with it…for you see, the top had “issues.”

I wish I had a better of a command of vocabulary because “issues” seems disrespectful, and I certainly don’t mean any disrespect to the unknown quilter, but this is another one of those “bless her heart” quilts…

This particular quilt was hand pieced, and judging by the feed sacks and other recognizable fabrics, was probably pieced in the 1930’s or 1940’s when the double wedding ring pattern was prevalent.

The back side of a hand pieced treasure – double wedding ring pattern

I always love taking a photo of the actual hand piecing before it is covered up forever and ever amen. For a reason unknown to me, the piecing was done in both a black thread and occasionally a white thread – could it be that the unknown quilter was using what was available as far as thread choices were concerned? Could it be that she was a beginner and the black thread was a way for her to see where she was working, or could it be that she was a seasoned saint whose eyesight was aided by this choice of thread color? I’ve had one friend suggest that the quilter had a “waste not want not” attitude and perhaps re-used thread from worn garments as perhaps even she repurposed those garments incorporating them into her quilt.

The quilter struggled with some of the curved piecing

The double wedding ring is not a pattern for the faint of heart, however, the symbolism of the design is one that will warm your heart. Double wedding rings were sometimes made in hopes of a future marriage or sometimes given as a wedding gift. Regardless, it’s a difficult pattern to piece with its small ring of colorful scraps and its odd size melon in between, not to mention the large center piece whose proper geometric name escapes me….

There’s a little fullness in the way this quilt top lays

Yes, this quilt had some issues – for one, it didn’t want to lay flat when spread out on the floor, and as you can see in the photo above, it didn’t end on an even note. The edges looked more like ruffles potato chips with ridges than a quilt that would grace a bed ensemble.

Ah, but that’s only if you look with your eyes and not your heart!

Not knowing the quilter, the history of the quilt, or anything really except the current owner wanted it finished and was willing to accept puckers in the completed project – I was left up to my imagination as to how to quilt this particular masterpiece.

The design needed to be taken into consideration knowing there would be many pleats and puckers along the way, yet I didn’t want to just meander or stipple over the entire top. An edge to edge pantograph wouldn’t work either, number one simply because it would again be difficult to ease in the fullness and number two (which was really number one in my mind) is it just wasn’t befitting to a double wedding ring. Too much time had been invested in the piecing, it would be disrespectful to rush the finishing by just stitching any ole thing to hold in the batting and call it finished.

Somewhere in time, a lovely lady set her mind upon piecing a double wedding ring quilt. Perhaps in hopes of her own marriage, perhaps just because she liked the pattern. Could it have been her first quilt or even one of her last? After all the careful planning and choosing of the scraps for the rings and the countless hours of piecing did she grow weary and decide not to quilt it? Was she frustrated when she couldn’t make the seams obey and lay flat, or was she piecing during a difficult time and the simple motion of needle and thread working in her fingers brought her peace and the end result wasn’t the focus? Something I’ll never know – but what I do know is this unknown quilter had the tenancy to finish that which she started. Not a ring missing, not an unfinished row, a little uneven and a little full, but a complete top. Bravo!

This was a top that cried out “finish me” and to the best of my ability that was my goal. In an effort to mask some of the fullness I decided to double layer the batting, with an 80/20 cotton/poly on the back to help shape the quilt and a high loft poly on the top to soften the fullness that was inevitable.

What to stitch? What would work the best considering the obstacles and still honor the quilter’s love and attention to the completion of her top? What indeed but hearts!

When that thought hit me, the love just flowed out from one quilter to another. The shared passion and perhaps the shared imperfection. Somehow I could relate to this unknown quilter. My designs aren’t perfect, I don’t make a perfect quarter inch seam in all my quilts, sometimes my blocks are a little wonky, but the love is never less than a perfect love – love for the process, love for the journey, love for the therapy brought about by playing in fabric and thread, and love in hopes that one day this labor of love will warm someone’s heart as it warms them from the outside elements. Can the love be felt? I certainly hope so, I tried to match it stitch for stitch with the love I imagined of the unknown quilter.

Finished is Good!

So yes, it’s a little uneven, yes it’s a little puckered, and yes it still needs a binding put on to make it complete but once that is done IT IS FINISHED! I hope the new owner will savor the character added to the quilt by its age spots, creative piecing, and beautiful scraps.

Double Wedding Ring Equals Love

And yes, I hope it is loved when it finds its way home. I hope it will be said that I completed my task of honoring the quilt maker by finishing her quilt so it can be used as intended.

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, Telling YOUR story one quilt at a time.

Please leave a comment below we’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

 

Scrap Quilt Creations Episode 1

I love scrap quilts. Maybe it’s the magnitude of colors or the gentle reminder of days gone by when grandma would “make do” with what fabric scraps she had left from the family sewing projects. Or maybe it’s because I entered into the quilting world being a “fat quarter queen” (translation – buying bunches of fat quarters to build more color more quickly and economically in a new stash). Whatever reason, scrap quilts seem to call my name.

Beautiful Bundle of Island Batik scraps were calling my name

Some time ago I received a shipment of several bolts ordered from Island Batik and to my great surprise and pleasure there was a bundle of fabric strips from the new Glowing Embers collection included in the shipment with a simple note – enjoy. I’m not sure, but my guess would be that these were the “scraps” from the edge cuttings for their yummy precuts. I love precuts…. I have made multitudes of quilts using precuts…I will have to show you some of the sometime….just remind me…

Have I mentioned that I also like traditional pieced patterns? Only I’m not into the 1930’s reproduction prints or those civil war prints. I love seeing them, especially antique quilts, totally enjoy quilting them for customers, but  I’m not naturally drawn to those colors when I want to piece something for myself. Instead, I gravitate to bright tropical colors, jewel tones, juvenile prints and most definitely circles and stripes, and batiks!

So finding myself with a little personal weekend sewing time I pulled down my Encyclopedia Of Pieced Quilt Patterns to find a pattern to play with.

A wonderful resource for inspiration

Actually, I had a pattern in mind. Pattern #3056 Hummingbird. Funny thing about patterns, a block can be known by several names but I love how Barbara Brackman has done the research on the earliest known names based on publications…This is a pattern that I’ve seen floating around the internet lately but it appears that everyone is doing a paper-pieced version. I’m not much into paper piecing either – I have problems with the reversal or mirror image or something, I become totally dyslexic ..nope…give me a good ruler and I can figure out how to make it work!

By the way, true confession.  I’m a ruler queen. Trust me, there’s a ruler for everything and you can never have too many rulers! One day we’ll do a ruler drawer reveal…or a ruler challenge – would you like that? A challenge to actually use all those rulers in your drawer! or find out how I use mine?

Since I own every ruler made by  Deb Tucker with her Studio 180 Designs  I do tend to play around with them a lot. A while back I was trying to figure out a way to make this particular block scrappy using Deb Tucker’s Corner Beam Ruler. I cut a block and put it on the design wall…and that was that.  Until this weekend when I decided it was time to play in the fabric strips.

Time to get busy. I opened one section from the fabric bundle and found that there were about 20 strips folded in half approximately 2″ by 20″ or so. I decided to let my scissors rip right up that fold line – GASP!! – Yep, I did that! Why not? Much faster than using the rotary cutter and besides, I was feeling adventuresome and decided this was more like a true collection of fabric scraps, sorta like keeping cuttings to make a string quilt. Once cut into smaller strips, I literally tossed them together like making a salad to mix up the scrumptious colors. How else can you randomly pull from a pile if they aren’t all mixed up?

A few of my favorite things: So Fine! thread, cone holder and titanium needles by Superior Threads, Stiletto by Annie, Havel seam ripper, snippets, and clips are a must in my studio

I pulled out my favorite notions (we will do a notion review soon) and got to piecing!

Simple strip piecing adjusting for rough edges as I sew

Since the strips were not precision cut I had to improvise making sure to catch enough fabric to make a quarter inch seam. I would put the offending rough cut on the bottom so I could see it and just used the “good” cut strip as the guide for my quarter inch seam. Sometimes that meant that strip was well under an inch itself – but that’s what makes it interesting! It was okay to be a little wonky. This is where I love using my Stiletto & Pressing Tool by Annie  to gently guide my strips – it’s so much easier than pins!

 

Soon two strips became four, four became six or eight until I had a section a little over 6″ wide.

Two become four….
Six become eight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, I went to my ironing station and pressed open the seams to reduce the bulk for when the block is constructed later.

Pressing seams open reduces bulk
Two strip sets right sides together
Sewn together to form a tube

Then I placed two strip sets that were close to the same width together on the cutting table to straighten the edges to make them the same width. Yep, I showed them who was boss! It didn’t matter that some of the strip was short or “crooked” looking – they were now equal width and on to the sewing machine to sew a quarter inch seam on BOTH of the long sides forming a tube.

The Stripe Tube Ruler by Cozy Quilt Designs

As I mentioned, there’s a ruler for everything. I wanted to make my strips go across the diagonal instead of horizontal, so I used  The Strip Tube Ruler by Cozy Quilt Designs and followed their directions to cut out a 6″ square.  My “tube” was a little big but I planned it that way so I would have more variety of fabrics that didn’t look cookie cutter the same…. Trust me, it’s okay to have a little extra cuttings to work around for the look you want.

Pressing the scrappy squares

Once all my tubes were cut into triangles as per ruler directions then opened up to reveal the square it was back to the ironing board to press open that center seam and to give the blocks a good starching with Best Press.  I found it rather interesting that my 20 something strips yielded 9 blocks – while those blocks were pretty in and of themselves and would have made a cute nine patch … I was on a mission!

Follow ruler instructions to cut center wedge
Follow ruler instructions to cut background pieces

Following the directions on the ruler I cut out the center portion of the hummingbird block from the pieced squares and cut the side triangles from a 6″ strip of Island Batik Sprinkles which I think makes a fabulous background fabric! I use this print in a lot of my scrap quilts…kinda calming and a good way to tie in a lot of different colors. One thing I love about batiks, they play nicely together. And have you ever noticed that for the majority of them, you can’t tell the right side from the wrong side? That helps when you are just grabbing random strips to sew together…just sayin’…

Four colorful wedges

 

All set up to start assembly
To be a Smokin’ Needle – chain piecing is a must

Time to assemble the blocks. Chain piecing is a must – especially if you are a smokin’ needle like I am with limited time to sew on personal projects. I must say that I truly love Deb’s rulers – she designs a little “wiggle room” in that the oversized cuts accommodate our “personal measurements” when it comes to sewing a perfect 1/4″ seam….try as I might I’m never felt like I was perfect…but with overcutting and later trimming to size you’d never know my secret had I not told you (GRIN). Yep, Deb makes me look like a pro!

Trim first using the speciality ruler, Corner Beam, then square up with a 6″ bias square ruler
Making a four patch from the pieced units

Nine units trimmed, only eight needed to make the four patch which makes up the Hummingbird block….two beautiful scrappy blocks if I do say so myself…

Two completed blocks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leftover cuttings

 

But what about all the leftover pieced scraps you say? Never fear…not a decent sized scrap was wasted in this scrap quilt creation!

Have you ever “made fabric?”  I’ll warn you, it’s kinda addicting!  Simply take scraps of similar size and piece them together to make a bigger scrap and just keep going. Kinda like eating potato chips!

“Making fabric” from leftover cuttings

Yeah, I know, it’s kinda crazy. Maybe even a little obsessive in trying to use up ALL the scraps – but I thought it would be fun this time! After all, I wanted to make more than two blocks and I wasn’t ready to dig further into my fabric bundle today with all these gorgeous leftovers pleading with me to be included….

I found it easier to use a cardboard template for this process

To simply things I used my Corner Beam Ruler to make a cardboard template and kept piecing the scraps together until I had one large enough to cut out the template. I did find that I had to use a “normal” cutting ruler over the cardboard to keep from nicking it (or my finger) but I was only hoping for 8 wedges and figured the make-do template would survive at least that long. It did, no fingers were run over with a rotary cutter and only one little nick on the cardboard.

 

 

Sometimes when pressing you have to show the fabric who is boss!

I will admit that pressing seams became a bit of a challenge. Where I could, I pressed the seams open to reduce the bulk. When it came to pressing the background triangles sewn to my center wedge I had to give up “pressing to the dark side” due to the bulk and just pressed to the light background where the fabric wanted to naturally lay. No big deal. Sometimes creativity means breaking a few rules. The quilt police don’t live at my house so no worries!

The stiletto comes in handy to match points as well as at the clip to hold the matching center seams

Trust me, after constructing two blocks you quickly become an expert. In nothing flat I had two more Hummingbird blocks all pressed and sewn together. Don’t you just love the true scrappiness of the “making fabric” blocks? I do!

Scrappier Scrap blocks
Just a few crumbs leftover from one of the fabric bundle sets

So after a few short hours I had four blocks pieced – did I mention pieced, not paper pieced – grin – and look – I haven’t even made a dent in the fabric bundle of scraps! There’s still a few fabric crumbs leftover from all that making fabric adventure… Some will get used again to make larger pieces, some probably have too many seams to continue being sewn…but for now I’m holding on to them until I’ve decided.

What I did decide is that I want more than 4 beautiful 10″ blocks from this lovely bundle of Island Batik scraps. I “just happened” to have an “orphan block” leftover from the center block in my Illuminated Journey class that I taught on the 2014 Quilting Cruise whose colors blend perfectly don’t you think? Of course they do! They are made from an Island Batik strip pack. Have I mentioned that I love LeMoyne Stars? And there’s a ruler for that too! But this is for another day…

Four completed blocks look like they will play nicely with this orphan block from a previous project

….I just love the direction this is going….and don’t you just love batiks! They do play so nicely together.

Since this is such a long ramble (and that’s as far as I’ve sewn sew far so I’m out of photos)  I believe that I will just make this a continuing saga sprinkled in among other rambles as time goes by.   I’ve got a few ideas circulating around in my busy brain and I can’t wait to see where the possibilities will take me! Will you join me again for more Scrap Quilt Creations? I hope so! Thanks for letting me ramble on telling MY story today!

But Wait! There’s MORE!!

But wait! There’s more! On to the next bundle

Epilogue

I couldn’t stop thinking about these blocks, so early Sunday morning before going to church I had an idea of how to be “more efficient” in my piecing…..

36 inches of strip sewing

Remember how I confessed that I’m a ruler queen – well there is more than one ruler to use for a given project!  This time I decided to make one long strip unit from the second set of strips in the fabric bundle. I continued with the idea of cutting the strips up the fold line and just sewed them until the unit grew to almost 36″ in length! That’s a yard in length by 20″ or so in width!  Nice volume of scraps if I do say so myself! Would have been longer had I not split the strips…but that’s an idea for the third set….

Okay, so quickly here’s what I managed to figure out before heading out for the day….why not use my 6″ bias square up ruler or Tucker Trimmer to make the units needed to use the Corner Beam Ruler technique? Why not indeed! And to make matters a tad more efficient I simply placed a mark on my long ruler to cut a 6″ bias strip to then cut the 6″ bias squares….

There really is a ruler for every imaginable process
Getting ready for the next process

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is yielding me enough blocks to make FOUR more Hummingbird blocks which I will finish another time. And yes, there will be some crumbs (leftover pieced strips) for which I already have an idea! So stay tuned!! More Scrap Quilt Creations Ramblings are in the works.

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler -Telling Your Story, One Quilt At a Time

Please leave a comment below, we would love to hear from you!