Just wanted to touch base and let you know I’m still kickin’ and diggin’ out over here!
The walls have been down for a few weeks – don’t you love the country look of my shiplap! I feel like a log cabin quilter!
The new shelves are filling up…All that is left to organize is the clutter you see on table tops!
Who knew it would take so long to unpack and reorganized after a hurricane! Truth be told, there’s a lot to do and it’s not all studio related. I keep thinking I should be further along but there’s so many things on the to do list that “aren’t normal” – like trying to recreate the value of furniture and such that was lost in the flood. It’s amazing to me how much we were able to save, but there’s still a lot of loss.
Hopefully soon I can show you the cleared space and that I’m able to function somewhat in the studio. Today’s milstone was actually doing some meal planning and going to the grocery store! We’ve been fast fooding it for way too long now. Kitchen isn’t fully operational but I’ve rediscovered my Instant Pot and am eager to use it! Most days it’s been to exhausting to even think about food….trying to put that in the past! Wish me luck!
Still getting ready for the remodeling – the entire house has to be (re)packed and moved out. Seems kinda strange that I’d focus so much on reorganizing the studio but the plan is it will be easier to put back after the remodel. I’m loving these clear totes!
It’s a lot of work but it’s going to be so worth it in the end! One thing that keeps me going is the fabulous quilts I have planned and all the upcoming classes! Can’t wait to put my Certified Instructor status to work! So many good things coming due to my association with Studio 180 Designs. So many good things have already come!
Next on today’s agenda is to find my camera – I have one on my phone of course, but the “real” camera has been MIA for several weeks. Need to download photos for insurance purposes. Have asked for specific prayers concerning locating it…can’t wait for those prayers to be answered!
We keep moving forward, one step at a time.
So that’s my short ramble for today… Short? Was that short?
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, being distracted at the computer when I should be diggin’ out!
PS! I almost forgot – there’s a giveaway going on – checkout the recent Back to School Blog Hop – you can’t win if you don’t register!
I have had a blast, an absolute BLAST, being a new Island Batik Ambassador. I can’t believe the year is half way over. Take a walk down memory lane with me as I review the quilt challenges so far this year!
QUILT CHALLENGE ROUNDUP
You may remember that as an Island Batik Ambassador I received a goody box full of beautiful fabrics, as well as several spools of Superior Threads and Aurifil threads, to use in our monthly challenge projects. Two different shipments of fabrics are scheduled for the year for the ambassadors to use in the projects. The next box should be arriving sometime in July and I can hardly wait! If you missed the excitement of the long-awaited very anticipated first shipment then visit my YouTube to see how exciting it is to receive a mystery box full of Island Batik fabrics or revisit the blog post here.
FEBRUARY Kennel Quilts and Galentine’s Day
Our first project of the year was to make a kennel quilt (or several) as a community service project using beautiful Island Batik fabrics.
I enjoyed making these little quilts. You can read more about the process as well as how to make your own Kennel Quilts for charity here on the blog.
February was a fun packed month as we had an optional additional challenge…to share the love with our gal-friends. You can revisit this post by clicking here.
MARCH QUILT CHALLENGE: Mini Madness
March was fun! We were asked to make a mini quilt using either foundation or paper-piecing. I got a little carried away and turned my challenge project into multiple projects. I think working with these fabrics just gets my creative juices flowing and I don’t know when to stop!
APRIL ISLAND BATIK AMBASSADOR QUILT CHALLENGE: Adventurous Applique
April’s challenge was creating an applique project. I decided to try a new-to-me process called reverse applique while making a banner to celebrate the Easter season.
You can read the entire adventure here on the blog.
ALONG CAME MAY: Modern Batik Challenge
I think May’s modern quilt challenge is my most memorable project so far. Read about my new learning experience as I discovered modern quilt piecing and exploring modern quilting on the longarm.
So far this is one of my favorite quilt challenges because I enjoyed the process – from the inspiration to actual design, the piecing of the quilt top, and especially quilting new design elements.
JUNE QUILT CHALLENGE: Curvalicioius Quilts
I enjoyed this month’s project as I was able to pull out a ruler/ template set and accompanying book that I’d purchased several years ago. I enjoyed working with the “summer colors” from the fabrics in my Ambassador’s box. I think it looks great hanging in my home! The tropical colors fit my temperament perfectly. Bring on summer! You can read the process here.
Can’t believe the year is half over, and I really can’t believe that I’ve made this many personal projects so far this year! It’s been a fun challenge to work on these little quilts “after hours” from my longarm quilting business. I’d like to think that my quilting skills have improved as I’ve been able to “practice” new quilting designs working on personal projects while further exploring my desire to design quilt patterns.
JULY QUILT CHALLENGE: Great Expectations!
Just an expectant mother must be patient, so must you, my dear reader. July’s challenge is a baby size quilt that is in the works. If you look closely in the roundup photo above you can catch a sneak peek!
In addition, I am awaiting my second Island Batik Ambassador fabric shipment for the remaining quilt challenges for the year. I can hardly wait!! The first box was so fabulous and sew much fun! Stay tuned – good things are coming!!!
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, feeling blessed to be counted among the Island Batik Ambassadors.
Have you been keeping up with my fellow ambassadors? Why not take a moment to review the blog roll and follow each of the ambassadors to ensure that you don’t miss out on all our inspirational creations using beautiful Island Batik fabrics.
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
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.
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.
Press with the direction of the pie shape laying naturally 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).
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!
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!
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!
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:
“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
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!
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 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.
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
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.
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!
Binding, Photos, and Off to the Post Office
June 13 to today, June 14
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…
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).
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!
The Quilt Rambler has been on the road again (yes, you can hum the Willie Nelson song while you read along, I don’t mind). You may recall my recent trip to Arizona to teach my pattern Illuminated Journey….well I have to confess that the bags have been in the living room unpacked – full of quilts – for over 2 weeks now! Too many fun things going on to worry about refolding quilts to put back up in the studio! Procrastination paid off somewhat as all I had to do to get ready for this next workshop was to pull out the quilts I didn’t need, add in my work-in-progress demo kit, update the thread kit, etc. – quick packing if I do say so myself!
Save the Date
Several months ago the plans were put into motion to teach my pattern Double Occupancy to my local guild, the Island Quilters Guild of Galveston Texas. I’ve been looking forward to this – nothing like hometown advantage! I can bring my own sewing machine and chair!! Actually, that’s a bonus but the real fun is quilting along with my friends from the guild, ladies that I enjoy having sew-ins and retreats with. We share more than fabric, we share a lot of laughter!
Friends and Fabric
It wasn’t long before everyone had their sewing machines set up and all their beautiful precut fabrics neatly pressed, labeled and laid out eager to learn a new technique.
This pattern was designed with precut bundles in mind. Specifically 10″ squares and 2.5″ strips plus background. And of course, my recommended fabric was/is Island Batiks. They have the most gorgeous fabrics, and since the majority of the guild members actually live on Galveston Island (sadly I’m a mainlander) most of us have that tropical island outlook in our fabric choices.
That said, my quilting friends are unique individuals and do have different tastes in fabric choices – which I might add, based on experience, varies from project to project! I rarely teach a class where it is a mandatory cookie cutter kit – while there are advantages to kits it is nice to offer a student the option of bringing their own fabric as I feel like you need to love the fabric if you are going to put that much time into making a quilt. Who needs another UFO quilt project! But I have to say, I really enjoyed seeing all the island batik fabrics of those who chose to use them! The other fabrics were equally stunning…A little Moda, a little Kaffe…all beautiful!
When designing this pattern I preferred the Island Batik precut bundles because there are an equal number of duplicates of the fabrics – 20 coordinated prints times two. I based my pattern off of this feature as only one-half of the package of both 10″ squares and 2.5″ squares is needed to make one quilt. The entire packages (plus background and borders) actually make two quilts! But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself!
Demo a Little, Sew a Lot
I love teaching! And I love learning new techniques and designs. In my early years after I made my very first quilt, I turned around and taught 10 ladies and their daughters from my homeschool group to make the same quilt I just learned. For me, “it’s make – one teach ten!” I love sharing what I am doing with my friends!
Double Occupancy uses Studio 180 Design Rapid Fire Hunters Star Ruler in the larger size ruler (there’s a petite size). I demo-ed one step, sent the gals back to the machine to sew, then demo-ed the next step. Following this process most of the day. See one, do one….works for me!
Double the Fun
As I hinted to earlier – the pattern is designed to make two 68 x 68 quilts from one package of 10″ squares, one package of 2.5″ strips, plus background and border fabric. There are 13 different layout solutions in the pattern and I have personally made 9 of them with the remaining 4 being works in progress ( I work on them at sew-ins or work from them as my classroom demo). Sadly at this time, only the cover quilts are actually quilted. Just like the old saying “a cobbler’s children have no shoes”, a longarm quilter is generally behind in quilting her own quilts. I like to call the quilts with the same fabric choices “twins” – two identical fabric kits yet uniquely different. Just like people – no two are really alike. What I have enjoyed as I have taught this class is seeing the students’ completed quilt tops, same fabric + different layout = individual unique quilt. The hunter star is like a log cabin – endless layout possibilities!
Friends Plus Fabric Equals Fun Fellowship
As the day went on the step by step techniques were demoed and the ladies just sewed and sewed. I like to teach to the individual. It’s been my experience that there are multiple learning styles as well as the speed of sewing that varies by the individual. Because of that, I tell everyone that “where you are is where you are supposed to be“. Sometimes the smoking needles are ready for the next step and other times someone needs a repeat demo. That’s what I’m there for. That and making all the mistakes so they don’t have to. I can make some whoppers but I show how to work through them, fix them, or forget them! As I like to say “I fired the quilt police a long time ago.”
That’s not to say that I don’t strive for my best and I do teach proper technique, but I do remind my students that they are there to learn a technique and to allow themselves a little learning curve. Most people don’t sew their best in a group setting….for me it’s usually because I’m focused more on the conversations that my perfect quarter inch seam! Quilting is our passion, but we need to be kind to ourselves sometimes and just have fun. My motto that is hanging in my studio says “Striving to do my best with the skills and knowledge I have at the time with the goal of continually improving.”
I do like to introduce students to a sometimes new to them technique of using a pressing stick to press their seams open as I think you just get better results. Regardless of “press to the dark side” or press open, the proper technique of pressing is always an important detail as is good rotary cutting techniques.
One thing I love about Deb Tucker’s rulers is the success even beginner quilters have when using them – a little wiggle room is added to help with the piecing part and then when the unit is completed it is trimmed to perfection. Genius design makes happy quilters!
All too soon it was time to pack back up and head to the mainland leaving my island gals to their own paths home. While a one-day class doesn’t usually produce a finished quilt top I do believe that everyone went home with the knowledge and experience of using this specialty ruler and it is my hope that there will be lots of Double Occupancy quilts in upcoming Island Quilters Quilt show and tell!
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, on the road but not far from home
Do you enjoy quilting with friends? I’d love to have you share your thoughts, please leave a comment below!
At times do you feel like you are in a whirlwind? Not necessarily the devastation kind, but the kind where things just keep swirling with lots of commotion and activity. I think if my life story were to be written focusing on the past month it would almost be a comic book. At least I think I tried to take a little comic relief amidst the mayhem and not let the tidal waves of busyness drown me.
Tax Tornado or Turbo Tax
When I think of April I think of tax time….and that’s about all I want to say on the subject (grin) except that this season seemed to go on forever, especially with my computer issues. Ah, but every good storm has a silver lining. I was blessed with a new computer and after all the transferring of data, I actually filed my taxes on April 15th – even knowing the deadline this year was April 18th. And it’s behind me!Hallelujah!!
Yep, lest life gets too serious – enter Oscar! He’s my son’s adopted stray kitten that has stolen all our hearts. I love that he is an outdoor kitty with indoor privileges who takes advantage of the doggie door to pop in and say hello when he comes to visit me in the studio. It’s nice that they live next door!
Escaping the Vortex
Sometimes you just have to kick back and put your feet up! It’s amazing what a little fresh air can do to revive your mind so you can change gears and get back to work.
After the cyclone of taxes, I totally enjoyed making a baby quilt for one of my customers. We have been working off and on for over a year making memory quilts from her deceased father’s plaid shirts to share with her siblings, children and now her future grandchildren… this precious memory quilt was made for her daughter’s baby shower this weekend. Yes, they are eagerly awaiting the beginning of a 4th generation that will be wrapped up in “daddy’s shirts.” What a legacy!
Stop the Cyclone
When life gets full of activity sometimes it’s just best to stop the spin and do something fun. Like making Rice Krispie marshmallow treats with your son! Granted, we had planned on making these a week ago to share at the family Easter lunch, but making them a week late means we had more for ourselves! Unintentional selfishness I promise!
If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you are already familiar with my habit of posting my “current world view” showing my feet propped up somewhere – if you don’t follow me, well, why aren’t you? (grin). Anyway, one of my favorite ways to relax at home is to put up my hammock in the backyard and take a short afternoon nap. Nothing clears my mind better than being outdoors, even if for just a moment. Seems I have needed to steal away for several of these moments lately. Especially following the recent big rains!
One definition of whirlwind is “something that is done very quickly and without a lot of thought as in a whirlwind courtship”. Well, nothing along those lines but sometimes I do get crazy ideas in my head and just “gotta sew something” and it’s usually done quickly and without a lot of thought. It generally adds “one more thing” to that already busy to-do list…but for me it is the calming in the mists of the typhoon. Nothing more relaxing than the hum of my sewing machine as I create something…
That said, I was looking forward to a retreat with the women of my church this past weekend and knowing I would be arriving early I planned a little downtime to sit by the pool to do some planning and perhaps design…A long overlooked goal has been to seek new recipes for a healthier lifestyle …. well….I didn’t want to be caught “reading” a cookbook beside the pool because those who know me know I don’t cook – so I came up with the idea of covering said cookbook!
And then I decided that my Bible could use a quick cover change too.
Quick as lightening these were done and I was packed and on my way looking forward to a little personal time before joining with my friends for a time of fellowship and fun.
Calming the Windstorm
The antonyms for all the commotion of strong weather words like whirlwind, cyclone, hurricane, or tornado are calm, peace, quiet, relaxation, even laziness. (don’t you just love a good thesaurus!).
Restfulness and refreshing describe this past weekend of the Women’s retreat. I arrived early to take advantage of that rooftop pool and did do a little “reading” in my cookbook.
My husband texted me the following photo, a gentle reminder not to take life too seriously.
A time of worship and Bible study was just what I needed to tame that dust devil of a busy life into a refocused life of choosing joy. A revival of the heart.
Clear Skies on the Horizon – Looking Ahead to May
Taking time to relax, refresh and reflect can be very inspiring. My busy brain is constantly in motion thinking ahead, looking for new opportunities, new ideas….even in the restfulness there is always inspiration if you look for it.
I’ve already got an idea for the Island Batik Ambassador May challenge “modern batik” inspired by my “current worldview” waiting on my friends for dinner prior to retreat…you will just have to wait to see where this leads! It is a little off the wall, so to speak, as I am planning a wall hanging! We’re finishing up the April challenge of Adventurous Applique so why not visit the other Island Batik Ambassadors’ blogs to see how they completed the challenge. You can find their links here.
And speaking of friends. I’m happy to say that Dianne, my church and quilting friend, will be joining me the first week of May as we fly to Arizona to be with the Lonesome Valley Quilt Guild where I will be speaking at their guild meeting on Monday, May 1st, then teaching a workshop on Tuesday, May 2nd.
So much to look forward to in May – but wait! We still have a week to navigate before we take flight! Can’t wait to see what is just around the horizon and in the studio!
Encouragement for Your Whirlwind
This song came on while I was writing my blog and I wanted to share some encouragement with you. We all go through whirlwinds, some whirlwinds of activity are good, some whirlwinds of emotions can be crippling. It is my hope the words of this song will help you not to feel alone in your hurricane.
Hurricane by Natalie Grant
You’re spinning out of control again
Your life feels like a sinking ship
You’re wondering how it came to this
Is it too late?
Is it too far?
For Him to reach you
And come to where you are
Step out on the edge
Don’t be afraid of it
And when you feel the rain
Call His name
He’ll find you in the hurricane
You’re in the wreckage underneath
Your hope is buried somewhere deep
You’re wondering how long it will keep?
It’s never too late
Never too far
For you to reach out
And take a hold of love
Step out on the edge
Don’t be afraid of it
And when you feel the rain
Call His name
He’ll find you in the hurricane
Don’t back down from the fight
He’ll shelter you tonight
Just hold on for the change
Call His name
He’ll find you in the hurricane
There’s a place, there’s a place you can run
When you fall, and it’s all come undone
You’ll be safe in the raging storm
So just let go
‘Cause you are held in His arms
Step out on the edge
Don’t be afraid of it
And when you feel the rain
Call His name
He’ll find you in the hurricane
And when you feel the rain
Call His name
He’ll find you in a hurricane
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, sharing the journey reminding all of us to chose joy even during the storms of life
Can you relate? Does your to-do list get crazy and you feel like all you can do is laugh to keep from crying? Do you ever feel like you just “gotta sew” even if it’s a whirlwind of a little project? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Today we are celebrating National Quilting Day and what better way than to discuss the top three reasons why you should join a quilting guild if you haven’t already done so.
Reason #1 To Join a Quilting Guild: to Meet New Friends
It’s been my experience that quilters are some of the best people you could ever meet. Generally, they tend to be very unselfish and giving. Most quilters make quilts to give away. How many of you have a quilt made by a grandmother, mother or someone special? So, doesn’t that give you a hint of the kind of people you would find in a guild? Yep, a guild provides fun friendly folk that just happen to love quilting.
Reason # 2 To Join A Quilting Guild: to be Inspired
The members of my local quilt guild, The Island Quilters Guild from Galveston, hands down are a very inspiring group of ladies! I don’t even want to add up the years of combined experiences but I can tell you that each and every one in their own way is influencing my quilting journey.
I am always learning from my quilting guild friends by observing their fabric combinations, watch them exploring different styles, and observing new techniques. Not to mention seeing the latest notions, fabrics, designs and receiving shopping referrals! Being with my quilting friends is always infectious – in a good way – motiving me to go home and start a new project!
Reason # 3 to Join a Quilting Guild: to Share Your Quilting Passion
Quilt guilds offer a variety of activities from guest speakers, classes, show and share, community service projects, sew ins, retreats, seasonal parties, and for our island guild the annual bus ride from Galveston to the Houston International Quilt Festival for Preview Night each fall!
Each guild has its own flavor and unique personalities. It never ceases to amaze me the talent of numerous seasoned quilters gathered together encouraging each other to sharpen their skills and try something new. I find it refreshing to know that quilting is being shared with the next generation. Bottom line I think it’s just plain fun to gather with folk who enjoy talking about quilting as much as I do.
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, Telling Your Story One Quilt at a Time
Are you a member of a local or national quilt guild? What do you enjoy most about your guild? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Who knew that being an Island Batik Ambassador would be this much fun! This month the event is March Mini Madness and our instructions simply stated “foundation or English paper piecing 24” x 24” or smaller.”
Time to get my creative juices flowing using the always inspiring beautiful Island Batik fabrics.
Foundation Piecing or English Paper Piecing?!??!
Okay. Hum. I realize that there’s a whole community built around English Paper Piecing, or EPP as it is fondly referred to, but that’s not my tribe.
Hum…take off the English and it’s just paper piecing, right? Well, that’s not really my tribe either…My UFO closet could prove it – I have a beautiful paper piecing quilt in progress from a class I took from Judy Neimeyer herself back at the turn of the century– great teacher, beautiful designs (ask me how many I have custom quilted!) but this paper piecing thing is just so backwards for me…. now give me a good ruler (or a dozen) and the only paper I need is graph paper….
But! Challenges are just that – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? Besides, it’s a small project, how hard can it be? I got started right after the Galentine’s challenge…. thinking I’d be ahead of the game! But the project kept growing!
I Choose Paper Piecing
Another name synonymous with paper piecing is Carol Doak. I was thrilled to find that she had a section of “free patterns” on her website. As I scrolled down there was one that is available has a handout for teachers to share the technique. Being both the student and the teacher (for this blog post at least) the decision was quickly made and I downloaded the pattern. You can too if you click on this link.
I printed out the paper foundation, gathered my fabrics, I even owned the Add-A-Quarter Ruler! Having the right tools does make a job easier!
I must admit, working with batiks is much easier than my previous dilemma of distinguishing between the right and wrong side of printed fabrics, but that backward thing had me taking my time…it wasn’t too painful as I only had to rip out once!
I must march to the beat of a different drummer – when I did the “what if” I decided I liked an alternative layout….
Design Change Switch to Foundation Piecing
And then I made another interesting decision…I didn’t necessarily have a purpose in mind for a mini quilt – not that there has to be a reason to play in fabric, but I did want to doll up a composition notebook I was using for my to do list….so one thing lead to another!
I figured out that I needed to cut up more of my Sweet Nectar stamps (5” squares) to make patchwork to make this “mini quilt” large enough to cover my notebook. I didn’t want to make binding so I just sewed the quilt top right sides together with a piece of lining and batting, leaving an opening to turn and then top stitch down before quilting on my domestic sewing machine with a little stitch in the ditch…..that’s when I discovered a boo-boo. I didn’t check carefully when I pulled the paper off to make sure I didn’t pull apart my seam. Oh, well. Life goes on.
After quilting I laid the notebook on top of the wrong side of the mini quilt and folded in the sides to wrap around the edges to secure the notebook. I just top-stitched them together and ta-da, I had a stylish planner!
But Wait, There’s More! True Foundation Piecing
I also have a composition notebook with graph paper that I use to sketch out designs for future projects. It needed a cute little cover too! Only it needed a place to keep my pens and pencils…so back to the drawing board.
This time I decided to take the instructions literally when it said “foundation” as I was reminded of foundation piecing string quilts years ago. I had some left-over strips of a beautiful line called Caribbean Splash that would be perfect for a pineapple block! So away I went!
I treated the fabric foundation just as I would if it were paper (that backward thing again) and I must admit, I like the precision of the points coming together at the yellow triangles!
For this cover design, I decided that I needed to wrap the front flap as in the previous cover but that I needed to be able to slip the notebook into a quilted strip to hold it in place so I could wrap the back flap around to the front of the book to secure with a decorative button. Underneath that flap would be my zippered pocket for my pens. And it worked!
A Little Bonus Just For You
I tend to hold on to scraps so I was delighted when a young mom at church shared with me how she uses tiny strips of fabric to make bookmarks for her Bible Journaling…so here’s a bonus for you as a thank you for reading all the way to the end (almost to the end that is).
Third Time’s A Charm! More Foundation Piecing
Well, I couldn’t stop. I still had scraps left from my Sweet Nectar paper pieced composition notebook cover and this time I decided I had fulfilled my “foundation” obligation so I just played. Technically I did use a fabric foundation as I “made fabric” by sewing small pieces together and then sewing the pieces to the foundation with a flip and sew method. It is very therapeutic.
Before too long it was time to quilt. Okay, I’m not much of a free motion quilter. As I like to say “quilting on a domestic made a good woman cuss, so I bought a longarm.”
To the longarm I went. Now this is my tribe! I turned up the tunes and I was in my happy place!
Truly Quilting is an Inexhaustible Topic!
It’s hard to say which one is my favorite. I learned something new as I worked through each one. I don’t think I will ever tire of quilting or rambling about quilting!
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, Telling Your Story One Quilt at a Time
Please leave a comment with your thoughts below. Would you be interested in a more detailed tutorial on how to make your own composition notebook cover? If so leave a request and we will see what happens!