By far, summer is my all time favorite season. It’s a good thing since I live on the Texas Gulf Coast where we have several variations: “almost summer”, “summer”, “still summer”, and then a short break before “summer again” which translates to the rapid succession of fall, winter, and spring in a race to get back to summer!
Summer typically means more time for the things I love, time with family and time to quilt! I’m happy to report I’ve just finished catching up on my May Island Batik Ambassador project, Playful Pillows, and can’t wait to share the process with you.
Kicking Off Summer with A Quilt Retreat
My current location is of an undisclosed nature – I’ve run off to go sew (grin) at my own private quilt retreat that I’m calling my “Party for One.” I’ve been here for a few days and have started two sewing projects simultaneously – we’re allowed to do that right?!
I’m loving that I have the whole place to myself – I’ve taken over the dining room, and yes – all the fabrics I brought with me are my Island Batik personal stash combined with the contents of my Island Batik Ambassador boxes. I’ve planned out several projects, can’t wait to dig in and get this party rolling!
Let’s Have a Tutorial!
First thing first – let’s do things in chronological order – or not!
I’ve been “collecting” Deb Tucker’s Studio 180 Design Blockbuster series with the intention of working my way through the different blocks. She’s up to Number 30 in the series…and I figured this block would just fit the bill for my playful pillow. The entire series is available free of charge from Studio 180 Design, but you can click here BlockBuster_30_-_Parquet and quilt along with my blog post. Who says you can’t do a series backward!
Time to Pick The Fabric
*As a disclaimer, the fabrics used in this project were given to me by Island Batik as part of the Ambassador program or are Island Batik fabrics from my personal stash*
Since I’m so drawn to what I consider the colors of summer it didn’t take me long to pick out a few blues from my stash buster rolls to pair with the fabulous yellow from my own personal stash.
The design for the pillow is a corner popped shaded 9 patch – say that three times! Trust me, it’s easy and quick to make these fabulous units using the Tucker Trimmer 1 and Corner Pop tools from Studio 180 Design as well as the Shaded 9 Patch Technique Sheet. *these links are non-affiliated as in I do not earn a fee from recommending them * I am however a Certified Instructor and do travel to teach – just sayin’ *
For this blockbuster, we need a minimum of 5 blues for the patches and a background fabric, the yellow. The technique sheet, blockbuster handout, as well as the instructions with the tools, will give you the exact measurements for your project as the shaded 9 patch unit can be made in multiple sizes…I’m making a 15″ block – so without further explanations, let’s quilt by picture and see how these pillows were constructed!
Quilt By Picture
A picture is worth a thousand words…and since I want to keep the post under several thousand (grin) I’m letting you just read the captions to follow along.
Making The Shaded 9 Patch
You are probably familiar with making a nine patch from strip sets by joining fabric strips together, sub-cutting and joining again to make a 9 patch. This is the same only different. There are specific measurements for each of the 5 fabrics – again, refer to the handout or technique sheet as you make your own.
Now it’s time to join these sub-cuts similar to a “normal” 9 patch – you will notice the difference as the patches are not all the same width – this is part of the design! It is most important that you lay out your strips in the order shown in the picture below.
The instructions from Studio 180 Design have the sizes needed for the (yellow) background rectangles. Now that the patchwork has been sewn together and marked it is time to layer right sides together (RST) the patchwork with the yellow rectangle and sew on the two lines.
Once all the lines are sewn together it is time to cut down the middle of the two sewn lines revealing two shaded nine patches. This can be cut with scissors or trimmed to a quarter inch away from each of the sewn lines with a rotary cutter.
Now it’s time to trim the rough edges and square up our shaded nine patch! Use either the Tucker Trimmer I or Tucker Trimmer III – the difference between the two is the size, TTI goes up to 6 1/2″ and the TTIII goes up to 13″. My units needed to be trimmed at 8″ so I used the Tucker Trimmer III.
Now wasn’t that fun! There are so many designs that could be made using this technique for the Shaded 9 Patch. But wait – there’s more! We are going to use the Corner Pop tool and the instructions on both the tool and the blockbuster handout to really make this unit pop!
Finishing The Blocks
Trust me, it’s taken longer to write this post than it did to make the units. I decided if I were going to make one pillow I might as well make two – besides, the pillow forms came in a package of two! Instead of making four corner popped shaded 9 patches I made eight. As I joined one set together I had that “what if” moment….and my “O” became an “X”
Now it was time to quilt the blocks. Technically it’s a pillow and probably could have gone unquilted but I like the body/texture that quilting provides so I braved the domestic quilting – something extremely hard for this longarm quilter to do – but hey! If I can do it so can you, and probably better!
I used the yellow fabric to make an “envelope” style backing and soon had my pillows ready for summer enjoyment!
I hope you’ve enjoyed my “quilt by picture” tutorial using one of Deb Tucker’s Blockbuster series. I do have good intentions of working through all of them, don’t you? Let me know if you are interested in another step by step tutorial – I love taking photos of the process! Thanks for sharing the journey. And thank you Island Batik for such a fabulous ambassador program. Be sure and check out the other ambassadors for their projects – many are already posting their June challenges!
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, running between my “Party of One” quilting retreat and visits to the home front to monitor reconstruction….more later!!!