Ah, summertime ~ don’t you just love being outdoors in the summer! Do you have summer memories as a kid (or with your kids) of picnics on the beach, boat rides, hiking, biking, camping or just enjoying the sunset together? I’m an endless summer sort of gal and I like nothing better than dreaming of tropical vacations when summer has passed! Naturally, my events have a quilt involved ~ I mean, what’s a picnic without a picnic quilt! And if you are camping, well, what sorta camper would I be if I didn’t have a quilt or two to wrap up in around the campfire, even if it was a hot humid night, just the comfort of a quilt…Yep, hopelessly addicted to needing a quilt with me at all times (you can check my truck there’s at least one or two in there “just in case“).
The Island Batik Ambassadors have been busy with our blog hop to inspire you with new fabrics arriving daily at your local quilt shop – don’t you just want to pull out that sewing machine, even on vacation, and whip up a quilt! Be sure to read all the way down through this ramble for links to the other ambassadors and a giveaway!
Not, let me introduce you to Ocean Odyssey ~ When this group of fabric arrived in my first Island Batik Ambassador box in February labeled “secret” with instructions not to share until our summer blog hop my heart just sang when I unwrapped it – I mean, these are my colors revolving around my favorite season of the year! Have I mentioned how generous Island Batik is with their ambassadors! There are 26 SKUs of this line and I was given 1/2 yard of each to make a minimum size 36″ x 36″ quilt for this blog hop. I can’t wait to share with you.
Ocean Odyssey was released at Spring Market this past May in Portland Oregon, with the fabric collection shipping now to stores. The collection was a collaboration with designer Angie Steveson of Lunch Box Quilts, who is best known for her beautiful applique machine embroidery.
Let’s Go RVing
There’s a very active facebook group centered around RVers who are also quilters – these dedicated gypsies post their quilts made in the RV, or used in their RV, as they travel around the countryside. I feel like an honorary member because while we are technically “living in our RV” we haven’t gone anywhere as we are parked outside our house still working through Hurricane Harvey repairs. These “real campers” have inspired me with their continual quilting and have encouraged me to remain faithful to my own quilting. Here’s a shout out to this group of quilters! And here’s a little sneak peek inside #TheQuilt RamblerStudioOnWheels
I didn’t really have a plan when I started working on my Ocean Odyssey project. Thinking of camping and the great outdoors, my mind turned to the pioneers of yesteryear, those brave souls who traveled in their RV of sorts, what they called covered wagons. I can only imagine the need for quilts for warmth and the pleasure they must have had when they could take time out from a busy day on the prairie or Oregan Trail to pull out needle and thread. In my mind’s eye, I pictured a young girl just learning how to piece. Don’t you know that a patient grandmother or mother showed her the simple blocks like a four patch first and then she worked up to half square triangles to piece a pinwheel or friendship star? The aspiring quilter would carefully choose fabric from a scrap basket and do her best to piece colors together that was pleasing to the eye for that particular block, making block after block until she had enough to put together as a sampler quilt.
That’s the approach I took. I decided I wanted to make a sampler quilt and I wanted to make simple blocks that perhaps I could teach as a beginner series as a future workshop. Being a Studio 180 Design Certified Instructor my thoughts naturally turned to the Tucker Trimmer and from there the adventure began!
The Tucker Trimmer is a tool developed by Deb Tucker, of Studio 180 Design, used to trim down oversized units to assure a precisely sized unit. Beginners and advanced quilters alike enjoy Deb’s techniques for this tool to make squares, half square triangles, combo units and hourglass units. These units were my inspiration as the journey began – one block at a time, picking out fabrics for that block, figuring out the construction and just plain having fun!
I had several blocks that were simple half square triangles arranged with different layouts and color values. I pulled out my technique sheet to make “Eight at Once” to speed up the process.
I also sneaked in a little tool to make my four patches more accurate for several of the blocks.
Just as my imaginary young pioneer quilter, my blocks began to move from simple four patches and half square triangles to piecing what is called a combination unit or quarter square triangle, made simple and accurate with the Tucker Trimmer.
I have to say I was really excited about this next block that I was making, I loved the fabrics and I really thought the layout would be something special…but things didn’t go according to plan…
Time To Assemble The Quilt!!!
As I mentioned, the guidelines said that our project must be larger than 36″ x 36″ – well, this Texan raised boys who turned into over 6-foot grown men and if I learned one thing when they were growing up it was to make quilts big enough to cover their feet when watching TV! It’s kinda a Texas motto Go big or go home! Besides, I had lots of fabric to play with and it was kinda like eating smores around the campfire – you really hope no one is counting because you just can’t help yourself! I pieced eighteen 12-inch blocks and once set on point, they would make at least a 60″ x 80″ quilt – just perfect for a beachside picnic!
At this point, I had to find a larger area to set up my “design walls” as they wouldn’t fit in the RV. These are simply those foam insulation boards you can purchase at the hardware store. I pin fleece backed plastic tablecloths over them to give my blocks a little sticking surface and if the wind isn’t blowing in through the window I can sometimes get away without having to use straight pins. This was a day when there were no workers in the house so I was able to set up in the future studio. I also got my steps in on these days as it was 100 steps round trip from my sewing machine in the RV to the design wall.
You may notice in the above photo that I “pre-sash” my blocks by sewing the sashing and cornerstone on two sides. After I have determined the block layout I then add the “missing” sashing to the exposed sides as needed. It’s just a little trick I use to speed things along, although I have to say the layout is the longest part – I timed myself. Sigh. I moved blocks around and back again for well over an hour before being satisfied with the layout.
Summer Lovin’ in The Great Outdoors!
Just as soon as the last stitch was sewn and the seams pressed, my Summer Lovin’ sampler and I headed outdoors in search of the perfect photo opportunity. My original plans were to head to Galveston Island and photograph on the beach but instead, I stayed on the mainland and photographed around my house and Galveston Bay.
The Great Outdoors Blog Hop
I hope you have been enjoying the introductions to this season’s newest fabrics by Island Batik. The links below will take you to all the ambassadors to see the collections they are working with. Today hop over to Toby’s blog as she too will be sharing her creation using Ocean Odyssey. Don’t forget to scroll all the way down for Island Batik’s grand prize giveaway and a giveaway by The Quilt Rambler, I’m giving away the technique sheet used to make the Eight at Once half square triangles as well as a half yard of my choice of Island Batik fabric. In the event of an international winner, due to postage costs, I will email you a PDF pattern I use in my workshops instead of the prizes listed. Thank you for understanding!
Find the schedule on Island Batiks’ page HERE along with the opportunity for a prize.
WEEKS 1 & 2
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, hoping you enjoy the great outdoors with a quilt!
PS Updated 8/23/18. Thank you, everyone, for your comments and best wishes to be a winner in the contests! I am enjoying reading all your comments but alas, have many obligations this week prohibiting me from responding to replies – I apologize and want you to know it means the world to me to have you comment. I will catch up with you privately vs posting online the replies to the comments below. Thank you for understanding!