Handi Quilter National Educator, Island Batik Ambassador
I learned to sew at age 11 at my local Singer store. I was so intrigued by all of the supplies in my friend's sewing tote box I spotted while playing at her house that I rode my bicycle home and told my mom I wanted to take sewing lessons. I found my niche. I made most of my clothes through high school and even made room for my sewing machine (in cabinet) in my tiny college dorm room. I bought my first quilt book when in my early 20"s at the St. Louis arch gift shop. It was a book about the Cathedral Window and I was intrigued with how that was put together. I played around with it, but continued to sew garments for my kids while they were young. I got back into quilting when my son and daughter were in middle school, feeding my need for continued creativity. I took various classes locally, and eventually made my way to Syracuse, NY for Quilting by the Lake, and Carmel, CA for Empty Spools. It wasn't until I took Betty Cotton's Cotton Theory Class at Camp Cotton in Osseo, WI, in July, 2012, that I found what I was looking for. Everything just clicked for me and I felt like I now knew this "secret" that made everything so much easier and more fun and had to share it with other quilters. "Quilt first, then assemble" means no more getting down on my hands and knees on the living room floor and pinning the quilt back, batting and pieced quilt top together and then trying to get it through my machine's throat area or, worse, paying someone big bucks to do it for you. And no handwork. I'm in.
Our March Challenge was our choice – choice of one of the fabric collections Island Batik provided and also choice of project. I needed a table runner for our new sofa table, so I browsed my patterns.
I have had this book for awhile, love the table runners in it, but have never made any. I decided on the one in the middle, second from the top. I love the movement in it.
Remember those rolls of fabric from my unboxing video? Each roll has 4 5″ wide strips by width of fabric. I had a nice assortment to choose from, so I choose some of my favs and began pairing them up in pleasing sets of 3. Then I cut 2″ strips.
I made 2″ wide strip sets from each group of 3, then cut them as directed in the instructions and laid out the triangles to make partial hexies which appear to overlap. I’m glad I caught those mistakes in my layout before they were sewn!
It’s loaded on my Handi Quilter Forte ready for quilting,
I sewed leftover 2″ strips for the backing.
I chose the digital design Malachite from Urban Elements.
Island Batik is celebrating February with an Ambassador Puff Quilt Blog Hop. I hope you have been following along (by following Island Batik on FB) because there have been some really creative ones from our team! I was supplied with the gorgeous River Walk collection designed by Jean Wells of Stitchin’ Post. I absolutely love this collection! It reminds me of hiking, which gets me out in the great outdoors in the PNW where I live.
I watched several tutorials before I began to help me decide which method I would use. I found Lo and Behold Stitchery to be the most complete and detailed. I followed it except where noted below.
These are all squares after pleating one side. The camo print is what I used from my stash for the back of the squares. It won’t show when finished. The camo squares are 4″ and the River Walk squares are 4 1/2″ before pleating. I decided to make it 18 squares wide by 18 squares tall, resulting in a quilt 62″ x 62″.
Pleating and chain piecing 324 squares!! Pleating approximately in the middle of the 4″ square to make the 4 1/2″ square fit the 4″ square. It’s nice it doesn’t have to be exact. I did this on all three sides, and then when sewing the 4th side, I stuffed the puffs with Polyfil. I used nearly all of a 40 oz bag.
Organizing stacks of same fabric squares.
I made 324 separate puffs before joining them in rows of 18. Then I sewed the rows together to make 18 columns of 18 rows. I decided on this random layout because it reminded me of pebbles in a river. This is a choice I made that differs from the Lo and Behold Stitchery tutorial.
This is the finished quilt top
This is another difference I chose to make from the Lo and Behold Stitchery tutorial. To finish, the next step was to lay the quilt top down right sides up, lay the backing (Island Batik Porcelain) on top of the quilt top, right sides together, and then I added a layer of Hobbs poly batting on top of that. After pinning all three layers together well, I then sewed through all three layers, leaving an opening for turning, turned it inside out and stitched 1/8″ along the edge instead of binding. I’ve never done that for a quilt, but I preferred the look of it better than binding for this quilt.
To quilt, I did a bar tack stitch with my machine at every intersection. If you look closely, you may find a turtle or a frog hiding on the back of the quilt.
I just love batik fabrics so this was a happy connection! I had been tuning in to a few of my friends who were Island Batik Ambassadors and it seemed like a perfect fit for me. I applied last fall when I saw the post on social media and a few weeks later received the notification that I had been selected. I couldn’t stop smiling! Ambassadors are given supplies to make monthly projects and post them on social media. Some projects are assigned as to a design or a specific fabric line and others are your choice.
In December I received 41 pounds of goodies from Island Batik, with help from Hobbs Batting, Aurifil thread, Deb Tucker’s Studio 180, and Schmetz needles to use for these monthly projects.
Here’s my unboxing video where I show everything up close. So generous of Island Batik and our sponsors for this half of the year – Hobbs Batting, Aurifil thread, Deb Tucker’s Studio 180, and Schmetz needles.
GE Designs released a new pattern in July, Kimberly, and offered a quilt a long. It required 2 layer cakes, so I selected these from my stash. They were identical, in 2 different colorways. I loved the ease of this pattern and enjoyed just sewing and not having to match up seams except for the blocks themselves. I did make sure the diagonal seams in all blocks were facing the same direction. I didn’t have a purpose in mind when beginning this quilt, but its purpose became clear as the next few months passed.
It was easy to take on my travels by car, along with my Singer Featherweight, while teaching closer to home. I was able to finish this top in one of those hotel rooms. It’s such a happy, lively quilt
I found this Tulip Bells digital quilt design by Quiltable.com and thought it would be a great pairing for this quilt, echoing the tulips in some of the blocks. I double batted, with Hobbs 80/20 on the bottom and a layer of wool batting on the top to provide the puffiness and warmth. By this time, it was clear who this quilt had been intended for all along.
One of my very best friends is bubbly, colorful, and lively. She laughs ALL the time – so much fun to be around! She dresses in vibrant, beautiful colors. She would love this quilt, right? Made for her.
Alas , into everyone’s life come some shadows. A difficult chapter in the book of life. Even the bubbly and lively. A difficult health diagnosis shook the ground she walked on. Of course she is tackling this with her natural positivity with all her besties rooting her on. This happy quilt was made for her. Enjoy, Bev!
My favorite season is autumn and I love this pattern, It has been on my to do list for a few years. Motivation came in the form of a challenge; a Handi Quilter Educator Challenge. This year’s challenge was to make a black and white (grays allowed) quilt, plus one other color that can’t be more than 25% of the quilt.
Time is always a factor, and this quilt being only 36″ x 36″ was doable considering my traveling schedule between now and the due date. Easy decision. I finally get to make this quilt!
Pieces were cut and piecing together was begun in early October.
Two days later it was pieced. However, getting it quilted within the next 9 weeks between several teaching events, a quilt show, celebrating a birthday, Halloween, and Thanksgiving, would be tricky. But a busy schedule makes for efficient planning.
Now to decide how to quilt it. I knew I wanted to make “ghost pumpkins” on some of the background squares to mimic the colored pumpkins, so I played around with ideas for the background. Hay, so it looks like the pumpkins are laying in a patch? Pumpkin leaves with wisps of curls? Pebbles and swirls? I decided on the latter, so the small pebbles and swirls would make the “ghost pumpkins” pop. I added some leaves for interest as well. I also double batted with one layer of 80/20 and one layer of wool on top for the poof.