Monday Musings – Seaside Summer Blog Hop is here!

seaside-summer

Hi. It’s Monday, and it’s the debut of the  newest blog hop from the Island Batik Gang!  This time, we have a common theme of the beach, and we’ve been given carte blanche to use the theme as we see fit.  You’ll also see other aspects to the hop – including some of our favorite summertime recipes.

We were grouped together by fabric collection, so on any given day, you may find two blogs hopping, each using the collection in their own creative projects.  If you’re a shop owner, and you carry Island Batik in your shop, these blog hops offer you the opportunity to link to our blogs of your site, highlight something that you like – and create instant content for your customers!  (If you’re not currently carrying the line in your shop, there’s a sales link off the sight to correct that!).

I’ve been working on something very special for you for my portion of the hop, and I’m loving what’s on my design wall right now. I can’t wait to share it with you.

The blog hop kicked off today with Marlene Oddie’s table runner (and new pattern) over at Kissed Quilts…This looks like a quick and easy project for you, and something that would make a great gift.   You can start the blog hop there, and then come back often for the latest ideas on the theme.

The rest of the schedule is here:

Tuesday Aug 16 – Red Tide

Free Motion by the River

Mary Mack Made Mine

Wednesday Aug 17 – Sand Dune

Purrfect Spots

KnitBug 2

Thursday Aug 18 – Seashore

Tammy Silvers

Pamela Quilts

Maria Michael Designs

Friday Aug 19 – Surf Squirt

Quilting Affection

Archipelago Quilting

Monday Aug 22 – Tradewinds

Arkangel Creations

Bejeweled Quilts

Tuesday Aug 23 – Equinox

Kauffman Designs

Adele Mogavero * Del~Lillian’s

Wednesday Aug 24 – Sea Canyon

Lemon Tree Snippets

Bea Quilter

Thursday Aug 25 – Sea Foam

Stone Cottage Quilts

Sew Supportive

Friday Aug 26 – Spoolin’ Around

Sallys Quilting Corner

Toolontilkkupaja

Monday Aug 29 – Tide Pools

Inchworm Fabrics

MooseStashQuilting

Tuesday Aug 30 – Wind and Sea

For Quilts Sake

Patchwork Breeze

Wednesday Aug 31 – Spring Zing

Desert Bloom Quilting

Adventurous Applique and Quilting

Thursday Sep 1 – Splash

Kissed Quilts

Come Back here – it’s me at http://www.onequiltingcircle.com

Friday Sept 2 – Landscapes

For Quilts Sake

That’s all for now – I’m off to doodle some quilting designs!

Catching up with Island Batik…

Believe it or not, there’s been a flurry of activity over in Ambassadorland within the last week or so.  The last several projects that we’ve done have been group roundup projects – we have a common theme (or technique) and then we work our individual projects around that.  Last  month – besides books, babies and bundles from the home office…we celebrated Christmas in July, Island Batik style.

Christmas in July Icon

I have to say…we are a creative tribe. If you’re looking for techniques, or ideas for gifts….this could be the best blog post you’ve read this morning.

Joan over at Moosestash Quilting does a really nice pictorial round up over on her blog – if you’re a visual person (like most of us), it’s great one stop shopping.  Thanks, Joan.

What are you working on for Christmas now?

More coming soon…

Monday Musings – It’s Christmas in July

Welcome to those of you who have been following the Christmas in July Blog Hop Tour, which was started by Sarah of Confessions of A Fabric Addict. In conjunction with the blog hop, Sarah has designed a quilt along for those of you who want to make a quilt but only have a small chunk of time daily to work on it.  I’ve been having fun watching her…and I’ve been saving something quite special for today…the last day of the hop!

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If you’re been by before, you know that I am also one of the team of Island Batik Brand Ambassadors – and that we had (wait for it) Christmas in July as our theme for this month’s projects.  Life has been good to Linda this month.  Look closely below for some of the other Ambassadors who have been playing along.

Christmas in July Icon

I’ve had  fascination with flying geese this year – it’s been the Year of the Goose in my sewing room – and I wanted to play with some of the rules of geese – starting with what happens if you switch up the sky?  You get Recalculating!

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The pattern name comes from the term the GPS throws at me when I make a wrong turn somewhere…these geese don’t know which way to go!  The basic block is a 12 inch finished block, which can then be twisted and turned into different directions.  I’m working on getting the pattern done up as a lap/twin/bigger version, but for this project, the table runner is a great way to highlight the Holiday Happenings addiction I have for Island Batiks.

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I played with my new Janome 8900, and I have to say, the quilting bar makes the straight line quilting so much easier…there’s just a lot of it.  It’s going to be fun to practice my free motion skills later on.

Coming on the last day of the hop means that I’ve been following along with all the other talented bloggers – and getting ready to make my holiday projects this fall.  I share today’s date with Susan Arnold of Quilt Fabrication. and Beth Sellers of Cooking Up Quilts.  Please stop by and see what they have in store for you.

The other stops on the hop – you can go back and play read along with them again – are:

July 14th:     Sharon Vrooman @ Vrooman’s Quilts

                    Carole Carter @ From My Caroline Home

July 15th:    Yanicka Hachez @ Finding Myself As An Artist

                   Chris Dodsley @ Made by ChrissieD

July 16th:     Marsha Hodgkins @ Quilter in Motion

                    Leanne Parsons  @ Devoted Quilter

July 17th:     Tonia Conner @ All Thingz Sewn

                    Selina @ Selina Quilts

July 18th:     Lara Buccella @ Buzzin Bumble

                    Soma Acharya @ Whims and Fancies

July 19th:     Joanne Harris@ Quilts by Joanne

                    Suzy Webster @ Adventurous Applique and Quilting

July 20th:     Vicki in MN @ Vicki’s Crafts and Quilting

                    Jennifer Fulton @ The Inquiring Quilter

July 21st:     Michele Kuhns @ Crayon Box Quilt Studio

                    Jan Ochterbeck @ The Colorful Fabriholic

July 22nd:     Alla Blanca @ Rainbows. Bunnies. Cupcakes.

                     Zenia Rene Lewis @ A Quilted Passion

July 23rd:     Joanne Hubbard @ Everyone Deserves a Quilt

                    Paige Alexander @ Quilted Blooms

July 24th:     Carolyn Jones @ …by CJ

                    Tisha Nagel @ Quilty Therapy

July 25th:     Susan Arnold @ Quilt Fabrication

                    Beth Sellers @ Cooking Up Quilts

                    Linda Pearl @ One Quilting Circle

 

 

Recap: Island Batik Modern Batik Challenge…

I’m either going to have to get better at posting in advance/remotely, or learn how to suspend the calendar. For today, I’m going to give a shout out to my wonderful creative compatriots, the Island Batik Ambassadors, and share what we did with the creative prompt for June.

These challenges aren’t organized with assigned dates – we fit them in where we can, so a recap seems to be the best way to capture all the creativity. There was a lot this month – many of us have a leaning toward modern – and even those who struggled with it continued to impress us with their talents.

Island-Batik-Ambassador-Button (295 x 107)

Each challenge now has it’s own group board on Pinterest; by clicking on the icon above, you get a chance to see pictures of all of the month’s projects in one place, and links to the stories behind the projects.  I fit in working with these pieces as I can, and I know a lot of the Ambassadors do as well.  We’re an eclectic group – and truthfully, not all of us post every time.

Island-Batik-Ambassador-Button (295 x 107)

Our next adventure is the Christmas in July Challenge, and a shoutout to Nan Baker of Purrfect Spots for not letting a little thing like a calendar get in the way of a good design…she rolled both her challenges into one project.  I love that!
Off to complete my Christmas project…stay tuned!
Due to time constraints, this blog will return on Monday, July 18th.
Have a great week!

Monday Musings – If you Give a Quilter a Challenge…

It’s Monday, and the official beginning of summer! I am clearing the desks for the week before heading off to Vermont for the week, and today’s blog post topic arose from a guild presentation on Cape Cod last week. This first photo is a bit dark, but the luncheon was held in a really nice restaurant. It was  so nice to see the ladies enjoying an thumbnail_20160616_143144

I love to be invited to speak with Guilds, and it’s even more of an honor  to be asked to be the Program for a June luncheon. In this case, it was a bit of a drive for me to visit the Plymouth County Cranberry Quilters of Plymouth Ma, so I went down a day early and enjoyed some quilter style hospitality. They treated me like a princess, and I had a wonderful time meeting some of the members at a night before pot luck dinner. I especially appreciated the efforts made to accomodate my being gluten free.

The presentation that they asked for is “If you Give a Quilter a ChalleIf_you_Give_a_Mouse_a_Cookienge…”, which is my trunk show about the many challenges I’ve entered over the years.  The title is taken from one of my all time favorite children’s books, “If you Give A Mouse a Cookie” by Laura Numeroff.

The trunk show actually has an introduction: “…If you give a Quilter a challenge, she’s going to go to her stash looking for the perfect fabric. While she’s looking in her stash, she’s going to find a UFO that just needs to have the binding finished…”  I do think that the story needs to be fleshed out more, but it is funny and I love hearing the giggles roll through the audience.

Well, it turns out that I need to add a check list to the packing of the show – because I actually forgot a few.  I told the ladies that I would be using the missing links as the subject of today’s  blog post, ..so here it goes!

2005 SCQG Round Robin Challenge The first quilt that I left right on my wall in the hallway is a 2005 guild Challenge for the Squanicook Guild in Townsend Ma. I can’t believe it’s been 11 years, but that’s one reason I use quilt labels. This was the year that I was co-chair of the guild challenge along with Beth Helfter of EvaPaigeQuilt Designs, and we wanted it to be a mystery/row robin type of theme.  I had asked for a country Americana theme, and started my quilt off with the friendship stars and the background.  I do love it, and most of the year it does hang in my hallway.

This was my Challenge from the same Guild, but we’ve moved forward to 2012 for the Paint Chip Challenge.  There may be several variations of how to run this, but in our case, we used the first initial of our first name (L) and the first initial of your last name (P)…then you go to the h20160620_154404ardware department of your favorite home improvement store, and find paint colors to correspond with the initials.  My colors are Parisian Taupe and Liberty by Behr…I know this because I actually have the paint chips attached to the label.

You might think that I was  done at this point – and wrong you would be. I still haven’t gotten either fabrics to match the paint chips – or an inspiration as to what I was  going to make with it.  The colors were ones that I could find fabric for in the stash, and I ultimately went with a 10 minute block pattern that I reduced. I liked it, but it was still a bit on the blah side.  I decided to take a look at a tutorial I found in an old Quilter’s Newsletter, and I had something I really liked.  This piece serves as a small table runner in my kitchen when it’s not supposed to be part of the trunk show.

The next piece that was forgotten drew it’s inspiration from the fabrics I got to work2013 Spicy Spiral Gathering challenge with. In 2013, I  served as the Challenge Coordinator for  A Quilter’s Gathering, and we used beautiful fabrics from the Arabella Rose line for Marianne Elizabeth Designs, chosen because she has been a presence at the show for the many years it had taken place.  This piece is made more unique by the fabric that I used for the pattern, but it didn’t have the punch I wished it had had. Of all the challenge pieces I wished I could do over, this one is at the top of the list. Oh, well.

Th2012 Downton Abbey Challenge blockere is one Challenge piece that I can include here, that is no longer in my collection. In 2012, I sponsored (yes, me!) a Challenge based on the TV show Downton Abbey, with the items entered into the challenge being auctioned off for the benefit of New Hampshire Public TV  – the channel which brought us Downton.  My entry into the auction was this small wall hanging, inspired by a Ricky Timms piece in the April 2012 issue of The Quilt Life – called the Titanic Star.  Research has shown that this star pattern was inlaid in marble in the ballroom in the Titanic.  The sinking of the ship led to the introduction of Matthew Crawley (insert sigh here!), and the rest was history.

That’s all for now…but I leave you with this thought.  I have another paint chip challenge due next April.  Oh, boy!

 

Monday Musings – The Modern Batik Challenge

Thic0924917-a51a-4bc8-8dbf-8895f1077f1es month’s challenge is near and dear to the hearts of many of the Ambassadors…myself included. It’s the challenge of using batiks in a quilt that is modern in design. If you’ve been a fan  of the blog, you know that I’ve been heading in that direction for a long time. It’s just nice to have such talented company.

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Playtime

I’m also thrilled that this time, I’m in the middle of the pack, instead of bringing up the end of the group. For once…it’s probably not going to happen again.

You may not have known that Island Batik makes a deep, rich, solid ink black batik. I do, and in working with this piece, which is a small 18″ x 18″, I thought it would give me a lot of negative space to play with.

The go20160612_195242 (1)od news is that it did give me plenty of room to play. The bad news is that in using black Aurifil…it’s very tough to see in a photo.

This piece is named Playtime, because that’s exactly what I did…I played around with motifs and just relaxed and went with it.  I seem to have a love affair going with oddly shaped elongated drops…maybe they will one day evolve into proper paisleys, maybe not.

I look at it this way – I no longer panic if someone asks me to quilt something. That’s progress.

The small flying geese are actually appliqued on – they came from another project and were scraps.  I had posed the question about a finish to the Ambassador’s group, and this one came very close to being a traditional scrappy border. However, I found this pre-made Magic Binding strip made for another project and went with it.

I did a write up on the Magic Binding technique in last week’s blog – but the third time’s a charm. When you are joining the edges of  binding – you know that part about leaving about a 10-12 inch tail?  It works much better if you follow directions.

Today is National Sewing Machine Day, so here’s a photo I took for Instagram of Playtime on the bed of my machine.

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So Inquiring minds want to know…are you a modern, contemporary or traditional quilter?

Monday Musings – my quilting progress

Tonight’s post is going to be a little more like a journal entry than anything else. I had set a goal this year of wanting to improve my free motion quilting skills. I’m finding that right now, I’m working on several smaller pieces rather than a large quilt, and that gives me plenty of leeway to experiment with different techniques and designs.

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The Softer Side

Last week, I showed you the final completion of The Softer Side, which is for many reasons one of my absolute favorite pieces I’ve done to date. It’s name comes from the color palette, and this piece was a game changer for me in  a number of ways.

Intuitively, I knew how to quilt it, and I experimented with the straight line style that is so in vogue right now.

This piece was designed as a fundraiser, and it was donated to this morning’s auction. Tonight, it’s back home in a new spot in my sewing space – I can’t quite make myself say studio. I bought it at the auction because it just wasn’t worth it to me to let it go.

Some pieces are meant to stay.

How I made binding magic…

I learned how to finish a quilt in the ‘quilt as desired’ days…before the internet, Youtube, Craftsy and Instagram. That means that I have been turning bindings the old fashioned way (stitched to the front, then flipped and hand sewn down) for  a very long time. Earlier this year, I saw a Facebook post made by Mary Schilke, the cofounder of the MQX show, in which she referenced the Magic Binding technique.

Off to YouTube I went, where I found a video posted by Aunt Marti, wher she referenced the technique. I’ve used it a couple of times now, and I have found it to be not only an easy way to attach the binding, but it also can become an unexpected design element.  April2 cropped and watermarked I used it on the Ambassador’s April challenge, where it gave a nice hit of color on the edge.  I also used in in the May challenge, where it helped to draw the eye out towards the edge ithumbnail_20160527_230306n The Softer Side.

This morning, I created  a mockup of how I did it, so that I can walk you through the project. You might remember that I have been working on my quilting skills this year, and I simply trimmed off the quilt sandwich to create  a teaching aid.  I do a lot of my work with batiks, but this is made of solids; I thought it would be easier to see it this way.

I usually cut my bindings to be 2.25″ wide, but in this technique, you are thumbnail_20160601_070713going to use have a binding which is wider than the handstitch method. In my demo piece, I used two shades of pink. The main binding fabric (the softer pink) is cut at 1.50″ x WOF, and the flange – which will be the tiny strip of fabric on the front, is the hot pink strip cut at 1.75″ x WOF.  I made myself  a card with the dimensions so that I will remember how to do this.  The two strips are sewn together the long way, and then the seams are pressed on the wrong side to the main thumbnail_20160601_110912color.  It’s a bit counter intuitive, in that the main color is the narrower of the two strips, but it does work. Once the pressing is done, fold the fabrics so that the wrong sides are together, and the edges meet. You will then see the little flange (in this case hot pink) show up.

Geeze, you can really see that I need to keep practicing the quilting.  Oh well, that’s another blogpost – or series of blogposts. Back to the binding…

This binding is attached to the back of the quilt, with the hot pink side facing you as you are stitching. Sew the binding around the edges on three sides, mitering the edges as you do with any other technique. Just as any other technique…leave yourself a good 6-10 inches on each of the tails, and backstitch.  I’ve gotten myself into trouble more times than I can count by not leaving enough space, and the demo is only 11 inches long to start with.  The more space you leave, the easier the next steps will be.

Now that you have left enough space, it’s time to splice the two pieces of binding togethumbnail_20160601_073342ther into one. Lay your piece out flat, and fold your binding back on itself so that it meets up closely in the middle, and so that you can see the flange.  Cut the left hand tail straight – directly on the fold. Breathe Deeply!

Open up the cutoff end from the left side – so that you have it flat. For you math majors, it should measure around 2.75″ wide; place it onto the right hand tail with the edge lined up with the fold on the left hand side. Double check yourself, then cut the right hand tail off exactly where the cutoff side ends.

Ok, you’re almost done. The next step is to take the left thumbnail_20160601_074238hand tail and pull it out to the right, so that it’s opened flat. You will then take the right hand tail and place it onto the top of the left, right sides together and perpendicular to one another.  This is where the 6-10 inch length comes in handy – I didn’t originally have enough length on this piece, and I had to unsew a bit to give me more room.  I have also used a clip or a pin to give me more room. At this point, you’re going to draw a diagonal line from top left to bottom right – and pin both pieces in place so there is no shift.  Sew slowly, making sure the pins don’t shift and you stay on the line.

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TA DA…A perfect fit!

Once you’ve sewn the line, remove the pins and make sure that the edge of the binding fits the space perfectly BEFORE you trim anything. If you need to take a do over (and I’ve done several), the good news is that it’s not a long seam to unstitch.  Once you are happy, trim away the excess, then sew the now joined 4th side to your quilt sandwich.

I press the binding to the front at this point, and fold it over. It should fall into place nicely, with the edges working themselves into a nice mitre. I usually use monofilament thread to sew the front down in the ditch.thumbnail_20160601_110912

Off to continue working on my quilting skills. If you have questions or comments about the technique, please leave them in the comments below.

Two for the Price of One

May Playful Paper Piecing

The Island Batik Ambassador’s theme for May was to use a paper piecing method in your fun project. The title of this post comes from the fact that I made my piece with the idea of using it for this project as well as an auction item due early in June for a guild fund raiser.  That is fun, trust me.

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The mini quilt that I came up with uses the Southern Star quilt pattern from Ellison Lane’s Jennifer Mathis. The pattern is a free download of a kaleidoscope block. I have done paper piecing many times, but never a kaleidoscope.  I dug deep into the dresser drawer that holds my Island stash, and the fabrics were left over pieces of the Sea Salt Sandy line from my fall Ambassador’s box. There are several versions of this really pretty star on Pinterest and Instagram, and you can use many color layouts to play with. There was a mini quilt swap held by cotton and steel last fall, and that was my inspiration.  The name of the piece is The Softer Side.

The star is a 9 patch, with each of the blocks having 36 segment20160511_193605 (1)s – so it’s intricate (and a perfect pp project).  I think that in the beginning I spent more time on the layout than I did on the actual piecing. Once I got started, we moved onto assembly line sewing, and we were good to go.  Did I mention that each block has 36 pieces?

The bthumbnail_20160525_174753ackground fabric may have looked as if it’s solid, but it’s actually white with a gray/green dot.  I had several options for quilting thread thanks to my Aurifil stash, and it turns out that 2800 (the top spool below) was the perfect choice.

I worked with a new (to me) binding technique  on both this piece and the last Ambassador’s project, and I am loving it – it’s called the Magic binding technique. I’d been hand sewing my binding on for a long time, and I think this might be a chance to stretch myself creatively.  I will be posting a run through on the technique on next week’s blog.  I will say that I lucked out because when I finished the binding, I literally had less than 5 inches left of the lavender.

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This piece is going up for Auction on June 6th, for the benefit of the New England Quilt Museum.  If you have any interest in bidding on it, please contact me.   I’m going to be making this pattern again!

 

 

Tales from the Road…

Somehow, it’s been way way too long since I’ve made a blogpost – and this seems as good a time as any to change that up.  I recently took a trip to the southwest on family business; we arrived home to face a family situation from another branch of the family – and then I played catch-up. There are some times that you can juggle life’s demands well, and sometimes you can’t.  This week I’m welcoming the readers from the 52Quilters project to the blog, and you’re all about to get a glimpse of the Southwest trip.

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Sedona, AZ

The first stop on the trip was Sedona – one of the single most beautiful, and unexpected treasures we could find. We loved it, and we look forward to seeing it again.  We’ve been to the southwest several times, but this trip was designed to give us a new perspective.

Before we left for the trip, I queried my online friends to find out which shops should be on my list of places to visit. Our first stop was going to be Three Dudes in Phoenix; that shop came very highly recommended, and we were disappointed that the night we went there, they had a sign posted that their shop would now close at 6, not 9.  We were disappointed, but headed off to find dinner and a margarita.  I do hope to get there someday, but not on this trip.

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Quilter’s Store

The next stop was an unexpected find in Sedona at the Quilter’s Store. This is a very very nice shop which caters to tourists, and they have some wonderful southwest inspired fabrics for the quilter who is looking to add something to her stash – and who has very little weight left in her luggage allowance.

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casino rug

From Sedona, it was onto Las Vegas – scene of many of our vacations before, although it has been  a while since we were there. When you’re a quilter, you start seeing pattern everywhere – even in a casino rug. Now 20160418_111245that’s a pattern I want to remember.

And this came from of the casino rest rooms that we visited.  How much fun would that be to try to replicate – can you say Bucket list?  Okay, maybe not – but it was interesting.

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Bellagio Gardens

One of the other sources of inspiration that works for me is color…This was found in the Bellagio gardens when we took a stroll through there.

An example of how my mind works…this is a pithumbnail_20160424_213947ece that I worked on for Island Batik once we returned home.

Whether this was a coincidence or not – you get to decide!

From Facebook, I found out about a new quilt shop from Christa Watson – it’s called Sew Yeah quilting, and we took a trip out there one afternoon. If I lived in Vegas, this would be my new home quilt shop – Christa does live there,

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Sew Yeah Quilting, Las Vegas

and she is very lucky indeed.  It’s light, it’s bright, it has glorious fabrics – even found some more southwest souvenirs to bring home! – and I know that the next time I’m in Vegas, I’m going to be stopping by. I only wish I could have taken a class. The place is enormous. I’d personally rather play there when I’m in Vegas that at the slots.

Oh, and I did say something about souvenirs, right?

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Bright, Bold Southwest

So my question to you is – do you shop for fabric souvenirs when you travel? Let me know, and welcome to the blog!