July Island Batik Challenge

Well, here I am, just squeaking in under the deadline! <grin>

This month's Island Batik challenge has been a journey, to say the least. Just as I was getting started on this month's challenge my sewing machine went into the hospital. Luckily, I own a Janome portable machine that I can use for piecing, so I used it to finish piecing my July Island Batik challenge.

The challenge this month was to create a quilt with a secondary design.

I knew almost immediately that I wanted to use my Star Crossed pattern for this challenge. Star Crossed is a pattern included in my book, although it appears as a wall hanging. As you can see, it has a nice secondary pattern created by the pieced sashing.

For each pattern in the book, I created an alternate coloring in order to show how the quilt might look if done up differently. It was the alternate coloring for Star Crossed that I wanted to make up in Island Batiks for this challenge.

I'm a designer by nature and so I couldn't help playing with my design. For my challenge quilt, I moved the location of the pieced sashing to create a new design. I'm calling this pattern Star Crossed Too.

As I was revising Star Crossed Too, my second box of batiks arrived from Island Batik. In it was a pack of 2-1/2" strips and some coordinating yardage from the Lavendula collection.

Purple is my favorite color followed quickly by turquoise so this collection immediately caught my eye. I knew I just had to use it to make Star Crossed Too. Purple is also my daughter's favorite color, so it wasn't long before it occurred to me that I could make this quilt for her, to celebrate her upcoming 21st birthday.

After modifying my design to use the 2-1/2" strips and to finish at least lap size, I had a plan. The problem was though that I also needed purple yardage in wider amounts in order to make the larger half-square triangles. After calculating exactly what was needed and digging through my Island Batik stash, I gathered the various fabrics I needed in addition to the Lavendula collection fabrics. If I was careful with my cutting, I would just have enough! Yeah!

I pieced the top as quickly as I could, then turned my attention to my next problem--the quilting. My sewing machine was still in the hospital, and my portable Janome would not be useful for the free-motion quilting I wanted to do.

Luckily, I work at a quilt shop that also sells Handi Quilter machines! I've taken the longarming class and so I'm qualified to use our longarm, but I didn't want my first longarm attempt to be this quilt since this was to be a gift for my daughter's special birthday and I wanted it perfect. Instead, I decided to use the Sweet Sixteen, a wonderful midarm designed to be used like a home machine--you sit and guide the quilt under the machine just as you would at home. Since this was a method I was used to, I thought this the best plan.

I really had tons of fun using the Sweet Sixteen! Not only was it easier to quilt my twin sized quilt using it since it had a larger throat space, but my stitches seemed to be better. (No, although one is available, the Sweet Sixteen at the shop does not have a stitch regulator--people who want that typically look at the Simply Sixteen--a midarm with a frame that quilts like a longarm machine.)

I also used Martelli Gripper Rings, a set of two hoops you can use to free-motion quilt. The rings are heavy, and I found that they were perfect for holding my quilt top taunt under the needle. The two knobs on either side are for you to hold as you move the quilt around to quilt. I found them very natural to use. In fact, using them, I found that my neck, shoulders, and back didn't tense up and ache like they do when I use my hands to frame my stitching area and to hold the quilt taunt as I quilt on my home machine.

The other advantage of finishing my quilt at the store is that after it was quilted, I used our cutting table to trim it. This cutting table is located in a classroom so anyone can do this if the classroom isn't in use. The table was the perfect height and size for me to comfortably trim my twin-sized quilt.

I'm so lucky to work at Always in Stitches!

Did I mention that I had to gather fabrics so I could piece the back? Just one more obstacle to overcome. Thankfully though I had enough Island Batiks in matching colors to do the job!

The final obstacle was the binding. I had some of the 2-1/2" strips from the Lavendula collection left over but not enough. In fact, I didn't have enough of any single matching fabric to cut the binding so I decided I would just make the binding scrappy. In the end I used the leftover 2-1/2" strips in purple, plus leftovers of other purple fabrics from the front. For this quilt, I think a scrappy binding is perfect!

Here are the quilt's details:

"I Hope You Dance"
65" x 75"
Original Design: Star Crossed Too
Fabrics: Island Batik Lavendula collection, plus purples from other Island Batik collections
Batting: Hobbs Premium 80/20 Cotton Blend
Piecing Thread: Aurifil 50 wt. #5011 (Rope Beige)
Quilting Threads: Aurifil 50wt. #2545 (Medium Purple)
Pieced and quilted by Jennifer Fulton

As you probably know, I got a Twin-sized 80/20 Premium batting from Hobbs in my first batik box from Island Batik. I can't tell you enough how much I love this batting! The quilt is light weight and drapes wonderfully. The quilting shows up nicely and the result is a perfect quilt for my perfect daughter.

Star Crossed Too 7.jpg

I really enjoyed this challenge and I love this quilt! I plan on releasing a pattern for this, so be sure you follow me so you can catch the announcement. (You'll find ways to follow me in the sidebar.) When I release new patterns, I offer a discount for a short while to celebrate. In fact, I have a sale going on right now on my newest patterns. Click here to learn more.

My daughter is so excited about her new quilt I think I'm going to give it to her now and now wait for her birthday. It seems I can't deny her anything. <grin>

Disclosure: The products featured here were provided to me free of charge by Island Batik, Aurifil, and Hobbs.

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Tell me..have you ever made a quilt with a secondary design?

 I really appreciate your comments. Please leave an email address so I can thank you personally!

I really appreciate your comments. Please leave an email address so I can thank you personally!