My May Island Batik Challenge

The May challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors was to design and make a modern quilt featuring Hobbs batting.

Modern quilt designs are harder for me so this one took a long time to gel. A modern quilt typically includes one or more of the following:

  • Bold colors, often solid

  • High contrast

  • Large negative spaces (spaces where there is no piecing, but instead lots of fantastic quilting)

  • Improvisational piecing

  • Minimalism (less piecing, easy piecing)

  • Alternative grid work (blocks laid out in something other than the common rows and columns)

I played with several ideas, repeating the mantra “Minimalize! Minimalize!” so I would get it right. Nothing really struck me though until finally I hit on an idea to do a sort of color wheel.

I’ve been wanting to make a color wheel quilt for some time now, and I’d put ideas in my design book. It was when I was looking through my design book recently that the ideas finally came together.

For the “between” colors like yellow-orange, I’d create a sort of transparency effect that would make it look like the yellow square was blending with the orange square to create the color. Now here was an idea I could finally get behind!

Once I had a plan, cutting the quilt was easy. I used my AccuQuilt Go! to cut about half the shapes—there were a few I didn’t have dies for. <sob> Still, I had the quilt cut and ready to sew in no time.

As I was piecing the quilt, the phrase “After the Rain” came to me because it’s only after a rain that we see a rainbow. Those of you who follow me know that this hasn’t been the easiest year, so the idea of a rainbow in my life after all this rain made me happy.

For quilting, I decided to create raindrops on a sidewalk. The sidewalk is represented by parallel lines. These kinds quilting designs (radiating circles and parallel lines) are often found in modern quilts so I thought it was very apropos.

And look how it shows off that wonderful Hobbs 80/20 batting! This batting is a blend of cotton (80%) and just enough polyester (20%) to create a smooth glide through the batting for your needle. It is also the choice of most longarmers I know. So if you haven’t tried Hobbs 80/20, you should give it a try!

Because of the rainbow motif, I decided I wanted to take photos of my quilt by the Rainbow Bridge in Broad Ripple, a cute artsy village near me. Ironically, I had to wait to a period between rain storms to get my shots!

It was worth it, don’t you think?

For fabrics, I chose tone on tone batiks from my large Island Batik stash. For the backing, I used #121714220, Mini Dot Nasturtium from the Plum Delicious collection.

Here is a closeup of the quilting. I had such fun with this! To create the circles, I traced around my spool cap, then simply used the edge of my walking foot to guide me as I quilted bigger and bigger circles.

For the straight lines, I used ruler work. To do ruler work on your domestic machine, you’ll need a ruler foot (a foot with high sides that prevent the needle from hopping onto the ruler accidentally) and acrylic rulers made specifically for quilting. My sewing machine came with a ruler set so I was all ready to go!

The straight ruler shown here has parallel lines you can use to create your quilting lines. I simply measured one ruler line out from the previous stitching line to create the next stitching line. I could have set the lines wider apart by going two, three, four or more measured lines out from the stitching line.

To stitch ruler work on a home machine, you simply hold the ruler with one hand and guide the quilt underneath the needle while keeping the edge of the foot against the ruler. It takes a bit of practice to do this but not much. I was up and running in a few minutes.

If you haven’t tried ruler work yet, you really should! I find it relaxing because I don’t have to think about where to move the quilt. Instead I just guide the foot along the ruler.

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Here are the quilt details:

"After the Rain"
44” x 44"
Original Design
Fabrics: Island Batiks scraps plus a White batik (a Neutral); Backing is #121714220 Mini Dot Nasturtium (Plum Delicious collection)
Batting: Hobbs Batting 80/20
Piecing Thread: Aurifil 50 wt. #2024 (White)
Quilting Threads: Aurifil 50 wt. #2024 (White)
Pieced and quilted by Jennifer Fulton

This quilt turned out to be a lot of fun, but man it took a long time to come up with an idea I liked. Next month, our challenge is to use a new technique. I’ve done an awful lot of quilting so coming up with something new will be hard. Oh well. That’s what I love about these challenges—they really push us to expand our quilting repertoire!

Speaking about a challenge, let me share with you a few photos of my cat Zora who presented quite the challenge while I rushing to take some closeups as the light was fading.

I guess you could say she won, but really so did I. She’s a perfect kitty that she simply makes me smile.

So What Are You Working On?

Thanks for stopping by!

While you’re here, why not take a moment and share what you’ve been working on in my weekly show-and-tell linkup, Wednesday Wait Loss? Click here to read all about it and to link up a photo.

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

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Tell me..have you tried hobbs batting? what’s your favorite type of batting and why?

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!