May Island Batik Challenge

I'm very happy--I finally got my May Island Batik challenge done!

The May challenge for us Island Batik Ambassadors was to make a pillow using batiks. Since I already had a shop sample that fit that exact description on my To-Do list, I thought I'd use my monthly challenge to finally get the sample done.

The pattern for the pillows is called Haute Dog, and it's by Bella Nonna. The pattern offers two versions---one long pillow or two matching pillows. I chose the two pillow option.

I've actually made these pillows before, as a gift to my niece who loves dachshunds. If you'd like to see that version, click here.

To make the dog and the sweaters for this version, I used the City Culture 2 collection by Island Batik.

For the background of the pillows, I chose this print from the Island Batik Surf and Sand collection. It's called Seed Circles, and the color is Lagoon. This collection is retired, but you can still get some of its fabrics from Always in Stitches (the shop where I work) if you want. (No, I don't work on commission there. <grin> I just love the shop!)

To make the pillows special, the pattern calls for you to add decorative stitches to the dog's sweater. This part was real fun as I got to use a lot of the stitches on my machine. I don't know about you, but it seems like I never get to use those extra stitches for anything, so I was really pumped to play!

The pattern also calls for you to add zippers to the pillows so you can remove the pillow inserts for cleaning. I was once afraid of zippers, but not anymore. You can read about my zipper triumphs here and here and here.

When it came down to it however, I thought putting zippers in the pillows was a whole lot of fuss so I used an envelope finish instead.

If you do add a zipper though, you can also add cute zipper pulls (engraved dog tags) just like the pattern shows.

The dog's nose is "scribble stitched" by simply free-motion stitching around in a circle to draw the nose with thread. I have to confess that I love "drawing" with thread. It's fun! You just lower your feed-dogs and move the fabric around. Relaxing!

Here are the details:

"Haute Dog" by Bella Nonna
12" x 16" each
Fabrics: Island Batik City Culture collection
Pillow forms: Soft Stuff by Hobby Lobby, 100% polyester fiber filling
Piecing Thread: Aurifil 50 wt. #5011 (Rope Beige)
Applique Thread:  Aurifil 80 wt. #2468 (Deep Wine), Sulky 40 wt #1019 (Peach) and #1190 (Medium Burgundy), Guterman 50 wt #8780 (Olive Drab)
Pieced and appliqued by Jennifer Fulton

If you like my pillows, you can purchase the pattern in person or online at Always in Stitches (the store where I work). You can probably purchase it elsewhere, but again, I love the store where I work.

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

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Tell do you like to finish your pillows--with a zipper, velcro, envelope finish or something else?

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!

My Wicked Envy Quilt

Last October, I created a cute Halloween wall hanging as part of that month's Island Batik Ambassador challenge. I should say, I created the top, but didn't quite get the project quilted before the month ended.

As I made progress with the quilt, I updated you on my blog. After I finished quilting and binding Wicked Envy, the weather started playing tricks with me so I couldn't get good photos of it to share with you. Well, the weather finally turned and I got my shots!

So without further ado, here is Wicked Envy.

Wicked Envy quilted 13.jpg

The Island Batik challenge that month was borders. So as you can see, I really took that challenge to heart! I started with an applique block based on the play, Wicked. Then I added a crossed broom paper-pieced border. Next came a plain border, followed by a checked border on two sides and a paper-pieced witches hat border on the other. I finished it all off with a wide border and a cat applique.

I quilted the Wicked applique block rather simply, by following the applique, then quilting curls and swirls in the background. I also used my quilting to add details to her hat and cloak.

For the brooms, I quilted straw details and more swirls and curls.

I used curls in the checker border and in the wide outer border.

For the witches hats, I quilted diagonal lines.

I hope she was worth the wait!

Here are the details:

"Wicked Envy"
43" x 43"
Fabrics: Island Batik fabrics from various collections
Pattern: My design
Batting: Quilter's Dream Request
Piecing Thread: Aurifil 50 wt. #2610 Light Blue Grey
Quilting Thread:  Aurifil 50 wt #2150 (Pumpkin), Madeira Polyneon 40 wt #1950 (Green), Wonderfil Konfetti 50 wt KT605 (Purple), Wonderfil Invisafil #710 (Deepest Burgundy), Superior Thread Fantastico 40 wt #5041 (King's Crown), and Sulky 40 wt #1135 (Pastel Yellow)
Pieced and quilted by Jennifer Fulton

I love being ready for a holiday months before! <grin>

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

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tell me..I'm ready for Halloween! How about you?

&nbsp;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!

Art with Fabric Blog Hop

Hi and welcome to my day on the Art with Fabric Blog Hop! I have to admit that I struggled with this one.

We were to do an art piece inspired by a female artist, and although I’d admire quite a few I couldn’t find the one that would inspire me. So for months I kept sketching until one night as I was falling asleep I thought of Laura Wasalowski, a famous art quilter. With Laura's permission, I include here a few examples of her work. (These are photos I took of her recent PowerPoint presentation at our Guild--for photos of her actual quilts, please visit her website. It's so filled with eye candy, I guarantee it'll be worth the visit!)

I hadn’t wanted to use another quilter as an inspiration, but just thinking of Laura's fun, vibrant quilts set my mind to racing and I soon had a sketch for a new quilt.

I wanted to mimic Laura’s use of bright colors and rolling edges but in the end I decided my quilt didn’t want that. Instead, I concentrated on Laura's sense of whimsy and use of common subjects. I’ve taken a workshop from Laura the last time she visited our Guild and I simply love her warmth and sense of humor. In fact, she visited my Guild again recently and that may have been why she was on my mind. Anyway, I’m calling this quilt “To Be a Bird” because it inspired my flight of fancy.

To make the quilt, I started with a background that I pillowcase-finished and then quilted. I figured it would be easier if the background was quilted before I started adding the applique.

Next I added the tree branches and stitched them down. Again, I was thinking it would be easier to stitch the branches down first, before adding the birds. It would also give me a visual landscape in which my birds could live.

Now I was free to design my fanciful birds. As I said, I originally invisioned brightly colored wonky birds, but somehow I wanted semi-realistic. Can you tell what birds inspired me?

Here are the quilt details:

To Be a Bird
13” x 17”
Fabrics: Various fabric scraps
Fusible: Heat N Bond
Background Quilting Thread: Sulky 40 wt. variegated #2104 Pastel Blues
Applique Thread: Sulky 40 wt. #1025 Mine Gold, #1065 Orange Yellow, #1135 Pastel Yellow, #1137 Yellow Orange, #1103 Dark Khaki, #1156 Light Army Green, #1169 Bayberry Red, #1057 Dark Tawny Tan, #1020 Dark Peach; Gutermann 40 wt #7850 Apple Green, #7544 Very Dark Turquoise, #410 Scarlet; Mettler 60 wt #3 Black, 40 wt #692 Stone, 30 wt Apple Green; Wonderfil Invisifil 100 wt #711 Pure Orange; Aurifil 50 wt #2024 White
Batting: Warm and White

Thanks to Alida @ Tweety Loves Quilting for hosting the hop. Please visit today’s other participants:

Renee @Quilts of a Feather

Kat @ Kat Knap Crafts

Jennifer @ Inquiring Quilter (that’s me!)

Carol:  @ Quilted Fabric Art

The Art from Fabric blog hop continues through tomorrow. Click here to see a list of all participants. And if you ever get a chance to take a workshop from Laura, I highly recommend it. She's warm, funny, kind, and innovative--all the things you'd ever want in a quilt teacher!

As you know, I'm at Market this week but I encourage you to leave a comment and an email so I can reply when I get back. Also, I hope to have a Market update later today so be sure to watch the blog! You'll find ways to follow me at the top of my sidebar.

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Tell me…who inspires your quilting?

&nbsp;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!

My Adventurous Applique

The challenge project for Island Batik Ambassadors this month was to make a quilt using applique. We could make the quilt any size and utilize any applique method. I chose raw-edge applique because I wanted to create an art quilt.

Every Friday for quite a few weeks now, I’ve been hosting Furry Fridays here on my blog. Furry Fridays are all about helping rescue animals by adopting them whenever possible, and making kennel quilts to comfort them when they are under stress.

Furry Fridays are over, but I thought since the subject of my art quilt was my adorable fur baby Lucy, it would be appropriate to present my art quilt on a Friday. Kinda fits somehow.

Anyway as you probably know, I lost my sweet Lucy a few weeks ago. Since then, we’ve adopted our Zora and she’s gone a long way to fill my lonely heart. Still, I felt the urge to make a quilt about Lucy so I decided to use this month’s challenge to do just that.

I started with a photo of Lucy asleep on my leg. She looked so cute at the time that I couldn’t resist taking a picture of her using my cell phone. I brought the photo into my editing program and used the Posterize filter to reduce the number of colors. Then I printed out the result and used it to cut and place my fabrics.

I really enjoy using batiks for quilts like this because you don’t need to worry about raveling too much. First, I fused the background fabrics, then I used the printout to cut out Lucy’s basic shape. Slowly, I added other fabrics to define my sleepy kitty. I used various fusibles simply because I had a lot of scraps I wanted to use up. I can honestly say they all worked well.

I quilted around each shape both to hold them down and also to define them more clearly. Then I quilted a curly pattern on my leg and wavy lines in the background behind Lucy's sleepy head. Finally, I added whiskers. I’m really pleased with the results! Here are the details:

I Love Lucy
12” x 22”
Original Design
Island Batiks, including Bubble Hole Honey (Happy Harvest collection), Marble Blackberry BE24-A2 (Blender), Diner Days #111712305, scraps from various Stash Builders
Batting: Warm and White
Fusibles: Wonder Under, Heat n Bond and Stitch Witchery
Quilting Thread: Aurifil 40 wt #1243 Dusty Lavender, 50 wt #2568 Mulberry and #4150 Crème Brule; Sulky 40 wt #1168 True Orange and #1246 Orange Flame; Mettler 30 wt #515 Caramel Creme, WonderFil 40 wt #1158 Dark Plum
Pieced and quilted by: Jennifer Fulton

While you're here, don't forget to link up a photo of your latest work in progress or quilt finish to my weekly Wednesday Wait Loss! I'm having a giveaway so be sure to check it out.

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Tell me…have you ever made an art quilt?