Finished

My July Island Batik Challenge

The July challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors was “Artsy Fartsy,” and it was to showcase the beautiful Aurifil threads that are included in our twice yearly boxes. Aurifil is a partner in the Island Batik Ambassador program and as such has always been generous in sharing their threads with us.

I’ve been an Aurifil user for years, well before the Ambassador program. I love how low lint they are, and how perfectly they stitch! I can honestly say that both my piecing and my quilting improved after I tried Aurifil. No kidding.


Aurifil Threads - A Guide

So for the benefit of those of you who may not be as familiar with Aurifil, let me present this quick tutorial.

As you can see, Aurifil threads have different colored spools. The orange spools you see here are 50 wt. good for both piecing and quilting.

The green spools are 40 wt. which you can also use for piecing although I typically don’t. I use 40 wt for quilting and for machine applique. 40 wt is thicker than 50 wt by just a touch, so it’s more visible. Choose it when you want your quilting to show just a bit more than normal.

The grey spools are 28 wt. Because this thread is even thicker than 40 wt, use it when you want a decorative touch. For example,if you are adding a decorative stitch to the edges of your applique (such as a blanket stitch), use 28 wt for a bold look. You can quilt with 28 wt like I did in my challenge quilt, and it will be visible and add a nice texture. You can also hand-quilt with this thread.

Not shown because I didn’t use them in my piece but also included in my Island Batik box are these threads: the red spool on the left is 12 wt. and it’s perfect for sashiko, redwork, and other hand embroidery. It’s also a good choice in art quilting where you want the stitches to be an integral part of the piece.

The natural colored spool second from the left is Aurifloss, which is suited for embroidery just like other floss. The red spool third from the left is 12 wt. wool thread (actually, it’s a blend of wool and acrylic) that’s perfect for woolwork embroidery. The darker natural colored spool on the right is 80 wt. Because it’s so thin, this thread is perfect for hand piecing and applique, English paper piecing, “invisible” machine applique, and quilting.

Aurifil also makes other threads including an awesome invisible thread and a special thread designed just for the longarm that they call FortyThree (40 wt. 3-strand thread designed to take the stress of high-speed quilting). Always in Stitches (the quilt shop where I work) carries Aurifil threads so they keep me supplied.

My Quilt

I thought long and hard about how I wanted to showcase these wonderful threads in a quilt, and I came up with several ideas. I often sit on ideas while they gel until something nudges me in the right direction. I finally got the nudge after scanning through some photos and finding this one, of a cardinal on our bird feeder in the dead of winter.

I didn’t copy the photo exactly in my quilt, as you can see. I added another cardinal because just one seemed to lonely. I used a yellow and green batik as the background instead of the light grey of our house because I liked how the red cardinal fabric looked with it. I moved the spruce tree closer to the feeder than it was in the photo to improve the composition and I added less snow to its branches because I felt that the hint of snow was enough.

Here’s my quilt, which I’m calling Wintertide.

I used fusible machine applique to create Wintertide. I started with the feeder and the cardinals because they seemed the easiest to do. I built the feeder on my pressing sheet and then fused it in place as a whole unit onto the backing. Next, I added the cardinals and fused them in place.

I edge stitched the feeder and cardinals to finish them, using 50 wt threads in the following colors: #2846 Iceberg, #2260 Red Wine, #2692 Black and #2235 Orange.

To simulate the browner feathers of a female cardinal, I overstitched them with 80 wt. #2372 Dark Antique Gold.

Next, I started cutting and fusing the branches of the spruce. I used a variety of blue greens and greens to create a rich tapestry of color. To add the texture of the branches, I machine stitched their edges with spikes of thread. Here I varied not only the color but the thread weight in the hopes of creating a more natural look.

I used the following threads to embellish the branches: 28 wt. #1125 Medium Teal and #2890 Very Dark Grass Green; 40 wt. #2890 Very Dark Grass Green and #2885 Medium Spruce; and 50 wt. #4093 Jade, #5013 Asphalt, #4129 Turf Green, #2785 Very Dark Navy, and #4644 Smoke Blue.

I didn’t need to quilt in the spruce area because I’d done all that texture stitching. So I quilted only in the background areas, using 50 wt. #4129 Turf Green. I wanted to emphasize the wintery feel so I chose a swirly, windy pattern.

As i often do, I used scraps for the back, binding, and hanging sleeve.

Here are the quilt details:

"Wintertide"
17-1/4” x 20-1/2"
Original Design
Fabrics: Island Batik scraps, including #121815843 Paisley Tree Peacock from the Elk Lodge collection for the Background, #BE32-F4 Nutmeg for the backing, and Pinecone for the binding.
Batting: Hobbs Batting 80/20
Piecing Thread: Aurifil 50 wt. #2610 (Light Blue Grey)
Quilting Thread: Aurifil 50 wt. #4129 (Turf Green)
Applique and Embellishment Threads: 28 wt. #1125 Medium Teal and #2890 Very Dark Grass Green; 40 wt. #2890 Very Dark Grass Green and #2885 Medium Spruce; and 50 wt. #2846 Iceberg, #2260 Red Wine, #2692 Black, #2235 Orange, #2372 Dark Antique Gold, #4093 Jade, #5013 Asphalt, #4129 Turf Green, #2785 Very Dark Navy, and #4644 Smoke Blue.
Pieced and quilted by Jennifer Fulton

Next month, our challenge is to create a star quilt. Wish me luck in getting my quilt done more quickly! Actually, this challenge only applies to half of us, as the other Ambassadors are participating in a blog hop featuring the Spring 2017 collection. The blog hop begins Monday. Come back then when I post the schedule and links to every blog. The collections are gorgeous and you won’t want to miss the hop (or the giveaways!)

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 Aurifil? what’s your favorite type of thread and why?

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

My June Island Batik Challenge

The June challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors was to make a quilt using a technique new to them. Since I’ve been quilting for decades, it was a bit hard for me to think of a technique I haven’t tried but then suddenly it occurred to me that I hadn’t yet made a hexagon quilt.


Although you can make a hexagon quilt by hand, I decided I wanted to try the machine piecing technique.

I played around with ideas for a bit, then decided to frame each hexagon in a narrow strip of white or something similar.

I found a light purple batik in my stash and it seemed to go well with the collection of fat eighths I’d already selected so it was off to the races!

The light purple is a Basic, and it’s called Almond. It’s a white-ish batik with light almond and purple dots on it. Lovely.

The fat eighth collection I chose is called Plum Delicious. It’s from the Fall/Winter 2017 collection. I’ve used it before in a similar challenge last year to make a Lone Star quilt.

Sunset at St. John’s, which uses the Plum Delicious fabric collection also

Sunset at St. John’s, which uses the Plum Delicious fabric collection also

I wish I had the hexagon die for my AccuQuilt GO! system because that would have made cutting out the hexagons go more quickly. But then I decided I wanted to try making a hexagon quilt first to see if I liked it enough to invest in the die.

For now I’ve purchased the Creative Grids Hexagon Trim Tool because it has a framed hexagon trimming option.

Using the tool, I cut 4” hexies and framed them. Then I sewed them together in the usual way—starting stopping my seams 1/4” from each edge of the hexagon. I found the process pretty easy to do so I think other hexagan quilts may be in my future (along with that AccuQuilt GO! hexagon die.) I have to say that I really love how hexagons show off the fabrics in a collection!

After sewing up the quilt center, I decided it needed something else to finish it so I added a narrow frame of Almond followed by a scrappy border of Plum Delicious fabrics.

For quilting, I went with a modern motif—straight lines. I created them using ruler work which I’m really starting to like—at least for straight lines…I haven’t done ruler work for anything else just yet.

For the binding, I returned to the Almond fabric and I’m glad I did because I love how this turned out.

For the backing, I pieced together some odds and ends from my stash that matched the front. Heck, I like the back so much I might use the table runner that way as well. <grin>

Here are the quilt details:

"Honeycomb"
18” x 39-1/2"
Original Design
Fabrics: Island Batiks Almond (a Basic), Plum Delicious collection, and scraps for the backing
Batting: Hobbs Batting 80/20
Piecing Thread: Aurifil 50 wt. #5011(Rope Beige)
Quilting Threads: Aurifil 50 wt. #4030 (Plum)
Pieced and quilted by Jennifer Fulton

Next month, our challenge is to feature at least three Aurifill thread weights in an art project. I’m working through ideas now. Wish me luck!

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!

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.

After the Rain 11.jpg

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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you might also like

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!

My April Island Batik Challenge

The April challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors was to design and make a baby quilt using our new Accuquilt Go! cutters.

This wasn’t the first time I’d used the Accuquilt Go, but it was the first time I used it to cut out an entire quilt. Man was it fast! I had that quilt cut out in no time. And all the pieces were so perfect!


Designing for the Accuquilt Go! was easy. The box of dies we were given (the Go! Qube 8” Block Mix & Match) contained all the dies you would need to make any 8” block that uses HST, QST, Flying Geese, squares, diamonds, or rectangles.

I played around with designs in Electric Quilt and came up with this one, which I’m calling Oh My Stars!

The fabrics I used are from the Elementz collection from Fall/Winter 2017. I had a set of fat eighths, so I had to do a lot of planning before I started cutting to make sure I had enough fabrics.

To cut fabrics with Accuquilt Go! you simply cut a strip the width of the die. You don’t have to be absolutely accurate here so I find this kind of strip cutting fun and fast.

You lay the strip on top of the die, lay the cutting mat on top, then crank the whole package through the rollers.

After the fabric and die is rolled through, you lift the cutting mat and peel away the slight excess. Most tell you to cut strips then subcut them to the rough size of the die, but that’s too much cutting for me! Instead I just lay the strip on top of the die and roll it through. On the other side, I trim the excess from the leading edge of the strip.

You can cut multiple sets at a time (in this case, QSTs) by simply folding the fabric back and forth on itself, up to six layers.

To cut the next set of triangles here, I just snipped the excess from the leading edge of the strip, returned the die to the left side of the roller, layered the strip on the die again, put the cutting mat on and cranked it through. Easy-peasy. I didn’t need to for this quilt, but I could have cut hundreds of triangles in minutes.

Aren’t those triangles simply perfect? Repeating the process with other strips and changing the dies out when needed, I soon had the entire quilt cut out (including the border squares).

I love the bright fun colors in Elementz, and how it looks with white.

I quilted the stars rather simply, 1/4” in from the edge. I wanted to do something fun in the large white negative spaces, so I quilted free-flowing feathers with random curls every once in a while.

For the border, I quilted a single curvy line. I’m not too good with feathers but I think these turned out pretty so I’m happy.

Quilting 1.jpg

Here are the quilt details:

"Oh My Stars"
38” x 38"
Original Design
Fabrics: Island Batiks from the Elementz collection, plus a White batik (a Neutral)
Batting: Hobbs Batting 80/20
Piecing Thread: Aurifil 50 wt. #2310 (Lt. Beige)
Quilting Threads: Aurifil 50 wt. #2024 (White), #4150 (Creme Brule variegated), 2180 (Turquoise), and #4020 (Fuchsia); Invisifil 100 wt. #702 (Chartreuse)
Pieced and quilted by Jennifer Fulton

I really had fun with the Accuquilt Go. I plan on using it a lot more in the future! (In fact, I’ve already used it to cut out a lap quilt bound for Market. Man I love how fast and accurately it cuts!)

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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you might also like

Tell me..have you made a baby quilt recently?

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!