April Island Batik Challenge

As you probably know, I'm an Island Batik Ambassador. Each month the Ambassadors are presented with a new challenge, and this month the challenge was to be inspired by quilt history to create something new.

Looking Back Vintage Quilt.jpg

Quilt history is a large topic, so at first I was a bit overwhelmed by the challenge. I decided to use the vintage quilts handed down through my husband's family as my inspiration. The collection is dear to me and it contains a lot of examples of classic quilt blocks.

For example, the Grandmother's Flower Garden is a classic setting for hexagon quilts (also known as Honeycomb quilts). In a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt, a hexagon flower center is surrounded by two rows of coordinating "petals." Hexagon quilts are believed to be one of the oldest pieced quilt patterns, although it is thought that the Grandmother's Flower Garden setting did not became popular until the mid-1920s. It's one of my favorite ways to set a hexagon quilt and I know I want to make one some day.

Another classic quilt block is the Churn Dash block (also known as Hole in the Barn Door, Monkey Wrench, Fisherman's Reel, and Sherman's March to name a few). The Churn Dash is often one of the first blocks a quilter learns to make because it contains two classic block units: HSTs and Two-Bar. By changing the fabric placement within the block, you can really change it's look.

Another classic quilt block is the Drunkard's Path (also known as Solomon's Puzzle.) The Drunkard's Path block gets it's name from the wonky curved path the blocks create when set together. I'm lucky to own this version, which is hand-pieced and hand-quilted.

The Drunkard's Path block was used by women to raise Temperance awareness and may have also been used to help slaves find the Underground Railroad.  

I made a Drunkard's path quilt last year, as part of an Island Batik Ambassador challenge involving curved piecing. You can read more about my Sunrise Template quilt by clicking here.

Another vintage quilt in my collection is the Grandmother's Fan. The fan is a great way to use up scraps and can be made with scalloped, pointed, or smooth-edged fans. Fan blocks also show up in crazy quilts and may have been inspired by Asian art.

A classic quilt I've wanted to make for a while now is the Double Wedding Ring (variations of this block are known as Pickle Dish, Friendship Knot, and Endless Chain). The Double Wedding Ring quilt shown here was the first quilt I ever bought. It was made by Amish ladies -- hand-pieced and hand-quilted. I bought it years before I ever decided to learn to quilt. Quite obviously inspired by wedding bands linked together, the Double Wedding Ring is a popular quilt to make for a new bride.

Even with all this vintage inspiration, I still wasn't sure what kind of quilt I wanted to make until one day while driving home I heard the song, "Bless the Broken Road"  by Rascal Flatts. You see, this year is my 25th wedding anniversary and so I've been thinking about how Scott and I met oh so long ago. Suffice it to say that we met and married late in life, and that the road that led us to each other was both broken and winding.

With the words of the song playing in my head, I decided to design a quilt using the classic block Road to Oklahoma and to modify it somehow to reflect a broken road. You see, my darling Scott is from Oklahoma so using the Road to Oklahoma block as my inspiration seemed like it was all meant to be. Here's what a Road to Oklahoma block and quilt would look like in Island Batiks.

Although a Road to Oklahoma quilt would have been fun, I wanted to create a new block.

To create my Broken Road block, I decided to break up the road (the chain of squares that runs diagonally across the block). Here's what my Broken Road block looks like using the Island Batik collection, City Culture.

And here's my Broken Road quilt. I love how the broken road frames the stars formed by the corners of the block.

I'm often challenged to create a design that works with the fabric I was sent for a collection. In the case of City Culture, I was sent a pack of 2-1/2" strips. So first, I had to design the block to work with 2-1/2 squares. That part wasn't hard at all. Next though, I had to find a background that would work in the block.

Luckily, we were each send a set of Basics and Blenders that coordinated with a majority of the fabric collections in our box of batiks. I found two Basics that I thought might work as the background for my block. Trouble is, I didn't have enough of either to make even the smallest quilt so I had to make the background scrappy as well. Hmmmm. I think it works!

Truth be told, this quilt had a broken road of it's own. I originally laid out the blocks so they'd be very scrappy, and the result looked like this.

I liked it and didn't like it at the same time. I also wasn't sure I liked the color of the background and it's scrappiness but there wasn't anything I could do about that. My husband heard me fretting over the quilt and asked if he could help. Since the quilt was meant for him, I decided to let him rearrange the colors as he saw fit since I had to work that day at the quilt store and couldn't work any more on the quilt. I told Scott to take photos so I could show him working on his quilt. Here he is having fun.

I should probably mention here that Scott's Mom was a professional artist and teacher, so he feels right at home in a studio. He was having so much fun recoloring the quilt and recording his progress, that he even stopped to take a selfie!

Needless to say, when I returned from work and saw what he'd done I loved it. I was so happy with his arrangement that I sewed it up that night. The next day I layered and quilted it. For the quilting, I choose to highlight the points of each star and the points of the "broken road". The background was quilted using a simple meander.

The quilt turned out so nice, I may hire Scott as my permanent quilt assistant! <grin>

Here are the quilt details:

"Bless My Broken Road"
24" x 24"
Fabrics: Island Batik City Culture collection and basics Stonehenge and Camel for the background and binding).
Pattern: Broken Road, by Jennifer Fulton
Batting: Warm and Natural
Piecing Thread: Aurifil 50 wt. #2610 Light Blue Grey
Quilting Thread:  Aurifil 50 wt. #2735 (Medium Blue) and #2850 (Juniper), Wonderfil 40 wt #1158 (Dark Plum), and Cotton + Steel for Sulky 50 wt. #753-1020 (Dark Peach)
Pieced and quilted by Jennifer Fulton

What a journey this broken road was! I really enjoyed this challenge and will probably revisit it again soon to create new modern patterns from vintage quilts and quilt blocks.

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

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 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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Island Batik August Challenge: Quilt as You Go

The challenge this month for Island Batik Ambassadors was to make a quilt as you go project.

Quilt As You Go.jpg

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to use the Pressed Petals collection by Island Batik.

As soon as I found this adorable pattern by Pink Sand Beach Designs, I knew I had my quilt as you go project. The pattern is called the Riviera Handbag.

As you can see from the cover of the pattern, it’s not designed to be quilted. That didn’t mean however that I couldn’t replace the outside lower pocket panel (the blue paisley fabric) with a quilted panel. Easy peasy, if you use quilt as you go!

First, I cut some muslin and batting a little bit larger than the outside lower pocket panel listed in the pattern. The pattern calls for two pieces of fabric cut 9” x 17” (one for the front pocket, and one for the back) so I cut 2 pieces of muslin and batting 10” x 18”. Cutting my backing and batting larger than specified allowed me to trim my pocket panel to the exact size needed after it was quilted. (Quilting often causes your fabric to shrink up a bit so I wanted to allow for that.)

After selecting the Pressed Petal strips I wanted to use, I layered the muslin and batting and placed two 2-1/2” strips right sides facing along the batting's right edge.

I sewed along the left edge of the strips to quilt them. I know, sewing along the left edge of your sewing machine foot is different, but I chose to do that so I could have the bulk of the QAYG piece to my left and not under the tiny opening of my machine. About halfway through quilting the panel, I switched things around and sewed along the right edge of my sewing machine foot.

Next, I pressed the top strip to the left.

Then I laid another strip on top of the left strip (RST) and sewed along the left edge as before. I kept this up until I had quilted both of the lower pocket pieces. And that my friends is quilt as you go!

When they were done I cut my quilted panels to the size called for in the pattern, then simply followed the steps to make my bag. This pattern was clearly written, with photos for every step so even if you’ve never made a handbag before, you would have no trouble making this! One warning however—there are 30 steps. Yeah I know. 30!

Just go slow and look at the photos to double check yourself after each step and you'll be just fine.

I’m planning on using the bag to carry my tablet and my bee bag (which contains graph paper, a notebook, and pencil for designing quilts on the go). The outside of the Riviera bag has two pockets—one in the front and one in the back. You sew across the top edge (that tiny orange strip on my bag) of the lower pocket panel to create the pocket. This means the pocket is open all the way across the panel. I decided I wanted the pocket to be the same size as the pocket opening, so I sewed some side seams.

Riveria Bag 3.jpg

Inside, there are more pockets. You can make these whatever size you need.

And look! I even put in a zipper! If you want to read about my previous zipper adventures, click here, here or here.

I really needed this bag. As soon as it was finished, I put my tablet and bee bag in it. So glad I got to use my Island Batiks to make it!

Riveria Bag
16-1/2 wide (at the top), 9-1/2" tall, 4" deep
Pink Sand Beach Designs
Fabrics: Island Batik Pressed Petals collection
Batting: Warm and White
Piecing Thread: Aurifil 50 wt #2610 Light Blue Grey
Quilting Thread: Aurifil 50wt #2150 Pumpkin and #2740 Dark Cobalt
Pieced and quilted by: Jennifer Fulton

If you haven’t already, be sure to link up to my Wednesday Wait Loss. I’m having a giveaway!

Also, be sure to come back on Tuesday for the next two blocks in the I Wish You a Merry Quilt Along. Yep, there will be two block patterns this time and one of them is mine! Hopefully that's an incentive to come back. <grin>

And be sure to post your version of Block 2 by midnight EST August 28th. To learn more about the quilt along, including where to get the block patterns and what you might win, click here.

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Tell me...have you ever made a bag? What do you use it for?

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

This Quilt Finish Threw Me a Curve

Well, it’s July 3rd and I’ve finally gotten my June Island Batik quilt done! This month’s challenge was curves.

Some of you saw my sneak peek on Wednesday, at my Wednesday Wait Loss. It’s not too late to link up a photo of a work in progress….just click here. WWL is a fun group of quilters that help each other get things done, so if you would like some encouragement on a project, I encourage you to link up!

I’m calling this quilt Sunrise Temple. When designing this mini, I started with a Sweet Nectar charm pack. I printed out some templates from EQ to fit the 5” squares, then manually cut out my pieces. After sewing the drunkard’s path blocks, I trimmed them to 4”.

I needed a background that complimented the colors in Sweet Nectar and after scanning the fabrics I’d been sent from Island Batik, I decided on the Marbled Blackberry blender. I really, really love it—especially the way that reddish violet complements the colors in Sweet Nectar.

Marbled Blackberry

Marbled Blackberry

Sweet Nectar

After making my blocks, I started playing with layouts. I tried quite a few before I decided on the one I used in Sunrise Temple. Here are just two of the many layouts I tried. Notice in my final layout how I placed the warm colors to the left and the cooler ones to the right. To me, that resembles a sunrise—how the sky changes from warm spikes of color to a bright yellow-blue sky when the sun rises.

Final Layout

If I’d had more of the Marbled Blackberry, I probably would have used it as the binding as well. But it’s July and we’re getting to the end of fabrics I was sent in February so I need to be strategic in my fabric choices. I had lots of 2-1/2” Pressed Petals strips left over from my Slice of Orange Peel quilt so I looked there for a binding and found #121612875. I really love how it complements the colors in the quilt.

From the Pressed Petals collection

I quilted the purple areas with Aurifil 50 wt #2545 Medium Purple. I didn’t have a purple thread that exactly matched the background, but I think it works well and really warms up the purple. The Sweet Nectars areas were quilted with Aurifil 50 wt #2132 Tarnished Gold. I tried out a lot of thread colors but quickly decided that yellow worked the best. I have a lot of different yellows so choosing the exact one that complimented but didn’t draw too much attention took some time, but I love my final choice.

I used mostly utilized edge-of-foot quilting to quilt this piece because it’s easy and you don’t need to mark anything. I quilted circles in the center, and followed the edges of the curves in the outer ring. For the inner ring and the corners, I quilted star points. I traced some paper templates for the points so I could mark them uniformly. I think the star points really reflect the name of the quilt—Sunrise Temple.

Here's a look at the finished quilt, along with the quilt details.

Sunrise Temple
14-1/2” x 14-1/2”
Original Design
Island Batik collection, Sweet Nectar
The background is Marbled Blackberry BE24-A2 from the Blenders collection
The binding is from Pressed Petals
The backing is from Vineyard
Batting: Warm and White
Piecing Thread: Aurifil 50 wt. #2605 Grey
Quilting Thread: Aurifil 50 wt. #2132 Tarnished Gold and #2545 Medium Purple
Pieced and quilted by: Jennifer Fulton

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Tell me…what is your most memorable sunrise/sunset?