Circular – May Make it Modern project

Circular is my May project for the Island Batik Ambassador program. The theme for May is Make it Modern. Modern is just the thing for me. I love the free-form, unconstrained design aesthetic of modern quilts. I had several ideas for May but this simple design won out.

The fabric for this quilt was provided by Island Batik and the batting was provided by Hobbs Batting as part of the Island Batik Ambassador program.

I’m glad May has 31 days. This was a very busy month for me. This is the only sewing project I was able to work on, and the only blog post for the month. The piecing and quilting was completed a couple of weeks ago but it has taken me a while to get pictures and write up this blog post. It still needs a hanging sleeve and a binding, which will be done this week.

For this project, I wanted something with simple piecing so I can spend some more time quilting. I picked out a few squares of turquoise and orange Island Batik fabric and backed them with fusible web. I cut out concentric quarter circles of different sizes. Then, I mixed up the pieces, fused them on to background squares and used a blanket stitch to sew them in place. I tried many interesting layouts for the squares but in the end, I decided on a somewhat symmetrical setting similar to a New York Beauty quilt.

In my Island Batik ambassador box, there were several rolls of batting from Hobbs. Most were Hobbs 80/20 blends that are my usual choices for baby, throw and bed quilts. There was a new kind of batting (new to me) called Thermore. I used a bit of it in my February mini project.It is very thin but I love how well the quilting shows with it. The quilting lines have very good definition. I wanted to use Thermore for this quilt as well. In addition, I also used a Hobbs 80/20 batting. I believe using two layers of batting makes the quilting stand out.

For the quilting, I wanted to try something new. The main quilting theme is closely spaced vertical lines along the length of the quilt. The lines are broken up by the turquoise and orange circles as well as islands of heavy free-motion quilting. I marked circles and squares using a Hera marker at random locations. Some of them touch and overlap, and others stand on their own. In each quilting island, I used a different design/motif – McTavishing, feathers, spirals, pebbles, wish-bones, horizontal lines and a combination of them all. It was very hard to stitch in the ditch around the circles on my long-arm because these circles are quite large and I didn’t have a ruler to help me draw a good circle.

Before: The bottom right quadrant is quilted along the edges of the curves. The other quadrants are not.
After: All four quadrants are quilted along the edges of the curves. Looks much better and less floppy.

I took the quilt off the frame and quilted the outlines of the circles using a walking foot on my domestic. See the before and after pictures above – what a difference it makes!

Details:
Size: 44″ x 52″
Fabric: Assorted Island Batik squares in Turquoise and Orange
Background: Island Batik solid grey fabric
Batting: Hobb’s Thermore and Hobb’s 80/20 cotton/polyester blend.

Here’s a list of all the 2019 Ambassadors. Checkout their awesome May projects:

Carolina Asmussen ~Carolina Asmussen

Gene Black ~ Gene Black

Pamela Boatright ~ PamelaQuilts

Connie K Campbell ~ Freemotion by the River

Anja Clyke ~ Anja Quilts

Tina Dillard ~ Quilting Affection Designs

Becca Fenstermaker ~ Pretty Piney

Jennifer Fulton ~ Inquiring Quilter

Barbara Gaddy ~ Bejeweled Quilts by Barb

Dione Gardner-Stephen ~ Clever Chameleon

Sarah Goer ~ Sarah Goer Quilts

Vasudha Govindan ~ Storied Quilts

Lori Haase ~ Dakota City Quilter II

Joanne Hart ~ Unicornharts

Mania (Magdalini) Hatziioannidi ~ Mania for Quilts

Carla Henton ~ Creatin’ in the Sticks

Stephanie Jacobson ~ Steph Jacobson Designs

Connie Kauffman ~ Kauffman Designs

Joan Kawano ~ Moosestash Quilting

Kim Lapacek ~ Persimon Dreams

Emily Leachman ~ The Darling Dogwood

Leanne Parsons ~ Devoted Quilter

Bea Lee ~ BeaQuilter

Toby Lischko ~ Gateway Quilts & Stuff

Bill Locke ~ Studio Bill Locke

Denise Looney ~ For the Love of Geese

Leah Malasky ~ Quilted Delights

Sally Manke ~ Sally Manke

Maryellen McAuliffe ~ Mary Mack’s Blog

Kathleen McCormick ~ Kathleen McMusing

Carol Moellers ~ Carol Moellers Designs

Karen Neary ~ Sew Karen-ly Created

Lisa Nielsen ~ Lisa Lisa and the Quilt Jam

Jackie O’Brien ~ If These Threads Could Talk

Laura Piland ~ Slice of Pi Quilts

Michelle Roberts ~ Creative Blonde

Vicki Schlimmer ~ Vicki’s Crafts and Quilting

Gail Sheppard ~ Quilting Gail

Sherry Shish ~ Powered by Quilting

Anita Skjellanger ~ Quilt in a not-Shell

Laticia “Tish” Stemple ~ Tish’s Adventures in Wonderland

Jennifer Strauser ~ Dizzy Quilter

Jennifer Thomas ~ Curlicue Creations

Terri Vanden Bosch ~ Lizard Creek Quilts

Alison Vermilya ~ Little Bunny Quilts

Sandra Walker ~ mmm! quilts

Suzy Webster ~ Adventurous Applique and Quilting

(Debora) Anne Wiens ~ Seams like a Plan

Geraldine Wilkins ~ Living Water Quilter

Janet Yamamoto ~  Whispers of Yore

Linking to these linky parties:
Put your foot down – a new link-up at fortheloveofgeese.com
Needle and Thread Thursday
Friday Foto fun
Freemotion Maveriks
WhoopWhoop
TGIFF
May monthly @ MeadowMist

April Flowers

“April Flowers” with a Peggy Martin rose bush.

April flowers is my baby quilt project for April Island Batik Ambassador challenge. The challenge was to make a square baby quilt using the AccuQuilt Go. The fabric for this quilt was provided by Island Batik and the batting by Hobbs Batting. As part of the Island Batik Ambassador program, we also received an AccuQuilt Ready Set Go cutter and dies.

A cutting system for fabric was not something I was considering at this time. As soon as I got this though, I pulled out a pile of medium-sized blue scraps and cut them into 2.5″ strips. It was like magic – my odd sized scraps were instantly transformed into a jelly roll worth of strips. These strips are part of a project-in-progress but that is for another blog post.

For this project, I decided to make a block from the book that accompanied the Accuquilt system. It is by Eleanor Burns and has patterns for several classic 8″ blocks along with instructions on which die to use and how big to cut the strips, etc. I picked the flower basket block – a classic block that I’ve never made before because is has numerous and small half-square triangles. With AccuQuilt, the HSTs were a breeze. I cut a zillion 2.5″ HSTs, 2.5″ squares and 4.5″ HSTs in 20 minutes. It took me longer to gather and clip the pieces for a block. Using AccuQuilt for projects with several identical pieces is a great time-saver. Next time, I will place the pieces that make a HST – the pinks and the background in this project – right sides together before on the die. They go through the cutter together and I can just pick them up and sew. No extra time for matching the pieces.

I used several bright pinks for the flowers, greens for the basket and the Island Batik solid white for the background. The solid white is the same high-thread count batik fabric but it is just white. I used a bleached Hobb’s 80/20 cotton batting that came in my box. The bleached batting retained the bright white of the background.

I quilted an all-over daisy meander in the white space.
Some baskets got straight lines
Some baskets got wavy lines.

I know a lot of you in the northern parts of the Northern hemisphere have had severe weather this past week and even snow storms in April. Here in Houston, TX, we’ve had several weeks of spring already. It was an unusually mild winter with just a few hours of below freezing temperatures. This is very unusual even for Houston. My eggplants and peppers from last year did not die out and have already started blooming and bearing fruit. My Peggy Martin roses, amaryllis and impatiens are blooming. Peaches are done blooming and have tiny fruits. Orange blossoms and baby lemons aplenty on the citrus trees. Enjoying the lovely spring weather and the flowers and their fragrance but dreading the summer heat just around the corner.

Linkups:
Color Inspiration
Let’s Bee Social
Midweek Makers
Wednesday Weight loss
Needle & Thread Thursday
Finished or not Friday
TGIFF
Whoop Whoop Friday
Friday Foto Fun
Freemotion Mavericks

Q2 2019 Finish-a-long

I’m finally throwing my hat into the finish-a-along wagon. Finish-a-long (FAL) is a link up hosted by a community of quilt bloggers where a quilter makes a list of projects that she/he plans to finish that quarter and links up the list on one of the FAL hosts’ linky party.

1. Baby quilt for the April Island Batik challenge. Top is almost done. Needs to be quilted and bound.
2. Be a Diamond blog hop quilt. Construction is in progress. I hope to be done by April 21st! If I can’t get it quilted, I will blog with just the top. I will follow this up with a design process tutorial/post in May. I designed using a combination of EQ8, hand drawn templates and a programming language called Processing. Alison Glass SunPrints 2018 and 2019 on Kona Regal.
3. Complete the Summer in the Park quilt top. May be able to quilt in June? This is a 2+ year UFO.
4. Island Batik May challenge should be a modern quilt. I am planning to do a light, medium, dark 3D illusion quilt and try some heavy quilting.
5. This is currently hanging over the stairs near the kitchen. The pattern is 54-40 or fight. I made this maybe 3 or 4 years ago – before FMQ. I want to take it down and give it some more FMQ to enhance the curve illusion.
6. The Island Batik challenge for June is try a new technique. I’m planning to make two Cathedral window cushion covers using this YouTube tutorial from Missouri Star Quilts:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akKU0zg-qaw . I’ve never made the faux curve before. It will be a new pattern and a new technique for me. The cushions will go on our living room sofa.
7. Quilt the Bali sunrise. Not sure if I will even get this far in the list…
8. Finish the top for the Modern Plus Sign QAL. I worked on this quite a bit last month and I think I can wrap it up in just a couple of days but ……

Finish-A-Long hosts:

February Island Batik challenge – Magnificent Minis

This is my first challenge as an Island Batik Ambassador. The February challenge is Magnificent minis. Our challenge was to make a mini quilt smaller than 24″ X 24″. Fabric used in this project was provided by Island Batik and the batting was provided by Hobbs Batting as part of the Island Batik Ambassador program.

I made not one but two minis for this challenge. My first is a design I had stashed in my sketch book for a while. I am always intrigued by equilateral triangles and hexagons and how well they play together. This is a design that starts with several small half-hexagons. Three half-hexagons make an equilateral triangle. Three triangles make a half hexagon, three of which make a triangle again and so on.

The red and oranges for this mini comes from a “Soul Song” strip set I received from Island Batik and a few others from the stash builder rolls.

The problem with joining half-hexagons to make a triangle is the dreaded Y-seams. A short photo tutorial on Y-seams is at the end of this post.

I quilted using read, orange and yellow threads, though the different colors don’t really show after quilting. A dark red binding would have been better but I wanted to save the rest of the reds from Soul Song for my March project. I used a nice purple for the binding instead. The quilt finishes at about 22″ square.

As I was putting the finishing touches on this mini, the other ambassadors started posting their projects for February and they were all just stunning. I go the feeling that this may be inadequate and started another mini.

For my next mini, I used my tutorial for Spiral Nova, scaling everything down so that the finished size is about 20″. The strips are 1.5″ wide, finishing at 1″. When I wrote the tutorial, I didn’t expect to make anything smaller than 40″. After this project, I went back and added a row for this size in the tutorial.

I started with 8 strip sets. Some are repeated. I wanted to try using strips with relatively low contrast. Most of the blues for this came from the stash builder bundles from Island batik.

After making the spiral nova, I added a 2″ border all around to make sure I din’t cut off the points when I trim and bind. I quilted a tight spiral all around – looks almost like concentric circles. Once done, I used a large compass (the kind used by carpenters) to draw a perfect circle about an inch away from the star points. I had to use a bias binding around the circle.

I used the Hobbs Thermore batting for this mini. Thermore is designed for quilted clothing, table runners, placements, etc. that need to lay flat. It is very thin. After quilting, the piece was unbelievably flat – no warping or curving at the edges. I normally like a bit of loft in my quilts but I am definitely going to use Thermore for my wall quilts, bags and table runners in the future. It is very light and sits perfectly flat, but still shows off the quilting as well as any higher loft batting. .


Layout three half-hexagons correctly.

Here’s the Y-seam tutorial as promised:


Join two of them and press the seams open.
Start sewing with the third piece on top. Stop your needle exactly 1/4″ from the edge (mark with a sharpie if needed) and the intersection of the two pieces in the bottom. Turn the piece on top to align the edge of the bottom piece and complete the seam.
Press seam away from the third piece. Pressing this seam open does not work very well. I am no longer afraid of Y-seams but I need to love a block very much to willing sew Y-seams 🙂
The March challenge is Vintage Re-imagined. This is my fabric pull.  Most of it is from the Soul Song strip set. Any guesses on which vintage quilt pattern I may be re-imagining for my March challenge? Leave a comment.

Do not forget to go to this Island Batik blog post and checkout all the Island Batik ambassadors this year. Visit their blogs and see their awesome projects for the February Magnificent mini challenge!

Linking to all my favorite linky parties:
Linky Tuesday @ Freemotion by the river
Midweek Makers @ QuiltFabrication
Needle & Thread Thursday
Finished or not Friday @ Busy Hands Quilts
Can I get a whoop whoop
TGIFF hosted by Whatahootquilts