Saturday, March 31, 2018

Island Batik Ambassador {Try a Technique}

Our March task as Island Batik Ambassadors was... 

"Sometimes it can be hard to step out of our comfort zone. But that’s how we grow! This month, we challenge you to try something new (to you) - a quilty technique or method you’ve never tried before. Maybe you just heard about it, or perhaps you’ve been thinking about it for a while and haven’t worked up the nerve (or been able to set aside the time). This is your chance! We can’t wait to see what you try and hear about what you’ve learned!"

Trying some new is difficult. Trying something new on a deadline is even more difficult! I like try a lot of new things but most of my trials end up in piles and may or may not ever see the light of day again. One of the things I like most about the Island Batik Ambassador program so far is that I feel completely free to create. There are some guidelines and a theme, but aside from that, the sky is the limit.

After going through my box of Island Batik fabric, I decided to use some of the very colorful fabrics from the Fall 2017 Mountain's Majesty collection.

I also decided to use my AccuQuilt Go! 9-inch Wedge die since I have had it for well over a year but hadn't even opened the package yet.

Curves and I are not friends, but I was determined to use fabric wedges to create arcs then piece those arcs into background fabric. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, that's okay. I didn't really have any idea what I was doing, either!

I decided to work in sections. For the first sections I pieced LOTS of fabric strips together then cut the wedges. (I like how it looks like way more work and piecing that what it really is.)

If my first sections doesn't look square, that's because it's not. Due to bad quilt math and trying to piece large (and very stretchy) pieced arcs into more large (and very stretchy) pieces of fabric, it's a bit wonky. But I forged ahead!

After some quilt math help from a friend, the other 3 sections are quite a bit better. I used scraps and offcuts from the previous section to make wedges for the next section. I enjoyed the process of making this, and I feel like it's the first artistic-type quilt I've made.

While I would like to present you with a picture of my beautiful completed quilt, it's still on the longarm. When I longarm my quilts, I almost always do an edge-to-edge pantograph. It's easy, and I really like the effect of all-over quilting. Since I was on a roll trying new things, I decided to "custom" quilt it with free-motion quilting.

I know I'll only get better at free-motion quilting with practice, but it would have been much easier to have quilted it with a panto! There is definitely some quilting that I like and definitely some that needs some work. Overall, I learned a lot doing this project and can't wait to finish it!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Elementz Blog Hop...Welcome!

Hi! If you're here as part of the Elementz Blog Hop...welcome! This blog hop is to showcase projects made with Tamarinis' gorgeous new Island Batik Elementz fabric line. I'm a 2018 Island Batik Ambassador, and imagine my excitement when I found a Stack of these fabrics in my fabric box. (I'm a sucker for bright colors.)

Our Ambassador task for February was to create a mini quilt using fabric from our box. Of course I chose these gorgeous, bright fabrics and created this improv and applique "Maker" mini for my sewing room. (There's more details about his project on this post.)

Island Batik is giving away some great prizes during the blog hop, and there are multiple ways to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You should also visit these other blogs to see more Elementz projects!

Wednesday, February 28
Seams Like a Dream
I'll be giving away a cute little thread catcher I'm making from Elementz scraps of my mini project. (I'd show you a picture, but it's still in pieces on my cutting table!) To enter, just leave a comment here telling me what you would make from this fabric. (If you're a "no reply" blogger, please leave an email address so I can contact you if you win!) I'll draw for a winner on Monday, March 5. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, February 26, 2018

The Elementz Blog Hop Starts Today!

The Isand Batik Elementz blog hop starts today!

Elementz is a gorgeous, bright new fabric line by Tamarinis. Each day, different designers will be sharing projects made with her fun fabric.

Visit each of these bloggers throughout the hop to see more Elementz projects and enter to win lots and LOTS of giveaways!
Monday, February 26
Island Batik
Sew Many Creations
Wednesday, February 28
Seams Like a Dream
Friday, March 2
Cranberry Pie Designs
Stephanie Jacobson (me!!!)
Enter to win an Elementz Fat Eighth bundle! There are many ways to enter – see the Rafflecopter widget below for details. Island Batik will ALSO be giving away additional Elementz bundles on Instagram, so be sure you’re following Island Batik there to participate!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, February 22, 2018


The #plusblockQAL is nearing it's end. It's been a lot of fun. Even though I'm not going to finish my quilt any time soon, it's been really inspiring and rewarding seeing all the beautiful plus blocks and completed quilts. A fellow IG quilty friend messaged me a few days ago to see if I was planning another quilt along. She really enjoyed the process and wanted to continue using her scraps to make quilt blocks. The plus blocks were such a great block to make.  They were great for mindless, relaxing sewing. The blocks and quilts went together pretty quickly. Seriously...some participants made more than one quilt! Plus there's the whole #inspiredquiltproject thing where a bunch of really awesome, super generous quilters sent me plus blocks for the #GirlsIncOmahaQuilts. So...after a bunch of really great QAL suggestions, our next QAL starting mid-March will be STARS for the #starstruckQAL!

I will be making these awesome star blocks from a tutorial by Cluck, Cluck Sew. Wonky stars were also a popular suggestion (I LOVE wonky stars) so you can make those if you'd prefer. Wombat Quilts has a great, scrappy wonky star quilt block tutorial. But this #starstruckQAL is so laid back, that ALL star quilts are welcome! If you have a star quilt UFO or a star quilt on your quilting bucket list, now is the time to finish/make it! I hope you'll join in the fun. I'm really excited to start seeing stars very soon!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Island Batik {MiniLove}

The products featured in this post were given to me by Island Batik.

I'm back with my second Island Batik Ambassador February project...a mini quilt! I have made and own a LOT of mini quilts as I participated in quite a few swaps over on Istagram. (In fact, I now have far more mini quilts than I can display.) Mini quilts are a great way of trying out a new technique or using some beloved fabric without commiting to an entire quilt, and I enjoy decorating my sewing my space with them.

I love scrappy, bright colors so I knew right away I wanted to use these gorgeous Elementz fabrics for my mini. (Normally I would post a pic of the beautifully-packaged Stack, but in my excitement I had already ripped into it and started cutting.) This collection is designed by Tammy Silvers of Tamarinis. You should definitely follow her on Istagram.

One thing I love about being an Island Batik Ambassador is the ability to freely create. Sure, there are some guidelines and a few requirements, but it's a wonderful feeling to just cut and sew and create something beautiful.

I'm a huge fan of text and inspiring words, so I knew I wanted some kind of word or phrase on my mini quilt. I decided on the word "maker" and used PicMonkey to create an applique template of my word.

I need to do a little research and see if there's a way to reverse the text in PicMonkey. It would make the applique-making process a LOT easier...but it worked!

For the quilting, I decided on some some simple straight line, crosshatch quilting.

Just a little scrappy binding, and it is complete! To make the main part of the mini, I cut strips of fabric, sewed them together, cut them up again, and sewed them back together again. I didn't have an overall plan as far as size, and it ended up 11 inches square. It will look so bright and happy on my sewing room wall.

It's always nice when the back is as pretty as the front...crooked label and all! One of my favorite mini quilt tricks is sewing triangles (made from a square folded in half on the diagonal) into the upper corners. You can then use a dowel (or a bamboo skewer in this case) to make a hanger for your mini quilt. This makes it easy to hang it nice and straight on your wall.

Thanks for stopping by to check out my MiniLove project! I can't wait to get started on my March project of trying a new technique.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Happy Galentine's Day...My First Island Batik Project

The products featured in this post were given to me by Island Batik.

I'm so excited to share my FIRST Island Batik Ambassador project of 2018! 

Sometimes you see something and decide right away you must make it. That's what happned when I saw these beautiful, rainbow mini modern hearts made by Jessie Ziegler of Threaded Quilting

I immediately bought her Mini Modern Heart paper piecing pattern then prompty set it aside because I have a million other projects in the works. When I read through the Island Batik Galentine's Day project info, I knew this modern heart was the perfect pattern for the project.

Without further ado, here's my Galentine's Day mug rug...

I used the pretty hot pink and red fabrics I received in my Galentine's Day bundle, and the background is an amazing neutral called Rice. (They sent me 3 yards, but I think I'm going to need more!) I used my walking foot to quilt some wavy lines. The "too sweet" is a stamp leftover from my scrapbooking days. (That's why it's so hard to get rid of anything...who knows when you may need it again?!) The finished size is approximately 6.5" x 8.5"...perfect for a cup of coffee. (Or a glass of wine.)

I know I say this about a lot of my projects, but I love how it turned out. I'm not sure what it is about this Island Batik Ambassador program, but I feel free to design and experiment with these projects. Usually that kind of freedom can be stressful for me, but so far it's just been a lot of fun. I have my project list for the year, and the wheels in my head are constantly turning with potential project ideas. I'm already working on our next project...a mini quilt which I'll have posted by the end of February. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

#plusblockQAL {assembling the blocks}

Better late than are instructions on assembling your plus quilt blocks for the #plusblockQAL.

No matter which size block you are making, the pieces are assembled the same way. Lay out your fabric pieces like in the picture below. If you have directional fabrics, now is the time to make sure all the fabrics are laid out properly.

The first step is to sew a small background square to each small plus square and sew a small background square to each end of your plus rectangle fabric. Press seams. (At this step, I press my seams open. See my notes on pressing on the last picture.)

Now sew a large background square to each side of your top and bottom pieces. You will end up with three strips.

The last step is to sew your three strips together. At this point, it's more important to match up your centers of each strip so your plus is lined up properly.

This shows how I press my seams for this block.

When pressing seams, I don't always press open/press to the dark fabric/press to the light fabric. My goal is to reduce bulk at the seams as much as possible so I usually let the fabric dictate how it wants to be pressed.  I start by pressing open. (I piece with a shorter stitch length and have never had a problem when pressing my seams open.) After sewing the larger squares to the first pieced unit, I press those seams to the large background square. After all three strips are sewn together, I press the finals seams toward the middle of the block.

Clear as mud? I need to work on my tutorial writing skills! If you have any questions, please ask away.