Island Batik Ambassador Unboxing!

As I write this I am at (nearly) the edge of the world… see, I’m from a tiny island in the Shumigan Islands just off the Aleutian peninsula. I am trying to get home to Kodiak before this post goes live (internet is sketchy here)!

I just had my yurt set up and am trying to get power and water/sewer to it.

My yurt
Working on interior.

My unboxing video can be found here (my YouTube channel):

I feel especially fortunate to be an Island Batik ambassador!

A HUGE shout out to Island Batik’s partners:

Studio 180
Hobbs Batting
Schmitz Needles

So fun!! I’m already making projects based off the amazing fabric and materials in my boxes!

Never Too Early Challenge

This month Island Batik has challenged the Ambassadors to use their fabrics to make something to celebrate the holidays at the end of the year. This was a seriously fun project for me!

You see last Christmas (or, actually, a couple weeks before) I realized I had promised my great nieces and nephews stockings. I had spent the 2019 Christmas holiday with them and HATED their store bought knitted stockings that I couldn’t get my hand into (and presents out of)! I had promised to make them something better. In November 2020 I put the petal to the metal and came up with 5 quilted stockings. FUN! (See earlier post.)

And addictive! I made the kids theirs and just kept going. First off using scraps then trying to order Christmas fabric online. A nearly impossible trick in December… you have to start in JULY!

I did manage to find some fabric and ordered it. I bought a 5” square pack of Island Batik and made some fun stockings. (I think I was channeling July’s challenge seven months early!)

2020 stockings

When this July’s challenge rolled around I was out of Christmas fabric but had some delicious scraps!

I spent the afternoon meandering through my scraps and fell in love with my colorway!

I put all my great Island Batik stockings together to compare them.

Well, that just made me think about what else I could make. I ran across a wine tote and decided to try out making a couple. After I tried a scrappy one I got serious and used left over star pattern from a quilt by Cindi McCracken.

I think these totes/caddies could be pretty addictive and a great gift to wrap a gift in.

Both the stockings and wine caddy are fun ways to use scraps (thank you, Island Batik!), scrap batt (Hobbs!) and practice quilting (using Aurifil and Schmetz, of course!).

It’s never too early to think about end of the year festivities… now maybe I need to make a couple totes for the Winter Solstice! I hope everyone is staying cool in these heat waves down south.

Happy sewing!

Spread Love and Joy with Accuquilt: June Island Batik Challenge!

This month’s challenge was FUN to do. Any time I get a chance I LOVE to make a quilt for an elder at the Chiniak Bay Elder House.

You see, years ago my mom, who had Alzheimer’s, was a resident of the Elder House at Providence in Kodiak. What I noticed that fellow residents would roll by her room and peek in and they often would slow down and look longingly at her quilts. About a year after her being an individual served by the Elder House they moved into the newly built Chiniak Bay Elder House. I went to the local guild and asked them to make quilts for all the 18 residents moving into the new facility. Of course, the response was overwhelming–yes! A quilt was made for each resident in colors they preferred and in a size (bed or throw) that they would use.

What I notice years later is that most men prefer blue and white quilts. I have made 1-2 quilt tops a year for any new residents and usually, in anticipation, in blue and white. The local guild, Kodiak bear Paw Quilter’s Guild, continues to support the effort to give each resident a quilt by paying for backing, batt and quilting for each top donated.

When Accuquilt threw down the Love and Joy Challenge I knew that I would use the blue and white Island Batik fabric I had to make a quilt to donate. I was given a Maple Leaf die in my January ambassador box and was asked to use an additional 8″ GO block to round out a quilt.

I had never used the GO! fabric cutter before but was all game to learn a new skill. The GO! Qube Mix & Match 8″ Block system is very clever. You pick the block you want to make, find the corresponding dyes, and make! I chose the Dutchman’s Puzzle block and began building a quilt top using Schmetz Needles in my Bernina and Aurifil thread:

I ended up with a VERY busy small quilt…

YIKES! That was too much and not enough! So, in order to expand the size and break up the pattern I added some “blanks”. Visually I also wanted to go from light to dark as well. I ended up putting it all together and immediately started sewing (forgetting to take a picture of the layout).

After a few borders and a quick picture session at the Chiniak Bay Elder House I felt like it was ready to hand over to a guild quilter to finish.

I have all the confidence in the world it will be well loved and used.

Quilt Modern Blog Hop!

May came quickly I am am SO EXCITED to share this month’s Island Batik Ambassador’s challenge! This month is all about the Modern quilt… This has always confounded me–What is modern? What makes a quilt “modern”? Am I doing it and I don’t know it or do I think I am doing it and I’m really not? I decided not to take a chance, learn a new technique and try something I have been avoiding. Avoiding because, like “modern”, the term “improv” is a little intimidating as well.

You see my Quilty best friends and I have our own challenge we are working on–which started back last October 2019 as the “10 in 12 Challenge.” It started out where we challenged each other to do 10 quilts in 12 months. We had 4 things that were “must dos”: Quilt for State or national show, self designed, improv, and start to finish (the whole thing by self) and the other quilts were from a list or our UFOs or whatever caught our fancy. This challenge has morphed into a 12 in 18 Challenge and, currently, a 14 in 24 Challenge. I think! I think my current count of quilts I have completed is 7:

• Simon’s postage stamp (scrap quilt) • Magical (kit/traditional) • Grandmother’s Flower Garden (a time killer) • Puff Quilt (start to finish) • A New Slant on Christmas (herringbone/holiday quilt) • i carry your heart (Poem/word quilt) and • IKAT diamond (gift quilt)

When I discovered the improv class by Carole Lyles Shaw called MidCentury Modern Curves Workshop, I signed up for it immediately back in January 2021. I had planned to do a modern quilt earlier in the year but when I saw May’s Island Batik Jewel Quest collection I knew when and where I would practice the new techniques! I have to say, through this very well planned and demonstrated video course I am confident that I would be able to do this technique again easily. Plus: Fun! I had fun!

I don’t want to go into any of the specific techniques or methodology as I think they belong to Carole and her course but I would encourage anyone to take this (or any other) Carole teaches. It makes you feel confident!

Once I completed the top and back (just wait!) I sent it off to my very good friend to longarm.

I asked her to “do something linear” to it… the quilting shows up well in these photos.

With binding on I marched off to take a few pictures. I am Regionally proud in these following pictures demonstrate that. I live on the second largest island in the United States. Kodiak is only number two to Hawaii. We have the largest bears in the world on our island–due to their rich salmon and deer diet. This statue is in front of the Kodiak Wildlife Refuge Visitor’s Center in Kodiak, Alaska and represents a bear you could find here. (for scale, my friend holding the quilt is 5′ 10″). Our bears are BIG.

Without the generous partners of Island Batik this quilt would be much more difficult to make. I used Aurifil thread in the piecing. I (always) used Schmetz needles. I also used Hobb’s batting! Thank you for your generosity!

Please check out the other Island Batik Ambassadors to see the new fabric collections and the fabulous modern quilts made with them.

May 3:

May 4:

May 5:

May 6:

May 7:

Blog Hop Round-Up Week 1 and Giveaway

May 10:

May 11:

May 12:

May 13:

May 14:

Blog Hop Round-Up Week 2 and Giveaway

May 17:

May 18:

May 19:

Fabric Giveaway on Island Batik’s Blog

The giveaway items over on the Island Batik Quilt Modern blog hop.

This weeks prizes include: a 2.5″ Strip Pack and 10″ Stack of Island Batik Glacier Bay collection by Kathy Engle (there will be 2 winners). Head over to this Quilt Modern Blog Hop post to get all of the details or enter below for a chance to win one of these precut sets from Island Batik. Good Luck!

It’s All Up to You April Challenge

WOW! It’s April already! Time for a new challenge. I am sure you have seen some of the other Island Batik Ambassador’s posts/blogs about what they have made for the It’s All Up to You Challenge. Let me tell you a story!

Years ago I lived part-time in the Lower 48. Montana to be exact. My mom had, years before, moved from Kansas back to Alaska and had left some of her personal possessions (including a table I made for her in High School). I knew I was moving completely back to Alaska and decided if that table was ever going to come home, I needed to drive down to Kansas to get it from my friend who was holding onto it for me. So, a 1500 mile trip. Well, never one to shrink from a road trip, I decided I wanted to sleep my first night on the road under the Dignity:of Earth and Sky statue located outside of Chamberlain, South Dakota. That was a fast 1000 mile drive. This statue is a beauty with her quilt flowing out behind her. I feel fortunate to have slept under her.

Inspired by the reverence that many Native Americans have for the Lone Star quilt I decided to sew one. The pattern I wanted to do is a quilt pattern by Sam Hunter Design Studio, Big Star Diamond. Now a thing I love about Sam Hunter is she is so pro-sewists! Her article “We Are Sew Worth It” as something I read years ago and it really brought home how important it is to educate those around you who don’t understand the cost of making a quilt. It has stuck with me. It also has reinforced, for me, how quilts are a labor of love.

The pattern is a traditionally pieced quilt. It’s a little different than a traditional Lone Star. Using 2 1/2″ strips there is more of a solid look to the star points. I used Aurifil 50 wt thread, appreciating a nice neutral gray. My Bernina is, as always, set up with Schmetz 70/10 Needle for all my piecing.

I decided to add in a black strip to set off the star (and so the tips didn’t disappear into the background. The background is one of Island Batik’s Foundation Neutrals called Buttermilk.

It turned out great–except my center! It was like a puffy little bra cup! OH, that won’t do… my scant 1/4″ was a little off. so I went to the center, performed a little “operation” by tearing it out and resewing it all.

Once she was all fixed up (and FLAT!) I added the boarders to this beauty.

Feeling much better about how flat she was now laying I pieced her backing and left her with my long arm friend, Martha. She used a pattern by Karlee Porter Design I had bought myself. I think Martha knocked it out of the park. The pattern is called Floral Garden.

I binded it using a scrappy binding left over from the 2 1/2″ strips pack it came from, Painted Blossoms, which was in my Island Batik Ambassador box back in January.

Stitching on the binding.

The weather cleared up a little today and I finally felt like I could get a good picture in the sunlight.

I love how it turned out!

Scrapbuster Challenge!

March’s Island Batik Ambassador’s challenge this month was to make a scrap quilt. Well, I have to say, I HAVE SOME ISLAND BATIK SCRAPS! I also want to assure you I love making scrap quilts and making MORE scraps!

I had been thinking about how to introduce different techniques or patterns and have been really trying to focus on voices that are less prevalent. This quilt pattern reminded me of my favorite quilt from my grandmother–see, it’s this crazy POLYESTER quilt that has not lost one shade of color in it in all the years I have had it. I searched everywhere but realized I don’t even have a quick snap of it anywhere and it is all packed up. The Puff Quilt, pattern explained by Lo and Behold Stitchery was also inspired by a quilt her grandmother made for her. It’s a spot on, fantastic pattern and it’s FREE!

My completed top.

I started this by cutting up 323 four and a half inch blocks AND 323 scrap blocks at four inches.

Now the “scrap” top is made by making little pockets. The pocket gets sewn on to other pockets and sewn up while getting stuffed. I used Aurifil 50 wt thread in light gray (2600). Even if a bit shows up here or there it really doesn’t stand out being such a nice neutral which gets “hidden” in the colored fabrics. I also ALWAYS have Schmetz 70/10 Needles in my Bernina. They are my go to as they leave such a nice tiny hole in batiks (which have a tighter weave)–these needles just slide in and are so smooth.

The rows are also sewn together. It is a SUPER HEAVY quilt that is cuddly and, honestly we (my cats and I) used it on the bed before I actually put the batt and back on!

I started to kick it into gear this weekend and I set up the quilt sandwich and, with my cats totally getting in the way, pinned the quilt together.

Once pinned I tied it. Tying involves systematically hand stitching in a bit of thread or yarn and tying a knot to keep the top together. Now, the tying is a total nod to my grandma–she often tied her quilts.

Once it was all tied I followed Lo and Behold stitchery’s suggestion about trimming the batt and back, snipping out the batt, flipping the edge over and stitching it down. I had never done that before (another trick my grandma did!) and loved how easy it was.

I finished it all just last evening–too late to take a picture but slept sound under it finally complete! I dragged it outside to get a quick picture in the rain this afternoon! I love it!

A word quilt!

Well, it was a great weekend for another #10in12challenge / #12in18challenge. In an earlier post I described my sew sisters and I came up with a challenge for ourselves–to increase our skills, to do quilts we have never attempted, and to challenge ourselves in 12 months with 10 projects. The Covid pandemic started and we decided to expand to 12 quilts in 18 months… well these were my first finishes.

Today I get to add to my finished tops with a word quilt! It takes the form of a verse from e.e. cumming’s poem [i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]. Here are some pictures of the project…

On Valentine’s Day I decided to wrap it up! Here is my finished top:

Create for a Cause

Island Batik’s February challenge is to make a quilt for a cause.

I started this challenge nearly at the beginning of January, as I had to get it to the long arm quilter. I was lucky enough that I had be in isolation all Christmas vacation and my super great friend, Tina, who had been in remote Alaska for a couple weeks, came home and we were able to sew together before I had to go back to school. We had not been able to get together, without masks, and in close proximity since August! It was wonderful gift–to sew with my friend.

I chose a great pattern by Latifah Saafir: Clam Toss. I also used her 8″ clamshell acrylic to cut it out. It was a fun, easy pattern that I used the fabric collection, Melody by Claudia Pheil of Claudia Pheil Design for Island Batik. I used Schmetz Needles (70/10 for all my piecing!). I love how sharp they are—leaving the tiniest stitching hole. I also ALWAYS us Aurifil 50 wt thread for all my piecing.

My great friend, Martha Branson of Compass Rose Quilting, put it all together and quilted an all over pattern to complement the clamshell pattern. I had Martha quilt with Hobbs Heirloom cotton Batt. It’s just buttery soft!

The quilt all bound looked like this:

I had originally wanted to donate this quilt to an organization who are working on the human rights crisis of Missing and Missing Indigenous Women. Which is a huge problem in Canada and Alaska (as well as other US States). According to Wikipedia “In the US, Native American women are more than twice as likely to experience violence than any other demographic. One in three Native women is sexually assaulted during her life, and 67% of these assaults are perpetrated by non-Natives. The federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was reauthorized in 2013, which for the first time gave tribes jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute felony domestic violence offenses involving both Native American and non-Native offenders on reservations. In 2019, the Democratic House passed H.R. 1585 (Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019) by a vote of 263–158, which increases tribes’ prosecution rights much further. However, in the Republican Senate, its progress has stalled. Law enforcement, journalists, and activists in Indigenous communities in both the US and Canada have fought to bring awareness to the connection between sex traffickingsexual harassmentsexual assault, and the women who go missing and are murdered.”

As a lifelong Alaskan I have seen the need for strong, well funded programs that focus on supporting women/children’s safety. Many programs still have to do much fundraising to make full good budgets that support their mission. It is with this in mind that I choose to support the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center.

This quilt will be donated to:

Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center Mission Statement:

The Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center (AKNWRC) is dedicated to strengthening local, tribal government’s responses through community organizing efforts advocating for the safety of women and children in their communities and homes, especially against domestic and sexual abuse and violence. Through the voices, languages, and teachings of tribes, survivors and advocates, and in partnership with our allies and other stakeholders, the AKNWRC provides a voice at the local, statewide, national and international levels for life-saving changes needed in laws, policies, and social norms. The Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center envisions our Tribal women, communities and families free from violence, healing the trauma and utilizing the wisdom of our ancestors to create effective community/Tribal responses to domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, trafficking, sexual assault, and related injustices.

What We They Do and How They Do It (from an Indigenous based view)

* Develop training and technical assistance tools and other resources with villages based on our curriculum and village-specific needs assessments. * Empower tribes and strengthen local responses to domestic violence.Increase access to resources including access to tribal protection orders. * Create public awareness materials such as webinars, social media, toolkits, and fact sheets to bring attention to domestic and gender-based violence including sexual assault, sex trafficking, and missing and murdered Indigenous women. * Identify and remove system barriers for the purpose of improving access within villages to victim services. * Organize an annual Unity Meeting Pre-Alaska Federation of Natives * Provide information and legislative and policy updates at the NCAI VAW Task Force and the Alaska Tribal Caucus.

This week, you can win either a 10” Stack or a 2-1/2” Strip pack from the Mystery collection designed by Claudia Pfeil. Use the Rafflecopter below to enter. The giveaway ends February 12th at 11:59 PM PST. The winner will be notified via email on February 13th and announced February 16th. If the winners do not respond within two days of being notified, two new random winners will be chosen.

A Stack or Strip of Mystery by Claudia Pfeil)

Please check out Island Batik’s Blog for giveaway entry

For my own Blog giveaway I will randomly select a person who comments below on/about February 18th and send the 35 “extra” blocks I have left over from cutting out the quilt. These were cut using Latifah Saafir’s 8″ Clammy. Please check out my fellow Ambassador’s blogs–there are some amazing quilts and Causes.

I used Island Batik’s great fabric in this quilt. Aurifil thread was used to piece this quilt. Schmetz Needles are ALWAYS in my machine and I used their 70/10s everyday, all day. I used Hobbs Heirloom Premium Cotton Batting in it.

See schedule below

February 1:

February 2:

February 3:

February 4:

February 5:

Blog Hop Round-Up Week 1 and Giveaway

February 8:

February 9:

February 10:

February 11:

February 12:

Blog Hop Round-Up Week 2 and Giveaway

February 15:

February 16:

February 17:

February 18:

Island Batik Ambassador 2021 unboxing!

One of the fun requirements of being an Island Batik Ambassador is “unboxing” and showing the amazing fabric, batt, threads, notions and tools that will be available for the monthly challenges January through June. I did this on my phone and I really have to say–I’m like a monkey with a piece of glass–I think I kept making faces and then tried to not make faces–it’s a little rough! :)

I live in a tiny house with a HUGE view. Here are the two boxes Island Batik sent me in my Kitchen/Living room/Work area/kitty area/kitchen table.

I have learned A LOT from watching my Sew Sister’s videos–and now know what to do to make the next one better! (I was going to write “Fellow Ambassadors” but… what’s the female form of “fellow”?! Is “fellow” gender neutral? It doesn’t feel like it.)

In addition to Island Batik, I would like to thank:

Placemat Challenge

My January challenge for Island Batik is a placemat challenge.

I am taking an on demand Mid-century Modern quilt class from Carole Lyle Shaw and had originally planned to make my placemats using some of her techniques but the more I got into the class the more I decided to use the technique in a later planned quilt. I just want to go on record as recommending this class–she goes over some great ideas, techniques, and consideration when/how to use different colored fabrics.

The first set of placemats is from a pattern called Release the Geese by Sarah Bond (@slbphilly on Instagram). I took this awesome class last summer and she gave us patterns to make copies of so I got to thinking about combining to make fun placemats. Sarah Bond’s classes are easy to find if you subscribe to her Instagram or go to @quiltfest and check out the shows/online classes. F. U. N. I’d love to take her mini geese class someday…

I used the technique I use to make Double Wedding Ring quarter blocks. In this whole “trying to figure this out” as I worked I decided to use Latifa Saafir’s 12″ Clammy acrylic I have to make the “melon” in the center… I eyeballed it and it worked AMAZINGLY well!

Once together I made a second one in greens using the same . Both placemats used the “stash builders” (four 5″ strips of various fabrics) the backgrounds are Island Batik’s foundations fabrics. I used some of the great black that was sent in my Island Batik boxes I got at the beginning of the month both as backing and as binding once I quilted the placemats.

Ok full disclosure: I’m a singleton. I also live in a tiny house. My placemats don’t have to match I only use one at a time. 🤣

That being said I also wanted to make some New York Beauty blocks into asymmetrical placemats. I have HUNDREDS of NYB block patterns. Seriously, it’s almost a problem how much I love them… many are of unknown origins (out of magazines) but several of these 1/4 blocks are from Tobacco Shed Quilts off and the double flying geese is from Carl Henstch (on Instagram as @3dogdesignco).

The fabric bundle I used to make my NYB placemats was one of the AMAZING colorways Island Batik posted back in December. I could not stop myself from buy a fat quarter bundle of Floralicious and now I am so glad I did–I love how these turned out. Again, I backed them with some of the black fabric Island Batik sent.

I used needles from Schmetz–which I love and ALWAYS use in my machine. I also was happy to use some of the great colored 50wt thread that Aurifil sent. I am crazy for their neutral grey and use it without fail for piecing but have a fairly limited amount of colored threat so it was SUPER generous of them to include several spools in my box from Island Batik.

This was a fun way to ease into the new year and I am looking forward to more quilt adventures!