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.
The weather cleared up a little today and I finally felt like I could get a good picture in the sunlight.
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!
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!
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:
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 RepublicanSenate, 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 trafficking, sexual harassment, sexual 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.
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.
* 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.
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.
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 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:
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 Etsy.com 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!
I am thrilled to announce I was selected to be an Island Batik Ambassador this year! What is that you ask? Well, let me tell you… It’s an awesome monthly challenge for me involving small projects and large using Island Batik fabric. They also have some fantastic partners–Aurifil, Hobbs Batting, AccuQuilt, Schmetz needles, and more! This is going to be an exciting year… I’m already working on January and February’s challenges so stay tuned!
Last year I spent Christmas with my niece and five great nieces and great nephews. To my everlasting shame they had terrible stockings that were bought at the store that were knitted but an adult could not get their hand into. Additionally, the gifts kept getting caught in the yarn in the inside. They were terrible. I promised the kids that I would make them stockings to replace the really unfriendly mass produced stockings they had.
You see, my mom, their great grandmomma was an amazing knitter and had made each of us stockings that we have had since we were all little kids. The great grandbabies started showing up well into her decline into Alzheimer’s–they never knew her or her knitted gifts. Time to take up the mantle.
Well, about two weeks ago I remembered my promise from last Christmas and I borrowed a pattern from my super great friend and fellow quilt sister, Martha. I ordered fabric but it got all caught up in crazy shipping issues so I hit my fabric stash…
So began the quilted stocking mania! I started with the baby’s.
Then I got all inspired by Ingrid Alteneder from JoeJuneandMae. Her blog about stockings is so motiving! Read it here. I completely love her stocking (mostly the clamshell) but definitely something worth emulating! While I am a very dedicated quilter I am not much of a hand quilter… give me a machine and an idea then WATCH OUT!
Once I made Norman’s I was HOOKED! I have twin great nieces who love pink and purple. The deal is these girls are identical and often swap preferences and (except the freckles) are hard to tell apart! Stockings followed for Ellie and Mika.
The older kids were much easier to figure stockings for!
My oldest great nephew LOVES being a big brother to a little brother so I made his a stocking that match color-wise his little brother.
Whew! I felt great as I dropped them in a box with a big bag of candy and sent it off to the kids for Christmas night.
Here are all of them hanging!
The problem I am having is that I CANNOT STOP making stockings now. They are so satisfying to design and make!
The beauty of these stockings is just how satisfying they are. Little mini quilts each! I get to practice stitching in the ditch, free motion quilting, straight-line quilting… the possibilities are endless! Plus, this is a fun way to use up little orphan blocks! Quick, turn up the Christmas music, time for me to get busy!
Back in April I had decided to make a Calavera Quilt for my brother. I picked up a GREAT Pattern from Kelly Fox’s Etsy store. Her quilt is just so amazing! It was fun to make and it turned out just so nicely! What an excellent pattern. I learned a lot about making this quilt.
Sadly, in an act of arson, his house was burned down and his pets died in the fire in April. This quilt ended up being just about his only possession for a while.
The thing about my brother is that in his heart he believes himself to be Mexican. No one can convince him otherwise. Which is funny because he’s not but, I thought this would be the best quilt for him.
I could not get this pattern out of my head though. I love stretching my skills so I found a cross stitch pattern and plotted out a sugar skull quilt for myself.
Although it’s more of a Dia de los Muertos quilt than a Thanksgiving quilt, I work in the time I have. This week I put it all together, finishing it today!
Since I have a little more time before the Thanksgiving holiday is up, on to unfinished projects… tomorrow!
A few of the things I really love doing is making graduation quilts for people, or baby quilts for new babies, or quilts for elders. This has been the summer/fall of making double wedding rings though. Mainly co-workers were getting married and I wanted to make a couple little gifts and stretch my skills a little.
Most recently my former principal’s daughter came to work for the same school district her mom taught in. She is now an OT and newly married (right before the pandemic). It is so lovely to see her! I had most of the arcs made. I threw together this in about five days, my friend Martha quilted it and it was given in about a week. I really like how it turned out.