Aurifil’s Endangered Species Challenge

This month’s challenge is about an amazing thread program Aurifil has been doing this past year. The focus of the program is highlighting endangered animals by challenging sewists to paper piece an endangered animal and using 3 coordinating threads to quilt the mini quilt. Great way to highlight right?

I was challenged to use the tread related to the Pink Land Iguana.

Information from the Galapagos Conservation Trust stated “One of Galapagos’ most recently described species is also one of its genetically oldest. Pink iguanas are not just a different colour from other land iguanas; they are a completely separate species. There are only around 200 left, and they are confined to the slopes of Wolf Volcano on Isabela, making them one of the most vulnerable species in Galapagos, as the volcano is still active.”

I started to get curious… Pink animals? Like, how many can there be?? (I could only think of flamingos off the top of my head.) If there are some pink animals, are they endangered as well? I started my Google searching… and what I found was there are A LOT of pink animals out there! Sadly many are endangered or on the brink of extinction.

I started to look around at the number of extinctions that happen every year and some studies, cited by the World Wildlife Fund, indicate that between .01 and .1 percent of all species go extinct yearly, which doesn’t seem like many–only if there are 2,000,000 different species worldwide (scientist don’t actually know the numbers of species we have as we keep discovering new ones) that means between 200 and 2000 animal species go extinct annually. Which, again, doesn’t seem like many unless you consider extinct means GONE FOREVER. The other thing to consider is that, unlike the past, we–PEOPLE–are responsible for the mass extinction occurring now.

I decided that since Aurifil is highlighting the Pink Land Iguana to bring up a level of awareness that I would highlight another pink animal. I found a page on that highlighted 14 different pink animals that are endangered. From the birds to bugs to sea animals it took my breath away the first time I read the article… I found it to be so sad! However, it also inspired me to focus on another interesting animal–the pink Amazon dolphin!

The problem with making a block with the Pink Amazon dolphin is there were no quilt blocks I could find–so what to do? Appliqué? Paper piecing? Traditional piecing? Finding a pattern was hard so I decided to make my own… easier said then done–I pulled some paper piecing patterns and tried to elongate the nose and “square up” the body. Nothing looked right or represented the shape of the Amazon dolphin. Then along came a pattern… like a tiny miracle. Elizabeth Hartman came out with Rainbow Rainforest and one of the blocks, in this traditionally pieced pattern, was an AMAZON DOLPHIN!

It was time to get busy! My Bernina was set up with Schmetz needles and Aurifil thread:

My trusty pattern guides me as I piece my block together.

The prep is really easy in this pattern as it works through each fabric needed and size to cut and teaches you to label each for ease of construction.

Once pieced I decided to quilt the heck out of it and then turn it into a pillow cover using Hobbs Batting:

The way I like to do my pillow covers is to create a “pocket” cover.

Once completed and stuffed, I snapped a quick picture:

This was a SUPER fun project to illustrate a great cause and the tread to hold it all together!

As always a huge thank you to:

Please check out my co-Island Batik Ambassadors:

By Annie Bag Challenge

As days get shorter in Alaska, the temperature starts to drop, it is colder, the fall storms start, and in a regular year we would start moving our outdoor gatherings to more indoor activities. It would be a time to start considering retreats and sewing at friend’s homes.

This, again, is not a regular year. It’s time to start checking with friends about vaccinations, about how comfortable they feel with and without masks, AND THEN making plans to sew together! Hopefully, you all are vaccinated and so is your friend and family bubble. For me, working with the main group of unvaccinated, 3 to 11 year olds, I am super cautious about where I go, who I see, what I do. After having been so careful for over a year and a half, being vaccinated, and then casually getting Covid, I see how easily it can be passed and how important it is to protect each other. As I look to gathering with friends I am excited to have this challenge under my belt… AND in my hands!

September’s Island Batik Challenge just happens to be to make a bag from a By Annie pattern. For me the selection of a pattern was super easy! I was excited to make a Ultimate Travel 2.0 bag so I could drag around my sewing machine.

Now this isn’t the first bag I’ve made, but I have to say, the pattern was so NICE and easy to follow–especially with the video support that it was a JOY to make. I also cannot get past HOW LOVELY Soft and Stable is. It make making this bag SO EASY! To say I am sold on using it from here on out is an understatement! I pledge to use it EVERY TIME!

Island Batik asked us to pick fabrics in order to complete. In my case I needed a main fabric, a lining fabric and an accent fabric. I selected from Fancy Feathers, which has rich beautiful jewel tones, for my main fabrics and pool for my accent fabric from Island Batik foundations.

The first step was quilting my fabric on to the Soft and Stable and cutting the correct size for the construction. The beauty of quilting both outside and inside at the same time is multifold: my lining fabric stays where I put it, it looks so professional, and it all doesn’t get misplaced as I work!

Once all the major bag sections were quilted, measured and cut I moved on to making the accent pieces–the handles, the straps, the pockets, and placing the zippers.

After watching a few By Annie videos I feel like I was well educated to begin the construction on this bag. I was worried (although I later understood I had no reason to be) that this bag would be hard to put together–it’s a little large and I was concerned about joining all the bits together. HOW WRONG I WAS! It was a SNAP! It felt like it flew together.

The joining all the front and back to the center piece was so easy! I was really impressed how well the big gentle curves sewed together and my bag turned out GREAT!

It is the PERFECT size for my 350 Bernina–all the bits and pieces fit nicely in and I actually have some room to spare. I am ready for getting together with my bubble to sew!

This Ultimate Travel 2 bag was made possible by By Annie and Island Batik. I was so impressed with the pattern and Soft and Stable I ended up making a second bag for my other 350 Bernina! I am ever so grateful for this fun bag making opportunity.

P.S. I did end up running up to Anchorage last weekend for a doctor appointment and took it along. I was a great bag for a quick run to Costco to get a few things. Here it is, in the wilds of the Anchorage airport!

Try a Tool: Studio 180 Design

This month’s challenge was to use at least one of Deb Tucker’s tools and a new fabric collection to make a fun quilt.

I was sent the Midnight Dazzle collection in my July Island Batik Ambassador box. This BEAUTIFUL fabric collection spoke to me immediately—I love some bright jewel tones!

I was also lucky enough to get the Split Rects tool. I own some of the Deb Tucker quilt patterns and have been meaning to do a few of her patterns for a while. (Don’t we all have one or two!?)

My sew sister, Tina, just happened to have several of Deb Tucker’s tools and a couple patterns. As I was rummaging through her ruler organizer, I decided to borrow her Deb Tucker’s Corner Pop tool and make a baby sized Fiesta quilt. The fabric seemed to be a perfect match for this project.

Deb also had a really GREAT video about how to use the Split Rects tool where she demonstrates how to use if you’re right handed or left handed. The video really helped me see the potential of this great tool. I can’t wait to create more quilts using it!

This quilt started off fairly fast and easy. I love “spinning” the lumps out by pressing the blocks in the same direction. It makes everything lay down so nicely.

And I worked quickly through the pattern using all the fabrics for this project. I was given two coordinating blues from Island Batik that I decided to incorporate into the quilt.

Background and border.

I used the lighter fabric, Rain, as the background and I elected to set off the border on the quilt by using the darker coordinating blue, Waterfall.

I felt an urgency to complete this quilt ASAP and I wasn’t sure why.

While I was working on this project a tragedy struck. In Canada in a tiny town named Lytton, there was a wildfire that raced through their town leveling it in about 15 minutes. I knew why I was working so hard to complete this baby quilt!

I used the Hobbs Tuscany 100% Wool Batting that was sent in July.

A call went out from Katja Marek in Kamloops, BC, Canada over Instagram, they were asking for quilt donations for the homeless residents of Lytton. I went to the Kodiak Bear Paw Quilters guild and urged them to donate to our Canadian neighbors. When it was all said and done the guild donated over 15 quilts to them. I was so happy to include the baby sized Fiesta quilt in one of the donation boxes!

This quilt would not of been possible without the Split Rects tool from Deb Tucker’s Studio 180 Design, Hobbs Batting, Aurifil thread, Schmetz Needles, Island Batik, and my trusty Bernina!

Don’t forget to enter this week’s Island Batik giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also check out my sister ambassadors:

August 10:

Mania Hatzioannidi, Mania for Quilts
Gail Sheppard, Quilting Gail 

August 11:

Elizabeth DeCroos, Epida Studio
Preeti Harris, Sew Preeti Quilts

August 12:

Emily Leachman, The Darling Dogwood
Jennifer Thomas, Curlicue Creations

August 16:

Pamela Boatright, Pamela Quilts
Gail Renna, Quilt Haven Threads

August 17:

Denise Looney, For the Love of Geese
Sally Manke, Sally Manke Fiber Artist

August 18:

Brianna Roberts, Sew Cute and Quirky
Suzy Webster, Websterquilt 

August 19:

Jennifer Eubank, Archipelago Quilting
Jennifer Fulton, Inquiring Quilter

August 23:

Jane Hauprich, Stitch by Stitch Custom Quilting
Maryellen McAuliffe, Mary Mack Made Mine

August 24:

Megan Best, Bestquilter
Janet Yamamoto, Whispers of Yore

August 25:

Claudia Porter, Create with Claudia
Michelle Roberts, Creative Blonde

August 26:

Leah Malasky, Quilted Delights
Andi Stanfield, True Blue Quilts

August 30:

Joanne Hart, Unicorn Harts
Connie Kauffman, Kauffman Designs

A HUGE thank you to:

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: