July 27, 2019

Island Batik Ambassador Box 2 for 2019

It was just like Christmas in July when the second Island Batik ambassador arrived! Oh, how I love getting a great big box of fabric, all of which is a surprise to me until I open it 😊 To be clear, everything in this box was given to me by Island Batik and their industry partners as part of the Island Batik ambassador program. Each month I create something with the supplies I've been given in these boxes. I love being an Island Batik ambassador!

You can watch my unboxing video or you can just keep scrolling to see the pictures.
First up, here's a beautiful creamy neutral that I know will go with pretty much anything. This is called Milkshake.
Island Batik ambassador box | DevotedQuilter.com
Island Batik solids are made on the same base fabric as the printed fabrics and I love working with them. Again in this box, we ambassadors have been given yardage of black, white and grey. This is great because I was getting low on these 😊
Island Batik ambassador box | DevotedQuilter.com
This 2 ½" strip set is from the line "Little Sir, Little Miss" and I have yardage of two of the prints. Aren't these chunky numbers fabulous?
Island Batik fabrics | DevotedQuilter.com
This line is "Garden Party" and is a fabulous rainbow. And just look at those strawberries 😋 I'm still waiting for the strawberries in my backyard to ripen, but these ones look good enough to eat.
Island Batik fabrics | DevotedQuilter.com
This fat quarter bundles is called "Geared Up" and has such great graphic prints. I love the neutral palette, too, with the browns, greys and black.
Island Batik fabrics | DevotedQuilter.com
Then there were two gorgeous bundles of Foundations. I love all of the Foundations line and it makes me happy to add these ones to my Island Batik stash.
Island Batik fabrics | DevotedQuilter.com
Island Batik fabrics | DevotedQuilter.com
 Hobb's Batting sent three packages of batting - wool, wool/cotton bend and 100% cotton.
Hobb's batting | DevotedQuilter.com
Aurifil sent me two colours of 50 wt thread, both of which coordinate beautifully with the Garden Party line.
Aurifil thread | DevotedQuilter.com
And Accuquilt sent me the Crossed Canoes Block-on-Board die, which is going to be fun to use.
Accuquilt die | DevotedQuilter.com
Doesn't Island Batik spoil their ambassadors?? There are always so many fun things included in the box that it's hard to know what to use first!

July 21, 2019

Geese and Flowers - July Island Batik Ambassador Project

Note, the fabric, batting and some of the thread for this project were given to me by Island Batik and their industry partners as part of the Island Batik ambassador program.

The Island Batik ambassador challenge for July is called "Artsy-Fartsy" and we were asked to make an art quilt using Island Batik fabrics and three different Aurifil thread weights, providing at least three pictures to show how the threads were used. Well, I have no problem using Island Batik fabrics or different weights of Aurifil thread and, as you'll see, providing three pictures is no problem. But the art quilt part definitely had me stumped. In the end, I'm not really convinced anyone would call my little mini "artsy-fartsy," but it is kind of cute, so we'll go with that 😊
geese and flowers mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
While I was piecing the July block for the Monthly Colour Challenge, hosted by Jen of Patterns by Jen, I was also contemplating what I would make for this project. I decided I could piece some kind of a simple background and then add flowers to it somehow (you can see how specific I was being). But what would I piece for the background? That's when I looked at what was in my hands and thought "this would work!"

With all the amazing fabric Island Batik has sent me over the last two years, it wasn't at all hard to find a couple of bright colours that would coordinate with the aquas I had used to piece the block. Then the question was, would I find Aurifil threads in different weights that coordinated with the fabrics? My Aurifil stash isn't nearly as extensive as my IB stash, but I was pleasantly surprised to find exactly what I wanted.

To make the flowers, I traced around a glass to give myself a guideline, then free motion quilted the basic petal shape. Maybe I should call it free motion embroidery at this point, since it was only the one layer of fabric. For the pink flowers I used Aurifil 1200 in 40 wt. I love the subtle variation in colour in this fabric, which is left over from my Murrina quilt.
free motion embroidery | DevotedQuilter.com
I used Aurifloss in 6722 to hand embroider random short lines to create the flower centers. I tried french knots first, but they were too bulky looking so I switched to the random lines.  Then I roughly cut out the flowers.
flower embroidery by hand and machine | DevotedQuilter.com
Since it was only one layer of fabric, with no stabilizer or interfacing, the stitching made the flower curl a bit, which is exactly what I had been hoping would happen. See how nicely the 40 wt thread and the Aurifloss sit on top of the fabric?
flower embroidery by hand and machine | DevotedQuilter.com
At this point, I set the flower aside and went back to the block. I basted it, using Hobb's 100% cotton batting and another aqua Island Batik fabric for the back and then I stared at it for a while. How should I quilt it? I was making this whole process up as I went along, remember, with no idea what would be coming next. I started off by using Aurifil 5005 in 50 wt to outline the flying geese and then went back and added back and forth lines to them. Then I used 5005 in 12 wt for some big stitch hand quilting around their edges.
free motion quilting in flying geese | DevotedQuilter.com
Then I added the flowers, stitching inside each petal and around the flower center with the same thread I had used already. 40 wt 1200 for the pink flowers
free motion flower embroidery | DevotedQuilter.com
and 28 wt 2430 for the purple ones. This was my first time using the 28 wt thread, so I checked out Aurifil's recommendations before starting. They recommend a denim needle and using 50 wt thread in the bobbin, which worked perfectly. This purple fabric was one of the 5" strips included in my box back at the beginning of the year and I love how rich it is.
free motion embroidery and quilting | DevotedQuilter.com
Just look at how much thicker the 28 wt looks compared to the 40 wt, with the Aurifloss being even thicker again.
free motion flower embroidery | DevotedQuilter.com
The flowers are not attached right to the edges of the petals, so they retain the slight curl from the initial round of stitching, giving the mini quilt a fun 3D element.
geese and flowers mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
geese and flowers mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
 I finished off the quilting by using 2311 in 50 wt to quilt a simple stipple in the background, lifting each of the flower edges as needed so I could stitch under them just a little. Here's how it all looks on the back, with some triangle hanging tabs and my label.
geese and flowers mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
free motion quilting in flying geese | DevotedQuilter.com
I took the mini for a walk on a local trail to get these pictures and along the way I found this perfectly painted rock placed just off the trail.
geese and flowers mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
 My little Geese and Flowers mini quilt seems right at home among the lupines, don't you think?
geese and flowers mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
Here are all the threads I used - 50 wt (2311 and 5005), 40 wt (1200), 28 wt (2430), 12 wt (5005) and Aurifloss (6722).
Aurifil threads at different weights | DevotedQuilter.com
While it may not be worthy of being called an art quilt, I did have fun playing around to make my Geese and Flowers mini quilt 😊 Have you ever made an art quilt?

July 11, 2019

New Life in Make Modern

I have another quilt in the newest issue of Make Modern magazine, which is now available. Have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy working with the ladies at Make Modern? All three of them (Kristy, Lara and Jane) are wonderful 😊 I love that they keep including my quilts in their beautiful magazine.
New Life quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
My quilt in this issue is New Life, so called because it gives new life to old jeans 😊 It's not very often I'm trendy, but upcycling old clothes is very on trend right now and I just happen to have a whole closet full of old jeans.
New Life quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I also have an overabundance of scraps of quilting fabric and New Life makes good use of them, too. I used a little bit of everything in this quilt - fabrics from Northcott (including the solid white background), Island Batik, Me + You, plus plenty of others I've had since before I started paying attention to who made which fabrics.
New Life quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
It doesn't actually take many pairs of jeans to cut out all of the pieces, but I wanted lots of variety in the colour of the denim, so I used a lot. Plus, some were from when my boys were really little, with the knees out, which meant I didn't get many pieces from those pairs. It felt great to use the denim for something, rather than just throwing out those unwearable jeans.

I cut out the applique pieces with my new Midnight Edition tailor's shears from LDH Scissors. These scissors are gorgeous and *so* sharp!
New Life quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
Just watch how easily they cut right through the seam on a pair of jeans. My old scissors couldn't cut through that seam at all.
I used Warm and Natural batting and backed the quilt with the same solid white Northcott. The quilting shows up really well in person, but it was soooo hard to photograph! It didn't help that the sun was going down so shadows were unavoidable.
New Life quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I didn't stitch around the applique pieces until it was time to quilt them. With hundreds of pieces, stitching around them only once made this much faster to finish. I considered using fusible web to attach the flower pieces, but I didn't want the extra stiffness that gives a quilt, especially since the denim is already thicker than quilting cotton and I wanted the quilt to stay as soft as possible. Instead, I just glued them in place using a washable glue stick and hoped they'd stay in place until I could quilt them, which they did (mostly). I did have to re-glue a piece here and there, but it wasn't bad at all. And the quilt is wonderfully soft!

I used Aurifil thread in three colours to quilt the flowers - 2692 for the black flower centers and the darker petals, 2600 for the lighter petals and 2780 for the in-between ones. I quilted just inside each of the applique shapes, with the intention that the denim will fray over time and soften those edges. You can already see that the edges frayed even as I was working on the quilt.
New Life quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
 I quilted quick dot to dot continuous curves using 2600 in the triangles. Then I quilted the background with 2024 and a meandering loop and flower design that was so much fun to stitch.

This brick retaining wall has become a favourite place for me to take pictures. You can see it in my Dresden placemats, Churn baby quilt and Blowing in the Wind posts. Good thing the owners of the property don't mind me draping quilts over their wall!
New Life quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I finished putting the binding on right after supper a couple of days before the quilt was due to Make Modern, and right before a forecasted stretch of bad weather. I immediately called my friend, Michelle, to see if she was available to help with the photography (like, right now!) and enlisted Zach to help, too. We were out the door less than half an hour after the last stitch went into the binding, lol. Michelle's son came along, too, so the two boys held the quilt while I took pictures and Michelle gave directions. It worked out really well and we were able to get these pictures before the sun got too low.
New Life quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
You can get Make Modern, issue 29 here. Or, sign up for a subscription, either for 6 months or 12 months, and I am sure you won't regret it. And, if you'd like to see everything Make Modern has ever published, you can get an All Access Subscription, which gives you access to all of the previous 28 issues with a 12 month subscription going forward.

I love a good scrappy quilt and New Life is definitely that. Do you have a closet full of old jeans you could turn into a quilt?

I'm linking with TGIFF, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop and Beauties Pageant.

July 10, 2019

Bloomers in Pre-Cut Patchwork magazine

I made this quilt back in December, so I'm excited to finally get to share it with you! This is Bloomers, a cute little 12" square mini that was so much fun to make. It's in the July/August issue of Pre-Cut Patchwork, which is now available.
Bloomers mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
This was the first quilt I made with Island Batik's Blossom line. I've since made two more, so you know I love the colours and prints of this line. The other quilts I've made are Sparkler and Blowing in the Wind.

I've always loved raw edge applique, especially when it's flowers. I did a zig zag stitch around each flower and flower center using Aurifil thread in colours that were as close to matching as I could get with what I had. I used 4030 on the purple, 2530 on the pink and 5006 on the teals.
Bloomers mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
Just FYI, basting a 12" mini quilt takes almost no time at all! I used Warm and Natural batting and backed it with the same Island Batik cream that I used for the background. Then it was time for the quilting and when it's a 12" mini, I don't even try to make myself quilt bigger. I just embrace my love for tiny quilting and go to town with it. After all, even tiny quilting doesn't take long when the whole quilt is only 12" 😊 I started with a quick swirl in each flower center, then a row of stitching around the center and inside each flower petal, all in the same matching colours I used for the zig zag stitching.
Bloomers mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I switched to 2311 and stitched around the perimeter of the flowers and then tried to recreate the swirly-vine type design that is on a couple of the prints, though apparently I didn't take a good close up picture of it.

I do have pictures of the back, though, and I love how the quilting looks on the back. I think I say that every time, but it's always true 😊
Bloomers mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
Since it's only the quilting that shows on the back, the flowers feel more informal and relaxed to me.
Bloomers mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
Bloomers mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I've said before that I have a hard time naming my quilts. I sent this one in with the name Flower Ring. Not very imaginative, I know. However, I do like it better than Bloomers, which is how it has been named in the magazine. I don't know about you, but I can remember as a kid hearing women's underwear referred to as bloomers, so that was immediately what I thought of when I saw the layout with the quilt name 😆
Bloomers mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
You can find this issue of Pre-Cut Patchwork on magazine stands now and when you look through it, keep an eye out for the two other quilts in the issue made with Island Batik fabrics, one in gorgeous black and white and the other a fun riot of colour.

My mini is currently on its way back to me and I'm looking forward to seeing it again soon.

July 02, 2019

2019 Mid-Year Goal Review

I can't believe we're more than halfway through 2019! In fact, I almost missed the opportunity to do a mid-year review because it didn't even occur to me until today that it was time for it. Let's do a quick check up on where I am with my goals for the year, shall we?

1. Finish the first responder quilts!!

Check, check and double check! Oh, it feels good to be able to say this one is done 😊 You can read all about the big finish here.
first responder quilts | DevotedQuilter.com
2. Participate in the OMG link ups to finish up some WIPs.

Hmmm, well, I started out strong on this one. I linked for the first few months of the year, but then I lost the momentum. That being said, I've mostly been working on deadline quilts the last few months, so that hasn't left a lot of room for those WIPs. Maybe I'll get back to them??

3. Host a QAL 😃

Check! The Medallion Magic QAL is still ongoing and I'd love to have you join in! Here's my Island Batik version made during the QAL. I haven't started quilting it yet, or decided how I'm going to quilt it, but I'm hoping inspiration strikes soon.
Medallion Magic quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
4. Have a table at our local spring craft fair.

Well, I did this one, but it certainly wasn't a rousing success. I sold two patterns during the whole craft fair. Whomp, whomp, whomp. I am undecided about whether I'll try again in a larger craft fair. I've also reached out about possibly having a table at a quilt show, but I don't know if/when that will happen.

5. Get organized!

I think I'll declare this one 'sort of'. I have started using a bulletin board to keep myself on top of things and I do find it helps.
quilting organization | DevotedQuilter.com
I've found space for my patterns and the plastic bags for them, so that's good for now...though as I add more patterns I'll need a larger space. The fabric, notions and tools, on the other hand, are only marginally more organized than they were before the year began. I'm trying to work on decluttering the house over our summer break, so hopefully that will make it possible for me to see options other than the current "shoved wherever I can find room" arrangement. It's still hard to convince myself to work on decluttering when I could be sewing, though.

That's how the year is going for me so far. How about you? Did you set goals for the year? If you did, how are you doing so far?

July 01, 2019

July Monthly Colour Challenge Block

Though I haven't been making all of the monthly blocks for the Monthly Colour Challenge hosted by Jen of Patterns by Jen, I did love making this aqua block for July 😊 Visit Jen's blog to get the directions for the block, and to find links to the other monthly blocks.
July monthly colour challenge block | DevotedQuilter.com
These are both Island Batik fabrics and I love how they have a similar shape to the print, though it's not quite the same. I also love the subtle colour of the background block. It's aqua, but just barely.
July monthly colour challenge block | DevotedQuilter.com
You can see two other versions of this fun, aqua block by visiting Bear Paw Stitch and Design and The Geeky Bobbin.

I have big plans for this little 12" block, but I still haven't made it any farther than this picture I shared last week...
quilty works in progress | DevotedQuilter.com
Hopefully now that summer vacation has begun (yippee!!), I'll have more time to sew and actually get some things finished. We'll see...it's also possible the summer lull will render me even less productive than I am during the school year. I hope that's not the case, though, as I have a lot of really fun things I want to be working on!

On another note, I started my summer vacation by having a cup of tea in this new mug, given to me as an end of year gift by one of my child care families. I think this might be my new favourite mug 😊
mug for quilters | DevotedQuilter.com