Mini Quilt Blocks in Purple

Here's a peek at what I have been working on.
I am making 3" mini blocks for an upcoming project.
Some are pieced

some are sewn on paper foundation,

this one was fussy cut using Bethany Reynolds' technique called Stack 'N Whack,

and these 2 were improv piecing.

I have a stacking organizer. Each drawer holds one color family of scraps.
Some of these scraps were mighty tiny but I have a hard time tossing away fabric pieces.
I didn't know I had so many colors of purple fabrics until I really started this project.
I would have used those small pieces to create a large fabric piece from those scraps.
I am happy the scraps became blocks. 

Be sure to check back on August 1 for the reveal of my completed project.

Happy Quilting!


My Dresden Wreath Tutorial

I've been asked to expand upon how I made the Dresden Wreath HERE
I am more than happy to let you know how I made it. 

I am using some other fabrics since I don't have enough pieces of the Island Batik fabrics I used. 
Also, for the purpose of actually seeing the process, 
I found the white fabric worked better. 

I used the June Tailor Dresden Express(TM) to cut the 22.5 degree wedges 
and a chopstick for turning out the points of the 
Dresden blades (which I will describe later).

Press fabric(s). I used 4 colors, but any number of colors could be used, 
including loads of scraps! I layered 4 fabrics, which I cut at one time.

Trim up the bottom edge of fabric along a straight grain. Trim fabric top so fabrics are 7"high. The width of the pieces should be about 5" (or more) to accomodate the widest part of the wedge. 

Use the cutting guide grooves for the 22-1/2 degree wedge (red arrows shown below).

First cut

and it's done.

Second cut


Fold one wedge in half, right sides together.
Sew 1/4" along wide end of wedge.
Trim off 1/8" of seam near folded edge before turning.

Turn right side out and use chopstick to turn point out.
Fold sewn tip down to align with center fold of wedge 
and press (wrong sides will be touching at this step)

I match the outer points of the blades and begin sewing from there 
down to the narrow part of the blades.
Sew the wedges together with 1/4" seams (in a pattern if that is the plan).
Press seams open. 

Cut circle or fussy cut a novelty fabric to cover center hole.
Sew on from right side. 

If the Dresden Wreath does not seem to lay flat, 
I take a little bit more of a seam on a few of the blades--just a thread width or two
until it lays flat. That appears to be the nature of fabrics, 
especially when sewing bias edges together. 

I centered the Dresden Wreath on background fabric choice and 
as described in the previous post, appliqued it using a blind hem stitch. 

If you make a Dresden Wreath, please send me a photo, I would like to see all of them!


Island Batik Christmas in July

An early Merry Christmas!

The Island Batik Ambassadors were challenged to create a project 
with a Christmas theme for our July posts. 

I made this Dresden Wreath table topper using some of 
Island Batik's Holiday Happenings fabrics. 

The background fabric is Mirage from Timeless Treasures out of my stash
with metalic lines in it.
The Island Batik fabrics just popped on this background. 

I give a brief summary of how I made this table topper. 

After sewing the blades of the Dresden wreath 
and machine appliqueing the fussy cut deer for the center to cover the hole, 
I used a blind hem stitch to machine appliqued the wreath to the backing fabric. 
I used Dritz Wash Away Wonder Tape to hold the wreath in position. 

 I wanted the wreath to be puffy, so I used 2 layers of batting. 
Sewed around the blade points and around the circle center. 
Then I cut one layer of batting from the outside of the wreath. 

 I spray basted the backing to the other layers. 
Using a green embroidery thread for a finer stitch and less prominence on the top
and thread that matched the brown color of the background. 
I quilted the base of one blade, up the side (and down again) of that blade. 
On to the next blade base and up and down the next joint seam. 

All around to finish it. 
I made a small stipple on the background fabric 
using a gold rayon embroidery thread
that blended so well with the background. 

I squared it up to 17" and used binding from the background fabric. 

I sew bindings to the back, bring it around to the front 
and top-stitch the edge from the top.
This way I have it completed totally by machine
and no hand sewing (which causes flare-up of my carpal tunnel problems).
The bobbin thread is the same thread I use when quilting the piece 
so it appears it is part of the quilting.

Are you sewing Christmas projects this month?
Have you gone to your local quilt shop for a Christmas themed sale?


Quilter's Bus Trip During Row by Row

On Saturday, July 9, 
I joined 55 other quilters on a bus trip to 6 quilt shops in Michigan.
I had never been to 5 of the shops.

We began our journey at Kean's Store Co. in Mason, MI. 
I have shopped here many times.
I didn't know anyone on the bus, 
but by the end of the trip, I had chatted with quite a few of the quilters.
Our driver was great. 
The bus was comfortable. 
And the rain stayed away.

At each stop we had something to eat. 
Breakfast, as we started out, was rolls and fruit.
Lunch was a great chicken salad sandwich, celery and carrot sticks.
Dinner was cold, fried chicken, cole slaw and a roll. It reminded me of a summer picnic lunch. 
In between those meals we had wonderful chocolate chip cookies, granola, and other snacks.

We were greated by a dancing staff outside Sew Many Things in Clinton Township.

As is the case, each shop had its own style of fabrics. 
I enjoy shops with bright, fun fabrics, since these are my favorite fabrics. 
I bought these two cute fabrics to make a pouch. 

I took the time to examine other fabrics at the shops. 
I found some purples to include in my Four-in-Art August Challenge project. 
The theme is Purple Passion. 
I bought the little pattern card because I liked the pattern. 
It is not the project I will reveal on August 1.

I didn't snap many shop photos because the number of quilters 
looking at all the displays blocked the view of the fabrics. 
I did take notice of this great idea for displaying older sewing items 
(I have some things from my mother).
This framed collection was at The Charmed Quilter in Smiths Creek, MI.
The shop was once a church.
They focus more on reproduction fabrics, miniature quilts, 
wools and silk ribbons for crazy quilted items. It is a very nice shop.

The Row by Row is in full swing, 
so I made sure I asked for the free patterns for each store's block. 

I bought a few of the license plates because of the phrases on them. 
These will be made into a tote bag. 

I enjoyed the day. It was so nice to have someone else do the driving. 
I liked the scenery outside and traveling to some areas of my home state that I had never seen before. 

Have you taken any type of "Quilting Road Trip?" Did you go with friends?
Are you gathering Row by Row block patterns?


25th Year of EQ and Giveaways

Just a short post to remind you of the 25th year of EQ! 
The celebration continues this month with a joint giveaway--

and one from EQ HERE.

Tomorrow I will tell about Saturday's quilting and cuisine bus trip I took.

My Island Batik Christmas in July project is nearing the quilting process. 


Quilting: My Mood Returned

After a month when I just couldn't get into the sewing mood, I am doing a good job of accomplishing projects on my list. 

I finished up a few "Americana" potholders for the 4th of July. I forgot to get a photo, but not to worry, I am making a few more because I liked them and want a few for myself. Binding is all that's left. 

I went right to work on my Mid-Century Modern Bee blocks. Years ago I made so many log cabin blocks. I forgot how much I liked making them. I made 4 blocks, not knowing which I would want to mail out. I finally decided to mail them all! 

I have loads of scrap fabrics and I think these blocks will be a great way to use up scraps. I have ideas spinning in my head on how to make them. 

However, the next project I have begun to work on is the Island Batik Christmas in July project. The fabrics I have pictured below are from the Holiday Happenings Collection. I'm not sure I will use the print on the top right, just doesn't seem to be too Christmas-y for me. 

I am planning on making a Dresden piece using one of my wedge rulers. The Patchwork Pearl posted the link to an article about Wedge Quilts, from Modern Quilts Unlimited, which was very good. You can read it HERE. I am going to look for the "Wedge It" tool that is talked about in the article. I can see so many possibilities for future quilts when using it.

We Island Batik Ambassadors don't have to design our Christmas in July projects using Electric Quilt, but there are some links in the Modern Quilts Unlimited blog under WEB EXTRAS that show how to design some projects in EQ. If you are interested in learning more about the possibilities of EQ, take a look at some of them.

In celebration of Electric Quilt's 25th Anniversary this year, Island Batik is hosting a double giveaway with the folks at EQ! Both posts (one on the Island Batik Blog and one on Behind the Mouse, the EQ blog) will be posted on July 10 and the giveaways will be open for entries until the 25th. Island Batik will be giving away an EQ software package and EQ will be giving away a fabric bundle. 

I have scheduled a day at Insprirations of Art Studio to used the Sweet 16 (this photo from HandiQuilter.com). I have 3 quilts our charity group needs quilted. It always feels great to have projects completed. 

Off to sew; are you sewing something for Christmas this summer?



Purple Passion Four-in-Art Challenge Reveal

It is time for the 3rd quarter reveal of the Four-in-Art Quilt Challenge.
This year's theme is COLOR. Each quarter a new sub-theme is given. 
This challenge was PURPLE PASSION

My passion is quilting. I thought about my quilting journey and chose to recreate some of the blocks I learned to make over the years. 
They were the building blocks that have brought me to what I quilt today.

So I stacked my journey (not all of it) from the bottom up, 
like a child's wooden block set. 
I attempted to make them 3D in an optical illusional way. 

I used various techniques to sew the block so they stacked
with 3 sides showing, in various sizes and include the black background. 
(Machine stitching, hand stitching, a bit of wash-away fusible seam tape.)
Above: the top before quilting

I realized halfway into the construction that if I had considered paper piecing 
the quilt blocks into the building blocks and background, 
it would have been easier. 
But that is how I have wound my way through this quilting journey over the years. 

This is the first time I have used the matchstick technique of quilting. 
I used my walking foot.
The purple stitching lines are more the width of a coffee stirring stick. 
I may add some matchstick quilting to the white and gray sides of the cubes. 

It wasn't planned, but the 17.5" wide quilt fits on my small garden flag post!

Visit the other members of the Four-in-Art Quilt group 
to see their interpretations of Purple Passion. 

We also have a blog, Four-in-Art Quilts, where you can find us all.