Sew Karen-ly Created...

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Friday 26 July 2019


 The much anticipated second Island Batik Ambassador has arrived, and the contents did NOT disappoint!  Twice a year, Island Batik and industry partners Aurifil, Hobbs Batting, and Accuquilt, shower their Ambassadors with a treasure box of goodies. It's like Christmas in a box, filled with 23 pounds of wonderful surprises.
First out, were 3 fabulous battings from Hobbs' Tuscany line: wool, silk, and polyester.  I am very familiar with the wool and silk battings as they are pretty much all I use, but this polyester is new to me and I look forward to trying it out.
Accuquilt, who sent us the Go! cutter in the first box, has sent along a die for "Cleopatra's Fan" from their BOB - Block on Board collection. This means you can cut the entire block in one turn of the handle. As you know, I am a big fan of curved piecing and I can't wait to get using this.  I think it will be for my September project.
Aurifil contributed three spools of 50 weight thread.  You will see below why these colours were chosen.
The Island Batik fabrics are always such luscious colours, and this new collection called "Little Sir, Little Miss" is no exception.  There are 42, 2-1/2" strips plus 2 yards of each of light and dark coordinates.  I love that number print, it will make for a fun quilt.
You can see that the Aurifil thread matched up with this collection.  I always marvel at the thought and time put into packing these boxes.
This next collection of 10" squares and 4 yards of light and dark coordinates is called "Blueberry Patch"...which is so appropriate for a Cumberland County gal like myself.
 Blueberries are big in my part of the world, with Oxford about half an hour away.
 (This is the giant blueberry in Oxford.)
They also sent along 1/2 yard cuts of 8 coordinates, tied in a pretty bow.  Even that bow will get used.
 The blue thread is, of course, a perfect match.
Neutrals and basics are are so great to have, and the solid white, black, and grey always gets used up quickly. The piece on the bottom, called Moo Milk, also contains 4 yards.
 There's another bundle of 8, 1/2 yard cuts which work well with the "Little Sir, Little Miss" collection... well as this one called "Speak Easy", with Klimt inspired prints.
 It's almost overwhelming when you view it altogether - wow!
Before I start sewing, I take the time to catalogue everything in a binder, with a little snip from each fabric next to the corresponding tag. This way I can see at a glance how much of each fabric I have, and the collection to which it belongs.
As I finish each project, I add a sketch or photo showing what I made with those fabrics. This is "Sun Salutation" from my very first Ambassador box last year. 
Once this is all done, the fabrics are separated into lights, darks, and mediums, and are off to the laundry.  Polly sees this as a sign she can now claim the box!
A sincere thank you to Island Batik, Hobbs Batting, Aurifil thread and Accuquilt for their generosity, and for providing the inspiration for months of sewing.

Monday 8 July 2019

Colouring Inside The Lines

This month's Ambassador Challenge for Island Batik is sponsored by one of our industry partners, Aurifil thread. 
We were sent a selection of weights and colours in our Ambassador box back in January, and an additional packet of thread arrived later this spring.  It included these 3 spools of 40, 28, and 12 weight to be used in our challenge. 
Our instructions said, "Fabric is your canvas and Aurifil thread your paint! Create a one of a kind art quilt or project with Aurifil thread."
This project took a great deal of thinking.  Normally, we design to showcase the fabric but this time the thread needed to take centre stage. We had been sent cuts of solid colour batiks, and I decided to use the plain white as my background.
I printed some New York Beauty blocks from EQ8 on plain white paper and started colouring in doodles with a box of markers to see if I could make this work.
We all know if you can draw it, you can stitch it, so I pulled some of the same colours from my thread stash and set to work.
This is my working sketch from EQ8;  the blocks are drawn to 6". The only unappealing part of this project was tracing the block outlines onto my fabric.  I wanted to get stitching, and this was going to slow me down!!
My solution was to cut both freezer paper and the white batik into 9" x 12" pieces, and iron the freezer paper to the back of the fabric. It was then trimmed to 8-1/2" x 11" and fed through my printer. It was a super easy (lazy!) way to transfer the lines.
 I printed one block first as a test and did this much stitching before I decided it was going to work. (I'm not big on practicing!)
 The freezer paper was removed from the fabric and the blocks were joined with 1/4" seams as per regular patchwork.
I used my favourite Hobbs wool batting for the middle, and another layer of white batik on the back. My bobbin was loaded with 50 weight Aurifil in 2024 white.
To say this was fun is an understatement! I changed my needle as often as my thread, opting for a size 12/80 for my 50 weight, a 14/90 topstitch for the 40 and 28 weights, and a 16/100 topstitch for the 12 weight.
 The 12 weight thread fills in beautifully, even with just rows of straight stitching.

 The project took about 2 weeks to stitch, and I loved adding new bits every day.

Below you can see how fine the 50 weight (purple) used in the swirl inside the spike, appears next to the 12 weight (black).
 For the white background bits, I simply stitched feathers in white 50 weight.

 I toss my emptied Aurifil spools into a container, so I fetched two to use as finials.
 They slid onto each end of a 3/8" dowel for the perfect finishing touch.
 In all, I used 26 different colours and 4 different weights of cotton thread.

Thank you to Aurifil thread, Island Batik, and Hobbs Batting for supplying the products used in this challenge.