Saturday, March 10, 2018

Once In A Blue Moon

I am often late. There, I said it. However, work-wise, I am on time, and I am also known for keeping to deadlines, the very important ones, that is. Thus, it is with a red face and downward cast of eye that I admit that I missed the important deadline for posting my mini quilt challenge which should have been done in February.
Note that I was provided the fabric by Island Batik, the batting by Hobbs, and one of the navy threads by Aurifil. Without further ado, here is my mini, 'Once In A Blue Moon'!

Despite it being overdue, I do feel it is fitting that I finished it in March, when there is a Blue Moon this month! What exactly is a Blue Moon? It is when there are two full moons within one month.  The moon was full in North America on March 1, in Europe on March 2, and the second full moon, or Blue Moon will be March 31.

One of the fabric collections I received in my Island Batik Ambassador box was Blue Moon. May I just say it is my absolute hands-down favourite of the collections? Here it is, well just the light blue yardage is missing, with the Foundations Bundle:
There are two 5" strip rolls in the photo, but I ended up pulling from just one.
Here are the fabrics I pulled:
Seventeen beauties in all!

The design is based on one of my designs I submitted for #30quiltdesignschallenge2018 that I'm hosting on Instagram.
You can see the evolving wavy-seamed rectangles for the water section

February, especially the second half, was a blur. My Real Life stuff took over and put a huge damper on my Quilting Life: a trip to Nashville that was rescheduled due to flights being cancelled, a wedding dress found (and a fabulous 4-day trip may I add, in most excellent company), driving back home from Florida, and all the packing and organizing at both ends that entails. As soon as we got home, I got to work.

This is a section of the water that I gave a sneak peek of on Instagram. The original design was all HSts, but once I pulled fabrics, and realized most were of similar patterns and saturation, I knew I needed to further distinguish between the sky and the water sections. I thought of rectangles, more linear. Then, I thought what if instead of straight seams, I sewed them together with gentle curves? Eureka! And then I hit upon joining some of them in gently curving vertical seams as well! I was also cutting and sewing HSTs, of which there are 63. A few squares are solid, and there is a larger square, the equivalent of four HSTs, behind the moon. I used the same grey batik so that there wouldn't be any potential shadowing, but I needn't have worried.

Here it is on the improvised small design wall in my sewing loft. The large design wall in the guest room on the main floor is fully occupied with another project which shall be revealed on Wednesday!
Please ignore the little peeking-through of my round robin mini-quilt in the one corner!
For the HSTs, I cut squares at 2.5", sewed 1/4" on either side of the centre line to create two HSTs that measure 1.5" finished. For the water I cut 3.5X4.5" rectangles, stacked two right sides up, and free-form-cut a gentle waving line down the centre. Shuffled the two and sewed them back together. This method is based on Karla Alexander's Stack the Deck quilts, very slick.

I knew I needed to create the straight horizon line, to differentiate between the sky and the water. I tried to line up all the darkest batiks on the lowest row of the sky section. I pinned the moon in place over the grey large square and stepped back:
Yeah, not bad, although I still tweaked it a bit after this photo. Bella pointed out where I could improve the horizon line. I plan to revisit this 'rectangle-piecing with gentle curves' technique in another quilt, way cool.

For the moon, I used Lara Buccella's Crafted Appliqué technique (no affiliation), amazing, as it provides a strong bond that is soft and pliable, and the edges do not fray. Keep this in mind when you see some close-ups of the quilting on the moon. (LOL, that makes me think one day there will be quilting on the moon 'cruises', like quilt cruises)
UPDATE: Okay I just barely finished linking this post up, go to check my gmail, and one of my Twitter notifications is THIS shared by Valori Wells:

Like HOW? .... Okay I know it's from 2013, but still, wee-ooh, wee-ooh, as my sister Linda likes to chant when strange things happen...

It always amazes me how much a quilt shrinks as you start sewing the blocks together... Here are the first three rows sewn.

It wasn't long before I had a flimsy.
Notice the kinda/sorta Evening Star block the moon rests upon?

It is so very satisfying to see something that came out of your head, then drawn on graph paper, and then made in fabric!

I layered it with an older batik backing, and Hobbs Thermore batting, which I am loving more and more for minis. It quilts like a dream, is nice and thin for minis, and retains its shape beautifully. There is some pretty dense quilting on this piece.

I was a little nervous about how to quilt the moon, so Google helped show me a ton of various moon images, and I started with this after seeing one actual photo where these lines are clear:
Unbelievably FAB-YOO-LUSS grey moony batik!👏🌕
I so hope you can see the glitter of the Sulky metallic thread! Ah, how I adore my Bernina and how she handles metallic threads of any kind. Tip: I use a Schmetz Metallica needle. Note this is quilted through three layers of batiks, one of which is pieced HSTs, Thermore batting, and the adhesive used to secure the moon to the quilt top. Not a glitch. Isn't that grey perfection for the moon?

Again, I decided to differentiate between the sky and the water with the quilting. For the sky, I did walking foot straight lines 1/4" on either side of each vertical seam, and then down the centre of each square, using Sulky Blendables 30 weight. Again, not a hitch, but I do use a Topstitch 90 needle. On the water section I did an free-motion water back-and-forth like ripples with the same Sulky Blendables thread.

For the centre of the moon, I used a Sulky variegated greys rayon, and then to create a glow effect around it, another Sulky metallic, this one in silver and dark grey.  For the moon's reflection on the water I did super-dense back-and forth lines using the Sulky variegated grey, Polyneon by Madeira, 100% polyester in grey with a lovely sheen to it, and then Sulky metallic and blue Holoshimmer.
Taken outside on the front step in the dusk for a blueish light!

The label:

I sewed a hanging sleeve on the back so I can switch it out with my current snowman wallhanging lol. It is machine bound with the navy and the deep purple from the Batik Foundations. I had another epiphany on binding to help again distinguish between the sky and water: I bound the sky section with the purple and the water with the navy! First time I've pieced a binding to purposely land at a particular point of a quilt. It is bound by machine on the front and then ditch-stitched from the front to catch in the back, which was glued down with Elmer's School Glue (love the stuff).

Here's one last shot in natural light:

Quilt Stats:
Pattern:  original design
Size: Pre-quilting: 14.25X16.5"; Post-quilting: 14.25X16.25"
Fabric:  Island Batik batiks
Batting: Hobbs Thermore 100% polyester
Quilted: on my Bernina
Threads:  pieced with GĂŒtermann cotton; quilted with Sulky Blendables 30 wt #733-4022, Sulky Metallic #142 (silver and dark grey and silver, light blue and light pink), Sulky Holoshimmer #145-6030, Connecting Threads Essential 50 wt #21000 100% cotton, Aurifil 50 wt #2745 100% cotton, Madeira Polyneon in Grey #1611

Linking up:
Crazy Mom Quilts
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
TGIFF at Powered by Quilting
Busy Hands Quilts
Free Motion by the River


  1. oooh, so wanted to write a retort to the comment you left on my Post but decided I would just gush about how beautiful your mini is and very impressed how fast you made this, you captured moonlight--definitely an art quilt. You really are quilting up to being an IB Ambassador and being late just made your quilt so much better.

  2. Love it!! I love how you did the quilting around the moon giving it more definition and the water reflection. The curved piecing was a great way to differentiate between sky and water.

  3. I love that you were able to use one of your designs for this IBAmbassador quilt. It is gorgeous. I love the way you changed it up to make it work and the little things that helped - different shapes for sea and sky, for quilting and colors for binding. Very nice job....late is OK.

  4. Great mini Sandra! But now I will have more than one set of sleepless nights in March-oh goodie:(

  5. You did a great job with your fabrics and design and quilting!

  6. Thanks for sharing your blue moon quilt, Sandra. When I first looked at the photo I thought you may have used angelina for the reflection and around the moon. Thankful for ability to enlarge photo to see your thread work with the sulky shiny thread. May we all enjoy the blue moon in March.

  7. OMG -- I love the glowing moon. Brilliant. Must remember that idea. The whole quilt looks great. It may be "past the due date" but I'm glad because I have time to surf the web now but was swamped with things to do the last few weeks.

  8. Wow. This is amazing. You knocked it out of the park on this one. The colours are awesome.

  9. Superb ❤️❤️❤️ Love everything about this.

  10. Beautifu, you really nailed the moon effect! And interesting to read of your design process. Those colours are so rich.

  11. I love the Moon in your mini! The fabric, thread and quilting pattern are just perfect. And of course, the way she reflects on the indigo waters is magical :) Gorgeous!!

  12. I love everything about this post! The mini is so fun, and I love the colors. Don't you love it when a good plan comes together?! Pat yourself on the back for a great finish, Sandra!

  13. That first finished photo of your mini literally took my breath away!! You did an excellent job on this little quilt. LOVE it!!!

  14. I am so in love with your Blue Moon quilt! Wow, did that turn out terrific!

  15. Absolutely stunning colors on your Blue Moon quilt! It is rich, vivid and perfect! i hope this one gets seen on a regular basis, wherever it ends up! I would hang it on the wall, and not every quilt meets that criteria for me. Lovely and well done!

  16. Breathtakingly Beautiful. It could belong in the "Fly Me to the Moon" series of quilts. It is such a romantic little quilt. I can picture a couple of lovers, holding hands - drowning in the beauty of their love and a magical blue moon being the only witness...

  17. Well, THAT was worth waiting for! Just stunning- and thanks for giving us the detail of how it came about. The stitching around the moon and at the bottom is genius. I really like this mini quilt. mary in Az

  18. i love blue moon! Your mini is fabulous!!! I love it so much!

  19. Ugh, so far behind in blog reading, but just had to comment here. I love how you created the subtle differences between the sky and water and the way you quilted the moon, the halo, and the reflection in the water. You are on quite the roll with your projects lately!!


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