Monday, February 25, 2019

Magnificent Minis Challenge

Our first challenge for the 2019 year of the Island Batik Ambassadors is to make a mini quilt, any technique, 24" or less per side. We could use any fabrics in Box #1 except the wrapped 'surprise' fabrics. This is #8 on my Q1 FAL goals list.
I chose to work with the 5" stash builder rolls we got, ten of the beauties, four WOF (width of fabric) strips in each pack:
This was one of the two packs I received. All the fabrics were provided by Island Batik, and the batting by Hobbs Batting, the white thread for piecing by Aurifil. I used the white batik we had been given as background fabric.

I drew this design several months ago, intending to submit it to a magazine once I digitized it. It just popped into my head, fully formed. As usual, I had several ideas flying around in my head for this mini, but I settled on this one, decided to make it with 2.5" squares, and doing it in an ombré run...if I could make it work with the Island Batik fabrics! Well, there were enough range of blues from light to dark, and since that is my favourite colour, I got to work.
I posted this to Instagram last week. That raindrop fabric is my favourite!!

In no time at all I had cut and pieced the 23" top:
The wind was crazy that day (Friday) I thought...but then we experienced the gale all day yesterday, Sunday, with gusts up to 100 km/hour, still gusting today, but only to 31 kph as I type. We got some rain with it too, so the bit of snow you see by the garage is now gone. I love the stained-glass look of a flimsy in the sun, although this one has the shadows of MacGyver's renovated deck rails interfering.

I didn't think that shot showed the gorgeous depth of the blues, so I laid it in the sunlight on our kitchen table when I went in.
Not bad ombré methinks for the limited palette within the box!

Quilting commenced on Saturday. I nearly used a Hobbs unbleached cotton piece I had left over from another quilt, but it would require Frankenbatting and that would probably show through the white batik... then I remembered Thermore!! It's a lovely thin polyester batting that gives great definition, perfect for minis.
We got another package in this box, but I still have some from my first ever Island Batik box! Ah, that was February last Florida!😎

I knew I would do straight lines, and so I loaded it on Avril, although I had seriously considered my Bernina, but figured it would be quicker on Avril the Avanté. Kinda/sorta... I have 18" quilting area, not quite, due to roller bars, and so since I was not stopping and starting on a mini, I did a LOT of rolling back and forth.
Inside pics follow because of aforementioned gale on Sunday. Had I tried to even peg it on the deck rails or in a tree, it would've been whipped off and blown to Lake Superior or further! (The winds were originally from the southwest for those geography geeks like myself.)
I am liking more and more straight lines on a modern piece, although I do like a little variance for effect. Here I did something like eight lines 1/4" apart, with one of them being SID (stitch in the ditch, something I always do to stabilize a quilt) and then one after that grouping 1/2" apart.

I liked the effect. I seriously considered doing beads in one of the 1/2" channels, thinking beads of moisture, as I'd named the quilt Moody Blues since that's been kind of my mood this past week, what with real life crap and such. I also wanted to bring a touch of curves into the straight lines piece.
And then...
You observant types, like myself, will notice there's a sparkly raindrop in the bottom square...and another in the bottom of the next row, and another in the next!! Squeal, when I hit on that idea. I wanted to somehow accentuate the diagonal flow of the piece. I couldn't do a 45° line from corner to corner of the blue squares because, as you see, they don't line up. Moody - raindrops - tears - one in each of the outer blocks of each row!
Yes yes YES! I know I said it out loud when I did the first one. Oh my quilt babies, you never fail to talk to me...💙💙
Looking down from the top corner. I used Sulky Holoshimmer metallic thread, and I quilted these on my Bernina as I have more control and she's great with specialty threads. I didn't draw them, so they are, ahem, organic, but then raindrops I' sure are not perfect teardrop shapes either. Nor are my straight lines perfectly straight, and I told myself I'd fix a couple, but until I wrote that, I'd forgotten, and the piece is hanging and not bugging me, so it's staying. It's done with a ruler, and I still have a couple of areas where Avril's table has a bobble in it... Fix is in hand, but we aren't disassembling the longarm until the renovation date is set for my sewing 1/2 storey 'loft' as I call it. Yes! The renovation is imminent, and I have mixed feelings as to going through more of that kind of house pain (you may recall the kitchen) but I know it will be worth it to have storage! Light! A place for everything! A decent floor that doesn't have knotholes all over it!

When it came to the binding, I nearly did a favourite of mine (and Tish's) a flanged one, but I wouldn't have had enough of any one of these colours, as the strips are 5" X WOF right and the piece is 23" per side. Then the quilt suggested an ombré style of binding... and voilà!

It is machine-stitched to the front, turned to the back, which is then stitched down by stitching in the ditch from the front. This most closely resembles hand-stitching the back down, which is my favourite and preferred method. This is much faster however!
Because I didn't use Island Batik fabric on the back, I won't show it here, but it is on my Instagram feed @mmmquilts, and it's one I just LOVE. Used it on the first Playtime Plus quilt I made for Modern by the Yard ezine. I put a triangle in each corner for a dowel for hanging.

Here's the label (with a peek at that backing fabric):

I am just so happy to be an ambassador for Island Batik again this year. I am ecstatic to see my own designs come out of my head, onto paper or into EQ, and then evolve into fabric and a quilt!

Speaking of designs, the 30quiltdesignschallenge is going to start very soon, so stay tuned! Just working on getting some sponsors. 😀 It is run exclusively on Instagram.

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: original design
Size: 23 X 23"
Fabric: Island Batik
Backing: Dot Crazy by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr by Contempo for Benartex
Batting: Hobbs Thermore
Quilted: on Avril my Avanté: 22 904 stitches; raindrops quilted FMQ on my Bernina
Threads: pieced on my Bernina with Aurifil; quilted with So Fine polyester 50 wt, and Sulky Holoshimmer metallic, Gütermann polyester in the bobbin.

Linking up everywhere:
Dizzy Quilts for the Q1 FAL
Cooking Up Quilts
Sew Fresh Quilts
Quilt Fabrication
My Quilt Infatuation
TGIFF at What a Hoot Quilts
The Madd Quilter
Free Motion by the River
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Busy Hands Quilts

Note: my sincere apologies, but I got super-behind while making the magazine quilt wrt QBL and responding to comments. I spent 3.5 hours trying to get through the backlog, and got half way, and so I've decided I am going to read and enjoy the comments, but at this point, some are three weeks old, and so I thank you for writing to me (always!!) and I am back on track for visiting and responding for those within the past week now. Thank you for your understanding. Please also send hugs and patience to both MacGyver and me (yes, that is the correct grammar) in dealing with this munchkin, sigh... Good thing he has his adorable moments and that he is so cute.
Yup, that's a baby gate and yup, he respects it, and it is there until my husband, the intrepid MacGyver, can get the actual gate done, a job that should've taken a few hours but this black and brown little turd I mean monster, I mean 7-month-old cutie, is just way too time-consuming and aggravating.... it will pass I know...


  1. WOW beautiful work on your mini--I love its crisp blue and white look..nice quilting--I just got a free motion foot for Helga--BUT--I will have to wait until my eye issue gets fix--no free motioning (is that a word?) for me til then...want to make up some fabric sandwiches to practice on...
    hugs, Julierose

  2. Oh, the walk through your process just makes me smile! I love it when a quilt talks to me. There's just so much satisfaction. This is a great quilt, Sandra, and I know it has been good for you to make it right now during life's not so much fun stuff. Your pup has grown! He is a handsome little pup. A new sewing loft! Cannot wait, but I understand the whole waiting/packing/moving thing. Ugh. Looking forward to 30QDC!

  3. Love your mini, Sandra. I have many of the same blues. I was wondering if you dropped off the blogging world. Glad to have you back and congrats on the secret sewing project. Your little guy is too cute for words. It must be like being a new mom again!

  4. Oh so pretty, Sandra, and as always, stellar photography so we can see every detail. I love the design and your raindrop quilting—but I’m especially drawn to the way that you bound it to accentuate the overall design. I’m glad your limited amount of fabric led to such a creative solution. I love following home makeovers as much as quilting, so I can’t wait to see how you redo your sewing space. Hope it won’t be too stressful for you. Hugs to you—and to Rufus, even if he is misbehavin’.

  5. Be still my blue-loving heart! I love this little mini, Sandra! The ombre blues are so gorgeous and the addition of the sparkly raindrops is perfect. I used some of that raindop print in a cream colour in my mini, too :) Also, I was amused to see you pointing out that "MacGyver and me" is the proper grammar as hearing people say "and I" when it should be "and me" is one of my pet peeves!

    How is it time for the 30 designs challenge again already?? I guess I better be prepared for my to-make list to become exponentially longer, lol.

  6. And again, another great design. Well done. Hope things settle down soon with the new baby ☺ He is cute.

  7. Thanks for sharing the whole process. I love hearing the thought process from first idea to end product.

  8. That puppy slays me. He is jus so adorable. Oh right this is a quilting blog..... Anyway, I love everything about this Blue, blue and more blue.. A design that insists on being made and quilted and so well executed by you!

  9. WOW! Gorgeous mini! Blue isn't my fav colour but this is just beautiful, love the ombre effect.

  10. Hi Sandra! Well, isn't this mini hanging just gorgeous and so worth waiting to see?!! I love the groupings of straight line stitching. I agree that just about any geometric type quilting just lends itself to modern quilts. My favorite part, or one of them I should say, is how the binding is a matching ombre effect. Brilliant. I just love that raindrop print and the teardrop quilting. Sooner than you can imagine your pup will settle down and be just the most wonderful companion that you ever wished for. The worms are on the mend, and if he doesn't act like a puppy now when would he?! {{Hugs}} ~smile~ Roseanne

  11. Adorable mini. Love the quilting. The dog is adorable and he’s going to be biggggg.

  12. Simple, chic and still stunning. Love the quilted leaf and the scrappy binding is sooo perfect.

  13. What a delightful start to my day. I just love it when your email pops into my inbox when I am with the computer and my coffee very early in the morning. Love the crisp feel of this blue quilt. Love that you added the sulky shiny thread. Thanks for showing the quilting. I'm never brave enough to use such a contrasting thread. Looks fabulous and has spurred me on. Have a good rest of your day.

  14. Beautiful, as usual, Sandra! I noticed the little raindrops right away. They are the perfect addition to the straight line quilting. And yes, puppyhood doesn't last, but the love and trust that deepens during this time is worth it :)

  15. Cute little pup, but what about your adorable cat? Has she left home yet?

  16. bwahahahaha
    It's only been a hot minute since Milo was a turd, er, monster, er bundle of joy. We like whimzee's chews by the way.
    How did you become an ambassador to receive the big fun box of goodies?

  17. Such an awesome quilt with all those blues. I love the little raindrop quilting in each row. Your straight line quilting looks great, too. And the binding is really fantastic (as is that back). We've got the wind this week. Turned over trucks through the valley yesterday! But, wait, a sewing room makeover!? This is great news except for the lack of personal space to sew in for awhile. I'm still awaiting a sewing room...guess I'll have to buy me a new house in order to get one. Good luck and I hope you blog lots of photos of the makeover.

  18. Such a pretty quilt! The blues and the design. Neat!

  19. Well, absence makes the heart grow fonder - look at all these comments, that is not going to help your situation at all, is it? LOL. Of course, ripping out a beautiful and fascinating quilt into the blogosphere will always do that too, and you are guilty as charged. Love your Feb project.

  20. Love your mini!! Great pattern and great use of that beautiful Island Batik fabric! Your baby is adorable, but boy they are a handful!!

  21. Love your original design, perfect for your blue ombri.

  22. Love your original design, perfect for your blue ombri.

  23. Such a beautiful mini. I’m not surprised at all that you chose blue. I love how it turned out with the straight line quilting. It’s a good thing dogs aren’t puppies forever.

  24. Very dramatic! Love the colors, the quilting (the raindrops especially), the binding. A perfect mini.

  25. Hi Sandra, that is a really lovely mini (although not very mini for me!) Love the blues and white!


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