Tag Archives: batik

Honeymoon Quilt Finish

A couple of months ago my husband and I celebrated our 17th anniversary. This week I finished a quilt made with fabric purchased on our honeymoon on the island of St. John. It may have taken me 16 years to think of how I wanted to use the fabric but once I got going, it didn’t take too long to finish it up. I posted earlier about making the quilt top in August of last year. Because I wasn’t sure how I wanted to quilt it, I set it aside (for nearly a year!) Come January of 2015, I set a goal to finish this quilt up and I did it. This finish means that I do not have any unquilted tops lying around. Yahoo!

This project was fun to plan. I have been reading about whether to stitch in the ditch before starting to FMQ. Honestly, this sounded like a whole lot of extra work. I decided to compromise and I stitched the perimeter of each nine patch. I thought this would stabilize the quilt and hopefully, reduce and puckers on the backing. It is so irritating when you flip the quilt over to check on it and there is a fold. Between pin basting and ditch stitching I was hoping for a better back. Some quilters think it holds the quilt square and prevents distortion. Others say it makes the FMQ work look better. I do think it helped. My quilt stayed square and often, it doesn’t. I didn’t have a single pucker on the back. The only thing is that on the back of the quilt, the ditch stitching is very visible so one has to take that into account when planning the quilting. It doesn’t show much at all on the front. As for any benefit to the look of the quilting on each nine patch, I didn’t notice a huge difference. In fact, after I had quilted about 65% of the project, I noticed that I had skipped ditch stitching one block. That block really didn’t look noticeable different from the others. So, I think it is good forquilt stabilization and keeping square but doesn’t noticeably enhance the FMQ.


I took a look at some quilting sites (mainly Lori Kennedy’s site, The Inbox Jaunt) to get inspiration. I knew that I would do an all over FMQ pattern but wanted just a bit more detail than that. Each of the nine patch blocks have a blue center. Starting with that, I quilted a large flower in the center of each blue square.


I decided that leafy fines would complement the flowers. Using a variegated green YLI quilting thread, I FMQ’d leaves of various sizes on each block. I left the black sashing plain.  Because the backing is a light green batik, the FMQ stitching really shows up on the back. Not sure if this is good or bad!  For the most part, I am happy with the stitching. Why is it that my eye goes to the little tension blips and the occasional jittery stitching instead of the overall look? For those of you that quilt on your domestic machine, how to you handle the starts and stops? Look closely at the squares that I ditch stitched, see the dark spots at one corner where I stopped and started? I chose to reverse a few stitches rather than knot and bury tons of threads. Not sure I like how this looks. What is the consensus? Do you back tack stitches or knot and bury threads? I know which is cleaner but yikes, burying all of those threads is time-consuming.


The binding is, as usual, one of my favorite parts. I used the honeymoon batik for the border and also for the binding. To add some depth, I attached a black flange to the perimeter of the quilt before binding the quilt. I love the ‘something extra’ that this flange adds to the quilt.


To honor our honeymoon, I tried stitching St. John as well as April, 1998 on a corner of the quilt. Kind of difficult to see but it was a good addition.


When I was binding it, I came upon my two ends that needed to be joined and sighed my heavy, here-we-go sigh. I hate attaching the tails of the binding. This time I looked to Rita over at Red Pepper Quilts. On the off chance that there is someone who hasn’t heard of Rita, she is an amazing quilter who has the most amazing sense of color. Her quilts are bright, happy and so vivid. Truly amazing. If you haven’t looked at her work, now is the time. She has numerous tutorials, several of which talk about binding. This is the one that I used. The result was good so I will refer back to her measurements next time.

I can check this goal off of my 2015 list and move on to another one! I think the next goal I need to work on is some quilt restoration. I have two quilts to restore and I want to get one of them going soon.

Finally, remember the Allison Glass mini swap that I participated in? I blogged about the mini that I made here. There were a few comments asking me to post the mini that I received. Wow, I can’t wait to share it. It is gorgeous. I am so grateful to my partner for putting so much effort into this project!


My partner outdid herself with this. I love the text print that was used as the background on each 2″ square. She appliqued the orange peels with a blanket stitch which was brilliant.


She also made this smaller mini. I think it is intended as a pot holder but I am hanging it on the wall. I don’t want it soaked with food splatter, which we all know would happen.


I also received this sweet wallet. Hand-made and so well done, it is lovely.



The swap was fun and I am thankful that I gave it a try as it pushed me quite far out of my comfort zone. Also, I am truly grateful for the work my partner put into the items I received.  That being said, I am not sure I will do another one for a while. I could see participating in one each year. They are quite time-consuming and it set my nerves on edge trying to think of what my partner would want, based on the few hints we are given. The process is a good way to get to know other makers though. It is really a big deal on Instagram and there is a swap for just about anything crafty.

Hope you all have something fun planned for the upcoming weektend.

Linking to Freemotion Mavericks, Quilting Jetgirl’s Thankful Thursday, Let’s Bee Social and Finish It Up Friday. Also with Sew Bittersweet Designs for the June ALYOF Link up.


Family Time and Quilting Time

This has been a great week. My son was home for a few days. He had a long weekend at work and came home for some family time.  He is a production engineer in the Central Valley and works all sorts of shifts.  His “weekend” depends on what shift he works that week.  This week his weekend was Tuesday/Wednesday.  As always, it is was so nice to have him home.  One day he called my dad and asked Papa if he wanted to spend the afternoon together and go on a tour of the Sierra Nevada Brewery.  Dad was up for it so the three of us went.  Sierra Nevada Brewery is located in Chico which is just over an hour’s drive from us.  They have a yummy pub on site so lunch was first on the agenda. The food at this pub is excellent. Lunch alone was worth the drive!

20140917_1675Sierra Nevada’s brewery is gorgeous.  The whole facility shines.  We spent about an hour touring it. They produce around 900,000 bottles per day and it is completely mechanized.  It was almost eerie how few humans were seen working in the plant!



One of my favorite stops on the tour was the refrigerated room where they store the hops.  It smelled so good in there! They had us rub the hops between our hands and inhale the fragrance. Each variety had such a distinctly different smell.


Ian and I both loved this part of the tour.


As you’d expect, they save the best for the end!  Beer tasting finished off the afternoon.  Dad and Ian compared the tastings, deciding which were their favorites.  I was the designated driver for the trip home.  It was such a fun day with my dad and my all-of-a-sudden-all-grown-up-kiddo.


Lest you think I completely strayed from the sewing machine this week, I did work on a couple of projects.  My finish for the week was a tablerunner that is reminiscent of a sunset.


I used batiks for this runner and arranged the colors to look like a sunset.  I love the color combination. The yellows, oranges, pinks and purples are so rich.


My goal for this project was to try something more complicated when I quilted the outside borders.  I am really working on my FMQ skills and quilting this was satisfying.  Some time ago, a friend of mine gave me a roll of printed FMQ pattern paper.  I haven’t done much FMQ using a paper guide before.  The paper patterns are made sold at Quilting Made Easy and have adhesive strips along the edges of the pattern.  Once they are laid down on the fabric, you just FMQ right through the paper.  This works well but picking the paper off after quilting is a bit of a pain. It was worth it for the good practice it allowed. I liked being able to focus on the speed and rhythm of my stitching without having to plan “where” I was going to move to next. Following the pattern removed one element of focus, allowing me to concentrate on the quality of the stitching.  I think it turned out well.


The pattern is a double cable border. It is still a bit herky-jerky in places but much improved over my past efforts.

20140918_1719I decided to leave the center strips alone and only stitched in the ditch between colors. I didn’t want to detract from the gorgeous colors of the batiks. The backing is a purple and orange batik that I had in my stash.


I also had on hand the purple batik that I used for the binding. When I came across that piece I was surprised to realize that I have absolutely no idea where that fabric came from.  Usually I can remember buying it or owning it or receiving it from someone.  This piece just magically appeared while I looked for something to use for binding.  It works well with the colors of this piece.

Hope you have all had a blend of good family time and good stitching time this week.  Really what more does a quilter need?

Linking to:  Freemotion by the River, Let’s Bee Social, Needle and Thread Thursday, TGIFF, and – of course – Amanda Jean’s Finish it Up Friday. There are links to each of these sites listed at the top of my page under Link Ups.  Check out of few of the projects on these pages.  So much inspiration to be enjoyed!



Honeymoon Quilt-16 years late!

I was fortunate enough to meet my husband back in 1997.  We were set up on a blind date by a good friend that we both worked with at the time. It was just a lunch and as blind dates go, it wasn’t bad! I was a single mom with three small children under the age of 11 years and it was a busy time.  My blind date called me a couple of times and I didn’t return the calls.  Mostly because dating as a single mom was just a pain. Somehow we did go out again about a month later.  And that was it.  We were engaged six weeks after that, married six months after becoming engaged. A whirlwind romance, to be sure.

I can’t say that I heartily recommend becoming engaged after six weeks of dating but it worked well for us.  Both of us joke about it often.  We have decided that the universe somehow knew that if we spent any length of time dating and/or deliberating marriage, we would both chicken out.  It was his first marriage and he hadn’t any children.  He was inheriting my three boys with no kid experience at all (he did however have a huge dog, which was a big score for my dog-less children.) It was my second marriage, after having been widowed four years earlier.  Things were still rough as the boys and I continued to grieve the loss of their dad. Step-parenting is an absolute challenge, as I am sure many of you know.  Both for the step-parent and for the natural parent overly-possessive-mama of the kids being step-parented. However, we worked through all of it and life is grand.

On to the quilty part of the story.  After the wedding we honeymooned on the island of St. John in the Virgin Islands.  It was blissful. Heavenly! One of the many things I learned about my new husband on that trip is that he takes millions of sunset pictures and they are really good.  This just looks heavenly, doesn’t it? (This was before digital was available so scanning this photo doesn’t really do it justice.)


While we were on our trip I picked up a piece of batik fabric, maybe 1 and 1/2 yards.  It was so pretty.  It sat on the shelf with my other fabrics and waited patiently for me to figure out what to do with it.  Sat there for sixteen years! I looked at it now and then but didn’t want to cut into it.  I couldn’t figure out the best way to use it.

20140830_1646Last week I finally decided what to do with it! About a year ago I purchased three charm packs of Moda’s Dancing In the Rain batiks. I bought them for a great price from Judy Madsen’s on-line shop, Green Fairy Quilts.  Quick, unsponsored, plug here – This shop is awesome.  She has good prices and often has great sales.  There is no shop (that I have used) that ships as fast as Green Fairy Quilts.  I swear they must ship the order the day it is received.  She ships out of Utah and it hits my California address within a matter of a couple of days.  Wonderful!  Anyway, I purchased these charm packs and added them to the proverbial shelf.  When I was looking for a project last week, I pulled these out.  I chose to make a nine patch quilt.  Something simple, mainly for the satisfaction of sewing and finishing something without any fuss.  As I was laying out the charm squares and deciding how to use them, I remembered that batik from St. John.  Perfect for the border!! I was so excited. I knew it was the right place for that fabric.

I sashed the nine patch blocks with a bit of black to set off the colors.  I think it lends a look of stained glass to the quilt.


I decided to use the blue batik charm squares as the center of each block.  It lends continuity to the colors. After I sashed the blocks, I made four cornerstone blocks.  I just diced four extra charm squares into four squares and made small patchwork blocks with them.  I cut my precious honeymoon fabric into strips for the border and added the cornerstone blocks.  Hurray, my quilt top is finished!!

20140901_1658The sun was shining hard through the quilt top which makes it even more reminiscent of stained glass.  Love the pink square at the upper right corner.


I keep looking through my fabric trying to come up with something that works for the back.  Alas, I have not found anything I like which necessitates a trip to my LQS.  How unfortunate for me.  😉

I am so happy with this quilt top.  I love the batiks.  I haven’t ever made anything with batik before and it is really pretty.  I plan to add a black piping or flange to the top and then bind it with the honeymoon batik against that black flange.  I will post a picture of the finished quilt when it is actually that, finished!

Happy weekend all!

Linking to: Freemotion by the River, Sew Cute Tuesday, Let’s Bee Social, NeedleandThread Thursday, TGIFF, Finish It Up Friday.  All of these wonderful sites have a link listed in the Link-Up tab at the top of my page.