Wednesday, February 14, 2018

MiniLove with Island Batik

Do you love mini quilts? If so, this is the month for you!

Introducing Lemon Lime!

I chose to use the red/pink/cream Valentine's fat quarter bundle that Island Batik sent as part of the box for the ambassadors.  This of course changed the look of the mini and she's neither lemony or limey, but she's still pretty!

I found the binding fabric in one of the rolls of the stash builders also sent. This was perfect, because my mini finishes at 14" square and while I had to piece 2 binding strips that were the width of the fabric, it was easier than cutting multiple strips from one of the fat quarters.

While the fabric requirements are given in yardage amounts, a fat quarter works well for all three colors. For the background I simply folded the fat quarter in half the long way (20") and there was plenty of fabric.

Tips for piecing minis

Accurate piecing begins with using a sharp needle. If you can't remember the last time you changed your needle, now is a good time.

I chose to make the pieced units over sized and then trim them down, this also helps with keeping your small points pointy.  I have found that using pins adds too much bulk when piecing the units together. These pieces are small enough that you can butt those seams together, not pin, and they do not shift.

While I have given pressing instructions to help nest seems, you don't have to worry about them once the 4 patch units are pieced, so spin those seams!

When piecing my long strips I pin once in the middle and once at the end. These strips are cut to size, and we aren't trimming them, so we want them to match up on both ends evenly.

I do that when adding the last strip as well.

Pin that baby and quilt! I simply did stitch in the ditch. I had planned on doing hearts in the Square in a Square units, but this little thing fought me all the way and it was time to finish and move on. Have you ever had one of those?

In all her pink and red glory. See how to make a miniature hanging sleeve HERE

Grab Lemon Lime HERE. It is free through February 28.

(Page down a little more and find the rest of the Island Batik Ambassadors. They will all be sharing minis this month! Thank you to Pamela from Pamela Quilts for the full list!)

Happy Stitching!

New to Patterns By Jen?

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Sunday, February 11, 2018


I finished my first Island Batik Ambassador challenge. The GALentines Day Challenge. Whoop!

All the fabrics used for this project were given to me by Island Batik as an Island Batik Ambassador. 

I had never heard of GALentine's Day, and if you haven't either, you will find this video helpful.

I used this tutorial from Red Shoe Ramblings.

**Edited to add: My post office said my GALentines post cards were a "hair to big" and charged me more to mail them. So maybe trim your final size down to 3 7/8" x 5 7/8" and see if that helps.**

My LQS had Timtex, so that is what I used. It comes on a roll, like bolts of fabric. I just bought 1/8 of a yard, it's kind of funky.

Once you add the Wonder Under it flattens up nicely.

I grabbed a sewing machine off the internet for one of my postcards. This one has a definite direction so make sure, if you have an image that is directional, you reverse it.

I chose to just trace the larger areas.

I used Wonder Under for the hearts as well, because the background fabric covered all of the Wonder Under on the Timtex.

I stepped out of my comfort zone and went improv on the background.

I used one of the many fancy stitches available on my machine, and Aurifil thread that I found in my thread stash (side note, who knew one could have a "thread stash"), to stitch the raw edges down. I also discovered my machine has a satin stitch. Who knew??!!  It finished the post cards perfectly.

While my handwriting needs work, I made sure to mark these with POST CARD at the top, as required by the post office.

Now I just need to address them and send them out! This was fun, and you still have time to make up a couple and get them to your girlfriends.

Have you made postcards before? I'd love to hear about them. Share in the comments!

Happy Stitching!

New to Patterns By Jen?

Find paper and digital patterns in my Etsy shop.

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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Island Batik Ambassador Reveal

The day has arrived! The beautiful fabrics provided by Island Batiks are here, along with batting from Hobbs Batting and *beautiful* thread from Aurifil. 

As an Island Batik Ambassador I will be participating in a year of monthly challenges, and I will be using the Island Batik fabrics provided by the company. I'm so excited to get started on the first one, which is actually more like one and a half.

The first is a GALentines post card. You can find out more about GALentines HERE. This was not a challenge, but an opportunity to use the fabrics in something really just for fun. I will be using the pretty pink Valentines fabrics for this little project.

I will also be using them in this month's mini challenge. They are such a pretty group of fabrics. I'm looking forward to sharing these two challenges with you this week.

Next we have the Stash Builder rolls. There are multiple colors in each roll. I have a plan for these already as well, but that is for a different month and a different post. Aren't the colors just fabulous?! *I'm going to try really hard not to repeat that phrase, but I'm not making any promises.*

These fabulous pieces. Be still my heart! That purple!!  It's a beautifull soft rayon, which I have never sewn with, and I would love to hear your thoughts on working with it. The neutral is called Branches-Light Smore- Mountain's Majesty. If you want me to buy fabric, that name will do it!

The Foundations bundle. Ummmmm Whoa.

Pick a color. Any color!  If you can look at that bundle and not be happy you need to get some Vitamin D in you.  I'm going to be cutting into the pinks right away, but the rest of these...I think I'm just going to leave out and let them soak into me for a bit.

This bundle of Fat Eighths comes in such a bright array of loveliness.

The hard part will be deciding what color to use. The combination is stunning.

Here they are with the coordinating fabric that was also sent. I can't decide if I see summer or spring. Either way, this will brighten up the dungeon in which I stitch!

Let us now bask in what is my favorite of all. Now admittedly, when I say/type the name of this line "Blue Moon" I immediately go to that scene in Grease. You know the one I'm talking about, right? It really has nothing to do with the fabrics, that's just me and the way my brain sometimes works. This fabric though. So stunning. I love purple, and these are a fabulous grouping of rich purples and blues.

Check out the coordinates that were also sent along. Really, I'm trying not to drool, yet at the same time trying to figure out how in the world I'm going to cut into all of this gloriousness!  Island Batik just finished a week long blog hop featuring Blue Moon. I encourage you to check it out.  

Meet the partners

Aurifil has generously sent six spools of gorgeous color. 

The four orange spools are their 50 weight thread, and the two green spools are their 40 weight thread.

They also sent 6,452 yards of white 50 weight cotton thread. Ooohhhh yeeeaaahhhh.

As well as this handy brochure that helps explain which each weight is good for.

Hobbs Batting has also partnered with Island Batik and sent two batting options for us to use in our projects.

A twin size of their 80/20.

They also sent a queen size of their ultra thin option. I am really excited to try this one out.

They sent samples and descriptions of their products as well. I *love* that. When I can see AND touch the batting I am considering, I can feel very confident in that purchase.

It's the little things

This beautiful hand dyed, rayon scarf was part of the amazing product sent.

Hand. Dyed. I don't think I can really say any more than that.  You may have noticed little buttons in some of the pictures. Island Batik sent a few of those along as well. Too fun! It brings me back to jean jacket days and collecting buttons.

One last surprise

There is one last surprise...for you, for later.

As soon as I stopped the live reveal on Facebook I tore into this sucker, you may notice it was wrapped a little nicer in the video. I didn't take a picture before opening it, so I had to "fake" this one.  The spring line from Island Batiks literally took my breath away. If you are a batik lover, and even if you aren't, you are going to want to keep an eye on the reveal day, because WOW.

I hope you enjoyed this "slower" reveal and enjoyed seeing the beautiful fabric. I can't tell you how rich they are in real life. Scrumptious. I am really looking forward to sharing the projects I put together with these, and I'm going to sign off and get started now. Don't forget to let me know your ideas for working with rayon!

Happy Stitching!

New to Patterns By Jen?

Find paper and digital patterns in my Etsy shop.

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for daily sneak peeks and updates.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Super Bowl Sale Score

I love my Local Quilt Shop, Fabrics Plus.

While I support them all year long, their annual Super Bowl sale is one of my favorite sales. I think it has to do with the timing, by February aren't we all ready for something fresh, including fabric?

Enjoying the "big sale" experience

The day before the sale I head in with my plan and start looking at fabrics. It took about two hours. My plan changed a bit the day of the sale, and a couple of items I had an idea for not a plan, but all of that helps when you have a busy shop. I could ask questions that day when they aren't busy and not have to bother them while they are helping all the shoppers.

The day of the sale I went in with my list, my little wallet (no purse banging around, getting in my way or a heavy coat, just a sweatshirt), my coffee and a lot of patience. I think the whole experience is better if you go in knowing it's going to take time. There are lines for the cutting tables and lines to check out. I think of it like the post office on a Tuesday, at lunch time, after they were closed on Monday. Plan to be there twice as long as you usually would be. I spent 3 hours in the shop, and I had a plan, but with a plan and patience, I got what I needed and left without a stressed out, aggravated heartbeat.

My new fabrics

First up are a few of the fabrics needed to finish up the 2018 Color Challenge Quilts. If you are joining us, at the end of the year you will receive three setting options. These will help me finish those up and get them to the quilter.

My next project will be making a baby quilt for one of my child care families. I'm going to use The Border Quilt Baby option and the Guess How Much I Love You fabric. I grabbed the three top fabrics to finish off my fabric pull.

I grabbed these fabulous fabrics for a baby version of Friendly Flight. A pattern design just waiting for me to make cover quilts and publish.

Next, I grabbed some fabulous Kansas Troubles for the front cover photo of Twisted Flight, the pattern waiting to be published after Friendly Flight.

The fabrics for the baby version of Twisted Flight.  That bottom fabric is a very small green/cream, I had to have it, so found the 30's green to go with it.

I hope you enjoyed this little sneak peek into future patterns. I'm so ready to get started on these projects! What's the next project on your list?

Happy Stitching!

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