Playful Paper Piecing with Island Batik


As you may already know, the theme of this month’s Island Batik challenge is Playful Paper Piecing. My project was meant to be presented in mid May. Unfortunately, circumstances decreed otherwise and here I am presenting it to you on the last day of the month.

I must admit that paper piecing is not a favourite technique of mine. I much prefer working with templates, but sometimes it is the only way to deal with very small geometric or unusual shapes. There have been paper-piecing tips along the way in our Ambassadors’ blogs. Mine is about removing the paper after the sewing is done. – Wet a cotton swab and run it along the stitching lines to dampen the paper. It will pull away much more easily and leave your stitches intact. Should your fabric become dampened, leave it to air dry or press it with your iron.

This time around, it took me a long while to think of a design. I loved, then discarded one idea after another. Finally, I spotted a little block I had sewn several years ago. It was from another of my husband’s geometric drawings and my intention had been to create a pattern for it. (He’ll draw large squares on paper, then put a different design in each.) This one is perfect for a quilt design and for paper piecing as well.

When the center of the top was finished, but not yet pressed, I picked it up just as the sun poked through a cloud and shone into the window next to my cutting table. The effect was  interesting and surprising, so I quickly taped the quilt top to the window and took a partial photo. It looks just like stained glass, doesn’t it? I love the effect and was tempted to leave it just as it was. Were it not for the fact that the sun would fade it, I would have! What a delight it would be to see it like this every day. I playfully thought of commissioning it to be made in glass, but the lovely Island Batik Fabrics I used could never be duplicated so the effect would be lost.


Where else does the “Playful” come into this quilt? Well, first I had fun playing around with possible ideas in my mind, while rejecting one after the other until finally narrowing it down to this one. I had fun playing with my Island Batik Fabrics delightfully looking through them, then choosing as many of the beautiful blues and yellows as possible. It was even more fun to play with positioning the fabrics for the best effects. I chose fabrics from the Seashore Collection and from Island Batik Fabrics used in my previous blogs.

Want to have some playful fun identifying them? Click on the fabric link just above. You’ll enjoy viewing all the gorgeous fabrics and playfully dreaming of all the things you can do with them! Just be sure to click on each for lovely larger photos! “The better to see you with my dear,” to quote a line from Little Red Riding Hood.


The next bit of playful fun was deciding where and how to place those colours for best effect. More playfulness happened when trying to determine which part of the quilt shape stands out most, the stars or the skies behind them. It’s fun – and playful – seeing how our eyes point out one area of the quilt, then bring another to the fore. They seem to go back and forth as you look at them – almost like 3D. There is definitely a primary pattern, a secondary pattern, and even a third. Do you see them all? Do you see any others?

More playfulness! I quilted the borders in an irregular, straight-stitch design all around. By “irregular” I mean that I started at one point and when turning at the corners, varied the width between rows with no rhyme nor reason. You can see 2 examples below. It was fun and a bit scary because the idea was so new to me. Interesting, I thought, but also effective in its own way. We should allow ourselves to play and to experiment, and to do both much more often!

border1 border2The next  part was, and still is, choosing a name for this quilt.

I’m hoping you’ll help me with it by leaving a comment with your preference. Please either choose from the list or create a name you like better. Here has what’s been suggested by family and friends so far.The next playful part was, and still is, choosing a name for this quilt. I’m hoping you’ll help me with it by leaving a comment with your preference. Please either choose from the list or create a name you like better. Here has what’s been suggested by family and friends so far.

Stars and Beach Balloons
Stars and Beach Umbrellas
Stars Light, Stars Bright
Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars
Dancing with the Stars

I’ll tally the votes and announce this quilt’s name either later this week or next week when I hope to post our June challenge.

If you haven’t seen all of the Playful Piecing projects our Island Batik Ambassadors have created, you won’t want to miss them!


  1. I am trying to use new words, rather than the typical, to describe quilts I see on blogs. The first word that popped into mind was reflective. I don’t know why. But then reading about naming the quilt I came up with Starry Reflection. (The stars reflecting in the water.)
    It is a very pretty quilt.

    • Thank you, Nancy. I like the name you have chosen. Interesting too, that you see water. I see sky. I like the fact that we all see something a little different. It’s one part of what makes quilts interesting. 🙂

  2. bea

    great quilt and fun stitch on your binding. I might have to find that one on my machine!

  3. Barbara Buck

    OH My Gosh, Maria! I absolutely love this! I really admire your work and think you are really lucky to have such a talented husband to inspire you. My vote is Stars and Beach Umbrellas. Look forward to more of your awesome projects!

    • Thank you very much, Barbara! 🙂 I am indeed fortunate to have a talented husband. It was his art that inspired me to start designing quilts. My next one coming up is one of his as well, but I’ll also show 2 of my own. All going well, it will be up on Friday. Thank you for voting, too!

  4. Beautiful work Maria!

  5. Beautiful job Maria. I love this.

Leave Your Comment

Your email will not be published or shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>