We Island Batik Ambassadors were given a fun challenge this month – create a quilted project with an April Showers theme.
I received an absolutely beautiful bundle of fabrics – Island Batik‘s Seashore Collection. Here they are spread out in a fan shape to view and appreciate. Be sure to click on their link above – the better to see and appreciate their wonderful colours and their beauty!
I was inspired by a stained glass project in the Stained Glass Pattern Book by Ed Sibbett, Jr. With the permission of Dover Publications, I used its flowers and leaves to create my April Showers wall hanging.
For the first time, I used fabric glue instead of fusibles to place each flower, flower center, and leaf. I just rubbed some glue into the center of each which held them down nicely for stitching around the raw edges. It was my intention to do a simple raw-edge applique, but then realized I’d prefer a very loose satin stitch.
Can you see the raindrops? For those, I did a free-motion stitch. My original intent was to use a silver metallic thread for them. However, I’d had the thread for a long time and found that with just the slightest tug, it broke. I’m assuming it simply dried up (brand name unknown). Instead, I used a light gray thread.
I love Aurifil Threads and used them for all of my piecing and most of my applique stitches, too.
Finally, it came time to decide on a border, but when doing trials, I realized I wasn’t happy with including one. Slept on it and in the morning, realized that a wide binding was just what was needed.
In the full view, it may be difficult to see the raindrops falling on the grass and some of the leaves and petals. Here are some closeups.
Island Batik‘s fabrics are not only absolutely gorgeous, they are terrifically wonderful to work with!
You will want to see all of the other April Shower projects presented this month, so visit each of our Ambassador’s Blogs and where necessary, scroll down to find them. A few have yet to be posted, but will be by week’s end.
As promised, here are the links to tour our Island Batik Ambassadors’ blogs. Visit them and where necessary, scroll down to view all the March Mini Madness quilts that have been made! You will find an amazing variety of inspirational minis and designs!
Ark Angel Creations
Desert Bloom Quilting
For Quilts Sake
Free Motion by the River
Inch Worm Fabrics
Lemon Tree Snippets
Maria Michaels Designs (You are here.)
Moose Stash Quilting
One Quilting Circle
Sally’s Quilting Corner
Stone Cottage Quilts
We Island Batik Ambassadors were given a March Challenge – Mini Madness! Our task was to create a mini quilt no larger than 24 x 24 inches.
Challenges are fun! Naturally, I had to think a while and plan. Finally, while looking at the Sweet Georgia Peach line, which I planned to use, an earlier pattern came to mind.
Years ago, when embroidery machines were just becoming popular, there were many quilters who wanted to use embroidery in quilts, but who didn’t have these specialized machines. Looking through my husband’s drawings, I found a perfect one to use.
He enjoys drawing mushrooms and had several to choose from – drawings that is, not mushrooms – and this is what I came up with. He got to choose the name – Not Mushroom – which many quilters questioned. That meant having to explain his strange sense of humour. Explanation: There’s a crowd of mushrooms here so there’s Not Mush (Much) Room. And yes, I can hear you all groaning!
This embroidered 9 x 9 inch design does not require a special machine, only a straight stitch. I used my window (my substitute for a light box) to trace my final pattern onto the white background fabric. Then, I simply stitched over the lines. Those with free-motion experience can use that method, but it isn’t necessary.
The mushrooms on the borders were traced onto 4 strips of tracing paper and/or light newsprint, pinned into position, and stitched over in the same way. The paper tore away easily afterwards.
Looking at my Not Mushroom mini made me realize that the Sweet Georgia Peach was perfect for recreating Not Mushroom as an applique. I used it for all of the mushrooms. The white background is Sprinkles from the Neutrals Collection. The sky, grass and border fabrics are from the fabrics I had left over from Island Batik’s Summer in the Country Blog Hop and a different Ambassador project I’ll share with you another day. Hop back and see if you can find them.
Nan Baker of Purrfect Spots shares the same type of humour as my husband. As you can see, she carried on with his theme by naming this one! It’s absolutely perfect! However, is that more groaning I hear?
This one is 15 x 15 inches. The mushrooms in the border were done the same way as for Not Mushroom. I used fusible applique for the mushrooms, but stitched over the raw edges as well. The grass is free-motion embroidered. As you can see, I used echo quilting for the white Sprinkles background.
I like to use my stitching over raw edges as my quilting stitches. That way, two things get done at once. It makes for an interesting backing.
All the piecing and most of the embroidery threads I used were my favourite Aurifil Threads. As I finish with other threads, I am replacing them all with Aurifil. If you haven’t tried them yet, make sure you do! They are wonderful to piece and quilt with!
All of us Island Batik Ambassadors have been sharing our Mini Madness projects. You’ll want to see them all, so stay tuned! I’ll present a list of them soon!
Island Batik will post the winners of their beautiful fabrics.
From among those who entered my giveaway by answering all 3 questions, 6 winners were chosen.
Congratulations to our winners!
- Lori S
- Rina M.
- Celeste P.
- Sheila I.
- Jackie M.
To Claim Your Prize:
1. Visit my Pattern Store at Craftsy.
2. Choose the pattern you would like.
3. Email me with your name and the pattern you have chosen.
To email, copy the following, eliminating all of the spaces and changing “at” to “@”. – maria at mariamichaelsdesigns . com
Thank you for helping to eliminate the spam I would otherwise get!
A Bonus for Everyone Who Reads Maria’s Quilt Scraps!
Today is the last day of the wonderully exciting Island Batik Hop – Planes, Trains & Automobiles!
If you have missed it, scroll down to my turn where you will find a list with all the necessary links. Visit each stop along the Hop and enter to win the various giveaways including free fabrics from Island Batik.
Here are today’s stops. You won’t want to miss them!
I will be announcing the winners of my giveaway tomorrow, so stay tuned! You have until midnight EST tonight to enter.
March has definitely come in like a lion this year. Hope it really does go out like a lamb! Fingers crossed!
Although we want to see the end of winter, blue skies and snow are beautiful to look upon! I especially love it on evergreens and trees.
A sign of spring! The crows are back. Poor timing for them though.
The moon is out, too. I love blue and white together!
We are already into the last week of the Island Batik Blog Hop – Planes, Trains, and Automobiles!
My turn was this past Wednesday. If you didn’t read my blog on that day and enter for free prizes, do so now. Scroll down to view it and scroll even futher down to view the events of the Blog Hop. If you are just joining in now, you’ll want to see everything you’ve been missing and to enter the draws which have yet to expire. One of the prizes is fabric and another is a quilt pattern, and there are more! – Go! Have fun! – Be inspired! – Enter! – Win!
Click on the Blog Hop image above to go there. We are already into the last week.
Hasn’t this Island Batik Blog Hop been wonderfully exciting? So many talented quilters and so many wonderful quilts!
Today is especially exciting for me because it is my turn along with Adele Mogavero‘s (The Fit Quilter)! We are working mainly with Holiday Happenings, seen below on the right. The gorgeous fabrics I was sent to work with are, from left to right, Sea Salt Sandy, Holiday Happenings, Lavish, French Roasted (for a different project entirely and not included here) and Hollywood Hills. Be sure to click on those links for closeups. Look for these fabrics at your local quilt shop too, and if they don’t happen to have them, request them. (Find a shop near you.) – Also, be sure to read through to the end because there are prizes to be won!
When we first learned that this Hop’s theme would be Travel, my mind immediately went to different and wonderful places. In fact, it went all the way back to one of the first flights ever known – Santa with his sleigh and reindeer. I just had to recreate my Santa’s Visit design with this beautiful selection of Island Batik fabrics. Aren’t the colours luscious? Just looking at them is inspirational and every time I do, new inspirations strike!
I used many of the Hollywood Hills fabrics in my Santa Travels quilt, and some of the others as well. For the majority of my projects I usually chose from among all the fabrics received. First, here is Santa’s Flight. (I know. ‘Tis not the season, but it will be again.)
There is an interesting story behind this quilt. I consider my husband and myself a design team for two reasons. One is that his expertise as an artist and former high school art teacher provides me with great information and references. The other is that many of his drawings inspire me to create new quilt patterns. This one came about when I saw one of his geometric designs. It immediately made me think of Christmas stockings hanging on a fireplace and I designed the rest of the quilt around it. However, at the time, I did not want to try drawing Santa so asked him to draw one for me with the specification that we not see his face. (I didn’t want to deal with such tiny applique features.) Didn’t he draw the cutest one?
This wall quilt would do well partnered with the book, ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas (also known as A Visit from St. Nicholas) by Clement C. Moore. The blocks are named: Waiting! – Here! – Filled! – Santa! – Decorated! – Going! – Going!! – Gone! The starry night sky fabric is from the Winter Wonderland collection. I also used Hollywood Hills and Holiday Happenings to create this quilt. For the Decorated! block, I used beads as embellishments to trim the tree.
The more I looked at my Hollywood Hills fabrics, the more I saw coral reefs – not the Coral Reefs fabric line, which you have already seen on this Hop – actual coral reefs. My imagination took flight! First, I flew by plane from Ontario to Buffalo, New York. From there I took a train down to Florida, then rented a car to go to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. At the beach, I transferred to a glass-bottomed boat so I could visit and see the beautiful coral reefs just off the coastline. To remember their beauty, I took photos of them and put them in an old-style photo album, as you can see here in my Coral Reef Photo Album quilt.
Most of the fabrics in this one are from Holywood Hills. I also used a little Sea Salt Sandy and a tiny bit of Lavish. The “photos” on the top left and bottom right are appliqued (with fusibles). The “photos” on the top right and bottom left have only the fish appliqued on them. The background fabrics looked like coral reefs to me and it was fun to use them in this manner. I used Basic Black for the sashings and borders and Sprinkles for the white photo borders.
The wonderfull Sea Salt Sandy fabrics can read as, or have the effect of, solids and they can be used in so very many ways. Nan Baker of Purrfect Spots, whom you visited on Monday, had lately been urging me to make a new variation of my Starbursts and Diamonds quilt – the first of my quilt designs back in 2001, also based on one of my husband’s geometric drawings. That came to mind as I admired these fabrics and realized that they would be perfect for it – and while we are travelling, why not travel to the stars, too? Instead of making an entire quilt though, I enlarged and made just the Starburst block. It measures 12 x 12 inches and can either be a hungry-man-sized mug rug (you think?) or a small wall hanging. As the latter, it would be a good reminder to ourselves and to our children to always”reach for the stars” – a good goal for us all.
For the back, I decided to use up some of my leftover bits of strips and rectangles. I cut a 4-sided shape for the center, then added to it in a Log Cabin style. It makes me think of a futuristic tunnel into the depths of space. (Obviously, I had the stars and outer space on my mind.)
We Island Batik Ambassadors enjoy keeping in touch with one another and sharing our projects. Lately, we’ve been commenting on how pretty our leftover snippets of fabric are and sharing photos of them. Here is my example. See what I mean? Beautiful colours!
I began to wonder what could be done with them. Because my friend, Martha, is taking lessons in painting abstracts, I thought of using them for abstract art. This is what I came up with. The fabrics aren’t as bright as those above because of the method used. I dropped the snippets on a square of batting with a backing under it – one large enough to add the borders afterwards. Then I spread them around as evenly as possible to cover the space. On top of that, I placed some netting. With a clear monofilament thread, I free-motion stitched quite solidly over the whole area to hold everything down. The netting cover does mute the bright colours somewhat. Since I also have coral reefs on my mind, it reminds me of the reefs teeming with life. My husband sees an autumn scene it it. If anything, what do you see?
And now for 2 Sets of prizes!
Thank you for visiting and spending time with me today. I look forward to reading your comments. Good luck for both draws!
From me there will be 6 prizes, chosen at the end of this Hop. Two will be awarded to Canadians who leave comments, 2 to our U.S. readers, and 2 to readers from other countries. Each will win a pattern of their choice from my Craftsy Pattern Store. How to win? Leave a comment answering all of the following questions.
1. Which of the projects above is your favourite?
2. Why did you choose it?
3. What country are you from?
Winners will be chosen from among those who leave a comment. A computer-generated random number calculator will be used.
Winners will be announced at the end of the Hop on March 5th.
To enter for a chance to win, click on the Rafflecopter widget below.
Planes, Trains & Automobiles Blog Hop Schedule
Tuesday, February 16 – London Fog
Moose Stash Quilting
Thursday, February 18 – Crystal Cove
Freemotion by the River
Tuesday, March 1 – Tuscany Sun
Thursday, March 3 – Fire Island