Island Batik’s Christmas in July


Christmas-in-JulyIsland Batik’s Christmas in July

We Island Batik Ambassadors were challenged to design for the Christmas in July theme, which is a very popular one. We lucky people were given their absolutely beautiful Holiday Happenings line to work with.

Two unfortunate things have happened while preparing to share my version of Christmas in July.

First is that my two sewing machines, which sit side-by-side on a long surface my husband built for me, must have had a conversation that went something like this. My newer (2001) Bernina Virtuosa 163 said, “Hey, Bernina 930, how about we both lose proper tension together this time around instead of just me? Then you won’t have to be lonely while I’m in for repairs! Great idea, right?” Bernie 930 replied, “Hmmm . . . not a bad idea. I haven’t lost tension since I arrived in 1985 and we’ve both been used constantly. Maybe it’s time for a new experience. Okay, I’ll go along with it.” And, so they did, leaving me with quilting/sewing withdrawal pains while they are in for repairs. They’ll be returning home next week, but sadly, not in time to complete my Christmas in July projects.

The second unfortunate thing was a sudden realization. I didn’t catch on to the fact, way back in February, that we would be doing Christmas in July, so guess what I did?  I made my Santa’s Visit quilt using the beautiful Holiday Happenings fabrics along with others. If you missed it, click on its photo to go back to February’s blog and read all about it. (I hate to say this, but I did the same thing with fabrics for next month’s project. Can you hear me groaning? You can be sure I’ve checked out the themes for the rest of the year!)

Santa's Visit by Maria Hrabovsky

Santa’s Visit by Maria Hrabovsky

As a result, I used up a lot of my lovely Holiday Happenings batik fabrics. This meant I couldn’t do a large project this month. However, I made a smaller and important one! It’s a Kennel Quilt to either remind you, or introduce you to, TQPM‘s (The Quilt Pattern Magazine’s) Kennel Quilt Program – a volunteer organization available when disasters strike to help our animal friends in time of need by doing what we love.

Island Batik is becoming a partner in TQPM’s Kennel Quilt ProgramAt this autumn’s International Quilt Market in Houston, Island Batik will introduce its new, adorable, pet fabric lines! Kennel quilters are sure to love and welcome them, as will all pet lovers! Aurifil Threads will be introducing 2 new thread collections to go with those special new Island Batik fabrics. Island Batik will also be joining  and working with others, including PetFinder, and Bernina, all of whom are supporting this worthy program, each in their own special ways.

My Kennel Quilt was made with the lovely Holiday Happenings fabrics and one of their Neutral Whites. As mentioned, I didn’t get to finish it. The open seam on the right has yet to be closed and the quilting done. Still, you can see just how attractive it is using these wonderful fabrics. Once I have my machines back in working order, I will post the finished version. I will send this Kennel Quilt, along with others I plan to make, to a shelter here in Canada.


Kennel Quilt

Kennel Quilt

With the rest of my Holiday Happenings fabrics, I started making a wall hanging to add to our Christmas decorations come December. This is as far as I got before my machines quit on me. Only the center is finished. Stay tuned! I’ll get it finished next month and post it, too.


Be sure to visit all of our Ambassador’s websites and look for their Christmas in July designs. You’ll find great inspiration and there will be lots of Oohs and Ahhs‎ to be heard! Most have been posted. Keep watch for those who will add theirs soon!


Bejeweled Quilts

For Quilts Sake

Freemotion by the River

Fun Threads Designs

Happy Cottage Quilter

Kauffman Designs

KISSed Quilts

Lemon Tree Snippets

Made In Scraps

Mary Mack Made Mine

Moose Stash Quilting

One Quilting Circle

Pamela Quilts

Purrfect Spots Designs


The Fit Quilter

Modern Batik Challenge – A Summary

For all those who will surely want to see all the modern-style quilts created by our Island Batik Ambassadors last month, click on this Moose Stash Quilting link. You won’t want to miss all the creativity!

A reminder – this is the one I posted.

Opening Night

Opening Night by Maria Hrabovsky (Maria Michaels Designs) 

New Book – Art Quilts: Embroidery & Drawing


LaDan Abosein

LaDan Abosein

LaDan Abosein is a multi-talented artist. Her range goes from pencil drawing to Persian Miniatures, embroidery, knitting, cooking, gardening, decorating and quilting. Quilting is what she finds the most personally satisfying. In that regard, she has been featured in several magazines.

She has recently published a book – Art Quilts: Embroidery & Drawing.

Art Quilts by LaDan Abosein

Art Quilts by LaDan Abosein

Quilters looking for inspiration need look no further. The quilts LaDan features in her book are true works of art. Readers will enjoy meeting LaDan, learning more about her and her experiences, and feasting in the colour and joy of her work.

Those who wish to own a piece of her quilt art can choose from several on her web pages. Art Quilts: Embroidery & Drawing can be purchased at Blurb Books.

Island Batik – Modern Quilt Challenge


What is a Modern Quilt?

I actually find it difficult to decide on what qualifies. The dictionary meaning is, “of, relating to, or characteristic of contemporary styles of art, literature, music, etc., that reject traditionally accepted or sanctioned forms and emphasize individual experimentation and sensibility.” Even so, after looking at images of what qualifies as modern art, the variety and range is wide. In regard to quilts, the best explanation I’ve found so far is that by MQGModern Quilt Guild.

That being said, the Island Batik Modern Quilt Challenge had me making my 4th modern quilt. (More on them below.)

Although I do create and design my own patterns, with my husband’s wealth of art work, I often turn to it. When a theme presents itself, I usually remember something he’s done that will work perfectly and is eagerly awaiting its chance to be made into fabric art. My Island Batik Modern Quilt design is from another of his examples of just “doodling”.

Opening Night

Opening Night

For the horizontal lines in this quilt, I used Island Batik‘s French Roasted precuts strips. However, this time even narrower strips, were needed so I cut them all in half lengthwise. (You can see more of their wonderful precuts here.) The rest of the fabrics used in the quilt top were chosen from their beautiful Seashore Collection. The black border and binding are from their Basics Collection. (When you go to visit Island Batik, don’t forget to click on the small fabric images so you can view larger ones. That way, you get a much better idea of just how gorgeous these fabrics are!)

Opening Night – is another title by quilt-namer extraordinaire, Nan Baker of Purrfect Spots. Isn’t it a much better name than my original idea – Spotlights? (Yes, I knew you’d agree! )

I used EQ to create the pattern. It gives me the choice of printing either paper-pieced patterns or templates. As mentioned in an earlier post, I prefer working with templates.

An interesting thing about this type of modern design – it can be rotated and create somewhat different looks. For example, here is it is  upside down. Hung in this direction, it would need a new name though.

opening-night2Be sure to watch for all the terrific Modern Quilts our Island Batik Ambassadors will be posting this month! I’ll begin listing them below as they appear so do come back and visit again!

The first 2 of my designs – both crib-sized baby quilts – were pubished in The Quilt Pattern Magazine and a 3rd is scheduled to appear in future. Both quilts are quick-and-easy to make when a  baby gift is needed in a hurry or to use for charity quilts. They make use of any leftover, cute, border strips or child prints you may have. If you would like the patterns, you can order back issues.  (Modern Baby #1– August 2014; Modern Baby #2 – January 2015)

Modern Baby #1 by Maria Hrabovsky

Modern Baby #1

Modern Baby #2 by Maria Hrabovsky

Modern Baby #2


Last week, I asked for your votes and recommendations for naming my Island Batik Paper-Pieced Project. My thanks amd appreciation to everyone who left a comment or sent an email – all very good names, too! Look below the photo to see the name that was chosen.


Starry Night


We have more chipmunks around this year than last. They are so cute and we love seeing them. They scurry so quickly it’s hard to get a photo of them that isn’t a blur. I managed 2 yesterday.



Here’s an old “chipmunk” joke. Warning! It’s a real groaner!

One day while driving home from his fishing trip in the pouring rain, a man got a flat tire outside a monastery. A monk came out and invited him inside to have dinner and spend the night. The motorist accepted. That night he had a wonderful dinner of fish and chips. He decided to compliment the chef. Entering the kitchen, he asked the cook, “Are you the fish friar?” “No,” the man replied, “I’m the chip monk.”

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!

Canada Day – July 1st

Have you begun making plans to celebrate Canada’s 149th Birthday on July 1st?

My Canadian Flag Pattern is a good way to show your patriotism and to celebrate by including it in your decorations. It also makes the perfect gift for Canadians working and living abroad.

You can also use just the Maple Leaf pattern on jackets, sweatshirts, T-shirts, tote bags, pillows, and whatever else your creativity inspires. It’s also a stash-buster needing only small pieces and strips of your red fabrics.

To learn more about this pattern or to buy it, click here. If not for the 149th, you’ll definitely want it ready for next year’s big celebration – Canada’s 150th Birthday!

Once you have made your flag, I’d love to see photos and also, if you grant permission, post them in a future blog.

How To Fold Quilts to Prevent Creases

A New Applique Method!

This video is by Kathy McNeil. The tools can be purchased through her website.

Island Batik and April Showers

April-ShowersWe 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.

April Showers by Maria Hrabovsky

April Showers by Maria Hrabovsky

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.



The background grass fabric is from Island Batik‘s wonderful Hollywood Hills collection. The flowers, leaves, and binding are all from the beautiful, new Seashore Collection

Island Batiks 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.