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March Island Batik Ambassador Project!

This month we got to do "anything" we wanted. So far, a lot of my fellow ambassadors have done some bags, wall hanging, table runner, quilts and a rug. I mean wow! So many great projects already. I hope that each project just motivates you to sew something just as fun!

This month I wanted to explore a landscape style quilt pattern. I wanted to make a wall hanging that just spoke to what I have been dealing with personally (health wise) and just needed something peaceful. I love that as an artist/quilter/creator, we can use our skills to help our souls heal, or our minds speak. I always enjoy when a quilt becomes my voice.

This month I used a lot of the scrap bundle strips and a few from Februarys fat quarter bundle. I really had a set of specific colors, so I had to kind of line them up and see what would work and what wouldn't. I also used some of the batik solid black. Using the scrap fabrics really goes to show how you can use these batiks together, even though they aren't from the same line. They work so well together and gave my wall hanging/quilt just the right kind of texture that I wanted.

This was my idea/concept art. I of course wanted to use my favorite technique, FPP (foundation paper piecing).

Once I had the pattern designed and ready to go, I needed to figure out how big I could make it while still being able to use my scraps. I eventually landed on 30 x 40 inches. It's a perfect wall hanging size. The next process is the boring part, where I print, cut and glue the FPP pieces together. I then label each fabric with its coordinating color on my FPP pattern and got to work!

Laid all the sections out, as one does, to double check and make sure all the sections are accounted for.

Assembled the top three sections pretty quick. I was worried about the cloud fabric as I felt I might have gone too dark on them, but at this point it was too late and I just went with it. If I end up designing this pattern as one to purchase, I will have to redesign the swings "rope" sections as I did them individually, but this made them a lot harder to sew on with a clean straight line.

Last sections on and we have a top. Now, what I would have changed at this point if I had the energy would have been the cloud fabric color and the light purple/blue fabric that is to the left of the swing. Not super happy with how it blends into the purple fabric above. I also should have gone with a slightly darker purple fabric there but hey, its done and we move on and hope it reads better once all together.

I really wanted to try the trapunto technique with the swing. I wanted it to feel more three dimensional. However, I am not sure it worked the way I wanted it to, but maybe I will try this technique again later on and see if I get any better at it. Any tips, be sure to leave them below.

Next I used the polyester batting from hobbs batting to try and give the wall hanging some depth as I was about to do some really detailed quilting. Now I have never used polyester batting before and I have to say I was not a fan of how it felt on my skin, which is just a personal thing; but it definitely feels like it will give the quilt a big loft effect. So, I dived in and hoped for the best.

Be sure to check out all the battings and information at: Hobbs Batting Website

Using a simple black fabric for the back and the hobbs polyester batting, the quilt was sandwiched and ready for quilting. I did use some spray basting with this sandwich and it held up pretty well.

The hardest part for me is often choosing which thread to use while quilting. Do you match the thread, or use one that contrasts with the fabric, or find one that works well with the entire quilt? Let me know down in the comments below. This time I went for thread that matched as close as I could to each fabric. I wanted to do some pretty detailed free motion quilting (FMQ) so I knew it was best to match my thread this time.

The FMQing took me about 2 days on and off. The hard part is finding a style of quilting that looks best with each section. I tried to keep with the theme of what that area was. For example the clouds received bouncing half circle and the sky was rays of sunshine. This helps define each section/color, in my opinion.

The best part of any quilt, at least for me is sewing that binding on and finishing it by hand sewing it to the back of the quilt. Its like that last brush stroke on the painting: You know you are done!

With the wall hanging/quilt finally done; I waited for a clear day, since all it does is rain here in England. A few minutes of clear skies meant we could rush outside and grab a few quick photos of this quilt.

This is the back of the quilt. I wanted you all to see the many different FMQing styles I did. Also can we appreciate the amount of thread changing I did, please. I really enjoy FMQing and find it so calming. Do you FMQ as well?

Lastly, here it is up close, so you can see each individual fabric and how the quilting just compliments the movement of the fabrics.

What do you all think? Can you see how so many different island batik fabrics can work so well together? I love how they all work hand in hand to help sell the different layers of the landscape and sunset.

With so much going on with my health; the calmness of the swing, the gorgeous sunset and the layers of mountains and landscape just puts me at ease. I want to sit on that swing and just enjoy every second of this moment. The calm, the peace-fullness and the fresh air that would hit my skin would be a great moments I long for these days.

Lets take a moment and discuss the polyester batting and my thoughts. I actually really loved how the polyester batting helped my FMQing shine. The depth it gave the quilting was beyond what I am expected. I might have to use it in a future project or two, that I plan to quilt a lot on. Give it a try and let me know how you like it.

Well, thats a wrap on the Island Batik March challenge. I am extremely proud of the finished wall hanging/ quilt. Let me know in the comments below if you want this FPP pattern and if enough people mention they would like it, I will write it up for you all. Thanks again to Island Batik and to Hobbs batting.

Stay safe, stay healthy and be kind.

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