Saturday, July 23, 2022

Catching up

It has been a very busy year for me. According to Paul, all the busy-ness is self-created and self-inflicted. He is mostly correct and even if he was not, I am not going to argue with him. He is the only quilt model I have in these pandemic times.  Cannot afford to irritate him. 

Paul: Really, how busy have you been?
Me: So busy that I have not made a single zippered bag this year.
Paul(in mock horror): NO. 
Me: Even before I finish this thing, I have the next one ready to go, with no time to play in between. 

Therefore the RSC blocks had fallen behind. But I am caught up now. 

Meet my June RSC blocks. 

Dark Blue for June

Paul: Neat!
Me: Thanks
Paul: How will you put these together?
Me: If I knew that, it wouldn't be called Improv Piecing. Would it?
Paul: So you don't know?
Me: Totally clueless. Pizza tonight?
Paul: Sure!!!

I really don't wish to dwell upon June. Cause you know that is old news (especially since Angela has already announced the color for August). 

So let me show the purple fabrics and blocks for July.

Starting Point

Chain Piecing

Strip Sets

Finally Blocks!!!

PHEW!!! I am caught up, finally. Sharing with Angela's Linky Party. Surprisingly, Angela too is "Catching up".  Wild coincidence!!!


My pattern Topsy Turvy was published in the Make Modern magazine, Issue 47.


And get the subscription. It is totally worth it.

It started here - just playing with scraps till something emerged.  The overwhelming response I received from you prompted me to formalize it into a pattern.  Here are a few more pictures. 




There are a few other projects that I cannot show at this time.  Here is a glimpse of the backings, as they were stuffed into a bag to be mailed. 

Island Batik - Sunset, Bumblebee and Lemongrass


Positivity 2022 Update

When Bernie and I decided to set up the Positivity QAL last year, we did not know what to expect. I had thought that if we got ten quilts that would be respectable. But we received more than 20. We were giddy with happiness.  Naturally, we decided to do it again this year. We even got more sponsors and more prizes. Similar to 2021, I set up a lazy schedule from Memorial Day to Labor Day. 

We had the Finished Flimsy Linky Party last Sunday and there were less than 10 link-ups in total. Thank you so much to all of you who are participating in the QAL. Honestly, I was expecting more and I am a bit saddened by the lack of response. On the upside, almost everyone who linked up with a completed flimsy will be getting a prize!!! Check out Bernie's blog on 7/24/22 for the prize announcement.

So if you have not yet participated but would like to win one of these awesome prizes (for the completed quilt reaching Mercyful Quilts), you can still join in. Although a free pattern/instructions have been provided, you can use any pattern of your choice. You still have four weeks to complete the quilt. See the detailed schedule.

I will baste my flimsy this weekend. Quilting next week.


Of course there are other projects in the works. Here is what I can show you.

I will be using all colors of the rainbow to make the August project for Island Batik.  It is a mini quilt!

Fabrics for Island Batik's August Project

In September, we have the Island Batik challenge and bloghop, featuring the Spring 2021 collections and Tools provided by Studio 180 Designs. 

Ready to sew HSTs

Using Tucker Trimmer to square HSTs

If your summer is lazy and relaxed with lots of ice cream, I am happy for you.  If your summer is a rollercoaster of one thing after another, hold my hand tight. I am right there with you :-)

I will be sharing with all my favorite linky parties. See full list on the sidebar.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Unboxing Positivity

The second shipment of boxes from Island Batik arrived in the last week of June, loaded with gorgeous fabrics and other goodies/supplies from Island Batik's industry partners.

Last weekend, I shot the video. 

The setup below shows off my Island Batik projects from this year - Syzygy, Pobody's Nerfect and Harmony.

Ready to Roll the Camera

I received Batting from Hobbs. Cotton Queen Size, 80/20 Black Queen Size, Cotton Wool Blend Lap Size, Thermore Polyester Queen Size, and fusible batting strips.

Tree of Life Block on Board die from Accuquilt for the Accuquilt Christmas in July Project

Tucker Trimmer Ruler from Deb Tucker's Studio 180 Designs for the September Project

Instructions, Supplies and Hardware from ByAnnie for the "Its in the Bag" October Project. I chose the  Ultimate Travel Bag 2.0

To make the bag, I requested fabrics from the Sunset Plains collection. Sunset Plains is designed by Kathy Engle and will be available in stores in September 2022.

Island Batik Fabrics (Sunset Plains Collection) to make the bag

A new industry partner - Prairie Spirit Alpaca sent us a pressing mat

If you knit, you must check out their blog.

Here are the rest of the fabrics from Island Batik.

Neutrals - 6 yards of Rice, 4 yards each of black, white and light grey solids.

Top - White, Black and Light Grey. Bottom - Rice

Spring 2022 Collection - Honeycomb, a signature collection by Kathy Engle for Jackie Kunkel of Canton Village Quiltworks, expected in stores in September 2022. 

Honeycomb by Kathy Engle for Jackie Kunkel

This collection came with four yards of matching yardage.

Daffodil Yellow & Imperial Red

Foundations Bundle - 4 solids, 4 blenders and 4 basics, half yard each.

Island Batik Foundations Bundle

Spring Precut - Stack of 10" squares of Cheers, a signature collection by Kathy Engle for Carl and Linda Sullivan of Colorwerx. I also received four yards of matching yardage in Aqua and Blueberry.

Spring Precut and Matching Yardage

The Summer Pre-cut and Aurifil Thread will be coming later and I will happily show you, once I receive them.


Instead of writing a separate blogpost for the Positivity 2022 QAL, I am going to piggyback my completed flimsy on this post. Hence the title of this post :-) See what I did there :-)

Thank you, Paul

The fabric is Island Batik, including the white solid. Here are a few more pictures because she does look so lovely.

Beautiful Day

Ironed and Ready to Baste

I already pieced the backing (Island Batik Light Grey) and made the binding too. The binding is Turtle (by Island Batik). It will frame the purple and green blocks beautifully :-D

Dark Green Binding

Linking with Bernie on Sunday, 7/17/22 for the Positivity QAL Finished Flimsy Linky Party. You must link-up to be eligible to win the Level 1 Prizes.

Also linking with all my favorite Linky parties. See full list on the sidebar.

I know, I know I am behind on my RSC assignments. June took the car and got stuck in traffic, caused by all the fabric rain (it has been pouring). Since there is only car in the household, Julio is stuck at home. Trust me, he is fuming.  Once June gets outta this mess, they both will have to get to their destinations together - Dark Blue for June and Purple for Julio!!! That blogpost is next, I promise.

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Accuquilt Christmas in July - A Pillow for Kip

The Island Batik July challenge is sponsored by Accuquilt who have recently launched the GO! Tree of Life Block on Board Die! Our challenge was to make an inspiring piece where the GO! Tree of Life pieces are the focus

Further, "AccuQuilt’s mission is to bring joy to everyone – especially when they need it. That is why, this month, we are encouraging you to make Christmas come early for someone who could use a little joy."

Also, "when you finish, AccuQuilt would like you to give the project you have made to someone you know who needs a little joy or donate it to a charity of your choosing." 

And remember, "when gifting the completed project, be sure to take photos, so this moment of kindness and love can be shared on social media!"

Block on Board

Paul: What's the matter babe?
Me: Not only I have to come up with an idea using the Tree of Life block, I also must donate it to a worthy cause AND take pictures. Oh and it should be Christmassy!!!
Paul: You could give it to Nikhil and Urjita, since they will be moving into a new home. 
Me: It says Christmas, not Diwali. 

Mari suggested that I send it to "A Doll Like Me", a charity that we have both supported in the past. I could. But I could not insist that they send me pictures.

No matter how I approached the challenge, I felt I could meet no more than three out of four requirements. Feeling frustrated by too many constraints, I set the thoughts aside.

Few days later, I received a text message from Mary Helen. (I had first met Mary Helen in 2006 at a Toastmasters meeting in Fort Lauderdale.) Here is what it said - "Hi Preeti, Kip is dying of pancreatic cancer. We are having a special meeting on Thursday morning. Hope you can join via Zoom." 

In 2006, I found myself in a new place with a new job and not knowing a soul in town. When a co-worker invited me to a Toastmasters Club meeting, I happily agreed. I had so much fun that I returned the following week and the next. After three weeks, Kip walked up to me, smile on his face, and handed me an application form. "This is just a formality", he had laughed, "since you are attending like a regular member." I was indeed ready to join. For as long as I lived in Fort Lauderdale, I was a regular member of the Early Bird Toastmasters, meeting at 7:00AM every Thursday. Within the year, I completed my first two manuals to become a Competent Communicator and a Competent Leader. Kip was instrumental in my journey as a toastmaster. He was always there and I valued his support and feedback. When I signed up to attend the District Conference, Kip was supportive - "it will be a great experience for you." But just before the conference, I lost my job. Kip made sure that the Club paid my fees to attend the conference. My new job took me to Maryland (and Virginia) but we stayed in touch via social media. Since then, I have attended many toastmasters meetings in many places. But I never found a club like Early Bird Toastmasters or a mentor like Kip!

I attended the meeting on June 23, via Zoom. There were several speakers and they shared many pictures going back over 30 years. Kip was there too but was too worn out to stay through the end.

When it was my turn to speak, I narrated my story of meeting Kip, how he led by example and was always a source of inspiration. By the time my speech was done, my cheeks were wet. I turned off the video so that I could sob. As I wiped my tears, my thoughts firmly on Kip - so energetic, so passionate and so full of life. Life? Tree of Life!!!

I was ready to make the Tree of Life quilt block. Not only because I had to do something to process my feelings but also because Kip could use some joy. 

Scrappy Bits of Blue

Since Kip's favorite color is blue and the mission was to bring joy to the recipient, I chose blue fabrics. The original Tree of Life has a droopy look like the Weeping Willow and I wanted to stay away from all thoughts of sadness.  I modified the block to its more traditional solid form. 


I decided it would be best to send it to Mary Helen, who could deliver it to Kip in person. I don't think Kip would make it to Christmas. Maybe Christmas could come to him.   

Chain Piecing

Using the BOB die is really simple. All shapes cut at once. I chose a white background and a coffee colored (BE32-F3) batik from the Island Batik Foundations.

The flimsy was done and I really liked it. But it wasn't Christmassy. 

Tree of Life

It was a Tree but not a Christmas Tree. What makes a tree Christmassy, I wondered. 

Ornaments? Too tacky. 

Star on the top? Possibly. I could applique that. 

And then it came to me. I remembered that the Winter Sky collection had an angel print fabric. In Blue!!! Perfect!!! I rough cut the angel shape and ironed it to the sticky side of a stabilizer. Cut it carefully using a pair of sharp scissors, removed the paper, placed it on top of the tree and ironed it in place.  Stitched around the edges to secure it.

Added Angel = Christmas Tree

I used Aurifil thread for piecing (50 wt) and quilting (40 wt) and Schmetz Needles - Microtex 80/12 for piecing and 90/14 for quilting.  I used Hobbs 80/20 Cotton-Polyester batting to make this quilted pillow cover. I used an 18" square pillow form. Making a pillow cover was quick. I used Light Gray solid from Island Batik Foundations. I could have just turned it but a bright blue binding provides a perfect frame and also gives a fine finish. Finally, I was happy with it. But the most important part remained.

Completed Quilted Pillow

Angel on the tree

Quilting Detail

Trimmed to Fit the Pillow Form

I received the GO! Tree of Life Block on Board Die! (along with the Island Batik Box of fabrics, rulers, batting and other supplies) on June 29th. I completed the quilted pillow over the long weekend and on July 5th, sent it via priority mail. There was no time to waste. I called Mary-Helen to give her the heads-up.

Me: Mary-Helen, you should be getting the package before the end of the week.
Mary-Helen: He will love it.
Me: Thank you so much for doing this.
Mary-Helen: Thank you for making it.
Me: I have a selfish request.
Mary-Helen: What hon?
Me: Will you please take a picture of Kip with the pillow?
Mary-Helen: I am sure someone can take a picture.
Me: I'd so appreciate that.
Mary-Helen: What if we cannot get it to him on time?
Me: I understand. We cannot control that.

The package reached Mary-Helen on July 7th and she took it to Kip the same day.  Time is of the essence. We all know that. She was kind enough to send me a picture.

Smiling Kip = Mission Accomplished!

Looks like I managed to achieve all four requirements of the challenge. But seeing Kip smile is the best reward. I will be sharing with all my favorite linky parties. See full list on the sidebar. As always, I'd love to hear from you.

Disclosure: The Tree of Life Block on Board die was provided free of charge by Accuquilt. The fabrics, batting, thread and needles were generously supplied by the following companies: Island Batik, Aurifil Thread,  Hobbs Batting & Schmetz Needles.