Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Review of Hobbs Tuscany Collection Cotton Wool Blend Batting

It was not my original intent to do a public review of Hobbs Tuscany Collection Cotton Wool Blend batting, but after I posted that I was using it for the first time last week, so many of you responded and wanted to know my thoughts.  So I will share my experience with you.  

I'm starting with a lot of disclaimers.  First, I received the batting complimentary as part of my work as an Island Batik Brand Ambassador.  Hobbs graciously provided batting to each of the Island Batik Ambassadors to use in their challenge projects this year.  If you want to read more about the Island Batik quilt I used the batting in, check out this blog post. 

Secondly, I'm not being paid to write this nor am I being paid to write a good review.  I'm writing it simply because this is the fastest way to let everyone know what I thought of the batting. 

As a longarm quilter, I'm very conscious about shrinkage.  There are 3 ways a quilt can shrink.  1 - the fabric can shrink, 2 - the quilting process itself shrinks the quilt and 3 - the batting can shrink.   There are a variety of ways to manage and control the shrink - from prewashing fabrics, batting and by the choice of quilting patterns. 

Since I was on a deadline, done was most important to me!  So in this case, the fabrics were not prewashed.  The top was all Island Batik fabrics and the backing was a Red Rooster print straight off the bolt that I purchased on clearance when a quilt shop was closing.  The batting was right out of the bag - no washing or pressing.  I used a medium density edge-to-edge pattern, TK Totally Modern Fans E2E #2708 from TK Quilting & Design

Since we are talking about shrinkage - here are the stats.

Quilt top before quilting = 55-1/2" x 55-1/2" 

Quilt after quilting / before binding = 54-1/2" wide x 54" long
Yep, it's not unusual for the quilt to shrink more on one direction than another while quilting.  I floated the top, so it pulled up tighter since there wasn't tension on it. 

After binding and washing = 52-1/2" wide x 52" long
I machine bound the quilt and after a fast photo session, just threw it in the washing machine on regular wash - no special treatment.  And then straight into the dryer on regular settings.   

Here is the after quilting, before washing photo. 

And here is the after washing photo - same location, similar styling. You can see more texture and dimension in the quilt after it was washed and the quilting stands out more.  

Okay, so back to the batting.  

It quilted beautifully.   I really appreciated that I could handle it in the longarm frame and I didn't poke any finger holes in it nor did it leave any stretch marks from being handled. 

No "pokeys" or bearding.  

The wool makes the batt a bit loftier than 80/20 batting (80% cotton / 20% polyester) that I typically use so the finished quilt is a bit thicker, heavier, maybe more substantial is the word I'm looking for .... anyway, it feels different - which is okay. 

One thing I noticed immediately - it didn't hold fold lines when I went to photograph it.  The quilt came out of the dryer, got folded, measured and then plopped into the truck with my camera bag on top.  Then grabbed out of the truck, draped on the logs and photographed.  No special treatment, no fancy styling.   

Would I use it again?  Absolutely.  
If you are wanting a paper thin batt for a table topper, then this might not be my first choice -  but for wall hangings, throws and quilts - it worked perfectly. 

Well that's all folks!  I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts and opinions.  If you want to keep up with all my blog posts, please enter your email on the right hand side or follow me on Facebook or IG: @masterpiecequilting  

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Stepping Out - Island Batik Ambassador Challenge

For November, the Island Batik Brand Ambassadors are getting "cozy" while making and creating using the challenge theme of Log Cabin blocks.  Instead of the traditional layout I opted to use the Courthouse Steps variation of the Log Cabin block.  

As I was trying to decide where to photograph the quilt this afternoon (read further down for more on the photography challenges!), I thought it might be fun to use reclaimed barn beams for the backdrop.  After all, it's a log cabin block - why not photograph it with beams that could be used to build a log cabin?

Since this is my second year as a brand ambassador, my tote of Island Batik fabrics was getting pretty full so I went totally scrappy for this project.  Normally my quilts are fully planned - with each color in it's specific spot; so going scrappy was a leap of faith for me!  But I love how bright the quilt turned out even if there are a few of the same fabrics touching each other :) 

Each block started with a 2" center square and then 1-1/2" logs were added to opposite sides until the blocks measured 11-1/2" x 11-1/2".  I made a total of 25 blocks which let me stitch them together in a standard 5 x 5 block layout. 

For this quilt, I used a batting that I haven't used before - Hobbs Tuscany Collection's Cotton Wool Blend.  Hobbs graciously provided batting to each of the brand ambassadors to use in their projects. It quilted beautifully.  I really like the way I could maneuver the batt in the longarm while quilting without it stretching out of shape.  I will have a separate blog post reviewing the batting, so watch for it.  

So more about the photography challenges ....  It's November in Indiana which means everything is dreary, as in dreary gray.  I've got a couple go-to places where I like to take quilt photos but we were starting to run out of daylight, so I needed to stay close.  At the edge of town, there is a really cool wood fence that works great for photos, so we headed there.  

I have learned one thing about taking photos of quilts.  There can be NO WIND for days, but as soon as you get a quilt styled the wind picks up.  It never fails.  So here is what the quilt looks like blowing in the breeze! 

I only got about 5 or 6 photos before the wind blew it off the fence, so that's when we opted for Game Plan B and headed to the lumber yard for the rest of the photos.  

Normally, I try to have a pattern ready with each challenge quilt but I don't have one yet for Stepping Out.  Let me know in the comments if you would be interested in a pattern.  

To stay up-to-date on my blog posts, please subscribe using the opt-in the right side of the page.  You can also follow Masterpiece Quilting on Facebook or IG: @masterpiecequilting

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Let's Gather Table Runner from Masterpiece Quilting's 2018 Christmas Collection book

Last week I shared the release of my latest book - Masterpiece Quilting's 2018 Christmas Collection - with you.  In case you missed the introductory blog post, you can read it here.   I promised I would share more about each of the projects in the book and give you some of their background story. 

So let's start with the Dining Room, after all, who doesn't love food and a nicely dressed table too! 

Your Holiday table will be dressed in style with the Let's Gather Table Runner! 

When family and friends gather, nothing sets the mood better than a beautiful table runner. The length of this runner can easily be adjusted by changing the number of blocks in the center section.  Our dining room table is large, as it seats 12 people easily, so I tend to make my table runners extra long so they cover the entire length of the table.  However, I realize not everyone has long tables, so Let's Gather can be custom made to fit your table. 

The pattern uses four fabrics and I simply pulled fabrics from my stash to make the sample runner.  I wanted Let's Gather to have a traditional red, green and gold Christmas look but you can easily substitute other fabrics that match your decor and decorating style.   

A pet-peeve of mine is table runners that don't lie flat.  After all, the gravy boat always wants to spill on its own, so I don't want a thick and puffy batting helping it!  To keep the runner flat, I used Warm 80/20 batting compliments of The Warm Company when I made the sample runner. 

And yes, 2018 Christmas Collection is eligible for Amazon Prime so order today, get the book in 2 days and be ready to start sewing. 

Even though the Holidays are just a few weeks away, Let's Gather is one of the beginner friendly projects that doesn't take a large amount of time to complete.  It would even make a perfect Hostess gift.   

Not sure what to get your favorite quilter for Christmas - I'm sure they will love this book and they might even make you something from it!  

I couldn't have completed 2018 Christmas Collection on my own - photo credit  to Danielle Morales of InJoy Photography, photo styling by Abigail Hake Kellermeyer and Tammi Hake and page layout by Page + Pixel

If you like what you see, be sure to subscribe to my blog, follow me on Facebook or on IG @masterpiecequilting.  If you know someone who would love the Let's Gather Table Runner, please share this blog post with them! 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Masterpiece Quilting's 2018 Christmas Collection

I'm pleased to announce my latest book, 2018 Christmas Collection, is now available for purchase on Amazon.

It's a collection of 11 original designs perfect for your Christmas decorating.  Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing more about each of the individual projects and the inspiration behind each of them - so stay tuned to the blog!

Decorating for the Holidays fits into one of two categories. For some people, it is a glorious event – which they live for, plan all year for and thoroughly enjoy.   And for the rest of us, our goal is to get it done as quickly and as painlessly as possible sometimes within minutes of guests arriving!

As I designed each of the projects for this book, I focused on getting the most impact out of each piece as possible. Regardless of your decorating style, there is something in this book that is sure to please.  I’ve divided the projects based on the primary areas of the home – dining room, bedroom and living room.  

The holidays are traditionally associated with celebratory meals and the projects in this book will have your dining room set for any occasion. Regardless of whether you have guests spending the night or the bed is simply a gathering place for coats and hats, your bedroom will be seasonally styling with these options. And for those who sit and visit, your living room will be comfortable and inviting.

Here is a run-down on each of the projects and the area of the home they decorate.  

Dining Room Décor
Let’s Gather Table Runner
Wreath Runner & Wall Hanging
Holly Table Topper
Mugs Rugs & Coaster

Beautiful Bedrooms
Poinsettia Bed Runner & Pillow
Jingle Bells Quilt
Jingle Bells Wall Hanging

Lovely Living Rooms
Mistletoe Magic Throw & Pillow
Tree of Presents Wall Hanging
O Christmas Tree Wall Hanging
Friendship Stars Throw

And yes, 2018 Christmas Collection is eligible for Amazon Prime so order today, get the book in 2 days and be ready to start sewing. 

And even though the Holidays are just a few weeks away, many of the projects are beginner friendly and don't take a large amount of time to complete.   

Not sure what to get your favorite quilter for Christmas - I'm sure they will love this book and they might even make you something from it!  

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

My Texas Trip .... Quilting, Decor and Design

I'm back home from my 7 day, 6 night road trip to Texas!  It was an absolutely amazing time .... I experienced incredible quilts and all things quilty, was inspired by beautiful farmhouse decor and increased my knowledge of surface pattern design.  

Those who know me well, know that I am the Queen of Road Trips ... it's been a while since my last multi-state excursion, but I was game for an 18-hour to drive to Texas! 

My first stop was Houston for the fall edition of the International Quilt Market.  This is a wholesale market where fabric companies, suppliers and distributors release their latest to quilt shop owners and buyers.   

This year I had two quilts on display at Quilt Market for two different fabric companies.

In the Island Batik booth, I used their new Oh Deer collection and my Fractured quilt pattern to make this beautiful quilt which is perfect for any deer enthusiast. 

In the Windham Fabrics booth, I used Felice Regina's new Night Song collection to make this super fun quilt.  I love this collection - it has all my favorite things - fussy cutting and stripes! 

At Market, many of the fabric designers are there promoting their new lines.   While I love many fabric designers, there is one who rises to the top in my admiration and respect.  His bold use of color is unparalleled.   If possible, I always try to get a photo with Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably of the Kaffe Fassett Collective. 

Each fabric company outdoes itself with their booth decor.  I love these fabric covered balloons that adored the RJR booth. 

As part of the Quilt Market, there is a quilt exhibition which is beyond stunning.  While I didn't have enough time to see all the quilts, I wanted to make sure to take in Cathy Wiggin's display of quilting leather saddles.   Yes, you read that right ... quilted leather!  

The details are beyond amazing.  

Next up - Bonnie Christine's Immersion Retreat at Round Top, TX.  As soon as I heard the location, I was ready for this retreat.  And yes, I had to take the obligatory selfie with the town sign!  

For those who aren't familiar, Round Top is home to two large Antique Week events each year and is home to the Junk Gypsy's of HGTV fame.   So of course, I had to drive around until I found their store.  Unfortunately, it was closed - so I will have to save my shopping for another trip! But I did stop and photograph Large Marge, the Suburban, and the chandy hanging from the tree! 

The retreat was open to those of us to participated in the Immersion Surface Pattern Design class earlier this year.  And just to keep everyone in the loop ....  yes, I am considering designing fabric.  Please note "considering" is the key word in the sentence.  I'm not sure if my name belongs on selvage  ....  but I am sure that I don't know enough to make an informed decision.  So I'm learning, sketching and growing creatively in the meanwhile.   Anyway - back to the retreat! 

The retreat was held at The Prairie at Round Top which was absolutely magically.  Retreats are designed to renew the soul and this location did exactly that!

Nothing is more beautiful than a sunset! 

The view at night was so amazing!

I stayed at The Vintage Round Top  and I was so bummed that I had to leave!  I loved the farm house / industrial decor.  This photo captures two of my favorite things - ironstone china and reclaimed barn wood! 

Okay, so how often when you are on a trip do you take a photo of your bed and start texting it to people?  I've never slept with fur and canvas before but there is always a first for everything!

And I had to bring a bit of Round Top home with me - a peach pie from Royer's Pie Heaven at Royer's Round Top Cafe

And yes, it was a good as it looks! 

Well, this blog post turned out rather long ... but I just had to share my trip with y'all!   Congratulations if you made it to this point! 

If you like what you see, be sure to subscribe to my blog, follow me on Facebook or on IG @masterpiecequilting 

Thursday, November 1, 2018

2018 Monthly Color Challenge - November is Blue - Green

For November we are celebrating another one of my favorite colors - Blue Green

I know I sound like a broken record every month ... but I have a lot of favorite colors!  

If you are finding this blog post for the first time and aren't sure what we are talking about .... To get all the scoop, be sure to check out Jen's post.

I used three fabrics - a light, a medium and a dark - from the Garden Club Collection by Brenda Ratliff of JustaBitfrayed for RJR Fabrics to make this month's block.   The colors are so perfect for this month and a huge thanks to RJR for donating the fabrics.

I'm using Jen's pattern (available on her blog - see link below) and made both the 12" and 6" block this month.  

With only 1 more block to make, I've already started on the final quilt and it's so hard to keep it a secret.  Be sure to follow on social media for some sneak peaks starting mid-November.  

I can't wait to see what your block looks like.  On Jen's blog you have an opportunity to share your red violet block or anything made with blue green from November 21 to 30 to be eligible for prizes.  

And speaking of prizes, the sponsor for this month is Monaluna who are giving away a bundle of fat quarters of organic fabrics from their Haiku 2 line.  

Also be sure to visit the other bloggers who are participating this month.  It's so much fun to see what fabrics everyone has selected and how different the same block looks with different fabric choices!

Jen Shaffer of Patterns By Jen
Jen Strauser of Dizzy Quilter
Sherry Shish of Powered By Quilting
Jen Rosin of A Dream and A Stitch
Dione Gardner-Stephen of Clever Chameleon Quilting

And if you are playing along with us, make sure to use #2018monthlycolorchallenge on social media! And speaking of social media, be sure to follow me on IG: @Masterpiecequilting and Masterpiece Quilting on FB for sneak peeks and updates!