Island Batik May challenge

This months challenge as an Island Batik Ambassador was to Make It Modern. My favorite challenge.

The guidelines for this months challenge quilt.

  • Crib size or larger using Hobbs Batting
  • Any IB fabrics
  • Must incorporate one of the characteristics of modern quilts as defined by the Modern Quilt Guild (the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, Minimalism, expansive negative space, alternate grid work.

A few details

Size- 36″ x 44″ using Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 cotton batting in black.

Fabrics-assorted Island Batik Stash Builder strips 5″ x wof. For my background fabric, yep you guessed it, Island Batik black solid.  I love their solids.

Top is paper pieced using Aurifil 40wt thread.

The design

Flying geese of course, they are my favorite  to make and manipulate.  How many designs can you make with flying geese? a lot! If you doubt me, come back often.

For this quilt I went back to 7th grade art where we learned to draw a cityscape. Doubtful this is what my art teacher had in mind that day but I think he would be proud to know I remembered and applied his lesson 39 years later.

I wanted my geese to look like they were being sucked into a giant hole of nothingness, also like they were  escaping it.

The largest flying geese I have ever made, sorta.  The largest flying geese that I have not distorted by stretching them. Don’t you just love these bright fabrics against the black ? I really stepped outside my comfort zone using the black, but I like it.   I’ve decided to name this “The Escape”.


flying geese, island batik

flying geese quilt, island batikenzo and flying geese quilt, island batikmodern flying geese quilt, island batik

Please accept my apologies, I’m sorry to say that these are the only pictures I have to share of  my progress.

In most of the photos the black was severely washed out to show the vibrancy of the geese fabric.  It was a learning experience.

If you have tips on photographing black quilts please share.

Here are a few of the methods I tried.

Filtered sun. The sections of the quilt that had the most light had an effect of bleached areas in black.

Direct sun. The black fabric was almost gray and the geese were dull.

Morning indirect sun.  Almost a filtered blurry appearance.

Inside photos during the day and evening. Varying success. Either the black looked great or the geese fabric looked great.

The featured photo at the top of the page was taken Feb 28th at 1:46pm. It was very cloudy and see those white specs? It was snowing.

The background and the geese fabric are rich without any photo manipulation.

What better to quilt a black quilt than with than black batting. When I received this  in my Island Batik Ambassador’s box I wondered if I would ever use it.  The “Make It Modern Challenge” provided the inspiration to do so.

While quilting I realized you  can use the black batting with any dark fabric. A dark blue or dark green top (to name a few) would benefit well by using black.

If you follow me you’ll know I am new to longarm quilting. Therefor a lot of what I do is a new experience and this quilt was no exception. I chose to use  2 layers of batting to define the straight line quilting. Define it did. My lines aren’t perfectly spaced and they dart off in different directions. Some are horizontal, diagonal and even a few vertical. There is no quilting inside the geese patches, I chose to outline these. With the contrasting fabric, close straight line quilting and the outline stitches the geese are nicely puffed.

For all of my paper piecing needs my go to is the Aurifil  40wt and I always have a back up cone. The additional spools were given to me as part of the IBA program, you will have to wait until June and July to see how I will use them.

For my binding  I used the 2.5″ strip die provided by AccuQuilt.  Lay your folded fabric on the die, place the cutting mat on top and roll it through. Have you ever sifted flour? That is how easy the handle turns, no joke. The die will accurately cut up to 6 layers of fabric .  It has saved a lot time and the fabric doesn’t shift like it would under your rotary cutter and ruler.

Hobbs,  Aurifil  Island Batik,   AccuQuilt,

Thank you


  1. This is quite a challenge since batiks have gotten a bad rap for being anti-modern. Many fabric designers have pushed batiks further into the modern camp. These don’t read distinctively modern on their lonesome, which is good for versatility. Your use of the solid background and negative space launches The Escape into modern territory for sure. Black is a nightmare to photograph. Last time I tried, it highlighted the batting bearding (which is why black batting would have been a far better choice) far better than the quilting or piecing. I wish I had the answer for you, and myself, for that matter.

    1. Thank you for saying that, while I may have been making quilts for a long time I’m relatively new to blogging. I’ve always made what I wanted without a set path so this was a challenge for me. Now that I have black to play with I’ll be trying additional backdrops and cameras as time allows.

  2. Hi Denise, I really like what you did with the quilting of the lines and the distorted flying geese. It does look impressive against the black. I have a very dark quilt to make and so will have to invest in some black batting. I’m sure that it will be better for the quilting. Thanks so much for linking up to Free Motion Mavericks!

    1. Oh yes, the black batting is great. No white pokies, just what’re snowflakes. If hand guided longarm quilting fits your linky parties I’ll be sure to join every week.

  3. Sorry you had such trouble photographing this, but it still looks so lovely! Thanks for sharing on Wednesday Wait Loss.

  4. You are speedy! I love the black and bright colors and of course the geese. You’ll see some gees of a different type from me! I would never have guessed you were new to longarm quilting. This is just fabulous.

  5. Just so striking with the black background-good choice. The very last graphic for all the sponsors, I haven’t seen it before, did you make it or is it in our files somewhere?

  6. I’ve never used black batting before and have often wished I had when using black fabric. I think I may have to get some just to have on hand! Flying geese are much like HST’s…endless possibilities. I love your thought process behind the design and you did a fantastic job on making it happen!

    1. I rarely use any black in my tops and had never considered anything except unbleached. After this experience I will definitely keep in mind.
      Thank you, I really like how this turned out even with my wonky quilting lines.

  7. Wow, you wasted no time getting May’s challenge up! I think I am going to try the HOBBS black batting for my challenge too. I commiserate on the challenge of getting good photos with black and colour quilts, I struggled with my last one too. Great quilt though.

    1. Thank you. As soon as the rain stops I have a few other locations in the yard to test photos of this. Getting ready to start my qov July quilt?

    1. Thanks. I think that’s the reason I love the flying geese block because they are easily manipulated and still look great. Another reason, I love how the points glow when not cutoff with stitching.

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