Island Batik Week: Jennifer Mellow, Snowy River Hosta

Day 3 of our Summer 2018 Island Batik week is here! We love having this chance to showcase the fabrics of Island Batik and the wonderfully talented designers who work with them! Don’t forget, we’ll be featuring one designer/collection every day this week and we’ll have giveaways running throughout the week, including fabric, thread, and more!  Make sure to come back daily to learn more and to enter-to-win some gorgeous prizes!

To learn about Island Batik and the batik process, please visit their website. For a peek at the full range of Spring/Summer 2018 releases, in-stores now, click here or on the image below to browse the catalog.

August 20 – Island Batik Foundations
August 21 – The Just in Time Promotion!
August 22 – Snowy River Hosta, Jennifer Mellow
August 23 – Oceans Odyssey, Angie Steveson
August 24 – Babyhood & WhatNot, Barbara Persing

Snowy River Hosta – Photo by Judel Niemeyer

In Fall of 2017, we joined a pretty amazing team of industry leaders for the Hosta Design Challenge using The objective was for entrants to use the program to design a Quiltworx Wall or Queen Hosta quilt using Island Batik fabrics for a chance to win roughly $4000 in prizes, including an all expenses paid trip to the Thimble Town Quiltworx University, the winning quilt kit, batting from Hobbs, a one year subscription to, an assortment of Carolyn McCormick rulers & Schmetz needles AND the chance to design and release an Aurifil Designer Collection.

Entrants were given the opportunity to create their own designs, select their fabrics, and then enter multiple designs into the challenge. All designs were evaluated and judged by an all-star team of industry creatives and professionals, including our very own Alex Veronelli. After reviewing an unbelievably stunning pool of submissions, the judges awarded the grand prize to Jennifer Mellow for her Snowy River Hosta, a cool and crisp quilt featuring purples, blues, and the perfect snowy white.

We were thrilled to work with Jennifer on a coordinating thread collection to help bring the quilt to life and released a small box of 10 50wt spools this past Spring.

Snowy River Hosta

10 Small Spools, 50wt (220yds/spool), 100% Aurifil Cotton

To view this info on our website, click the image above. For purchasing, please contact your local Aurifil Dealer.

What first drew you to the world of sewing and quilting?

I lost nearly everything I owned in a fire. The Cedar Fire of 2003 destroyed my home including a lifetime of craft supplies. Once I got over the shock (which took awhile), I bought a used Pfaff sewing machine to make curtains and pillows for the new house we were building. I also picked up “Quilt in a Day: Log Cabin Pattern” by Eleanor Burns so I could learn to use my machine. That’s when I became addicted to quilting. I gave my first quilt to the friends who let us live with them those first few weeks after the fire. In fact, it is only within the last couple of years that I have kept any of the quilts I make. My love of quilting grows each time I share a quilt made for someone special.

Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
Nature is the best inspiration for me. Earth tones and fall colors ground me, water and sky colors lift my spirits, and wine is always good. Joen Wolfrom’s book “Color Play” had a big impact on me and how I use color in my quilts as well. I also LOVE looking at other people’s quilts, especially art quilts for inspiration. Katie Pasquini Masopust and Charlotte Bird are among my favorite art quilters. Here in San Diego, Visions Art Museum ( puts on a juried international exhibition of contemporary quilts every other year. The next exhibition starts October 20, 2018 and must be seen if at all possible. I have tried art quilting, but I’m not the type to let go of rules. I guess that’s why I like designing in Quiltster so much. It makes me feel creative but also gives me the pattern to follow.

How did you first hear about the Hosta Design Challenge with Quiltster and what drew you to submit designs?
I had a Judy Niemeyer pattern (the Bali Wedding Star) but I was afraid to start without help, so I signed up for her July 2017 retreat in Montana. I had such a fabulous time I couldn’t wait to attend another one. She mentioned that one of the prizes for the soon to be announced Hosta Design Challenge was an all expenses paid retreat in Bakersfield in early spring 2018. When the contest was announced I immediately signed up for Quiltster and started designing. “Snowy River Hosta” was my second ever Quiltster design, but I entered about 10 others too because I was very inspired by the prize list!

Your design, Snowy River Hosta, won the challenge, and was a favorite of ours as well. What have you loved most about the process of bringing that digital design to life with Island Batik Fabrics?
I think Snowy River Hosta is the loveliest quilt I’ve ever made because Island Batik fabrics are simply gorgeous. Opening the box of fabric felt like Christmas all over again. The fabrics were so bright and luxurious. I was putting it all together just when the pattern started showing up on websites and in catalogs. It was so exciting to see my name listed as designer! The part I have loved most about the process is that I have met lots of generous, wonderful people who are in the quilting industry. I think that whether it is a job or a hobby, good people are drawn to quilting.

Snowy River Hosta on display at the Quiltworx University at MISA (Madeline Island School of The Arts). Jennifer Mellow (center) with Quiltworx Certified Instructor Sandy Lieske, and Certified Shop owner Laura Reardon from The Quilt Crossing in Boise, ID.

After I won, I learned the prize included Island Batik fabric for TWO large quilts. In addition to Snowy River Hosta, Island Batik provided the fabric for my project at the Bakersfield Quiltworx University retreat also. Using Quiltster, everyone attending the retreat made their own quilt design based on a Quiltworx mixer pattern created just for the event. Thanks to the beautiful fabrics Island Batik sent me, I was able to design and make “Mellowkat” too.

Can you tell us more about the fabrics that you used?
Once I realized the Hosta “leaf” could also look like a snowflake, I tried to choose colors that would enhance that cool, crystalline feeling. My quilting friends from around the country have teased me because someone from San Diego can’t possibly know what snow is like. I must have drawn inspiration from Disney’s “Frozen.” Adding the turquoise accent to the icy blue and purple tones made the design sparkle. Sometimes in a design, using a color that stretches the range actually ends up pulling it all together.

How did you first hear about Aurifil thread?
I have been a fan of Aurifil since I was first told about it. I was in Colorado at a Heirloom Machine Quilting retreat with Harriet Hargrave and she recommended it. I love it for paper piecing because it is strong, even when tearing the paper around it. It’s great for any kind of piecing because the 50wt is fine and doesn’t add bulk in the seams when pressed.

What excites you most about presenting your coordinating thread collection to the world?
People should know that your thread collections are lovingly created by real quilters! We become so numb from commercial marketing that sometimes we doubt people were actually involved. I LOVED that I was able to individually choose each and every color for my collection. I chose my favorite 50wt, and included two of my all time favorite colors light blue (2715) and neutral cream (2311). (My husband Mike is most excited that the snapshot he took on the day I got the quilt fabric ended up on the cover! Thanks again honey.)


To enter-to-win in our Island Batik Week Giveaway, click here to head to the Rafflecopter entry page, or simply click on the image above. You do not have to complete all the options to be entered but the more options you choose, the more entries you have!  Entries will be accepted from now through 11:59pm Eastern Time on Friday, August 31! We will select 5 random winners for 5 super amazing prize packs and will announce here on Tuesday, September 4. Good luck!


Jennifer Mellow likes to say quilting saved her. She made her first quilt after losing nearly everything in San Diego County’s Cedar Fire in 2003. Rebuilding on the ashes of her childhood home, she created a small studio to make quilts for friends and family who surrounded her with love after the fire. She made her first paper pieced quilt in 2007 and recently discovered the more intricate designs of Judy Niemeyer’s Quiltworx patterns. Using to design different layouts and audition fabric choices allows her to explore creative new designs.

Winner of the Quiltster Hosta Design Challenge in 2017, she is a talented new designer in the quilting universe.  Jennifer’s “Snowy River Hosta” is made with eight beautiful Island Batik fabrics in a cool blue color palette ranging from aqua to purple. Her ten piece coordinating thread collection incorporates her favorite 50wt Aurifil Threads.

Jennifer is a full time lecturer at California State University San Marcos teaching Public Speaking classes in their “First Year” Program. Being surrounded by 18 year olds for over 20 years keeps her perspective on life fresh. She loves the contrast of quilting with her other hobby, motorcycle riding. She and her husband Mike can often be found riding their sport bikes around San Diego’s back country roads. Just like Jennifer, her quilts cannot be defined by one style or technique!

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Island Batik is a manufacturer, importer and distributor of cotton batik, rayon batik and hand-printed cotton from Indonesia. Originally established in 1997, Island Batik’s mission is to share the ancient cultural art of batik and hand-dyed fabric with our many valued customers around the world.


  1. Snowy River Hosta is absolutely gorgeous. I don’t have the patience to do Judy Niemeyer designs. I did one table runner and that was enough for me.

  2. Snowy River Hosta is beautiful, but Mellowkat is spectacular. Any chance we will see this as a pattern someday?

  3. The Mellowkat quilt is gorgeous and simply amazing! A little bit of applique on a quilt can make such a difference!

  4. Amazing quilts!
    I love working with batiks because of their unique designs, the batiks come to life in a whole different way than other fabrics.

  5. Your Snowy River Hosta quilt is spectacular! I wish I could envision how a quilt would look before making it.

  6. Wow!! What a gorgeous quilt!! Those are my colors, so this quilt is soooo me!! Thanks so much for the inspiration and love put into your quilt…. I’m drooling…. LOL!!! Thanks for the chance to win some beautiful prizes, too!!! 🙂

  7. Besides the brilliant colors, I love the tight weave and high quality fabric that batiks are made from. Snowy River Hosta is beautiful.

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