Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sneak peek

Here's a little sneak peek at what I've been working on this week.  Well actually, what you're seeing here has been made for a while, but the related pattern writing has taken a good chunk of the past week.



Now I need pattern testers!  This quilt is a bit modern, involves simple piecing and some simple applique, and measures 55" x 62".  I need volunteers to follow the pattern to make the top then give me feedback about the clarity and accuracy of the pattern.  Testing just a block and/or the applique part would also be helpful.

If you are interested in being one of the first to make this one (in time for the eclipse in August!) let me know and I'll send you a peek of the whole quilt to help you decide.  Thanks for thinking about it!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Bird Watching Quilt

Now that the quilt has reached its destination and the recipient has seen it, I can share pictures of the finished bird watching quilt.


I decided not to add borders to this quilt.  I wanted the bird panels and the accent floral and green fabrics to float on the background, and print borders seemed to interfere with that goal.  Still, I wanted a frame of some sort, so I decided to use the quilting to create a framing border that didn't interrupt the blue background.


All the quilting was done with my trusty walking foot.  I did start some free motioned hooked swirls in the center, but while it looked good on a small section, it was too busy for my taste and seemed to overwhelm the design and the bird print when spread over a larger area.  Plus it really didn't go well with my quilted border. 



Yes, I quilted this backwards, quilting the borders before the center.  I just wanted to see if my border quilting idea would look good, and I got carried away and quilted it all.  I liked it, so it had to stay and I had to work from there to figure out the rest of the quilting.  After a lot of staring at the quilt, walking away and coming back to stare again, I decided that for this quilt, simpler was better and I settled on simple straight lines on the diagonal.  All the dressy stuff is in the border.

I still wanted more floral than what made it into the top, so that went in the binding and on the back.  As I mentioned a few posts ago, I miscalculated the fabric required for the backing, so I incorporated the leftovers from the front (the blue and the floral with blue background) as a strip down the middle to make up width.  That was a happy accident.  I love how it turned out.  It's so much more interesting than an expanse of a single floral fabric.


After a final Rosie test and approval, I boxed up the quilt and sent it off to New Brunswick.


Now on to the next project.  I have a few simmering away, but the Wandering Geese remake in Moda Grunge fabric is what's on the design wall right now.  I hope to have a finished top to share by the end of the week!

There's a solar eclipse themed pattern coming up soon as well.  I'll post a bit more about that soon as well, and ask for testing help.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Happy Canada Day! and a linky party

Happy 150 years Canada!


I put the last stitches in yesterday with just a few hours to spare!



Each white leaf is labelled with a province or territory.  I had planned to include the date each joined Confederation, but they would have been too small to be legible.



Thank you to all who commented on my last post and talked me off the ledge, so to speak.  I put down the seam ripper and left the 150 and dates the way they were, and that was the right thing to do!

Rosie approves!

Now, please link up below to share  your own Canada-themed projects, finished or in progress, this pattern or any other!  If you don't have a blog to link up but you're on Facebook, add your picture to the comments on the Canada Day post on my facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/CanuckQuilterDesigns/)  If Instagram is your things, post with the hashtag #CanadaQuiltParty.

PS: Today is your last opportunity to download this pattern for free at www.payhip.com/CanuckQuilterDesigns.  Starting tomorrow, it will be available for purchase.




Sunday, June 25, 2017

Canada Day is coming up fast

There are only 6 days left before Canada Day on July 1st!  My plan was to get my sesquicentennial quilt finished by then.  Guess what I have been focusing on this week? I am making progress, but I predict some late night hand sewing to get the binding stitched down on Friday night!

Here's what I have done so far.

 


I stitched in the ditch around the large leaf, the sides of the leaf strips, and the border. Next I quilted concentric circles in the background.  If you're curious about how I kept the circle consistent where it ducks under the leaf and where it pops up again, I used the same technique as when I quilted my red and green Sparkling Trail.  I described my method in a post here.

Next I quilted "150" and "1867-2017" in the large leaf. I printed the text out in the font and size I wanted, traced it onto tissue paper, pinned the paper to the quilt, quilted the outline through the paper then tore away the paper.






I'm still not sure about this.  It didn't photograph well, and the dates are a bit more visible than the photo suggests. I used a matching thread because I wanted things to be subtle, and because I lacked confidence in my free motion skills.  Matching thread is very forgiving of wobbles and uneven stitch length.   My stitching looks good in just the right light, but at other angles it disappears altogether, so I may go back and stitch it again in contrasting thread.  Then again, I did want subtle!  Maybe I should have used a larger font...The scale seems a little off, but I really don't want to pick out all the straight line stitching I did next!



I still need to quilt something around and/or in all the cream colored leaves and in the border.  At that point I may reassess the large leaf.  As I look at these pictures, I am becoming more convinced that I need to make the 150 and the dates larger...

Perhaps the best course of action is to finish as I have started, bind the quilt, enjoy Canada Day and reassess later!

I still plan to have a linky party for Canada Day so you can all link up any Canada Day related projects.  If you don't have a blog, send me a picture, or links to other social media where you are sharing and I can add those to the July 1st post.

Finally, if you want this "150" pattern, please note that it is available free through July 1st at www.payhip.com/CanuckQuilterDesigns.  After that date it will be available for purchase, on the same site.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Quilt backs

When customers come into the shop and ask me how much fabric they need for their quilt back, my first question is whether the dimensions they are giving me are the size of the quilt top or the desired size of the top.  Usually it's the top and I ask how much extra they or their longarm quilter likes to add to each side on the back.  I do my math from there. Did I do this for my own quilt?  Of course not! Grumble.



I can't believe I used the quilt top dimensions and forgot to add extra.  That's why I was slow getting the bird quilt quilted.  I was put out with myself and the quilt, as though it was the quilt's fault!  However, it's also why I have this pretty pieced back, which a friend thought I had planned on purpose as an added element.  I should have let her think so!

I really like the way it turned out and it started me thinking about other quilts I have made that ended up with pieced backs.  There are not many and all but one got their extra decorative touch because I goofed.

First up, Don't Panic.  I bought the fabric for the backing when I bought the fabric for the top, but I changed my plan in the end and ended up with a larger quilt.  I inserted strips of scraps from the top to make up the difference.


Next is Love's Quilt.  This is the only one that had a pieced back on purpose.  It was a group effort for a blogging friend.  I received extra blocks that I wanted to include, so I planned the back around those.  It's like a whole other quilt.


My first Canada Quilt also suffered from buying the backing before the top was finished.  I don't have a picture of the finished back, and it isn't easy to photograph right now, so I'll just share this picture of the top and extra blocks on the design wall.  The column of blocks on the right became a strip down the back of the quilt, tucked between lengths of the intended backing fabric.


I do like the way it turned out, though I didn't enjoy hand quilting areas with extra thickness from the extra seams on the back.  This, of course, is why I added extra seams to the next quilt I hand quilted!  The back does not match the front of the Kaleidoscope quilt at all, but I hadn't bought enough black for the back.  My son likes hockey and I had some hockey puck fabric and plain red and blue for lines...







Tonight, I took out the fabric for the back of my Canada 150 quilt.  Guess what?  I did it again.  Time to start planning what to insert into this back to bring it up to size.  Time's ticking - Canada Day is July 1st!

Tell me about your pieced backs.  Do you make them that way on purpose as a decorative element?  Do youpiece backs to use up leftover fabric?  Do you only make them when you've shorted yourself on backing fabric?  Or do you avoid them like the plague and take care to do your math right every time?

Friday, June 9, 2017

Butterfly garden


May was busy with multiple end of year concerts for both kids (choir, band, band and choir combined, another choir performance...), high school graduation party and actual graduation ceremony on different weekends, a lovely visit with my parents, and trying to get the garden into shape for summer after a very wet and cold spring.  It didn't leave much time and dare I say it, energy, for quilting.  

I eased myself back into the sewing room on a rainy day last weekend by catching up on my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks. The green one for May was not made in May, but it's done!

Green RSC butterfly block (May)

In the middle of the week I tackled a quilt backing that should have been quick to make but wasn't. and I'll write about that whole debacle another time. Today I made the yellow one for June and the creative juices are starting to flow again.  Yay!

Yellow RS butterfly block (June)

Thanks to Sandra of mmm!quilts for the inspiration for the photo shoot.  I was feeling rather blah about my blocks shot on the design wall when I saw her recent Instagram post of three quilt blocks draped over a flowering basket.  It's a gorgeous day outside, the garden is looking half decent, though not quite in full bloom yet, and I had a helper available to stand just so as needed to shade the blocks so the sun wouldn't wash them out.  That poor little yellow butterfly isn't washed out by the sun.  It turned out most of my yellow scraps were rather soft yellows.  I may make another before I put the quilt together at the end of the year.  I'll wait and see how everything looks together.

While I was at it, I snapped new pictures of the previous blocks too.


Red RSC butterfly block (March)


Those tipsy pots are just starting to fill up a bit.  I'll have to take another butterfly picture once those impatiens grow more and fill the pots with white blooms.

Aqua RSC butterfly block (February)
Purple RSC butterfly block (January)

Now that I've been playing with color again, I have lots of ideas percolating. However, the bird quilt and the Canada quilt both need to be quilted first.  It will be very hot this weekend, so maybe I'll hunker down in the cool sewing room and make progress on those.  I really want to get to those other ideas!  There is a Grunge rainbow and some Tula Pink in my sewing future (though not together!)

Now I'll leave you with one last picture, because 1) I'm a proud mom and 2) he asked if I have bragged yet.  Here's my bragging:  he has graduated, heads off to university in the fall with a scholarship, just started his first paying job, earned his Eagle Scout rank...My baby's all grown up!  Beam!



Linking up with
Scrap Happy Saturday at So Scrappy

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Just a little later than planned - the bird watching quilt

I really did mean to post over a week ago, but technical issues got in the way.  I know it sounds like the modern version of "the dog ate my homework", but I really did have tech problems! I sat down to download the required pictures and couldn't find the necessary cable.  The likely culprit in the disappearance was not home, then I forgot multiple times to interrogate the likely culprit when he was home.  I finally remembered to ask if he had seen it, he returned it, and the internet promptly went down. By the time that was resolved, I was busy in the garden trying to divide plants before the heat hit, then baking for the culprit's high school graduation party coming up this Saturday.

So now, without further babbling, here's what I said I would post over a week ago.


I have struggled with this quilt and I am still not sure I got it right. A customer came in to the shop where I work with a pretty quilt that used these soft bird panels and the floral.  On impulse decided to make one too. I bought the same fabrics and rushed to start...and couldn't remember the details.  That's OK, I thought I'd just use the general idea as a starting point and run with it.



I don't mind this picture at all, but I hated it on my wall in real life.  The floral wasn't popping as much as imagined, and the whole thing looked very dense and busy.  How about more floral in the borders?


I rather liked this, so I went ahead and finished piecing the center of the quilt. Then I looked at it and felt it looked too much like a checkerboard of birds.  I also couldn't decide what fabric I should use for an inner border before the floral.  Looking at this picture now, I think I could have just used the floral as the inner border.

However, I didn't see that then, and  I decided to extend the diagonal lines of green rectangles into the border to distract from the checkerboard effect.



This still looked very busy to me and adding a floral border just added to the crowded look so the floral border had to go.  In the end I just added a wide blue border to float the whole center on a blue background.

Now I need to decide how to quilt and bind it.  I still want more floral, so maybe I'll use it for the binding.  As for the quilting...I know what I don't want better than I know what I do want!  I do not want to trace those birds in free-motion quilting! An all-over loose swirl design might look good, but I'm going to have to overcome a mental block about quiting willy-nilly over those birds!  Also, I think I still want the borders to be distinct from the center somehow, while still floating the center.  My mind's eye really doesn't ask for much!

Sometime this week I will baste this and hope I have a plan by then.  Tonight, I'm going to step away from this one and play with sunflower fabric.  The kitchen table needs new placemats!