Tuesday, November 15, 2016

SewPro Stars Blog Hop

Today is my stop on the SewPro Stars blog hop! Welcome! 

Thank you to Andi and Jessica for organising the hop to keep the momentum from SewPro going. They have also assembled a giveaway prize package, so be sure to read to the end to participate in that, as well as a Canuck Quilter Designs pattern giveaway.

Just when I was feeling really negative about the business side of my pattern design business late last spring, I stumbled across a reference to SewPro.  The convention website promised presentations on various issues I had been struggling with.  It's like the internet read my mind and threw that across my path.  Off I went for a few days in September. I met inspiring, creative people and soaked up lots of advice and information from industry rock stars. Do Pat Sloan and Tula Pink ring any bells? Then I came home and tried to digest all I had learned and figure out what I am going to do with it all.

Here's the quilting that came out of all that.  It represents the equilibrium I'm striving for.  This quilt now lives on the wall in my work space to remind me to work on all the pieces, not just the fun bits.

This little quilt has a lot to say, starting with the colors. The schedule at SewPro was color coded to let us know which path a particular session would be most useful for: pink for pattern design, green for fabric design, blue for publishing, yellow for blogging and social media.  Grey sessions were relevant to all four paths.

If you have followed this blog, you know me.  I love color! I couldn't stick to just one color.  I hopped all over that color-coded schedule. It became pretty clear to me that the pattern designing I enjoy needs to lean heavily on blogging and social media and publishing, and yes, fabric lines, for their marketing. No marketing means no pattern line.  All of these pieces need to work together which is why my little squares are all leaning against each other, holding each other up.

I'm still processing all the information I brought home.  I'm figuring out what I can realistically accomplish in the time I can devote to my business.  I'm deciding which pieces feel true to who I am and how I work (thank you Tula Pink for that little gem I took away from your vastly entertaining keynote). I'm confident I'll eventually find balance.  From comparing experiences with other attendees, I've realized I have already come a long way from the first free pattern I offered up 4 years ago and that there isn't a single path to success, or even a single definition of success. Though I was leaning towards closing up shop last spring, I have gotten a second wind and I'll keep taking little steps to keep building up Canuck Quilter Designs.

And (thank you Pat Sloan) I'm going to try to work smarter, not harder, starting with this blog hop!  I really wanted to offer a tutorial for new and returning visitors to this blog, but I just wasn't able to put one together without giving up on sleep altogether.  But wait!  I have several tutorials available already!  I added prairie points to this quilt, just for you, to encourage you to check out all the tutorials I have available, starting with my series on using prairie points in your quilts.

Thanks for visiting.  Please pop over to visit more SewPro Stars this week.

Monday Nov 14
Sherri Noel - Rebeccamaedesigns.com
Andi Stanfield - http://truebluequilts.com

Tuesday Nov 15
Pam Cobb & Lynn Rinehart - http://www.thestitchtvshow.com
Joanne Kerton - www.canuckquilter.com

Wednesday Nov 16
Carmen Ross - seecarmensew.com
Jessica Caldwell - www.desertbloomquilting.com
Pamela Morgan - mysweetlittlestitches.com

Thursday Nov 17
Maryanna Powell - www.marvelousauntiem.com
Lissa LaGreca - lovinglylissa.com

Friday Nov 18
Becca Fenstermaker - prettypiney.com
Trinia Braughton - www.penguinfeats.com


And now for the giveaways.  First, mine.  Do you think it' a coincidence that the last day of SewPro was the 4th anniversary of my very first pattern release?  I released the free pattern for my String of Diamonds placemats on September 18th, 2012.  To celebrate, I'm going to give away one Canuck Quilter Designs PDF pattern to each of four winners.  Here's how to enter:
  • Click on the PDF Patterns tab at the top of this page to go peruse the selection, then come back and tell me in a comment which one you would choose if you win.
  • For a second chance, tell me how you follow my blog.
  • For a third chance, share about this post on social media (FB, Instagram etc) and come back and tell me about it.
I'll use a random number generator to draw four numbers on November 22nd, and the corresponding numbered comments will win. Make sure I have a way to contact you.  If I can't email you if I draw your number, I'll draw a new number.  Also be sure to answer the question.  If I draw your number and I find you didn't tell me what pattern you would choose, I'll draw a new number.

The SewPro Stars giveaway is a bit more high-tech using the Rafflecopter entry below.  As I understand it, you have up to 23 entries to win fabric bundles and patterns, and the drawing will be on November 19th.   Have fun hopping!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Trunk Full of Quilts 2016

Soma of Whims and Fancies is hosting a virtual trunk show.  She has invited us to share our favourite quilts in a new post and to go get inspired by other quilters' trunk shows.  Sounds like a fun community activity to me!  I'm in!

Trunk Full of Quilts 2016

However, I ran into trouble.  They're all my favourites!  I don't think I can fit them all in one post.  I tried to think of themes to narrow things down, but that didn't help much.  In the end, I passed the buck.  I asked my family to choose.  Keep in mind that I only gave them 5 minutes each to think of two or three.  Still, I figured whatever popped into their minds first is probably what made the biggest impression.  I'll list them in chronological order.

M's House Quilt - 2003

My son picked this house quilt.  It's the second quilt I ever made, all flannel and hand quilted in the ditch of every seam. This one is pre-blog and pre-digital camera.  The colors are actually all bright primary colors.  What shows up as black here is actually a deep bright green.  There is also bright orange,  red and royal blue, but you wouldn't know it from this picture! You wouldn't know it from the state the quilt is in now, either, because it has been well used and faded quite a bit.  But it was well loved and apparently I'm not allowed to ever dispose of it.

Wandering Geese - 2012

My daughter chose Wandering Geese.  She claimed this quilt before it was even quilted.  This was my 17th quilt and the first pattern I wrote up to sell, and the pattern still sells quite well.  The sales might slow a wee bit soon because though my daughter agreed to let it hang in the local quilt shop, she feels that after being there a little more than a year the quilt needs to come home.  The pattern will of course still be available online and from my distributors, and any quilt shops that want to carry it.  It's just that patterns sell so much better in shops with a sample on the wall!

Autumn Moons - 2013

Autumn Moons was my husband's first pick, which surprised me, but I can run with it!  I like this one too.  It was my 24th quilt and came from my first experience sewing curves.  I just started sewing drunkard's path blocks for practice, then figured I needed to do something with them.  The quilting was all done on my domestic machine with my trusty walking foot.  I released the pattern last fall.  This one is also hanging in the local quilt shop right now.  If you're passing through Ames, you can see it in person at the Quilting Connection.

Quilter's Scrapbook - 2013

Both my husband and daughter chose Quilter's Scrapbook, my 25th quilt. What can I say, it really brightens up the living room on a dreary winter's day! This quilt was my first foray into creating my own paper piecing foundations, because that seemed like the easiest way to make the X blocks for the sashing and cornerstones.  As I type this, another possible way just popped into my head.  I'll have to explore that later...

Canada Quilt - 2014

The Canada Quilt  (Quilt #26) got votes from my son and husband. My mother sent me fabric for this one, and it sat for quite a while while I pondered what the best use of it would be.  The idea went from graph paper to fabric over the course of a few months, then I hand quilted it over more than a year. You can go here to see closeups of the quilting.  This one is still hanging on the wall at home where I pass by it many times a day.

M's Kaleidoscope - 2016

Though my 34th finished quilt is dated 2016, the top was finished in 2014.  It just took me another year and a half to hand quilt it in fits and starts.  My son picked the colors for this one, and got final approval on the design.  The quilt lives on his bed and was his first pick as a favourite.  I'm planning to write a pattern for this soon.  What do you think - queen, twin and throw sizes?

Lucky Bugger - 2016

Finally, I had to include Lucky Bugger, made for my dad.  I've shown this, my 40th quilt, twice already this year, but it has all those lovely blues in it!  I said I couldn't pick a favourite, but all those pretty blues make this one rank pretty high.  My blue stash bin is twice as large as any other color's bin, so that tells you how I feels about blue.  Besides, an Ocean Waves quilt had been on my quilt bucket list for years and now I've made one, so that's a happy dance quilt!

That concludes my Trunk Full of Quilts show for this year.  I'm linking up at Whims and Fancies and heading over to take a peek in other quilters' trunks.

Online Quilt Trunk Show | Whims And Fancies

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Chic Country in progress

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While I ponder what to quilt on the purple Sparkling Trail, I think I will keep cutting fabric for my daughter's new quilt.


I'm making a larger version of Sew Kind of Wonderful's Chic Country, substituting my daughter's favourite very bright greens for the greys in the pattern's cover quilt.  I have all the first cuts made.  Now I need to cut the curves.  I think it will look fabulous in the end, but it's slow going.  Then there will be the sewing, then the quilting...She may get her quilt before she graduates from high school!

This quilt won't talk

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I finally finished picking out the quilting I had started on this Sparkling Trail quilt last January or February.  The quilt sat untouched for months until I acknowledged the fact that it wouldn't fix itself.  Now I'm back to pondering what to quilt.  I don't know about you, but I've had some quilts be very talkative, telling me exactly how they should be quilted.  This one is very, very quiet.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you've seen this pattern a few times.  The first version was very heavily freemotion quilted.  The second was quilted in concentric circles with my walking foot.

I still haven't quilted the little mini versions (here and here).

I really need to get this purple one done. Though I had never used purple before, I love the colors in this quilt.  It needs to be finished and out on the living room couch to be used and appreciated.  So please, send me suggestions! With a few ideas to prod it, maybe this quilt will start talking to me properly!

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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Spring Blooms on point setting

Someone asked in a comment on my Spring Blooms tutorial yesterday if it was OK to use a different fabric for the setting triangles if the the blocks are set on point as I did in my quilt.  My first reaction was "Of course!  It's your quilt, do what you want!".

I still feel that way, but after reflection, it occurred to me that the question was more about what it would look like.  If you're looking to reproduce exactly what I did, then no, you can't switch fabrics.  It will look different if you use different fabric for the setting triangles than you did for the block background.  Using the same fabric floats the blooms on the quilt.

However, if you're not looking to reproduce exactly what I made, have fun with it.  I fired up EQ7 and colored the triangles differently to give you an idea what things could look like.

I rather like it this way.  If I ever make this quilt again I think I'll choose different facbric for the setting triangles.  It's a little less modern, but I like the way the triangles bracket the center.  I also like the darker shade of the same color for the binding in the last two examples, to frame and contain everything.

So go ahead, play with color!  I'd love to see your finished quilts.  Please share!  Would it help if I started a Canuck Quilter facebook group?

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Tic Tac Hoot!

Tic Tac Hoot was the last Tic Tac Who? quilt I designed.  I had the other two finished when my daughter suggested an owl version.  I love owls!  I think it dates back to being a Brownie leader in Halifax in university.  My leader name was Sleepy Owl. It's a long story, but I promise I was wide awake and enthusiastic!

Tic Tac Hoot quilt by Canuck Quilter Designs
Tic Tac Hoot

Tic Tac Hoot turned out very well in the end, after a very slow start!  My first attempt at designing an owl yielded something that looked more like a bat, and definitely wasn't baby-cute.

Owl block looks like a bat
Imagine this guy in black and you've got a bat!
I tweaked a little and came up with something I thought would work so I stitched him up in fabric.

Oh, that beak! This looked more like an owl but something was off, so I tried again.

I was getting closer to a finish!  I popped him into the quilt layout on the design wall...

I really thought the green background and the darker sashing would work, but once it was on the wall, I couldn't bring myself to start sewing everything together. It stayed up on the wall a few days, and still I didn't want to sew it up, which was a pretty good sign that I wouldn't be happy with it this way.

I decided that the green background behind the owl was the problem. It didn't "float" the owl on the quilt and it interrupted the diagonal of floating blocks created by the X blocks.  Also, it doesn't seem so in the photo above, but the X blocks disappeared a bit on that darker background.  Back to the shop I went, to buy the fabric I had briefly considered for the sashing and discarded as too bland.  I also chose slightly lighter browns for the owl.

Tic Tac Hoot owl block by Canuck Quilter Designs
Final version of owl block

Much better!  The lighter sashing/background softened up the look.

Tic Tac Hoot by Canuck Quilter Designs
Tic Tac Hoot quilting 

Again, I quilted with my walking foot.  The owl is stitched in the ditch. For the rest of the quilt I started an all-over design, but didn't like how it played with the quilt as a whole.  Next I tried circles, then decided to do squares instead, then picked out the 7 squares I had finished and went back to circles!  Oh, and I found a spot where I had picked out a seam to fix some alignment then somehow missed re-sewing part of it.  Really?  I practiced a little bit of hand stitching to fix that little oops.

I think you get the idea that this quilt made me work a little harder than the other two!  It isn't a harder design.  I guess I was just due for a few quilting hiccups.

I was very happy to finally get the binding on.  That part went smoothly at least!  I love these little green dots, and the brown and leaf print for the backing.

Now all that's left to do is to finish the pattern!  Almost done. If all goes well, I'll be sending out to testers by the end of the week.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Tic Tac Quack!

It's Tic Tac Quack's turn today.  This one has the easiest focus block of the three Tic Tac Who? quilts.

Tic Tac Quack by Canuck Quilter Designs
Tic Tac Quack

You might remember my first rubber duck block attempt yielded a rather chubby duck. I'm glad I went back to the drawing board.  This one fits the space just as I hoped.

Tic Tac Quack by Canuck Quilter Designs - close up of duck block

 Tic Tac Quack by Canuck Quilter Designs - quilting detail

I tried to quilt random wavy lines for the waves.  I've seen lovely quilting like that, but whatever I was doing didn't do the trick.  It looked like one big mess.  I ended up ripping out the quilting (I quit after finishing about a quarter of the quilt, so it didn't take to long to rip out) and starting over after marking lines.  I used a flexible curve, the kind used in drafting I think, to copy the curve.  This, like most of my quilts, was quilted with a walking foot.

Tic Tac Quack binding and backing

I don't know if you can make out the detail in the binding.  I used the same bubble print as in the square right below the duck. It reminds me of bubble bath.  When my kids were little, rubber ducks and bubble bath were a great bath time team.

Have a great weekend!  I hope you'll drop in to see Tic Tac Hoot! in more detail tomorrow.