Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Snowed under again

I suppose that could imply snowstorms, but it’s still a little early for those.  It could mean that my list of things that need doing is looking a bit overwhelming.  That’s a bit closer to the truth.  OK, that’s pretty accurate right now!  However, what I meant is that snowflakes are back in my sewing room.  They arrived a bit earlier than last year.

You already had a peek at Snowflake Tree Skirt #1.  I decided to add borders after all. People can just add fewer borders if they need it smaller.


The metallic gold fabric looks prettier in person.  I’m not usually a huge fan of sparkly stuff and metallic fabric, but I make an exception for Christmas!

IMG_0079Now I have this little stack of fabric waiting by the sewing machine.  I have to see this in Christmassy red too!  In addition to that motivation I want to see how the measuring works out using smaller snowflake blocks.  If the measurements for the setting pieces are not too fiddly (like sixteenths of an inch, for example)  I could include a smaller size option in the pattern, for a tiny tree or as a table topper.  However, I need to test it before I commit to it in a pattern.  Oh darn, more sewing!

That’s not enough.  Before I settled on this layout I was playing around with the snowflake blocks, and dismissed this idea because it would be too small for a tree skirt.  Now that I am thinking smaller tree or table topper, I think I might revisit it…


And how would it look with some of my other snowflake designs

And I still plan to do something with Winter Moons.

And I really want to work on a project that doesn’t involve paper piecing!  This one is patiently waiting…

And I really really need to make progress finish hand quilting my son’s kaleidoscope quilt.  It’s cooling off in the evenings again so that is sounding more appealing.

How do I order extra hours for each day?  In there an online shop for those?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Autumn Moons pattern!

At last, Autumn Moons has a pattern! 

Autumn Moons

This quilt grew out of my first experience sewing curves in September 2012.  Those practice units turned into a quilt, which was finally quilted and bound in October 2013.  Now it finally has a pattern.  Maybe good things take time to develop?

Thank you to my fabulous pattern testers:  Ann, Jennifer, Carol and Fraley.  They answered a call for testers that I posted on a Facebook quilting page, worked fast, and gave me valuable feedback so that the drunkard’s path templates are now properly sized, the diagrams are colored correctly, and I know the fabric amounts I quote will work.

Aren’t these quilt tops gorgeous? 

AnnFraley 1Jennifer

First on the left is Ann’s.  She hand-pieced this lovely top in less than 2 weeks!  She used the piec-lique technique for the drunkard’s path and asked me to add seam lines to my templates to make it easier for people to use alternate curved piecing methods.  Done!  Ann has also hand-quilted this, and has promised me photos.  I’ll be sure to share those! 

In the middle is Fraley’s quilt top. I love the rich deep colors she chose. Fraley is a quilter and soapmaker.  Visit her blog to see her pretty soaps.  She plans to start sharing her quilting there as well, so please welcome her to Quilting Blogland!  I’m hoping she will share pictures of her long arm quilting, and of the blue and white and larger Autumn Moons she is planning.

On the right you see Jennifer’s quilt.  Doesn’t she have a way with color? I love her fabric choices!  I definitely thought of this designs as a fall design, but in Jennifer’s I see spring too.  Possibilities, possibilities….

I don’t have photos of Carol’s work to share but she encouraged me to share her experience with curves.  Carol was my “never sewed curves tester”.  I needed to know how daunting this would be for someone new to curves.  There was bump at the beginning, getting her mind around how the templates should fit together, but in her words she “would have never thought it was this easy. The very first one came out perfect.   She is now “sewing curves like crazy”.  If you are on the fence about trying curves, be inspired by Carol and give them a shot.  I recommend this site for video tutorials to get you started.

The pattern is now available in my Craftsy and Payhip shops.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Pondering size

For the first time in what seems like forever I was able to indulge in a full day of uninterrupted sewing!  I feel energized!

I worked on the snowflake Christmas tree skirt I mentioned a few weeks ago.


The photo doesn’t do the fabrics justice.  The green isn’t a plain little dot on green background.  There are swirls and gold stars in there!  The light fabric has faint holly and gold speckles.

How big should a Christmas tree skirt be?  This measures 42.5” side to side, or 49” point to point.  I had planned to add a border in a different green, but the skirt already seems so big on the wall that I hesitate.  I really don’t want to dig out my Christmas tree to test it, but that might be what I need to do!  I plan to write a pattern for this one and I want it to be a size that people can use.  I suppose it all depends on the tree, and I could make the borders optional.  Skinny trees could skip the border, and fuller trees could keep it.

Then there’s the question of a hole in the center.  How big should that be?  I suppose I could offer options there too.  Decisions, decisions!

While I decide, I’ll back up to fall from Christmas.  I have finished writing the pattern for Autumn Moons and 4 lovely quilters have tested the pattern for me.  I have pictures to share next time!  I’m always surprised at how fabric choice changes the feel of a quilt, and I love every variation!

Happy fall!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Too tired to quilt ?!!!

That can’t be right!  It’s accurate though.  Three weeks ago I started working part time at my local quilt shop.  I get to gaze at and cut gorgeous fabric all day and be inspired by what customers are working on…and I’m too tired to play with my own stash when I get home!

I’m adapting to the new routine and getting used to being on my feet 7 hours a day. That standing and moving around all day has been good for the waistline!.  As I adapt, my energy is coming back so I’m working on some of these a bit at a time.


I thought I was done with snowflakes, but then someone suggested that they could definitely see these in a Christmas tree skirt, and the Christmas fabric is in at the shop where I pass by it several times a day 3 days a week, so I just had to play with that idea! 

But for now, sleep!

About the name

Which Way North arrived safely at its destination and the recipient had a stab at figuring out where the name came from.  This one quilt went to my father-in-law, who is retired from the Canadian Air Force.  Honestly, I like his explanation better than mine:

Your name for the quilt was most appropriate; some of the most interesting and enjoyable flying I did in the 25 years or so in the air force were the flight over northern Canada. Seeing the wild life one only saw in photographs; musk oxen forming their defensive circles when startled by our overflights; mother polar bears on the ice with their young standing on their hid legs inviting us to come down lower if we dared; millions of Snow and Canada geese forming to start their fall migrations south; the beauty of the desolation of the northern landscape and thousands of icebergs in the Davis strait and Baffin Bay starting their journey south to Newfoundland waters.”

Sigh.  That’s so much more poetic than the actual origin of the quilt’s name.  I named the quilt after a goof, ooops, error.  It really is subtle though, and unless you’re a pilot or flight navigator you wouldn’t notice.


If you remember from my previous post, my husband suggested adding runway numbers to the quilt’s borders.  Since his dad spent the greater part of his time in the Air Force at one base, my husband looked up the runway numbers for that airstrip, and showed me the diagram of how the two runways were laid out. 

runway numbers

I thought I had it.  I measured angles and everything!  I quilted away. When my husband got home I proudly showed him what I had accomplished.  He said it looked great, but I noticed a look on his face as he studied the quilt.  It was a look that said there was something wrong but that he thought keeping it to himself was the right thing to do.  Still, after being married to him for the last 20+ years, I’ve gotten pretty good at reading his face and I made him spit it out:  I had the runways reversed!

Guessing, correctly, that the stitching was staying as it was, because the quilt needed to go in the mail ASAP, but that I was unhappy with the goof, he stared at it some more, and announced that all was fine.  As long as we declared the bottom of the quilt “north”, rather than the top, as we’re used to seeing on maps, everything was consistent.  Yay!  By the time we named the quilt as I stitched the binding on, we were having a grand old chuckle about the puzzle we would set for his dad and that’s where the name came from.

North and south labelled on quilt

Monday, August 10, 2015

Which Way North?

Presenting Which Way North?, which will shortly be winging its way north to its new owner.


I can’t tell you yet how I came up with that name, but I can say that it has nothing at all to do with that little maple leaf and Canada being in the northern half of the continent.  It does have to do with an oops in my quilting design, and that’s all I will say until the recipient has a stab at figuring it out!

For now, just a few more pictures, since my hubby was kind enough to hold it up for me at the park at 7am this morning. 


My husband had a lot of say in the design of this quilt.  I made a Pinterest board of airplane quilts and asked him what he liked. Well, he liked the propeller on one plane, but not the rest of the block.  Another had a nice fuselage, but otherwise looked more like a robot than a plane.  That other one had a nice tail, but was otherwise too squat.  And so on.  In the end I tried to note what he liked about each block and incorporated that into my version of an airplane block.


When it came time to quilt the quilt, he had ideas about navigation diagrams.  Hmm.  They were a little trickier.  They would end up looking like a scribble and have very dense quilting in some spots and very very light quilting in others.  So I picked the circle part of those diagrams and ran with that shape, which turned into all those concentric circles in the background.


I planned to just quilt straight lines in the border, but before I started hubby asked if I could quilt numbers.  Why?  Runways are numbered, don’t you know. I quilted numbered runways.  You can see the start of a couple of intersecting ones there in the border.


Here’s another one.  I’m quite pleased that I managed to free motion quilt on the traced lines so my numbers look crisp and not wobbly!


Another picture just because.


And the back.


And the requisite “quilt with feet” shot.

Finally, just in case you think I actually went out to the park before breakfast just for a photo shoot, I’ll admit that someone had to drive a teen to early morning cross country running practice there anyway!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Checkerboard border

It seemed like a good idea, then not so much, then good again, then I ground my teeth.   I think it was worth it. 


(The blue is a bit washed out from the camera flash, but that’s what I get at 9:30pm!)

I thought my airplane quilt needed a little something more.  A checkerboard border to echo the nine-patch alternate blocks sounded just right, and with strip piecing it would come together quickly.  In theory.

In practice, strip piecing is still faster than cutting and sewing together individual 1.5 inch squares, but 196 little sub-cut units still take a while to cut and sew together!  About halfway through I didn’t think this was such a good idea anymore! Thankfully the seams nested very nicely so I didn’t have to pin all those.

Once the border strips were pieced I was happy again – until I measured them.  I thought I had a pretty accurate seam allowance, but being off by as little as1/32 of an inch or less on 40+ seams adds up to about an inch.  On the positive side it was too long rather than too short, and I hadn’t yet cut the blue for the inner border I meant to use to float the center, so I was able to adjust that to make the pieced border fit.  I won’t dwell on the blue strip that ended up too short by about 3 inches even though I used the quilt to mark the length.

Now I’m pleased with how the border looks and think it was well worth the effort.  Now to choose a border width for the final blue border….  I think I might just procrastinate and go prepare the backing and binding instead.