Tuesday, January 28, 2014

70 of these?

Sometime in the last week of December I printed out six or seven quilt designs for my son to choose from for his next quilt.   The next day I went to the quilt shop to enjoy their storewide sale and came home with everything but the backing for the quilt he chose.  I even treated myself to a new ruler that I thought might make cutting easier than using templates.

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Over the next several weeks I was sidetracked by Sparkling Strings and another project that I can’t show you right now.  This morning I decided it was time to try out the new tool (it’s the large kaleidoscope triangle ruler by Marti Michell).

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These are not my son’s fabric choices!  I thought I should make a test kaleidoscope block before cutting into those pretties, to be sure I could make a decent one. The instructions included with the ruler were great and my block lies nice and flat despite all those seams meeting in the middle.  The center as seen on the back is nowhere near as tidy as the drawing in the instructions implies it should be but it is pretty flat and no one is going to be inspecting the reverse once the blocks are sewn into the quilt, right?

Now I need to decide if I want to make 70 of these.  That’s how many my planned design needs.  It wasn’t a quick block to make, but not the most time consuming either.  If I get chain piecing maybe it wouldn’t take too long.  Even if it does, I suppose a little challenge is good for the quilter’s soul once in while.  Maybe I’ll do a bit of fabric cutting later today.

I’m linking up for Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River. (I’d add her button here but  I’m not quite sure how to embed that in a post.  Something new to go figure out sometime…)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Grow Your Blog party

Today I am linking up with the “Grow your Blog” party organized by Vicki of 2 Bags Full.  If you’d care to go hop by a few participating blogs there’s a button on my side bar linking back to the post listing all 596 (!) participating blogs.

Welcome to Canuck Quilter.  As you might have guessed from my blog name I am a Canadian quilter (though not currently actually in Canada).  I love to play with shapes and colors.  I like to hand quilt but since I am very slow at it I have learned to machine quilt some projects so I don’t get buried under unfinished quilt tops waiting their turn.  I have become good friends with Mr. Walking Foot to machine quilt straight line patterns.  Ms. Free-motion Foot makes a guest appearance once in a while if the quilt is small enough.

As an introduction, I thought you might like to see a bit of my quilting journey.

Retrospective 2000-2014

There may have been one or two other small quilts I’ve missed, as well as table runners and placemats and other small projects, but these are the bulk of what I’ve made.

Number 1 was my very first quilt, paper pieced and hand quilted over a couple of years. It doesn’t have a name or a label because I gave it away before I knew it was supposed to have them.  Number 25 is my latest finish, Sparkling Strings, machined pieced and machine quilted over a couple of weeks.  In between I learned how to add a prairie point edge (15 and 17), create my own designs (5, 7, 8 10, 12, 16-18, 22-25), machine quilt (14-16, 18, 20-23, 25), write patterns (16-18, 23) and label my quilts (25).  I seem to be a slow learner where labels are concerned.

If you would like to read more about any of these quilts, there is a list at the bottom of this post with links to posts about the quilts I blogged about.

Thanks for visiting!  I hope you’ll be back from time to time to see what else I’m working on.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Quilter’s Scrapbook pattern available

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The pattern for Quilter’s Scrapbook is now available for purchase in my Craftsy store Payhip store (updated Jan.12, 2015).

Thank you to my three volunteer pattern testers Just Another Quilter, Deb and Liri for helping make sure the pattern is clear and error free. All of them had a lot of other projects in the works already and they kindly put some aside to make a test quilt.  I really appreciate their work and their suggestions along the way.  I have really enjoyed seeing what the design looks like made with totally different scraps and fabrics.You can see Just Another Quilter’s version with blue borders and sashing here.  Deb also has blue in her brown and blue version in progress. 

DSCN0117Liri tested the sashing and borders but played with a different block and sent me this picture.  She replaced the 100-patch blocks with pinwheels surrounded by scrap squares. How fun is that?

You can substitute any 10” block for the 100-patch block, or use an 8” block with a 1” frame to build it up to the right size to fit in Quilter’s Scrapbook’s setting.

What else can I tell you about the pattern? The X units in the sashing and borders are paper pieced, but don’t let that scare you.  The PDF pattern includes a full photo tutorial with step-by-step pictures and instructions to piece these units.

Time to go inspect the scrap bins and see what else might take shape…

Friday, January 17, 2014

Changing gears

I’ve gone from the bright scrappy fabrics and modern feel of Sparkling Strings to this:

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These are mostly Civil War reproduction fabrics. I have been cutting fabric a little at a time for a few weeks and I think I have everything except borders and a few setting triangles cut out.  I’m ready to start working on this queen size quilt.  The last queen size I made was about 7 or 8 years ago. ( I know, if I had labeled the quilt I would know for sure.  I did label Sparkling Strings so perhaps I’m turning over a new leaf?)  I know the design wall is too small for a queen, and I’m not sure I have enough clear floor space either, so laying out the blocks will be interesting.

I’m hoping it will look like I envision.  The string squares I made with the scraps read much brighter than I expected.

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I’m not sure I want quite that bright a quilt in queen size, but all the fabric is cut so I’ll press on and figure it out later.  And maybe once everything is put together the darker reds and golds will tone down those brighter reds.  I bet you never thought that I would be concerned about fabrics being too bright!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Presenting Sparkling Strings

Last night I put the last stitches, binding and label included, in my string star quilt.  I even named it!  Without further ado, let  me present Sparkling Strings:

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Hmm.  Not a great shot.

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What I need is a combination of these two pictures!  I like how the quilting shows up in the first, and how you can see the layout in the second.  These will have to do.  The weather is not pretty for photography today (gray, muddy and windy) and I also lack quilt holders.  By the time they get home from school or work it’s too late in the day for a decent daylight picture and artificial lighting doesn’t work well for the quilting shots and the colours.

Moving on from the photography musings…

Overall I’m happy with how this turned out.  I have never before made a quilt with this much blank space to quilt so it was learning experience.  I think if I were to make this one again (which I probably won’t because there are way too many ideas waiting their turn for me to repeat one!) I would skip the large pebble/bubble quilting.  There are too many motifs here making things a bit too busy for my taste.  I think I should have stuck with just bands of swirls, horizontal lines and narrower bands of unquilted space.

I do think this will suit the recipient’s taste just fine though, and having a bit too much quilting for my taste is making it easier to give away as I intended, so it all works out!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Now for some machine quilting

I finished sewing the binding on the Canada Quilt last night.  Today wasn’t a good day for pictures so I don’t have pictures of the finished piece to share yet. 

So now what?  I am making progress on the string star quilt.  I started quilting the straight lines earlier this week.  Today I decided to take a deep breath and add some free-motion quilting to the large white spaces.

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I usually don’t make quilts with this much blank space to quilt. Using my walking foot for straight lines to emphasize and frame the path of the stars was easy for me to plan.  I am good friends with straight lines!  I thought more straight lines in all that white space might be a bit too much to look at though. 

If the white space had been in the center of the quilt I might have hesitated even more to try the free-motion swirls.  I find I can’t complete FMQ curves properly when I have great large swaths of fabric scrunched up in the machine’s throat space.  As I swoop towards that side of the curve my hand bumps up against the wad of quilt and can’t keep going far enough.  In this case however, the blank spaces are all at the edge of the quilt so I can position it so there isn’t much of it in the way.

There is still a fair bit of white to fill.  I think I will add swaths of large pebbles as well as more swirls, and maybe a few straight lines too.

This quilt was meant as a quick gift but I have to tell you I am really, really going to have trouble giving it away!  It has a specific purpose though, so it will be leaving once it is finished.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Quilting complete!

I just put the last hand quilted stitch in my Canada Quilt!

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The lighting at 10:30 pm is not doing the colours justice but it sure shows off the quilting texture. I’m very happy with how this turned out, despite wondering halfway through, and again at 3/4 of the way and again and again, why I chose to quilt it so densely.  In the end it was worth it. 

Tomorrow I will trim it and add the binding, which I uncharacteristically prepared before I started the quilting.  Then I will hold my breath and hope it doesn’t wave at me when it hangs on the wall!  It was flat before I started the quilting and I did aim for more or less even quilting density, so I am hopeful.  If it does wave, perhaps I can try blocking the quilt.  I’ve read online recently that that is very helpful to make hanging quilts hang properly.  Do any of you have any advice about this?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Not my fault!

This is what happens when there are two male types racing virtual cars in the other half of the room where I quilt. (Yes it was all their fault.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!  This unit can’t possibly be one I sewed before they came down!)

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Well, the problem was more obvious when this star was set in with all the rest, which did have all the strings carefully oriented!  Of course I didn’t notice until the bit with the offending triangle was well and truly incorporated into the piece via a few other seams as well.

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All fixed now!

I decided on a modern setting for these stars instead of filling the quilt with them in a more traditional layout.  They are rather loud and I thought some white space to let the eye rest would be a good idea.  That turned out to be a good choice from another perspective.  By the time I made the 10 stars I need for the setting I chose, the variety in my string bin was severely depleted.  I don’t think I could have eked out too many more units.  The bin is down to mostly red, blue and black.

Here is where things stand tonight.

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There are still some horizontal seams needed to connect the rows containing the top and bottom star points to the centers of the stars.  Before I do that I need to cut and add white strips to both sides of all the rows to fill out the quilt’s sides.  If you squint you can see I have started that in the lower right part.

I’m planning to do a lot of quilting in the white parts, then bind with a scrappy binding…unless of course I change my mind between now and binding time and choose a single fabric…  Can you tell I’m making this one up as I go along?