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!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

It's not really for the dog...

After finishing the pattern for the Canada 150 quilt (you can still download it free here)  I had a stretch of extra workdays at the shop, a miserable cold and a complete lack of quilting drive.  Last week I finally perked up a bit so I have something to share again.

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge color this month was "multi-color", fabrics that don't read even mostly as a single color.  I skipped my butterfly for the month and dug through the scrap bins to make this instead.  I think the setting triangles and the centers of the squares qualify as multicolor.


I made this to live here:

The point of it is this:


Believe me, this looks so much better than the ratty old towel we used to have there to protect the chair from dog hair and prints!  Well, the dog looked equally cute, but the ratty towel...not so much!    So, there we have it:  it looks like a quilt for the dog (and didn't that earn me a few horrified looks from a couple of ladies at the quilt guild who overheard me talking with another pet lover) but it technically is for the chair!  And as far as protecting the chair by keeping the dog off the chair...Sigh. We're marshmallows and that ship sailed about 3 days after Rosie moved in 2 years ago.

It wasn't on the list of things I should be working on, but it was quick and easy, just what I needed to draw me into my sewing corner again.  Now I'm playing with these pretties, also not on my list! (I think I need to move away from "should" in the sewing room so it continues to be a happy place.)


This isn't my usual fare of bright colors but I really like the soft quilt taking shape.  I'll share more next week.

Linking up with
DrEAMI at Musings of a Menopausal Melon

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Canada 150 Quilt: It's your turn!

Here it is!  My Canada 150th quilt design is now a top!  Dancing a happy jig over here!

Canada 150 quilt top - 58.5" x 69.5"


There's a pattern too!
"150" by Canuck Quilter Designs pattern cover

I'm sure you noticed there isn't a finished quilt on the cover.  Generally speaking, I don't like EQ drawings as pattern covers.  I like to see a finished quilt that proves it's doable and looks decent in actual fabric.  However, I know some folks want to get started on this to have a quilt to show off on Canada Day in July, so I focused on the pattern writing before the quilting.  I figure those folks can see the flimsy here for proof that it's doable! As soon as I have the top quilted, I'll have a photo shoot for the pattern cover quilt and fix that cover.



You see that thin little maple leaf border?  I bought a ridiculous amount of border print to get that stripe of maple leaves.  I needed a length of fabric equal to the length of the quilt, so I bought 1 3/4 yards.  That thin little border isn't very wide.  After cutting four strips of maple leaves and discarding the print in between the strips that I didn't need for this, I still have 36" of width left! Still, I love the look.  The splurge was totally worth it!  I'll find some other celebratory project to use up the rest.

Still, if that splurge is not in your budget, you can substitute another fabric, such as polka dots, small stripes or a solid,  and get by with 1/8 yard (1/4 yard as stated in the pattern if you prefer wiggle room in your cutting).  Or, you can find quilty friends who might want to split that border strip yardage lengthwise with you!  You can get 5 quilts' worth of that thin border from the 1 3/4 yards.

Here's a list of the Northcott Sesquicentennial Collection fabric I used for my quilt:
  • Newsprint print (21359-11)
  • Red texture (21341-24)
  • Off-white (21341-11)
  • White-on-red leaf print (21361-24)
  • Border print (21362-11)
  • Backing will be the Canadian trivia print: 21360-11) 

In a previous post I offered to suggest a sewing schedule, so here it is. It really doesn't take long to put this quilt together, but I'm spreading this schedule out over 8 weeks to help folks fit it into small chunks of time here and there and still get a finish by Canada Day.

Week 1 - Cut fabric
Week 2 - Assemble large leaf 
Week 3 - Construct short leaf tip units for small leaf blocks
Week 4 - Piece long leaf tip units for small leaf blocks (super simple unit to paper piece,  just 3 pieces - I'll post a tutorial if you ask for one)
Week 5 - Piece the small leaf blocks' stem units
Week 6 - Assemble small leaf blocks from units made in weeks 3-5
Week 7 - Assemble all parts into quilt center
Week 8 - Add borders

If you start this week, you can be done by the first week in June and have 4 weeks lft for the quilting and binding.  Easy peasy!


In celebration of Canada's 150th birthday this year, I'm offering the pattern free for a limited time in my Payhip shop.  Get yours now and get started!  I'll have a linky party on July 1st to share finished quilts, flimsies, or any progress at all on this quilt or any Canada related sewing.


Linking up with
Celebrate - FĂȘtons 150 at Quilting and Learning 
Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Let's Bee Social at  Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, March 27, 2017

Spreading the word and sale

www.payhip.com/CanuckQuilterDesigns

Anne of  Hudson Valley Quilts is featuring me and Canuck Quilter Designs on her blog today.  Anne is a freelance writer, blogger, quilter and librarian.  Answering her questions really made me think about how I design and write.  I hope you'll pop over to read about it.  She is also having a giveaway of one of my patterns, winner's choice! Jump over here to find out more and enter.

In conjunction with Anne's post, I am having a sale on all the patterns in my Payhip store.  Yes, all of them: the 14 pictured above, and the snowflake block patterns as well!  Clicking on the picture above will take you directly to my Payhip page, and entering the coupon code HUDSON at checkout will give you 15% off your purchase.

And just a reminder that I have free tutorials and a few free patterns for you (scroll down to the bottom of the patterns page for those).  The Canada 150th quilt pattern will be added soon, free until July 1st to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday.  In the meantime, the free String of Diamonds placemats pattern has been very popular.

String of Diamonds placemats. Photo courtesy of Renee of Renee's Quilting Addiction.
Renee from Renee's Quiting Addiction (also on Facebook here) wrote that she used them to teach a friend to quilt and is now using them again to teach a group of co-workers.  She  says: "Thank you for the simple pattern, a great teaching tool. By the time she gets to the 4th she will have all the basics down."  I'm so pleased my pattern is being used to infect more people with the quilting bug!

Finally, one more shameless appeal: if you have enjoyed any of my patterns or tutorials, please spread the word to your quilting friends and guilds.  A mention at your local quilt shop would also be appreciated! Many of my patterns have been picked up by distributors (both Checker and Brewer currently) and are available to quilt shops in printed format.  Please help me spread the word!

That's all for today.  Though I would rather be quilting, I'm off to figure out how to include social media links on this site. I'm on Facebook and on Instagram, but I know there is a tidier, more elegant way to include that information here! 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Look what they made...

On Friday evening my daughter and three friends took over my quilting space to piece a quilt top.  I think they had all sewn pillow cases back in 8th grade, so the sewing machine was not completely alien.  I demonstrated proper pinning, pressing and sewing technique then escaped upstairs.  I was called to demonstrate how to re-thread the machine, but otherwise, they managed on their own.


I sliced the panels of strips and added the sashing.  The girls were game to sew the sashing, but I goofed on the slicing (after they asked me to slice because they were worried about messing up!) and I had to figure out how to straighten things out.  I wasn't thinking clearly enough for that at that time of night, so I sent them home.  Working out a day and time these busy high school girls could all come over for the first part was tricky.  I didn't think we could get them all together again to add the sashing and still get the quilt finished in time, so I sewed the sashing myself today.

Are you ready for your daily chuckle?  A couple of the girls had after-school commitments so had to arrive later, and they and my daughter were concerned that the quilt would be done by the time they arrived. My daughter asked if it would take more than a couple of hours.  I was kind.  I didn't laugh out loud!

It took almost 5 hours for them to sew the strips together, so now they know sewing can be a bit more time consuming than they thought! I'm pretty sure they were proud of their work and they are very excited to give this quilt as a gift.


My daughter will be drafted to help me baste next weekend, because she, unlike her friends, is here. I'll quilt in the ditch the following week, and then I'll see who I can draft to help sew binding.  I'm just so happy my daughter actually asked to sew at all that I'll probably not quibble if she has a stack of homework and I end up sewing the binding myself!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Testing my Canada 150th quilt plan

I started my Canada 150th quilt last weekend.  It really is coming together very quickly. A couple of hours each day on four days this week has brought me all the way to borders, where I always stall because I don't like sewing on borders.  In another day or two (depending how long I dither about the borders) this will be a finished top, then I can dither some more about the basting, then the quilting.

Sunday's sewing - the large leaf block



Monday's sewing  - stacks of units for 12 leaves


Thursday's sewing - assemble the small leaves and join them into strips


Friday's sewing - filling in the background


I've given more thought to a sew-along.  I don't think I have time to organize one properly at this point.  What I plan to do instead is write the pattern (hopefully in the next week or two) then offer it as a free pattern for a few months.  I'll also suggest a sewing schedule for those who want a finish by Canada Day, July 1st.  On July 1st, I'll have a linky party for anyone to post their progress, flimsies or finishes of this or any other Canada quilt.

But first, borders!

Linking up with
Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

RSC Butterfly - Red

March's colour is red for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  Here is this month's edition of my RSC buttefly:

RSC Butterfly in red - March

I think I spent more time pondering the wing design than actually sewing it this month.  I got hung up on the idea of using squares and rectangles I cut a couple of years ago when I thought cutting up my scraps into standard sizes was a good idea and would help me use them.  (That idea didn't work for me, and two years later my little trimmed scraps are all still sitting forlornly in the bins.)  Once I let go of that idea and opened up my thinking to any red scraps in my stash, I found a design I liked pretty quickly.  The upper wing bases are pieced in strips, with a common fabric pieced on the bias at the end of each strip.

 I also though of piecing a checkerboard sort of design for the lower wings, but decided that would be too much going on in one block.  Maybe next month I'll focus on the lower wings.

This year's RSC butterflies so far:

RSC butterflies January to March

 You can find a tutorial for the basic butterfly block here on this blog.

Linking up with
ScrapHappy Saturday at SoScrappy

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Canada 150th quilt plans

These fabrics arrived on the weekend: fabrics from Northcott's Canadian Sesquicentennial collection.

 

As you can imagine these are not in high demand in Iowa, so I sent my sister-in-law in Canada a shopping list.  Thank you!

I have a plan.  When I was thinking about how to represent Canada, I thought about various symbols of provinces, and historic events, and roots.  In the end I realized I couldn't possibly include everyone and everything in one quilt and I really didn't want to leave anyone or anything out.  Then it occurred to me that the flag represents it all: the people, the history, the landscape. When I think of the flag, of course I think of the iconic red maple leaf.  The maple leaf represents all Canadians, no matter our backgrounds and where we live, so I ran with the maple leaf theme.


I hope it translates well from this printed size to a throw quilt size!  I also plan to applique "150" inside the large leaf and maybe quilt province and territory names somewhere on the quilt.

So, does anyone want to sew along?

Linking up with
Celebrate - FĂȘtons 150 at Quilting and Learning 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Chic Country is a top!

Just a short post tonight, but I was impatient to share.  Chic Country is a top! 


I hoped the tweaks I made to the pattern to add the borders would make the circles pop, and I am not disappointed! I discussed those tweaks here.

Now I'm going to splurge and have a longarm quilter baste this for me so I can start hand quilting.  I really don't feel like basting but I really feel like quilting, and Liz has a very quick turn around time.  I'll have it back to get started on the quilting well before I would have talked myself into the chore of basting!

Monday, February 13, 2017

RSC butterfly block tutorial

Thank you for all the positive comments about my Rainbow Scrap Challenge butterfly blocks.  For those of you who asked, I took pictures while making last week's block so I could write a tutorial.



I'm going to share how to make the basic butterfly, without specifying how to make the wing markings.  I've just been playing around with my scraps, sewing scraps together then cutting down to the right size base sections J and I.  Go ahead and just play with your scraps and see what you end up with!

The block will measure 12" finished (12 1/2" unfinished).  For a single block you will need:

Background fabric:
  • 6 - 2 1/2" squares A
  • 2 - 4" squares B
  • 2 - 3 1/2" squares C
  • 2 - 2" squares D
  • 2 - 1 1/2" x 5 1/2" E
  • 1 - 1 1/2" x 4" F
  • 1 - 1 1/2" x 2" G
Brown (body):
  • 1 - 1 1/2" x 7 1/2" H
Wing base sections pieced from scraps:
  • 2 - 6" x 7 1/2"J
  • 2 - 5" x 5 1/2" I


Step 1: Draw a diagonal line, corner to corner, on the wrong side of each square.

Step 2: Sew F and G to the ends of H as shown below.

Step 3: Position squares A on the wing base sections J and I as shown below, right side down and with the drawn lines running across the corners. Notice that the right wing will be a mirror image of the left wing.  You'll need to keep track and make sure the squares are in the correct corners.  I didn't the first time and ended up wielding my trusty seam ripper.


Close-up view of A sewn to J

Step 4: Trim fabric from the corners, 1/4" away from the sewn diagonals.


Step 5: Press the background fabric into the corners.


Step 5: Position squares B and C on the wing base sections as shown below, right sides down and with the drawn lines running across the corners. Again, take care to make the wings on the right side a mirror image of the wings on the left side.  Sew along the drawn lines.  Now sew 1/2" away from the drawn line, on the corner side, to gain two bonus HST units.


Step 6: Trim away the corner fabric by cutting between the sewn lines.  The corner fabric will open up to a bonus HST square to use in another project.

Bonus HST units
Step 7: Press the background fabric into the corners.

Step 8:  Sew strips E to the sides of the lower wings.


Step 9: Sew each lower wing to the corresponding upper wing, as shown below.






Step 10:  Sew the wings to either side of the body to complete the block. 


This is the basic method for making my butterfly block.  You can choose to make the bases for the wing sections any way you choose.  

Just a few more thoughts about the two butterflies I've made so far.

Purple butterfly details

When I made the purple butterfly, I had a lot of assorted squares and strings.  I pieced squares in rows to make two sections a little larger than were needed  for the upper wing base sections, then trimmed them down to the required 6" x 7 1/2" size.  I sewed strings of assorted widths together to make base sections with the strings running vertically, and trimmed those down to the required size for the lower wing base sections. You'll notice I didn't pay attention to making the right side wings match the left side ones.

Aqua butterfly details

 For the aqua butterfly, I decided I wanted the wings to match.  This required piecing the base sections as mirror images of each other. The lower wing base sections were string pieced with the strings running diagonally, then trimmed to size.

I made the upper wings by sewing strips sets, subcutting them on an angle , shifting the sub-cut strips before sewing them back together then cutting my base section H out of that.  I actually had 5 colors in my strip set, but adding the background over the corners hid two of the colors.  From now on I will remember not to bother piecing anything interesting in 3 of the 4 corners, because they will just be cut off in the end!

Linking up with:
Linky Tuesday at Freemotion  by the River 
ScrapHappy Saturday at SoScrappy (a little late - sorry!)
Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts