Sunday, April 22, 2018

Starfall Parade of Quilts

This parade of quilts is being posted posted a little later than I anticipated.  I had internet connectivity issues this weekend.  However, it is still technically the weekend here, so I'll say it isn't quite late!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to the generous quilters who offered to test my Starfall pattern.  Their feedback was a huge help to help me write a better pattern and release it with confidence, knowing the fabric amounts are adequate, cutting instructions are accurate and instructions are clear.

Without further ado, here are photos of their quilt tops.  I think you will agree that it is great fun to see so many varied fabric choices for a single design.  Well done, testers!

 Kathi Kivi (visit her on Facebook here)

 Judy Juhl

 Joyce Penney Schroeder

Rashida Juzer  (Visit her website here or find her on instagram as @no3quiltstudio)

Kim Williams

Sue Babbitt

Julie Sheehy

Amelia Clausen

Ann Wilbur

I love them all (quilts and testers)!  I think I might be lucky enough to see a few of the quilts in person once they are quilted as some of the testers live in my general part of the world (hint,hint, you know who you are!).  I'm looking forward to it!

If you would like to make your own version of Starfall, you can purchase the pattern here.  Use the coupon code STARFALL20 through the end of April for a 20% discount on this pattern.  Get a further 15% off if you use the share button on the sales page to spread the word. (The 15% sharing discount applies to all my other patterns too!)

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Starfall in Batiks

As promised, here is a second version of Starfall. (If you missed the first version and pattern release, you can pop over to yesterday's post.)

You may remember my original batik fabric selection didn't work out very well.  I am very pleased with my second attempt though!

I'm very happy that this designs works just as well with a dark background as it did with a light background. It makes it very versatile.  Come back tomorrow to see a whole collection of Starfall quilts in a variety of fabric colors and styles.  My great testers were not afraid of making their own color selections and created some beautiful quilts!

To celebrate this pattern release I am offering a 20% discount on this pattern in my Payhip shop  through the end of April.  Use coupon code STARFALL20

There is also a button offering an additional 15% off any pattern when you share it on Twitter or Facebook using the button before checkout.  If you like my patterns please spread the word!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Presenting Starfall

It's ready!  It's finally ready!  Drumroll please!

Cover of Starfall pattern by Canuck Quilter Designs

My Starfall pattern is now available for purchase on Payhip and on Craftsy.

This pattern has been in the works for some time now.  The concept has been kicking around in my head for about 3 years and I finally pinned it down last fall.  I shared a peek of the top in September, and a second version in my 2017 round-up in January, but I haven't shared an official reveal here.  It took me longer than I liked to write this pattern because I wrote it two ways:  one using the Rapid Fire Lemoyne Star and V Block rulers from Studio 180 Design, and the other using foundation paper piecing in case you don't have access to the handy dandy rulers.  I also tried regular piecing, and it was possible but fiddly and there are only so many options you can cram into in a single pattern without making it a muddled mess!

In the end, the pattern has instructions for making both blocks with either the specialty rulers or foundation paper piecing, and you can mix and match.  If you have one ruler but not the other, you can use the ruler for one block and paper piecing for the other.

Oh, and it is in three sizes too:  baby, throw and twin, all the same layout but different sized blocks.

Here's a look at the quilting, all done with, you guessed it, my walking foot!  Deciding what to quilt took me a while and I finally just started quilting diagonally from one corner to the next in straight lines.  When I got tired of that direction I mixed things up a bit and went vertical. Then I got bored with that and went diagonal again, and so on until the quilt was all quilted.

Starfall quilt by Canuck QWuilter Designs

Here's a close up so you can see the fabrics a little better. 

Close up of Starfall by Canuck Quilter Designs
Starfall quilt close-up.  Photo by

The background is Moda Grunge White Paper (or is it paper white?).  The stars and triangles are all Tula Pink.  On even days, this light Tula version is my favourite, and every other day I prefer the darker, richer version I paper pieced.  Come back tomorrow for pictures of the darker version and let me know which you prefer.  Then on Sunday, I'll share my fabulous pattern testers' beautiful versions, with all their varied color schemes.  I hope you'll come back to see those too.

To celebrate this pattern release I am offering a 20% discount on this pattern in my Payhip shop through the end of April. Use the coupon code STARFALL20.

There is also a button offering an additional 15% off any pattern(s) when you share on Twitter or Facebook using the button before checkout.  If you like my patterns please spread the word!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Vintage Sparkle off the UFO list!

Two months shy of the 5th anniversary of starting this quilt, I have finally finished Vintage Sparkle!

Right now I'm not sure why I fell out of love with it and relegated to a UFO bin for so long.

If it's going to live on this bed, something will need to be done about the wall colour...The dog doesn't care though.  The quilt is 100% Rosie approved.


Again, credit for the longarm quilting goes to Liz and Stephanie of A quilted Memory in Nevada, IA.

Credit for the prairie points goes to me!  So glad I managed to fix that little slip of the scissors.

Next up, adding borders to this one:

It is farther along than this photo now.  It only needs borders, then I can send it off to Liz for quilting.  You might notice I like this star block. It just is not possible to lose your points on this one!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Penguin quilt is home again

Last month I shared a picture of the penguin quilt top I was making for my daughter in her school colours.  I quilted it in time for her to take the quilt on the bus for her spring break band tour to Disney World in Florida but I didn't get pictures of it before she left.  Now the quilt (and the daughter) are home so I can borrow it for pictures.

Penguin applique from "The Proper Penguin" by Robinson Pattern Company, pieced letters from "Alphabet Soup" by Jaybird Quilts, layout by Canuck Quilter Designs

I had trouble getting a photo that shows the overall quilting well.  I used my trusty walking foot to quilt concentric circles centered around the penguin.  You can see a bit of it in the lower right hand corner above.  What my phone camera could not capture at all is the glowing effect of the Sulky orange variegated thread across the greys and black.

To make the quilt extra personal (because that name splashed across the front is so subtle!) I quilted the names of various school activities Laura has been and is involved with.  I typed the words in a large font, printed them, pinned the paper to the quilt and freemotion quilted through the paper around the letters.  At first I tried to follow the outline exactly, but that looked pretty shaky, and bits of black ink got stuck under the stitching.  Once I started using the printed letters as a general guide things flowed more smoothly.  The letters look a little more informal this way too, which I think is a good fit with the penguin.

 Of course Band Tour made it in:

This one is my favourite:

It does say "Fum Fum Fum". That is not a typo for "Fun", though the activity was fun.  These are lyrics in one of the songs sung at the high school Madrigal Dinners.  It's pronounced "foom" and as soon as you say "fum fum fum" anyone who has performed in Madrigal knows exactly what you're talking about.

So there you have it.  The band tour penguin quilt.  I don't have any photos of the band marching in the Disney World parade during their tour last week, or of the quilt in use on the bus to and from, so I'll leave you with photos from last fall's Madrigal instead.

Baroness Laura in full song at Madrigal

Between songs

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

An Ooops! and a fix

Does anyone else keep working when they should take a break?  I did this weekend and it resulted in a bit of foul-tempered muttering.  But then I went and ate some of these and balance was restored so I could go back and figure out how to fix the mistake.

What happened?  After finally getting all 128 prairie points sewn to sides of Vintage Sparkle, I decided to stitch over the corners again to make sure the points were secure there.  I forgot to tuck the batting and backing out of the way first so I stitched through all the layers.  That would have been easy to fix, but I didn't notice.

Next I trimmed the backing and batting 1/4" out from the quilt top all around.  That's OK.

Next I had to trim the batting down further, 1/4 inch inside the top.  Of course where I had sewn through all the layers that wasn't possible.  Here's where taking a break would have been the better option. I was tired and rushing to get this done. My brain didn't think through what the purpose of all this trimming was and I decided I could just trim close to the stitching, which is a 1/4" inside. That's when the big Oops! happened.  I cut through the backing too.

That is the bit of backing that needs to be turned under so I can stitch the folded edge to the back of the prairie points.  I cut just where there should be a fold.  Sigh.  And the extra-vexing part of it is that I wouldn't have been able to fold it under because I had stitched there, so I would have had to unsew that anyway, so why didn't I just do that before I started snipping?  Imagine a horrified gasp, then gnashing of teeth, then a hasty retreat from the sewing room in a panic.

Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting are not good for my waistline but they are fabulous for restoring my equilibrium!  With equilibrium restored I marched back into the sewing room, considered the problem and came up with a plan.

 I ripped the stitches I should have ripped earlier, so I could manipulate the top, batting and backing separately.

With the batting and top folded out of the way, I matched the pattern from a scrap of the backing fabric with the pattern on the backing as well as I could and stitched it to offending corner (or perhaps it is the offended corner - after all it was just sitting there inoffensively when I snipped it).

Flip that new corner over to make sure the matching wasn't too bad before cutting away the original ruined bit...

Trim away the ruined bit and trim the new bit down to size...

And proceed as I should have to begin with.  Crisis resolved.  Thanks goodness for leftover cupcakes from the potluck on Saturday night!

Here are the points pressed out to the sides on the front.

I am now hand stiching the backing to the back of the prairie points.  There are 3 sides left to do, but I'm not in a rush.  I'm just doing a little bit at a time as the mood strikes.  I think I might have a finish by sometime next week, unless a squirrel strikes again.

Speaking of squirrels, the one from my previous post is quilted and bound and on a bus heading home from Florida with the school band.  Of course it headed down first, but they are on their way home now, so I can borrow the quilt later this week to take pictures to share.  Stay tuned!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Squirrel! (or Penguin)

Something happened on my way to putting prairie points on the Vintage Sparkle quilt.  While I was pondering the best way to do it (turns out it would have been better to put them on before the quilting, but that's another post) I got distracted. Squirrel!

Two patterns got jumbled together with some appropriate fabrics to fulfill a few of my daughter's quilty wishes:  penguins, Cuddle, and high school colours.

Orange and black are the school colours.  Grey is not official but I figured if the choir robes and marching band uniforms could use grey I could too.

The Penguin has nothing at all to do with the school.  Laura, however, has been hinting about a quilt featuring penguins for a very long time, so here he is.  He is "The Proper Penguin" by Robinson Pattern Company, and he is made of Cuddle fabric because she has been hinting very strongly about Cuddle too.  The Midnight Wolf (or Samoyed, in my case) worked out well this summer so I knew this would be a pretty quick addition to the quilt.

The letters are from Jaybird Quilts' book Alphabet Soup.  They were fun to put together and I'd like to play with more words when I have a bit more time.

I had planned to piece a few for the back of the quilt too, but time is an issue.  I am fitting this in as something fun between "work" projects, but I also want it done in time for her to take on the bus for band tour in March, so I think a plain back is more realistic right now.  Maybe I'll quilt the words in instead of piecing them on the back.

The layout is all mine, though it is Plan B.  Plan A was dreamed up at 2 AM when I couldn't sleep, and it turns out that even if I'm awake at 2 AM my math skills are not.  The name was supposed to be horizontal with the penguin at the end.  I have no idea how I though that would all fit across the quilt, because the name alone barely fit!  That's OK.  I think Plan B turned out much better in the end.

One month to band tour.  I think I can get it quilted by then...

Friday, February 2, 2018

TBT - Matt's Houses

Do you have quilts from your pre-blogging days that you would like to share with the world? My friend Sandra at Musings of a Menopausal Lemon is hosting Throwback Thursday linky parties for these quilts on the first Thursday of each month.  This month's linky is today (yes it's Friday, but check out her blog for all the good reasons it got bumped to Friday).

For my first TBT post I chose the second quilt I ever made.  The colors in the picture are very poor.  The borders and cornerstones are actually green, and there are both red and orange houses.  The black houses are actually green.  All the fabrics are flannel.

Matt's House Quilt
Matt's House Quilt, 2 years in the making, finished Dec 2003

In order to finish my first quilt, I acquired the book "The Quilting Bible" by The Singer Sewing Reference Library (1997 edition).  It's still on my shelf, and I still think it's a great beginner/intermediate reference.  It contains some patterns to illustrate/practice the skills it discusses.  My son was two or three years old when I got this book and he pored over the pictures.  He decided the quilt "Houses" was fabulous, so that's the project I dove into when I finally finished that first quilt.

I learned a lot from this quilt.  The biggest lesson was about seam allowances.  It turned out my presser foot was not in fact a 1/4" foot.  Who knew?  Happily, I figured this out when I wisely made a test block and it turned out significantly smaller than it was supposed to be.  (The discarded block became a quilt for the much loved, originally named Brown Puppy stuffed toy.)

The related lesson was that allowing for an extra bit of fabric is not a bad idea.  I was on a very tight budget so calculated my fabric needs as closely as possible.  I did not have enough extra to cut extra pieces for an extra house block, and I wasn't familiar with the operation of a seam ripper yet.  Alright then.  How about an alternate block?

This was my very first attempt at drafting a block myself and offered a lovely opportunity to personalize the quilt.  I quilted my son's name in there as though that block was planned all along. Every other bed quilt I have made for my kids since then has their name quilted somewhere.  And this post reminds me that I need to figure out where to quilt my daughter's name on the current hand quilting project...

I also made my very first pieced quilt back.  After the ladies at the quilt shop talked me into a woodsy print flannel for the back, they discovered there wasn't enough on the bolt so they then talked me into adding the plaid flannel to the top.  I ended up adding some to the bottom as well so it didn't look quite so accidental.

I hand quilted this quilt in the ditch.  I know now that 1/4" away from the seams would have been easier.  Also, two layers of flannel makes it hard to make small stitches so I shouldn't have been so critical of my efforts!

I was very proud of my binding, but looking at it now it seems really wide. You can see I can fit a penny on the back of it! How wide did I cut this?

If you compare the first and second pictures in this post,you can see the colors have faded a lot, but it was a well-loved and used quilt and I'm OK with that.

I hope you will go link up a post about one of your pre-blogging quilts. It's fun to see how skills and tastes have changed, and wonderful to read the stories behind the quilts!

Linking up with
Throwback Thursday at mmm!quilts 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Vintage Sparkle almost off the UFO list

June 2013. That's the first time I mentioned any part of Vintage Sparkle and it was just a single block then, with thoughts of maybe making more for a throw.

Vintage Sparkle quilt top uses Jelly Bean Stars block and sashing, set on point

By February 2014 I had a queen size top and I was dithering about border options.  Borders didn't actually get sewn on until December 2014.  I made these too:

I forget how many prairie points there are in those rows, but I know they never made it onto the quilt. The quilt top and the prairie points have both been in a bin as a UFO for over three years.

This month I finally faced facts.  This quilt is not getting hand quilted anytime soon as I am much too slow and not even halfway through my current hand quilting project..  This quilt is too large for me to quilt on my home machine with the setup I have.  This quilt is making me feel bad every time I see it unfinished.  When I took it out of its bin to look at it again I didn't think I even liked it anymore.

My husband assured me it still deserved to be quilted so I sent it out to Liz Meimann of A Quilted Memory in Nevada, IA.  She and her daughter worked their magic and guess what?  You guessed it.  I do love it again!

I don't have a full photo of it yet.  A queen size is a little tricky on that front, and I'd rather wrestle with that just once, after it is completely finished.  Still, you can see all the pretty feathers and curlicues in the two photos above.  I will have to make time to put the prairie points on and finish the edge soon, then I'll have a full reveal.  I love that I am excited about this one again after all this time!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Butterflies at a standstill

Borders are on the butterfly quilt!

I hadn't planned on that little skinny yellow border, but the two greens side by side were very bland, probably because though they are different greens they are the same print. Splitting them up with that little sliver seemed to do the trick.  The yellow also pulls out the yellow cornerstones from the center, so that's another win for the yellow.

Once this is quilted I plan to scallop the borders as you see in the EQ picture below.

It may be a while though.  I'm running up against my FMQ limitations.  I have an idea of what I want but I currently don't have the skill to execute it.  I want to do custom quilting on the butterflies and borders rather than quilt an all-over design.  I think I can manage that part.  Quilting the background is the sticky bit.  I think this quilt has a very traditional feel and I want to carry that to the quilting as well.  A lot of my "go to" walking foot designs seem better suited to more modern designs so I think I need to step up my FMQ game to manage graceful vines or feathers.

There are other projects to keep me busy, and possibly help me improve my FMQ, while this one sits a little bit longer.  I have a list.  I could move a project along or I could start something new. What shall I choose? I remember a time when I would have said unequivocally that I needed to finish everything before starting something new, but I have evolved since then :)!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Thanks for sharing!

Every now and then I wonder why I keep writing patterns.  I'm sure my very supportive husband has also wondered when I treat him to rants about a design I really like not finding traction out in the wide world, or about being so tired of that pattern I've been working on forever (love the quilt, but the pattern isn't flowing as it should yet) or about that last magazine rejection.

Then, to balance things out, every now and then I also get lovely messages from quilters who have made quilts with my patterns and kindly share pictures of their creations.  They truly lift my spirits and encourage me to keep working.

Anita in Ottawa shared her beautiful version of my Spring Blooms quilt (I shared the block tutorial here).  I love seeing alternate versions of my designs.  Anita chose very different fabrics and chose a straight setting instead of an on-point setting. Same blocks, very different quilt! I'm very late sharing this picture.  Anita sent me this last spring and I saved it in the wrong folder and couldn't find it again.  I'm so glad I finally stumbled into the correct folder!

Anita's Spring Blooms

Mary M. made Geese Across the Table placemats.  I love her color choices.  She chose to make them less scrappy than mine and I think that worked out very well.
Mary's Geese Across the Table

Mary also made a version of Tic Tac Who? for her grandchild, choosing to make the puppy a Labradoodle like the family dog.  Works for me!

Mary's Tic Tac Who?

Here is Sue Zimmerman's Snow Dreams tree skirt, which she finished in time for Christmas.  It was her first ever paper pieced project! Nothing like jumping in with both feet, but she did a fabulous job. Nancy Troyer quilted it for her.

Sue Zimmerman's Snow Dreams

And Marilyn F. shared her Canada 150 quilt.  Check out the fun pieced back as well, with a pieced label about her participation in both Canada's 100th and 150th anniversary celebrations.

Marilyn's Canada 150 quilt

Thank you for sharing and for the encouragement, ladies! I'm off to work on a new pattern!