Saturday, March 4, 2023

Leafy Pathways new pattern reveal

I'm in New Brunswick this week, due to an unexpected family emergency (all is turning out well, no worries!).  About 10" of light fluffy snow fell on Thursday.  Yesterday, with the sun shining in a blue, blue sky, I thought it was absolutely lovely.  Today the sky is gray and blah and there are brown puddles on the streets and sidewalks.  Guess who is looking forward to spring again?

Leafy Pathways makes me think of spring, which is just what this blah late winter day needs, so it's a perfect day to share this finish and  new pattern.

Leafy Pathways by Canuck Quilter Designs
Fabric:  Fruit and Veggies from Island Batik

From the photo, you may have guessed that I did not finish this quilt recently.  Green grass and leaves are not a feature of Iowa in winter!  I've kept this quilt under wraps since last summer, and I'm so happy to be allowed to share at last now that the fabric is arriving in stores.

I started with a tidy stack of fabrics from the Fruit and Veggies collections sent to me by Island Batik, which I promptly cut up into pieces.

Fruit and Veggies batiks from Island Batik

I made the leaf blocks first, then proceeded to lay out all my squares around those.  I've said it before.  "Random" color placement is hard.  Actually, my science minded husband is quick to point out that random is actually quite easy.  The pleasing distribution of prints and colours I aim for isn't actually random at all.  It's just a pleasing arrangement, or as pleasing as I could manage in the time I was willing to devote to it.  Trust me, more time would result in so many different distributions, and not necessarily any better ones!

I'm lucky that while Rosie, my trusty quilt dog, supervises carefully, she refrains from rearranging the pieces for me.  That said, after laying out this quilt, I made the effort to get my design wall put up.  It's much less taxing on my back to rearrange on the wall than on the floor.  Of course, if I'd been using the wall I might have done a few more iterations of the layout, so maybe the floor was for the best.

Center of Leafy Pathways by Canuck Quilter Designs

Here's the center.  I'll be honest, I rather like this without a colour border.  It seems lighter, airier.  I think making the outside sashing  wider and using a contrasting binding (maybe even a scrappy binding with all the colours from the squares) would have finished this quilt off beautifully and given it a modern vibe.

However, I had committed to the final design before Island Batik sent me the fabric, so I finished it with a colour border as I'd initially proposed.  I like how that turned out as well.  It's a more traditional look, and I like that too.

You might be looking at all that sashing and shuddering.  I get it.  Long sashing strips are one of my least favourite things to sew. However, there aren't as many as it seems at first glance. The blocks are actually the leaf surrounded by a ring of squares, so much of the sashing is in small lengths within the block.  There are only 5 horizontal sashing strips spanning the width of the quilt center.  The vertical sashing, even on the outside, is all made up of shorter strips.

This design would work really well with assorted red scraps for a Canadian patriotic quilt.  I'm putting that on my list of quilts to make just for me :).  Eventually.

It's also a perfect fall quilt in orange, gold, rust and/or fall prints.  You could even use different prints for each leaf as my pattern testers did.  Thank you to Dana and Sandie @crazy'boutquilts for testing the pattern and sharing these pictures.

Dana's version of Leafy Pathways

Sandie's version of Leafy Pathways
Find Sandie on Instagram (@crazyboutquilts) or on her blog

That's all for now.  I hope all is well in your world.

Happy quilting,

The Leafy Pathways pattern is available as a PDF download in my Etsy shop, or ask your favourite quilt shop for a print version.  Shops, please visit my website for wholesale information or find the pattern at Checker, Brewer or EE Schenck.

Look for the Fruit and Veggies collection in stores now.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Why these placemats are taking so long...

My UFO pile is mostly unquilted tops.  I don't tend to leave a project in the middle of piecing it, but I'm not always prompt about actually quilting it unless there's an outside deadline.  I guess that shows which part of the quiltmaking process I enjoy most.

I'd like to say I have a plan to tackle the stack of UFOs, but that would be a lie. Unless there's a deadline, I just let the project sit around until the mood to quilt it strikes.  That's just how it works here in Canuck Quilter land.

Last week I was struck with the need to FINISH something, so I picked a set of placemats from the UFO stack, thinking they wouldn't take long.

This Echo Point set was the one I started to test the concept for this pattern.  It turned out well, but I wasn't sure these colours would be very appealing for a pattern cover.  I set these aside and pieced and quilted a different set for the cover.  Ironically, I didn't end up using that set on the pattern cover either, for convoluted reasons I won't go into here.  It is a really pretty pattern sample though.  You can take a peek here.

Anyway, these should have been finished last week, but I kept getting distracted.  While I was stitching away with the walking foot, I let my mind drift and it started thinking about needing to post more often on social media.  That led my brain to think I thought it would be a good time to try filming a reel. 

So that was a bit fun to do but it took some time to figure out so I didn't finish the quilting.

I stitched a bit more the next day but went upstairs for a snack and started reading while I was snacking. I got sucked into the book and didn't get back to the sewing room.

The next time I started stitching, I ran out of bobbin thread and got frustrated so took a break.  While I took that break, I checked my email and saw some calls for quilt design submissions for upcoming fabric lines.  That led to a detour to EQ, where I spent quite a few hours playing with designs that may or may not turn into actual quilts.  

There were also detours to bake cookies, shovel snow, get groceries, watch a not-so-great Netflix movie, and drive down to Des Moines (the long way because I avoided he interstate, where I'm not a confident driver) to pick up my husband at the airport.

I made good progress on the weekend, until I quilted the runner.

I was pleased with it until I had to decide what to quilt in that center square and my mind went blank.  I took a break and went to browse the library's offerings of e-books.  I didn't actually read a book, because I was browsing and couldn't decide what I actually felt like reading so I just browsed and bookmarked things for a while.  So I didn't finish the quilting, and I didn't read a book either.

Once I figured out what to quilt in the blank, I finished the quilting, but then I had to sew on the binding.  Table sets have a lot of binding.  Just saying.  I wasn't in the mood, so I've been adding binding to one piece at a time here and there through the week.

So here's where these are now.  I still need to join the binding ends on each piece, then fold and sew the binding to the back.  I may or not finish these tomorrow. 

I guess the need to finish something that prompted me to pull these out wasn't as strong as I initially thought. I'm on the home stretch though, and liking how things look so I'll have a finish to share soon.  Just not as soon as I had intended, and that's OK.  I need to remind myself it's fine to set sewing aside until I'm in the mood to enjoy it.  It's supposed to be my stress reliever, not a source of stress!

How are your projects coming along?  Are you focused or distracted these days, and does it matter to you?  

Happy quilting,


Thursday, February 16, 2023

Presenting Cosmic Cloud

When Island Batik put out a call for quilt design submissions for its Fall 2022 fabric releases, I fell in love with the Double Dutch Collection.  It's blue.  Lots of pretty blues.  Of course I fell in love.  Island Batik sent me four blues plus the background to make a sample.

Double Dutch batiks from Island Batik

I was in a rush to get started and neglected to take pictures of the fabrics.  The picture above is the only progress picture I took, because I was "in the zone", too happy to be sewing to pause to take pictures.

Here's a closeup of the finished top so you can see the prints.

Closeup of Cosmic Cloud by Canuck Quilter Designs
Batiks from the Double Dutch collection from Island Batik

As with most of my patterns, all the angles are created with easy stitch-and-flip corners, which explains the pile of triangles in the first photo.  Those trimmed corners create a lot of triangles.  I'd like to say I saved them all for a future project, but no.  These would have been rather small once seam allowances took a bite out of them, and I knew that if I saved them, they would just sit in a bin for a few years until I needed the space and I disposed of them anyway.  So I looked at the pretty blue pile, enjoyed it for a minute or two, then disposed of it.

If you've admired the pretty blue prints long enough, we'll move on to the full quilt reveal.  Here is Cosmic Cloud!

Cosmic Cloud by Canuck Quilter Designs
Fabrics from the Double Dutch collection from Island Batik

I am so pleased with how it turned out!  I love the movement in this design.  I'm also tickled that I figured out how to make it with just two simple units, just switching out colours as needed to create the design.

If blue isn't your cup of tea, there is still plenty of potential here.  You could choose a different monochrome color palette or you could choose multiple colors. You could use modern prints or traditional prints or solids.  My three testers' quilt are great examples.  Thank you so much for the testing help Judy, Tina and Sunny!

Upper left: Judy Juhl (FB: Judy Otte Juhl)
Upper right and lower right : Tina F.
Lower left: Sunny Becker (IG: sunny_4_now, FB: Sunny Becker)

Another photo of my quilt just because I love it so much.

I'm off to sew the rest of the day.  I have some Echo Point placemats that have been waiting over a year for quilting and binding.  I think it's time!  What's under your needle today?

Happy quilting,


Double Dutch fabrics are available in stores now.

The Cosmic Cloud pattern is available as a PDF download in my Etsy shop or you can ask your favourite quilt shop for a print version.  Shops, please my website for wholesale information or visit distributors Checker, Brewer and EE Schenck.