Saturday, November 12, 2022

Simply Snow pattern progress

Here's one project in my current  pattern-writing queue.

Some things take time.  When I created my snowflake block patterns 8 years ago, I had vague plans to make a quilt with all 26 snowflakes.  It took me almost 5 years to get around to it, but I finally decided on a setting and made Simply Snow in 2019.

At that time the block patterns were only available as a PDF download.  I had grand plans to include them in a printed pattern for Simply Snow, but that didn't happen.  Why not?  The combination of snowflake templates and cutting charts and setting instructions for multiple size options ballooned to a ridiculous size.  It would have been more appropriate for a book than a stand-alone pattern.  I wasn't really excited to figure out book proposals or self-publishing and marketing.  The whole project was set aside "until later".

In fall 2021 I decided to publish the snowflake blocks on their own as a stand-alone printed pattern to make them available to shops.  The blocks can be used in any project that calls for 9" blocks.  I've used them in runners and bags.  I included photos and quilt mockups for snowflake project inspiration on my website.

Today, Simply Snow has perked back up to the top of my list of patterns to write.  It isn't pretty yet.  I think it's probably a good thing I put it on the back burner in 2019, because with a few more years of pattern writing experience, I think the pattern will be much more organized.  You can see above that I'm doing some heavy editing!  My process is very low-tech, making liberal use of pen and paper.  I'm happy to report I have made more progress since I took this photo a few weeks ago.  The pattern is looking much prettier now, and is about 95% ready.

How did I get around the ridiculous number of pages?  I didn't.  I'll keep selling the snowflake block pattern separately, and offer the setting instructions as a free download for now.  The free part may change eventually,  but it will at least start out that way.  

So, if you have the snowflake patterns and have been waiting to set them into a quilt, maybe this is what you've been needing.  I'll let you know how to access it when it's available.  Soon.  Very soon!

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Trimmed tips for the win

This little tool came packaged with a magazine years ago.  It sat in a drawer, unused and unappreciated, for years.  Now it's the tool I reach for most often after my rotary cutter and rulers.

It's a corner trimmer.  When it first arrived in the mail with that magazine, I thought it was only useful for trimming triangles to make HST the traditional way from two triangles.  Since I didn't much care for making  HST that way,  I tucked the tool away and forgot about it.  Years later I found it while reorganizing my stuff.  I paused to read the instruction booklet. Now the tool is never tucked away.

I still don't use it to make make HST, but I fully appreciate it to trim any other 45 degree point.  It takes all the guesswork out of lining up a triangle with another shape.  No more eyeballing if the pointy tip sticks out just enough past the other shape for the seam allowances to line up.  I took pictures today to show you.

I'm testing a new design idea that has lot of 45 degree points that meet wide 135 degree corners.

When sewing that seam, the points and corners need to be offset for everything to line up straight after the seam allowance eats into the fabric.  The trick is to have the points stick out the same amount on each side.  I can "eyeball" this and hope for the best, with my seam ripper on standby in case I didn't estimate quite right.

Or, I can use my corner trimmer to trim the points just right.

Now the blunt, trimmed points match up perfectly with the wide corners.  No guessing required.  

Sew with a 1/4" seam and ...

... tada!  Straight edges line up beautifully on the first try and my seam ripper gets the night off.

It takes a little extra time to trim points, but I save time in the long run by getting things lined up right the first time and avoiding seam ripping an resewing.  

I love my corner trimmer!  I also use it when:
  • joining binding strips to avoid marking the diagonal seams
  • joining the binding tails while binding a quilt (scroll down about 2/3 of the way down this post to see how)
  • adding setting triangles to an on-point setting (trimming points lets me position them precisely, so I can pin them in place and avoid any inadvertent stretching or distorting of the bias edges in the triangle)
  • sewing a triangles to a square or rectangle
So, it's a small but extremely useful tool.  I can't believe it was relegated to a junk drawer for so long.

Do you have a favourite tool to recommend for better piecing?  I'd love to hear about it.

Happy quilting,

PS: The Placemat Party 2022 is next weekend!  It's free and you can sew whatever you like but you need to sign up here for the Zoom meeting schedule and links if you want to participate that way, and/or join my Facebook group  to participate there.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Pondering Placemats

On a short trip in summer 2021, I bought fabric for Christmas placemats.  Despite my good intentions, I did not finish (or even start) new placemats for Christmas that year.

In October 2021, I chose lovely earth tone Stonehenge fabrics to test my Echo Point placemat idea, thinking if it worked I'd have not only a pattern but also new placemats for Thanksgiving.   The idea worked out and I went on to write the pattern, but somehow I did not have finished placemats for Thanksgiving 2021

The calendar on my wall (it's a quilty comics calendar from By the Yard) assures me that Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming up fast, again.  I'm determined to have my new Thanksgiving and Christmas sets ready for the 2022 season.  That means I need to commit to setting aside time to sew them.

What's the best way to make myself accountable to actually set that time aside?  Invite people to join me!  Then I have to show up :)  So, who wants to join me virtually the first weekend in November for some dedicated sewing time?

Placemat Party 2022
November 4th - 6th

I'm calling it a Placemat Party because that's where my focus will be, but you could sew whatever you like.  I'm going to be live on Zoom several times over the course of the weekend and hope you'll join me to share what you're sewing and so we can cheer each other on.  You can participate as much or as little as you like, as time and inclination allows.

I also created a Quilting with Canuck Quilter Facebook group where members can post to share pictures and chat in the comments all weekend and beyond.  I'm going to keep this group open past the party.  The party was just a little nudge to make me finally set up a group.

This is a completely free event.  You can participate on Zoom, Facebook, or both.  There's no need to register, though you need a Facebook account to participate in the Facebook group. You can sign up here to get the schedule, zoom link, reminders and updates delivered to your email inbox.

What's on your project list between now and Christmas? I hope to chat with you in November and cheer you on.

Happy quilting,

PS.  If you need placemat inspiration, you can check out all my placemat patterns in my Etsy shop.