Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Getting to the binding

 Last week was a pattern writing and editing week. I felt sense of accomplishment when I sent three patterns off to testers, but I still felt I was "behind" somehow.  What to do?  Finish something!


Does it count if I don't have a picture?  I did in fact finish sewing the binding on my blue floral Cascade.  It's just been too windy to get a proper photo.  I'll get one soon and post again.  I'm so happy with how it turned out.  Florals seemed like such a leap for a modern design, but it worked.

Fresh off that finish, I was energized to push through and finish quilting Small Change.  That's the red and white quilt.  I had planned to quilt this quilt with my quilting rulers, but it has some bulky seams and the ruler foot can't get over them easily, so it was just as easy to break out my old friend the walking foot.  I quilted the center of the quilt shortly after I finished the top, but got stuck trying to decide how to quilt the borders.


I mostly stitched in the ditch, then extended a few lines to create the nested squares.  I considered adding more quilting in the white, but I decided I didn't want the quilting to draw the attention to any particular element.  I like than when I look at this quilt, sometimes my eye is drawn to the stars, at other times I see crossed arrows, and sometimes I see the overall diagonal lattice. 


These photos are not very well lit.  I thought the light coming in from the window was better...

I digress.  Back to the quilting.  I spent some time on Sunday marking evenly spaced lines to fill in the blanks in the border.  I thought of feathery somethings, or swirls, or something along those lines.  I chickened out. I have trouble keeping scale consistent, and I really wanted this to look tidy for the pattern cover.  I can't get much tidier than straight, marked, evenly-spaced lines with a walking foot!


The quilt is now quilted, trimmed, and is almost bound.  After I took this picture I sewed the binding to the front.  I just need to turn it to the back and stitch it down.  Hopefully, photos will follow soon.

Today's task is to try (again) to create some pattern covers.  Would you believe out of all the work that goes into producing a quilt pattern, the cover is my biggest hurdle?  Somehow, photos that look lovely on a screen for blogs and social media don't always work as pattern covers. Getting the lighting even and the colors looking good on the printed cover gives me a headache.  I'm dreading the cover for Small change.  All that white in the background will be a challenge to photograph without it looking dingy against the white paper.

It's sunny with a beautiful blue sky and puffy little white clouds today, so maybe I'll venture out for another cover photo shoot.  At the very least I can go admire the tulips!

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

So many projects, so little time!

This week, I finally got overwhelmed.  When I have too much on my plate, I spend my time going around in circles trying to do a little of everything and end up not accomplishing much at all.  It's time to take stock, prioritize, whittle down the "to do" list and start being productive again.

This stack is a good place to start. It's not a stack of UFOs.  It's a stack of patterns in progress. Some of these are tests for patterns that are not fully written yet. Others are from complete patterns waiting for cover photos.  Some of the ones waiting for cover photos are partly quilted, some not, and some just need binding.

The red and white quilt is Small Change.  It has taken me longer to quilt than I anticipated.  I'll share the details when I give the quilt it's own post, but I'll say that it has been tedious.  I love how it's turning out, but it's still tedious.  Those of you who follow me on Instagram or Facebook know the quilt top and the thread snips had a little disagreement and I'm going to have to decide how to deal with that.  


I only have the borders left to quilt (and the snip to repair) then I can bind and photograph it.  Once I have a good photo for the cover I can release the pattern.  It has been tested and tech edited and it's ready.  It's just waiting on the quilting and photography.

This next one is brand new.  The pattern is partly written.  I started writing,  then decided I needed to make the top to work out a few details. The part I had written is now quite covered in notes and scribbles.  Sometimes I can write the whole pattern, then make the top as a test of what I've written, but sometimes, I need to sew through some details before I can write the instructions.  I'm not complaining about being forced to take a break from writing to sew!

Glacial - pattern coming soon from Canuck Quilter Designs

Pardon the poor lighting.  It was too windy for outside photos ion the weekend, and now it's raining.  More and better pictures to come!

Next up is a pattern possibility.


This is actually the back of the blue floral Cascade I made a year ago.  I had grand plans to custom quilt this one myself, but earlier this month I finally acknowledged that I just did not have the time to do it, so I sent it out to Liz Meimann to quilt on her longarm.  I needed a back, and had a lot of leftovers from the front so I decided to be frugal and piece the back.  Of course, that took time I probably could have used more productively on other pressing tasks but it was still less time than quilting the quilt myself, and I think I might have a pattern here.  It's very simple but look at how it showcases a gorgeous print on ether side...  This quilt just needs a binding.  The pattern...well, I'm still pondering.  Maybe I will, maybe I won't.

The other quilted quilt waiting for binding was also in the batch I sent to Liz to quilt.  It's also a quilt waiting for binding and a cover photo.  The pattern is otherwise ready.

Focus Squared by Canuck Quilter Designs

Focus Squared was designed to showcase a medium to large scale print.  This version is a rather elegant floral, but it would work with any theme. I mocked it up in EQ8 using Timber Gnomies from Henry Glass and it was super fun.  I almost headed out to the quilt shop for some Timber Gnomies of my own, but my list of things in progress was already rather daunting. Maybe once I whittle down the list I'll treat myself.  I'm sure I could use a new Christmas quilt.

Positivity Squared also went to the longarmer.  It's due home today, so it's in the stack waiting for binding a a cover photo.  Again , the pattern is tested, tech edited, and just waiting on a cover.



Next up is Breadcrumbs, and it's actually the closest to pattern release.  The placemats and runner are quilted and bound and just waiting for a sunny days for a photo shoot.  The pattern is ready and waiting on a cover.

Breadcrumbs by Canuck Quilter Designs. 
 Bear Paw Plaid fabric by Banyan Batiks shipping to stores in October 2021

Banyan Batiks sent me advance yardage of their Bear Paw Plaid line for the pattern cover. Watch for the fabric in stores next October.

The pattern also has a second version, with an accent fabric, which I tested with unidentified fabrics from my stash.  That version is waiting for quilting and binding, and I'm afraid it's at the bottom of the priority list. I want to finish it for my spring table, but some of the other things are really more pressing.  We'll see how things go in the next few weeks.

Breadcrumbs placemat in progress


Finally, the latest project is Modern Lace. This is all I have done so far and doesn't give you a good look at the overall design, but I'm so in love with this one right now that I think it's getting a spot at the top of the list.  There will be a pattern to test soon!

Modern Lace by Canuck Quilter Designs - in progress

To recap, 

Modern Lace - finish test, write pattern, quilt, cover photo
Glacial - finish pattern, quilt, photograph, cover photo
Small Change - finish quilting, cover photo
Focus Squared - bind, cover photo
Positivity Squared - bind, cover photo
Breadcrumbs - cover photo

Any guesses about what will be finished first?

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Scrap Garden

I'm so pleased to finally share Scrap Garden!  I started it in January 2020 as a scrap mitigation attempt.  I posted about it here, then never shared progress.  I'm sharing now, in the current issue of Make Modern magazine.

When I started sewing with my green scraps to try to whittle down the stack, I had no plan.  I thought 16-patches would be quick and gobble scraps so started sewing a bunch of those.  Some are strip pieced using scraps strips.  Others are pieced from individual squares.  Some are a combination, made from strip-pieced 4-patches.  I even made a few blocks combining 4-patches and plain squares.  All the options are described in the pattern, so you can use the method best suited to your scraps.

I added the shadows for interest.  The shadow pieces are strip pieced.  That's so mush faster than sewing individual squares of background to strips of shadow.  I'm glad I had nice big pieces of the grey Stonehenge left over from a backing to allow for strip piecing. 

The yardage of  Moda Grunge Metropolis Fog I found in my stash was perfect for the background.  It lets the blocks stand out, but isn't as stark as a solid would have been.  It looks comfortably scuffed and used, rather like my clothing does after an afternoon digging in the garden.

The little pops of red/orange/yellow in the cornerstones were thrown in to spice things up a bit.  It still amazes me to see how just a tiny bit of another color, yellow especially, can make make all the rest more interesting.  In this case, it helped give the quilt a name.  For some reason, the cornerstone colours made me think of peppers.  When a friend mentioned that the design reminded her of square-foot gardens, I knew this was a garden themed quilt!




I really didn't want to pull the focus away from all the scrappy goodness in this quilt, so I kept the quilting simple. I quilted a circle, a little off center, and just echoed it until the quilt was covered. I think it adds a little movement and interest without overwhelming the simple piecing.

How about a scrappy binding to finish?


Circling back to the scrap mitigation project that led to this quilt:  though my scrap bins look as full as ever, I know I must have made a dent because the only fabric I bought specifically for this project was a little extra Moda Grunge for the borders.  Even the back and binding are pieced from leftovers from other quilts.  

Make Modern issue 39 is available now.  Click here to purchase yours.  Make Modern is a digital publication delivered as a PDF, so you get instant access.  The link to my copy just arrived as I was writing this post, and I can confirm it is full of eye candy, patterns and lots of informative articles as well.


None of which Rosie cares about.  She just wants to know if this quilt is hers.  It's not.  It's mine.  All mine! Though I might share while I'm curled up on the couch plotting this spring's gardening...