Monday, July 31, 2017

Cuddle applique and pondering quilt size

When I saw a sample of Robinson Pattern Company's "The Midnight Wolf" baby quilt, I knew it would be perfect for a baby baby quilt I need to make by mid-August.  The family has a big fluffy white Samoyed dog, and I decided I could turn the wolf into a Samoyed by using white and cream instead of grey and white.

Midnight Wolf applique pattern on Building Blocks pattern background

Isn't he cute?  The background in the original pattern is just a single length of fabric, but I wanted more color than that. I don't know if the baby is a boy or a girl, and I don't know the parents well enough to know if they feel strongly about colors being gender-specific, so I was stuck for a little while.  I thought about green and orange, and maybe a little yellow, but didn't know exactly how to pull it all together. 

Two weeks ago, my husband and I took a little mini-vacation to Decorah, Iowa, and stopped at Red-Roxy Quilt Company.  Didn't they just happen to have a baby quilt made up in just those colors?  Hubby agreed it would make a great backdrop for the white dog, so I bought the pattern, Building Blocks by MacKay Manor Musers. I didn't want to make it as a quilt as you go pattern as written, and it isn't complicated to draft, but I didn't come up with the layout on my own either so I paid for the pattern.  I think the designers deserve that as they did come up with what I thought was perfect for my purpose when I couldn't come up with something suitable out of thin air myself.

Piecing a crib size quilt took very little time with these lovely big chunks of fabric.  Two evenings and voilĂ !

Here it is before I added sashing

Next up was the applique. This was my first time using Shannon Cuddle for applique. It is similar to minky, but a different brand and only stretches in one direction.  I wasn't sure using an iron on Cuddle was a good idea.  I wasn't confident that the heat required to fuse fusible web wouldn't melt the fibers.  It might have been fine, but I got around the worry by using a temporary adhesive designed to temporarily stick pattern pieces to fabric (202 Spray).  After I cut the shapes from the fabric, I removed the pattern pieces and sprayed the back of the applique pieces with basting spray (505 Spray) to keep them in place on the background while I sewed the pieces to the background.

While I was positioning the pieces for applique, the head ended up tilted a bit compared to the original layout in the Midnight Wolf pattern.  I thought that cocked head looked friendlier and more playful, so I left it that way.

Wolf-turned dog with straight head and cocked head

With the fuzzy edges of the cuddle I found it a little tricky to figure out exactly where the edge of my applique pieces were to get my zigzag stitches positioned properly as I sewed, but everything came out well enough.  Just a note about the white cuddle:  though it is nice and plush, you can still see colors show through!  I had to add a muslin backing to my white applique pieces to mask the colored blocks behind the dog.

So, the dog is sewn to the background, and now it occurs to me that this quilt is a bit too big for a baby quilt!  I want to add thin borders to match the sashing, so the finished size would be 47" x 62".  I think I might take off the top row of blocks and make the quilt 47" square.  Or not.  I do like a larger baby quilt to give lots of room for baby's tummy time and so the baby can keep using it into the toddler years.  But 62" is perhaps too much...I think I need to sleep on it and reconsider in the morning.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Blue Butterfly blocks

Yes, blocks, plural.  I have more blue scraps than any other colour so they're getting two whole blocks for the July installment of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

I'm challenging myself to make each butterfly different and to use only my smaller scraps.  Every month is getting a bit more difficult.  I almost gave up on the bright blue one after putting the 60 degree triangles together.  I couldn't figure out how I wanted the set of triangles to sit in the wing. Just as I started packing up the blue scraps, inspiration struck.

 This doesn't look like much but it did the trick.  I outlined the wing shape on my ruler with tape so I could see what the wing would look like once the corner triangles were added.  I added fabric to my triangle unit until it was more than large enough to make a wing base, then used this outline to audition the angle.  This loaded sideways, but you get the idea.

VoilĂ ! One fussy cut wing base!

 And a complete butterfly.  I think it's my favourite so far.

What do you call a group of butterflies? I found references to kaleidoscope, flight, flutter and swarm...  I rather like flutter, so here's my flutter so far.

I'm linking up with ScrapHappy Saturday at SoScrappy and checking out dozens of other quilters' RSC sewing!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sneak peek

Here's a little sneak peek at what I've been working on this week.  Well actually, what you're seeing here has been made for a while, but the related pattern writing has taken a good chunk of the past week.

Now I need pattern testers!  This quilt is a bit modern, involves simple piecing and some simple applique, and measures 55" x 62".  I need volunteers to follow the pattern to make the top then give me feedback about the clarity and accuracy of the pattern.  Testing just a block and/or the applique part would also be helpful.

If you are interested in being one of the first to make this one (in time for the eclipse in August!) let me know and I'll send you a peek of the whole quilt to help you decide.  Thanks for thinking about it!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Bird Watching Quilt

Now that the quilt has reached its destination and the recipient has seen it, I can share pictures of the finished bird watching quilt.

I decided not to add borders to this quilt.  I wanted the bird panels and the accent floral and green fabrics to float on the background, and print borders seemed to interfere with that goal.  Still, I wanted a frame of some sort, so I decided to use the quilting to create a framing border that didn't interrupt the blue background.

All the quilting was done with my trusty walking foot.  I did start some free motioned hooked swirls in the center, but while it looked good on a small section, it was too busy for my taste and seemed to overwhelm the design and the bird print when spread over a larger area.  Plus it really didn't go well with my quilted border. 

Yes, I quilted this backwards, quilting the borders before the center.  I just wanted to see if my border quilting idea would look good, and I got carried away and quilted it all.  I liked it, so it had to stay and I had to work from there to figure out the rest of the quilting.  After a lot of staring at the quilt, walking away and coming back to stare again, I decided that for this quilt, simpler was better and I settled on simple straight lines on the diagonal.  All the dressy stuff is in the border.

I still wanted more floral than what made it into the top, so that went in the binding and on the back.  As I mentioned a few posts ago, I miscalculated the fabric required for the backing, so I incorporated the leftovers from the front (the blue and the floral with blue background) as a strip down the middle to make up width.  That was a happy accident.  I love how it turned out.  It's so much more interesting than an expanse of a single floral fabric.

After a final Rosie test and approval, I boxed up the quilt and sent it off to New Brunswick.

Now on to the next project.  I have a few simmering away, but the Wandering Geese remake in Moda Grunge fabric is what's on the design wall right now.  I hope to have a finished top to share by the end of the week!

There's a solar eclipse themed pattern coming up soon as well.  I'll post a bit more about that soon as well, and ask for testing help.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Happy Canada Day! and a linky party

Happy 150 years Canada!

I put the last stitches in yesterday with just a few hours to spare!

Each white leaf is labelled with a province or territory.  I had planned to include the date each joined Confederation, but they would have been too small to be legible.

Thank you to all who commented on my last post and talked me off the ledge, so to speak.  I put down the seam ripper and left the 150 and dates the way they were, and that was the right thing to do!

Rosie approves!

Now, please link up below to share  your own Canada-themed projects, finished or in progress, this pattern or any other!  If you don't have a blog to link up but you're on Facebook, add your picture to the comments on the Canada Day post on my facebook page (  If Instagram is your things, post with the hashtag #CanadaQuiltParty.

PS: Today is your last opportunity to download this pattern for free at  Starting tomorrow, it will be available for purchase.