Sunday, September 16, 2018

Butterfly quilting play

I have been thinking about how to quilt my Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2017 butterfly quilt.  One idea involved my new Westalee rulers but I thought I should practice on something else to work out the bugs and gain some confidence before I commit to it.  A spare butterfly block would be a perfect practice piece.

Oh wait!  I have one of those.  The first yellow butterfly block I made was much too light compared to the rest of the butterflies and I replaced it with a new block with more intense yellows.  I added some borders to it and started playing.


I have never ever quilted a piece this densely but it was a good opportunity to try various new-to-me quilting motifs so I just kept adding more quilting.

The walking foot came out to stitch in the ditch around the butterfly and both sides of the narrow border.

I used feather and circle templates/rulers for the quilting in the butterfly wings.  I quilted the left wing first, then tried to quilt the mirror image in the right wings.  Somehow, it was all offset about 1/4" but I kept working at it.  I didn't remember until after I had finished my slightly offset right wing design that I was supposed to center the needle in the ruler foot.  Sigh. Still, the overall look worked out pretty well and I don't think anyone but me will know it isn't quite as I intended.


I switched back to the walking foot for the three concentric circles behind the butterfly.  The circle sewing tool that came with my Sew Steady extension table makes these circles really easy on a small piece like this.


That metal strip has two little prongs on the bottom that fit into a series of holes in the  table, and a pin at the other end.  You push the pin through the quilt from the bottom where you want the center of the circle to be.  You adjust the radius of the circle by moving the pin closer or further away from your needle by setting the strip in different holes.  When you start quilting (I used the walking foot) the quilt pivots at the pin as you quilt and you end up with a perfect circle.


One of my two goals for this practice quilt was to quil feathers on a circle using the Westalee feather templates.  I tried figuring it out on paper first, drawing the circle, then tracing the template and trying to figure out what ruler markings to line up where to space the feathers evenly and have them all lay at the same angle to the arc.  No matter what I tried, the feathers ended up getting longer and skinnier as I went along the arc.  I really didn't feel confident enough about all my pencil and paper attempts to try it on the quilt.



So why are there feathers there after all?  I really, really wanted feathers there, so I ditched the rulers, took a deep breath and freemotion stitched them freehand.  I did it!  I feathered!  I used a lot of registration marks to help me judge the size and position of the individual lobes.  You can see my little blue dots in the picture above.  You can also see that they aren't quite as large as I had intended, falling shy of that outside dotted line, but since I consistently missed the mark, no one knows I missed now that the little blue dots have been erased.  Hush!!   Don't tell anyone.

Next I tried out crosshatching with the straight edge and straight line markings on the 12" arc tool.  That worked out very well, though it was a little tedious, even in the small spaces I filled between the butterfly and the inside of the circle.  I really didn't feel like repeating it all around the feathered wreath as well, but I felt I needed to quilt something out there to even out the quilting density a little.  How about vertical lines?  By the time I had one corner stitched that way, I was bored, so switched the direction on the next corner, and again for each remaining corner.



This is where the quilting ended today.  It took me a while to figure out what to quilt in the green border.  When I finally decided, I realized the only green thread I have is too old.  It breaks at the slightest tug and broke when I tried to sew more than 3 stitches.  It makes me sad.  It was such a pretty green variegated thread, and half a spool of it is now useless.

The second goal for this quilt is to try scalloping the border before I try that on the big butterfly quilt.  The plan is to buy green thread tomorrow, quilt the border, take another deep breath and cut into the border.  Bias binding will also be involved, but I have made that before (see tutorial here) so no worries on that front.  Binding the curves and inside points will be a first for me though.  Stay tuned!

PS: The butterfly block tutorial is still available here if you'd like to make your own.



Friday, September 14, 2018

Blaze into fall

School's in and I saw a large pumpkin display at the supermarket yesterday. I guess that means fall but I'm not quite ready to pull out my fall quilts yet. However, Sandra of mmm!quilts made a striking version of one of them that I think works year-round.

Maple Leaf Rag by mmm!quilts.  Used by permission.  Pattern:  Blaze by Canuck Quilter Designs.


This is Blaze made up in Island Batik fabrics.  Who would have thought that little pop of pink would be so effective?  Well, Sandra, obviously, but not me! You can check out her blog post here for other quilty details, lots of close ups of her gorgeous quilting and her signature quilt-in-a-tree shot of the quilt.  Plan to spend a little extra time browsing when you go visit.  Sandra is a prolific quilter and talented designer as well as an all-around fun and kind lady.

Maple Leaf Rag by mmm!quilts.  Used by permission.  Pattern:  Blaze by Canuck Quilter Designs.


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Quilter's Meet and Greet

Benita of Victoriana Quilts is hosting a Quilter's Meet and Greet. If you landed here from there, welcome! If you landed here from elsewhere, welcome to you as well.

Canada 150 by Canuck Quilter Designs.  2017

I am Joanne, a Canadian quilter and pattern designer currently living in Iowa. The quilt above was my little celebration of Canada's 150th anniversary last summer, down here in Iowa.

I have been quilting since the turn of this century.  Wait.  That makes me sound ancient!  I started quilting in 2000 when I needed a wedding gift for my brother's wedding in spring 2001.  I used the gift budget to buy quilting tools instead. Don't worry.  I gave the happy couple a quilt.  It was a little late (2002?) but it was my first effort and I underestimated the time required.  I'm sure you're familiar with this sort of thing.  I'm very familiar with this still. You can see my latest example in my previous post.

Eclipse Sky by Canuck Quilter Designs. 2017

I'm still not the speediest quilter, but I manage more than one quilt every two years now.  My kids are in their late teens, the oldest in university and the youngest in her last year of high school, and as they have grown up my sewing time has increased.  My sewing space has grown too.  Pop over here to see how that progressed!

My quilting style has changed over time.  While my earlier quilts were very traditional, I gradually began using traditional elements in more modern settings and colours.  How about some flying geese?

Wandering Geese by Canuck Quilter Designs. 2017
 Asymmetry and negative space snuck in as well.

Sparkling Trail by Canuck Quilter Designs. 2016

Starfall by Canuck Quilter Designs. 2018

Then out of the blue, every now and then I swerve back to more traditional designs.  How about this version of Starlight Wishes in progress? I am re-writing this pattern to include multiple sizes.  Stay tuned!

Starlight Wishes by Canuck Quilter Designs. 2018
Playing with color and fabric is my favourite part of quilting. I enjoy seeing how different fabric and color choices change a design.  Here are two versions of Fundy Skies (pattern coming very soon!).  The small stars pop in the first and are more subtle in the second, all due to how the fabrics play together.  Neither one is right or wrong, just different!


Fundy Skies by Canuck Quilter Designs. 2016
Fundy Skies by Canuck Quilter Designs. 2018

Look at what else color can do:

Lucky Bugger by Joanne Kerton. 2016
The background is entirely composed of a traditional ocean waves block.  Color placement makes the stars appear and marks the boundary between water and sky.

Snowdreams, my bestselling pattern

I started writing patterns for some of my designs in 2013, inspired by frustrating patterns.  My goal has been to write clear, accurate, well-laid out and easy to follow patterns, tested by quilters of various skill levels.  So far the feedback has been very positive on that front!


If you have made or ever make a quilt from any of my patterns, I would love to see pictures!  You can email me (joanne@canuckquilter.com), or tag me in posts on FB (Canuck Quilter Designs) or Instagram (@canuckquilter) or use the hashtag #canuckquilterdesigns in your posts.  And if you thought the pattern was well-written, I would really, really appreciate you spreading the word to your quilting community!  Patterns are available as PDF downloads or your favourite quilt shop can order printed patterns.

I hope you will take some time to browse this site.  You'll find tutorials for techniques as well as a few projects under the tutorial tab.  Let me know if there is a topic you'd like me to address in future tutorials.



Next up at Canuck Quilter, some small prairie point projects and re-imagining older designs.  Longer term, snowflakes will return (and not just because winter comes around every year). and butterflies will get quilted.  I hope you will visit again to see what else I come up with!

Please pop over to Victoriana Quilt Design to meet more quilting bloggers, and to enter their giveaway.

https://benitaskinner.blogspot.com/2018/09/2018-online-quilters-meet-greet.html

https://www.victorianaquiltdesigns.com/fabric/