Saturday, October 12, 2019

New patterns: Leftovers and Mostly Clear

Rosie wanted to let you know that the Mostly Clear pattern is now available in my Etsy shop.  You may remember I wrote about making the quilt in August.  Since then Kim Williams, Joanne Harris, Mary-Ann Vanner and Tina Fugate generously donated their time, effort and fabric to test the pattern for me.  I am very grateful for their help. It lets me release the pattern with confidence knowing it passed muster with independent quilters!

Mostly Clear by Canuck Quilter Designs

The pattern features strip piecing to speed assembly, and borders that come together in segments as the rows come together to avoid having to sew on long border strips. Last but not least, the part of the pattern that excites me most is the pressing direction guidance that lets you nest every single seam intersection for perfectly matched seams.

Rosie would also like to announce that there is now a pattern for the Leftovers table set, though I declined to let her pose on the placemats.

As I mentioned in September, these were a great cheerful pick-me up project in a grey, dreary spring. There's nothing like digging through a bin of colorful scraps to lift my spirits.  That said, I realize not everyone has scraps to paw through (though I'm sure those people are just beginning their quilting journey and will soon have a respectable scrap stash).  It also occurred to me that not everyone likes to cut and sew many small pieces.

Enter the strip pieced, less scrappy version:

Five prints and a background let you make 6 matching placemats and a runner.  I really love the blue prints I chose for this set.  I really need to finish binding the other 5 placemats!

The pattern includes instructions for both the super scrappy version and the strip-pieced version.  Thank you to Joanne Harris and Carol Andrews for testing and proof reading the pattern.  Thanks to them you'll know you have enough fabric for your binding!

Both  Leftovers and Mostly Clear are now available to purchase as PDF downloads in my Etsy shop at a special introductory price.  Enjoy 50% off the regular retail price through Friday, October 18th, 2019.  If you prefer a print copy, please ask your favorite local quilt shop to order it in for you from Checker Distributors or by emailing me directly.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Starlight Plaid is a top

Here it is, Starlight Plaid in red and grey!  You may remember last month's post about trying to make the blue stars work, but I think the red was the better choice. Maybe I feel that way because it reminds me of my son's black and grey and red plaid flannel shirts.

Starlight Plaid top designed and sewn by Joanne Kerton, Canuck Quilter Designs
Starlight Plaid top designed and sewn by Joanne Kerton, Canuck Quilter Designs

I've been alternating sewing it up and writing the pattern.  I had it all written up before I started sewing, then decided I really should include alternate sizes, which then led me to assemble the star centers in strip sets, and it all required lots more calculating and figuring for the various sizes and in the end I have a much better pattern. All it needs now is testing.  If you'd like first crack at this pattern as a volunteer tester, send me an email (  Pattern includes baby, throw, twin and queen sizes.

Though it really is a straightforward pattern, making the top was a bit of an adventure.  I think because it was such a simple construction I didn't pay as much attention as I should have and I let my mind wander.  Sigh.  Sewing while distracted leads to miscutting, mistaken seams and ripping!

Exhibit A: miscutting
I try to include a little extra fabric in my patterns' fabric requirements for miscuts. Unless it leads to a ridiculous amount of extra fabric, I add one extra width of the widest strip needed then round to the next 1/8th yard.  Unfortunately, I used up the extra in making the blue blocks I decided not to use, so there was no wiggle room when I miscut one square 1/2" too small.  Just one square!  I pieced a couple of scraps together to make it up and the print hides the seam well.  Crisis #1 dealt with!

Things went very well after that until I started assembling rows.  I used the very clear assembly diagrams in my pattern and promptly sewed row 3 to the side of row 4.  The pattern did it right.  I did it wrong!  I clued in when I started pressing the seam.

Exhibit B: That's not right!

That was a really long seam to rip and redo.  Of course after I did so, I read @homeinottawa's comment on Instagram, which kindly pointed out I didn't need to rip the whole seam.  I could have removed the end triangles and reoriented them without ripping the whole long seam.  I took note for next time!

And yes, there was a next time, though I don't have photographic evidence of it.  Solid fabrics are the same on both sides.  The skinny red border is pieced to make it long enough.  It's a red solid.  Can you guess what I did?  Yup.  I sewed the border on wrong side down, so the seam allowance where the two strips meet ended up on the right side of the quilt. There were grumbles, but also a tiny bit of smugness because this time I just ripped the short seam in the binding strips, and resewed that with the seam allowance relocated where it should be, rather than ripping and resewing the whole border.

The borders were not done with me yet.  I sewed the last borders on in the wrong order.  The pattern clearly states to sew top and bottom borders first, then the side borders.  So of course I did the opposite and my top and bottom  strips ended up too short.  My husband, who had just proofread the pattern for me and knew what it said to do, looked at what I did and commiserated about people who just can't seem to follow the directions.  I love him anyway.

Finally, can you explain this to me?

Exhibit C:  Amazing expanding border strip

I measured!  Three times!  The top and middle and bottom of the quilt had the same measurement. I double checked! I even measured by laying the strip on the quilt and marking the strip!  I cut both top and bottom strip together, so they would be the same size.  The top went on perfectly.  The bottom is 1/2" too long. The previous borders were the same length so I don't see how things suddenly became 1/2" off.  Sigh.  At this point I just wanted the top finished so I decided to just smooth it on flat, pin it,  sew it and chop off the excess. That isn't best practice in borders, but at least it's flat and done.

Starlight Plaid top designed and sewn by Joanne Kerton, Canuck Quilter Designs
Starlight Plaid top designed and sewn by Joanne Kerton, Canuck Quilter Designs

I know how I want to quilt it, but it is going to have to join the queue.  I have never had this many unquilted tops before. Counting this one, there are 7 in the queue.  This one might cut in line...

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Round Robin Update

In July I received the last quilt I needed to add a border to for my guild's Round Robin challenge.  There are four of us in my group, and we have been passing the quilts around, everyone adding a border to each quilt in turn. I shared my contributions to two quilts in this post last May. 

Here is Jen's quilt as it was when it was passed to me.  Center star by Jen, first border by Traci, and second border by Pam.

Jen also included lots of fabrics in case we didn't have anything in our stashes to work with her colours.  I used some of those to repeat the fabric from her star points, and I found a red that echoed the red in the other two borders.  I almost headed to the quilt shop for a creamy solid to match what Pam used, then noticed that Jen had used  scrappy neutral prints in her origimal background, so I dug into my neutral scraps to see what I could use up to pull that element back in.  The prints don't show up very well on my photo.

This was actually plan C. I considered making the whole border out stars, sprinking in a few in accent colors.  However, they were time consuming and I figured Jen would probably appreciate getting her quilt back sometime before next year. I forget what plan B was...  

The points in the gold border were inspired by elements of the border Jen added to my quilt.  

The second to last border and the corners added to the previous border's cornerstone are hers.  Traci added the last border, and Pam made all those flying geese and puss in the corner cornerstones.  It is miles away from what I envisioned when I looked at my center medallion, but it's been great fun to see what direction other quilters' creative flights took it. I hope they enjoyed the process too.

Though I have it back in my possession, I won't have time to work on finishing my round robin quilt for a while.  When I do, I plan to add another border to make it just a little larger.  I may add red to frame it all.  As my partners demonstrated, there are so many possibilities!