Monday, December 27, 2021
Thursday, December 23, 2021
Revising the plan to get it done
Where did the year go? Back in January, I finished up my Temperature Quilt 2020 top and made plans to piece a backing. I planned to add a temperature/color key to the back. If I paper-pieced one digit each week, I'd easily have the backing done to finish the quilt by the end of 2021. I suspect you can guess where this is going.
There you go. What you see above is all I got done on this project this year. What can I say? My priorities shifted. I've had my most productive quilting year ever, and enjoyed every minute, but this quilt back was not part of that.
At this point, the whole project is sitting in a box on a shelf, sending me reproachful glances every time I grab a different box. It's interfering with my enjoyment of those other projects. Every time I think I should be working on that backing but I don't feel like it, I lose my enthusiasm for the whole project. That's just not right, because I was so excited about this quilt!
|Temperature Quilt top 2020|
So, I have decided to simplify my plan. As my very wise daughter pointed out yesterday, it's my quilt. I can change the plan if I want to. Plan changed! I may or may not add a key to the label, but I'm definitely not piecing or appliqueing all those numbers. I'll piece my color strips together to make a quick pretty back and get closer to a finished quilt I can toss on the couch and be happy with again.
I settled on this layout.
Let's see if I can get the backing pieced and the quilt basted by the new year. I almost said finished, but honestly, I really don't want to set this quilt up for more disappointment!
I'd love to hear about any stalled projects you've had, and how you got them moving forward again.
Friday, December 3, 2021
Half-Rectangle Units Tutorial
|The sails in this block from my Sailing School pattern are made from HRT units|
Here, as promised, is my tutorial about making half-rectangle triangle units (HRT) without specialty rulers. This method does involve a bit of fabric waste as the units are made a little over-sized, then trimmed down. I think the little bit of trimming waste in exchange for ease and accuracy is worth it.
Traditionally, the HRT is twice as tall as it is wide, so those are the dimensions I worked with.
Step 1: Determine the desired finished size of the unit. (Remember that the finished size is the size in the finished project, after the seam allowance is taken up by sewing the unit into the project.)
Step 2: You will need two rectangles of fabric. To determine the width of the cut rectangles:
- For the cut width, add 1 1/4" to the desired finished width.
- The cut height will be double the cut width.
|Step 2: Cut two rectangles|
Step 3: Mark a diagonal line on one of the rectangles. Careful! The direction of the line matters.
- For a left-leaning seam on the finished unit (from upper left corner to lower right corner), draw the line from the top right corner to the lower left corner.
- For a right-leaning seam on the finished unit (lower left corner to upper right corner), draw the line from the top left corner to lower right corner.
- to the left (counterclockwise) for a left-leaning finished unit, so that the upper right corner shifts to touch the upper left of the bottom rectangle, and the lower left corner shifts to touch the lower right corner of the bottom rectangle.
- to the right (clockwise) for a right leaning finished unit, so that the upper left corner shifts to touch the upper right of the bottom rectangle, and the lower right corner shifts to touch the lower left corner of the bottom rectangle.
|Step 6: Rotate marked rectangle|
|Step 7: Sew then cut into two units|
|What you want to avoid|
I've found that using a template to guide my trimming gives me the best results.
|Step 10: Cut out template|
|Step 12: Position the template|
|Step 13: Trim two edges|
|Step 14: Position ruler to trim remining sides|
|Seam will not go through corner of the ruler|
Friday, November 26, 2021
Just in case sailboats aren't your thing...
I really enjoyed making Sailing School and wanted to make more strip-pieced waves, but I didn't need two sailboat quilts. I played with different block option to replace the boat, and of course I defaulted to stars. There's just something about stars! In this case, they bring to mind light sparkling on waves crests, so I named this quilt Bright Seas.
Friday, November 12, 2021
I miss the ocean - so I made a quilt
I spent my teens and early adulthood in Nova Scotia, never too far from the ocean. There's nothing like the smell of the ocean and the sound of the waves breaking on the shore. Since moving to Iowa, I have learned to appreciate a different kind of natural beauty, but I still miss the waves.
The summer of 2020 was supposed to take me back to Nova Scotia for a visit. I had the plane reservations all set, but we all know what happened with 2020! The trip was cancelled, and I didn't get to see family or the shore. Maybe that influenced my designing that fall. I missed the sea and I missed family, and though I wasn't dwelling on that, my mind still created this:
|Sailing School by Canuck Quilter Designs|
I am so happy to finally share this finish, because it's one of my favourite recent quilts. I had to wait a whole year to share this finish, until the Island Batik Sail Away collection I used was available in stores. Island Batik sent me advance sampling to make the quilt for their Spring/Summer 2021 catalog. I love that the collection has a range of blues, as well as prints in different scales to add visual interest. that pop of red is great too!
There's a bit of a wave in there, and did I mention my dad loves to sail? (If you've been following this blog for a while you might remember this quilt I made for him, also with a sailboat theme.)
Those waves units are strip-pieced, so it didn't take very long to make this quilt. I didn't even have to shuffle pieces around on the design wall in search of the perfect arrangement. If you look closely, you'll see they are in a particular repeating order, listed in the pattern, but I think at first glance the pieces look pretty well distributed in a faux-random kind of way.
|Closeup of Sailing School by Canuck Quilter Designs|
I learned all about half rectangle triangles to design this sailboat block. I wanted to be able to make it without paper piecing and without specialty tools. In the end, I made them oversized, and added templates to trim them properly. (Spoiler alert: you can't trim with the diagonal running directly through the corners, or you'll end up wit cut off points.) I do have a tutorial in the works. It's much later than anticipated, as other priorities popped up, as they often do. I promise it's coming, though! It's about 3/4 ready, so how much longer could it possibly take? Now I've jinxed it!
|Sailing School by Canuck Quilter Designs. |
Photo by Jerry Khiev of Island Batik.
I didn't have much time to make this before they needed to be at the Island Batik warehouse so they could take the photo above for the catalog. I had two other quilts to make for them on the same deadline, so I didn't have time to quilt them myself. Liz Meimann helped me out with a really quick turnaround time for longarm quilting.
Did I just pique your curiosity about the other two quilts? I'll share those soon!
Sailing School is listed in my Etsy shop as a PDF download. If you prefer a print copy, ask your favourite quilt shop to order one for you. I sell wholesale to shops through my website and through major distributors.
Monday, October 25, 2021
How do you feel about bias edges? I've been playing with a new idea for placemats (yes, I'm still on a placemat kick!) and there are two ways to build them. There's the slow way, one piece at a time, one after the other. The second way is much faster, with strip piecing making it super quick.
|Echo Point Placemat - mocked up in Northcott's Bliss Basics|
The catch is that the quick way involves bias edges, and I'm not sure how quilters in general feel about them. These are not very long, they don't get handled very much to risk too much stretching, and there are ways to stabilize them. I'm leaning towards the second method. I really prefer fast when it comes to placemats!Here's the runner to go with it.
|Echo Point runner - mocked up in Northcott's Bliss Basics|
Wednesday, September 29, 2021
Several weeks ago I went fabric shopping. I had no Halloween décor for my home, so I enlisted my friend and former coworker Amy, a huge Halloween fan, to help choose fabric for placemats to address that lack.
Those spiders are a stretch for me. Not a spider fan over here, despite knowing that they help control pests. The color, scale and theme were right though, so I went with it.
|Halloween Fresh Wrapped placemats in progress|
I chose to use my Fresh Wrapped pattern. There wasn't much cutting to do, as these are strip pieced, so the cutting and piecing were easily finished in one evening. I then pondered what to quilt, and decided quilting in the ditch would be just fine. The fabrics are the stars of the show in these, and since I was using Thermore for the batting, I didn't need to quilt more densely than that. Thermore is ideal for runners and placemats, as it has just enough loft to still show a bit of texture from quilting, but not so much loft that the surface is uneven and results in tipped beverage glasses. It also doesn't shrink, so paired with pre-washed fabric it results in a placemat that won't get too wonky after washing.
|Binding Fresh Wrapped placemats|
I think the binding took longer that the quilting. Placemats are small, so it's easy to forget how much binding a table set needs. This set has about 360". That's 10 yards! If you're wondering why I use so many clips, you can read all about it and the rest of my binding method here. I've tried school glue instead of all those clips, but clearly I need to go back to kindergarten because I made a mess with the glue. I'll stick with clips.
Binding is rather boring, right up until it's finished. When it's finished, I marvel at what difference the binding makes.
|Halloween version of Fresh Wrapped, by Canuck Quilter Designs|
Saturday, September 18, 2021
Have you used a Jelly Roll lately?
It's been a while since I used a jelly roll. In fact, technically speaking, I'm not sure I have ever used an actual jelly roll, as that term is specific to Moda rolls of 2 1/2" precut strips. I have, however, used other assorted packs of 2 1/2" strips. I even have two strip-friendly patterns to revisit for National Sew a Jelly Roll Day today: Sprinkled and Topiaries.
|Sprinkled, made by Theresa Peterson-Smith from the Canuck Quilter pattern|
I just love this version of Sprinkled, made by my friend Theresa. It's bright and happy and easy. It keeps the strips mostly intact and uses a simple cut-and-replace technique to add the sprinkling of triangles. The pattern uses 36 of the strips in a pack. Some of those 36 strips are used for the little triangles in the border and for the binding.
My version used a strip pack of Shimmer from Northcott in a single colorway, for a more serene quilt.
|Sprinkled by Canuck Quilter Designs, using Northcott Shimmer strips|
|Sprinkled by Canuck Quilter Designs, in Stonehenge Gradations Iron Ore|
|Sprinkled by Canuck Quilter Designs, in Stonehenge Gradations Graphite|
|Topiaries by Canuck Quilter Designs|