Monday, July 12, 2021

Ripples Cubed tester versions

I said I'd share my pattern tester's versions of Ripples Cubed last month, and here we are halfway through July already.  How did that happen?  Well, I know how it happened.  I'm not good at juggling competing priorities, so this ball got dropped. 

I'm picking up the ball today and will strive to do better!  Without further ado, here my testers' quilts. 

Tammy H. chose these beautiful batiks on a coordinating purple background. I love to see quilters play with different background options.  My quilt had a light background, but obviously dark works too!

How fun is Sandie's version?  This is a great example of how to make a design your own.  She wanted to use Batman fabric for a quilt for her grandson, so instead of using the amounts of 5 different fabrics listed in the pattern, she skipped ahead to the cutting directions, using the cut sizes listed but not the fabric distribution.  Those large blocks make me think of the "bat signal".  I hope her grandson loves his quilt!

Pamela D. Deringer was working from her stash, and didn't have enough yardage of some fabrics, so she also used the cutting instructions as a guide to cut pieces from what she had to make this pretty version. There you go:  Ripples Cubed can be a stash buster pattern!

Last, but not least, is Kathi Kivi's quilt. I absolutely love her fabrics.  There are metallic circuit boards and wires printed on those lovely jewel tones  The fabrics are great and I think Ripples Cubed showcases them perfectly.

I want to thank these quilters again for generously giving of their time test the pattern.  I produced a better pattern and released it with greater confidence thanks to their feedback.  Seeing their very different versions also confirmed that this design does indeed work for various fabric styles. 

Ripples Cubed is currently available in my Etsy shop as a PDF download.  I had a successful photo shoot for a print cover last week, so print copies will be available wholesale to shops soon!

Happy Quiltmg!


Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Ripples Cubed in the Plum Pudding Blog Tour

When Sherry from Powered by Quilting invited me to participate in a blog tour for her newest signature collection from Island Batik, I plugged the digital fabric swatches she sent into a design I'd been toying with on and off in EQ.  I liked what I saw and I couldn't pass up the chance to make Ripples Cubed in her Plum Pudding fabric.

Ripples Cubed was designed with large pieces specifically to showcase pretty prints.  I think it certainly did the trick for the Plum Pudding batiks. These are not my usual colour choices, but I couldn't resist the mix of rich jewel tones and more subdued accents.  There's a great variety of textures in the prints as well.  

I shared some of the quilting process in this post last month.  I used Westalee quilting rulers to quilt the designs in the darker triangles.  I also outline quilted inside the medium triangles to define those shapes a little.  I think it makes it look a little more polished.  It's difficult to make out the quilting in the center squares and triangles in the photo.  It looks better in person, and I'm pleased with how it dressed up the blocks. 

I let the quilt sit a couple of days while I pondered how to quilt the background and the plain squares.  You can see in the photo above that I quilted multiple echoes of the square-on-point shape that appears in the background.  As I worked my way to the center with the echo, I realized I could change the angle of the lines just a little bit in the innermost echo so that it extends the designs in the small print squares into a single design.

I thought about practicing different designs in the plain squares, but in the end decided to keep things clean and simple, just like the piecing. Well, I was also running out of time, and the straight lines were quick!  To tie this quilting to the rest, I first quilted a frame 1" inside the sides of the square, just as I had quilted a 1" frame inside the large triangles.

I finished off the quilting with straight line quilting all the way around in the border, then added a contrasting binding.  

If you're wondering where the quilt's name came from, I can say part of the design reminded me of ripples radiating out from a stone dropped in water.  I added the cubed part because the shapes are squared, not rounded like true ripples.  And yes, it's 2-dimensional, so would be "squared" rather than cubed, which would imply 3 dimensions, but there are 3 ripples, and a superscript 3 is read a "cubed"....I admit, the name's provenance is kind of convoluted, but this is a quilt pattern, not a math textbook, so just go with it, OK?  :)

If you'd like to make your own version  of Ripples Cubed, the pattern is now available as a PDF download in my Etsy shop.  Many thanks to Tammy H, Kathi Kivi, Sandie L and Pamela Dee Deringer for testing the pattern. I'll share my testers' lovely and varied versions later this week to provide inspiration.  Let's just say, there isn't a limitation on fabric genre for this one!

To see more projects made with Sherry's beautiful collection, visit other stops on the blog tour this month.  Links are included below.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Small Change!

 I can finally share the finished, quilted and bound Small Change! I love how it turned out.

I shared a bit in February about the frantic sewing to meet the pattern deadline for a catalog.  I actually finished the quilt top in less than a week!  After more than 20 years of quilting, I sew a little faster than I used to.  What hasn't changed is my enthusiasm for seeing a stack of cut fabric pieces turn into a finished quilt top.

I wrote about my quilting process and choices in April.  I quilted this entirely in straight lines with a walking foot.  By the end of that I had a few more ideas on how to minimize the need to turn the quilt around under the needle.  (I'll make a note to share more about that later.  Maybe even a little video...though I make no promises about the video, as I'm still working out the details of filming anything useful.)

I had to wait for decent weather and for a quilt holder to be available, both at the same time, for the quilt photo shoot, which explains the delay in sharing the finished quilt and releasing the pattern.

Small Change pattern download now available in my Etsy shop 
or ask your favourite quilt shop to order print copies

Who noticed the inset picture on the pattern cover?  That inset is why I called the pattern Small Change!  When I was playing around in EQ8 trying to finalize the design, I discovered that changing the sashing and border fabric resulted in a completely different quilt.  The block is exactly the same in both quilts!

I have plans to make version 2.  Would anyone be interested in a Small Change Quit-along to keep me company and keep me accountable?  You could make either version, in any of the four sizes, baby to king.  I'm thinking of late summer or early fall.  Let me know in the comments if this might interest you, so I can gauge interest.

I must thank my four wonderful pattern testers.  Here are their versions, to give you a taste of the possibilities!  

Tammy Howell's version with a small print in the background.

Pamela Dee Geringer counted parts to figure out how to use multiple fabric for a vintage vibe.

Bonnie Larson pulled from her grunge stash for her Small Change

Carol Andrews also chose to make version 2.

Now, on to the next project.  The blue florals I shared on May 8th are well on their way to becoming a quilt.

Happy Quilting,

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Moving one project off the flimsies stack

There are at least seven quilt tops sitting in bins on my shelves, waiting to become full-fledged quilts.   I was about to start working on yet another top, with the blue fabrics I shared in my last post, when the list of unfinished quilt tops started glaring at me from my bulletin board.  I conceded that I could try to finish at least one before adding yet another to the queue.

On Wednesday I basted the quilt sandwich, pondering a quilting plan as I basted.  Inspiration hadn't struck by the time I finished basting.  The only way to move forward was to start stitching in the ditch and hope ideas would sprout as I moved the quilt under the needle.  

Aren't these pretty fabrics?  Sherry of Powered by Quilting sent them to me for a blog hop in June.  These are from Plum Pudding, her latest signature collection from Island Batik.  These are not my usual colors (or hers, I think) but they are so, so pretty, and it was fun to work with something a little different than my usual choices.

By Thursday evening I had finished stitching in the ditch with the walking foot.  I could have done it with a straight ruler and my ruler foot, but these are large pieces so it was just as easy to use the walking foot.

Friday I got to work with paper and pencil to figure out what to quilt.  I already had a plan for the background.  That involves a lot of straight lines repeating some of the shapes in the quilt.  I wanted something a bit more intricate to dress up large pieces of print fabric.  Since I am drawing challenged, I thought some of my Westalee templates should come out to play to help me out in those spaces.

I stitched out he design in one block on Friday, then walked away.  I thought I liked it, but I wasn't 100% certain.  I needed to let it sit a bit and see how I felt about it in the morning. 

The design doesn't show up well in the photo, especially on that busy (but pretty!) print. However, when I came down this morning and looked at it again, I liked it. It looks better in person.

The garden called me outside earlier, but I'll fire up the sewing machine after supper and see how much I can get quilted this evening. I would love to have a finished quilt by the middle of next week so I can move on to that new blue quilt project guilt-free!

Saturday, May 8, 2021

I thought they'd be quick...

Crumb blocks are quick to make, right?  Just slap scraps together, with no measuring.  No problem.

I should know better!  Each of these blocks took me about two hours to make.   Sewing, pressing and trimming probably added up to less than 15 minutes per block.  The rest of the time was all about  picking out scraps, and deciding how to place them.  

I don't do "random" very well. I can't help myself: I overthink the selection and placement of each little scrap.  There's nothing quick about that, trust me.  I wish I was better at just letting the scraps fall where they may, but I'm not there yet.  Maybe I'll develop that skill as I make the other 12 crumb blocks I need.   

In any case, I won't be using them to test my upcoming "I Spy Lanterns" pattern, as I had planned, because I'm short on time.  The pattern was originally designed to use large squares of focus fabric, and I thought it would be fun to substitute a crumb block in there as a design option.  Here's the original, using Northcott's upcoming Color Collage collection by Shelley Davies. (You can take a peek at the fabric in the Northcott April 2021 Look Book.)

I Spy Lanterns by Canuck Quilter Designs
using Color Collage and Toscana fabrics by Northcott

Here's the crumb block version.

I'll probably eventually make the crumb block version, but I'm going to have to move along to a quicker version to test the pattern.  I started playing around with "quicker" blocks in EQ, but that was a whole other rabbit hole.  So many options to play with.  What if I change this? And what about this little tweak?  This led to whole new design and pattern possibilities, but first I need to test the design and pattern I already committed to produce!

After a surprisingly short visit to the quilt shop, I emerged with these lovelies to test the original pattern.

Silver Jubilee and Shadow Play fabrics from Maywood Studio,
and Diamond Dust by Whistler Studios for Windham Fabrics

I'm sure you didn't expect these! Needless to say, the test quilt is going to look very different from my original sketch.  That's one of the things I love about quilting.  Using the exact same instructions with different fabric choices can lead to vastly different quilts.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Quilty May Day flowers and a pattern sale

 Happy May Day!  I don't have May Day flower baskets to share, but I have flower quilt pictures.

Prairie Mix by Canuck Quilter Designs

Don't mind my May Day dandelions. We're feeding the bees!

I shared a little about this project last September but never shared the finished quilt.  By the time I sewed the binding in November, the yard was grey and brown and muddy, not ideal for a quilt photo shoot. Then we were into the snowy season, but snow just didn't seem like an appropriate background for this quilt.  I can't seem to take decent quilt photos indoors, so Prairie Mix had to be patient until spring.

All the angles in these blocks and in the borders are made with the stitch-and-flip (AKA lost corners) technique, so there are no triangles to cut or bias edges to worry about.

I sent this quilt to Liz Meimann to longarm.  The pantograph she used to quilt it is Vanilla Cream by Anne Bright.  I choose this one on many of the quilts I send to Liz.  I like its hooked swirls, it adds texture without competing with the piecing, and it's pretty in the background.

Don't you love the polka dots?  They make me happy.  The yellow gingham as the accent fabric seemed a good choice to continue that informal, happy look.  I chose to make all the flower centers the same to give a more cohesive look to the quilt.  Bringing the yellow into the binding made a good frame to pull everything together.

I used to hesitate to work with pieced borders, because small piecing variations can result in borders that don't fit quite the way the pattern math claims they should.  However, piece borders can really dress up a quilt, taking the whole design up a notch.  It was worth it to me to work through the logic of it all and figure out how to make them fit every time.  I've written a tip sheet explaining simple adjustments you can make to make the pieced border fit perfectly.  

Get your free pieced border tip sheet by signing up here.

My quilt is the large throw, which measures about 60" x 72".  The pattern also includes:
  • baby (6 blocks, 36" x 48")
  • small throw (12 blocks, 48"x 60")
  • twin (24 blocks, 64" x 88")
  • queen (42 blocks, 88" x 100").  

Many thanks to Lynn Adolph, Tammy Howell, Tina Fugate and Kathy Pretorius for testing the various sizes.  I really, really appreciate my pattern testers!


If you'd like to make your own version, you can get the Prairie Mix pattern in my shop

From now through May 8th, enjoy 10% off your purchase of any pattern in the shop when you use the coupon code SPRING2021.  If you use this link, the discount will be applied automatically at checkout.

Happy spring and  happy quilting,

Monday, April 26, 2021

Breadcrumbs placemats

What is it about spring that makes me want new placemats?  Last spring it was Shuffle, the year before it was Leftovers, and at least two versions of Geese Across the Table were springtime projects.  This spring, it's Breadcrumbs.

quilted placemats and flowers
Breadcrumbs placemats and runner

I shared a glimpse of these last month, but they are now quilted and bound and match the flowers on my table.  The matching flowers are a happy accident.

This pattern is going to become one of my "go to" patterns for quick gifts. It's quick and it showcases a print beautifully.  Pick a print in colors and theme to suit and it's a winner.  You can find the Breadcrumbs pattern in my shop or ask for it at your favourite quilt shop.

Table setting with red plaid quiltyed placemat
Breadcrumbs placemat

I love that even with a place setting, you can still see the design.  I'm always sad to see pretty piecing disappear under the plate!   

red and black plaid placemats and table runner
Breadcrumbs placemats and runner

Here's an unobstructed view.  You can see this version uses a single print, while the one at he beginning of this post uses two prints.  The pattern includes both options.  The version above is made with fabric from Banyan Batiks' Bear Paw Plaid collection, shipping to store in October 2021.   This plaid look is making me think of picnics.  It's a warm sunny day here, so maybe we'll set these out on the table outside for an al fresco supper tonight.

Meanwhile, I'm making more.  Sooner or later, we'll be able to have people over for a meal again, and I'll be ready!

Placemat in progress, with blue and white triangles

Do you have a favourite placemat pattern?  What do you like best about it?  Please share in the comments.

Breadcrumbs placemat pattern cover

Available as a PDF download in my shop.  
Shops, please see the Canuck Quilter website for wholesale ordering information.

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?