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,