I finished a thing!

My Hank-esque hanger on the stairway now has something hanging on it!

I think the block is called Grandma’s Star and it uses just a few charm squares, I used Doe by Carolyn Friendlander and added the rest to my scrap drawers. The triangle at the bottom is a bit wonky but I’m trying to see past that. The quilting is just edcho quilting using my walking foot. This was the first time I had attached it to my machine and it works really nicely.

The binding (from a CF fat quarter- I think it’s from Botanics) and hanging sleeve were finished up at a coffee shop in Churchill Square in Edmonton last weekend. Alex was doing an exam and I had checked out of our hotel, so I needed something to do while I waited. An iced tea and a smoothie later and I finished it up!

It’s approximately 20″ long and 6″ wide.

This is a finish along quarter two finish!

FAL 2016

 

Brother Scan N Cut – Adding seam allowances and cutting fabric for piecing tutorial

The Meadow quilt class last week was awesome, but the cutting for the pattern is a bit laborious. There are 80 shapes that have two curves, and 40 pieces that are sort of like a smoother version of the Star Trek logo. There will also be 20 long ovals but I think they will be too big for the machine so I’ll do those by hand (the CM650 model should be able to do them though as it can take mats twice as long). Here’s an example of what I mean:

I cut these pieces on the Scan N Cut, but only after I had already cut out the templates in the class itself. It has made things much easier! Unlike die cutting machines like the Accuquilt Go or the Sizzix Big Shot, you can specify your exact requirements for your project (rather than standard triangles, hexies, etc) and add seam allowances and get as many on one sheet as possible to make the process as economic as you can with unusual shapes. You choose the project and then make the Scan N Cut work for you, rather than trying to make a project up around existing dies and the shapes they produce.

So here’s another semi-tutorial today for those who are new to the machine, like me, which will show you some more things you can do with the machine building on the tutorial in my last post. I’m not sponsored by Brother, I genuinely just like this machine. This machine was borrowed so I could learn more but I have gone out and bought my own since!

Put the template you’re working with on the standard mat and scan to cut data.

I then used region detection – as a guide the top is outline detection, the middle is region detection and the bottom is line detection. I found region detection was best for this application because sometimes the outlines weren’t connecting up to make a full shape.

Then select the darkness detection thingy (technical!)…

Then Ignore Object Size…

Then select a size that makes sense- the number indicates what size drawings/lines/objects are ignored. I went for 3/4″ square.

Save the file. Find it again and open from the pattern screen. Then go into the top left shape menu and click select all. Deselect the shapes you want to keep and keep all of the extra scuzzy bits highlighted. Press the trash can delete option.

Now add the seam allowance to the shape so that it can be pieced rather than appliqued. To do this, go to the size screen (still within shape menu)…

And click the bottom right option which shows a box within a box. This is your seam allowance.

You can check it is 1/4″ by pressing the settings (spanner) button and scrolling through the menu.

You can also make several duplicate shapes whilst in the menu with the seam allowance setting. Click the + option beside ‘number’ to add more shapes.

You can drag out the new shapes to other areas of the mat space on screen. Press OK to go to the initial screen. Press the triangles (object arrangement) option on screen.

You have three options for arrangement on this screen. The top will arrange it in the most space efficient way possible, but will not take the grain of the fabric into account. The middle will arrange on the vertical or horizontal, flipping upside down as needed for best fit and the last option is good for cutting from directional fabric as the shapes are positioned as closely together as possible but without rotation. I chose the middle option!

You can resave over the top of the original scanned file if you wish to access the cleaned up and seam allowance-d shapes regularly. Apply the high tack fabric sheet to your mat. This is where having two mats is handy, or if you have a scanning mat, using that just to import files, as this sheet makes it a lot stickier and therefore you can’t put paper on it anymore.

Load the mat and go to the cut option…

And then once cut, unload the mat and peel off the excess and lift off the cut shapes. When the tacky sheet is fresh, you may need to curve the mat slightly to get better purchase on the shapes. Remember to pick threads from the mat with tweezers and keep the surface well covered for mat longevity.

My next mini-tutorial (when I get round to it) will cover importing designs from the computer. The high end model will do this wirelessly, so I’ll be showing you on the CM100 (basic model) that I bought!

Finish Along – Quarter 2

It’s Finish Along time again and I’m sort of taking part this quarter.

As I work on my book I plan to do a bit of other stuff in between projects, so finish a book thing, work on another project, finish a book thing, work on another project, you get the idea.

My other projects will need to be small though otherwise I’ll never get anything done, so instead of seeing my Baby Jane and log cabin WIPs yet again, this quarter I have smaller targets…

DSCF0742My little wall hanging is glue basted ready for quilting, binding and a hanging sleeve.

DSCF0744Same deal with my polar bears, but I think I’m just going to put hanging corners on the back, not a sleeve.

DSCF0748I’ve cut out pieces to make another of my favourite skirts- this is the same pattern as the one I used for the red dog skirt and the Mixteca sparrows. I may even make a dress from the Mori Girls dachshund print from Dashwood Studios, but that might be going too wild.

DSCF0746And on the subject of wild, I’ve cut out almost all of the pieces for my Meadow quilt on the Scan N Cut (another post on this coming up). I have the background pieces to cut which are Kona Eggplant and I honestly don’t think this will get done, but if I manage a couple of blocks I’ll be very happy.

Linking up with Helen

FAL 2016

Brother Scan N Cut – Applique Pattern Tutorial

scanncuttute

I recently borrowed a Scan N Cut machine from Rebecca at work (I know you are reading this- hello!) with the promise that I’d teach her stuff after I’d used it and learned a bit more. So it makes sense to share what I found here too for anyone who has just bought a Scan N Cut and are a bit nervous as to what to do next.

I tested it out with a new mat and an applique pattern that I bought (part of the Canadian Mystery Quilt series by Shania Sunga for Cantik Batiks), but you could save files from EQ7 and other computer applications such as Adobe CC instead of scanning them in, use the Scan N Cut Canvas web program to convert to cutting lines, put them on a USB stick and cut your applique patterns from the file.

I’m going to say now that yes I have used my fingers on the screen and yes, there is a stylus provided, I think with touch screen phones and stuff that we are used to, it’s easy to fall into that habit!

Scan the pattern by sticking it to the Standard mat, pressing the mat load button and then the Scan option, followed by Scan To Saved Data and the Go button that will light up green when ready.

This model is the CM550 Scan N Cut, which can only scan 12″ x 12″ mats, the pattern sheet was longer than this so I had to scan half, rotate and scan the other half to make sure I got all of the pieces. The Scan N Cut 2 (CM650) can scan 12 ” x 24″ which is handy. These will then save to the memory on the unit itself, or a USB stick if you have plugged one in and you choose that option.

Next, fuse Wonder Under or another good fusible product onto the back of the fabrics you want to cut from (everything but the background). Press well as you don’t want the fabric to separate from the adhesive when you come to peel your shapes from your mat!

To recall your saved scans, press Home and go into Pattern, Saved Data…

Locate and select the saved file you want to cut from…

Now we will refine the shape for cutting and get rid of any extra fragments that scanned in that you don’t want, such as text and fluff. When the file is open, click the top right “Edit” option…

Then “Selection” – the three red boxes…

“Select All”

Select the parts you want to keep- so in this example that was just the bear shape…

Press OK, then the dustbin icon…

A message will ask if it is OK to delete selected data- yep, sure is! Now all that’s left are the shapes you want! You can save the design and overwrite the existing file if you wish.

I have found that the mats don’t last quite as long as I would like, so instead of cutting with the fabric side down and the fusible web up, I mirror the images and stick the paper to the mat because that way there’s less fluff and lint getting on the adhesive surface. Here’s how I did that.

Go into the resize screen…

I started by rotating the bear as I wanted the grain of the fabric to run top to bottom and left to right, and initially the bear was angled on the bias…

Select the mirror image icon (it’s the same as the mirror pattern button you might have on your sewing machine)…

Click OK once you’re happy with what you have. You can move the applique design around on this screen too by selecting and holding it with the stylus/finger, then dragging it to its new location.

Smooth your fabric with the backing side down onto the standard mat, covering the area shown on the screen that will be cut. Those inch square marks are really handy.

Time to cut! Load your mat. I have the blade set on number four. Sometimes I find the blade needs setting one higher than it actually recommends in the manual to make sure I don’t have to snip any extra areas. Click cut and then the Go button should light up green. Deep breath and press it!

Once cut, press the mat load button to eject the mat. This is where your pressing skills with the fusible web will show their level… Peel off the excess fabric, then prose up the cut out shape with the provided spatula. Make sure to get under the paper, not just the fabric. I found I had to curl the mat back slightly to get better purchase on it.
Et voila!

Now its ready for the backing paper to be peeled off and to be fused on my project. I repeated this with all of the pieces in my block (including the background because I’m dim sometimes, so I just fused the whole thing to batting).

Another tutorial coming up in my next post – how to use the Scan N Cut to cut out fabric for piecing, and adding seam allowances. We are selling these machines at work for $240 for the basic model so I think I’m going to have to get my own!

Introducing the Marielle bag pattern – Craftsy store now open for business

So I’ve decided to reopen my Craftsy pattern store now that I’m settled this side of the Atlantic, and I’m launching with a new bag pattern as well as uploading the three quilting patterns I had previously listed, including the complete English Country Garden BOM. This is Marielle….

marielle-bag_Page_01

The pattern is just $6 USD and I’m also going to have the first Quilt Workout pattern out as soon as that has been reviewed also- yep, it’s finally written up. I have plans to reissue a few patterns that are now out of print from magazines a year or longer ago. That will happen much later in the year.

Thank you very much to Mary for helping test this pattern and making it much better!

Go to my Craftsy store here.

Also available on Payhip!

Lizzy House and the Meadow Quilt

Today was fun! I got to spend the day at the Wonderfil Threaducation Centre in Calgary with nine other MQG ladies and Lizzy House on what will be one of the final dates ever on the Meadow quilt tour, as Lizzy is getting married soon and plans to travel less and be more home-based from now on.

For those who don’t know, the Meadow quilt was designed around Lizzy’s Hello Pilgrim line of fabric around 4-5 years ago and took many days and “anxiety naps” to figure out before Quilt Market. Throughout this time when she was having problems getting a pattern to work, she was asking herself if this was wrong, or was this just difficult, a question that seemed to come up a lot when she was talking about the way she designs and actually a useful way of thinking about life in general. She’s fun, friendly and a funny lady too.

Because of the way this design works, it is not a pattern as such, as Lizzy explained, and the tuition for success with the design is essential which is why you can’t and won’t buy it anywhere. I saw it around on Instagram (look for #meadowquilt) and not knowing how it was put together bugged me, so I was glad for the opportunity to have a go myself.

My fabric pull

Lizzy worked with us to put groups of fabrics together by colour and value and we created little colour maps as well as assembling a block or two. My sewing machine decided to mimic another lady’s machine (Agnes had a Baby Lock version of the same machine) and have a minor breakdown partway through sewing curves, so I took the stitch plate off, reset the feed dogs and put it back together again and it seemed to be fine after that.

This is my sample block and colour map…

This signature block will go on the back but it’s another project that will have to go on the back burner for the while.

Why?
Well I have now checked what I am allowed to say and can announce that I am indeed working on a rhymes-with-cook as Reene suggested on Instagram, and it will be for Stash Books by C&T Publishing. I can’t say any more than that but I will need to get it pretty much all completed by the start of October. I’m not planning on giving up blogging at all, just reducing it for a while, still I do have some other stuff to share, so keep coming back, OK?

Fun times ahead!

DSCF0727

I’m going to be working on a big project that I can’t share for the next few months so things are likely to be quieter on here than they already are. I won’t be making very much else on the side, but I’ll try to pop by occasionally, even if it’s with a Hank or life post because I truly like blogging and don’t plan to give it up any time soon!

I’ve sewn two rows of blocks of my Lotus quilt together out of the six. I may sew the actual rows together today so I have less to put in order if this needs to come down from my design wall.

DSCF0737

I’ve also made this zippy pouch for a magazine, it’s really big and holds all my speciality rulers- exactly what I wanted.

DSCF0732

For National Quilting Day yesterday I didn’t actually do any quilting, but I did piece together this mini top from a Doe charm pack for my Hank-esque quilt hanger on our first flight of stairs that is currently empty and sad-looking. I’ll hopefully finish this up and do a proper post on this soon.

I’ve also caught up with the blocks from the Spelling Bee so I feel more under control now. My turn to be queen bee comes in June as I did a bit of a swap around when it didn’t look like I was going to be settled any time soon.

For Elizabeth

For Lisa

For Mary

I’m also working hard to finish up the Quilt Workout first pattern within the next few days, though I will need to have it checked over for release. The bag pattern is due back from the testers at the end of the month (though a lot of them are surprisingly quiet and I wonder if they even received the pattern at all) so that should be available on Craftsy when I reopen my shop there in about a week or so.

Busy, but I love it!

My new sewing room and a round up

I’ve moved into a new house and a few days ago our stuff all arrived! So after a few days of hard work, my sewing room now looks like this…

DSCF0632 DSCF0633

I’ve done another design for a magazine which I need to sew up soon, but at the moment my project on the wall is Lotus by Jaybird Quilts with the Hex N More ruler. This is the first time in a very long one that I’ve made something to someone else’s pattern, but it comes together quickly and I like the shape of the pattern. Hopefully I’ll long arm this one myself.

DSCF0634

I also made two blocks for the January edition of the Spelling Bee quilt bee I joined for Elizabeth but I really need to get a move on with February’s since we are now in March!

This is the next pattern I want to make, from a jelly roll…

DSCF0635

I’ve also started my next design for the Quilt Workout series. Yep I haven’t released the first one yet, but my other (bag) pattern I was writing is done and with testers so it’s my next job. This one will be an applique skills builder and the centre block was all sewn by hand.

DSCF0639

Problem is now I’ve got my stuff I realised I had picked out a border, this Sashing Stash print of flying geese. Should I unpick the two Blueberry Park borders and go back to the original plan or do you prefer it without the geese?

Still haven’t done much blog reading so I’m resetting my reader again, sorry to be so lousy!

I’m still alive

I’m here! We’re all emigrated and stuff, the house is sold, we have ID and bank accounts and healthcare and a new sewing machine…. No house yet but I am working full time at My Sewing Room in Calgary so I get to be around and be inspired by lovely fabrics every Tuesday to Saturday.

It’s tiring working on your feet all day. I’ve forgotten what it is like, having worked a lazy desk job for the last eight years. I’ve also not got my fabric yet, the boat docked but the stuff is still needing to travel across the country from Montreal. It has made me a bit reluctant to sew or write my long awaited patterns, but I think I’m coming through the other side of that now. Another distraction has been the lovely countryside and western style little towns in the area, and we have been walking around and snowshoeing and stuff, interspersed with naps and watching hockey in the evenings.

So I’m not in the finish along this quarter but I do have some sewing pictures…

Progress on my Hexie medallion thingy, not sewn any since we arrived here on 5th Jnauary but did a fair bit in the Christmas break.

Some stashing has occurred (though I stupidly bought the same black and white Blueberry Park print twice- two FQs :S

Top left is a knit remnant I should be able to squeeze a raglan out of once I have contrast for the sleeves and waistband.

One massive thing I bought is my new sewing machine, which is a Brother Innovis NQ700. I have a workshop on Sunday to get acquainted with it better.

I’ve nearly finished my two Spelling Bee blocks for Elizabeth– they will be the words “loves” and “the”, though I’ve had no cutting mat or ruler, another reason my sewing has been minimal.

I’ve started on the next Quilt Workout, though I will be finishing the Shine Bright pattern as a matter of priority.

I’ve just this evening submitted a book proposal, so I hope to have my sewing juices running again soon. I’m also in a couple more magazines in the UK at the minute but I’ll blog about that when the other one has arrived here…

I’ve not read any blog posts whilst I’ve been here, nor have I responded to older comments. I’ve also been rubbish at promoting and cheerleading for Patterns to Print. I’m going to start afresh as of now, I’m not ignoring you, honest, just not enough hours in the day!

A few other loose ends

I’ve shown you my latest quilts, but I’ve got a few extra loose ends to tie up. Firstly my machine is gone now (oh and also my house) so I am onto handsewing for the foreseeable future. I think it might be one of my very first purchases when we land.

I’ve also got some magazine projects around the shops this month.

Firstly, I’ve got a block carrier in Popular Patchwork…

A trivet in Quilt Now…

I also sold the Hank, Frankly quilt the day we were putting our lives into boxes!

Oh and also it was my birthday yesterday! An 0 one….