Canned Pineapples: 2019 Quilter’s Planner Blog Hop

Welcome to the 2019 Quilter’s Planner Blog Hop! If you’re new to 3rd Story Workshop, I’m Andrea Tsang Jackson – a designer, artist, quilt maker, and probably some other things. Today, at the beginning of a summer long weekend here in Canada, I get to introduce you to my design, “Canned Pineapples.” A combination of small paper-pieced pineapple blocks and embroidery, this hoop quilt uses a small handful of scraps to produce a glowing group of fireflies.

Photo taken by Kitty Wilkin (Night Quilter) for The Quilter’s Planner 2019

Do you remember being a young adult? Maybe you are one! That feeling of freedom to do whatever you wanted to do? No adults (or kids) dictating what you could or could not do… because you were the adult in charge? Eating supper in front of the television. Staying up late just because you could. Eating cake for breakfast. Taking off for a weekend with your friends to see a concert.

Photo taken by Kitty Wilkin (Night Quilter) for The Quilter’s Planner 2019

That’s what my friends did every summer. We would go on a camping trip to Saratoga Springs, NY to see a Dave Matthews concert because often that was the closest venue to us on the band’s tour. We drove for a few hours, crossed the border, set up our tents, set off for the Saratoga Springs Performing Arts Center, danced in the rain while enjoying our favourite band. One post-concert night, we stayed up watching fireflies under the stars which shone so brightly in the black night. It was magical.*

Of my paper pieced animal patterns, I have a land animal (Sleepy Fox) and a sea animal (Narwhals #1 and #2). I wanted to round out the collection with an air animal. Fireflies (or as I have learned, “lightning bugs” in the south) were the perfect inspiration.

I have seen a lot of beautiful pineapple blocks lately, both large and small (Karen LewisMelanie TuazonGiuseppe Ribaudo). “Canned Pineapples” uses the block’s radiating geometry to create a glowing effect with a gradient from bright yellow to navy. They aren’t too too tiny, so they’re very achievable. And with only three in the design you could put this together relatively quickly.

I am no embroidery expert, but I have done some in my crafty past. I liked exploring these different stitches to add some smaller fireflies to the composition.

Photo taken by Kitty Wilkin (Night Quilter) for The Quilter’s Planner 2019

A project of this scale is so satisfying and I am thrilled to share it with you in the 2019 Quilter’s Planner. You can pre-order your 2019 Quilter’s Planner here (U.S. customers), and your pre-order comes with some extraordinary goodies. Canadian pre-orders can order through Clinton Modern or Mad About Patchwork. Another U.S. and international option is Fat Quarter Shop.

*My future husband was there with me. I just didn’t know it.

There are plenty of amazing patterns in the 2019 Quilter’s Planner. Follow along on the blog hop and see what’s in there:

Monday, July 23: Cheryl Brickey Meadow Mist Designs @meadowmistdesigns
Wednesday, July 25: Kitty Wilkin Night Quilter @nightquilter
Friday, July 27: Karie Jewell Two Kwik Quilters @karie_twokwikquilters
Monday, July 30: Mandy Leins Mandalei Quilts @mandaleiquilts
Wednesday, August 1: Megan Fisher @ayragon
YOU ARE HERE –> Friday, August 3: Andrea Tsang Jackson 3rd Story Workshop @3rdstoryworkshop
Monday, August 6: Trinia  Braughton Penguin Feats @penquinfeats
Wednesday, August 8: Lee Monroe May Chappell @maychappell
Friday, August 10: Karen Lewis Karen Lewis Textiles @karenlewistextiles
Monday, August 13: Isabelle Selak South Bay Bella Studio @southbaybella
Wednesday, August 15: Sylvia Schaefer Flying Parrot Quilts @flyingparrotquilts
Friday, August 17: Yvonne Fuchs Quilting Jetgirl @quiltingjetgirl
Monday, August 20: Kate Colleran Seams Like a Dream @seamslikeadreamquilts
Wednesday, August 22: Shannon Fraser Shannon Fraser Designs @shannonfraserdesigns
Friday, August 24: Kerry Goulder Kid Giddy @kidgiddy
Monday, August 27: Kitty Wilkin Night Quilter @nightquilter

Photo taken by Kitty Wilkin (Night Quilter) for The Quilter’s Planner 2019

Part 3: What Does Community Mean to You?

This is the third instalment of people in our community sharing their ideas of what community means to them. Through the Our Song, Your Reflection project, I wanted to share stories of how community has helped, influenced, transformed the work and lives of quilters/artists/businesspeople. I invited a some to make star blocks and tell us their story. I will be assembling these blocks into a collaborative quilt later this summer.

HollyAnne Knight of String & Story says, “I love that the quilting world still lives by the wisdom that ‘many hands make light work.'”

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Andrea over at @3rdstoryworkshop is in the middle of an amazing community project and asked me to share my reflections on the quilting community. ✨ I love that the quilting world still lives by the wisdom that “many hands make light work.” I see that in our community’s immense generosity (you might remember that I also interviewed Andrea just last week over @quiltsforcure about childhood cancer) and even in my recent undertaking: #summerstashbustingchallenge (talk about people coming out of the woodwork to cheer for each other and make progress together!). In short, dear quilters, you are amazing and encouraging folk! 💗 ✨Here’s a bit more about Andrea’s project: "A collaboration between Andrea @3rdstoryworkshop and songwriter @themeaghansmith, #oursongquilt celebrates community and the passions that connect us. You can get the song, pre-order the quilt pattern and fabric kit, get limited-edition swag (enamel pin!), and share your community's story in the music video through this project! Link in @3rdstoryworkshop profile." ✨Bonus: if you’re interested in foundation paper piecing (the technique I used to stitch this little block), just hop over to my blog for a new post! 💃🏽 (Link in profile)

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Pat Sloan, an established leader in the quilting community, says,  “The community of quilters uplifting each other is strong and we are more mighty because of it. I can not even count the number of designers, industry folk and quilters that have become my family, my community.”

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Have you every had a year where a theme seems to be coming up over and over again? That has been my year. It’s like the moon & the stars have aligned and my life this year is celebrating community. In January my husband and I celebrated our 18th year running our small family design business. We took a leap of faith, left the corporate world and hung out our shingle. That first leap would not have been possible without community. I had quilters introduce me to people in the business in the late 1990’s. I had shops help me by supporting my work. As I have gone along through the years, I have found that the stories and the work of others inspires me. The community of quilters uplifting each other is strong and we are more mighty because of it. I can not even count the number of designers, industry folk and quilters that have become my family, my community. When Andrea of @3rdstoryworkshop told me about her collaboration project with songwriter @themeaghansmith, and how it celebrates community and the passions that connect us, I got goosebumps. I’m thrilled to share it so you can get in on the fun! I made this unit to send to her… Swipe to see her amazing quilt❤️ Andrea and I will chat on my Podcast Monday June 18 and she’ll tell me how this came about. You can learn about it, get the song, pre-order the quilt pattern and fabric kit, + get limited-edition swag (enamel pin!), and share your community's story in the music video. Click on the link in her profile at @3rdstoryworkshop so you can join in #oursongquilt!" , . Psstt..I have a confession…. I might have bought a kit.. because I seriously believe in community and this quilt is AMAZING. Andrea is collection blocks to use in another quilt and I’m shipping mine off to her. . . . #community #quiltersofinstagram

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Lisa Hoffman-Maurer states it simply:

Lysa Flower talks about how she dreamed of being a part of a movement, and then found quilters.

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@lysaflower reflects: "As I sewed my blocks, I thought about my community. I remember in art school, sitting in Art History, learning about the different movements. I longed for something like that. Artists meeting in cafes, encouraging each other, discussing different techniques, sharing information, swapping pieces of art work… . Jump ahead to 2010. A little tweet about the @vancouvermqg starting up landed in my lap. Shortly after that I co-founded the @fvmqg… and as luck would have it I'd have the chance to almost yearly visit the @lamqg. I've traveled twice to @themqg #quiltcon and to @quiltmarket. I had no idea back then I was joining a movement, all I knew is I wanted to PLAY! And this doesn't even include the huge community on @Instagram! . I'm so grateful for each community and the unique people in them. I'm grateful for the ALL the things they've taught me, their humour, their encouragement, their talent and their friendship.” . Thank you for sharing, Lysa! . #oursongquilt #quiltersofinstagram #quiltingcommunity #quilt #quilts #modernquilts

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Krista Henneberry of Poppyprint has become a human connector through the work that she does. I’m so glad I met her last year; she has become a mentor to me.

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I made this sweet little twinkly star block for @3rdstoryworkshop ‘s #oursongquilt project (more info below). Swipe to see her beautiful quilt design. I met Andrea & other members of the @_maritimemqg last year in Halifax while on a teaching tour. They certainly represent a fun, positive quilting community! ⭐️⭐️⭐️ What does the quilting community mean to me? Well, that’s a very long list. This community is where I create, work, relax, travel, learn, teach, share, collaborate, volunteer and organize. It’s where I feel supported, understood and appreciated. Through my retreat business, teaching and guild affiliations, I’ve found a secondary calling as a human connector; I enjoy watching personal & professional relationships flourish after I’ve made introductions and appreciate when others do the same for me. ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️ A collaboration between Andrea @3rdstoryworkshop and songwriter @themeaghansmith, #oursongquilt celebrates community and the passions that connect us. You can get the song, pre-order the quilt pattern and fabric kit, get limited-edition swag (enamel pin!), and share your community's story in the music video through this project! Link in @3rdstoryworkshop profile. #aurifilartisan #aurifil

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Part 1: What Does Community Mean to You?

Through the Our Song, Your Reflection project, I wanted to share stories of how community has helped, influenced, transformed the work and lives of quilters/artists/businesspeople. I invited a few people to make star blocks, specific to the #oursongquilt design or their own take on it, and tell us a bit about what their community means to them. I’m so inspired! I will be assembling these blocks into a collaborative quilt later this summer.

From Alyce Blyth of Blossom Heart Quilts: “I know that for me, the quilting community means everything! It’s brought me lifelong friendships with other creatives who understand this passion to create, and as an introvert, having such a meaningful way to connect with other people has opened up the world to me.”

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When Andrea of @3rdstoryworkshop asked me to be involved in her new project, I was thrilled! I was (and still am) rather obsessed with her Elsewhere Bee quilt, so I'm honoured to be included in her new collaborative project with songwriter @themeaghansmith and make this block for #oursongquilt. ✨ The project celebrates community and the passions that connect us. I know that for me, the quilting community means everything! It's brought me lifelong friendships with other creatives who understand this passion to create, and as an introvert, having such a meaningful way to connect with other people has opened up the world to me! 💫 To find out all about this amazing project that involves a quilt (swipe to see the quilt!!), pattern, a song, and swag (hello, enamel pin!) and more, check out the link in @3rdstoryworkshop profile.

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From Stacey O’Malley of SLOstudio:  “I started making quilts in 2014, when I had moved far away from family and friends. Finding the quilting community – both online and in real life through guilds – has brought me many friends, inspiration and motivation – the community has been a network of support and encouragement for sure!”

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I made this ✨ star block to participate in a new project that Andrea @3rdstoryworkshop launched last week – the #oursongquilt which celebrates our community. 💖 . . I started making quilts in 2014, when I had moved far away from family and friends. Finding the quilting community – both online and in real life through guilds – has brought me many friends, inspiration and motivation – the community has been a network of support and encouragement for sure! Thank you ☺️💖! . . . Andrea collaborated with songwriter @themeaghansmith to create the #oursongquilt ➡️ swipe for the pic of the beautiful lone star swan quilt! You can pre-order the quilt pattern, hear the song and share your story in the music video through this project! Check out the link in @3rdstoryworkshop profile for all the details. #quilting

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From my local pal and fabric designer, Julia Wentzell of Briar Hill Designs: “This project is about having a community/tribe/chosen family, where we feel like we belong, and we all lift one another.”

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✨✨What does having community mean to you? Two friends of mine have collaborated on a special project! I met Andrea through the @_maritimemqg and we easily became friends. @themeaghansmith and I have been friends for 20 years, and I’ve always admired her big heart and incredible songwriting skills. They’ve collaborated on a project where Andrea’s quilt and Meaghan’s song speak of the same message- Having a community/tribe/chosen family, where we feel like we belong, and we all lift one another. Except for my University days which, (I’ve said this before) was like a fairy tale, I’ve spent most of 3 decades sewing solo. Choosing to join the Maritime MQG, teaching @patchhalifax and sewing with friends @seam_work have been such a delight for me. Being with people with the same passion makes easy friends, (friends who totally feel your pain when you need to use a stitch ripper, or the joy of perfect points, #amiright ?) That’s what the message of Andrea’s quilt, and Meaghan’s song are -seeing your reflection in the light of another. Check out @3rdstoryworkshop feed for more info. 💛 #oursongquilt #igquiltcommunity #quiltyfriends #quiltyfriendsarethebest #quilt #quiltblock #community #shininglikeastar

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From local business owner and quilting teacher Adrienne Klenck of Seam Work: “As I taught others to make quilts I saw that I have a strength that I did not know I had — I’m a good teacher! In classes I started to see my passion for making and what it does for me (it soothes my depressed mind in more ways than I can count) in the reflection of others and it made my heart sing.”

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Andrea @3rdstoryworkshop and songwriter Meaghan Smith, have collaborated on a project that celebrates community and the passions that connect us. Our Song, Your reflection has really got me thinking about community. I used to be a solitary sewer but that all changed five years ago. I started the @_maritimemqg and then started teaching @patchhalifax All of a sudden I had found my people! My new community was made of up strong and inspiring men and women who all spoke my language, the language of making and doing for others. This was inspiring enough, but then something else happened, as I taught others to make quilts I saw that I have a strength that I did not know I had, I’m a good teacher! In classes I stared to see my passion for making and what it does for me (it sooths my depressed mind in more ways than I can count) in the reflection of others and it made my heart sing. That song gave me the courage to open Seam Work with the dream of making that generous community even just a little bit bigger! Check out @3rdstoryworkshop feed for more info. 💛 #oursongquilt #igquiltcommunity #quiltyfriends #quiltyfriendsarethebest #quilt #quiltblock #community #shininglikeastar

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From Kitty Wilkin (a.k.a. NIght Quilter): “What would life be without the ability to create beauty, inspire others, collaborate to help make the world a more beautiful, peaceful, and nurturing place for all, and to share in the wonder and beauty of the natural world with like-minded people!?”

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60/100 of #100daysofsewsmaller for #the100dayproject is a miniaturized #oursongquilt block, along with its regular sized friend. A while back, Andrea @3rdstoryworkshop asked if I would want to participate in a project celebrating our community of makers, and of course my answer was a resounding yes! ✨I'm grateful to have found this wonderful community of quilters, since living in rural Maine, there aren't any guilds that meet near enough to me to make it possible for me to attend as a mom of little ones. When I began my blog NightQuilter and later joined Instagram, I was newly a mom of 2 (and now 3!) and the few minutes I spent quilting and creating each day helped feed my creative soul and keep me sane. Being able to connect with other quilters was such a lifeline in those wee hours of the sleepless nights, and now I consider many of those early quilty connections my dearest friends. What would life be without the ability to create beauty, inspire others, collaborate to help make the world a more beautiful, peaceful, and nurturing place for all, and to share in the wonder and beauty of the natural world with like-minded people!? I'm so happy to have found my tribe, and I'm happy to help spread the word about this project that celebrates community and the passions that connect us.💕 . A collaboration between Andrea @3rdstoryworkshop and songwriter @themeaghansmith, #oursongquilt celebrates just that–community and the passions that connect us. You can get the song, pre-order the quilt pattern and fabric kit, get limited-edition swag (enamel pin!), and share your community's story in the music video through this project! Link in @3rdstoryworkshop ‘s profile. 💕 . Swipe to see the full quilt created by Andrea, and visit the link in @3rdstoryworkshop 's profile to find out more!✨ . I love this photo of big and little… the large 2”x6” Our Song Quilt star block with the shrunken 1 1/4” block paired with the big and little spools of @aurifilthread (1148-Light Jade) that perfectly match the Capri Kona cotton by @robertkaufman I used for the blocks. 😍💎✨ . #sewsmaller #the100dayproject2018 #quiltingcommunity #aurifilthread #matchymatchy #bigandlittle

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Icebergs and Narwhals

I had the opportunity to develop another pattern from a commission (first one was the Sleepy Fox pattern) and this time, I went underwater. When my son’s preschool teacher approached me about making a wall hanging for the classroom, I had in mind to try this business model again.

The teacher had travelled up north to Nunavut in recent years and teaches a unit on the Arctic in the winter months. I had also spotted a small print of a Lawren Harris painting in her classroom. He was a member of the famous Group of Seven, who all had their own takes on Canadian landscapes. His icebergs are powerful and peaceful at the same time.

Mountain Forms, an iconic 1926 Rocky Mountain canvas by Group of Seven founder Lawren Harris (Heffel Fine Art Auction House)

Using a similar improvisational technique to the series of pin cushions I did last summer, I constructed the icebergs with loose overall dimensions in mind. A gradation of white/baby blue/pale aqua formed the icebergs above water and deeper blues formed the underwater portions. I elongated the darker ones because most of the mass of icebergs resides beneath the surface. (Lessons learned from the Titanic, right? “Iceberg AHEAD!”)

I developed the narwhal patterns simultaneously and had my faithful testers working on the narwhal blocks while I designed the baby quilt. Narwhals usually congregate in groups, so I made one of each of the Dancing Narwhal patterns. And for the third, I made a tuskless version to represent a female and used a mirror image of the pattern simply by printing it out flipped. Most printers have the ability to do this, if you can find the function in your print settings.

Instead of making the full 16″ x 16″ blocks, I omitted the extra background rectangles for the two male narwhals, and finagled a funny Y-seam to insert the female into the group. It did pucker a bit but nothing that a little quilting over couldn’t fix.

SInce the spring, I have been working on free-motion quilting cloud motifs (sketches here and another experiment here). I quilted them over the icebergs and sky in a pale grey thread.

The underwater currents went edge-to-edge and I found a rhythm of spirals and echoing after a few rows. The 80-20 (80% cotton, 20% polyester) batting I used is loftier (“puffier”) than a 100% cotton. In combination with the lighter weight shot cotton that I used for the water, it added so much extra texture to the water.

You can find the Dancing Narwhal patterns here; each comes with a tuskless option, making them female narwhals or like their cousin, the beluga. Check out some other versions of the patterns on Instagram.

Modern Marks Blog Hop + Giveaway

[GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED} Christa Watson‘s debut fabric collection with Benartex, Modern Marks, is filled with saturated colours. These fabrics are useful for a bold punch of hues wherever needed. The abstract markings are also in strong colours, making for some great colour combinations!

For the the Modern Marks blog hop, I chose a limited palette, as is my way of doing things. I was excited to use all the values of blue. I scaled up one of my new Dancing Narwhal patterns by 150% to 24″ square to let those prints tell their story. The “solids” are from Benartex’s Color Weave collection, which read like a solid with a bit of texture.

I decided to change Dancing Narwhals #2 a little bit to animate the background — the narwhal jumps out of some icy arctic waters. This will become a baby quilt down the road… (The road that leads well into 2018, that is!)

Modern Marks screams fun – think of all the rainbows and confetti you could make with these! In fact, there are a couple of colour-bright patterns that you can download for free, Rainbow Taffy and On Your Mark. I like that the assortment of 28 prints really spans the spectrum so that you can treat them like a painter’s palette.

Along with being a fabric designer, Christa is also a fabulous teacher. She is an expert in domestic machine quilting and she wants you to be, too. I learned a ton from her Craftsy class, “A Quilter’s Path”.

{Giveaway CLOSED}

Enter for a chance to win a bundle of 8-10 Modern Marks fabrics by leaving a comment on the blog post. The giveaway is open through Monday, December 4th, at 11:59 PM Eastern. Giveaway is limited to U.S. residents (sorry, compatriots!). Because of the size of the giveaway — 11 bundles! — Benartex is limiting it to U.S. only to keep shipping costs down. I will notify the selected winner and they will have 48 hours to reply with their shipping address. Good luck!

Visit all the stops on the Modern Marks blog hop!
Monday
Hollyanne @String & Story
Tuesday
Wednesday
Hilary @Aurifil
Thursday
Andrea @3rd Story Workshop <– You are here!
Friday
Stephanie @Modern Sewciety

 

RJR What Shade Are You: Where Do I Begin?

We often freeze in the face of limitless options – a new canvas, a blank page, a single vacation day, or a beautiful collection of RJR Cotton Supreme colour swatches. What will be the absolute best thing I can do with this opportunity? One could ponder endlessly… and then completely miss the chance to accomplish anything. So where did I begin?

For the What Shade Are You blog hop, RJR Fabrics invites designers to choose any quilt backing from an RJR or Cotton + Steel collection. I am not one to use many prints in my work, but Cotton + Steel’s Wonderland Collection were simply irresistible! The print I chose incorporates various characters and motifs from the story of Alice in Wonderland on a periwinkle background.

I wanted to depict the Queen of Hearts’ crown using one of my foundation-paper-pieced patterns — “Princess Cut” — scaled at different sizes. As I flipped through the Cotton Supreme solids swatch book, the rich reds really stole my attention and the saturated blues were a suitable companion, while a navy blue background was the perfect royal backdrop.

I wanted to juxtapose the paper pieced jewels with some traditional piecing set on point. These form smaller jewels in the crown. The top and bottom borders seems like an appropriate nod to tradition, as well as an opportunity to showcase the beautiful reds and blues together.

Background: Indigo #191

Greyscale, from lightest to darkest:

  • Swan #370
  • Argento #362
  • Silver Screen #380
  • Silver #125
  • Gale Force #282
  • Chalkboard #382

Blues, from lightest to darkest:

  • Carolina #313
  • Cornflower #94
  • Lancaster Sky #316
  • Electric Blue #296
  • Night #280

Reds, from lightest to darkest:

  • Beach Coral #355
  • Moulin Rouge #356
  • Scarlet Letter #325

From the outset, I had in mind that I would endeavour into free motion quilting for this project. I wanted the jewels to be “set” in intricate metalwork, formed by the swirls and leaves in the negative space around them. In contrast, I used dot-to-dot ruler work in the jewels themselves and switched to a walking foot for radiating lines that shone from the crown. Some wobbly bits and not-so-straight lines, but I was pleased with the overall end result.

As the quilt approached completion, I knew without a doubt where I wanted to have it photographed. Completed in 1912, Dingle Tower is designated as one of Canada’s Historic Places and is a prominent landmark in Halifax. The two large bronze lions at the base of the tower were donated by the Royal Colonial Institute of London in 1913 and their design was influenced by the monumental lions at Trafalgar Square in London.

One of my favourite things is coming up with parameters – constructing a design problem out of endless possibilities or nothing at all, so that I have something to work around and something to solve. I am so happy that the Wonderland gave me an inspiring starting point, and subsquently opportunities to explore designs and techniques that were new to me.

Do you feel paralyzed when faced with too many choices? Jump in. Start somewhere. At worst, you will accomplish something mediocre — and at best, something wonderful.

Photos: Shaeline Faith Photography

Qualitative Math and Uppercase Fabric

I have been a faithful reader of Uppercase magazine for a few years now and I finish reading each issue having been injected with a large dose of inspiration. The smell of the ink and the weight of the paper also leave my heart feeling pretty happy. Editor Janine Vangool of Calgary will be releasing her second line of fabric later this fall, UPPERCASE Volume 2: Dot, Dashes and Diamonds. When studying the designs in the look book, I saw how literally the collection was named. Each is made of a small scale prints, some with just diamonds, some with just dashes, some with a combinations of the elements. And I wanted to do some qualitative math. That was the inception of the “Wood Type Quilt.”

A post shared by Andrea Tsang Jackson (@3rdstoryworkshop) on What is qualitative math? It’s a term that I made up. You can see how the colour tones below “add up” like ink as well how the prints are added together to create others. Transparency was on my mind and up till this point, I have mainly thought about it in terms solids. Solids are easier to deal with, come in more precise shades and have less visual noise. But I thought that Dots, Dashes and Diamonds would give me a chance to give transparency a try with prints. I could not, in the end, get both the prints and colours “add up” simultaneously, so colour took priority.

The cover of Uppercase Issue No. 25 features Joey Hannaford’s work, with wood type overlaid on top each other. The transparency of the ink shows the layers beneath and upon inspection, you can tell the order in which the inks were printed. Josef Albers talks about this in his book, The Interaction of Color. The second colour lays on top and appears more dominant in the overlapped area. I wanted to replicate this effect in fabric and came up with two uppercase Xs in the Bernino typeface rotated at 90 degrees. One is “printed” in yellow, and then “overlaid” with cyan (blue). I wish I had a better reason for using Bernino as the font, but the truth is that I like the way it looked and I enjoyed the star shape that came about in their overlap. The name of the font also sounds like Bernina, as in the sewing machine brand.

I did not want to endeavour to repeat this paper-pieced block many times over, so I decided to make it the centre of this medallion quilt. I played with overlapping “transparent” squares that radiated outward from the centre.

There are some things I would do differently next time. An accurate scant 1/4” seam, it turns out, is important. The number of seams per “ring” in the medallion is different and results in long strips that don’t match up. There was a lot of fudging as I forced points to align. Secondly, as I quilted the Vs with my walking foot going into the quilt and then pushing out again to the edge of the quilt, my border got wavy. The blip is well-hidden by my two quilt holders, who measure 39” and 44” in height. They reached up as high as possible to hold this 48” x 48” quilt.

I took Angela Walter’s class “Dot to Dot: Quilting with Piecing as Your Guide” on Craftsy and was inspired to give it a try with my walking foot. I used the technique at the corner of the centre block; it brings attention to the X as the focal point of the quilt. Actually, pretty much every element of this quilt draws your eye to the centre. X marks the spot.

Pieced quilt back.

Sleepy Fox Quilt: Thoughts on the Client Relationship

Sometimes you come across a dream client: Someone who lets you explore as an artist, someone who wants you to succeed, someone who wants what’s best for them and what’s best for you. These people are hard to come by. This happened to me in early spring 2017, with the commission of the Sleepy Fox quilt.

A previous customer was now pregnant with her first baby and wanted a gender neutral quilt for her baby’s woodland nursery. She was following my work closely. She loved Elizabeth Hartman’s Fancy Fox and how I had paired it with improv birch trees. (tutorial here). And she loved wood grain free motion quilting. She wanted an original fox design in my own geometric style and — here’s the kicker — wanted me to design it so that I could sell the pattern later. She wanted the perfect keepsake quilt for her baby, and she wanted me to get the most out of the process.

Here’s how I have been approaching commissioned work, as of late:

  1. We discuss what the client wants: Design, colours, dimensions, rough timeline.
  2. I decide on a price for my labour (read some thoughts below), and I estimate the price of materials. The client pays for the materials separately.
  3. I specify the process: I will provide two preliminary designs. The client will pick one and we will refine that design with up to two revisions (different colours, design tweaks, slightly different layout, etc.). It is not an eternal back-and-forth.
  4. I state that I require a 50% deposit before I begin the work.
  5. I give an estimated date for completion of the work based on what else is going on in my work life and personal life.
  6. If the client agrees, then we proceed. I then give some intermediate dates – when I will send the preliminary designs, when to expect the finished piece with a shipping deadline.

How I price labour: I estimate how much time it’s going to take me to design and then execute a project. I charge a higher rate for design time and a lower rate for execution. There are a few factors that play into this decision. [Disclaimer: I have in no way, shape or form, figured out pricing, but here are my thoughts on pricing design vs. execution.]

Design work takes a certain skill set that is developed through specialized training and experience. I happen to have both formal training and experience in this realm. Also, I’ve gotten relatively fast at it, and I pay for software to allow me to do it efficiently and well. And there is no reason that I should be penalized for my speed, which comes from experience. Therefore I charge a higher rate.

Execution I charge less for. To be honest, I am not that experienced in piecing, basting, quilting and binding. I’ve only been seriously doing it for about 18 months. My workmanship is not top-notch, and as a result, my results are not top-of-the-line. I’m might also be slower at it than a more experience person and I make more mistakes that I have to fix. So why should my client be penalized for my slowness? Therefore I charge a lower rate.

The client and I shopped for fabric together at Patch and found the perfect combination of colours and a Dear Stella Pine Grove backing. I also had some hand-printed Keephouse scraps in black and white to add to the improv birch trees. The sky colour is Essex Yarn-dyed Linen; I love the texture of these linens, both visually and in a tactile sense.

Here is what I used:

  • Fox: Free Spirit Solids Apricot, Tango, White, Raven; Kona Solids in Paprika
  • Trees: Free Spirit Solids White, Raven; Keephouse Studio hand-printed linen in “Rows”
  • Ground: Free Spirit Solids in Silver
  • Sky: Essex Yarn-Dyed in Aqua
  • Binding: Free Spirit Solids in Malachite, White
  • Backing: Pine Grove – Fox, Deer, Owls by Dear Stella

It took me longer than I had estimated originally, but I had such a good time putting it together that it didn’t bug me, as it sometimes does. And also, I considered it part of the upfront time that pattern design takes.

The Sleepy Fox paper piecing pattern is available as a PDF download here.

A satisfied heart that was full of gratitude. That’s what I came away with. Lucky me.

Tutorial: Chain Piecing a Paper Piecing Pattern

As quilters, we love intricate patterns, tiny pieces and impressive finishes. Even more so, we love the shortcuts that get us there. Sometimes, a paper piecing pattern has multiple templates such as the Teardrop Cut from the Cut Collection, which has 16 templates. Switching tasks a considerable amount of time. Cut, sew, press, cut, sew, press, cut, sew, press, cut, sew, press, cut, sew, press… For this pattern of 16 templates, that could mean upwards of 102 task changes! Continue reading