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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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.

Free Motion Quilting Clouds and “The Quilter’s Path” with Christa Watson

Christa Watson is a quilter, teacher and designer based in Las Vegas, NV. I took her Craftsy class, “The Quilter’s Path”, having only ever taken a 5-hour quilting workshop with Linda Coolen Smith of our local modern quilt guild. I needed lots of help understanding the limits and possibilities of walking foot and free motion quilting, and Christa’s class was a great place to start.

The class is divided into 6 lessons, between 18 and 26 minutes each. The class comes with downloadable resources, including a printable supply list and the Pinwheels Quilt pattern, pictured above (40″ x 56″). The class starts with walking foot designs using basic grids then moves to more complicated designs such as a walking foot spiral. Christa then moves into free motion designs such as spirals and meanders, and then combines the FMQ with walking foot designs.

It’s fun to watch her teach and everything seems to make perfect sense. Two things that I especially appreciate about Christa’s class: 1) The way she uses test block to practise and try out a design, and 2) The way she shows you how to apply the design to a larger quilt. Testing is an approach that I like to use in my own work, but of late, have forgotten about it and have suffered the consequences! Another thing to do before you delve into quilting a larger piece is to plan your path first. I am fine with quilting small blocks but have little experience with manoeuvring larger quilts. Christa shows you how to plan your quilting path to first anchor your quilt and then fill in with more density and detail. This is an error I have made recently with my Color Flocks quilt; I started way too dense and now I have to persevere through to the very end of a density marathon to finish this sample.

Christa also encourages you to sketch your quilting before you do it. This rote motor practice helps when it comes time to actually stitch with your machine.

My obsession with free motion clouds has been greatly helped by “The Quilter’s Path.” I took Christa’s “elongated swirls”, where you echo along the tail of a spiral motif, and doodled about 8 pages’ worth of cloud designs with the swirls as the starting point. It gave me lots of practice figuring out how to travel around the surface of the quilt. Paper is much less expensive than fabric and less of a time commitment, so “sketch twice, FMQ once,” or something of the sort!

Responsiveness is the marker of great service and a great teacher. I asked Christa a question via the Craftsy platform about how to approach the background and she responded within 24 hours of my post. I appreciated the quick turnaround and it makes me want to take another class! It is very apparent that Christa really wants you to succeed with your quilting and feel confident enough to progress to the next level.

For you readers, Christa is offering 50% off her class when you sign up via this link. The discount will show up when you add the class to your cart; it expires October 5, 2017. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Plan the overall quilting design, sketch the quilting design, then quilt away!


Tutorial: No Waste Flying Geese

I hate wasting fabric. It’s probably a function of my upbringing. The traditional way of making flying geese is pretty wasteful. And there is a better way. It’s well-known, but I wanted to provide my own tutorial anyway. Time-saving techniques such as chain piecing and cutting multiples make these go faster.

I have made hundreds in the last two weeks. For this tutorial, I used a single V&Co Ombre fabric in Lagoon. I wanted to achieve a gradient effect for my Color Flocks pattern without using 30 different solid colours. The Color Flocks pattern calls for 1 1/2″ x 3″ geese; this mini 20″ x 20″ has a total of 53 geese.

The following cutting chart shows what you need to make 4 geese at once. The photos in this tutorial shows 2 sets made at once, for a total of 8 geese. The triangles or “geese” are coloured, and the background or “sky” is white.

 1/2” x 1” 1 5/8” x 1 5/8” 2 1/2” x 2 1/2”
3/4” x 1 1/2” 1 7/8” x 1 7/8” 3” x 3”
1” x 2” 2 1/8” x 2 1/8” 3 1/2” x 3 1/2”
1 1/2” x 3” 2 5/8” x 2 5/8” 4 1/2” x 4 1/2”
2” x 4” 3 1/8” x 3 1/8” 5 1/2” x 5 1/2”
2 1/2” x 5” 3 5/8” x 3 5/8” 6 1/2” x 6 1/2”
3” x 6” 4 1/8” x 4 1/8” 7 1/2” x 7 1/2”
4” x 8” 5 1/8” x 5 1/8” 9 1/2” x 9 1/2”
5” x 10” 6 1/8” x 6 1/8” 11 1/2” x 11 1/2”
6” x 12” 7 1/8” x 7 1/8” 13 1/2” x 13 1/2”

Yields 8 geese, 1 1/2″ x 3″

Fabric requirements:
– (2) 4 1/2″ squares of the goose colour
– (8) 2 5/8″ squares of the sky colour

  1. Mark the white squares with a diagonal line. I like to use a mechanical pencil; the thin graphite leaves little room for error along your ruler’s edge.
  2. Align two white squares on opposite corners on the colour fabric.
    (Alternatively, align your white squares on the colour fabric, then mark a diagonal).
  3. Sew a scant 1/4″ seam to either side of the line. I chain piece along one side, then turn the whole string around and chain piece the other side before snipping them apart.

  1. With your rotary cutter, cut along the marked line. (I wish I had picked an ombre fabric that was not so close to the colour of my cutting mat! Considered it a play on the monochromatic theme.)

  1. Press the seams away from the “goose” colour. (Ooo, a heart!)

  1. Align one white square with the colour corner.
  2. Again, sew a scant 1/4″ seam to either side of the line. Chain piece them for maximum efficiency. Snip the chain apart.

  1. Stagger a row of four units on your cutting mat. To keep them straight, align the marked line along a gridline on your mat (not pictured!).
  2. Using a sharp blade, cut along the marked line. In one single cut, you’ve cut all four at once! Be sure to keep strong pressure on the ruler along the whole length of the 4 geese. I do not recommend doing more than four at a time; the accuracy of the cut decreases quite a bit if you go beyond four.

  1. Press away from the coloured goose.

  1. Square up your geese to the unfinished size; 2″ x 3 1/2″ in this case. I use a Bloc Loc ruler to accomplish a 1/4″ allowance from the goose’s point, but you can use a regular ruler with a marked 1/4″. (Note: I don’t actually have the right sized Bloc Loc, but the point’s 1/4″ seam allowance can be achieved with any Bloc Loc Flying Geese ruler.)

  1. When using a regular ruler, be sure to align the goose’s point with mid-point of your unfinished size. For a finished width of 3″, my unit is 3 1/2″ unfinished. Therefore, I line up the goose’s point at 1 3/4″ on my ruler.

Geese! Four at a time, no waste, as quick as possible. Since I used the Ombre fabric, I arranged a set of five from darkest to lightest to get the gradient effect. Now go make a Canada Geese Flag with your no-waste skills.