I was given the opportunity to test a pattern for a designer in February. It was a paper-pieced snowflake pattern called “Hoarfrost”, now available at Canuck Quilter.
I had been part of her facebook page “Snowflake Sew-along” last year where she shared her snowflake patterns on Craftsy for a few months before for free before charging for them. 2 things I loved about that was the snowflakes and they were free. Unfortunately I never did anything with them. I grew up in Colorado and have lived more than 22 years now away from my beloved snow. I love snowflakes and seem to collect quilt patterns that have snowflakes, but have not finished any of them. This is the second one I have started and it is basted and ready to be quilted (when the inspiration on how to quilt it comes). I have about 4 or 5 more patterns-that I can think of right now-but haven’t done much except for gather some of the fabric. It has to be the right fabric, these are special quilts-all for me.
Anyhow Joanne (the designer) posted a picture of the quilt and asked for pattern testers. I jumped up and committed to doing it because it seemed very doable. It is a lap size quilt (48″ X 60″) and it only has 3 snowflakes randomly put on a field of various blue squares. The pattern call for about 13 fat quarters for the blue fabric. I just used my stash to make it scrappy.
Here is my completed quilt top.
I really love how it turned out and can’t wait to see it when I quilt it.
The pattern was very easy to follow.Joanne has done all the hard work of figuring out exactly how big to cut the pieces for the snowflakes. Each snowflake takes 64 pieces of fabric. But it is really not that daunting. As this is a PDF pattern that you print at home the biggest tip that I can share is to print just 1 page (make sure to check the actual size box in the printer window) and then check to make sure the 1 inch square is indeed 1 inch, if not you may have to adjust your printer up or down to get it the right size. I used regular copy paper, but a foundation paper like Carol Doak’s would have been better. When I cut out the pieces I used sticky notes to label each stack shown in the picture below. I really like that she gave the sizes to cut for the paper piecing. There is some waste, but not a whole lot. It does take a little bit to figure out how to put each rectangle, but once you have it then the rest goes smoothly as you are sewing about 36 of the same piece (just with different designation (A, B, C, or D). And since the paper is kept on and labeled it is easy to reorganize if they get mixed up.
So below is a picture of the B and D parts trimmed and the C parts yet to be trimmed. I started with the D blocks as they were the smallest sections and ended up doing the A sections last.
If you have never paper pieced before you sew the fabric on the wrong side of the printed paper, fold the paper on the next sewing line and cut off the ends 1/4″ away from that fold.
Once al the A, B, C and D parts are made and trimmed you match them up with A sections to sew together. What I really liked about this patten is she had even marked to trim off the dog ears. So if you had trimmed them on the cutting lines it was very easy to line up. I did pin the first one to make sure the points would match. After that I just lined up the edges and used the clover clips.
They came out perfect.
Here are the snowflakes before the corners are added (and my snuggly bear slippers doing a photobomb-and I’m too lazy to go back and edit the picture because they are so cute).
Oops, forgot about this. Another great little tool to save time (and the chance of getting burned) is half of a clothespin. Take the spring out of the clothespin and you have 2 tools (cause you always misplace 1 right). Then use the sloped end to press the fabric once the seam has been sewn.
And after, beautiful. Again I was a bit lazy and since Joanne did such a good job of having the pieces cut without a lot of excess I didn’t trim each and every little seam to the 1/4″. Because of that you may see a little bit of a shadow on some of the pieces when the dark fabric was just a little longer than the white. But it doesn’t bother me, I was anxious to get this done.
Here is what happens after you have them all squared up, you take out all the paper. Botton right-back before taking out paper. Bottom left-back after paper has been taken out. and top left- right side of block. And of course top right- the tub of paper pieces.
After piecing and putting together the middle section it was time to work on the border. At first I thought I could do the easy Delectable mountain block using the HST method to make it easier. I even asked Joanne if she knew about that method. She did, but these were shorter than that block so it would work. Rats. Had to cut out and sew all 384 squares and rectangles for the border. I cut the strips first and then used the shape-cut ruler to cut the squares and triangles. Then came the chain piecing. Again I like to do assembly line piecing and I have a tool that I love to use when sewing a diagonal line without having to make the marks on each and every piece. It is called the Sew Easy Guide 2 ( not affiliated, but love the product), it attaches to your presser foot and goes over your fabric so you can line it up as you sew.
Now for each size you are sewing 32 with the diagonal going one way and 32 with it going the other way. I thought I had it figured out right.
Then I went to turn them around to trim off the triangle ends. Look what I saw.
So out came the seam ripper and I had to undo all 32. But after a few blocks I realized the part of what I had sewn wrong was going to get cut off anyway so I only had to undo half of the seam (which was good in a way because it kept the blocks in together and in place.
Another handy tool to have is this Cutting Gizmo. It has a razor blade at the top, so when you need to cut apart your chain piecing you just hold one block on each side and bring the threads down onto the razor to clip them instead of using your scissors or snips.
The longer rectangles were a bit more challenging. But I used my Frixion pen (boy look at me with all these product placements-I should go to the company and see if they will pay me for my adveritsing).
So I made just a small mark on either the beginning or end of the block that I was able to see through the Sew Easy Guide 2.
I would say to put together 1 of these border blocks, press and check your measurement. I didn’t because I was using my quarter inch foot (even though the guild had popped off). I guess I was being a little careful without it and my seams were a tad too shy of 1/4″. Not a problem though I just had to sew some of the seams a few threads over and it turned out perfect (but would have been better if I had taken the time to test 1 block first).
And here again is the completed top. You can buy the pattern directly from the designer, Canuck Quilter, here. And check out all of her other patterns.