Thursday, March 11, 2021

Heading North in Make Modern Issue 39 and TGIFF

The hardest part of having designs published in magazines is the waiting. The quilt has to be done months ahead of the issue's publication date, and it is so hard not to show the quilt when you've finished it. However, the day is now here, and, because the editors couldn't decide which quilt should be on the cover, they asked for readers' help, and so you've seen a little glimpse of it. Well, allow me to give you a much larger look!

Apparently it was down to the final day for voting when the winning cover quilt (and I quote), 'just squeezed by yours'. Sigh. Ah well, the one that squeezed by is beautiful, and 'in the wild' too! Knowing that my quilt came so close makes me happy, and having heard from so many of you that you'd voted for it warms my heart. I worked my heart out on the quilting of this baby.

And, a warm welcome to TGIFF, where we celebrate fully finally finished quilts! This isn't for UFOs or in-process quilts; it's a finish party, so let's par-tay and I'll show you mine if you show me yours. 😉

I designed this quilt during the 2019 30 Quilt Designs Challenge using Electric Quilt. It's a block in the EQ8 library that I rotated across the quilt which gave great movement. It made me think of geese flying north or south, and, since it was early spring when I designed it, I thought north, and Heading North it was named. Rather fitting is that it got accepted for publication during the same season. 
Rather a fitting 'quilt in the wild' shot, n'est-ce pas? I love this huge compass in the concrete at the marina. To give you an idea of its size, the quilt is 51.5" square.

Notice the Pelee Island ferry in the background? Did you think the same as I did, that the colours of it and my quilt sort of match! I think the ferry was done for the season, as this was December 11 and they usually end their schedule the end of the first week in December.

The construction of this quilt is super-simple and super-fast despite being paper-pieced. You may think, huh? Can't you just sew strips together in a strip set and use a 90° ruler to zigzag-cut triangles across said strip set? You probably could, and believe me, I tried to make it work for 2.5" strips, but the finished block size ended up weird. And, within the pattern, not only do I recommend paper-piecing without sewing through the paper (a link is provided within the pattern in the magazine but if you look under the Tips and Tutorials tab, you'll find it), I give you template sizes to cut so the paper-piecing is a breeze, and fabric waste a minimum.

Northcott Fabrics kindly provided the fabrics for the quilt. I used the Toscana line, and wow, these are truly wonderful. They are similar to Grunge fabrics in look and hand. The exact ones I used are listed in the Quilt Stats below.

There is a LOT of negative space, which makes me both giddy-excited and a bit intimidated. Yeah, still, after how many quilts with tons of negative space, but, well, truth tea here.  I knew when I was piecing it that I'd quilt a big circle 'behind' the geese; I love doing complementary quilting like that. About the time I was piecing the quilt, I happened to get out of the library Kathleen Riggins' new book, The Building Blocks of Free-Motion Quilting. Was I surprised she'd published a book that was not self-published, (I bought Diary of a Young Swirl a few years ago) and was I surprised our library had such a recent book! I'd input 'modern quilting' when I did a search, just in case inquiring minds want to know if their library carries modern quilting books! 
When I realized how good of a book it was, I knew I needed to add it to my arsenal, so I bought it from Connecting Threads, along with a couple of other things..

In keeping with the inquiring minds theme, I thought I'd share a little of the process of quilting this quilt.
I loaded it onto Avril November 29. Once I'd done the dot to dot and feathers in the geese, I got started on the circle. Before that, however, I had stitched in the ditch where I needed to around the geese to stabilize the quilt. I knew I'd be rolling back and forth to do this gi-normous circle.

Once the top half of the circle was done, I echoed it (Quilting Pineapple rulers are wonderful for curves, highly recommend), and then thought for a bit... pebbles could go inside another echoed ring.

Tish was my trusty quilt cheerleader throughout the entire process of quilting this quilt. I am so very glad she is in my life, even if we have to resort to Sandra-on-a-stick days (remember that?!), texting, and FaceTime. One day we shall get together again I know it.

Feathers were next, a connection to the feathered tails of the geese blocks.

Do you notice that the feathered 'tails' of the geese are now echoed? Echoing is wonderful for helping quilt designs pop. I was using Quilter's Dream 100% wool, so the definition was lick-the-quilt worthy.

Next I had to fill in a bunch of space around the circle. Kathleen's book had lots of ideas. 

I did her 'Corners of Awesome' in the corners.

Once the top two corners were done, I felt the centre top edge of the quilt needed something, so I did an arc of ghost geese (knew I'd work those babies in somewhere, grin).

Then I did a fill of swirls and bubbles, adding in paisleys, and a really cool connecting lines effect from Kathleen's book. More truth tea: often when I was quilting the swirls, I thought, oh no, they aren't round, that one looks oblong; that one seems to have too many echoes, this one not enough. BUT. Step back at the end, and ...

Yeah, I may have actually squealed in pleasure. (Pretty sure Tish did too.) Oh, if you look closely, you'll find lots to criticize, wobbles and aforementioned oblong shapes, but overall, it is just wonderful. And I'm saying this because this is what stops so many people from free-motion quilting, is the nose-a-few-inches-away criticisms I mentioned.  They all melt away when the entire quilt is done, as long as you keep a general consistency. So jump in; the water's nice and warm, and practice, practice and more practice, (and a glass of wine beforehand is highly recommended, but not during).
Here is the only straight-on square shot I have, inside lighting though.

I used the beautiful Superior So Fine and their The Bottom Line in the bobbin for all the white. Aurifil's super-pale green cotton was equally beautiful for all the geese quilting.

That same Aurifil was what I used to hand-stitch down the binding on the back. I like a narrow binding, so I cut it at 2.25" so there is 0.25" on the front and slightly more than that on the back. Please tell me in the comments what brand and size of needle you like to use for hand stitching down a binding. I need to buy new ones.

Here is a view of the back with all that texture that wool allows you to create.
Yes, our grass is still green in December. Our winter months are January and February, not too hard to handle. We have no snow now and our willows have the pussy willow puffs on them now! Despite the heavy quilting, the quilt is lovely and soft and light, thanks to the wool.

A haze came up as we were photographing the quilt, but I think it was better than intense sunlight. I am the one holding the quilt, as I could crouch down behind it but still hold out my arms as wide as I could to try to keep it straight. I aimed for a side angle here to help show the quilting better. I actually love the misty look in the background of this photo; it's not photoshopped, just auto-enhanced for clarity.

Here's a funny outtake, a 'behind the scenes/behind the quilt' look! Good thing I'm pretty limber what with all the yoga I do! You could call this eagle pose with quilt, ha!

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Heading North, original design
Size: 51.5" square
Fabric: Northcott Fabrics Toscana 9020-10 Picket Fence, 9020-600 Caribbean, 9020-610 Lagoon, 9020-835 Iris, 9020-840 Thistle
Backing: as above
Batting: Quilter's Dream 100% wool
Quilted: on Avril 249 995 stitches
Threads: pieced with Aurifil; quilted with Superior So Fine 401 polyester and Aurifil 2908 100% cotton; The Bottom Line in the bobbin

If you'd like to purchase issue 39 for $10AU you can click here.
However, a 6-month subscription to Make Modern is just $21AU, so if you prefer that, click here or the graphic below, or even the graphic in my sidebar. I'm now an affiliate so part of your $21AU goes to me, but the subscription is the same price for you! It's a great magazine. I've been a subscriber for a few years now, and they are once again sponsoring my annual QAL which begins April 3.😁

Thank you for reading! If you have a finish you'd like to share with QBL, link up below!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


  1. WOW, Sandra! Heading North is a cover shoo-in in my book, for what that's worth. And that photo with the water, dock, and ship/boat in the background is professional looking and stunning. Make Modern lost the mark but that's okay. We all know the better truth. Thanks for sharing all the dets with us! ~smile~ Roseanne

  2. So darn gorgeous! And from our 30 designs fun that we used to have. You did an exquisite job with this and oh oh oh that quilting!!!!! It makes the quilt doesn’t it. Congrats on a wonderful project and great way to begin TGIFF! Sorry, nothing to post this week...catching up from life.

  3. AWESOME!!!!!!!!!
    Absolutely fantastic!!!!!
    Just gorgeous!!!!
    LOVE it!!!!!

  4. Beautiful, beautiful quilt! That quilting is fantastic.

  5. O>M>G... that is simply STuNNinG... wow...
    AND your beautiful quilting is PeRFecT too... absolutely LOVE it...xox

  6. The quilting is stunning, Sandra. Congratulations on finally getting to share this one, you must have been bursting at the seams waiting (and hooray you could share with Tish along the way). I'm really glad that you shared your process for the quilting, and I especially like the arcs of geese at the top and bottom of the quilt.

  7. Sandra, that quilt is lovely. The quilting looks amazing from here. I have quit worrying about "perfection" and just focus on consistency and creating lovely texture on the quilt. Of course I am not up to your standard of amazing quilting at all.

  8. A beauty through and through! Love the quilting it is jaw dropping gorgeous! Love it! Congrats on the publication!

  9. Oh, Sandra! This is completely stunning! Wow!

  10. An incredible quilt, Sandra. Congrats on getting it into the magazine, and how fun that it is one of the 30 Days of Design patterns! As to needles for binding, I currently use a Bohin #9 or #7 Darning needle. I got a 40-pack of assorted Bohin needles in a Sew Sampler box and I like the larger eye so I can thread the needle easier.

  11. Congratulations on another magazine publication. It's a beauty (and almost a cover girl). Spirals always give me fits. And I haven't even attempted feathers. I don't have a favorite binding needle. I just use whichever on I can find that has a large enough eye to thread without a needle threader.

  12. Gorgeous work on the quilting, wow! I can see why it was up for a cover! You have so much skill and talent!

  13. Oh. Oh. Oh. It is a real beauty. Thank you for the inside story on the quilting.

  14. Wow, your in the wild photos are amazing!!! And the quilting!!!!!! Awesome quilt, Sandra!!! And the quilt shop I work at has at least 100 shades of Toscana, so I'm very familiar with it, and love it!!!

  15. Congratulations, Sandra. What a beautiful quilt. The block designs are wonderful. The fabric is beautiful...I love the colors and I've always like Northcott fabrics. The quilting is to die for. You did an amazing job filling the space with gorgeous elements. Each photo is a story by itself as you develop the pattern. I would have been in a knot waiting for it to come out. For years, I've used Richard Hemming & Son Milliner's #10 needles. I have to use a needle threader but the length of the needle (like a straw) gives me plenty of room to hold onto the needle.

  16. Congratulations on the magazine publication, but I agree Heading North should have been the cover. As for your quilting; it is drop dead stunningly gorgeous. (In case you hadn’t guessed I am in awe). Thank you for the step by step details and all of the pertinent supplies listed. Beautiful photo shoot photos. You truly share the beauty of your part of the world. 😉 Carol

  17. Love the colors and the quilting really is extraordinary. Congrats on the magazine publication. A very nice kick off to your March.

  18. That is a stunning quilt with some powerful quilting. Cudos to you, cover or not.

  19. Oh My!!! That is Quiltfabulous!!! ( new word haha) LOVE that amazing quilting on it and wow!! what a setting!

  20. Your quilting is awesome & I couldn't see it in such detail in the magazine, but here on your blog it's way more visible. Well done! Also loving your hero shots too. Take care, stay safe & hugs.

  21. You and Avril did a magnificent job on quilting this one, Sandra. Congrats on having it published in Make Modern Magazine!

  22. Hi Sandra. FYI, Northcott has this posted on their Facebook page, but they have linked to the other mmmquilts (in Alberta). I posted a comment on fb with a proper link but if you have a contact at Northcott you might want to touch base with them. Love the quilt! 💕

  23. Congrats, Sandra!! I love this pattern—and the name. It conjures up so many thoughts and feelings. I also could see it in another color way as a school of tropical fish making their way somewhere. I have been just staring and staring at the quilting. It shows so well on both the front and the back that it is truly a two-sided quilt. Thank you so much for the close-ups with the explanation of how you quilted it along with the spectacular location shots. (The compass!!) This project must have been a joy from beginning to end. And now you get to share it with all of us and spread the joy.

  24. Pretty quilt! Look at all that intricate quilting. You have a knack for photo shoots too.

  25. I voted for you, too! Sorry to hear you didn't win the cover spot, but it's awesome that you were so close. Love the colors in this. That photo on the giant compass is awesome!!!! Beautiful quilt!

  26. OMG Sandra! What a beauty. Congrats. It looks amazing. I guess I had better download my copy of the magazine :-) Please link up to Free Motion Mavericks if you get the chance. Take care.

  27. This is phenomenal. I'm so glad I spotted this on the MeadowMist link up. I so appreciate your write up on the quilting. I've taken some notes! I like your photo as well and now need to go look up to see what beat it.
    Congratulations on a beautiful finish!