Monday, July 16, 2018

Q3 Goals for 2018

Just like last year, I missed the first two quarters of the Finish-Along, but hopefully I'll participate in the last two quarters.

Batik Lap Quilt

Since this project is my One Monthly Goal (OMG) for July, and that I received my beautiful silk thread, I'll be finishing this quilt in about another three hours of quilting. The feather meander FMQ is looking as good as I hoped 😊

Feather Meander design for the batik lap quilt

This project is also my finish since I'm hosting this week's TGIFF - I'll see you there!

Neutral Lap Quilt

I started this quilt at the beginning of June. It's going much better than I hoped. Part of the reason is that I can cut the fabric in batches after I've finished piecing the last batch. It's my favourite way of cutting and piecing - a small batch at a time. I can handle 10 or even 20 blocks, but not 80! 

Neutral lap quilt is coming along
I love working in batches

Kingfisher Stitch-Along

I'm having so much fun with this stitch-along, but it's going to take a lot longer than a couple of months to finish the quilt! My goal is to have the quilt top finished by the end of the quarter. Probably not very realistic, but I'll certainly keep at it cause someone might decide to make this much fun illegal 😊
Lots of hexie flowers and many, many more to go!

The first hexie on a diamond

Connected by a Thread Art Quilt

I've only posted a few little parts of this art quilt. It's coming along but will need some dedicated time soon to get it finished by the September deadline. How I dislike that 8 letter word....

More work required to finish this art quilt!
Art Quilt with Embroidery

The Out of the Box is putting on a display of art quilts with words, sayings, etc. at a local library. Since it's for November, I would really like to see what I can do to add words and possibly some FMQ to one of my embroideries. I found the words so now it's a matter of putting all of this together. It will be both fun and a challenge 😊 I'm sure I'll learn lots - so what's not to love?

Étude in Stem Stitching

FMQ motifs in stem stitch

Art with Fabric Blog Hop
This is an event that I love participating in. Since I'd like to be able to show it in next summer's show, it will have to be based on something that doesn't have any copyright. Buildings, ancient, medieval and Renaissance art fit well into that category, so what ever the theme, this criteria will help me narrow things down when it comes to deciding what to do.

Welcome to My House Blog Hop

I've always wondered how quilters joined the blog hops until I found Carol at Just Let Me Quilt. She hosts many blog hops and since she was looking for participants for her next blog hop, I accepted the challenge :-) I love that the only criteria is a house on the finished piece. I think I can do that! I'll see you all in September for this one.

Note: these last 2 projects don't count for the Q3 since they haven't been started, but I included them here so that I could keep track of all my plans.

What I learned
  • This should probably read, "what I didn't learn" and "what I'm doing again!" which is to over commit. In my defense, many of these projects are things that I'd like to do but don't really have to do. In reality, there are only two items that I've committed to - the Connected by a Thread and the Welcome to my House blog hop. At least, that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it 😊
  • There seems to be a pattern here about missing the first 2 quarters of the Finish Along. I think that in the winter, I just go, go, go, but in the heat of summer, I take more time to plan and reflect....maybe?
  • I expect to have a lot of fun in the next quarter. Hopefully I'll have the time to play on most of these. Like I keep telling my husband, if you're not having fun, why bother? (that's about hockey and golf but it could apply to quilting and art!)

Related links
There are quite a few related links here, so I'm just going to post the last time I mentioned these particular projects on the blog. From there, if you want, you can see their related links.

Linking parties
I will be linking this post to the Q3 Goal Setting Link-up of the 2018 Finish-A-Long,  as well as many others. Let's see what everyone is planning and doing!
Monday MakingMain Crush MondayDesign Wall MondayMoving it Forward Monday, Linky Tuesday, To-Do TuesdayTuesday Colour Linky Party, Midweek Makers, Silly Mama Quilts WIPs,

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Hexie Runner is done

It's been almost a year since I started this hexie runner. Finally, here it is!
Finished Hexie Runner
I used ¾" hexies to make the runner.

I made a number of hexie flowers and then played with them to see how to put them together to make a runner.
Choosing the flowers
Below is a close-up of the flowers and hexies between them.

I used darker fabric for the outside of the hexie flowers and then a lighter fabric for the middle row. The centre of the flower is a matching darker hexie.

Close-up of the flowers and hexies in-between

The other half of  the flowers and hexies in-between
Back of the hexie runner
I wanted to use the lighter fabrics between the hexies to give it some colour so that it wouldn't be too stark. The white looking fabric is used between the rows and all around the runner. It's actually not a solid but a couple of white-on-white cottons.

My first hexie table topper

The back of the runner is a beautiful blue batik. As you can see, I finished this runner the same way I had finished my original hexie table topper. Although it was a great finish for a small table topper, I found it to be very long and tedious for the runner. It is, however, a great looking finish.

What I learned
  • I was too impatient after making the small hexie table topper and I should have stopped for a longer break between making this one and the last project.
  • This project definitely fits of description of "better done than perfect". I was doing fine until I quilted and then finished the border. It's very pretty....from far.
  • I really, really hope to remember to wait until I'm truly in the mood to work on something so exacting the next time I quilt and finish a hexie project.
  • I'm not too worried about the Kingfisher Stitch-Along that I'm working on right now because these are hexie flowers that are hand-appliquéd onto the diamond fabric. As long as I'm not in a rush to finish it, it should be fine.
Related Links
Linking Parties
I will be linking up to the following link-ups. Find out what's happening around the quilting universe and make sure to link up below with your latest finish! TGIFF,  Let's Bee SocialMidweek MakersNeedle & Thread ThursdayFinished or Not Friday, Oh Scrap!, Friday Foto Fun, Monday Making, Main Crush Monday, Design Wall Monday, Moving it Forward MondayLinky Tuesday, Tuesday Colour Linky Party,

Project Details

Hexie Runner
15" x 32"
Materials: cotton fabric, hexagon paper templates and silk thread
Techniques: English paper piecing (EPP)

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Throwback Thursday

I've always liked doing improvisational piecing. Although I don't necessarily do it often, I find it very relaxing to just sew bits of fabric together, and the wonkier the better!

Scrappy Improv Binder Cover

This project, a binder cover, was made in 2012-2013. The only reason I know this is because of the scraps. Many of these fabrics were originally used to make a Seattle Street quilt for my niece. You can see the quilt below.

Scrappy improv binder cover -  front
The binder holds my sewing machine information - a stitch chart that I started but never finished, my manual as well as bit of stitching samples. These bits are usually of satin stitching since that pretty much the only stitch that I take the time to make a sample of.
Scrappy improv binder cover - back
Here's the original Seattle Street quilt that I made for my niece during a guild workshop. I think that my niece has more of my quilts than anyone else. That's mostly because I made a couple of quilts for the family, thinking that they would go in their family room, but she quickly took ownership of them!

Seattle Street quilt
What I learned

I can't honestly tell you what I learned while making any of these projects - it's been too long. I do like my binder cover, especially since it was made to be wonky on purpose. Of course if I was trying not to make it wonky, the results would be the same 😊

Related Links

Although I never included the binder covers in a blog post, I did include the Seattle Street quilt in the post below. As you can see if you follow the link, I was very shy and didn't know what to say back then. Oh, how that's changed!
Linking Parties
I will be linking this post to Throwback Thursday at mmm! Quilts, as well as many others. Join the fun and see what's happening around the quilting world. Friday Foto Fun, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?Monday MakingMain Crush Monday, Oh Scrap!Design Wall MondayMoving it Forward Linky TuesdayTuesday Colour Linky Party, Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers, Needle & Thread Thursday,

Friday, July 06, 2018

2018 Mid Year Review

Hooray! The July heat wave has been pushed away, at least temporarily, so I may come out of the house this weekend :-)

2018 Mid Year Review

Hexie flower for the
Kingfisher Stitch Along
In December when I was planning my year (courtesy of Yvonne at Quilting JETgirl), I had learned a hard lesson from 2017 - to keep it simple and as stress free as possible. See, I can learn 😊 So I kept it quite simple, with a few categories and general projects and learning. Let's review:

Possible Quilt Alongs

I knew that I would be participating in Alida's Starry Bright Sky QAL. So far, I'm up-to-date on my blocks, even if my June block was a mess.

I was seriously considering participating in Block of the Month Series presented by Bernina and even bought loads of Alison Glass fabric for it. Although it's a lovely quilt, I think that it's the colours and the fabric that impressed me the most. I will use that yummy fabric but I've decided to minimize the amount of traditional quilting - as in following a pattern - that I'm going to do.
One of two cuddle quilts

I joined my second Postcard from Sweden QAL, this time hosted by mmm! quilts. I'm happy to report that my quilt top is finally done!

Also, I combined my wanting to make charity quilts with Amy's Comfort QAL in April. I adapted the simple pattern to make 2 lovely charity cuddle quilts.

A mix of FMQ designs based on
Angela Walter's FMQ Challenge
I did join the Kingfisher Stitch Along since it's all about making a very simple quilt with hexie flowers. I'm still crazy about hexies but I wanted to make them as part of a larger piece. I've had lots of fun photographing the hexie flowers in nature and slowly hand-appliquéing the hexies onto the diamonds.

Since I wanted to keep practicing my FMQ, I joined Angela Walter's FMQ Challenge QAL. That was a lot of work but I really enjoyed it. Here's the square where I practiced most of the FMQ designs.

Update my blog

I've slowly been updating my blog like I wanted to. Many are just minor changes, like using consistent headings and post formats. All best practices of writing for the web that I've learned at work.
Project finishes for 2017 page created using the InLinkz tool

I've also created more pages for the blog, highlighting the projects that I've completed in each year. Pages for 2014 to 2017 have been created using my InLinkz tool. I only have 2012-13 left to do. I've created a Linking Parties and Events page to help me keep track of dates as well as make it easier to post buttons on the side of my blog. I've learned a lot and am hoping to create a Tips for working in Blogger page sometime this year.

Art Quilts

Morning Has Broken
On my holidays in January, I worked on some embroidery as well an art quilt. Isles Canarias was my first art quilt of 2018. As I hoped, I made another art quilt, Morning Has Broken, for Alida's Art with Fabric Blog Hop.
Islas Canarias art quilt

I was able to exhibit my art quilts at both Fibre Fling 7 and the Common Thread Quilt Guild's quilt show. These two pieces are 2 of my best pieces to date.

I am currently working on an art quilt for a show for next summer with the Out of the Box Art Group. It needs to be finished by the end of September and is coming along nicely.

Finishing Some UFOs

This category wasn't in my 2018 plan but I'm adding it here since I also managed to finish 2 UFOs. Street Art My Way (2014) and Scrappy Triangles Baby Quilt (2015).
Scrappy Triangles Baby Quilt
Street Art My Way

What I learned
  • Wow! I can't believe all that I've accomplished!!! And mostly without too much pressure. I wasn't sure how true that was so I went through my posts. May was the usual busy month with the Art with Fabric Blog Hop and a quilt show, but otherwise I seem to have done pretty well keeping the pressure down.
  • If I'm productive, it's because I try to quilt every day, as long as I'm not too tired. I've discovered that since I don't watch television, I have lots of time to quilt or read. I don't often spend much time on the computer since I work at one all day, but I get my small doses of Instagram and reading blogs a few times a week. 
  • Since I work on many projects at a time, I can choose which project to work on in the evening based on how much energy I have. I've been doing this for about four years now and my quilting has really improved.
  • I've also discovered what stresses me (deadlines and complicated piecing) and what I enjoy (FMQ, art quilts and improv piecing). That has really helped me manage both my time and my stress effectively. As I write this, I realise how lucky I am to have found what I am passionate about and how to make the most of it. I also have to add that, as you know, I love blogging and being a part of this wonderful online community :-)
Related Links
Linking Parties
I will be linking this post up to JETgirl's 2018 MidYear Review Link Up. I will also link up to these parties. Check them out! Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Monday Making, Main Crush Monday, Design Wall Monday, Moving it Forward, Linky Tuesday, Tuesday Colour Linky Party, Finished or Not Friday,  

Monday, July 02, 2018

Squirrels and July plans

Even though I have tons of projects on the go, I can't help but be sidetracked by new shiny colourful things!

Squirrel project

My Squirrel project this month is a lovely pouch called "Selvage Love" that was designed by Kristy Lea of Make Modern Magazine.
Selvage Love pattern from Make Modern Magazine
I've been wanting to make something with selvage strips for a while now. This seemed like the perfect little project. I added a pocket to the inside lining so it should be useful. 

If you're wondering why I called it a "Squirrel" project, it's because it's one of those unplanned projects - Drop Everything And Make it! just like someone distracted by a squirrel :-) I'll be posting it on mmm! Quilts' Dreami! linking party.

One Monthly Goal (OMG)

My OMG for July is to finish my latest (third) batik lap quilt. I ran out of thread in April and I finally got around to order more and received it last week. It's orange and teal blue Kimono Silk Thread. I'm using the orange for the back, and teal for the front of the quilt. 
Batik lap quilt to finish  FM quilting

This is the first larger quilt that I use an all-over design. Since I fell in love with the Feather Meander during Angela Walters' FMQ Challenge Quilt-Along.

Since it's been a couple of months, I'll have to practice the design a little, but I'm confident that it won't take long before I'm back into a groove 😊

What I learned
  • I'm glad that I took some time to create the pouch. When I work on longer projects like the EPP Hexie flowers, I need a little quick project to distract me. This was a good one, and I will probably end up using it to carry my hexies supplies.
  • I had a little trouble with the pattern since I had never added zipper tabs to a pouch before. I turned them the wrong side but it wasn't a huge problem. Now I know that zipper tabs keep your zipper from opening or closing all the way so that it doesn't get undone.
Related links
Linking Parties

Saturday, June 30, 2018

June is finished?

June is almost done and with the end of the month comes those deadlines that I may, or may not, have ignored so far 😊

Kingfisher Stitch-Along and One Monthly Goal (OMG)

My goal for June was to finish 16 hexie flowers. That's a lot less that what we need to follow the Stitch-Along but to be honest, I didn't think that I could even do 16. Thanks to Miaismine's very positive comment, I figured out that from the date she left me the comment, that if I did roughly one hexie a day, that I could easily complete all 16. So that's what I did. I even took some hexies to work and basted them on my lunch break!
First hexie flower hand-appliquéd
on the diamond

My neighbour's beautiful
clematis with my hexie flower

I also finished hand-appliquéing my first hexie to my background. I really like how it looks. This project is going to be a LOT of work. Oh well, it will get done eventually.

Pretty red hexie flower
The first 16 hexie flowers completed!
Star hexie flower

Starry Bright Night QAL

Month 6 of the Starry Bright Night QAL is all about curves - not my favourite thing, which is one of the reasons that I've procrastinated, although any excuse will do to procrastinate :-)

Block 5 - not a star. Could it be
a nebula?
I chose to make Block 2 which includes off-set curves within curves. To give it a starry look, I used an orange fabric for the centre, then bright yellow and a lighter yellow to symbolize a fiery star. Of course my son then told me that stars are only one colour because that's how they categorize them. Oh well, the artist in me doesn't care 😊, except that I messed it up, which I do care about, but at time, not enough to make another one! If you haven't figured it out, you'll have to read what I learned below.

Batik Lap Quilt

Batik Lap Quilt - feather meander

I finally got my silk thread from my supplier :-)

317 (Orenji)
345 (Kyoto)

I was doing well quilting Angela Walters' Feather Meander until I ran out of thread. So Wendy go me two spools of Kimono silk thread from Superior Threads. One spool of 345 (Kyoto) and one of 317 (Orenji). Looks like I'll be back at it. Yeah! This is my To-Do Tuesday project for the week!

What I learned
  • Although I've completed my 16 hexie flowers, I'm not going to be making the next 16 my July OMG. As much as I love making them, I would rather take my time and not have to rush. I am happiest without deadlines!
  • I also enjoyed hand-appliquéing the hexie flower onto the diamond fabric. It is a rather slow stitching Sunday type of task and is going to take a while. It will be a gorgeous quilt though.
  • I was also reminded, while I was appliquéing my hexie flower to my diamond, that I should have ironed (and possibly starched) it, before starting. 
  • I've added a few pictures of my hexie flowers to my post since it was nice enough outside to take pictures.
  • My curved starry bright night block is a bit of a mess. I learned that if you are going to cut  multiple pieces of a pattern at the same time, that all of the fabric needs to be either right-side up, or all right-side down...not folded accordion-style. I really should have known better but it's been a very long time since I've sewn with patterns. I've also been sewing a lot with batiks and solids which don't have a right and wrong side (which is one of the things I love about them!) 
  • I must admit though that sewing these curves was a lot easier than I expected. Alida suggested that we not bother pinning the pieces since they were wonky anyway. Wow, that was really wonderful and easy to do! If I end up making a new block, I'll post it here as an addendum.
Related posts
Linking parties

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Lots of progress

It's amazing how portable hexies are! I've been making hexie flowers everywhere, mostly so that I can have the opportunity to take pictures of them. These are both very addictive activities. 😊

Kingfisher Stitch-Along

If you follow me on Instagram, you will see how addicted I am to taking photos of my hexie flowers among real flowers. What I like about Instagram is that you can "Like" as many posts as you want without driving your non-quilting friends crazy! I've also been saving the posts that I like so that I can go back to them on my computer and read the corresponding blog posts. Well, in theory I can, and will eventually when I find the time.

On my way to work, it made my day to stop in a little park to take pictures of my latest hexie flowers.

I love the photo below of the dappling sun on the flower and making the fabric even more interesting.

That day, I experimented with posting images on Instagram using my computer. I was able to do it, thanks to some helpful googling, but I was only able to post one picture at a time. It's good to know that it can be done.

The sun playing on one of my favourite batik fabric

The last bleeding heart flower of the season
Later I took these pictures in my back yard.

This photo is of the last flower of the season on my bleeding heart. It's gotten too hot for these lovelies.

I took a photo with a daisy, the only one growing in the garden. Technically it's probably a weed, but a flower is a flower and I have very few of them left right now.

As you can see from some of the pictures, I like to hand-baste my hexies. Actually it's my favourite part, so there's no way I'm going to glue them. That's also the part that's the most portable since you don't have to be as careful about your stitches.

I was also able to capture this bee doing its business. Isn't digital photography amazing? You don't have to process all of the images to get that one good shot. You just keep clicking and then delete all the others!

A bee doing what a bee does...
This week at the Kingfisher Stitch-Along it's time to cut out the background diamonds. I'm glad that Stitched in Colour created a good tutorial because I could see myself cutting out one diamond at a time. I'm not very good at thinking in 3D. Turns out you can just cut strips and then cut off triangles at both ends. Don't take my word for it, check out the tutorial in the Related Links section.

Hexies with background
Here is my background fabric. I haven't started cutting it yet. That's a project for this week. Also, I never cut all of my fabric at one time if I can help it, so there may be time to purchase one or two more light batiks. They aren't easy to find.

Hexies with background

The background colour isn't that obvious in this picture but it's an off-white with some pink and grey. I also have a couple of fat quarters that are off-white with some brown and yellow.

Finally here is my stack of hexie flowers to date. There are thirteen in the stack and I am basting 3 more. That's the magic number for my June OMG! I'll be posting in a few days.

Thirteen hexie flowers completed :-)
Free Motion Quilting 

Outlining the pattern which is now the back of the wholecloth quilt
I've really enjoyed all of this slow stitching, but I do miss doing FMQ. Since I don't want to start a big project, I remembered that I have some thread sketching to do on my second wholecloth quilt from last year's Learning Quilt-A-Long.

Thread sketching is just FMQ in a very small area and it is good to be doing it again.

Below you can see what it looked like before I started to add colour. I just FMQ around the outline of the fabric's pattern
The front of the wholecloth quilt, before adding colour
I love doing the thread painting but it is a very slow process. I am now working on some of the leaves and the strawberries.
Slowly adding colour to this piece
For this project, I am using my collection of Kimono silk thread from Superior Threads. They are truly amazing and such beautiful colours.

Details of the wholecloth quilt. It's a very slow process.

What I learned
  • You can probably tell that I'm having fun with my batik hexie flowers. I love batiks, hexies and real flowers, so it's a great combination.
  • It's easier to do the thread painting in daylight. I've found that it's harder on my eyes to be working in the evening, even with the light on. I do want to invest in a second smaller light for this kind of work.

Related Links
Kingfisher Stitch-Along posts:
Wholecloth quilt posts:
Linking parties
I am linking up to many parties this week. Check out what is going on out there in the quilting World.
Free Motion Mavericks, To-Do Tuesday, Slow Sunday Stitching, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?, Friday Foto Fun, Monday MakingMain Crush Monday, Design Wall Monday, Move it Forward Monday, Linky Tuesday, Tuesday Colour Linky Party, Wandering Camera,

Great News! My Wholecloth quilt was featured on Muv's Free Motion Mavericks. Thanks Muv!