Sunday, June 17, 2018

Kingfisher Stitch Along update

I had some ideas for my EPP (English Paper Piecing) for the Kingfisher Stitch Along - but I changed my mind, and I re-read the instructions :-)

Kingfisher Stitch Along

Pink hexie with a yellow and blue centre
Something wasn't letting me start my hexie flowers. I just wasn't inspired. Since these are hexies we're talking about, this was serious! I figured out that I just didn't want to be making hexies with the same fabric that I've been using for the last, to be different, I've started using batiks. Wow, am I motivated now 😊

It also turns out that the project is using one inch hexies and the EPP I've done to date are ¾". I was quite happy to take out some new fresh templates that I haven't used.

So this week I took out my batik fabrics and found all kinds of lovely, yummy fabrics. I've decided to make the flower with the same fabric, but a different centre.

I pieced most of these flowers yesterday, outside in my back yard. It was a little warmer than I prefer, but I've decided to enjoy the summer this year (as much as I can stand it) and not spend it all inside estivating.

My little piece of paradise
Here is a gorgeous blue one. I had a great time finishing these and then finding the perfect spot in the garden to take the picture.

A gorgeous blue hexie flower among the flowers
I even have two types of blue flowers blooming right now so I couldn't leave one out :-)
Hexie flower among the mountain bluets

I then had to make a green hexie flower since most of the rest of the garden is still very green.

Green hexie in the tree
This morning I was only able to spend an hour outside - it was just too hot! I finished this flower in the coolness of the house and then took a quick picture outside.

My hexie flower pales next to these pink beauties!
What I learned
  • It would seem that I'm not melting in the heat, so I'm going to try to tough it out a little more.
  • If the garden looks like a jungle behind the plants, it's because it is. Last weekend I was able to do a little bit of weeding, but it was just too hot yesterday. Whatever plants come out in the garden are real fighters and have won the battle against their more fragile neighbours.
  • I really love making these larger hexie flowers. It's great working with batiks again. It's been too long 😊
  • I love taking these photos. I saw someone do this on the internet and was really impressed. I wish I could give her credit but there is so much stuff out there that it's hard to keep track.
  • My OMG is to make 16 flowers by the end of June. That may be pretty ambitious....we'll see....

 Related Links

Linking Parties
The Kingfisher Stitch-Along is on Intragram at #kingfisherstitchalong. Check out the posts - the're really wonderful! I will also be linking this post to these linking parties. Let's see what's going on out there! Finished or Not Friday, Friday Foto Fun, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Oh Scrap!, Slow Sunday Stitching, Needle & Thread Thursday, Midweek Makers, Silly Mama WIPs, Colour Inspiration Tuesday, Fiber Tuesday,

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Epic Neutral Bow Tie Quilt

Making neutral quilts is not my favourite thing to make. I generally love working with colour - the more, the brighter, the better! Working without what I perceive as colour is not easy, but I have grown to appreciate the quiet restfulness of neutrals.

Epic Neutral Bow Tie Quilt

Some blocks to try out
I've been wanting to make a quilt from Make Modern Magazine for a while now. When I saw the Epic Bow Tie Quilt by Jen Van Orman on the cover of the latest Make Modern (Issue 22, May-June 2018), I knew that I was going to make something from that pattern.

At first I considered making a runner, but since I have a neutral quilt to make, I wondered how effective this pattern would be in neutrals. At the very least, I knew that it would be different!

Make Modern Magazine, Issue 22
The pattern is quite simple, which is always what I look for 😊. It's really a take on a snowball block, which I find fascinating for some reason. It may be the act of creating something that looks like a circle but isn't.

It took me a while to decide, but I think that a beige background with the circles in medium to dark browns and taupe will make for a lighter looking quilt.

Since people love neutral quilts, I've been accumulating these for a while. I find it fascinating that there are so many different beige prints out there.

Something else that I like about this pattern is that I don't have to cut up all the fabric at once. That is a definite bonus!

Here it is so far.
The first few blocks of the Epic Neutral Bow Tie Quilt 
This quilt is really coming along well and is perfect for when some relatively mindless stitching is all I can handle.
I'm really liking it so far!
What I learned
  • This quilt really suits my quilt making process - cut a few fabrics, make a few blocks, try them out and repeat.
  • This process often brings about surprises because as I cut up different fabrics, the look of the quilt changes.
  • The light background should also be more fun to FMQ since I can mark it without effort, if that's what I decide to do. I remembered that lesson from my last neutral quilt.

Related Links
Linking Parties

Great News! I was featured on the Clever Chameleon. Make sure that you visit Dione's blog. She's doing some great stuff with colour!....and even appreciates neutrals 😊.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

June Beginnings

My life is overflowing with quilting, embroider, EPP and other fibre art projects. I love it, especially since there are no real deadlines. Here are some of the things I've been working on this week.

Connected by a Thread Art Quilt

The Out of the Box FibreArtist group has a challenge so that we can eventually create a body of art for an exhibition. It's really weird working on a piece for eventually. It's also really nice since I get to explore without a deadline.
Trying out some stitches on felt

The theme is Connected by a Thread and the size is 11" x 14". I had many ideas for this project, each one more complex than the last. I finally put a stop to all of that and decided to create an abstract piece (something I very rarely do) with my hand-dyed fabrics from last summer. I'll be incorporating a whole bunch of techniques that I'm presently learning 😊 It's going to be organic and improvisational (i.e. winging it!)

I'm only going to show you elements of it since it's got a long way to go. Eventually the task will be to make sure that it's cohesive.

The first image is a layered circle. I started with a circle of hand-dyed fabric cut with pinking shears. I layered the circle and embroidering it following some of Sue Spargo's techniques from her Craftsy class, Embroidery Texture & Dimension by Hand.

The layer on top of the fabric is green pre-felted wool, attached with a whip stitch. This layer is surrounded by Pekinese stitches in 2 shades of green embroidery floss. The next layer, a pink-beige pre-felted wool, is crowned with couched purple sheep curls. I haven't figured out what will go with the next purple felted circle.
Needle felted edge

I have a 3-D edge that needed to be finished. Over the zigzag stitch I attached little strips of cheesecloth on both sides of the edge. Over this I needle felted some lovely wool roving.

In this area, I cut some of the dyed fabric into strips and wove it together into a block. I didn't want to add the whole block so I backed it with fusible web, cut it into this shape and then stitched it to the background. Eventually I will be stitching around it.
Woven strips of hand-dyed fabric
I also practiced some of the stitches I learned on this piece of felt. There are fly stitches, tête de boeuf, closed fly stitches, more Pekinese stitches and attempts at a few crested chains.
Some practice stitching from Sue Spargo's class
Kingfisher Stitch-Along

The stitch along has started. I thought I had a few EPP flowers already made but my hexies had two rows while the pattern calls for only one row of hexies around the middle hexie. I'm not complaining since in the end it will be that much easier and faster to make.

These are potential flowers from my pile of already made hexies. The next step is to go into the stash and get different fabric, since these are the ones that I've been working with for the last year. Time for some new stuff! As you can guess, I haven't decided what to do about the middle hexie. I would like it to be roughly the same fabric or colour to unify the quilt.
Potential EPP flowers
I really like the look of low volume fabrics as a background to these colourful flowers. I'm not sure that I have much of that in my stash. I may have to check out some of my favourite shops! Oh shucks 😊
More colours for potential EPP flowers
This project will be my One Monthly Goal (OMG) for June. We are supposed to make 8 flowers per week. I'm not sure that's very realistic for me, so I'm aiming for 16 flowers by the end of June.

What I learned
  • I'm not really sure where I'm going with this art piece but ultimately what I would like is to make a cohesive piece that includes all kinds of different techniques that I'm learning.
  • I started with some improv piecing, didn't like parts of it so I just took the rotary cutter to it!
  • I have a few ideas but what I'm trying to figure out is when to quilt it. Since I want to add some found objects and do some beading, the quilting should probably be done before this.
  • I am loving the creative process and really trying to let myself be ok with not knowing how it's going to turn out. I'm just doing a minimum of planning as I go. I've been known to do this but it doesn't always work out. This time, it will!
  • I've only been on Instagram for a few months. I haven't really been hooked until I started looking at hexies through #kingfisherstitchalong. I have no idea why, but I love looking at the different combinations of fabric on participants' hexies. It makes my heart sing.😊
  • I'm glad that the EPP project involves lots of colour because my art quilt isn't as colourful as I would like.
Related links
Linking parties
I'll be linking this post to OMG Goal Setting for June as well as many others. Let's find out what everyone is up to! Main Crush MondayMonday MakingDesign Wall TuesdayMoving it Forward MondayMidweek Maker, Linky Tuesday, Tuesday Colour Linky PartyNeedle & Thread ThursdayLet's Bee SocialMidweek Makers, Off the Wall Friday,

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

May progress & finishes

May is always a crazy busy month with lots of quilt shows, events and deadlines. You may have been following these in my last few posts. Here are some updates.

Comfort Quilt QAL

I have been participating in the Comfort Quilt QAL based on Amy Ellis' book, Modern Heritage Quilts: New Classics for Every Generation. My version is not her lovely low volume quilt but rather some colourful cuddle quilts using a variation of her pattern. It's great to see everyone's progress on Instagram. There are some fabulous quilts in the making 😊

I want to make 4 cuddle quilts but I very realistically chose to make two cuddle quilts as my May OMG - One monthly goal. I've learned a lot during the finishing of the first quilt. You can read about it below.

22" cuddle quilt made using a variation of Amy's Comfort Quilt
I attached the binding by machine for this first quilt since I had lots of space to sew within the border.

Here is the second cuddle quilt, before attaching the binding. The quilting can be seen better on this picture.
Second cuddle quilt, before the binding
Second finished cuddle quilt

There was less room on the border so I attached the binding and finished it by hand.

These two cuddle quilts were my May OMG. Done!

I am planning on making at least two more but it will probably wait till the fall.

Starry Bright Sky QAL

It's the end of the month and I finished my star last night. As with the origami block, I had help from my son. I don't do 3D very well, even if it's just folding fabric. 😊

Fabric cutout of a star for month 5

Upcoming Kingfisher Stitch-Along and Hexie Runner

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm getting excited about joining the Kingfisher Stitch-Along to make a quilt with some English Paper Pieced (EPP) flowers. I just love being able to use my hexies in different ways. 

I just checked out the Stitch-Along site and I'm in luck! They are using 1" hexies which is what I've been working with, so I probably have a few flowers ready :-)

I've been working on finishing my Hexie runner for a while now. It's very slow going but I plan on finishing it very soon so that I can concentrate on this next Stitch-Along.  This is on my To-do Tuesday list for this week.
Finishing the Hexie Runner soon
What I learned
  • Sewing with flannel is different than sewing with regular quilting cotton. The stitches end up being more embedded into the fabric, making picking apart the sewing very difficult! Of course, today, I read an article about sewing with flannel. They recommend that you use a slightly longer stitch. I hope I remember that for my next batch of cuddle quilts.
  • I measured the quilt tops before adding the border, but after finishing the FMQ, the yellow quilt barely made it to 22" while the blue one was slightly over. In theory they were the same size, and I even used the same size of borders. 
  • I have mentioned before that I am accuracy challenged - that would account for the difference in sizes. I hope the babies won't complain about a ½".
  • Although my cuddle quilts are quite different from Amy's Comfort quilt, I really enjoyed checking out participants' work on Instagram. 
  • This month's Starry Bright Sky block was made thanks to my son's help. I'm glad that he's around to help me with anything 3D or involving math.
  • My star cutout is not as starry as I would have liked but then, like snowflakes, they are all different (aren't they?)
  • For my Hexie Runner, I'm using the same binding technique as the first table topper I made. I'm not sure if it's because it's a larger piece, but it's not going as well as my first one. I hope to have it finished in the next couple of weeks.
  • Great news! I won 2 spools of lovely green thread from Connecting Threads through Alida's Starry Bright Sky QAL. They were shades that I didn't have - wonderful! Thanks Alida :-)
Related Links

Linking Parties
I will be linking up to the Elm Street Quilts' OMG May Finish Link-up as well as Starry Bright Sky QAL- Month 5 link-up. I will also be linking up to many other linky parties. Join me to see what's new out there. Midweek Makers, Let`s Bee Social, Tuesday Colour Linky Party, Linky Tuesday, Design Wall Monday, Moving It Forward Monday, Main Crush Monday, Monday Making, To-Do Tuesday, WOW Wips On WednesdayMay Color Challenge Link Up, Needle & Thread Thursday, Free Motion Mavericks

Project Details

Two cuddle quilts
22" x 22"
Adapted pattern: Comfy Quilt by Amy Ellis
Material: cotton flannel
Techniques: piecing, free motion quilting

Some great news - these quilts were featured on Muv's Free Motion Mavericks!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Morning has broken - Art with Fabric Spring 2018

Welcome to Art with Fabric, Spring 2018 edition!

Morning has broken

What if surrealists created happy, colourful art? That's the premise of my art piece today.
Morning has broken
Alida, our amazing host and organiser, chose the theme of 1+1=3. I did some research and while I'm intrigued by surrealism, I find the lack of colour rather depressing. There is enough harshness in the world without my contributing to it. However, when I found a painting featuring an egg as the sunrise, my imagination went into overdrive. I love the concept of the egg as sun and harbinger of life. So, I took the egg concept and ran with it.

Vladimir Kush - Sunrise by the Ocean, 2000

Vladimir Kush was born and grew up in Russia where he attended art school. He now lives in Hawaii and owns 4 art galleries. Many of his work are based on mythology and symbolism. While some of his pieces have vivid colours, I find that as a surrealist, there is usually something evocative and sometimes disturbing in his work.

When I first saw Sunrise by the Ocean on the internet, it was attributed to Salavador Dali and called L'Aurora, 1948. It was my daughter, who is studying art history, who researched the piece and found that it was actually a work by Vladimir Kush. Apparently misattribution on the internet is quite rampant.

Creating a background

The first step was to find fabric for the background. Both larger pieces are hand dyed fabric. I bought the sky fabric but the bottom fabric comes from last summer's experiment with hand dying. The egg shell is from a commercial fabric with a very light paisley pattern. It was perfect for free motion quilting (FMQ). I didn't cut the ragged edges of the eggshell until later, when I was sure that it was what I wanted.

I experimented with three different suns. The first was a bright yellow fabric but was too small. Then, somewhere on the internet, I saw an amazing looking moon that had been pieced. My first pieced attempt was too symmetrical but the next one made it into the piece.

Creating the background
You can see a little bit of pink fabric peaking behind the sky. I didn't want to use interfacing so I used some thin cotton fabric to make it a little sturdier, since I knew that I would be attaching a lot of fabric to the background.

Auditioning the foreground

I cut out many flowers, leaves, trees, animals etc. (can you spot some of Tula Pink's amazing fabric?) but wasn't sure how I wanted these together. On my new design boards, I auditioned three different "looks".

I can't exactly say why I chose the foreground that I did, except that it was somehow lighter and more vibrant (Foreground #2).
Foreground #1

Foreground #2

Foreground #3
After examining the photos of the three foregrounds, I chose to go with the lighter one and then played with the placement, using fabrics from all three to come up with this almost final version.
The almost final foreground
I sewed the fabric to the background, using a lot of thread sketching to highlight some of the fabrics and colours.

Details: the sun and water
Shimmering sun and water

Now it was time to make the sun and water shimmer. I knew that this would be the highlight of the piece and that made me quite nervous. I took out my box of shinny transparent fabrics (gauze, tulle, silk, etc) and started playing with colours. It's not a very big box and my variety is rather limited but I really wanted to make it work without going to get more fabric.

I have a very light silk scarf that I bought in China that has the most amazing colours. The scarf is too delicate to wear but is perfect for using in art. I did a lot of fussy cutting to get the yellow/pink/orange for the sun. The fraying added the perfect look around the sun.

For the reflection of the sun in the water, I already had a yellow hand-dyed fabric to work with. Using some gauze and more silk, I managed to get the colours that I wanted. Over all that went a sparkling tulle that just makes the water sparkle and shimmer.

Putting it all together

I always find it hard to decide when to stop thread sketching and when to add the batting to quilt. I actually sandwiched this piece before I started playing with the sun and the water.

Details: the sun and eggshells
For the eggshells, I FMQ the design on the fabric before sandwiching the piece. Only the outline of the eggshells are quilted, making them really pop out.

After the sun and water were finished, it was time to start quilting the foreground and finally the sky. I played around with the quilting of the flowers, sometimes quilting the actual flowers, while at other times quilting around the flowers to make them pop. There were many lessons to be learned 😊

I decided to use a facing to finish the quilt. I like how it finishes it and at the same time it will let me finish working on the quilt while making it look good on this post. I still have a little bit of quilting left to do on the background.
Morning has broken, Art with Fabric, Spring 2018
What I learned
  • This was the first time that I've taken the time to create various parts of the quilt to audition it, like the sun and the different foregrounds. It really didn't take that long, and was so worth it in the end. I feel like this project was much more deliberately constructed than my other work. 
  • I've never quite fallen in love with one of my pieces as I have with this one. Last week I was higher than a kite....on art!
  • However, after that euphoria, it was a hard drop! I think most of it was due to having worked so much on this. I was exhausted. I actually did almost nothing except read two books. It was also difficult to go back to actually finish the piece, but once I started, everything was fine. 
  • As I mentioned, I learned some interesting lessons while doing all of this FMQ. It's probably because I was bored that I started experimenting with two fabrics that are similar - they both have smaller flowers with lots of leaves, and I had already thread sketched the leaves. For one of the fabrics, I quilted the flowers and some of the leaves, while for the other, I quilted the white space between the flowers and the leaves. I must admit that I would not usually have thought to FMQ in the white background but it was very effective.
  • I had a really hard time deciding what to do with the sky. Finally I just FMQ some lines and added a few clouds. It was hard to keep it simple after having quilted so much in the foreground. I think that keeping it simple was probably a good idea. (I have to finish quilting a few of the lines to the edge since the piece ended up being bigger than I originally thought!)
  • I still want to do a little bit of quilting of the background fabric that shows around the foreground. I did some of it, and it does look better when it's flattened and lets the flowers in the foreground pop.
  • I also considered adding some seed beads, but I really don't want to distract from the shimmering water and sun - so I think I'll skip the beading. I'll just have to find another project to bead :-)
Project Details

Morning has broken
14" x 20"
Material: hand-dyed fabrics, commercial fabrics, tulle, silk, gauze.
Techniques: applique, free motion quilting, improv piecing

Related Links
Here are the links to all of the other participants of this Art with Fabric Blog Hop. I will update the titles and their links as the week progresses.

Monday, May 21, 2018
Janeen: Art with Fabric Bog Hop
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Shannon: New Quilt: Twining, Art with Fabric Blog Hop

Julie: Art with Fabric Blog Hop

Art with Fabric blog hop - Spring 2018 - DAY 4
Thursday, May 24, 2018
Alida: Art with Fabric blog hop - Spring 2018 - Poison Apple

Linking parties

Please note that although you may have subscribed to my blog, I do not collect or share any of your information, including when I host link-up parties. If you are a subscriber, you can unsubscribe at any time. Blogger and Google may use cookies and collect analytic information from these blogs. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Many projects

I have so many projects on the go that it's time to post an update on a few. (oops, sorry for clicking on Publish a little too early!)

Free Motion Quilting Challenge Quilt Along

This FMQ Challenge is officially over, but I realized that I haven't posted my last three blocks. The challenge may be over, but if you're interested, Angela Walter's videos are still available on YouTube, so check them out! (see Related Links)

This block is a combination of the techniques from weeks 2 and 3. I'm not really a fan of the plain meandering but I did want to include it in here so that I could say that I did most of Angela's FMQ designs.

Week 2 & 3 - meandering, echoing and continuous curves
Week 9 is the wishbone. There are a couple of variations, including making it between wavy lines. I had never done the wishbone until recently. It's a great little design that can fit pretty much anywhere. I find it elegant.

It took me a while to practice it using a pen until I realised that it's putting together a cursive "l" and "j". Remember that if you have problems with this one :-)
Week 9 - Wishbones and wavy lines
I made an extra block, so I put together most of the designs from the class. The centre is a dot-to-dot, which I didn't make a whole block of since I've been doing this technique for many years now. I love the dot-to-dot technique although if I really want to FMQ it well, I will often take the time to draw some of it on the fabric. It just depends how accurate I want it to look.
Sampler of most of the techniques in the FMQ Challenge

Art with Fabric Blog Hop

Last weekend I spent most of my time working on my Art with Fabric piece, "Morning has broken". I was on a real high - it's one of the loveliest pieces I've ever done. I got most of it done so that I could take an official photo for Alida's website. But after that high, I've come crashing down and have barely touched it since.

I don't want to completely spoil the surprise, so I'm just going to show you the image from my last post. The big reveal is Monday :-)

The FMQ and piecing is about 90% completed. I didn't have the correct shade of green (my goodness but there are tons of greens!!!) so I had to buy more. That's been done, so now I just have to actually do it.

The next step is to finish the quilt. I will probably add a facing to it since I left a lot of space around the edges to do this. Then I'll be able to embellish it, even after the facing has been added.

I hope you'll join me on Monday for my post. I took a lot of pictures and learned a lot. I'm looking forward to sharing this.

Comfort Quilt QAL

I now have two pieced cuddle quilts sandwiched and ready to FMQ. I just have to trim them a little because I have having to cut up my FMQ. These only have to be 22" x 22".


It's my OMG to finish these two by the end of the month. I think that I'll manage that, especially since the Art with Fabric blog hop will be over soon! Besides, I have some more flannel fabric that I want to play with :-)

Kingfisher Stitch Along

I am thrilled to share with you this next great stitch along. It combines some of my favourite things.... English Paper Piecing (EPP) and quilting. The quilt is made of diamonds with EPP flowers appliqued to them. Isn't this image beautiful?

It starts in June, so check out the link below.

What I learned
  • For my last block, I ran out of my lovely backing fabric, so the front and back are the same. That seemed to be fine until I noticed that some of the stitches on what I thought was the top, were not variegated. You guessed it - I had flipped the block between designs. Not a big deal, but definitely something to think about or watch for.
  • I'm really happy that I took the time to follow this quilt along. I learned a couple of very cool FMQ designs that I have already incorporated into my repertoire :-) My favourites are the feather and leaf meanders. 
  • I'm very proud of myself. Even if I worked extremely hard on my Art with Fabric piece last week, I didn't panic about not having it completed for the photo. I'm even not panicking about getting it finished for Monday since I can always crop the picture and / or finish it after since it's all about pretty pictures and it won't be seen in person, probably for another year :-)
  • I may be a little more tired than I thought....I was very surprised this morning to receive in my email, my blog post! It would seem that I clicked Publish instead of Save. Oh well, at least I get to sleep in tomorrow - in Canada it's the Victoria Day long weekend!
Related Links
Linking Parties