Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Free Motion Mavericks Link-up

Welcome to...
Free Motion Mavericks (Week 212)

As some of you may know, Muv of Lizzie Lenard Vintage Sewing has been hosting Free Motion Mavericks for a while (two hundred and eleven times in fact!). A few months ago she asked me to co-host the weekly link-up. I was thrilled and said YES! So Muv and I will be taking turns hosting this trans-Atlantic event. We're still working out the details, but I'm sure we'll figure it out 😊. So let the fun begin!

For my free motion quilting (FMQ) this week, I thought I would show you the evolution of our new buttons.

Andrée"s Button
Muv's Button
What I originally wanted was to free motion quilt the words "Free Motion Mavericks" on fabric to use as the logo. As you can see, it didn't work out that way!

I played with different fonts and printed up a few to use as examples. Many were very difficult to free motion quilt continuously.

I then chose a fabric that I thought would make an interesting but subtle background. Below you can see  my attempts at achieving contrast.
Not enough contrast
Too much contrast if your letters aren't perfect!

FMQ in contrasting thread

Finally I chose a Kona solid fabric, wrote the words using a Frixion Pen and then free motion quilted the words in dark blue. I free motioned some feather meanders around the writing. I learned these from Angela Walter's FMQ Challenge last year.

Ready for the photo shoot

I then staged the photo and used PowerPoint to add more text.

Here was the final image. Not bad but the name of the link-up just isn't prominent enough.

Finally I just added writing over the FMQ backgrounds (one of Muv's and one of mine) and Voila!
Much more effective. Oh well, I did learn a lot 😊

What I learned
  • I already knew it but it was confirmed once again. Writing using free motion quilting is not easy, especially when you want the writing to show. 
  • A little pattern on a fabric can make a huge difference in the legibility of the writing.
  • The writing on a button needs to be very visible and I'm not sure that my FMQ skills are quite up to it at this time. Thank goodness for PowerPoint 😊
Related links
Linking parties

I'll be linking this post to many fun link-ups in the hope of getting the word out about the Free Motion Mavericks Link-up. Don't be shy, spread the word! Tuesday Colour Linky PartyLinky Tuesday, Let's Bee Social, Midweek MakersSilly Mama Quilts WIPs, Needle & Thread ThursdayFinished or Not Friday,  Friday Foto FunCan I Get A Whoop Whoop?

In last week's Free Motion Maverick Link-up (Week 211), Karina linked up with her Christmas Wreath Panel. Go check it out - it's lovely!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Mini Art Quilts and Slow Stitching

Mini Art Quilts
✔Two minis done, and two more to go!

Blooming Yellow

The yellow mini art quilt is finished.

My original intention was to wrap the mini over the canvas. I had a difficult time because the seams in the background made the corners bulky. When I trimmed on of  the seams to reduce the bulk in the corners, I ended up ripping it. It was a pretty frustrating mess!
Blooming Yellow Mini Art Quilt
I ended up finishing the art quilt like a pillow case. I then added a background using one of the fabrics on the mini quilt and then wrapped it around the canvas. I used my scary but efficient staple gun to attach the background to the canvas. Then I very carefully stitched the mini quilt to the background fabric.

Blue Moon

This time I used a larger selection of blue fabric to make the background of the quilt. Using improv piecing, I sewed strips of fabric together, then cut them up, added more fabric and sewed everything back together again. The fabrics were mostly different values of blue, but there were some bits of other colours included.
Playing to create a mini.
I have to admit that I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do with the background. I took out some bits of yarn and started playing. I found a silvery blue piece that I liked and coiled it. On my table, I had a bag of batik pieces that I used to make hexies. I found a few pieces that had leaves and flowers and cut these out and Voila!

For the center of the coil, I used a blue foil paper from a chocolate I had just finished. 😊 On top of it, I added a crystal that I wore for years as a pendant until the string broke. Since the crystal has a hole through it, I was able to stitch it in and re-purpose it.

You can see the blue glittering through the crystal
This time, I didn't bother trying to attach the art quilt directly to the canvas. I finished it using the pillowcase method and found a piece of light blue flannel to cover the canvas. Again, I just stitched the mini to the background.
Blue Moon Mini Art Quilt

Slow Stitching with Take A Stitch Tuesday (TAST)

I found another project to follow. It's a Stitch Along on Facebook for embroidery. Every week Sharon of Pintangle highlights an embroidery stitch from her stitch dictionary. It's very low key with a Facebook group. It's been around since 2007 and still going strong.

Frankly I just wanted an excuse to keep doing embroidery. Since I have an embroidery course from Craftsy, I can use multiple sources to figure out the stitches.

Week 1 featured the Chain Stitch and Week 2 was the Fly Stitch.

As I'm writing this, I just realised that I did the Stem Stitch for week 1 instead of the Chain Stitch - so I'll have to add the Chain Stitch to my sample. 
First two weeks of the Take A Stitch Tuesday (TAST)
Isn't the fabric amazing? I think it's a Kaffe Fassett fabric. I've been wanting to stitch on printed fabric for a while, ever since I bought a Wild Boho book for my daughter. I spent a great evening last week just playing with these stitches.

Stitching on beautiful printed fabric

What I learned
  • I learned that stretching fabric over canvas is pretty tough on the fabric. It's also important to avoid having seams where the fabric needs to be folded around the corners.
  • I was using the canvas to ensure that my mini art quilt was the correct size. All I had was to make the mini roughly the same size as the canvas. It turns out that that wasn't very easy to do! It's really a good thing that the canvas was there.
  • For the blue mini art quilt I decided right from the start to attach the quilt to the canvas in the same way as the first. It was even wonkier than the first but it looks good against the canvas frame.
  • I've included a reference from Quilting Arts that includes different methods of binding art quilts. Of course I didn't look at it until it was time to write this post! I might help me for the next two.😊
  • It's a good thing that I trust my intuition because I would never have figured out what to do with the blue mini art quilt since I didn't really want to do an abstract piece. I must remember this for the next two....which I've started and still have no idea what I'm going to do!!!
  • When attaching the silvery blue yarn to the background, I just sewed through it since the thread showed too much when I tried to couch it
  • I just used a glue stick to attach the blue foil and the batik fabric to the background. I then FMQ the whole thing down.
  • I'm pretty happy with the amount of contrast in the blue piece. It still reads blue, and hopefully it will be the right blue! I figure that if it's surrounded by other pieces with the correct blue in them that they will each play off each other.
  • I've been wanted to stitch on printed fabric for a long time. I love it!!!
Related Links
Linking parties
I'll be linking this post to many interesting linking parties. Let's go see what's happening out there! Main Crush Monday, Monday Making, Design Wall Monday, What I Made Monday, Oh Scrap!, Tuesday Colour Linky Party, Linky TuesdayLet's Bee Social, Silly Mama Quilts WIPsNeedle & Thread Thursday, Off the Wall Friday, Finished or Not Friday, Friday Foto Fun, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? Slow Stitch Sunday,
I'm also linking up to To-Do Tuesday because I have two more of these to do before next week - Yikes!

Project details

Blooming Yellow Mini Art Quilt
5" x 7"
Material: cotton quilting fabric, embroidery floss, pearl cotton, batting, silk thread, staples.
Technique: improvisational piecing, embroidery, free motion quilting, hand-stitching.

Blue Moon Mini Art Quilt
6" x 6"
Material: metallic yarn, batik, foil, crystal, canvas, cotton quilting fabric, flannel, silk thread, staples.
Technique: improvisational piecing, free motion quilting, hand-stitching,

Saturday, January 05, 2019

A few mini art quilts to make

Welcome to my first post of 2019!

One Monthly Goal (OMG) for January

I'm not sure what happened at the last Out of the Box Fibre Artists Group meeting in November...I know I wasn't drunk because I was driving (lol)...but somehow I got over-excited and ambitious and put my name down for another two mini art quilts. That's above the other two that I signed up for in September - that makes four! They may be mini, but that doesn't mean that they're easy or quick to make.

So that's what I need to do by January 21st! They will be done (that's an affirmation that I will repeat many times between now and then... in between actually making them) 😊

Making Mini Art Quilts

The rules:
  • They need to be 5" x 7", 6" x 6", 6" x 8" or 6" x 12".
  • They must be seen overall as a specific colour (see colour swatches below).
  • There must be fiber involved.
  • They must be handed in January 21, 2019.
The rules are pretty open (except for size and colour) and frankly, that's not making things any easier!

Light yellow and bright green
Soft blue and bright red

Two of the canvases to cover!

I bought 2 canvases, before I signed up for 2 more, so I have one that's 5" x 7" and the other 6" x 6".

We don't have to use canvases but I've wanted to try attaching art quilts to canvases for a while. I'm hoping to try different techniques with them.

This is my first mini, in light yellow. Since I had just finished the Symphony in Stem Stitch, I still had embroidery and free motion quilting (FMQ) on my mind.
Light Yellow mini so far
I pieced a number of fabrics that seemed to match the embroidery floss and paint swatch. I also used the designated embroidery floss as well as colours that were close. I added the butterfly in some contrasting colours to add a focal point and some interest. I used the embroidery and FMQ to give it some mouvement.
The back of the yellow piece
Once the fabric seemed to be large enough and I had finished the embroidery, I cut a piece of batting and did some FMQ. It's at this point that I decided to have the fabric and FMQ extend over the sides. Since the background fabric wasn't quite large enough to cover the sides, I just added a few pieces. That's one of  the advantages of improv piecing. 😊

Ready to attach?
I haven't decided yet if I'll add some beading to this piece. I thought that I would start the next mini and see where that leads me.

I have no idea what I'm going to do with the next three minis, but I'm really hoping to let the fabric and colour inspire me. Wish me luck!

What I learned
  • Using canvases is a great learning experience and will ensure that my mini art quilts are the correct size...and that's a very good thing. 😊
  • Working with specific colours is NOT easy for me. I have a really hard time figuring out if the colours match the paint swatches. It does help that they gave us the matching DMC embroidery floss number. With the floss, I can place it over the fabric and see if it matches.
  • It's going to be difficult ensuring that these pieces are not too boring, which is a definite possibility if I need the piece to read as a specific colour. Adding some contrast is necessary but how much can you play with the colours before it starts "not reading" as the colour?
  • I'm hoping to expand my fabric and colour choice for each piece, to see how much I can push the "reading as a specific colour" rule. Hopefully it will get easier by the fourth one!
  • The batting for this first piece was cut just a little larger than the front of the canvas (5" x 7"). It did shrink with the FMQ, and would have been fine being larger and hanging over the sides. I'll work on that on the next pieces.

Related links

Linking parties
I'll be linking this post to Elm Street Quilts' One Monthly Goal (OMG) link-up as well as other fun linking parties. Join the party and see what others are doing! Off the Wall Friday, TGIFFFriday Foto FunMain Crush MondayOh Scrap!, Monday Making, Design Wall Monday, Moving it Forward, What I Made Monday, Slow Sunday Stitching, Free Motion Mavericks

Monday, December 31, 2018

Planning 2019 and finishing Charlotte's quilt

In a few hours, 2019 will be upon us....and I sure hope it's a good one :-) Thank you so much Yvonne of Quilting Jet Girl for hosting this annual party!

#2019 Planning Party

I've been thinking a lot about what I want for 2019 and it's a lot like my planning for 2018. My goal is to keep learning and creating, and to minimize the stress. Easier said than done, but last year was better than 2017 and with any luck, other than January, I will be able to keep this in mind.

After posting my Best of 2018, I'm finding some common themes:
  • Slow stitching with EPP, embroidery and beading;
  • Practice my Free Motion Quilting;
  • Create art quilts!

As well, I want to:

  • Participate in a very few Quilt-Alongs and Blog Hops;
  • Keep updating my blog; and
  • Finish 2 WIPs from this year and FMQ a couple of UFOs.

  • Neutral Quilt WIP
    Kingfisher W

    Postcard from Sweden, ready to FMQ

    OMG for December
    Charlotte's Quilt

    I am so happy to report that my OMG for December (and November) was to finish Charlotte's t-shirt and dress quilt....and it's done!

    You may remember some of these FMQ posts! They were very popular, especially the dolphins and bubbles.

    Dolphins and bubbles

    Foxes in the forest

    The quilt is now finished. There are 6 t-shirts and 2 dresses (the pink fabric and the purple polka dots). The purple dress had pretty tulle that I incorporated onto the block. If it ever gets used up, it can easily be removed.

    Charlotte's Quilt made with her t-shirts and dresses
    I didn't incorporate one of the t-shirts in the quilt, but cut out one of the hearts and added it to the label.
    Bunnies on Charlotte's label, because she loves them!
    What I learned
    • The backing of the quilt was a sheet from Charlotte's crib. There must be a lot of polyester in it because I found it impossible to get the tension right for the FMQ. I tried everything and finally just ended up using lighter thread in the top so that the top thread wouldn't be so obvious in the back.
    • As I was quilting it, I thought that the back was simply horrible. After I finished the quilt, I realised that I could barely see the top thread in the back. The Quilting Police would see it, but it's really not that obvious. I was very happy and relieved.
    • When you FMQ it's easy to get carried away about your mistakes, but in the grand scheme of thing, it usually isn't that obvious. 
    • Thank goodness for the OMG because this quilt might not have gotten done. So thank you so much Patty of Elm Street Quilts!

    Related links

    Linking parties
    I will be linking this post to Jet Girl's #2019 Planning Party as well as to the December OMG Finish link-up. Monday Making, Moving Forward, What I Made Monday, Linky Tuesday, Midweek Makers, Needle & Thread ThursdayFinished or Not Friday, Main Crush Monday, Oh Scrap!, Free Motion Mavericks,

    Project Details

    Charlotte's Quilt
    34" x 44"
    Material: t-shirts, dresses, baby crib sheet and blanket, and Kona solids
    Technique: piecing and free motion quilting

    Friday, December 28, 2018

    Best of 2018

    It's almost over. Unbelievable! I'm always fascinated by time - how it rushes by and then slows down to a crawl. I still think that the best super power ever would be to stop time whenever I wanted to. Just me, so that I could quilt, rest and sleep more😊 Oh well, back to reality.

    Here's to 2018!

    Here's to time well spent doing what we love, and time to reflect on what we learned.

    Slow stitching

    There was a lot of quiet hand-work, much of it done while listening to audio-books. I practiced my embroidery, did some hand-piecing while on vacation, and lots of English Paper Piecing (EPP) throughout the year.
    Kingfisher Stitch-Along

    Hexie Runner

    Islas Canarias

    Symphony in Stem Stitch


    What I learned
    • I learned that sharing projects on Instagram is a lot of fun!
    • It's possible to free motion quilt (FMQ) around embroidery - and quite effective.
    • Extensive practice will give results - my stem stitch is proof - not perfect but better.
    • FMQ motifs work very well as embroidery designs.
    • Slow work can be meditative, or a great opportunity to listen to a book! I am very, very grateful to my public library.

    Making art quilts

    There are many reasons for making art quilts such as the Art with Fabric Blog Hop, catching a glimpse of something that moves you or making something for a special someone.

    Morning Has Broken

    Clover at dusk

    Funky Mountain LandscapeArt Quilt

    A White History of Art

    Connections & Intersections

    What I learned
    • I don't always need an excuse to make an art quilt, but it helps.
    • I love the Art With Fabric blog hop and making art quilts for the Out of the Box artist group.
    • I'm really proud of the work that I've done on these art quilts. I feel like I've learned so much about art and design.

    Lots of Free Motion Quilting (FMQ)

    I practiced my FMQ this year by participating in a FMQ Challenge with Angela Walters and then actually quilting a few UFOs (UnFinished Objects) and other projects.

    Charming Baby Pattern
    Make Modern magazine, Issue 21
    Rudbeckias and swirling leaves

    Batik Lap Quilt 3

    Street Art My Way

    Leafy Meander

    Scrappy Triangle Baby Quilt

    A mix of FMQ designs based on
    Angela Walter's FMQ Challenge

    What I learned
    • I love practicing FMQ because it really pays off.
    • It was great to get a few UFOs completed.
    • Creating a pattern for a quilt was much harder than I expected. It was really great experience and Make Modern magazine was wonderful to work with. I'm not sure that I want to do this again, but I'm really glad that I had the courage to do it. ✔ It was on my list of quilty things to do. 

    Making Squirrels and Minis

    In the second half of the year, I made more minis as gifts and cuddle quilts for charity. It's nice to work on small projects that don't take too much effort or time. Squirrels are always fun to make since they're unplanned!
    Selvage Love Pouch
    A Squirrel Project
    Comfort Cuddle Quilts

    Our House

    Diamond Mini

    Laptop Case
    A Squirrel Project

    Bear Mini with a broken leg

    Loon Mini

    Extended-border binding tutorial

    Birthday Bear Mini

    Epic Neutral Bow Tie Quilt (WIP)

    Postcard from Sweden Quilt top

    What I learned
    • Squirrel projects or DrEAMi! (Drop Everything And Make it!) are lots of fun and great distractions. It's also nice to work on something unexpected, and for me, usually small and quick!
    • I decided this fall to make minis instead of buying cards. A great idea if you actually plan it!
    • After two QAL, I've finally finished my Postcard from Sweden quilt top. I wanted to make it because it's beautiful and would give me a great opportunity to practice my FMQ. I am slowly learning to practice my FMQ on small quilts that require less piecing.
    • I'm not very interested in making traditional quilts any more, and even those are only lap size. I started another neutral quilt for a friend. I have to stop offering to make these!
    • This year I created a tutorial for making a binding by extending the border. ✔ This was another item on my quilty to-do list.
    • In September I totally over-extended myself by participating in both the Our House blog hop and the Blogger's Meet and Greet Event. I managed to make my house quilt and my posts but really didn't get to enjoy reading everyone's posts and replying to comments. I'm going to try very hard to avoid these situations, but it's hard since there are so many great events to participate in! 
    I hope that what I learned may have helped you learn as well.

    Thanks so much for joining me on my quilting and art making journey. I hope that we keep learning together.

    I wish you all the best in 2019!

    Linking parties
    I will be linking to many linking parties, including the Best of 2018 Linky Party with Meadow Mist Designs. Midweek MakersLet's Bee SocialFriday Foto FunCan I Get A Whoop Whoop?Silly Mama Quilts - Finish Up Friday, Needle & Thread Thursday, Off the Wall Friday, Finished or Not Friday,