Monday, October 19, 2020

Playing with sheer fabrics

Have I told you how much I love playing with textiles lately? It would seem that I'm smitten! As you may know, I've been taking part in the's Stitch Club 2020 since it first started this spring. It has brought stitchers together with amazing workshops by guest textile artists.'s Stitch Club 2020

Flower Impressions - pink campion 

The platform has really evolved since its creation - from having 3 workshops in a row with one week off, to now having workshops that last 2 weeks each.  At the beginning of the week, there is a first video by the guest teacher, with a beautiful workbook and an inspiration book of the artist's other work. At the end of the first week, the artist records her answers to questions that are asked by the students. This is always wonderfully rich with information. Then at the beginning of week 2, there is a short video on how to take the techniques further, and then more Q&A at the end of the second week. During the two weeks, the teacher is there to guide the student and give feedback. A lot of students post their work and it's always wonderful to see all of the different takes on the same exercise.

It's been such an amazing learning experience. I've done many of the workshops and have learned so much from them all. Some techniques I loved while others I may eventually use. There is always something to learn - and we can access those videos later if we wish to go back to complete some of the workshops that we've skipped.

Last week's workshop was with Vinny Stapley. I had read an article about her work on the site and fell in love with her work. I was thinking that it would be so lovely to be able to have her as a teacher....well it turns out that she was our teacher for the next two weeks. Her work is mostly on very light, sheer fabrics. I think that it's all very stunning (her website is in Related links below).

Pink Campion flowers
Pink Campion
Here are the pictures of the flowers that inspired my project. These are pink campions. They are self-seeding and used to move around the garden but for the last few years they always come back to the same spot.

Here is the process for creating this sheer piece.

Elements pinned in place

I created a background starting with a sheer but relatively firm piece of fabric. On top of that, I added one narrow strip of very colourful sheer fabric with a few more pieces of more solid sheers next to it.

I then made a template of the pink campion flower and cut three from different sheer fabrics. One was the colourful sheer and the others were grey and blue.

After deciding on the layout, I pinned them down and began to stitch them. I used my hand-dyed gray perle cotton for the gray flower, and then green and blue floss for the other two flowers.

Stitching the leaves and stems

Close-up of the different flowers

You can see the stitching here. The stem of the colourful flower was accidentally cut but was eventually stitched back. Once the leaves and the stems were stitched down, it was time to add the flowers. For this, I used my pink hand-dyed perle cotton - it was just perfect for it!

Slowly the flowers and buds came to life. Each flower was stitched differently so that I could try out different techniques.

Adding the flowers and the buds

The colours look quite different depending on where the pictures were taken. My neighbour's siding probably gives the best background but they did look good overlooking the garden.

Hanging from a side window overlooking
the neighbour's siding

Hanging from the dining room window,
looking out into the back garden

In the first image at the top as well as in this one, the wall hanging is on my studio wall. The window was open and it was lightly blowing in the breeze.

Blowing slightly in the breeze from the window

What I learned

  • Since I love the look of the sheers, I'm thrilled to say that I really liked working with them. I have machine sewn sheers and didn't particularly like that but this is different - nothing needs to be straight. It's stitched however I want to.😊
  • The work that Vinney Stapley does is not stitched down as much - it just didn't feel finished without the stitching. That must be the quilter in me. Less stitching would have made it slightly more free but I don't think that the stitching takes away from the light, breezy look of the piece.
  • I would love to hang it in a window but all of my windows get too much sun - I wouldn't want it bleached by the sun. With the window opened in my studio, the piece was slightly blowing in the wind. It was lovely!
  • I've now started the next workshop by Sabine Kaner. Since I really wanted to continue working with sheers, my first piece in this workshop uses sheers again - and I absolutely love it. It should be ready next week. I want to make two pieces for this workshop - the second one will be with traditional quilting cottons and other heavier textiles. I can't wait to see the difference.

Related links

Linking parties
I will be linking up to many great linking parties. Come and check them out with me! Slow Sunday StitchingPeacock PartyPatchwork & Quilts, Design Wall Monday, Monday Making

Thursday, October 15, 2020

FMQ a simple star on Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to week 302 of Free Motion Mavericks. It was a wonderful 300th celebration and I want to thank everyone who came by, left comments and of course posted their favourite Free Motion Quilted (FMQ) projects.

Simple FMQ Star

This is probably the simplest star to quilt although when it's simple there is also the expectation of accuracy...which is expected of other quilters and sometimes achieved be me 😊. 

Simple intersecting lines within the star
and outside echoing 
Here is the original pattern which is a combination of one of the AQS blog - 25 Ohio Star Quilting Designs (see link below) and my own design.
The design idea for this star

I used my walking foot to quilt this star. Since these were all straight lines, I wanted to practice using the walking foot. I will blame some of my accuracy problems on my walking foot, since it doesn't have very good measuring capabilities. There are only a couple of obvious points to follow and anything else is not very accurate.

The design does look great on the back of the quilt.
A lovely, crisp design at the back of the quilt
What I learned
  • I've really come to appreciate my walking foot, but I think that I'm going to have to invest in another foot that has better measuring capabilities. I need all the help I can get.
  • I FMQ this star on the same evening that I quilted the Sparkling Star, about a month ago. I am so, so glad that I had a star ready for this post. I hope that I can do this again 😊
  • I did practice drawing my next star, the Swirl Hook by Angela Walters. With this practice, I should have my own spin on another lovely star in a fortnight. I've included the link to Angela's video, in case anyone is curious.
Related links
Linking parties
I will be linking up to many fun linking parties this week. Let's see what everyone is up to! Let's Make Baby Quilts!, Monday Making, Colour & Inspiration Tuesday, Long Arm Learning, Midweek Makers, Needle & Thread Thursday, Peacock Party, Patchwork & QuiltsMonday Making

Free Motion Mavericks

Thank you for taking part in our wonderful 300th linking party. It was so nice to see everyone's posts. Wow, there was a record 24 link-ups, how wonderful!!! So how am I supposed to highlight all of these delights? Well, for those of you who linked up 3 posts, I will be featuring my favourite one today. 

From Denise at For The Love of Geese, here is my favourite because you know how much I love hexies - and such a different way of presenting them.

Hexie flowers by Denise at
For The Love of Geese
In December 2012, Rebecca Grace FMQ an amazing FMQ Border Challenge. I chose this quilt because I think that it would make the most amazing border for an art quilt.
FMQ Border Challenge by Rebecca Grace
I saw the progress that Frédérique of Quilting Patchwork Appliqué made on her Australis quilt, but I managed to miss the finale. How terrific it is!
Australis quilt by Frédérique of
Quilting Patchwork Appliqué
It's now time for Dione's lovely prize-winning piece, Crazed Diamonds. Dione of Clever Chameleon Quilting made this for the Island Batik's Vintage Reimagined Challenge. I couldn't resist using a close-up of her FMQ.
Crazed Diamonds by Dione
Clever Chameleon Quilting
Next we have Vasudha of Storied Quilts with her Winding River quilt made for an Island Batik Blog Hop. It's pretty amazing what she can do with the good old log cabin block.  
 Winding River quilt by Vasudha of Storied Quilts
Finally, there is my partner for this great linking party adventure. Muv of Lizzie Lenard Vintage Sewing, made two of these tea cozies, one for herself and the other for Bonnie Hunter who was teaching in Bath. I think that this is a great finale for our 300th post tea party.
Tea cozy for Bonnie by Muv of 
Lizzie Lenard Vintage Sewing

Wasn't that amazing? Well, we may have set a record at the party but I sure hope that you will all keep posting - no pressure 😊. So it's now your turn.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Friday, October 09, 2020

FMQ moose panel finished

Hi! I want to share this UFO finish before it goes to its new home!

FMQ a lovely moose panel

I started Free Motion Quilting (FMQ) the moose panel for my brother's cottage in July of last year. 

FMQ Moose panel ready for its new home

What a difference FMQ adds to the panel. Here is the image of the panel when it was barely quilted. I admit that the lighting isn't as good, but you can see that the fabric is very flat. Now that it's quilted, there is so much more texture.

Moose panel with a bit of FMQ

I had fun taking pictures on our fence - the perfect background next to the burning bush. The only way it could have been better was if I had taken these pictures at my brother's cottage!

Moose posing next to the burning bush

A close-up of the woodgrain FMQ

What I learned

  • As I mentioned in the What I learned from my last post of this project, this panel was very forgiving. It would have been difficult to mess it up.
  • When I left the project in July, I really didn't know how I was going to FMQ the water and sky, or how I was going to finish it.
  • It seems that I had the foresight to put some wooden panel fabric away with this project so that I didn't have to dig around for it when I decided to finish this project. I'm sure I did this because I only had a little bit of the fabric left and didn't want to take the chance to use it all up before finishing this project. Good thinking 😊 (As my son would say, my present self is very proud of my past self!)
  • I still didn't know what to do with the sky, so, as usual, I just jumped in and swirls it was! If I had paid attention, the swirls would have all gone in the same direction but we can blame it on the wind patterns at different altitudes!
  • I am also very happy with the woodgrain FMQ that I did in the white section of the frame. I followed Lori Kennedy's tutorial.

Related links

Linking parties

I'll be linking up to Free Motion Mavericks with Muv this week. Check out the 301st post! This project is also a UFO - so that's one down! I will be linking this one to PHD in 2020, when the next party opens, as well as many other fun link-ups. Let's see what's happening in the wonderful virtual world of quilting 😊. Colour & Inspiration Tuesday, Midweek Makers, Put Your Foot Down, Needle & Thread Thursday, Needle & Thread Thursday, Off the Wall Friday, Finished or Not Finished Friday, Peacock Party, Beauties Pageant, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, TGIFF, Monday Making, Design Wall Monday

Project details

FMQ Moose panel
19¾" x 22¾"
Materials: commercial panel and lots of thread!
Techniques: free motion quilting

Thursday, October 01, 2020

300 Posts Party at Free Motion Mavericks

Happy 300th to Free Motion Mavericks! 

What a special anniversary to be celebrating. Muv from Lizzie Lenard Vintage Sewing started Free 
300th Linking up Party
Motion Mavericks on Thursday, 5 June 2014, to fill the void after Leah Day stopped hosting her Free Motion Friday. I had a wonderful trip down memory lane going through all of the posts to get to the first, original Free Motion Mavericks post. 

I discovered the Free Motion Mavericks linking party in March of 2015, at Muv's 36th post. I was free motion quilting (FMQ) a wholecloth quilt based on one of Cindy Needham's courses on Craftsy (which I highly recommend - all links are in Related links below). I was thrilled that there was a place to link up and to see other quilter's FMQ. 

My first FMQ link-up to Free Motion Mavericks!

Original button

I've been linking up all of my FMQ with Muv since then, and when it got quiet and Muv opened it up to other projects, I was linking up even more. I know that it's difficult to host a specialty linking party because it's easy for bloggers to forget to link up their posts. 😊 

I started co-hosting Free Motion Mavericks in January 2019, at week 212. I was really excited to co-host since I had hosted a couple of specialty linking parties (Celebrate - Fêtons 150 and Learning Quilt-A-Long (QAL)) but I just didn't have the time or energy to host a linking party every week. In December 2018, Muv asked me to co-host - I was thrilled and the rest is history!

I had a great time making these new buttons. You can see Muv's free motion quilted rudbeckia in the background. I learned to FMQ rudbeckia through her videos. 

In this special party post, we are asking you to link up to 3 of your favourite FMQ projects. I can't wait to see them all. I'm going to show you a couple of mine and then it will be your turn!

Lone Tree 2 art quilt
This small art quilt was FMQ within an inch of its life - but I love it. It's still one of my favourites.

Batik lap quilt - Chevy is always up for a picture!
Of all of the FMQ that I've done, why did I pick this one? Well it's because of the Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower that I quilted into the quilt. 😊 

Notre-Dame Cathedral FMQ

Eiffel Tower FMQ

What I learned
  • Hosting a linking party is a lot of work. I'm so grateful that I am co-hosting with Muv. She's a great partner, a good friend and a great free motion quilter. 
  • I've learned to organise my posts around Free Motion Mavericks. I haven't always been successful, especially this spring when I was doing very little FMQ. Fall is here and I have started doing more FMQ. 
  • I love learning and having ongoing projects to write posts about every two weeks has helped keep me on track. Last year FMQ Garden & Pond kept me going roughly from March to September. This year I've been working on the Pinwheels and Stars Baby Quilt since May. 
  • I've also learned that the best way to promote the Free Motion Mavericks linking party is to link up to as many quilting linking parties as possible to get the word out, as well as asking quilters who FMQ to link up to Free Motion Mavericks. This is not easy for me to do since I don't like bothering people - but quilters are very generous and have been great in supporting this linking party.
  • To all quilters who have linked up or followed the Free Motion Mavericks in the last 6 years and to Muv, the founder of Free Motion Mavericks - THANK YOU!!!! 
Related links
Linking parties
Here are some great linking parties that I will be linking up to this week, This includes Free Motion Mavericks with Muv. I hope that you check them out, once you have linked up to this one, of course 😊 Monday MakingColour & Inspiration TuesdayMidweek Makers, Long Arm Learning, Needle & Thread Thursday, Off The Wall FridayFriday Foto FunCan I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Peacock Party

Free Motion Mavericks 

Wow! 300 parties since 2014! That is definitely something to celebrate. We had a record number of link ups since I've started co-hosting. Thank you so much!

I thought that you might want to see this lovely baby quilt by CHRISKNITSSEWS

A lovely baby quilt from CHRISKNITSSEWS

Now for the trans-Atlantic linking party! This week, both Muv and I are hosting a linking party. 

Here at Quilting & Learning - What a Combo, you can link up to three (3) Free Motion Quilting posts you want, either recent or past.

Muv of Lizzie Lenard Vintage Sewing will dig out some of her favourite posts from her archives (she's an amazing cook and a fabulous knitter!). You can link up to three posts on absolutely any subject, quilting related or not! 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

September OMG done

Hi! I'm cutting it pretty close but they are done - my niece's curtains for her cottage bedroom. These are my September One Monthly Goal (OMG). 

Tab top curtains in buffalo red & black plaid flannel

This was the first time that I made tab top curtains. In my curtain making days, we made a sleeve to pull it though. These curtains weren't very difficult but I'm really glad that I didn't have to buy a pattern. YouTube can be pretty wonderful.

Buffalo red and black plaid flannel curtains

I watched the DIY Tab Top Curtains YouTube video by Online Fabric Store - I have included the link in the Related links section below. The tutorial was very good but I do find the music distracting. Anyway, after watching it a few times, I made some notes, cut my fabric and that's as far as I got. My poor niece had to wait a few months for these but finally here they are😊

Before this, I had never heard of buffalo red and black plaid. Again....thank you Google! I found the fabric at Funky Monkey. My niece bought 2½ meters but really, 3 meters would have been better. I forgot about the flannel shrinkage. The fabric is from Kaufman and it's the nicest flannel I've ever worked with. Wow, I guess that's what quality flannel is like!

Kaufman's flannel
Chain stitching the tabs

In this post, I thought that I would share with you how my sewing has changed since I'm a quilter.

The most obvious tool that quilters use is the rotary cutter - with all straight cuts, it went really well.

The picture on the right is the chain stitching of the tabs. I sure didn't know about this before quilting! 

Since I didn't have enough flannel for the top facing, I used a colourful plaid that I had in my stash. It's certainly not the same quality but since it was also pre-washed, it should be fine for the facing.

You may also notice that I used a walking foot. Again, until taking Christina Cameli's Free-Motion Quilted Gifts course on Craftsy last year, I would never have thought to use the walking foot for this type of sewing. It really made everything so much easier to sew together. 

Sewing down the facing with the walking foot

What I learned
  • The fall weather has finally re-activated my brain. I was able to slowly think this project through and get it done. The OMG deadline was also a motivator - thanks Patty at Elm Street Quilts.
  • Sewing curtains is not the same since I'm now a quilter. I'm the first to admit that I don't really like piecing but all of that work paid off for learning techniques that are very transferable. 
  • It may have taken several months, but taking my time, watching the video several times, making notes and being organised really helped me make the curtains. 
  • I was very anxious about making these because I knew that I didn't have ANY extra fabric for making mistakes! For an accuracy challenged quilter, that's a lot of extra stress 😊
Related links

Remember to join us starting October 1st to the 8th for... 
Free Motion Mavericks' 300th Post Tea Party!

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Swirling Leaves for Hello Fall Blog Hop

Welcome to my stop at the Hello Fall Blog Hop. When I saw Carla's button for a fall blog hop, I couldn't resist. I'm thrilled to be part of this fun event - Thanks Carla 😊

Making Swirling Leaves

Swirling Leaves

I have to admit that I had some pretty grandiose ideas for this blog hop....and then it was two weeks before the event and I got realistic! This wall hanging is a simpler version of my original plans. I'm really happy with the way it came out - and it didn't take months to make!

All along, my idea was to make a wall hanging with falling maple leaves. About a month ago, while walking with Chevy, I found a small bunch of maple leaves that had fallen off a tree. That was the first part!

I then made freezer paper templates from most of them, ironed them onto some gorgeous hand-dyed fabrics and Voila! I had a whole bunch of leaves to work with. Only the orange leaves are made from my own hand-dyes.

Freezer paper template
Once the leaves were cut, I rummaged into my neutral scraps and made up the background. These are from the last three neutral quilts that I've made in the last few years.

Choosing neutral fabrics for the background
I had a great time doing some improv piecing, my favourite kind of piecing. Since I wanted this quilt to be as simple as possible to make, I even took the time to square up the pieces so that it would be relatively easy to finish. It worked!
Choosing borders
With the background finished, I auditioned some fabrics for borders. Since these are relatively muted colours, I went into my civil war reproduction fabrics and found two perfect pieces.

On the weekend I added the borders and appliquéd the leaves. I found a perfect piece of batting and backing. 
A sandwich ready to FMQ
Then came my favourite part - free motion quilting (FMQ). I started by quilting-in-the-ditch around the two borders. I then chose different thread colours to quilt around each leaf and stitch in the veins, following my freezer paper template since my leaves had all dried up by then. Because the quilt is pretty muted, I took the opportunity to use some lovely variegated thread for the leaves.
Details of the FMQ

I FMQ the background with swirls and extended them into the first border. For the final border, I quilted some leaves.

Swirling Leaves with the Burning bush

What I learned

  • I'm glad that I reduced my plans based on the limited time I had. Maybe one day I can make that original one, but like I said, it would have taken months!
  • I love improv piecing. I kept it simple this time, using square and rectangular pieces of fabric that fit together easily. 
  • My big lesson learned was taking the time to square up blocks as I was putting the improv pieces together. It really made a difference in the end.
  • I like how the FMQ in the neutral background sort of makes it recede. I was afraid that some of the fabrics would overpower the piece.
  • I even stitched down the binding by machine from the front. There was only one spot that I had to hand stitch down at the back. That was a huge time saver.
  • Of course I lost that saved time when I stitched the sleeve to the wrong end of the quilt (sigh). 

Links to Carla's Creatin' in the Sticks

Links to Wednesday's participants
Linking parties

I'll be linking up to many fun linking parties around the virtual world of quilting. Lets see what's going on! Muv is hosting the Free Motion Mavericks linking party this week - visit and link up! Monday Making, Design Wall Monday, What I Made Monday, Colour & Inspiration Tuesday, Midweek Makers, Long Arm Learning, Put Your Foot Down, Needle & Thread Thursday, Off The Wall Friday, Finished or Not Finished Friday, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Friday Foto Fun, Beauty Pageant, Peacock Party, Oh Scrap!, Quilting & Patchwork

A reminder to join us on October 1st for the trans-Atlantic party! Find out more about this special linking party.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Sparkling Star on Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to Free Motion Mavericks, week 298. We are getting ready for the 300th Week Linking Party on October 1st. It's going to be a virtual trans-Atlantic party to remember. You can read all about it below!

FMQ a sparkling star

This is the third star that was free motion quilted (FMQ) on the Pinwheels and Stars Baby Quilt. I love how it turned out!

Lots of sparkling diamonds in this star block

This design is based on Star Struck, a post that I found on the Seams French blog (see Related links below). Here is what the block design looked like when I originally drew it. I knew that I would have a difficult time with the star in the middle, so I simplified it, although not really on purpose.

When I drew the diamonds from each star point, it turned out that two of them would meet. That meant that there wasn't any space for all of those points in the middle star - which would have been a mess anyway.
New design

Original plan

There is still a star in the middle, but it was much simpler to quilt. If you could click on the image of the newer design, you may be able to see some Frixion pen marks - it was a mess, but it did work. (You'll have to take my word for it since I can't seem to make that image  clickable.)

It's easier to see the design from the back

If I hadn't changed the thread colour in the star, it could have been a continuous design. I ended up travelling using the middle star since I thought that it would be fine if it showed up more.

What's on this week
I'm going on a short holiday so I'm bringing a lot of my hand stitching with me. I've started my Hello Fall piece. I'll be appliquéing and FMQ it this weekend. I'm presenting Wednesday, September 23rd .

What I learned
  • Design plans, like any other plans, can keep evolving. I'm really glad that this one got simpler. I was much more confidant about making it.
  • I did quite a bit of marking and it paid off.
  • I did start on Monday, just as I said that I should in my last post! It's mostly because I'm going away for a short visit and will be travelling Wednesday evening...but still, I'm following my own advice😊
  • This is a really pretty design and I'm glad that it worked out.
Related links
Sparkling diamonds
Linking parties
I'll be linking up this post to many fun quilting linking parties. If you get a chance, check them out, after you've linked up to Free Motion Mavericks below! Colour & Inspiration Tuesday, Long arm Learning, To-Do Tuesday, Midweek Makers, For The Love Of Geese, Needle & Thread Thursday, Finished or Not Finished Friday, Friday Foto Fun, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop, Peacock Party, Patchwork & Quilts, Monday Making, Let's Make Baby Quilts

Free Motion Mavericks

Thank you to everyone who linked up last time. There are many wonderful quilters out there and we are glad that you are joining us. Don't ever think that your quilting is not good enough! We were all beginners at one time and slowly got better with practice. We are here to support and encourage you, no matter what your perceived level of FMQ.

This week I want to highlight two very different quilts. Kathleen McMusing finished a UFO that she had started during a workshop in 2017. This was a difficult quilt to get back into but Kathleen persevered and got it done! If you didn't read her post about Backshore, here's the link.

Backshore by Kathleen McMusing 

The other quilt is Purple Palace, an improv adventure quilt by Joy, of the Joyful Quilter. She shared her quilting process with us. It's a really lovely quilt and you can see it here!

An improv quilt by the Joyful Quilter

Remember to come back and celebrate with Muv and I on October 1st. You can start thinking about which Free Motion Quilting posts you would like to link up (any post, up to three of them, recent or past) with Andrée (me!) and which posts about absolutely any subject (again, up to three of them, recent or past) with Muv. 

Now it's your turn!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter