Thursday, October 14, 2021

Welcoming Fall on Free Motion Mavericks

I hope that you're having a lovely fall (except those of you on the other side of the world who are enjoying Spring!) The leaves are slowly changing here in Ottawa but all of the rain is pulling them down quickly!

I didn't expect to be writing this post today but Muv is very busy getting ready for her daughter's wedding this weekend. I can't imagine how that must feel. So welcome to week 351 of Free Motion Mavericks. I'm still planning the FMQ design for my son's quilt, so here is a look at fall quilts that I've done through the years.

Fall pageant of wall quilts

Here are some of my fall quilts, beginning with the newer ones. If you're interested in reading more about them, see Related links below for the original blog post.

Swirling Leaves made for the
Welcome Fall Blog Hop, 2020

Lone Tree 2 or "Tired or Overachiever?"

Fall Tree - pattern and course with Elaine Quehl

Patches the Pumpkin Patch Protector

Fall Door Hanging, on my studio door

What I learned
  • Since I'm not ready to free motion quilt (FMQ) the stripe that I'm still designing for my son's quilt, I thought that I would give you a little seasonal eye candy. 
  • I love fall colours even if they are not the colours that I gravitate to.
  • I just put up my Fall Door Hanging and my Patches wall hanging, so it's timely.
  • I keep forgetting that for some of my readers who haven't been following me for years, could be seeing these for the first time 😊
Related links

Linking Parties

I'll be linking up to many fun linking parties. Let's see what's out there (after you've linked up below!) Midweek Makers, Put Your Foot Down, Finished or Not Finished Friday, Off The Wall Friday, Patchwork & Quilts, Design Wall Monday, Monday Making, 15 Minutes to Stitch 2021, Oh Scrap!

Free Motion Mavericks

We had a small intimate party last week with some lovely quilting. Thanks to everyone who linked up. For more eye candy, here is Gail's Flutterfly Star.

Flutterfly Stars for Island Batiks by Quilting Gail 

It's now your turn!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Monday, October 11, 2021

Updates on Slow Stitching projects

My Traveller's Blanket made it's way to North Bay for our Canadian Thanksgiving. It was the first time in years that I was able to go and it was great seeing all of the family again. I showed off the blanket and even got a little bit of stitching done at the hotel before we checked out. I also took some lovely pictures of Lake Nipissing - it's such a beautiful area, even when the sun is behind clouds.

Stitching up an eco-printed piece

I really wanted to see the effect of stitching on my eco-printed piece. It came out well for my first try.

It's Day 31 on my #100dayschallenge on Instagram. I used 2 strands of the Bengal linen thread for all the embroidery. The running stitch came out well in all of the colours except for the marigold stitch on the bottom left. I ended up stitching another two strands on top of the original 2 strands. I'm not sure that I'm supposed to do that but it came out fine 😊

Running stitch with Bengal linen thread on a piece of eco-printed fabric

I'm looking forward to working on another little piece, although I'm considering using brighter threads.

Traveller's Blanket Update

I've been working steadily on my Traveller's Blanket and posting my stitches on Instagram. Stitching a little bit every day, or more every few days, really makes the project advance.

Day 28 -  Sky Lights block

I attached the block with a buttonhole stitch and then used the same coloured thread as the background for the threaded chain stitch. The dark green thread is Honest Yarn linen. I love using the same type of stitch around the block as within it. Spoiler alert, Day 37 below has a second border that I forgot to post.

Sky Lights block surrounded by a
threaded chain stitch border

Day 30 - Pink Stitches block

I attached this block with a running stitch but didn't think much of it, so then went back and made sort of a cross stitch. It's surrounded by some lovely herringbone stitches. The thread is Sulky variegated Cotton Petites. 

Pink Stitches block with a herringbone border

Day 32 - Angles

Angles got surrounded by a Triangular buttonhole stitch using a Sulky bendable cotton Petites. I really should have practiced but couldn't find my sample cloth (story of my life!) They're a bit wobbly but proof that with practice, even if it's on the piece itself, your stitches can get better! Besides, don't you like the experimental vibe of this piece?

Angles block with triangular buttonhole stitches

Day 33 - Hexie with stars and sheaf 

The following hexies were embroidered during my last #100hexies100days challenge. To match but keep it simple, I added some Algerian eye stitches using my hand-dyed threads.

Hexie surrounded by Algerian eye stitches

Day 34 - Pink and blue hexie with stitches

I surrounded this hexie with chevron. Between the chevrons and the hexie, I added pink detached chain stitch flowers (lazy daisy stitches) and then blue French knots on the outside. All of the threads are hand-dyed. I just love the colours of this hexie!

So many stitches!

Day 35 - Gone fishing hexie

This hexie and the one that follows were made from fabric that I painted for my Marks & Stitches project. For this one, I added some chain and fly stitches. I thought that it might be nice to surround it with more fly stitches made with Sulky variegated Cotton Petites. 

Fly stitches - are we going fishing?

Day 36 - Woven and whipped hexie

Here is the hexie before it was attached to the blanket. It's from the same painted fabric as above. The hexie has a cable stitch and a large buttonhole stitch. Once it was placed to the blanket, I wove the buttonhole stitch with the green Sulky variegated Cotton Petites. I surrounded the hexie with whipped cable stitch. I think that it may need another border.

Painted fabric with cable and
buttonhole stiches

Buttonhole stich woven and then the
chain stitch around it is whipped

Day 37 - Second border around Sky Lights

The second border is whipped chain stitch.

Sky lights block with a second border of
whipped chain stitch 

A squirrel!

Day 29 - Stitching on a Hosta leaf

Yes, you read it correctly! The Hosta leaf was stitched as part of a workshop with Hillary Waters through I never thought that I would be stitching on a Hosta leaf  or any other vegetation!😊 These are bits of Couched hand-dyed thread.

Stitching on a Hosta leaf

Couched hand-dyed thread

Nature pictures of the weekend

Here are some pictures that I took of Lake Nipissing. It was really great to be out there.

Sunrise on Saturday (yes, I actually got up!)

Sunrise at Lake Nipissing

Fall foliage

Quintessential White Pine of
Northern Ontario

Fallen leaves on the shore
Water, waves and rocks

So powerful and yet tranquil

What I learned

  • I really love how my Traveller's Blanket is coming along. I only have one hexie to finish stitching and one hexie to add a second border to, and then it will be time to start stitching the whole piece.
  • I'll be using running stitches in fine thread for what will essentially be the quilting of the blanket.
  • I'm thinking of echoing each block or hexie and then stitching horizontally around each one. I'll try it out on a section and see how it looks. The piece is quite busy, so I don't want to over do it.
  • What did you think of the stitching on the Hosta leaf? I'm really glad that I did it, but it felt really weird stitching on something that was alive. It's very transitory and the leaf has started to dry up and has changed colours. It's interesting but a little sad. I'm not sure that I'm going to be doing this again, although it goes to prove that we can really stitch through anything!
  • For those who are wondering, I just applied some glue to the back of the Hosta and let it dry before stitching on it. You can do this to pretty much anything - and add more glue to stiffen it up if needed. Not all glues work the same, so you will want to try some out before stitching too much.
  • Since today is Thanksgiving in Canada, I added a link to my Quilty Great Fullness below. It was written in 2015 and still applies!

Related links

Linking parties
I'll be linking up to many fun linking parties. Let's see what's going on - and if you're doing an FMQ, remember to link up to Free Motion Maverick with me or Muv! Off The Wall Friday, Patchwork & Quilts, Design Wall Monday, Monday Making, Put Your Foot Down

Thursday, October 07, 2021

Planning and FMQ with Free Motion Mavericks

Hi! I've finally started on my son's quilt. I've been planning the designs, which are loosely based on my mother's hand quilted designs from Stéphane's original quilt. I also free motion quilted (FMQ) the first little section.😊 

Planning the FMQ designs

I'm not that technically advanced when it comes to FMQ but I did use my trusty PowerPoint program to map out the original designs and send my son some suggestions for changes. Here is my FMQ design map. If you click on the image, you'll get a larger image.

Map on PowerPoint of my mother's original quilting designs

I wanted to start FMQ so that I would have something to show you today. Nothing complicated but it's a good start.

These designs are at the bottom right corner of the quilt. There are hearts connected to friends. These are original designs that my mother used, although they've been adapted for free motion quilting.

Hearts to symbolize the love of friends and family 

Friends & Hearts

There are the friends - silhouettes of people holding hands

I spent last evening looking through my e-books for FMQ designs that I can use. Stéphane and I agreed that one of the areas will have nature scenes on it - fishing, camping, trees and possibly animals. My mother had quilted one of the red strips with rainbows, so I suggested that I FMQ various weather designs such as rainbows, snow flakes, rain, etc. 

What I learned
  • It took me much longer to stitch-in-the-ditch than it should have. The warm weather didn't help and I had forgotten what a pain quilting a queen size quilt on a domestic is. I think that it was worse for the stitch-in-the-ditch since most seams ran across the whole quilt. When doing FMQ, at least it's one area at a time, and you don't travel quite so quickly.
  • I had planned to use only two colours of thread in the bobbin so that the back would look better, but as I practiced stitching with the blue-gray thread, there was no way that my tension was going to be good enough. I've now decided to use what ever bobbin thread that I need. There are only about six different colours of fabric in the quilt anyway. Good tension on the front is worth a more colourful back.
  • Once my son and I figure out what is to be quilted, it should go fairly quickly...I hope 😊 At least there is enough variety of designs to keep me interested!
  • For all my Canadian readers, Happy Thanksgiving! I'm going up north to visit friends and family, pig out enjoy some good food and see the changing colours (they are ahead of us by at least 2 weeks!) Take care!
Related links

Linking party
I'll be linking up to many fun linking parties. I hope that you'll check them out and also link up below.

Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to week 350 of Free Motion Mavericks. It's been longer than a fortnight since we last saw each other. A break is not such a bad thing, especially as things start getting hectic in the fall. I'm glad to say that it's no longer too hot for me to FMQ in my studio, which is why I started on my son's quilt again. 

If you didn't see Sandra's quilt, "The Light Within", then you need to get over there to check it out. Sandra of mmm quilts her FMQ her projects on her longarm. She's both proficient and prolific 😊
This quilt was published in the latest Make Modern magazine (issue 42).  She took some great pictures, but I want you to see her quilting! 

Sandra's The Light Within 

Now it's your turn!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Update on my Traveller's Blanket

I started my Traveller's Blanket in May 2020 based on a course by Dejanne Cevaal. This will be my second stitching project for the next part of my #100dayschallenge on Instagram.

Traveller's Blanket so far

Mixing up projects and techniques

This project has what I love best - a mixture of different projects and techniques (links in Related links below).
  • Meditation stitching - after reading an article by Liz Kettle in the October/November 2019 edition of the Quilting Arts magazine, I started making 4" squares. It was very calming and creative, but what to do with all of those little squares?
  • Hand-dyed fabric - I've been hand-dyeing fabric for a while now. I use scraps in my meditation stitching and used a large piece as the base for my Traveller's Blanket.
  • Hexies - you may know that I have an on/off obsession with hexies, the English paper pieced ones (EPP). During #100hexies100days2021, I embroidered on some larger hexies. I'll be including them in this project
  • Sashiko stitching - I have even included a square of Sashiko stitching😊
  • Embroidery - you may have figured out that I love embroidery...but get quickly bored of doing the same thing for too long. This is another great project for trying out new things and stitching some old favourites.
Meditation block made with hand-dyed fabric

Embroidered hexies

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Eco Printing - Take 2

In February of this year, I did some eco printing based on Caroline Nixon's workshop for If you don't remember the post, it's because it was never written. Last weekend I decided that I would take a second stab at it since I love the results of eco printing. Here is what I learned 😊

Eco Printing & learning

My first attempt, as you may have figured out, was not wonderful. That was due to a few things - like not reading the instructions carefully enough and by the fact that Ottawa in February doesn't have any green stuff outside to use! I had bought a couple of bundles of flowers and got a few great prints from the rose leaves but not much else.

Great eco print on the pocket of a linen skirt

However, I know that we can over dye, so why not over print? Those blank spaces on my fabric were certainly big enough to add more prints. 

I resolved to try again when I found a bouquet of eucalyptus at my local grocery store. They are really great for eco printing, so it was time.

All of the leaves outside are very green, with a few reds and oranges, so there is an abundance of material to work with. 

I re-read all of the instructions, watched all of the videos and was ready. On Saturday morning, with an apron over my PJs, I gathered what was available in my back yard and then set off to the school yard down the street to gather more interesting leaves.  

While I was picking leaves, the fabric was being scoured (washing the fabric with delicate soap in the washing machine). It was then time to let the linen soak in the soda ash mixture and then a quick dip in the ferrus sulphate mix (iron water). 

Here are a few pictures of the process.
Fresh leaves added to the previously
printed fabric
An assortment of leaves on my drop cloth

Once the leaves are placed on the damp fabric, I added a barrier (plastic wrap the first time and parchment paper the second time) and then rolled up the fabric onto dowels. When I used parchment paper as a barrier, I protected the rolled bundle with plastic wrap and then tied it using cotton bias strips.  

Into the pot they go

I used an old, huge cooking pot and placed the rolls onto a metal platform (made to cook chicken with beer - that I never used). Once all of the bundles were ready, I added water to the pot and then the fabric bundles were steamed for 90 minutes.

Wrapped and ready to steam

This batch had 7 bundles

Steaming the bundles

Seven bundles cooling off,
waiting to be opened

Once the bundles have cooled off, it's time to see the magic. The colours on the fabric are just wonderful when they come out. You then hang them up for 24 hours to cure and dry. Unfortunately, they don't look as vivid after they are washed.

You can see the difference below.

This is the same bundle that I added
leaves to in the top image.

The final result,
after being washed

My favourite piece is on new linen fabric that I purchased the day before. I used a technique that Caroline suggested for making larger pieces. 

The leaves are placed on one half of the fabric, and then the fabric is folded over. You're supposed to place the leaves as close to the fold as possible, so that you don't get an empty line. As you can see, the leaves weren't quite up to the fold but it's still a beautiful piece. 

You end up with an image of both sides of the leaves. It's not a mirror image since most of the leaves will print better on one side, usually the one with the ridges on them (the back side). When you use this technique, you want to place the leaves both front and back so that some strong images appear on both halves of the fabric.
My favourite eco-dyed piece

Adding leaves on one side of the fabric

Here are a couple more pieces below. This first one has some great prints but also shows what happens when the fabric is wrinkled while it's bundled up. 

The second piece was over printed. The original images were quite blurred but the over printing brought some lovely results. It looks like I'll have to do some mending at the same time as I stitch this one. What fun 😊

A wrinkle in the eco printed leaf

Over printed piece what will need some
lovely mending.

What I learned
  • After my first try, I was really disappointed with the results after the final washing of the fabric. I knew what to expect this time, and I believe that my eco printing came out better, but I will have to look into it to see if there is something that I can do to keep those beautiful colours and images.
  • In my first try, I didn't soak the linen in ash water. I missed that step and it probably made a difference.
  • I also read up on what plants make the best eco prints. I learned the hard way that you get nothing from tulip leaves! 
  • Here are some really great leaves to work with: geranium (the perennial kind), eucalyptus, locus leaves, rose leaves, ginkgo and walnut. I'm sure that there are more - I will have to check out more websites. I may have caught the bug...and I also need to do something with these!
  • I found a blog about how to dry leaves for eco printing (she's from Canada also :-)) so I think that I will join the animals out there and start saving up for winter....not nuts, just leaves! 
  • When an eco printed piece doesn't look that great, there is nothing stopping me from cutting out and using the good prints.
  • I also created a PowerPoint of the pictures that I took with the leaves, before and after washing. I'm hoping that this will help me for the next time.

  • Below you will find the finished piece, Mixing it up! from the fist 25 days of my #100dayschallenge. I didn't want to write up a new post just for the final image.

Related links
Linking parties

* If you're looking for Free Motion Mavericks, we are taking the week of Sept 23 off. The next link up will be with Muv on September 30. See you then!

Project details

Mixing it up!

First piece made during days 1 to 25/100 for 
@100dayschallenge on Instagram

Size: 12½" x 14½"

Materials: cotton scraps

Techniques: Improv piecing, free motion quilting, embroidery

Sunday, September 19, 2021

First stitching project almost done!

I haven't been doing a lot of quilting, but I'm now on day 25 of my #100dayschallenge on Instagram 😊 

More stitching in 100 day challenge

I was having fun, then I got bored and then made flowers and enjoyed it again! I guess that the lesson in all that is to figure out how to make a project fun once it starts getting boring. Since I'm making the rules as I go along, it was all up to me.

I'm going to recap but I'll give you a quick version since my last post was on Day 8!

Day 9 - Threaded Chain Stitch

Using 3 strands of Bengal marigold linen thread for the chain stitch, and Honest Yarn lace linen in lac for the threaded stitch.

Threaded chain stitch

Day 10 - Tulip Stitch

I wanted to put something interesting inside the hexie. Since the flower on Day 6 was a real hit, I looked for another type of flower. This one is made with a tulip stitch, which is a variation of the chain stitch. The leaves are detached chain stitch and the stem is...stem stitch!

Tulip stitch flowers

Days 11 to 13 -  Whipped chain stitch and Satin stitch

I got a bunch of new threads and so tried some of these out on the box within a box designs.

Deciding what threads to use

The outer boxes are all chain stitches and are whipped in different patterns. The center boxes are satin stitched.

Six box within a box, whipped with various threads

Whipped chain stitched with
satin stitch centres

Days 14 and 15 - Herringbone stitch

I practiced and did two days of herringbone stitches. On day 14, they were in rows and on day 15, it got tricky and circular. If you notice something weird about the circular pattern it's because the stitching is outside of the spiral! See "What I learned" below for more details.

Herringbone stitch in a circular pattern
Herringbone stitch in rows

Days 16 and 17 - Straight stitches

I used some straight stitches to fill in the diamond shapes within the diamonds. I found these designs in the Joyful Daily Stitches book that I mentioned in my last post. It was perfect - simple but interesting.

Interesting designs using simple straight stitches

Day 18 - Buttonhole Wheel stitch

I had free motion quilted (FMQ) a design that didn't quite work out - so I just covered it with the buttonhole wheels. The centre of the wheels are not very successful attempts at Reverse Bar stitches.

Buttonhole Wheel stitch

Day 19 - Running stitches

I was getting bored of stitching within small designs, so I started stitching the background with running stitches. This is done with Bengal linen thread in Indigo. I took advantage of my day to work in the Parks Canada National Library to take some pictures - I love their index card cabinets, even if they're not used anymore.

Adding running stitch to the background

A great picture of the index card cabinet

Day 20 to 22 - Creating a flower garden

On day 20, I made the stem of the flower pattern using Alternating Up-and-Down Buttonhole stitches. On day 21, it was time to add the Oyster stitches. That took me a few days to master not mess them up too badly 😊 Finally on day 22, I added some colourful French Knots to add to the flower garden. 

Stem and buds in stitches

A border of flowers in French Knots

Day 23 - Pistil and Stem stitch

I love this interesting plant in stitches that are easy and elegant!

Lovely plant in Pistil and Stem stitch

Day 24 - Buttonhole stitches

I decided to keep it simple and fill the smaller box within a box designs with 12 wt. thread. 

Adding buttonhole stitches 

Day 25 - Running stitch

I finished adding running stitches to the background of the centre panel. I love the secondary pattern that the space between the stitches makes.

Running stitch in the background

What I learned
  • I'm glad that I kept notes, because I've forgotten most of what I learned!
  • For the chain stitch using 3 strands of the Bengal linen (day 9), I will use beeswax the next time I use more than 1 strand (I found my beeswax as I was writing this!)
  • The herringbone in a circular pattern (day 15) was not supposed to be outside of the spiral shape! I thought that I was starting in the centre but I wasn't. It's safer to start at the tail, like that you're guaranteed to be within the spiral shape! It is pretty cool though. 😎 
  • So now what? I'm trying to figure out what to do with the rest of the border. Do I just finish it up in FMQ or do I keep embroidering a little more? Let me know if you have any ideas!
  • Update: To see the final image of Mixing it up! (I finally though of a name), go to the bottom of my next post.

Related links

Linking parties
I wrote this post tonight so that I could link up to my favourite slow stitching linking party - Slow Sunday Stitching. Check it out, as well as the other great link ups. Patchwork & Quilts, Off The Wall Friday, 15 Minutes to Stitch 2021, Design Wall Monday. Monday Making, Put Your Foot Down, Finished or Not Finished Friday, Peacock Party