Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Cold and Sunny at The Winter Blues Blog Hop

Welcome to my post in The Winter Blues Blog Hop. A big thank you to Carla for hosting this great event!

Cold and Sunny

For years I've been wanting to make a quilt block that looks like the sun. I found the pattern, Sunnyside, in Spotlight on Neutrals, Quilts and More for Any Decor by Pat Wys. Since I only make one large quilt every two years, making a full quilt for this blog hop wasn't an option, but I still wanted to try out the block.
Cold and Sunny

I realise that I haven't pieced a new quilt block in months. I'm going to use that as my excuse for all of the effort this lovely took!

It's always tricky to pull apart the instructions for a large quilt and break it down to a single block. I managed to inverse the colours for one of the section, in the instructions that I wrote for myself. Then, as you can see, I sewed some of the pieces not in the right place. Oops!!!

Block is properly pieced with
a velvet border 

The pieces weren't the only challenges. For this project, I used some hand-dyed fabrics by Elaine Quehl, a renown fibre artist. The yellow is simply stunning. For the blues, I had bought a Textile Temptation Pack that included dupioni silk and silk-rayon velvet, again all hand-dyed by Elaine. Making this blocks was difficult enough but adding these fabrics to the mix did not make it easier. However, I believe that the pain was worth it. I have the bluest blue that I could find with a bright happy yellow. What more can an art quilter ask for?
Ready to FMQ

Free Motion Quilting (FMQ)

The good news is that FMQ on these fabrics was lovely.

I did a lot of research and finally used two of Leah Day's quilting designs for the sun - Gentle flame (#3) and Sun Medallion (#254) from her Free Motion Quilting Project.

I was considering putting flames in the blue dupioni silk fabric but thought that it might be too much. I'm glad that I decided to use wavy lines, like the heat shimmering from the sun.

Details of the Free Motion Quilting

Cold and Sunny
What I learned
  • I wish that I was the kind of person who could make a practice piece before tackling the final one. I have no doubt that it would result in a much better final product. Unfortunately, no matter how useful it would be, it's not likely to happen. The best that could happen is that I'll use this pattern for another, different project. Then, at least, I might apply the lessons I learned.
  • Using different fabric would have made my life much easier, but these were perfect for this project...so I adapted!
  • Until yesterday afternoon, I had no idea how I was going to finish this block. Finally I added two inch strips to the borders and just turned it under. The back is very messy and uneven, but the front is fine.
  • I drew the FMQ pattern for the Sun Medallion several times, but I should have practiced quilting it. I just noticed that it's in Leah Day's advanced designs, so a little more practice would have been good.
Related links
Links for Tuesday, January 21st

Quilted Delights
Kathy's Kwilts and More
Farm Quilter
Homespun Hannah's Blog
Elizabeth Coughlin Designs
Quilting & Learning: What a Combo (You are here!)
Life in the Scrapatch
Home Sewn By Us

Linking parties
Make sure to visit all of the other quilters participating in the blog hop. As well, I'll be linking up to many fun linking parties.

Project details

Cold and Sunny
15" x 15"
Block from Sunnyside, in Spotlight on Neutrals, Quilts and More for Any Decor by Pat Wys
Techniques: piecing, free motion quilting
Materials: hand-dyed cotton, dupioni silk, cotton, velour by Elaine Quehl.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

More slow stitching, meditation style

I've been doing some more slow stitching. This time with a little meditative quiet time added in.

Slow stitching, meditation style

In the October/November edition of the Quilting Arts magazine, I read an article that spoke to me. The article, Stitch Meditation, by Liz Kettle talked about meditating while stitching, since she found that regular meditation didn't really work for her. Wow! I've been trying to meditate and find it one of the most painful things to do. Quieting the mind is really difficult, except when I'm immersed in my quilting, or playing with code! Since I rarely play with code except occasionally at work, my best bet is probably stitching and quilting.
First four meditation squares
In the article, Liz says that she only has a few guidelines and one rule.

  • Avoid planning - choose your supplies quickly (less than 5 minutes)
  • Minimize distractions (for the meditative part)
  • The one rule: don't undo stitches - there is no need for perfection
Liz does talk about doing this every day, but I'm staying away from that since I don't need another commitment that I won't follow. I do it when I remember and when I feel like it. I trust that I will remember to do it when I need it.

I've cut up a bunch of 4" flannel squares from a dearly loved flannel blanket. I use this as my backing. For the fabric on top, I have a small bag of my hand-dyed fabrics. They are really perfect for this.

Angles is made with hand-dyed fabrics and stitched with several weights of thread and embroidery floss.
Green & Blue with bark includes an unraveling piece of dyed fabric, thread and wool, and two pieces of hand-dyed that friends though was bark .
Green & Blue with bark 
The moon in Pretty moon and star was made of pieces of felt from the backing of my daughter's embroidery pieces. The stones are pretty pink quartz and the star is a Murano glass bead bought in Venice last year.
Pretty moon and star 
For Shining rose, I cut up a hand-dyed cloth napkin that I had embroidered a very long time ago. I added shiny ribbon that I save up when I buy things. I also used some metallic floss.
Shining rose
Last week I started this piece. I was in the mood for ruffles so I just took another fabric piece and stitched it on. I used sewing thread, embroidery floss and even did some chain stitch. I like the look of the feather charm.

Orange, pink and a feather
If you've seen my Flower of Life piece for the first challenge of Project Quilting last week, you will see where I got the inspiration for this block. Now that I know about the Flower of Life, I see it everywhere! In this block, I did some embroidery, including fly stitches without tails, and added beads.
Web in the Flower of Life
What I learned

  • Making these blocks is really meditative.
  • I often start with fabric or embellishment from a recent project.
  • I really don't plan what I'll be doing. If I have some embellishments that I want to use, I'll make the block around them. Otherwise I take a piece of fabric and start stitching.
  • Some of the blocks were finished the same day I started them, but others took a couple of days working on them. They usually take about an hour to make.
  • I don't name the blocks when I make them - but it's fun to name them when I'm saving the images on the computer.
What's on this week
  • Today Challenge 11.2 of Project Quilting came out - something about Team Colours. I'll have to think about that since nothing jumps to mind. The project is due next Sunday morning - so I'll be working on that this week!
  • Join me on Tuesday for my post in The Winter Blues Blog Hop hosted by Carla of Creatin' in the Sticks. My piece is done but I have to figure out how to bind it....????
  • I will also be hosting Free Motion Mavericks on Thursday - so come back and link up your post - it doesn't have to be FMQ.
Related links
Linking parties
I'll be linking this post to many fun link-ups. Follow me and see what's going on out there in Winter Quilt Land! Slow Sunday Stitching, Oh Scrap!, Off The Wall Friday, Monday Making, Design Wall Monday, What I Made Monday, Free Motion Mavericks with Muv,

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Challenge 11-1 Project Quilting - Flower of Life

Challenge 11.1 of Project Quilting is due tomorrow morning. The theme is Notably Numeric which includes geometry. The Flower of Life is part of what is known as Sacred Geometry. It's all very intriguing stuff.

Flower of Life

I'm not mathematically inclined, but geometry, especially if I don't have to calculate anything, can be quite beautiful. In fact, geometry is the basis for traditional quilting. Although I don't do much traditional quilting anymore, that's how most of us learned to quilt.

Flower of life - a series of circles or orange peels
Since I love free motion quilting (FMQ) I hoped that I would find something to make that would involve this particular skill. I discussed my choice and some of my process in my last post (see Related links below). When I wrote it, I was psyching myself up to cut binding on the bias and bind the quilt.

Minor frustrations

The cutting of the binding went relatively well. Not perfect because I had mostly scraps of this lilac Kona fabric left, but it did the trick. I thought that I would increase my skills by sewing the binding together at an angle. That didn't go so well because I was trying to join two pieces of binding that had already been sewn together. I kept stitching the right side to the wrong side!
Minor puckering around the edge
I thought that sewing the binding to the quilt went really well since I was sewing it with a walking foot. Unfortunately I didn't account for the binding being on the bias! I must have pulled too much since the binding really wants to pucker around the edges. I added another circle about a ¼ inch on the outside of the first stitched circle. It helps to smooth out the edge a little.

Finally, I decided to add beads in the middle of the circles (where the orange peels meet). It does draw the eye away from the infinite pattern of the circles going on, but it adds to the finished piece. In the image below I was auditioning various size and colours of beads. I was going to sew a few of the different beads to try them out but finally I went with the top two on the left -  I think they're perfect.
Auditioning four types of beads
Now comes the difficult part - taking good photos at night. I could wait until tomorrow morning but since they're calling for more rain (yes, rain in January in Ottawa!) I didn't think it's worth waiting for.
Flower of Life
What I learned

  • Cutting bias really isn't difficult. There are lots of great tutorials on YouTube that you can check out. Using scraps is a little more difficult but what I got was obviously on the bias, so it went well.
  • Sewing the binding pieces together was a challenge. Although I usually love sewing with solid fabrics because it doesn't matter which side is the top, in this case, it made it more difficult to sew those pieces together properly.
  • When sewing on binding that's cut on the bias, DON'T stretch the binding when you're attaching it to the quilt.
  • Using a walking foot is a lovely experience 😊 and adding that second line of stitching on the edge helped somewhat.
Related links
Linking parties
I'll be linking up this finished Flower of Life to Project Quilting, Challenge 11.1. Let's go see what everyone has made! I will also be linking up to many fun linky parties. Off The Wall Friday, Beauties Pageant, Show Me Something Purple Link-up, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Peacock Party, Design Wall Monday, What I Made Monday, Colour and Inspiration Tuesday, Midweek Makers, Needle & Thread Thursday, Put your foot down, TGIFF, Free Motion Mavericks with Muv.

Project details

Flower of Life
Techniques: free motion quilting, beading
Materials: Kona cotton, beads

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Sacred Geometry for Project Quilting at Free Motion Mavericks

It's that time of the year again - Project Quilting! Since it's the first Challenge of the 11th season (11.1), this week's challenge is Notably Numeric - celebrating all things numerical including geometry.

Project Quilting Challenge 11.1 - Notably Numbers

Flower of Life
Sacred Geometry
To be honest, my first reaction was oh... but then as I was reading, the word geometry leaped off the page. Not that I'm into geometry but I love hexagons (hexies) and recently learned about Shri Yantra, that intriguing pattern made of triangles. Like the proverbial rabbit hole that is the internet, that brought me to Sacred Geometry and finally the Flower of Life.

I think that I love the Orange Peel pattern almost as much as hexies. As you can see from my piece, if you're into quilting, the first thing that stands out are the lovely orange peel in this pattern. Well, after reading more about it, it turns out that the Flower of Life is made up of a series of circles! Yup. If you want to learn more about them, see Related links below.

After finding out that this was a series of circles,
I started drawing (see What I learned below)

How to draw a big circle around the
project? With a plastic lid of course!

My project is not quite done. I worked on it all evening on Sunday and created this without the circle. I found the right plastic container lid and then I had two circles!

The next step is making biased binding. I did find more fabric, so it's just a matter of doing it!
A Flower of Life done in free motion quilting
The deadline is Sunday but I would love to have it done by Saturday at the latest. If all goes well, I'm tempted to add small beads where the circles intersect. It's not a traditional thing to do, but it might be fun and pretty. I'll have to think about it.

What I learned
  • After learning about the Shri Yantra, I've been wanting to quilt one since it's composed of tons of triangles. It didn't take me long to realise that this was way above my ability, especially within a week. I'm really glad that I found the Flower of Life, which is not quite as complex.
  • It turns out that I'm not as inept in math as I thought. Once I found out that these were a series of circles, I actually figured out that the orange peels were created when the circles intersected at 60 and 120 degree angles. (I may have said that badly but I did draw it out! I was very impressed with myself).😊
  • After being too impressed with myself, I drew the pattern on the fabric with Frixion pens - and it left a "shadow" on the fabric! What to do? After a few attempts at different solutions such as appliqué, I finally decided to quilt the Flower of Life from the back of the quilt, so that the bobbin thread showed up on pristine fabric! I successfully did this in a couple of "large print wholecloth quilts". It really is a great technique.
Related links
Linking parties
I will be linking this post to many fun linky parties. Join in the fun and see what others have made or been working on this week! Put your foot downNeedle & Thread Thursday, Off The Wall Friday, Finished or Not Finished Friday, Friday Foto Fun, Peacock Party, Midweek Makers, Colour and Inspiration TuesdayCan I Get A Whoop Whoop?,

Great News! My project was featured on Dione's Colour and Inspiration Tuesday. How cool is that? Thanks Dione.

Free Motion Mavericks linking party

In the last linking party hosted here, we had quite a few link ups with so much creativity. I really hope that within the bustle of the holidays that you had a little bit of quiet time for yourself to quilt and play 😊

This week's featured quilt is the Baby Blocks quilt that Vasudha of Storied Quilts made for the Island Batik 3D challenge. It's so interesting how a three dimensional effect can be achieved with the right angles and fabric. If you didn't see Baby Blocks, go visit the post now (well, after you link up of course :-) )
Baby Blocks quilt by Storied Quilts
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Sunday, January 05, 2020

Slow Stitching and Free Motion Quilting

I love being able to create something using techniques that aren't usually put together - such as slow stitching and free motion quilting (FMQ). It's not that they don't go together, but rather that it's not usually done.

Slow Stitching and FMQ in Exit Strategy 1

In September I introduced my Exit Strategy...and got caught up with all kinds of projects and distractions. Then, while writing my 2020 Planning post, I realised that creating art quilts had become daunting and that my expectations were too high and too serious. So enough of that! It's time to just do it for fun, and if it turns out well, all the better. If not, then I'm bound to have learned something.😊

So this weekend, I took out the batik fabric bought for the sashing and put my first piece together. I did some stitch-in-the-ditch around the sashing and border and then started to play. It felt really good to be having fun making art again.
Exit Strategy 1 is slowly emerging.
I just did enough FMQ to see what it might look like among the hand stitching. I worked on the top two panels.

In the three triangles panel, I wanted to see how I could highlight the triangle with quilting. I think that there's a lot of potential there.
FMQ around one of the triangles.
In the next panel, I FMQ around some of the stitching and then on some of the lines that I hadn't embroidered.
FMQ around the couching and following the lines of the fabric
I'm really looking forward to experimenting on these panels. I'll keep FMQ but I also want to add more stitching and embroidery. My objective is to link the four panels together so that they become a cohesive whole.

What I learned
  • I didn't really plan the sashing and border - so the top and the bottom panels are not finished in the same way. To camouflage this, I FMQ where there should have been seams. I think that this will make the differences less obvious. 
  • Although I've got some embroidery and couching in each panel, I want this to extend beyond the sashing. Even with the batting and backing, I want to embroider some of it only on the top layer. I'll experiment with this and let you know the results.
  • I wanted to add a section in this post on how I created those fun triangles but I would rather spend more time on this in a separate post. I'll be doing this soon!
What's on this week
  • Sunday is the first day of Project Quilting. We'll find out what our first assignment is, and have until Sunday morning to post our finish. I really can't wait to start!
  • It's my turn to host the Free Motion Mavericks linking party. I hope you'll join me. You don't have to FMQ to link up!
  • Since it's a brand new year, I've been preparing a new quilting agenda. My January OMG is to FMQ a journal cover for it. I think that this is going to be a VERY busy month!
  • Finally, please join me on January 21 for the Winter Blues Blog Hop. I've got an idea and found the instructions for part of my piece. Now I need to find the fabric and MAKE IT!
Related links
Linking parties
I will be linking up with Muv for Free Motion Mavericks since her link up from last week is open for another two days. I'm also linking up to Elm Street Quilts' OMG January link up. Off the Wall Friday, Oh Scrap!, Slow Sunday Stitching, 15 Minutes to Stitch 2020, Design Wall Monday, Monday Making, What I Made Monday, Midweek Makers, Colour and Inspiration Tuesday, Put your foot down, Needle & Thread ThursdayFinished or Not Finished FridayFriday Foto FunPeacock Party, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, To-Do Tuesday,

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Happy New Year and Finishing up stuff - PHD in 2020

Happy New Year!

You may have heard of UFO (UnFinished Objects) but did you know that there are PHD (Projects Half Done)? Quilting Gail is hosting PHD link-ups twice a month to encourage us all to finish these lovelies. Some projects may be almost done while others are probably much less than half done. It doesn't matter. In 2020 we will work on finishing 12 of these!

And that's not all. We also have to finish the projects we start in 2020 so that we don't contribute to more UFO or PHD. It may be very optimistic to think that I will get twelve of these projects finished, if not totally unrealistic, but I can sure give it a shot.

Except for my first priority quilt below, I'm not stressing about the rest since they've waited this long, another year won't hurt!

UFOs and PHDs

In order of priority, here are my 12 projects.

1. A long awaited version 2.0 of my son's loved-to-death quilt

I'm sure that there are definitions of what constitutes a UFO, but since I promised my son at least 5 years ago that I would remake his quilt and that I've bought and washed all of the fabric, I consider this a UFO.

As I mentioned in my 2020 Planning Party post (before I decided to embark on this journey), this quilt was made by my mother for my son when he as a young boy. He has loved it to death and I don't think that I could fix it for him to use, so that's why I offered to make him a new one. I can share more stories about this quilt when I'm making significant progress. 😊
Version 1.0 - the original loved-to-death quilt
2.  Paddington Bear Quilt

Is it a UFO? Well, it has been promised for well over a year, the fabric is bought and washed and the template for the appliqué is made. It's a priority, but not before quilt #1 is made (above).

In the meantime, I made my daughter a Paddington Bear mini. It will have to do for now.
A Paddington Bear mini as an IOU for a
Paddington Bear quilt
Fabric ready to go
3. Kingfisher Stitch-Along hexie quilt

I started this quilt in June 2018 and finished the quilt top in August 2019. I also planned to make a quick pillow to go with the quilt so that I could try out an idea for the quilting. It was my October 2019 OMG that didn't get done.

4. Postcard from Sweden

I finished the quilt top of Postcard from Sweden in April 2018. It took me two quilt-alongs and one year before that to make this beauty (probably Spring 2016). The reason that I made this was to practice my FMQ. I've mentioned it in most of my planning since I started it. I sure would be a lot of fun quilting it! 😊
Postcard from Sweden made with batiks

5. Leaves from "Appliqué Inside the Lines"

I probably started this project in 2012 but first blogged about it in 2014. Each leaf is appliquéd inside an embroidered line. I've done a few of the projects in the book. This one has been around for a long time. At a retreat during the summer of 2016, I finally found the fabric to frame it. It just needs to be hand-quilted.
Framed leaves

Each leaf is appliquéd within the embroidered lines.
6.  Étude in Stem Stitching

In June 2017 I started Étude in Stem Stitching. I eventually started another one, called Symphony in Stem Stitch that I finished for an Out of the Box Artist Group Challenge. I free motion quilted it and added a quote. I never did finish this one and I would love to FMQ it like the other one.
Étude in Stem Stitching
 7. Wholecloth Quilt 2

This quilt was started during my Learning Quilt-A-Long in November of 2017. The pattern of the quilt comes from tracing the pattern on the back. This means that the bobbin thread is showing on what is now the front of the quilt. Now that it's traced, I can FMQ from the front.
Adding colour to the wholecloth quilt

Details of the butterfly on the wholecloth quilt

This is actually the back that I quilted over.

8. Frog Work Quilt

This project is based on the Frog Work pattern by Briarwood Cottage. I've always wanted to have embroidery in a traditional quilt. I started this project in 2013 but only blogged about it when most of the frog embroidery panels were completed. Of course I still have some of the pieced blocks to make! .
The completed embroidered panels

Some of the pieced blocks
9.  King Size Batik Bed Quilt

It may not look like a UFO since we've been sleeping under it for several years, but there are 169 batik blocks. In July of 2016, I only had 146 blocks left to quilt. Fast forward to August 2019 and there was only 115 blocks to go. I'm not sure if I've worked on it since then but these blocks need to be quilted before they become damaged since the un-quilted surface is too large.

King size bed quilt had 169 blocks!

One of the quilted blocks
10. Snippet Flowers in a Vase

This quilt top is at least from 2008. I created the vase and the flowers after watching a day-time quilting show - I must have been home sick. Anyway, it appears in my 2015 UFO Challenge list for my quilting guild. I did thread paint it in 2015 but I had no idea how to finish it. I'm hoping that my skills and creativity is finally up to the challenge. 😊
FMQ outside of the lines 😊
Lilies pieced and FMQ

My Snippet Flowers in a Vase is ready for a finish
11.  Orange Peel Quilt-Along 

I started this project in 2014. Most of the orange peels were appliquéd during my trip to China that year. In early 2016 I had the quilt pieced but had no idea how to quilt it. I think that I'm ready for this project now and I'm really looking forward to it.
Tula Pink fabrics on my Orange Peel quilt

Some finished blocks

Orange peels ready to be appliquéd

12. Grandmother's Choice Block of the Week - Votes for women

This was the second quilt along/ block of the week that I joined. It was probably a little beyond my piecing abilities at the time but I did make a large number of the blocks. My first post was in November 2013, although the Block of the Week started in May 2012. There was a total of 49 blocks, and each post including history, historical colour choices, etc. The only reason that I didn't finish it is that I really want to create a medallion with something representing the Canadian struggle for votes for women. I've got an idea for an appliqué, so, is this the year that it gets done?

Some of the blocks in the
Grandmother's Choice - Votes for Women
Block of the Week (2012-13)

What I learned
  • I had no intentions of participating in this PHD in 2020 until I read Dione's post of Clever Chameleon Quilting. Thanks Dione!
  • The worst is that I had already written my 2020 planning priorities. Oh well, as I've mentioned, I would really like to finish the first quilt on my list. The rest would just be a bonus.
  • It's also a good thing to review these UFOs since I hadn't really thought of a few of them for a long time.
  • This blog is the perfect way to keep track of what I've done in the last few years. I'm so grateful to have this amazing community of quilters around.
  • As I was gathering my list of UFOs, it turns out that I have quite a few more - not really tons of them but probably between 20 and 30. A few of them are large quilts, but most of them are smaller.

Related links
Free Motion Mavericks with Muv
Linking parties
I will be linking up to Quilting Gail's PHD in 2020 as well as many other fun link ups. Let's see who else is working on their UFOs and PHDs. I'm also linking up to Free Motion Mavericks - it's Muv's turn to host this week. Put your foot down, Off The Wall Friday, Finished or Not Finished Friday, Friday Foto Fun, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop, Peacock PartyColour and Inspiration Tuesday,