Monday, August 06, 2018

August OMG - Funky Landscape

I like participating in Elm Street Quilts’ One Monthly Goal (OMG) because it helps me review my commitments for the month as well a sorting out details such as what and when I will post.

Funky Mountain Landscape

I first mentioned this project on February 4th of this year. My famous last words "My goal for To-Do Tuesday this week is to start on this quilt by auditioning fabrics. If it's going to be a funky landscape, I'm thinking that some colourful batiks could be cool." At least I can say that it will be batiks but my schedule is a little off....I started looking at fabrics last week!

Here’s the photo that I’m using. It was taken on a trip to British Columbia a few years ago.

British Columbia mountain landscape

My biggest problem was, and still is, to make it funky or more abstract rather than realistic. From what I’ve read in art books, it would seem that I’m not the only one to have that difficulty.

Here’s what it looked like yesterday.

Fabric selection mostly done
Tonight I glued the fabric down and made some minor changes. The colours of my images are not very good since it's night time.

Quilt top on design board with picture

Funky Mountain Landscape ready for some thread sketching
It’s not quite as funky as I want, but I know that the piece will evolve as I thread sketch the fabrics, quilt it and then embellish it.

What I learned
  • Over the years I’ve learned that using photos can really help me see more objectively. For this project I’ve used photos extensively to decide on the fabrics I want to use. The first picture above was my sixth and I did make a couple of changes while gluing it down.
  • As I was writing this and looking at the first picture, I realised that the reflection of the mountains in the water didn't match the mountains. It's a little better now.
  • All the fabrics come from my stash (mostly my scraps), but I’m not thrilled with a couple of them. I’ll hoping the thread colours I use will adjust them to what I’m looking for.
Related links
Linking parties
I’ll be linking this post to the August One Monthly Goal link-up. Let’s go see what everyone has planned for the rest of the summer! As well, I am linking up to these great linky parties: Oh Scrap!Monday MakingMain Crush MondayDesign Wall MondayMove it Forward Monday, Linky Tuesday, Tuesday Colour Linky Party, Midweek Maker, Let's Bee Social, Silly Mama Quilts WIP,  

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Throwback Thursday - cubicle minis

It's Throwback Thursday again at mmm! quilts. You may have seen Sandra's announcement that I will be helping her host the October and December edition of Throwback Thursday. I'm very excited because I love hosting and Sandra is wonderful :-)

Cubicle Minis

From 2009 to 2012, roughly when I first started quilting, I worked on assignment at another department. It was a great opportunity in which I learned a lot and met some wonderful people.

I didn't post any of these minis, but I would have started making them about a year before I started the Quilting & Learning - What a Combo! blog and finished them in my first year of blogging.

It all started with a doll quilt that I made for a colleague's daughter (which I never took a picture of). After that I decided to make a little something for a few of my colleague's cubicles. These three are the ones that I have pictures of.

Roses and butterflies was made for Sharon. She's an ex-librarian and a real sweetheart. I used some of my favourite fabric to make this. I embroidered the bird and butterfly and appliqued the two roses from another fabric in that line. I then added chunky jewelry for some interest. I'm glad that I still occasionally see Sharon at information management (IM) meetings.
Butterflies and Roses for Sharon
I made this for Kara - she was a funny, vivacious person who lost her battle with cancer a few years ago. I don't remember where I got the pattern for this block, except that it was part of a larger quilt that I adapted. The flower was appliqued and I think the stem was couched.

I also made a quilt for her son. I did post that one. If you're interested in seeing it, the link is in the Related links section below.
Funky Daisies for Kara
This mini is the last one I made before finishing my assignment. It was for my funny, charismatic and kind boss, Karl. We all called him "Patron". You can see in this quilt his love of music, mustaches and retro. I added the VW beetles for something retro but I remember that he loved retro appliances in particular. Again, I'm always glad to see Karl at our IM meetings.
Patron mini for Karl

What I learned
  • I remember making Sharon's mini quilt. I had a few fat quarters from a fabric line that was just perfect for Sharon. Unfortunately I used the loveliest one for the backing. I still remember that lesson! That's why I appliqued a couple of the roses to the front.
  • I think that the first two minis were hand quilted while Karl's mini looks machine quilted. I would probably have used a walking foot.
Related Links
Linking Parties
As I mentioned, this post was written for Throwback Thursday with Sandy at mmm! quilts. I will also be linking to many other linking parties. See what others are doing! Linky TuesdayTuesday Colour Linky PartyLet's Bee SocialMidweek MakersNeedle & Thread ThursdayOff the Wall FridayFinished or Not FridayCan I Get A Whoop Whoop?Friday Fofo FunMonday MakingMain Crush MondayDesign Wall MondayMove it Forward Monday,

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Clover at dusk art quilt

Oh look - a squirrel!  This month I worked on another squirrel project, a small art quilt this time.

Clover at dusk art quilt

Clover at dusk
A few weeks ago, as is our routine, Chevy was taking me for a walk in the early dusk. It was a lovely evening. On our way back to the house I was enchanted by a patch of clover backed by vines of dark leaves cascading from the fence and the blinking lights of a couple of fire flies. I took a few minutes to admire it and then home we went.

By the time I got home, I was thinking that I had to capture the moment in a small art quilt. I sketched a rough image and the next day went back to check out some of the details. And that's how the Clover at dusk art quilt became a squirrel (i.e. an unplanned project - Drop Everything And Make it!) to be posted in the Dreami! linking party.

After choosing two hand-dyed fabrics from my stash, I cut up some leaf fabric and glued the leaves onto the piece. After stitching them down with FMQ, I drew in the fence and FMQ it.

The beginning of Clover at dusk art quilt
The next step was the embroidery of the clover and grass. I used the lazy daisy stitch for the clover leaves. The embroidery took a couple of enjoyable evenings as I listened to audio books.

I then added the batting and FMQ around the clover and in the grass, as well as around the leaves and the outline of the fence.

I attached a backing fabric using the pillow case method, turned it over, closed the opening and wrote out the label directly on the fabric. I was admiring my work when it dawned on me that I hadn't added the clover flowers! Oops :-)
Simple label written on the back fabric
I knew that I wanted to use fuzzy wool to make the clover flowers. I played around with the wool and embroidery floss and came up with these.
Clover added to the Clover at dusk piece!
Here is a close up of the clover.
Close up of the clover flowers.
Finally came the time to add the fire flies - a couple of shimmering off-white beads did the trick.

Clover at dusk with fire-flies
What I learned
  • There were many lessons learned in this wonderful mini project. Because it was unplanned and small, it was much less intimidating than most projects - just an idea and the challenge of making it in cloth!
  • After sketching out the original idea, I'm glad that I was able to go back the next evening to check out some of the details. If I had waited longer, I would have been out of luck since the scene is no longer there  - the owner mowed his lawn :-) 
  • Behind the hand-dyed fabric, I used an interfacing that I found in my stash. I'm not sure what kind it is, but I'm going to look into it because I really like it.
  • The internet is really a great aid. I just found some generic pictures of metal fences and the clover flower to help me with the details.
  • I wanted to add a little colour to the grass and found a variegated embroidery floss with some of the greens of the grass that also a little beige and purple. It worked in really well.
  • I make it sound easy in the description of my process, but I was tired and it took me three tries to get the backing on correctly...I kept sewing the fabric right-side up! 
  • The backing has a few stitches for the clover flowers and the fire-flies. It's not a big deal, but hopefully next time I'll finish the embroidery before adding the backing 😊
Linking Parties

Project Details
Clover at dusk

Clover at dusk
7½" x 8½"
Materials: hand-dyed fabric, commercial fabric, glue stick, beads
Techniques: hand embroidery, free motion quilting, beading

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Progress on hexie and neutral quilts

I have two quilt projects on the go, and today I'll be sharing my progress on both.

Epic Neutral Bow Tie Quilt

I wrote a post on my Epic Neutral Bow Tie quilt in June. As I mentioned there, I really love this quilt since it's fairly easy but interesting and it can be made a batch at a time. I've finished my second batch.
Epic Neutral Bow Tie Quilt - a few more blocks
It's great when you can put a few of these blocks together to see what it's starting to look like.

Epic Neutral Bow Tie Quilt - all those brown and off-white fabrics
A third of the blocks have been made. I'm not too sure how to deal with a couple of fabrics that could easily read as very light brown or darker off-white. You can see one of these over the word "brown" in the block above. In this case, I paired it with a dark brown fabric. I think that once the whole quilt is put together that it will be fine. I'll just have to place these a little more carefully.

I'm always astounded by the variety of colours that can be included in brown and off-white. Thank goodness that they usually play well together.

Kingfisher Stitch-Along

The English Paper Piecing project is coming along quite well considering all of the hand-work involved. I really love working on it and it's perfect for doing while listening to audio books. I'm very grateful for our public library's great collection.

These were the first 5 diamonds that I put together a couple of weeks ago.

First 5 diamonds
 This is what I have done so far - slow but steady!
17 diamonds with appliqued hexies

Chevy was supervising the photo shoot
I bought a great plastic tote to organise my hexies. At the very bottom is my background fabric, then my cut diamonds, hexies ready to applique and finally a bag of scraps for more hexie flowers.
Bottom of the new organising container
The container has a second part where I can place my templates, hexies to be pieced, as well as thread and needles. I've placed the appliqued hexies on top so that they don't get crushed.

Add caption
Finally, I am using my new Selvage Love pouch to bring my hexies with me to work during my lunch break. It easily carries everything I need to sew my hexies together.
Selvage Love Pouch with sewing supplies
Today I just received the Papyrus Batiks fat quarter bundle by Hoffman Fabrics from the Fat Quarter Shop. They will make a fine addition to the three other background fabrics I have.

What I learned
  • Amazingly enough, progress is good and there have been few lessons to learn to date. 
  • I'm just going to have to work through the very light brown or darker off-white issue for the Epic Neutral Bow Tie Quilt. It's nothing major, as long as I'm consistent and that I pair these with very dark or very light fabrics.
  • My organising tote has come in handy. I've also lugged around my Selvage Love pouch - it's really useful, and both will continue to be useful for other projects also.

Related posts

Linking parties
I will be linking up this post to many linking parties. Check them out to see what's happening. Monday MakingMain Crush MondayDesign Wall MondayMoving It ForwardLinky TuesdayTuesday Colour Linky Party, Let's Bee SocialNeedle & Thread Thursday, Silly Mama Quilts WIPs, Free Motion Mavericks, Finished or Not Friday, Friday Foto Fun, Oh Scrap!, Slow Sunday Stitching,

Thursday, July 19, 2018

TGIFF and Batik Lap Quilt Finish

Welcome to this week's TGIFF - Thank Goodness it's Finished Friday! It's the place to share our great finishes 😊

My finish this week is a Batik Lap Quilt for a friend. This lap quilt is made of two Los Cobos Batiks charm packs (5 inch squares) by Moda and some squares from my stash. I also quilted it using Kimono Silk Thread, which I ran out of half way through!

This was the first time that I free motion quilted (FMQ) the same design all over the quilt. It was the feather meander design that I learned from Angela Walter's FMQ Challenge earlier this year.

Finished Batik Lap Quilt

Picnic shot of the Batik Lap Quilt
I finished quilting it on Tuesday evening and bound the quilt last night. I'm pretty sleep deprived today and I promise that I won't handle heavy machinery today :-)

This morning's photo session was a real treat - sunny but not too hot. I went to one of my favourite places to photograph my work, just outside of the building I work in. Even if the grass is yellow everywhere, the brick and grasses are always great for photographing quilts.
A peak at the back

Here's a close-up shot of the quilting. The FMQ went really well except when I was quilting on the lighter blue fabric - it was almost invisible and I had a lot of trouble seeing my feathers!
Close-up of the FMQ feather meander design
What I learned
  • This was a really great project to practice my FMQ. The feather meander design is really great.
  • By the end of the quilting though, I was getting a little bored and my feathers were getting pretty creative. I just may have to play with this a little more - who knows, I could come up with a variation of my own!
  • I've learned my lesson - this is the last time that I will buy only 2 charm packs for this kind of quilt. It sort of defeats the purpose when you still have to cut more squares. 
  • I was able to put this lesson to practice because I was the June OMG link-up's lucky winner a a $25 gift certificate from the Fat Quarter Shop. I bought 3 beautiful batik charm packs to make my next lap quilt. You see? Eventually lessons learned do stick (at least for a while). Thank you so much Patty of Elm Street Quilts and the Fat Quarter Shop for a great gift. 
Related Links
Linking Parties
I'll be linking this post to the July OMG linkup as soon as it opens 😊 as well as other great parties. Let's go see what's happening around the quilting world. Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers, Needle & Thread Thursday, Finished or Not Friday, Friday Foto Fun, Free Motion Mavericks, Monday Making, Main Crush Monday, Design Wall Monday, Moving It Forward, Linky Tuesday, Tuesday Colour Linky Party,

Great news! Batik Lap Quilt was featured on Free Motion Mavericks. Thanks Muv :-)
and on Midweek Makers. Thanks Susan!
Project Details

Batik Lap Quilt 3
50" x 47"
Materials: 2 Los Cobos Batiks charm packs and other batik fabrics
Technique: piecing and free motion quilting using feather meander design

Monday, July 16, 2018

Q3 Goals for 2018

Just like last year, I missed the first two quarters of the Finish-Along, but hopefully I'll participate in the last two quarters.

Batik Lap Quilt

Since this project is my One Monthly Goal (OMG) for July, and that I received my beautiful silk thread, I'll be finishing this quilt in about another three hours of quilting. The feather meander FMQ is looking as good as I hoped 😊

Feather Meander design for the batik lap quilt

This project is also my finish since I'm hosting this week's TGIFF - I'll see you there!

Neutral Lap Quilt

I started this quilt at the beginning of June. It's going much better than I hoped. Part of the reason is that I can cut the fabric in batches after I've finished piecing the last batch. It's my favourite way of cutting and piecing - a small batch at a time. I can handle 10 or even 20 blocks, but not 80! 

Neutral lap quilt is coming along
I love working in batches

Kingfisher Stitch-Along

I'm having so much fun with this stitch-along, but it's going to take a lot longer than a couple of months to finish the quilt! My goal is to have the quilt top finished by the end of the quarter. Probably not very realistic, but I'll certainly keep at it cause someone might decide to make this much fun illegal 😊
Lots of hexie flowers and many, many more to go!

The first hexie on a diamond

Connected by a Thread Art Quilt

I've only posted a few little parts of this art quilt. It's coming along but will need some dedicated time soon to get it finished by the September deadline. How I dislike that 8 letter word....

More work required to finish this art quilt!
Art Quilt with Embroidery

The Out of the Box is putting on a display of art quilts with words, sayings, etc. at a local library. Since it's for November, I would really like to see what I can do to add words and possibly some FMQ to one of my embroideries. I found the words so now it's a matter of putting all of this together. It will be both fun and a challenge 😊 I'm sure I'll learn lots - so what's not to love?

Étude in Stem Stitching

FMQ motifs in stem stitch

Art with Fabric Blog Hop
This is an event that I love participating in. Since I'd like to be able to show it in next summer's show, it will have to be based on something that doesn't have any copyright. Buildings, ancient, medieval and Renaissance art fit well into that category, so what ever the theme, this criteria will help me narrow things down when it comes to deciding what to do.

Welcome to My House Blog Hop

I've always wondered how quilters joined the blog hops until I found Carol at Just Let Me Quilt. She hosts many blog hops and since she was looking for participants for her next blog hop, I accepted the challenge :-) I love that the only criteria is a house on the finished piece. I think I can do that! I'll see you all in September for this one.

Note: these last 2 projects don't count for the Q3 since they haven't been started, but I included them here so that I could keep track of all my plans.

What I learned
  • This should probably read, "what I didn't learn" and "what I'm doing again!" which is to over commit. In my defense, many of these projects are things that I'd like to do but don't really have to do. In reality, there are only two items that I've committed to - the Connected by a Thread and the Welcome to my House blog hop. At least, that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it 😊
  • There seems to be a pattern here about missing the first 2 quarters of the Finish Along. I think that in the winter, I just go, go, go, but in the heat of summer, I take more time to plan and reflect....maybe?
  • I expect to have a lot of fun in the next quarter. Hopefully I'll have the time to play on most of these. Like I keep telling my husband, if you're not having fun, why bother? (that's about hockey and golf but it could apply to quilting and art!)

Related links
There are quite a few related links here, so I'm just going to post the last time I mentioned these particular projects on the blog. From there, if you want, you can see their related links.

Linking parties
I will be linking this post to the Q3 Goal Setting Link-up of the 2018 Finish-A-Long,  as well as many others. Let's see what everyone is planning and doing!
Monday MakingMain Crush MondayDesign Wall MondayMoving it Forward Monday, Linky Tuesday, To-Do TuesdayTuesday Colour Linky Party, Midweek Makers, Silly Mama Quilts WIPsNeedle & Thread Thursday, Finished or Not Friday,

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Hexie Runner is done

It's been almost a year since I started this hexie runner. Finally, here it is!
Finished Hexie Runner
I used ¾" hexies to make the runner.

I made a number of hexie flowers and then played with them to see how to put them together to make a runner.
Choosing the flowers
Below is a close-up of the flowers and hexies between them.

I used darker fabric for the outside of the hexie flowers and then a lighter fabric for the middle row. The centre of the flower is a matching darker hexie.

Close-up of the flowers and hexies in-between

The other half of  the flowers and hexies in-between
Back of the hexie runner
I wanted to use the lighter fabrics between the hexies to give it some colour so that it wouldn't be too stark. The white looking fabric is used between the rows and all around the runner. It's actually not a solid but a couple of white-on-white cottons.

My first hexie table topper

The back of the runner is a beautiful blue batik. As you can see, I finished this runner the same way I had finished my original hexie table topper. Although it was a great finish for a small table topper, I found it to be very long and tedious for the runner. It is, however, a great looking finish.

What I learned
  • I was too impatient after making the small hexie table topper and I should have stopped for a longer break between making this one and the last project.
  • This project definitely fits of description of "better done than perfect". I was doing fine until I quilted and then finished the border. It's very pretty....from far.
  • I really, really hope to remember to wait until I'm truly in the mood to work on something so exacting the next time I quilt and finish a hexie project.
  • I'm not too worried about the Kingfisher Stitch-Along that I'm working on right now because these are hexie flowers that are hand-appliquéd onto the diamond fabric. As long as I'm not in a rush to finish it, it should be fine.
Related Links
Linking Parties
I will be linking up to the following link-ups. Find out what's happening around the quilting universe and make sure to link up below with your latest finish! TGIFF,  Let's Bee SocialMidweek MakersNeedle & Thread ThursdayFinished or Not Friday, Oh Scrap!, Friday Foto Fun, Monday Making, Main Crush Monday, Design Wall Monday, Moving it Forward MondayLinky Tuesday, Tuesday Colour Linky Party,

Project Details

Hexie Runner
15" x 32"
Materials: cotton fabric, hexagon paper templates and silk thread
Techniques: English paper piecing (EPP)