Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Mallard Duck Mini Finish with Free Motion Mavericks

Even without my favourite sewing machine, I was able to sew and quilt with the walking foot, my son's Mallard Duck mini. When I showed it to him, he said that he would find a spot for this one and the other two that I've made for him.

Finishing the Mallard Duck

As you saw in my Making a Mallard Duck Mini post, the foundation paper piecing went well. I always manage to make at least one piece that doesn't have enough selvage but I'm really good at problem solving 😊  I would have loved to go crazy with the free motion quilting (FMQ) but this little guy got off easy.

Finished Mallard Duck mini 

In a previous life I was a planner, but you wouldn't know it based on most of my quilting. I had planned to use my extended-border binding technique where I extend the backing fabric to make the binding, but I wasn't thrilled with the backing fabric as a binding. I ended up trimming the piece but if I had through it through, I would have added at least a half inch to the outside so that my binding would be wide enough to look like a frame. 

Carefully measuring the binding for a ½" frame

So, more problem solving to be done. I cut the binding fabric 2" wide but didn't double it. Instead I very carefully measured the front of the binding so that it would be a ½" wide all around the piece. I should be measuring my binding all the time since I tend to have some wider areas. Accuracy and consistency are not my strengths but that doesn't mean that I can't try!😊

Looking for that perfect button

When it came time to choose the perfect button, I went to my giant jar of buttons. I thought that it was a good idea to have all of my buttons in one jar (and it looks good too!) but having to find one tiny button in that jar might not be the most efficient way of storing them...

Writing the label on fabric backed
with freezer paper

The back of the mini







In case you don't know this trick, the next time you need to write up a label, iron a piece of freezer paper to the back of the fabric. It will stabilize the fabric so that it's easy to write on.

What I learned
  • I'm really happy with my finished Mallard Duck mini. I spent a lot of time getting the binding to be the same width so that it looks like a frame.
  • Sometimes I make fancy labels but I kept this one simple. Using the freezer paper really helps me write on the fabric.
  • I'm not sure what I'm going to do with my button jar. It's not like I need buttons very often, so it may not be worth changing it...again!
  • I would have loved to FMQ this little guy - I even found a great picture to follow to make it realistic. Oh well, maybe the next one.
Related links
Linking parties
I'll be linking up to many fun linking parties. Check them out! November's One Monthly Goal (OMG) Finish,  Monday Making, Design Wall Monday, Patchwork & Quilts

Project details


Mallard Duck Mini, pattern by Made By Marney
8¾" X 8¼"
Materials: commercial and batik cotton, button
Techniques: foundation paper piecing and quilting with a walking foot 





Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to week 358 of the Free Motion Mavericks' linking party. Last time, Donnalee linked up her red birds on an improv background. She FMQ her background with a serpentine design. It looks very effective. If you didn't see her post, check it out here. She also discovered that using safety pins is a good way to keep her quilt sandwich together. What do you use to keep things together (if you're not using a long-arm)?

DonnaleeQ: Red Birds Improv

Now it's your turn.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Best and Worst of Times

It's finally finished! My fabric concertina book, Best and Worst of Times is done. The workshop with Mandy Pattullo through TextileArtist.org was held in July 2020. Considering the amount of stitching in the book, a year and a quarter is not that long! lol

Fabric Concertina Book

The book is the story of the last two years. It goes from being full of fear to eventually finding joy. It's also bilingual (English and French) except for the title and end pages.

The front page is written in chain stitch on one of my first hand-dyed gray fabrics.

Best and Worst of Times, concertina fabric book

The first and second pages illustrate the beginning of the pandemic. Everywhere there was fear. No one knew what was going one and it really felt like time was standing still, especially at the beginning of that first lockdown.  I used tulle, cheesecloth and lots of dark colours. The running stitches in the background are black and prominent.

Fear (peur) is in the air

The third and fourth pages express how I escaped the gloom. In English it's called escape but in French it's called dreaming (rêver). It's about escaping in books, to the seaside, on a hot air balloon. It's also about nature, which mostly benefited from the lack of human activity that affect the rivers, oceans, forests, etc. Colours are back and there is a sliver of optimism. 

Escape (rever) - finding a way to cope

The fifth and sixth pages are about hope (espoir) and creating (faire). It's what I did after my escape time. For me, hope and creating are represented by finishing UFOs, playing with hexies, thinking about spirit, and mostly by playing with scraps and making. It's about trying new things and I did that through the workshops offered by the TextileArtist.org Stitch Club. 

Hope (espoir) and create (faire) - to make the best of it

The last two pages are about the happy ending...has it come? Well sometimes it's here fleetingly. It's about finding joy (joie) and laughing again (rire). It's full of bold, strong colours that I love.

Joy (joie) and laugh (rire) - finding the joy in life again.

The last page is made of some pinky-orange fabric that I hand-dyed. I love the top and bottom fabric which is what you get when you dye white-on-white fabric. Isn't that fun? You can see larger versions of all of these photos by clicking on them 😊

The End? or The beginning....

Making my first YouTube video

If you're interested, I've also uploaded a short video on YouTube (my first one!) of the entire fabric concertina book, Best and Worst of Times. I hope that you like it. You can click on the link below the image to take you there.

Best and Worst of Times

What I learned

  • In my first post in July 2020, I wrote that I was missing that second layer to stitch through. Since I've been doing a lot more hand-stitching, it's not really an issue any more.
  • I also wrote..."Hand stitching is called slow stitching for a reason - the concertina book may end up being a longer term project since it's demanding a lot of stitching." Famous last words....see, 16 months is medium to long term!😊 
  • This project sat for a long time until I needed things to stitch for my #100dayschallenge on Instagram. It was great working on the book. I used a lot of variegated Superior Threads. It was a lot of fun.
  • I just realised that I didn't make a label for the concertina book - I'll have to tuck in my name and the date somewhere!
  • At work this last year, I've learned to manipulate videos. This served me well for the recording of the video.

Related links

Tools that I used to manipulate my video 
  • I downloaded a Video Convertor to my phone so that I could compress my original video enough to send it to my email. After that I used
  • Kapwing, which has a free online version that is great to trim video, add images, text, etc.

Linking parties

I'll be linking to many fun linking parties. Let's check them out! Put your foot down, Patchwork & Quilts, Monday Making, Design Wall Monday, 15 Minutes to Stitch 2021, Wondering Camera, Free Motion Mavericks with Muv, Midweek Makers, Off the Wall Friday, Peacock Party, Oh Scrap!, Slow Sunday Stitching, Mosaic Monday

Project details

Best and Worst of Times, fabric concertina book

Size: 6½" x 5¾" by 45"

Materials: hand-dyed cotton, tulle, thread and cheese cloth; buttons, hexies, commercial fabrics, 

Techniques: appliqué, ruching, embroidery, free motion stitching

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Making a Mallard Duck Mini

About a year and a half ago, I promised my son a third mini for his apartment entrance. My timing is off since he’s moving in a few weeks to another apartment. I really hope that he’ll have somewhere to hang up, or even use these as mug rugs.

Foundation Paper Piecing a Mallard Duck

I’ve used a few of "Made by Marney" foundation paper piecing patterns. I particularly like her Woodland Animals series. 

Mallard Duck mini - so far
I love this little guy. As you can see, I haven’t cropped it yet.

Since my Jag is still in the shop and will be for another few weeks, I decided to do some basic quilting with my walking foot. It went ok. I had a hard time seeing if the stitching was going in-the-ditch or next to it. It was generally good enough – it’s not my favourite thing to do and frankly I’m only slightly better at it with my Jag 😊

Un-stitching the quilting
I got ambitious late one evening when I should have known better. I decided to use my walking foot to follow the not-so gentle curves of the water. Of course I wanted to get right to it, and didn’t adjust my stitch length, which would have been fine if the stitching had been good, but as it was terrible, I had one heck of a time un-stitching it.

I remembered a tip from Jackie Gering in her Craftsy class, Creative Quilting With Your Walking Foot. If you are very, very careful, you can remove your quilting stitches with your rotary cutter. You just very gently rub the edge of the rotary cutter over the stitches, between the batting and the fabric. I figured that I had nothing to lose, because if I couldn’t un-stitch it, I was going to re-do part of the piece (I’m not sure if that was possible, but I would have started over if that’s what it took!) I’m very happy to report that it worked wonderfully. You can see the results in this image. 

Once it’s pressed, I’m sure that it'll be fine. The next step is to practice on a quilt sandwich. I know that I can follow the curve of the fabric if I’m very, very patient. That’s not my forte, so I’ll have to be in a good place 😊
Bear Foundation Paper Pieced,
pattern by Made by Marney
    This little piece is my November One Monthly Goal (OMG), so I’ll finish quilting it with my walking foot.  I’ll post the results on my next Free Motion Mavericks post (it’ll be a couple of days early, but I’m hoping you won’t mind!)

    What I learned
    • I’m sure that when I started quilting the curves that a voice in my head suggested that I not do it....but it didn’t scream and I wasn’t listening....so now I know that I can use my rotary cutter to un-stitch the quilting.
    • I hope that my son will put up this third mini along with the others. Now that he won’t be living alone, it will have to be negotiated! I may have to make a couple more for his girlfriend...but I won’t suggest it since that could take me another few years (sigh).
    • For some eye candy, here are a couple of minis that I've made with patterns by Made by Marney.
    • I’m using my old sewing machine. It’s a Kenmore from the 1980’s. In theory it can do FMQ. I lowered the feed dogs but it’s very difficult to get the quilt to glide – now I know why they invented products like the Supreme Slidder. I’ve never had an issue with this on my jag, but then, it is a jag! 
    Moose Foundation Paper Pieced,
    pattern by Made by Marney

    Related links
    Linking parties
    I'll be linking up to many fun linking parties. Let's see what everyone is up to! Midweek Makers, Patchwork & Quilts, Monday Making, Design Wall Monday, Put your foot down, Off the Wall Friday, Oh Scrap!

    I've linked up this post on DrEAMi. If you want to see the finished project, my latest post will be published Tuesday, November 30 at 8pm. is here!

    Free Motion Mavericks

    Welcome to week 356 of Free Motion Mavericks. It's been a long time since I hosted my last party. It was good to have a rest, thanks to Muv, but now we will be resuming our regular fortnight schedule.

    Thanks to all of you who linked up. It's always difficult to choose one quilt to feature and I do try to feature quilts and quilters who are at different levels on their journey to mastering FMQ. However, I had to feature Sandra's Fleurs quilt. What a beauty! She does all of her FMQ on a long arm, but she's the one in charge 😊!  You can see the whole quilt in Sandra's post. I really had to show you the details...Wow!

    Fleurs by Sandra at mmmquilts
    Now it's your turn!

    You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

    Click here to enter

    Wednesday, November 03, 2021

    All for One

    In July, I wrote a post "Trying to get from fine to great!" This was about my embroidery of Chevy, my daughter and I doing our "All for One" move. It was bitter sweet doing another embroidery since we are missing Chevy so much, but I did want to get this second one done so that my daughter and I would each have one. 

    All for One Embroidery

    This is the original embroidered piece, after fixing it up. It was actually easy since the fabric is mounted on a canvas. All I did was tighten some of the loose stitches from the back. It looks much better now. This is now in my daughter's room.

    All For One - Take 1

    The new embroidery is very similar. I used slightly different threads and finished the collar in a different pattern, closer to Chevy's Princess Warrior collar.

    All For One - Take 2

    This is the photo that the embroidery is based on.

    All For One!

    What I learned

    • I re-did some of the second embroidery because the thread colour didn't stand out enough. I would have thought that the cream colour would have stood out more, but I think that it might have been too close to the fabric's warp colour.
    • I considered doing something different for this second one but I really like the simplicity of it. I used my favourite stem stitch but was more careful with my stitches.
    • I'm surprised that I didn't think of tightening the thread from the back on the original piece. Since it's mounted, no one will see the back. 
    • I'm not sure that I went from fine to great but both of these are definitely better. We are both happy with them. 😊
    OMG for November
    One Monthly Goal for November

    This is my OMG for November. I've already started but I want to finish piecing and quilting it! It's the Mallard on The Lake, a foundation paper piecing mini by Made By Marney. Wish me luck!

    Related links

    Linking parties

    I'll be linking up to many fun parties, including Free Motion Mavericks with Muv - remember, you don't have to be doing FMQ to link up! One Monthly Goal (OMG), Monday Making, Midweek Makers, Put your foot down, Needle & Thread Thursday, Off The Wall Friday, Finished or Not Finished Friday, Peacock Party

    If you're looking for Free Motion Mavericks for the week of November 11, 2021, go to Muv's blog. See you next week!

    Thursday, October 28, 2021

    Trying for something different and Free Motion Mavericks

    Welcome! I do have some free motion quilting (FMQ) to show you, but not on my son's quilt...my Jag is getting a long overdue tune-up and it could take a few weeks.

    Creating an improv quilt during a playdate 

    The Out of the Box Fibre Artist Group had a playdate which I attended, since at the last minute, I had decided to take the day off work. Our playdate host, one of our members, did a great job of introducing us to improv piecing and stripes. Who knew that there was anything to say about stripes other than wide, thin, horizontal and vertical!😁

    Improv piece with Shadow Stripes

    I don't have any pictures until I got to this stage. With the FMQ, I wanted to try different effects on the solid fabrics. In the end, since I wasn't sure what to do next, I put it on my design wall and took pictures. 

    I liked the piece but it was just ordinary. What can I say...as I've started hand stitching, everything is calling out to be embellished somehow, and this piece was no exception.

    Adding embellishments

    The first thing I did was add this bright pink ribbon in one corner and then embroider fly stitches and stars. The ribbon is fun because it's translucent and has wire within the edges to give it body.

    Pink ribbon and stitching off the quilt

    After this beautiful embellishment, I had no idea what to do. So, I started thinking about what I wanted the piece to represent and made a mind-map to get me going.

    The improv shadow striped piece is now called "Glimpses of Joy". I want it to represent life, the messiness and the joys, since I don't think that we can have one without the other. The background improv piecing depicts the messiness of life where lines don't necessarily join evenly, but they are beautiful despite this.

    I started thinking about some of the things that bring me joy. There is a whole list, but I'll explore these one at a time as I make something to depict it on the quilt. The first one is the Sun.

    The Sun - source of life
    I had lots of fun making the sun. I wanted to use some yellow hand-dyed silk organza as well as cheese cloth. Since I collect absolutely everything for my art, I though of using these plastic discs that are at the bottom of Keurig coffee pods. They have these lovely holes to stitch through.

    Covering up the disk with fabric

    Stitching the fabric to the disk 












    The rays of the sun are made from a silk scarf that I bought on our trip to China. 

    The wonky heart is filled with all kinds of stuff - love, hope, fears, pain, gratitude, envy, etc. There are so many things that fill our hearts. I'm probably not finished with this one yet, but we'll see.

    The next piece is from one of my eco-prints. I embroidered it and then attached it to the piece. There is so much in nature that brings me joy, as well as learning new things such as eco-printing and stitching😊
    Embroidering on eco-printed linen


    Wonky heart full of so much stuff!




















    This is what "Glimpses of Joy" of joy looks like so far.

    It's coming along

    What I learned
    • A lot of the art quilting that I do start off intuitively. However, sometimes intuition only takes me so far, and then I need to think about the details of design.
    • I learned years ago how to create a mind-map. I mostly use it to help me think things through, and to keep me organised when I have guests over for a meal. This is one of the things that really stresses me out - so having all of the steps and considerations needed to get things done on a mind-map is my life-boat.
    • I'm still posting on Instagram. The wonky heart today was Day 45/100. Tomorrow's post will be the leaf. I'm enjoy the process of posting - not daily but about 5 times/week. It's encouraging me to keep stitching but it doesn't stress me out if I miss a day or two. 

    Related links

    Linking parties

    Free Motion Mavericks

    This is week 353. I hope that you had time go see Muv's post, Very Newly Wed, with her daughter in her wedding dress. It looks like it was a wonderful event! 

    Last time, if you didn't catch Karin's FMQ with rulers, go visit. It's well worth it! 

    Patience Corner Quilt Finished by Karin

    Thanks for visiting - it's now your turn!

    You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

    Click here to enter

    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 TextileArtist.org 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

    I posted the Hosta leaf as a squirrel at DrEAMi with Sandra at mmm quilts!
    I also linked up the Nature pictures with Wondering Camera.