Thursday, August 06, 2020

FMQ the first star on Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to Free Motion Mavericks, Week 292. Based on my last Free Motion Maverick's post, I chose one free motion quilting (FMQ) design for one of the 6 star blocks in the Pinwheels and Stars Baby Quilt. 

First Star Block FMQ Designs

The first star design with curves is done!
Star with curves

So let's go back a little. Here is the image of the FMQ design I chose. 

A curvy FMQ design that isn't too difficult

Although this design has several components, taken one at a time, they are not that difficult. It just requires some planning and practice.

I started with the feather/lotus design on the white background. I can now draw these fairly well and even - but it did take a lot of practice.

The next part was the thin loops along the star points. It's taken me quite a while to get these to be thin. I tend to make them too wide. The centre petals are a little tricky because they are not supposed to overlap. When I quilted them, I started with the ones that go to the corners of the square. Once these are done, it was easier to gauge the width of the petals going between the start points.

Drawing the design with a Fixion pen 

Star with curves - it's done!

View from the back 

What I learned
  • I'm going to have to start working on these posts before Wednesday if I'm going to FMQ the other star designs. Many of them will require practice - both by drawing and by FMQ. 
  • I've been debating introducing another colour of thread to FMQ within the star. That would help the quilt look more cohesive if I end up doing what I plan - which is to FMQ with coloured threads in the white wholecloth or centre part of the quilt. 
  • Well I did FMQ the star with a green thread. I think that it went very well.
  • I'm happy to say that I followed my plan for FMQ the star and it worked! I did the quilting this morning, early (for me), before I had a coffee. I took it very slowly. I'm very happy with the results.😀
Related links
  • Planning to Quilt Stars on Free Motion Mavericks, July 23, 2020
  • The FMQ design was inspired by this image by GF Quilts on Flicker
Linking parties
I will be linking up this post to many fun linking parties around the world. Join me and see what's going on. Put Your Foot Down, Midweek Makers, Colour & Inspiration Tuesday, Needle & Thread Thursday, Off the Wall Friday, Finished or Not Finished Friday, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Friday Foto Fun

Free Motion Mavericks

Thank you to everyone who linked up last time! I always look forward to seeing what you've all done!
Last time, Vasudha of Storied Quilts linked up her Containment quilt. It's got a great story and will be featured in the book called Quarantine Quilts: Creativity in the Midst of Chaos, due to come out in 2021. If you didn't read about it, get going (after you link up!)😀

Containment by Storied Quilts

Now it's your turn.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Monday, August 03, 2020

OMG and slow stitching projects update

Since it's the beginning of August, it's time to:
  • Clean my machine (I do this at the beginning of each month), 
  • Write about my August One Monthly Goal (OMG), and 
  • Update you on my projects.

One Monthly Goal (OMG) for August

I started another project (yes, I's getting a little ridiculous!) It's the result of the many workshops that I'm following virtually! My OMG for August is from last week's's workshop with Haf Weighton, a textile artist from Wales. Our assignment is to stitch up a medal or other embroidered piece using words and appliqué. 

I'm making a mini wall hanging for my daughter - with a saying that we've seen around and have been using to encourage each other: "ça va bien aller"

Mini wall quilt for my daughter

I found an amazing background fabric and added some of her favourite fabrics. Here is a detailed look at the applique and stitching.

Close-up of "ça va bien aller"

I have been doing a lot of hand-stitching but I just don't have the energy or time to do this one all by hand. I used some lovely, fine silk thread to stitch down the appliqué. The piece is now ready for batting, backing and free motion quilting (FMQ). I will probably add more embroidery and maybe some beads - we'll see if it needs it and if I have the time 😊

This is where the saying comes from - I think that someone's artistic grandchildren in the neighbourhood drew this in late May. Chevy wasn't impressed but she did wait for me to take a few pictures.

The first time that I saw the expression, "ça va bien aller"

Slow Stitching Update

This next piece is from the workshop of a couple of weeks ago with Gregory T. Wilkins (it's the subject of my last post - see Related links below). I made the marks on eight panels using the Colour Vie pigment system and anything I could get my hands on such as a fork, a silk flower, stamps and stencils. 

I've been working on Panel 4 ever since and I have to admit that I'm really, really loving it. I think that it's even better than regular embroidery because I don't have to be precise 😊 (and we all know that I'm accuracy challenged!)

Marks and Stitches in progress

Enjoying the randomness of the stitching

Two daisies embroidered with my hand-dyed thread

The only other piece that I've worked on a little bit is my Traveller's Blanket.

Traveller's Blanket update

I've been working on a few additional meditation stitches pieces as well as hexies to add to the blanket. I'm looking forward to adding them to it.

Dyeing more gray fabric

In my last post I said that I would like to dye some more gray fabric - well I did. I ended up dyeing a good piece of cotton that I knew would hold the dye. Even though this new fabric was in the dye bath for over 24 hours, the colour is a lot like the last one except that some yellow managed to peek through! I also ended up dyeing more perle cotton which turned out a lovely blue-gray colour. The fabric underneath it was a white-on-white.

Gray fabric with streaks of yellow

White-on-white fabric and perle cotton now a lovely gray

What I learned
  • The two gray fabrics above are more closely related in colour - it's the daylight that affected the pictures - so who knows what the colour really is😊
  • I left my Marks and Stitches piece in the living room with my threads so that I was able to get to it often during the last few days. It's great to have a project on hand to play with. I will probably rotate them so that I can work on more than one!
  • Can you tell that I'm really liking all of these projects? This week is my turn to host Free Motion Mavericks so after cleaning my machine, I'll have to FMQ at least one star. Remember to come by to check it out!
  • I have so many projects on the go that I've decided to TRY to avoid starting new projects. It's too bad because Cas Holmes is presenting this week for our Stitch Club 2020 but I can get to her workshop later. I just have to give myself more time to get a few things finished.

Related links

Linking parties

Monday, July 27, 2020

Mark-making & Dyeing perle cotton

July is almost finished! For a while it looked like it would never end....and now it's almost done! The heat and humidity has left me estivating - not going out if I can help it, so of course, that means working with fabrics, with a little paint and dye on the side to spice things up! 😊

Mark-making with Colour Vie

Almost three years ago, Out of the Box Fibre Artists Group had Gunnel Hag as their speaker. She has developed a pigment system, Colour Vie that is great to paint and screen printing. I tried it out when my artist friend, Lyne, came to visit (see Related links below). I had liked playing with them but haven't touched them since, Paint makes me nervous....

As you may know, I've been following's Stitch Club 2020 and this week's presenter was Gregory T. Wilkins. Our assignment was to make marks with paint and then add stitches to it. In two different sessions, I took out my Colour Vie pigments and made marks using all kinds of things like forks, a silk flower, stamps and stencils. I made 8 blocks on one piece of cotton fabric that was divided using green painter's tape. Between sessions, I ironed on a few pieces of freezer paper to cover some of the things I liked and I also added painter's tape to keep some spots blank.

I'm going to use Panel 4 for my workshop piece.

Here are the finished panels with the tape removed. I liked panel 4 the best for doing my project but there are various parts of each panel that I like - so one day I just might cut them up and put them back together - cause that's what quilters do! 

Eight panels with marks

I have started stitching on Panel 4. 

Running stitch and French knots
using #12 perle cotton
Running stitch and satin stitches
The centre is #8 perle cotton

The red/raspberry perle cotton that I used is the thread that I dyed a few days ago.😊

Lots of possibilities for embroidering some of the marks!

Dyeing perle cotton

My artist friend, Elaine Quehl, has taught courses in fabric and thread dyeing. To be honest, I couldn't understand why anyone would want to dye thread....well it turns out that she mostly dyed perle cotton. Since she had some extra from her class, I bought some white #8 and #12 perle cotton and did a little bit of experimenting. Thanks Elaine for your support - I should have taken your class😊

I also tend to get nervous about fabric dyeing - so to keep it low stress, I try to work in small batches. I made 2 skeins each of white #8 and #12 perle cotton. I very carefully placed them in the soda ash and water solution. Thread can very easily tangle, so they need to be handled with lots of care!

I placed the skeins in a wash basin and covered three of them with the dark raspberry dye. I then added water to the dye and used that for the last skein of thread. 

Skeins soaking to stop the dye  
from bleeding
Drying in the hallway -
it was too cold in the basement!

Helping me keep the thread from tangling
while I transfer it to spools

Several spools of  #8 and #12 perle cotton

Since I was in the basement dyeing perle cotton, I thought that I might as well dye a little bit of fabric. I dyed some cheese cloth and a strip of linen using the left-over raspberry dye. I also cut up a piece from my mother's use-to-be-white cotton sheet to see if I could do anything with it. The sheet is in great shape, just not white anymore. For this experiment, I dyed a piece of sheet using some left-over dye from a snow dyeing class that Pat, another artist taught. The dye combined many left-over colours and was a few months old, but I figured that I had nothing to loose. I folded one end of the fabric and tied it off, while I scrunched up the other end of the fabric and also tied it.

Here are the results. You saw the cheesecloth drying in the image above.

The scrunched up and tied end of the fabric

The other end of the fabric - folded and tied 

A piece of now light pink linen

What I learned
  • I love the gray coloured fabric. What a wonderful surprise! I should dye more fabric before the dye changes. 
  • The light pink linen was only left in the dye bath for about 10 hours, while the thread was in there for over a day, so that might account for the difference. However, the cheesecloth was only in the dye bath for 10 hours also. I think that the perle cotton and the cheesecloth may have absorbed the dye well because it's only a strand and not woven tightly. If you know the answer, please let me know!
  • The first skein of perle cotton that I placed on a spool went well, for about half. Then I got impatient and it got tangled. The good news is that since I don't want to machine stitch with it, different lengths of thread on a spool is not a bad thing, as long as they are each long enough to embroider with 😊.
  • I love the dyed perle cotton. It is quite a bit of work but mostly tedious, like making the skeins and then transferring to spools. I have two colours of perle cotton - a raspberry and a pink. You can see these in the images of the embroidered paint-marked fabric.
  • I also had a great time mark-making on the fabric. I was going to stop at 6 panels but then experimented with some fun texture techniques on the last two panels. As I mentioned, all of the pieces have some lovely parts that will get used some day!
Related links
Linking parties
I'll be linking up to many fun linky parties, including Free Motion Mavericks - where you don't have to be doing FMQ to link up! Muv will be hosting on Thursday, so don't miss it! Monday Making, Off the Wall Friday, Design Wall Monday, What I Made Monday, Colour & Inspiration Tuesday, Midweek Makers, Needle & Thread Thursday, TGIFF, Finished or Not Finished Friday, Off The Wall Friday, Slow Sunday Stitching

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Planning to Quilt Stars on Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to Free Motion Mavericks, Week 290. Yesterday I searched the internet to find some fun free motion quilting (FMQ) designs for the 6 star blocks in the Pinwheels and Stars Baby Quilt. 

Star Block FMQ Designs

I've been working on this quilt for a while now, but if you don't remember, here is the full quilt.

The Pinwheels and Stars Baby Quilt
All of the pinwheel blocks have been FMQ so now it's time to work on the star blocks. Here are some possible designs for quilting them.

This first one is a variation of Leah Day's Sun Star Block. The middle circle doesn't go through the diamond shapes. I really like this one. I might play with the quilting in the background - it's not part of her design. For the links to these blocks, see Related links below.

Based on Leah Day's Sun Star Block

This design is based on Star Struck, a post on the Seams French blog. I just noticed that I missed one of the corner diamonds. See, that's what practice is for 😊

A lovely design with diamonds outside of the star

This is an Angela Walters FMQ design. I'm going to have to practice it a lot before I'm ready but I love it.

Based on an Angela Walters design

This design is based on an image of a FMQ star on Flicker. The FMQ, by GF Quilts is really stunning. This is just a small part of the quilting. You'll want to check out the link below. 
Lots of curves in this design

There are 25 designs for Ohio Stars on the AQS Blog. You'll want to check them out too! This is a variation of a few of them. I would probably quilt the circles as spirals since they are much easier to quilt, but we'll see.

Many options to choose from on the AQS Blog.

This is the design that has been the most challenging to draw on the computer (more about that in the What I learned section). The middle is based on Leah Day's Flame Flower #36. I'll show you the original image when I attempt this one. I will need a lot of practice but I love the design.

Based on Leah Day's Flame Flower #36

I like the simplicity of this design. It's a combination of the AQS blog and my own design.

Simple lines can make for a good design

These are only design that I found on the Internet. I haven't even looked in my FMQ books yet! Some of these designs, or variations of them, will become reality in the next few of my posts of Free Motion Mavericks. I hope that you'll join me.

What I learned
  • I wanted my designs to look a little more professional than my last hand drawn pinwheel designs. I really didn't account for the amount of additional time that it took to draw them using the computer.
  • I don't have anything fancy - just Paint and PowerPoint. I must say that it was easier to draw than I expected - I usually stay away from drawing with Paint but after a few attempts the straight lines were easy to add. For anything more complicated I had to use PowerPoint. 
  • I recently learned about an app for the IPad but it turns out that it's too old. Where does the time fly and how crazy is it that 4 years is old!!!!
  • I should look in my books for a couple more designs - it seems a shame not to use them!
Related links
Linking parties

Free Motion Mavericks

Thanks to all of you who linked up last time 😊 It's always fun to have guests show up at the party!

This week's feature is the Fly High! quilt by Sandra of mmm quilts. It was created as one of her RSC 2017 projects and is made up of triangles....lots and lots of them! You can tell that she had a great time playing with her FMQ designs. If you didn't see it last time, check it out. It's really amazing!

Sky High! by Sandra at mmm quilts

Now it's your turn!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Monday, July 20, 2020

Ciboulette Stitches finished

It's done! My project for Sue Stones' Stitch Club 2020 is finished. I really enjoy the time that I have to stitch.  

Ciboulette Stitches 

Here it is! I'm really happy with the finished project. I had planned to only have one flower but it really needed more, so now there are three.

Ciboulette Stitches finished!
Here is a close up of the flowers.

Close up of Ciboulette flowers 

My model for the chive flower comes from my front garden. It hasn't received much attention but I love  that the chives grow without my effort - my favourite kind of plant 😊
The Ciboulette model

This project was a lot of fun. It took me a while to come up with the woven background that I liked. 

These was my first choices of strips. I then exchanged the darker fabric for the batik. I also played around with the order of the strips and finally chose the one that I'm using.

My first choice was with
this dark fabric
I replaced the dark strip with a mauve batik

I wasn't sure if I was going to just embroider the chives or appliqué them. I ended by cutting pieces and then drawing around them. 
I cut some chive pieces from fabric and then drew around them. 

What I learned
  • Getting the strips organised for the background was fun but not as simple as I thought it would be. I just wanted to ensure that there was some light spaces where the chive flowers would be.
  • I considered appliquéing the chives but since the exercise was in stitching, I ended up stitching everything. I'm glad that I did.
  • I bound the piece like a traditional quilt but I was hoping to leave the front woven strips loose and then just bind the back and batting. I hope to try that out the next time!😊
Related links
Linking parties

Project details

Ciboulette Stitches
7¾" x 10¼" 
Materials: cotton strips, perle cotton and embroidery floss.
Techniques: weaving and embroidery 

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Slow stitching with new projects

I'm still doing a lot of slow stitching and participating in's Stitch Club 2020. I think that it's our week off, giving me time to catch up on my projects.😊

Ciboulette Stitches coming along

Two weeks ago it was Sue Stone's turn to host our stitching assignment. We cut up some strips and made a woven background for our piece. You may have seen the beginning of Ciboulette Stitches (see Related links below). I'm now ready to stitch another two ciboulette flowers (French for chives). I'm not sure what's slowing me down - probably last week's project! 😊

Ciboulette Stitches is coming along

Close-up of Ciboulette Stitches

Best of Times, Worst of Times Concertina Book

Last week our featured textile artist was Mandy Pattullo. She showed us how to make a concertina book. Her book was mostly pieces of fabric that meant something to her and played well together. I was in a more literal mood so mine is more of a story book.

Pages 1 and 2 - The beginning 

My first spread, pages 1 and 2, is almost finished. I'll be adding stitches in the background once I've finished stitching the fabrics.

Pages 3 and 4 - Wishing

Pages 5 and 6 - Learning

Pages 7 and 8 - Moving forward

Stitch Challenge Re-do

I also worked a little on my Community Stitch Challenge - Week 2 Re-do (no new name yet).

Adding new bit of fabric and stitches to the Week 2 Re-Do

What's on this week
  • I really want to finish these two Stitch Club projects. The Ciboulette Stitches only has a few hours left of stitching. The concertina book will take a while longer.
  • I really enjoyed doing some FMQ this week for Free Motion Mavericks. I may try to take some time to play with my sewing machine.
What I've learned
  • I'm still spending a lot of time getting the studio organised. I've moved the sewing machine and desk around since I'm spending more time at the desk, so it's now in front of the window.
  • I have about half of my fabrics placed in the studio - it looks like it will all fit.😊
  • As I stitch the concertina book, I find that I'm missing not having a second layer to stitch through. 
  • 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.

Related links
Linking parties