Sunday, April 29, 2018

First Week of Comfort Quilt QAL

Earlier this week I started cutting fabric and sewing together some large blocks for the Comfort Quilt QAL.

I'm making a few cuddle quilts for our guild to donate. It's been a few years since I made a charity quilt, so I'm going to make a few :-)

The first four blocks of Comfort Quilt
I really like the way that it's coming along.

Comfort Quilt cuddle quilt in the making
I just need to add a border to make the quilt 22"x 22" and then it's off to FMQ. I can't wait!


This project definitely qualifies as a Dreami! post (which stands for Drop Everything And Make It!), as in a totally unplanned project that just needs to be made, no matter how much else is going on.

I have a hard time resisting quilt-alongs. I must say that my self-restraint isn't that bad because there are sooooo many more quilt-alongs that I would love to join. The Comfort Quilt QAL just came at the right time - I had to buy something at Ron's in Cornwall :-) so flannel for a worthy cause wasn't too difficult to rationalize!

Art with Fabric Spring 2018

It's my favourite time of the year - spring and the Art with Fabric blog hop!

This year the theme is 1+1=3 That can mean many things, but I am interpreting it as being whimsical and different.

I started looking at surrealist paintings in my daughter's art books. I was intrigued by Rene Magritte - especially his "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" image but as much as I tried, I just wasn't inspired. I thought about Salvador Dali. Although I'm not really a fan - that doesn't mean I don't appreciate it - I was intrigued by some of his imagery. Since I only need to be inspired by it to make my own art, I finally found a painting on the internet that excited my imagination. It's called Aurora by Dali, 1948 - or is it?

When I went looking for more information this morning and couldn't find anything, my daughter did a search. It turns out that there is no painting called Aurora by Salvador Dali. The painting is actually called Sunrise by the Ocean by Vladimir Kush, 2000 (see Related Links below).

I'm scheduled to post my art piece on May 21st. Be sure to check it out 😊 Don't worry, I'll remind you!

What I learned
  • I suspected that I wouldn't be impressed with the little blocks from the Comfort quilt. There's absolutely nothing wrong with them except that they have tiny 1" blocks. I have really big hands and it's just a little too fiddly for me. I made a few to get my first quilt done but I'll probably be avoiding them, unless of course I happen to be in an extra zen mood (right!)
  • I really love Amy Ellis's new book. My favourite thing (other than the gorgeous quilts) is that each quilt had a "One at a time" section. This gives the fabric requirements for those, like me, who make their blocks one at a time. It makes my life so much easier, not having to figure out what the fabric requirements are for only one block. Thanks Amy - that was brilliant!
  • I was really surprised that Dali got so much credit for Vladimir Kush's painting. My daughter wasn't surprised - apparently miss-attribution happens a lot. It's a good thing that I have an art-historian daughter - it seems that you can't always trust the internet!
Related Links

Linking Parties
I'm linking this post to Dreami! and posting pictures of my progress on the Comfort Quilt QAL on Instagram at #comfortquiltqal.
Oh Scrap!, Finished or Not Friday, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Design Wall Monday, Moving It Forward Monday, Linky Tuesday, Let's Bee Social, Needle & Thread Thursday, Midweek Makers,

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Postcard from Sweden and Starry Bright Sky

Postcard from Sweden

It's done! The quilt top for Postcard from Sweden is finished.
Finished Postcard from Sweden quilt top in batiks
I absolutely love the quilt in the original Kona colours but could never have managed to follow the pattern. Instead I used batiks and roughly followed the values of the original, except for the last row. I didn't have enough of the correct valued fabric cut out but had many other half-square triangles, so I made due. I'm sure that this would work for the whole quilt since it's more about mixing the colours and values than it is about the specific colours.

It's a very grey day outside, so the colours aren't as brilliant as they should be, even with fancy technical adjustments. This close-up picture shows a bit more of the details of the fabrics.
Close-up of the batik fabrics
Thank you Sandra of MMM! Quilts for hosting this quilt along. This quilt top would still be in its lovely project bag if it wasn't for your deadlines and encouragement 😊
The quilt top is done!

Finishing the Postcard from Sweden quilt top was my OMG for April. Hooray!!!

Next steps: I'm not finished, am I? I'm looking forward to quilting this baby. I am going to quilt it very densely using all kinds of FMQ designs. It won't be for a little while because there is a line up in my quilt room, but with luck it will be finished in 2018.

Starry Bright Sky - Week 4, Improv

This is my absolute favourite block so far. I just love improv... minimal measuring, lots of experimenting!

Here is the first block. It has an improv centre as well as the star spikes. It was a lot of fun to make.

Improv star block
The second block is a small star improv block - you can put 4 together to make the full size block. I'll probably make a few more and sew them together.

Smaller improv star block
I used my new design wall to put the blocks together and to take pictures. It really is great. I don't know how I worked without it!
Blocks on my new design wall :-)
Here's the gang so far!
Blocks 1 to 4

What I learned
  • If I ever fell on my head and decided to make another Postcard from Sweden quilt, I would still use batik fabrics, but instead of matching the value of the original quilt, I would just place my fabrics randomly. I think that as long as there was a good range of values in the fabrics, it would come out great. This would take a fraction of the time to make.
  • I used some very light batiks from a couple of charm packs since I don't have anything that light in my stash. Getting a variety of charm packs could also work for a random version of this quilt.
  • I just love sewing pieces of fabric, cutting them and sewing them back together, without any pattern or plan. That, of course, is why I love improv piecing 😊
  • My design wall is holding up really well. I'm very happy with it.
Related links
Linking Parties
I will be linking this post to MMM! Quilt's Postcard from Sweden Quilt Along, to April's OMG once it's up as well as Alida's Starry Bright Sky link-up (my earlier post ever!) Needle & Thread ThursdayLet's Bee SocialMidweek Makers, Linky TuesdayCan I Get A Whoop Whoop?Finished or Not Friday, Monday Making, Design Wall Monday, Moving it Forward Monday,

Monday, April 16, 2018

FMQ, design wall and a quilt-along

Batik Quilt

As I mentioned in my last post, I liked the Feather Meander pattern so much that I used it in my third batik quilt. I've really had a blast quilting it, until I ran out of thread :-(

Here it is, about half quilted.

The quilted half of my batik quilt 3
I used the Feather Meander that I learned from Angela Walter's FMQ Challenge Quilt Along. I wanted to use an all-over quilt design on this quilt, since I had never done this before. This is a perfect FMQ design that you can make as large or as small as you need it to be.
FMQ Feather Meander
At the top left of this picture, you can see two blocks that haven't been quilted yet. The quilting does tone down the colours but they are still vibrant. I used Kimono silk thread from Superior Threads - a mid blue for the top, and an orange for the back.

Making a design wall

I've always wanted a design wall. I bought a little one years ago but it's too small to be useful.

Last year, I read something on the web about using Craft Board to make a design wall. I had heard of using other material, but craft board from the dollar store was right up my alley.

It took me a few months, but I finally went to my favourite discount fabric store in Cornwall - Ron's Fabric. It's only about an hour away but I don't even cross town to shop, so going to another town doesn't happen often.

He has some great fabric and also great prices on flannel - which I've used before. So I finally bought a couple of yards of white flannel to make two design boards.

Front of my new design board made of
craft board and flannel
I heard that you're supposed to put a layer of batting under the flannel, but I'm not convinced. I don't need to pin anything down. Hopefully it'll work for what I need it for, otherwise, it's very easy to pull apart and fix. I just ironed the flannel and then taped it tightly to the back side of the craft board.

The back of the design wall -
another use for duck tape!
To make sure that it worked, I placed the 5 panels that I've quilted in Angela Walter's FMQ Challenge Quilt Along on the design wall. They have been there for about 24 hours and don't seem to want to fall!
FMQ panels on the design wall.

Comfort Quilt Quilt-Along

Amy Ellis of Amy's Creative Side is hosting a quilt-along to celebrate her new book, Modern Heritage Quilts: New Classics for Every Generation. We are making her Comfort Quilt and Amy has provided the calculations for making this quilt in 6 different sizes.

I bought all of that flannel at Ron's to make this quilt. I'm hoping to make at least 4 cuddle quilts to donate to the neonatal unit through the Common Thread Quilt Guild. I made a couple a few years ago, but am way behind since I've been wanting to make at least one per year. 

If I get bored of making the same quilt, I can always make a couple of quilts from the other patterns in her book. I've drafted 6 patterns for 20" x 20" quilts based on Amy's book. We'll see how far I get😊

If you get a chance, sign up to join the Quilt-Along. It starts next week.

What I learned
  • The feather meander design is very forgiving. It took me a few tries on paper to get the hang of it. I find it harder to make it larger than small, but after FMQ a few dozen, I'm getting the hang of it.
  • I say that I'm getting the hang of it, but when I ran out of thread, I was actually quilting on the inside of the curve instead of the outside. Just for something different. 
  • I've never quilted a whole quilt with only one design because I tend to get bored. I've done fairly well on this piece and it's fun to fill in the spaces between the meandering feathers.
  • This quilting design has really helped me make feathers from any position. For traditional feathers, I have to quilt them with the stem down. I might now be able to experiment with other positions. That's always a good thing, especially when quilting large projects.
  • Thanks Angela for the opportunity to learn the Feather Meander.

Related Links

Linking Party

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Free Motion Challenge Quilt Along update

I've got a lot of projects on the go, but they're not really at a stage to include in a post yet. So here's one update:

Free Motion Challenge Quilt Along with Angela Walters

I've really enjoyed the weekly videos that Angela produces, even if I haven't watched them or practiced them in order. Since I'm behind anyway, I've decided to start with the ones I like.

From Week 7 I did both the Swirl and the Feather Meanders

Swirl FMQ pattern

Feather Meanders FMQ pattern

Feather Meanders from the back 

As I got near the end of the Feather Meanders, I could feel myself getting into a grove. That's why I'm quilting my friend's batik quilt with Feather Meanders. I love it!

Week 8 was Clam shells.

Angela just drew the horizontal lines to make the different rows even but I drew in the first row of clam shells to make sure that they would be relatively even. As you can see, I tried a few variations based on both Angela's tutorial and her eye candy.

Clam shells and a few variations

From Week 6, I practiced the Serpentine. That was tough, even if I practiced a lot with pen on paper. I've always had problems with "S" curves. I seem to have a flair for curls more than "S" curves!

"S" curves or serpentine
What I learned
  • I thought that it would be a great idea to work on sandwiched blocks instead of a whole quilt. In theory it sounds great, but it gets really difficult when you FMQ near the edge of the block.
  • I liked the swirls a lot. If they were a little longer and elongated, they would be perfect for a windy sky.
  • I really liked the idea of clam shells within clam shells (the top right).  
  • My cathedral windows didn't really come out well because the original clam shells were more long than wide. I think that it's best if it's worked within a square, like a grid.  
  • My "S" curves or Serpentine stitch may not be individually great, but when there's a whole wack of them, it's not quite as bad. I think that as long as you don't make something really wildly off, it will probably end up blending in. I don't think that I'll be making rows of Serpentine again but I do like them in smaller areas within a quilt.
  • If you want to practice your FMQ, this is a great way to do it. However, when FMQ on real quilts with fabric that isn't a solid, and using thread that blends, FMQ is very forgiving - thank goodness. 😊 
Related links
Linking parties

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

A great show

Fibre Fling 7, the Out of the Box Artist Group's annual show was a success! There was actually a line-up on Friday morning to go in :-) How impressive is that? I worked at the show on Friday afternoon and it was quite busy.

In this post, I thought that I would show you a couple of my friends' pieces as well as my own. There weren't as many pieces on display this year but the quality and variety was wonderful. It was also nice that the art work was less crowded.

Gaia, Mother Earth

My two destination art pieces looked good together.
Reason & Passion really looked great against the black background.

Here are two pieces by my friend and past-colleague, Kathy Lajeunesse. She has been working with felting and is doing some great work. I love her piece "Just before the storm". Doesn't that sky look like a storm is brewing? The embroidered flowers in the foreground are really effective.

"Just before the storm" by Kathy Lajeunesse
Her other piece was "Connected Trees" which was inspired by the book "The Hidden Life of Trees" by Peter Wohlleben. 

"Connected Trees" by Kathy Lajeunesse
One of the pieces that really stood out for me was this collection of embroidered pieces by MaryAnne Toonders. It's called "Fifty two" and features, in theory, 52 weeks of embroidered pieces. I really love the movement and colours of her piece. I'm very happy to have met her during the show.
"Fifty two"  by MaryAnne Toonders
Here is a close-up of her stitching and fabric. Aren't those fabrics just yummy?
Close up of "Fifty two" by MaryAnne Toonders

I'm not very consistent with making labels for my quilts, but I usually get around to it, either before I give it away, or before a show. 

I love trying out new ways of making interesting labels. My go-to are 4" foundation pieced blocks from Quilting on the Square (see Related links). This is what I used for the Gaia, Mother Earth piece.
Foundation paper pieced label for Gaia, Mother Earth

For the Islas Canarias piece, I found some of the original backing fabric which just happens to have lines to keep my writing straight.
Label for Islas Canarias art quilt

For the Reason & Passion quilt, I wanted to incorporate a copy of Joyce Wieland's original quilt in the label. I didn't find the photo transfers that I originally did for this label. Thank goodness I had printed up an extra sheet of the picture (mirror image) so that I was able to make a couple of photo transfers for the label. There really is nothing to it except that it takes about 24 hours to dry. After that it was just a matter of framing it.
Photo transfer image of the original quilt by Joyce Wieland

Road sign for the show
What I learned

  • I really enjoyed participating in the Fibre Fling show.
  • Next year I'm going to have to volunteer early to help set up the show. It just wasn't the same this year since I wasn't able to help set up.
  • It looks like we may have another show coming up. They will be discussing this at next week's meeting. Looking forward to that. It's so rewarding to actually have pieces in a live show. Let's face it, pictures, no matter how good, never quite do a fibre piece justice.
  • I'm always inspired by looking at fibre art by other artists.
Related links

Linking parties

I will be linking up to a few linky parties. Why not check out what others are doing? Monday Making, Main Crush Monday, Design Wall Monday, Moving it Forward, Linky Tuesday, Oh Scrap!, Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers, Needle & Thread Thursday, Off the Wall Friday, Finished or Not Friday, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?,

Sunday, April 01, 2018

March finishes and April beginnings

I've had a great time with a friend. A weekend full of playing, gabbing and eating. Of course the playing involved textile - and even paint!

Colour Vie Pigment System

In the fall, Gunnel Hag was a guest speaker at the September Out of the Box meeting. She is a textile artist who became allergic to commercial dies. She worked with a company to develop the Colour Vie Pigment System which is water-based and eco-friendly. I bought a starter set at the meeting and was hoping to visit my girlfriend, the artist, to try these out. Well my girlfriend is visiting this weekend and we've been playing with Colour Vie.

We did some experimenting with the colours and this is my practice fabric. I think I'm really going to like making marks with Colour Vie.
Trying out and making marks with Colour Vie
Do you remember the FMQ project below from my Learning Quilt-Along ? Lyne and I have started painting little bits of it. It's pretty slow going.

The back of the wholecloth quilt

The blank canvas that we are painting :-)
The painting is coming along. I'll share this with you in a future post.

Starry Bright Sky - Block 3, Origami

For our third month, Alida had us create a star with fabric doing origami.

Origami star

Free-Motion Challenge Quilting Along

I've joined Angela Walter's Free-Motion Challenge Quilting Along. I've missed a few weeks but hope to catch up, or just to do them when I can. I was hoping to make a quick Quilt-as-you-go quilt based on Angela's suggested quilt top, but that's not going to happen. I am doing a Quilt-as-you-go technique but only with solid blocks.

Every week Angela presents two FMQ techniques. Week 6, when I started, was Machine Quilting Wavy Lines & Serpentines.

Wavy lines block

Back of the wavy line block 
I've been drawing the serpentine block for a couple of days. This one is very difficult for me.

One Monthly Goal

I'm hoping to finish my Postcard from Sweden quilt top by the end of the month. Technically it needs to be ready for April 3rd and then quilted by April 11th, but that's only 10 days who knows.

I do have a more recent picture of what is done so far.

April OMG -
Postcard from Sweden quilt top
Great news! Susan of Midweek Makers featured my quilt top on her colourful quilts to herald spring! Thanks Susan 😊

Fibre Fling 7

Fibre Fling 7
To-Do Tuesday: This week I have to finish getting ready for Fibre Fling 7.

I have two quilt labels to sew on the back of my quilts and I have to prepare the bags to delivery the quilts in.

What I learned
  • I really enjoyed making different marks on the practice fabric with Colour Vie. The medium is really great to work with.
  • However, painting all of those really small sections of my wholecloth quilt reminds me too much of the paint-by-number that I ruined when I was a kid. There was no way that I was using more than one brown to paint the ceiling of the Last Supper! 
  • There are a lot of very fiddly little areas to paint (like the paint-by-number), although I least I get to choose my own colours.
  • The Starry Bright Ski Origami block was very difficult to make. I learned years ago that I don't do origami! That's my son's strength, so I did the first part of the folding and he completed it.
  • I am looking forward to doing some of Alida's extra textured 3-D blocks.
  • I'm really enjoying Angela Walter's videos of FMQ designs. I've always had problems with "S" curves, which she calls serpentines. I'm sure that if I practice them enough that I'll get them. I start off well but eventually the echoing either starts getting flat or too curly 😊 
  • I decided that since I'm starting the FMQ challenge late, that I would do a quilt-as-you-go quilt. It's going to be fairly simple, and I can join each quilted block (of different pinks and purples) once I'm done.
  • I'm following Jera Brandvig's instructions in Quilt As-You-Go Made Modern, for joining the blocks. 
Related Links
Linking Parties
I am writing this post at the last possible minute to link up to Starry Bright Night link-up. Let's see how everyone's origami blocks came along. I will also be linking up to April's OMG Link-up the Postcard from Sweden Quilt Along as well as To-Do Tuesday. Off the Wall Friday, Monday Making, Main Crush Monday, Design Wall Monday, Moving it Forward, Linky Tuesday, Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers,