Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Free Motion Mavericks and Inspiration

Welcome to Free Motion Mavericks (Week 218) link-up.


I haven't done any FMQ since the weekend, so I thought that I would just re-post the project inspired by my trip to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The link to the post is in the Related links below.
Dark and light thread drawing to create the lines

Ultramarine Blue
by Ron Martin

The addition of gauze and tulle 

A FMQ Inspiring Idea

One of the blogs I follow is Third Floor Quilts. Teresa Duryea Wong is very knowledgeable about Japanese quilts and fabrics. She is a great quilter and author of three books. Her post on February 6, 2019, was How to lift weight of large quilt while free motion quilting. She has graciously allowed me to include a couple of photos in this post.

Essentially Teresa installed a portable photography stand behind her sewing machine to help her lift the weight of the quilt while she FMQ. You can read her post - the link is in Related links below.
Suspending a large quilt to FMQ

with the use of a portable photography stand
Isn't that a great idea? And you can even use the photography stand to take photos of your amazing quilting! 😊

Related links

Linking parties
I will be linking this post to some great linky parties. Why not see what's going on in Quilt land? Linky Tuesday, Silly Mama Quilts WIPs, Needle & Thread ThursdayCan I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Main Crush Monday,

Thank you to everyone who linked up two weeks ago. A special thank you to Susan of Quilt Fabrication, for linking up her amazing Mediterranean Rose Quilt. If you didn't see it, you really should check it out!
Mediterranean Rose Quilt. by Susan of Quilt Fabrication

Inlinkz Link Party

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Travel, Art and a DrEAMi!

This week I traveled to Montreal by train to see some great art, eat wonderful food and spend some quality time with my daughter.

Kent Monkman
Shame and Prejudice
A Story of Resilience

On Thursday, we saw Kent Monkman's exhibit, Shame and Prejudice - A Story of Resilience, at the McCord Museum. Kent Monkman is an amazing First Nation artist and storyteller. His work is funny, sad, colourful, provocative and socially relevant. I went through the exhibit twice - first by myself and then with my daughter, who answered my questions. It was great to be able to discuss this exhibit with her. If you're interested, check out Kent Monkman and the exhibit in the Related links below.

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Wire Mobile by
Alexander Calder
The next day we spent several hours at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. I've been there before to see special exhibits, but this was the first time that I took the time to go through the rest of the museum. 

The special exhibit was on Alexander Calder: Radical Inventor. Alexander Calder was an American artist who had a degree in mechanical engineering. He went to Paris during the 1920's and hung out with all of the artists, writers and musicians of the time. 
Calder metal mobile with a blue wooden background
A fun and colourful fish mobile
made of wire and glass by Calder

Silkscreen printed fabric by Alexander Calder (1949)

He was very versatile and worked with all kinds of materials, especially metal. He is well know for his circus pieces as well as the creator of mobiles

Calder even made jewelry and designed fabric. This is one of two silkscreen printed fabrics that he designed in 1949. The motif reflects his mobiles as well as the shapes that he used in his work. 

Isn't that fabric wonderful? It looks like a retro pattern from the 60s! His work may not seem like a big deal today, but he was a man ahead of his time.

Ultramarine Blue by Ron Martin

Ultramarine Blue at the
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
There was some very cool art but the piece that intrigued me the most was Ultramarine Blue by Ron Martin. Ron Martin in a Canadian artist living in Toronto. This piece, acrylic on canvas, was created in 1971. He explored working with one colour for ten years, from 1971 to 1981.  It started with Ultramarine blue and bright red and then he spent many years working with black.

Although I'm not often attracted to monochromatic pieces, I just love the variations of the blue as well as the mouvement. It makes me feel happy and free. As usual with art that I like, I started wondering if I could use textile to create the same kind of effects.
Ultramarine Blue by Ron Martin
My Blue Painting

I started by trying to create these lines of mouvement  with thread. I used darker thread to make lines and swirls for the background. I created many parallel lines to get the impression of brush strokes.  
Creating the background mouvement using dark blue thread
I added lines of lighter thread but it became obvious that using parallel lines of thread just isn't the same since the brush strokes are full of paint, not empty. So now what?
Adding  lighter blue thread
I went to my stash and made wider brush strokes using bits of tulle and gauze. Again, I started with the darker background and then added the lighter fabric. I think that it's starting to look more like brush strokes. Unfortunately this is as far as I can go since I only had a little bit of light blue tulle. 
My Blue Painting so far
What I learned
  • I love looking at art, but it's becoming clear to me that I'm always looking at it through my own textile lens. 
  • For example, I liked the Alexander Calder exhibit but all I wanted to do was add bits of streaming fibres on those lovely mobiles. 
  • It was great learning more about Ron Martin - turns out my daughter knew who he was! It's funny but as I looked at some of his work, there is definitely a textile vibe there, even if he works with paint.
  • My Blue Painting is my DrEAMi! project this month - as in DRop Everything And Make It!, the linky party hosted by Sandra at mmm! Quilts. I've missed the last couple of link-ups, so I'm glad that I'm on time for this one :-)
  • This week, between the Funky Square Flower Mola and My Blue Painting, I have two more WIPs to finish! I think that UFOs and WIPs are much easier to make than finishes 😊
Related links
Linking parties
I will be linking up to DrEAMi!, with Sandra at mmm! Quilts and Free Motion Mavericks with Muv.  Don't forget to check the out as well as these other fun link-ups. Monday Making, Design Wall MondayMoving it Forward, What I Made Monday, Wandering Camera, Tuesday Colour Linky Party, Midweek Makers, Off the Wall Friday, Finished or Not Friday, Friday Foto Fun, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Dust Off a Quilt Book Blog Hop Mola Style

Welcome to the Dust Off a Quilt Book Blog Hop!

Molas! by Kate Mathews
The book I dusted off is Molas!: Patterns, Techniques & Projects for Colorful Applique by Kate Mathews. I've been looking at this book in my bookcase for several years but never got around to reading and trying it out. Since I've been enjoying doing hand-work recently, I thought that it would be the perfect book and technique to try.

What is a Mola?

A Mola is a textile tradition of the Kuna, an aboriginal people from the Panama area. I'm sure that you've seen their work - it is bright, hand-made, using reverse appliqué and appliqué. For the reverse appliqué, they can have up to 7 layers of different colours of solids. Pieces can also include embroidery. Traditional pieces are used as part of their blouses.

Funky Square Flower Mola

Here is my interpretation of a Mola. I wanted to use an original pattern that wouldn't look out of place in a Mola. I thought that the square flower that I free motion quilted a few weeks ago might work.
My interpretation of a Mola.
I started with three layers of Kona cotton since I didn't want to make it too complicated and didn't want to sew through too many layers. As you can see, the hot pink is the top layer, followed by maroon and then light pink. 

I started by drawing the square flower with a Frixion pen and then cutting around it, adding about a ¼" so that I can turn over the edge to appliqué. Cutting around the flower gave me a maroon background, which is what you see around the hot pink flower.

The next step was to cut the maroon fabric to let the light pink fabric show. I could have cut deeper into the maroon so that there would be light pink between the petals, but my appliqué skills weren't up to it. Two of the spaces between the petals are deeper than the others, mostly because they were wider. The light pink is actually my backing.
Reverse-appliqué to let the maroon and light pink fabrics show
Adding light green between the layers
One of the techniques used in the making of Molas is to add other coloured fabric between the background layers. In this instance, I placed light green fabric beneath the hot pink layer, but only along the edge of the piece. I then cut through to the light green fabric for the three smaller leaves as well as the middle of the larger leaf. The dark green leaf was appliquéd and then I cut (very, very carefully) through the layers to get to the light green.

I embellished the leaves with embroidery and also couched some yarn for the stem. This project has been great to practice my TAST embroidery stitches.

I used the same technique to add the yellow and lilac rectangles, but this time I cut the top hot pink fabric and inserted small scraps of the new fabric under it. Last night I went into my stash of beads, stones and buttons to embellish the rectangles.

Adding other colours to the mix

Embroidering a butterfly 
and practicing my TAST stitches

I needed to add something to the bottom of the piece but didn't have the time or patience to do more appliqué. I used 3 strands of embroidery floss as well as some perle cotton.
Creating huge blanket stitches
What I learned
  • This technique is quite demanding (as in finicky) so I found it difficult to do. I have very large hands and fingers that are not very nimble - so I find doing needle-turn appliqué and reverse appliqué difficult, unless the pieces are quite large.
  • As I mentioned, I was quite happy to stop appliqueing. Embroidery and other embellishment are also fun and will make my piece unique.
  • Having lived with first nation people (I married into the family), I am very sensitive to cultural appropriation, so the last thing I wanted was to create a traditional Mola - although I needn't worry - my skill level is really not up to it.
  • I found that doing embroidery around the reverse applique was a great way to hide my less than perfect stitches.
  • I'm not very good at doing anything for a long time, so I didn't even try to make my fly stitches even around the edge. Since this was for fun and my first piece with such extensive and varied embroidery stitches, I gave myself a lot of slack. I know that practice makes us much better and I'm sure that I will use some of these techniques eventually, although probably not extensively - it's just wasn't that much fun 😊
  • I find it so liberating to just let myself play with what I want. I do make an effort to give new techniques a chance but sometimes it's pretty obvious what I could keep doing and get good at and what would just be plain tedious for me.
  • Finally, this piece is not quite finished. I'm going to add more beads and figure out what to add on the top. I'll post my finished piece soon - so come back to check it out!
Related links

Linky parties
A HUGE thank you to
beaquilter for hosting this party!
I will be linking this post up to several linky parties. Needle & Thread Thursday, Silly Mama Quilts WIPs, Midweek Makers, Tuesday Colour Linky Party, Linky TuesdayOff the Wall Friday, Monday Making, Moving it Forward,

Below are the links to the other great participants in Dust Off a Quilt Book Blog Hop. Check them out to see what's everyone has dusted off!

Monday Feb 18th
Turid at densyendehimmel
Pamela at Pamelaquilts
Joan at Moosestashquilting
Anne at Seams like a plan
Susan at Desertsky Quilting
Selina at Selinaquilts
Kathleen at Kathleenmcmusing

Tuesday Feb 19th
Cindy Stitchin At Home
Jennifer at Curlicue Creations
Stephanie at Steph Jacobson Designs
Kathy at Kathy's Quilts
Shasta at High Road Quilter
Theresa at bumbleberry stitches

Wednesday Feb 20th
Sharon at Vrooman’s Quilts
Suzy at Websterquilt
Nancy at Patchwork Breeze
Karrin at Karrin's Crazy World
Denise at crafTraditions

Thursday Feb 21st
Anita at Domestic Felicity
Leanne at Devoted Quilter
Jennifer at Dizzy Quilter
Carla at Creatin' in the Sticks
Lee Anne at Podunk Pretties
Andree at Quilting & Learning-What a Combo! (that's me!)

Friday Feb 22nd
Bea at Beaquilter
Barbara at Bejweledquilts
Laura at Slice of pi Quilts
Sherry Powered By Quilting
Pat at Life in the Scrapatch
Carol at Just let me quilt
Kathy at Kathy's Kwilts and More
Marian at Seams to be Sew
Brenda at Songbird Designs

Monday, February 18, 2019

Green Garden Gate mini art quilt

My final mini art quilt is finished! The first three were enjoyable to make, and not too difficult, but this one was tough. I had decided to try one last time before giving up - and then I made it.

Green Garden Gate

I had the perfect background, which was probably part of my problem, but didn't know what to do with it. I started by embroidering some of the designs. Chain stitches for the swirls and French knots over them.

Now what? When in doubt, add a twig or two!

After running some errands, I cut a couple of twigs from one of our trees in the yard. I decided that this last attempt would incorporate some weaving. I attached the branches to the fabric using green embroidery floss and placed the floss across the two twigs to make a warp.

Weaving with many types of yarns
I took out some of my lovely yarn and started weaving. I then couched some more yarn to the twigs themselves and then beaded them. I still had no clue what I was doing.
Woven and beaded garden gate
Next I used a piece of the background fabric that I had folded, accordion style. I attached the two ends of that around a little piece of branch that was sticking out, trimmed it and then used this lovely green and blue voile fabric inside it to make a flower.

The voile was attached to the outside of the flower and beads were added both inside the flower, around the edges where both fabrics met, and on top of the inside fabric.
Using the branch as a support for the flower
I tucked a lighter voile fabric behind the woven gate and sewed on a lotus flower shell(?) button to add a little bit of interest. Finally I added the gorgeous turtle button on the bottom. At that point, I called it finished!

It's too bad that I didn't get to take a photo of all four minis together. Here are the other three.
Mellow Yellow, Blue Moon and Peek-a-boo Red
What I learned

  • I'm not sure how I feel about this piece. It gave me such trouble that I don't know if it's ingenious or plain bizarre. 
  • There were definitely many lessons learned.
  • First and foremost, don't attach the background to the canvas until you finish embroidering, sewing, beading, etc. It just made everything very difficult.
  • The reason I did that is because the twigs needed to be held down to weave. In hind sight, I could have taped them to a flat surface and then added them to the background!
  • I don't know what to make of the flower. It probably could have used more contrast but I wasn't sure that I wanted it to show too much.
  • If you suspect that this mini was late - you're correct. We got an extension, thank goodness!
  • I feel like I had to try to hard to make this one. I think that I was focusing on the green fabric too much and just didn't know what to do with it.
  • I also think that four minis using mostly one colour was a huge stretch for me - I would much rather be told what technique or material to use than to be bound by a specific colour.
  • Making four of anything is probably a few too many 😊 for me.
Related links
Linking parties
This post will be linked to some cool linky parties. Why not check them out? Monday Making, Design Wall Monday, Moving it Forward, What I Made Monday, Linky Tuesday, Tuesday Colour Linky Party, Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers, Needle & Thread Thursday, Off the Wall Friday, TGIFF,

Project details

Green Garden Gate
5" x 7"
Materials: twigs, cotton, buttons, toile, embroidery thread, yarns, beads
Techniques: weaving, embroidery, beading

Reminder: The Dust Off a Quilt Book Blog Hop is on this week. My turn is Thursday, so please come back to see my Mola post! Until then, here is the link to the blog hop.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

I Heart Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to Free Motion Mavericks (Week 216) link-up. As a tribute to Valentine's day, I have a  💗 themed project and some Free Motion Quilting (FMQ) designs.

Planting Seeds Mini

Planting Seeds is a foundation paper pieced pattern that came into my inbox from Stephanie of Patch + Dot. Since I knew that I would be hosting Free Motion Mavericks on Valentine`s day,  it seemed like the perfect opportunity to make something quick to FMQ.
Planting Seeds top
Foundation paper pieced

Both halves of the heart

The fabric for the background is not typical but I think it works.

Some FMQ hearts inside the heart

Planted Seeds Mini - pattern by Patch + Dot
Free Motion Mavericks and FMQ Heart Designs
This week I went through the book, FMQ 180 Doodle Quilting Designs that was compiled by Karen M. Burns. The pattern that I played with was Spiral Heart designed by Lori Kennedy.

Here are some of my doodles. The hardest part was making the designs connect.

Here are some of the results.

This is a variation of Spiral Heart but with an echoed heart in the middle.
Spiral Heart with echoed hearts

More Spiral Hearts and LOVE right from the 70's
Hearts are one of the shapes that I can draw fairly well. These are clusters of them. They tend to be easier to link together.
Clusters of hearts
 This is my favourite heart cluster with a couple of curls
Heart cluster with curls
 Another Spiral Heart with an echoed heart and to the left, a heart flower.
Spiral Heart and a small heart flower
What I learned

  • As I mentioned, the hardest part was making the designs connect. The second hardest part was getting both sides of the spiral to match!
  • I really should have chosen thread that didn't quite match so well. The truth is that I'm a chicken....I don't want all of my mistakes to be too noticeable. 
  • However, when I ran out of the matching thread, I used a light gray thread that was a little more visible. I'll keep working on my courage - maybe a thread that is just a little too dark to match?
  • To the right is an image of Patch + Dot's pattern since her mini is so different from mine 😊 
  • As I was sewing on the binding, I remembered that I could have used my extended-border binding technique. It would have been perfect for this situation, but of course, I would have had to plan it!
Related links
Linking parties

A big thank you to Muv for linking up her River Thames lap quilt. It's really lovely. You can see her finished quilt here. I just love her coffee mug background (even if they drink tea, but it could be for hot chocolate or even better, a hot toddy!
Thames River lap quilt - quilted by Muv

Inlinkz Link Party

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Improv Challenge

A couple of weeks ago, I participated in the One Week Improv Challenge Amy Ellis #improvwithamy. I meant to post this as a Squirrel DrEAMi! with MMM! quilts but managed to miss the deadline. No worries, here's the post😊

I've made a few improv quilts and when I saw Amy's challenge, I knew that it would be a great opportunity to continue on my improv way (see Amy's new e-book in Related links below).
Amy's Creative Side

One Week Improv Challenge with Amy

I took out my batik scraps and started cutting (without a ruler) and sewing strips together.

Day 1 was all about cutting and sewing strips together.

Putting strips together

Day 2 was sewing bits together.

Sewing bits together
On day 3, Amy suggested that we add triangles to the other bits.

Adding triangles to the mix
Day 4 was a restful day using a log cabin format.

Using the log cabin format
On day 5, I tried making gentle curves
Adding very gentle curves
 Putting it all together - Days 1 to 5
5 improv blocks
What I learned
  • The Challenge was actually 7 days but I ran out of steam!
  • I do plan on doing Day 6 since it was essentially improv foundation paper piecing. That does sound intriguing but if I had waited to do that block, I might never have posted this!
  • I started the challenge on day 3 and made the first three blocks and then two days later, made the next two blocks.
  • I really need to work on my curves. If you look closely at the curved block, you can see some lines that are crooked. Those are my curves...and the block is puffy 😊 
  • I'm not sure what I'll do with these blocks, but I'm considering cutting them up from their 10" to perhaps 6", using the left-overs to make more blocks and then adding some light batik fabric as a sashing. Without too much extra effort, it could make a cute baby or lap quilt. 
  • If you get a chance to check out the Intagram link below, there are some very cool improv blocks and quilts. I love the look of solids on improv but got carried away with the batiks. I think that smaller blocks with some white batik sashing would tone it down a little!
  • Thanks so much Amy for this challenge. It was a lot of fun.
Related links
Linking parties
I will be linking this post to several great link-ups. Let's see what's going on out there! Monday Making, Main Crush Monday, Design Wall Monday, Moving it Forward, What I Made Monday, Oh Scrap!Tuesday Colour Linky PartyMidweek MakersLinky Tuesday, Silly Mama Quilts WIPsNeedle & Thread Thursday, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Finished or Not Friday,

What's coming up!
On Thursday I will be hosting Free Motion Mavericks. It will be the 14th so I'll have something appropriate 💖 for the occasion. Muv is presently hosting and there are a few hours left to link up!

Next week (Thursday, February 21) I'm participating in a great blog hop. I found a book that I've wanted to use for many years now and have been having a great time. All I can say is that it's very slow stitching with lots of embroidery and embellishment. It's been very restful and lots of fun!