Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Gaïa's Garden

If you're interested, Gaïa's Garden is now on display at the Mississippi Mills Textile Museum as part of the Out of the Box (OOTB) artists group's Summer Fibrations Art Show.

Gaïa's Garden

It's been a long time coming. I've been thinking of this piece for about a year, wondering how I would make it.
Gaïa's Garden art quilt
I played with the placement of the fabric, one section at a time, until I liked what I saw. Some parts were easy while others were a real struggle. I'm not sure why. It may have something to do with expectations.

I suppose that this could be called the second in two series, depending on how you define the series. It's my second "fantasy garden" piece and also my second Gaïa piece. Here are the first in both series.

Morning Has Broken
Art with Fabric, Spring 2018
Gaïa Mother Earth
Art with Fabric, Fall 2017

Both of these were made for the Art with Fabric Blog Hops, Fall 2017 and Spring 2018.

Free Motion Quilting 

Free motion quilting (FMQ) this piece took a very long time. I had said that I would be using different threads, but in the end I decided to stay with the Kimono Silk thread. since it was going so well,.
FMQ all the fun details in the fabric
I remember that I started with bright yellow thread and worked on many, many pieces that needed to be FMQ in that colour. Then I got bored before I had finished with the bright yellow and changed thread and kept going to another part of the quilt. That went on for a very long time. Eventually there were only some small spaces left to fill in.

I love how the quiet space of the swamp came together
Solving a challenge

The trickiest part of this piece occurred just as I thought that I was almost finished. I had noticed that my image of Gaïa seemed to be a little lumpy. I decided that I would deal with it once I had finished putting all of the fabrics onto the piece. I ended up ignoring the problem until after the FMQ. Better to deal with it later....right?

It might not have been such an obvious problem if I had sewn down Gaïa a little more right from the start, but somehow I doubt it. All I know is that there was a largish space that had not been stitched while all around it was heavily can see it coming, can't you?

Gaïa had many sags
I might not have needed Gaïa to be svelte, but she was sagging quite a bit. Well, I've always wanted to try trapunto, so I ended up making a slit at the back of the quilt and giving her a little padding. The first time I sort of overdid it, and discovered that although I had sewn Gaïa to the background fabric, I hadn't sewn around her once the batting had been added.

I overdid the stuffing of Gaïa
I almost never un-stitch or redo things. I usually try to find a way around the problem, however after sleeping on it, I decided that it was worth while un-stuffing poor Gaïa, and at the same time sewing around her through the batting.
I added the label on top of the opening.
Here is a final picture of Gaïa's Garden, taken on the way to delivering her to the Mississippi Mills Textile Museum.
Gaïa in her fantasy garden
What I learned
  • I'm not sure that re-doing the stuffing was worth it. After finishing the piece, it seemed to be fine but in the pictures, it looks a little off. As a friend said, Gaïa would probably have a few lumps and bumps, wouldn't she?
  • I am happy that I took the time to re-do Gaïa. If I want to take my art to the next level, I will need to seriously consider un-doing work more often. I generally know right away when a problem arises but I usually talk myself out of doing anything about it. 
  • I think that if I had sewn the image of Gaïa onto a fusible web, that it might have avoided the problem and kept the image flatter. On the other hand, if I had done that, I wouldn't have a 3D art quilt😊
  • I also need to plan my FMQ a little more when filling up spaces that really show. I had practiced drawing the stitching that I wanted in the sun but ended up starting the FMQ too quickly. I ended up only one side being what I wanted. I think that being a little more deliberate would have been worth it.
Related links
Post related to the making of Gaïa's Garden
  • Summer Fibrations Art Show, June 23, 2019
  • Gaïa's Garden is coming along, June 2, 2019
  • Making Gaia's Garden, May 20, 2019 
  • FMQ practice and planning, April 20, 2019

  • Linking parties
    Gaïa's Garden has been my One Monthly Goal (OMG) for both May and June. I'm really happy to be linking up to the June Finish of the OMG. I will be linking up to Muv's Free Motion Mavericks as well as many other great linkup parties. Let's see what's going on! Moving It ForwardMonday MakingWhat I Made MondayTuesday Colour Linky PartyLet's Bee SocialMidweek MakersWondering Camera, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?, Finished or Not Friday, Friday Foto Fun, TGIFF, Off The Wall Friday, Main Crush Monday, Favorite Finish Link-up in June, June's UFO and WIP Challenge,

    Project Details

    Gaïa's Garden
    20" x 22"
    Materials: hand-dyed and commercial cottons, silk, tulle, gauze, silk thread
    Techniques: appliqué, free motion quilting, trapumto, improv piecing

    Sunday, June 23, 2019

    Summer Fibrations Art Show

    This weekend was the opening of the Summer Fibrations Art Show by the Out of the Box (OOTB) Artists Group. What a wonderful exhibit. It's at the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum in Almonte Ontario and will run until July 6, 2019.

    Summer Fibrations

    Summer Fibrations Show Panel

    Do you remember this fall and winter when I was making art minis that needed to read like these paint chip colours?

    Well the waiting is over. Here are some of the colours and the art that was made by the OOTB artists.


    Here is a group of darker green

    This is a group of lighter green

    Clover at Dusk wasn't made for the
    colour groupings but it fit right in.

    Green Garden Gate Mini

    This is my friend's green entry - Happy Frog!
    Happy Frog by Kathy Lajeunesse

    Here`s one of the red groupings

    Another collection of Red

    Peek-A-Boo Red Mini

    Here`s a light yellow collection

    A grouping of brighter yellow
    Mellow Yellow Mini
    There was also a section of pieces that were made last summer with the theme Connected by a Thread. Somehow I didn't get a picture of the entries except for my piece - Connections and Intersections.
    Connections and Intersections
    Independent Pieces

    Here are a some of the Independent pieces that were in the show.

    Kathy Lajeunesse's Magellans Clouds

    Finally, here is the piece that I've been working on for the last few months - Gaïa's Garden
    Gaïa's Garden
    I'll be writing a post about the finishing of Gaïa's Garden - there was a whole lot of learning going on the weekend before and after Quilt Canada. I did get it done in time for the show. Yeah!!!

    What I learned

    • Getting art pieces ready for a show is not always easy. For me the labels and the dowels are usually the tricky parts. After finishing my last piece it was all about getting everything ready to take to the show. 
    • I really need to attach a label and get my pieces ready to hang as soon as I finish them. I've trained myself to get the hanging sleeve done at the same time as finishing a quilt, so now it's to get into the habit of making and attaching a label at the same time! 
    • Since it was the opening and vernissage of the show yesterday, I didn't spend as much time as I would have liked to see the show. It looks like I'll have to go back!
    • I didn't take pictures of my White History of Art piece as well as my blue mini - Blue Moon but they are in the show 😊

    Related links

    Linking parties

    Thursday, June 20, 2019

    Fluffy and Lacy with Free Motion Mavericks

    Welcome to the Free Motion Mavericks link-up (week 234)

    Fluffy and Lacy

    Last week at Quilt Canada, I took a great workshop with Amanda McCavour. She's a Toronto based artist whose textile art is generally beautifully light and lacy. She really is an expert at working and teaching with Sulky Solvy products.

    During the workshop, I worked on my first two panels. The first one was more fluffy and included layers of thread, embroidery floss, yarn, ribbon and wool roving with an organza backing. I attached all of this with some meandering FMQ.

    Top layer of the first panel

    The meandering FMQ to hold it all together

    The second panel was much more difficult to make. It consisted of strands of yarn. I don't do  minimalism very well. This panel really highlights the thread work. The top third of the panel was sewn densely, both horizontally and vertically. The middle part was very loosely sewn diagonally while the bottom part was only sewn horizontally.

    Variations of lacy threads
    I made the third panel the evening after the workshop. I guess I still had some creative energy in me.  I wanted this one to also highlight the threat, but this time between thin strips of fabric. Isn't the fabric yummy? 😊 I cut the edges of Elaine Quehl's hand-dyed fat quarters. That also took a lot of courage!

    I couldn't just place them all vertically, so I wove some strips together with bits of batiks. I used my regular sewing foot to sew these together, between the layers of Sulky products.
    Colourful strips held together by threads
    My plan is to make 4 panels, but who knows, I do have enough Sulky Solvy product to make up to 8 - so I'll see where this takes me. I want to try the different techniques but I also want to make a cohesive piece. It's also possible to embellish all of these, so there are many possibilities!

    What I learned
    • I really enjoyed making these panels. It was pure play, so I want to make sure that I don't overthink the rest of them.
    • I just love the different techniques and weights of these panels. This is a truly versatile technique.
    • I've been wanting to make transparent textile art for a while, so now that I've found this technique, I'm going to have to think about it.
    Related links
    Linky parties

    Free Motion Mavericks

    Thank you Gail for linking up her Daisy Chain quilt - it really is wonderful! 
    And I can't help it, I love, love toads and frogs and all things swampy! So if you haven't seen and read about Dione's great "Hop to be Square meets Tic Tac Toad" quilt, you have to check it out!

    You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
    Click here to enter

    Monday, June 17, 2019

    Quilt Canada in Ottawa

    I'm thrilled that Quilt Canada was in Ottawa this year. I read somewhere that the last time it was here was in 2006 - so it was definitely due.

    Quilt Canada

    Quilt Canada is the Canadian Quilter's Association / Association Canadienne de la courtepointe's yearly show which includes a national juried show (NJS). This year the NJS included 150 wonderful quilts, predominantly from around Canada, as well as a few from other countries. Additionally, there were over 250 quilts in several concurrent quilt shows.

    As with other shows, there were classes, demos and presentations on all kinds of quilting related topics. The vendor mall was also interesting, with companies and retailers from across Canada.

    Wednesday, June 12

    On the first day of the show, I avoided the crowds by going around 2 p.m. I knew that I would get overwhelmed by all of those amazing quilts so I did a relatively quick walk around all of the exhibited quilts and then attended a tour of the juried show for some one-on-one with these beauties.

    Here are some of my favourite quilts from the National Juried Show.

    Hummingbirds by Marilyn Farquhar
    of Heidelberg, Ontario
    Details of Hummingbirds by Marilyn Farquhar

    Statistically Speaking by Christine Savoie of Point La Nim, New Brunswick

    Trillium Song by Millie Cunning of Fergus Ontario
    Won one of the Judge's Choice Awards
    Cherry Blossom Time Triptych by Sandra Ward, Kenora, Ontario
    Hand embroidered, hand quilted and hand appliquéd

    An interesting trend seems to be the 3D art quilts. This was one of several in the show.
    Etaim Ovis by Coreen Zerr of Nanaimo British Columbia
    3D Bighorn sheep
    This is just a small sample of the amazing quilts at the show. There is a link to the winners of the NJS in Related links below.

    I have to include this beauty from one of the concurrent quilt shows, Crossing Oceans Textile Artists. It's by a wonderful local artist, national and international teacher, exhibitor and award winner Elaine Quehl.
    Cavern 2 by Elaine Quehl as part of the
    Crossing Oceans Textile Artists show
    After spending some quality time with the quilts, I tackled the vendor's mall. I was very reasonable and only bought three books (at great prices) as well as some beautiful perle cotton for embroidering. I love perle cotton but it's very difficult to get interesting colours locally.

    The picture I sent my daughter so she could pick one!
    That evening I attended a talk by quilter David Taylor. It was very entertaining.

    Thursday, June 14

    On Thursday I worked on my last piece, Gaia's Garden, for our Summer Fibrations show. I ran into some technical difficulties but eventually overcame them. More about all the learning from this quilt soon.

    One of Sharon's many samples
    This one is a panel made by Northcott.
    Friday, June 14

    No sleeping in today! I took Sharon Blackmore's Designing with Straight Lines demo and lecture which began at 8:30 a.m. across the city. It was amazing! Sharon (helped by her daughter) is incredibly knowledgeable, approachable and had a really great presentation. I learned so much from her presentation and was sorry that I hadn't taken more of her classes.

    I wish I had taken more pictures during the class, but here is a picture of one of her samplers. This isn't really from the Straight Lines demo and lecture class but I found out that you can buy this type of panel to practice your FMQ skills. This one is from Northcott but I'm sure that there must be other companies that offer panels that look like quilts.

    After the class, I attended a very interesting lecture by Luana Rubin, the owner of She had a presentation of the several international quilt shows that she has attended this year. Here are some of the trends that she is seeing around the quilting world: hand-stitching, activist quilts, ruler and dense FMQ, 3D and off-the-edge quilts, silhouettes, as well as quilts using recycled and re-purposed objects. These trends have been around for a while, but it looks like they are becoming more main stream. If you want to see her amazing pictures of these quilt shows, see Related links below.

    After the lecture, I took a last tour of the quilt shows and made a few final purchases. The Quilt Canada notebook was given to everyone who took a class.

    In the image below you can see the booklet of all of the quilts in the National Juried Show. This is always one of my favourite purchases of the show.

    Very practical purchases - mostly thread and needles!

    Amanda McCavour,
    Toronto based textile artist
    Saturday, June 15

    On this last day of the show, I took a full day class with Amanda McCavour - Landscape Scarves with Machine Stitching. The class was mostly about using 2 different Sulky Solvy products to make scarves. Since I'm always hot and almost never wear scarves, I decided to make 4 panels using the different techniques that she showed us.

    Amanda is an amazing teacher - interesting, enthusiastic, creative and always helpful. I really hope to take more classes with her in the future since she's in Toronto (a five hour drive but in Canada, that's not so far 😊)

    I love the different effects that the water soluble products  allowed us to make. My first panel was supposed to be a landscape, but since I couldn't make up my mind, I ended up just layering the threads, floss, yarn, ribbon and then roving onto the Solvy product. I finishing it up with a layer of organza and Voila!.

    My first panel is drying after removing
    the water soluble Sulky products
    After getting the hang of this technique, it was time to try something new and very scary for me - minimalism! In this panel, I just laid down some variegated fibres in straightish lines. I couldn't help myself, I just had to add a little bit of another type of yarn. This panel is all about using stitching to create the effects.

    I separated the block in 6 sections and then used different sewing patterns to hold these in place. The top sections were sewn fairly tightly both horizontally and vertically. The middle sections were sewn vertically with some variations while the bottom section was only sewn horizontally. This should give me a very lacy panel with a lot of clear space.

    Sewing in a much more structured fashion,
    using minimal fibers.
    If you're interested in the results of this experiment, you'll have to join me on Thursday, June 20 for Free Motion Mavericks linking party. I'll have at least three panels done by then 😊.

    What I learned
    • I did get totally overwhelmed by all of this amazing art. I'm glad that I took the tour of the juried show since it helped focus my attention. 
    • As usual, I took mostly pictures of great quilt ideas and some stunning FMQ. These shows are both inspiring and intimidating. There are so many talented quilters and artists out there!
    • I'm so happy that I attended Sharon Blackmore's demo and lecture, and Amanda McCavour's class. I learned so much and met some great people.
    • As I was writing up this post and checking out Amanda's website, I realised that I had seen one of her instillation at the Textile Museum of Canada in 2016. Although I had no idea who had made it, I sure remember it! How's that for a very small world. 
    Related links
    Linking parties
    I'll be linking up to many great linking parties this week. Come and see what everyone is making! Monday Making, Main Crush Monday, Design Wall Monday, Moving It Forward, Tuesday Colour Linky Party, What I Made Monday,  To-Do Tuesday (work on my panels), Free Motion Mavericks with Muv 😊, Midweek Makers, Let's Bee Social, Needle & Thread Thursday, Off The Wall Friday, Friday Foto Fun, Finished or Not Friday, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?,

    Wednesday, June 05, 2019

    Pretty in Purple for Throwback Thursday

    Welcome to Throwback Thursday (TBT) link-up for June. I'm co-hosting for Sandra of mmm! quilts this month. If you're looking for Free Motion Mavericks, click here!

    Pretty in Purple Lap Quilt

    This was one of my first quilts, made when I was still quilting by hand. Those half-square triangles (HST) were all individually cut and sewn!

    It's really incredible how the quilting world has changed 😊

    Pretty in Purple
    This is a very scrappy quilt, made of fabrics from dresses, my favourite purple curtains, and even my mother's pillow cases since they had the perfect teal for the flower leaves and stems.

    The quilt pattern came from an insert in a Fons & Porter magazine. I couldn't find it, but I'm sure that I've kept it....somewhere. I followed the pattern except for the appliqué. I'm not sure what was in there but I substituted the flowers from another pattern.
    Pretty in Purple lap quilt
    That's a lot of HST!

    Quilt Show at the Navan Chursch

    All hand quilted
    What I learned

    • I know that I didn't make anything else with HST until I found out that there were easier ways to make them!
    • I haven't used this quilt much because it's only 42" square. It's also rather fragile - my seams were not always great and some of them have pulled apart.
    • This quilt was shown at a quilt show in the Navan Church.
    • I did buy a wooden quilt rack so once I sand it, Pretty in Purple will at least be on display.

    Linking parties
    I will be linking this post to many fun link-ups. Let's see what else is going on in the quilting world!
    Monday MakingMoving It ForwardWhat I Made MondayTuesday Colour Linky PartyMidweek MakersLet's Bee SocialNeedle & Thread ThursdayOff the Wall FridayFinished or Not FridayFriday Foto FunCan I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Oh Scrap!, Slow Sunday Stitching,

    Throwback Thursday Link-up

    You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
    Click here to enter