Monday, September 30, 2019

Epic Neutral Quilt Top is Done

The quilt top was completed just in time for the last day of the One Monthly Goal (OMG) September Finish link-up. Yeah!!! 😎 It's also on time for the Make Modern Instagram 5th anniversary party at #highfivemakemodern.

Epic Neutral Quilt Top Finish

The quilt is based on the Epic Bow Tie Quilt by Jen Van Orman, which was on the cover of Make Modern Magazine (Issue 22, May-June 2018). I finished it yesterday afternoon when there was still enough sunlight to take the mandatory photo shoot on the fence.
Lots of neutrals - all shades of beige and brown
It's not as colourful as the pattern quilt but for a neutral, I like it. I love looking at quilts in different colour combinations to see how the colours can change them. This one is very different, partly because I chose to make the middle snowballs with the browns etc. and the background in beige. In her pattern, Jen made the snowballs white and the background of different colours.

Quilt top finished!

Here are a few more photos, including the close-ups.
The blowing in the wind shot

A close-up of the different fabrics

Another close-up
What I learned
  • I'm not sure what I was doing wrong, but as I was piecing the bow-tie blocks, I would get at least one quarter of them sewn on the wrong side. I tried different things to fix this but finally I didn't have to worry about it anymore because I was finished!
  • It's a great little quilt pattern that would be lovely if made with colourful scraps like the one in the Make Modern magazine.
Related links
Linking parties
As I mentioned, I'll be linking up to the September finish link up of the One Monthly Goal (OMG). I will also be linking up to some fun linky parties. Let's see what's going on in quilt land. Monday Making, Design Wall Monday, Moving It Forward, What I Made Monday, Tuesday Colour Linky Party,  Needle & Thread ThursdayPut your foot downMidweek MakersPeacock PartyBeauties PageantCan I Get A Whoop Whoop?Finished or Not Finished Friday, and Free Motion Mavericks with Muv. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Book covers with Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to the Free Motion Mavericks (week 248) link up.

New book covers to be FMQ

These aren't fabric covers for books, but rather two foundation paper-pieced book blocks with FMQ covers 😊

I was able to piece these two Tall Tales book blocks during my holidays. Next comes the appliqué on one of them and some Free Motion Quilted (FMQ) flowers on the other. I'm sure that both will end up being heavily quilted by the time I'm finished!

Book cover to be appliqued to make a whimsical forest

Book cover to be FMQ with flowers

Summer Book Club QAL
with Kate Basti of Quilt with Kate
I made these blocks through the Summer Book Club Quilt-Along. I've only finished two books to date but you may want to take a look at the awesome quilts that are being done in the Quilt-Along (see the Instagram link is Related links).
Bambi book 

The Earth is not flat book

What I learned
  • Making these two blocks was much easier and smoother than making the first batch - practice does help!
  • I only remembered to use the Extended-Border Binding technique for the second book. I'll be doing a traditional binding for the first one. I'm looking forward to comparing the results of the two.
Related links
Linking parties
I'll be linking this post to many linky parties. Why not check them out? And remember to link up to Free Motion Mavericks - it doesn't have to be FMQ. Midweek Makers, Tuesday Colour Linky Party, Moving It Forward, Main Crush Monday,Needle & Thread Thursday, Put Your Foot Down,

Free Motion Mavericks

Thanks to everyone who linked up last time. I want to highlight Dione's lovely Crazed Diamond quilt. If you didn't see it last time, do check out her award winning FMQ.

Crazed Diamonds by Dione of the Clever Chameleon

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

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Playing with dye

I've dyed fabric a few times in the last couple of years. The first time was flat-dyeing, and the second and third times were snow and ice dyeing respectively. This time I did some low-water immersion dyeing. It really isn't that much work and has a lot of potential.

Low-water immersion dyeing
Some lovely folded low-immersion dyed fabric

Setting up my dyeing session in the laundry room
I wish that I could show you pictures of the wonderful mason jars full of colour and fabric, but I left my camera/phone upstairs. I did all of the preparation and dyeing in the basement laundry room. The image you see here is from the first time that I mixed dye in the basement - and it looked a lot like this :-)

After removing the clothes hanging above the washer, I covered the washer and dryer with plastic and then fabric. Have you noticed that when you'r prepared for a mess, that it doesn't happen?

This time I used 6 different Procion MX dyes - grass green, turquoise, yellow, raspberry and fuchsia. I didn't mix the dyes together.

I used the book Fast, fun & easy fabric dyeing by Lynn Koolish. I usually buy the e-book versions since they are much less expensive, especially if I have to get them shipped to Canada, but I am really happy that I have the hard copy. It was so much easier to consult the book while dyeing the fabric.

The book is really excellent. The instructions are easy to follow. I especially liked the images that illustrate the different results you can obtain using the different techniques.

I went straight to the Textured dyeing chapter. I used one and two-colour dyeing, placing the scrunched fabrics and the rolled fabrics in the small containers technique.

I used some regular white Kona fabric but also wanted to find out how non-white fabrics would turn out. I dyed a variety of fabrics such as a striped cotton hand-woven towel, a piece of natural linen (from a skirt), a piece from my husband's old cotton khaki pants, some yellow cotton napkins as well as an old hand-woven placemat.

Here are pictures of some of the finished fabrics. Since I didn't take pictures during the process and very few notes, the descriptions are mostly assumptions based on the finished dyed fabric 😊

These were white cotton napkins. The top two were folded using elastics and a couple of clothes pins. I had fuchsia in the bottom of the container and added turquoise on top. The bottom napkins were scrunched in separate containers using only one colour each - fuchsia and turquoise.
Low water-immersion dyeing of white napkins
Low water-immersion dyeing of white napkins
The three fabrics here were scrunched up in different mason jars. The left one in fuchsia, the right one in raspberry and the bottom one in yellow. The fabric dyed in raspberry is a beautiful piece of natural linen.
Low water-immersion dyeing using only one colour each
These two larger pieces are two halves of the fabric that I placed over the plastic to protect my work space (dryer!) I decided to dye them since I still had dye and was running out of handy fabric. I folded them from the centre using elastics to keep them together and placed them in fuchsia dye. The small splatters of extra colours come from previous dyeing sessions.
Folder fabric from the centre in fuchsia dye
Folded fabric from the centre
in fuchsia dye with a little yellow
Folder fabric from the centre in diluted fuchsia dye
Folder fabric from the centre in diluted fuchsia dye

The next fabrics were experiments. This first fabric is a cotton-woven placemat. The left side is a piece of the original placemat while the right one was over-dyed in raspberry. The white warp threads really stand out after the dyeing.

Over-dyeing hand-woven cotton placemats
Over-dyeing hand-woven cotton placemats

These were yellow cotton napkins. I had started to embroider a rose on the left on. It was dyed in green while the other one got both green and yellow.

Yellow napkins dyed with green

These two pieces are cotton knit fabric. The top one was dry when I scrunched it into the mason jar while the bottom one was wet and dyed using the green and turquoise.
Cotton knit fabric
There are no pictures of the khaki fabric and the dishcloth since I thought that I would spare you the very ugly results. I'll include my thoughts in the "What I learned" section below.

Snow and Ice Dyeing

When my girlfriend came to visit in early March, we did a little bit of snow dyeing in the garage. She had to leave before seeing the results. So here they are!

Subtle colours from snow dying using dye powders

I had read on the internet that I could put the dye powder in salt and pepper shakers and just shake the dye over the snow.

It turns out that this technique is better used for ice dyeing. When the powdered dye is placed directly on the snow, it becomes diluted and results in pale colours.

Lightly dyed fabric

A few weeks later, I did some ice dyeing using the same technique of placing the dye directly on the ice. I did add a little bit of snow over the ice since I wasn't sure that I had made enough ice. This was done in the laundry room.
Ice topped with snow for dyeing
All set up for ice dyeing

Ice and snow melted - wet dyed fabric

This time the results were much brighter. I love the patterns that the ice makes on the fabric. You'll notice that the results are mostly fuchsia - that's because I was almost out of all of my other colours.

Beautiful design from ice dyeing

Ice dyeing with little bits of colour
What I learned
  • As I was preparing to write this post, I re-read my original post from 2 years ago about dyeing fabric. I wish that I had read it before doing the dyeing. I didn't even think about it because I was using a different dyeing technique. 
  • This time I did research on what to do with the fabric after dyeing it. It seems to be very important to soak the fabric in cold water to stop the dyeing process. After that comes the hot water rinsing or washing. Of course everyone has a different recipe for dyeing but I followed Lynn Koolish's advice. I washed the fabric in hot water three times and my dye catcher become less pink each time. It was still light pink after the third wash, but since I'm using the fabrics in art quilts, I stopped at that point.
  • I dyed the khaki fabric with green and yellow dye. I suppose I might be able to use it in a desert landscape but it wasn't impressive. As for the dishcloth, I dyed it near the end and just streaked it with colour, and that's what it looks like. I will keep these to over dye at some point. 
  • I really loved the results of the ice dyeing and will definitely repeat this technique. 
  • The fabric that was snow dyed is very light. I will probably over dye some of it eventually.
  • I'm looking forward to playing with this fabric and including them in my art work. Even the rather garish fabrics from my first dyeing experiment have been very useful since I just cut out the part that I want to use for a specific project.
Related links
Linking parties
I'll be linking up to many fun linky parties. Let's see what everyone is up to! I'm linking up to Free Motion Mavericks with Muv and will be hosting it on Thursday. Remember that you don't have to do FMQ to link up! Off The Wall Friday, Finished or Not Finished Friday, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Peacock Party, Main Crush Monday, Monday Making, Design Wall Monday, Moving It Forward, What I Made MondayMidweek MakersTuesday Colour Linky PartyNeedle & Thread ThursdayPut Your Foot Down, New to Me 2019,

    Wednesday, September 11, 2019

    Garden and Pond finished for Free Motion Mavericks

    Welcome to Free Motion Mavericks (Week 246) link-up.

    FMQ Garden & Pond finished!

    Free Motion Quilted Garden & Pond
    Stitched with grey thread

    The journey began in March with a quick free motion quilting (FMQ) project for the Free Motion Mavericks post. I started outlining the flowers and pond in grey, which looked fine in person but not so great on the images 😊

    For the next post, I added colour thread on top of the grey, which turned out to be OK. Then it was time to add more details - some foreground, a turtle and more water in the pond and more flowers to fill it out.
    Adding colour to the piece

    In my last post, I added a few butterflies and a dragonfly.
    More details, including butterflies

    Adding metallic thread to the dragonfly

    It looked good but I needed more FMQ in the sky. I also took the time to add some metallic thread, through the bobbin, on the dragonfly to make her shimmer.

    I finished the piece with a facing. The link to my favourite tutorial by Terry Aske is in Related links below.

    Facing the piece

    The sleeve and a label to finish it

    I created the sleeve using two scraps of blue fabric that included the selvage edge. I figured that this would be acceptable since people are having fun with selvages, and I didn't have to finish those ends - a definite bonus!

    Free Motion Quilting Garden & Pond
    (Click on the image to see it better)
     What I learned
    • The first image at the top of the post was taken outside. I wasn't impressed with the way that the bottom edge was curling up. I was very happy to find that some good steam solved the problem.
    • I do wish that I had done a little bit more quilting in the foreground so that more showed when I flipped the edge for the facing. I'm getting better, but still not quite there 😊 
    • I'm really happy with this finish and am thrilled that it will be hanging in my friend's cubicle. That means that I'll be able to visit it!
    • I learned many lessons during the making of this piece. You can find more in the related posts listed below.
    Related links
      Linking parties

      Project details
      FMQ Garden & Pond
      16 ¼ " x  9"
      Materials: Kona cotton background, metallic, silk, cotton and polyester thread
      Techniques: whole cloth free motion quilting

      Free Motion Mavericks

      Thank you for all of the link ups two weeks ago. It seems that everyone is back at their sewing machine producing some great work! It's great to see your work, whether it's on its way to being quilted or finished. If you didn't see Becca's Star-Crossed Plaid quilt, take the time to visit. It's really great - and she's going to write up the pattern!

      Star-Crossed Plaid by Becca of Pretty Piney Quilts

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

      Sunday, September 08, 2019

      Introducing my Exit Strategy

      In the spirit of anticipation, celebration and learning, I am starting a new project.


      In less than 3 years and 2 months, I will be 60! People are generally not eager to grow older, but I believe that the perks of age and wisdom more than make up for the laugh lines and grey hair (which I've had for over 15 years anyway!)

      60 will begin the next phase of my life - Fibre Artist!

      So, how am I going to get ready for the fibre artist phase of my life without living in the future? Well, pretty much the same way that I've approached most things.
      • Learn
      • Have a flexible plan
      • Keep expectations low and gratitude high
      I hope that you'll join me on my journey. Let me tell you about my very flexible plan.

      Amy's Creative Side
      It started with the blocks that I made while participating in the One Week Improv Challenge with Amy Ellis of Amy's Creative Side. The challenge was by subscribed email and through Instagram at  #improvwithamy.

      As with most challenges, I followed at my own speed. I did manage to make the first five days of seven days (see the post in Related links). At some point after the challenge, I made a few more blocks. 
      Block 1 - joining strips
      Block 3 - playing with triangles
      Of course, the next decision is....what to do with those blocks?

      The first time I thought about Exit Strategy
      A few months later, in late spring, I felt especially tired and needed something besides rest to help me stay positive. What's better than a new plan, a new project to help my spirit soar with anticipation, celebration and learning? 

      The name, Exit Strategy, came very quickly but the rest took me a while to figure out. It's so easy to get caught up with grandiose plans but more than anything, I want this to be realistic and doable.

      These are the notebooks that I keep with me to jot down ideas. The idea for Exit Strategy was slowly percolating.
      3 notebooks that I keep around

      The next step of this plan came about when I bought a gently used version of the book, Exploring Textile Arts in June at Quilt Canada. The book was published in 2002 by the Editors of Creative Publishing. There is a more recent version, but this one is fine for my purposes.

      I've been very inspired by some of the techniques in the book. That's when the rest of the flexible plan started falling into place.

       The flexible plan
      • Try out new techniques
      • Use the improv blocks as background
      • Blog and reflect on what I've learned
      • Repeat
      • Time frame: very flexible....3 years and 2 months 😊
      Using 8 inch blocks as background makes these projects less intimidating. It's about learning, playing, taking chances and trying new things. I'm hoping that I'll be able to put some of the blocks together as they are completed....or not. That's also part of the very flexible plan.

      You may have seen the first block that I posted about, without specifically saying what Exit Strategy was. If you didn't see it, the post is below in Related links.

      A Felting Miss-Adventure,
      part of the Exit Strategy project
      I've been hard at work practicing my embroidery stitches and learning new techniques. Here is a sneak preview of my design wall. I will be posting about these techniques in the next few weeks.

      A sneak peek at my design wall - things are progressing

      I created a page for Exit Strategy, and as I progress, I'll add links to the related posts. I hope that you'll follow me in my journey.

      What I learned
      • I've been thinking about this for a very long time, ever since I discovered what I wanted to be when I grow up 😊
      • I used to say that I wanted to be a full time artist when I retired, but then I thought about it....I'm going to be retired. This should be fun, not just another job! So now I'm keeping the full time out of the description. I'm hoping to play full time but as far as art making goes, I'll do what I want, when I want, and then, if I feel like it, I'll find opportunities to show my work and accept the deadlines that go with them.
      Related links
      Linking parties
      I'll be linking up to many great linky parties. Let's go see what's happening in blog land! I'm linking up with Muv at Free Motion Mavericks, Slow Sunday Stitching, Oh Scrap!, Off The Wall Friday, Monday Making, Design Wall Monday, Moving It Forward, What I Made MondayMidweek MakersTuesday Colour Linky Party, Peacock Party, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Put Your Foot Down,