Friday, January 31, 2020

Finishing up One Monthly Goal - OMG

I can't believe that it's the end of January. It was pretty intense quilting wise. I finished my two Project Quilting and the Winter Blues project with very little time to spare. That's how I live dangerously. ๐Ÿ˜Š

January's OMG 
A journal cover for my quilting agenda

My only other goal for January was my One Monthly Goal - to make a journal cover for my quilting agenda/notebook. As I'm writing this, I'm still not sure that it will get done in time. You'll find out by the end of the post (which has to be linked to the OMG linky party by tonight at Elm Street Quilts), or it will be my February OMG. Find out what happens....Can I write most of this post, go sew up the journal cover within 9 hours???

My FMQ piece for a journal cover
It took me a few days to find the fabric that I wanted to use for my journal cover. So many choices.... When I looked into my box of hand-dyed fabrics (mine and stuff that I've bought), I decided that these would be perfect for FMQ a journal cover. Most of the pieces are fairly small so they could be used for art quilts, but this is a nice alternative.

This first piece is so much fun. It was hand painted, printed and or dyed by Gunnel Hag of Colour Vie (see Related links below). Gunnel is an amazing fibre artist who gave a talk to the Out of the Box Fabric Artists Group a couple of years ago. I bought some of her fabric paint as well as a few beautiful pieces of fabric. This is the funkiest one.

Of course I forgot to take a picture of the fabric before I started FMQ, but you can see most of it here, as I started quilting it. I just love that there are many things going on that I could work around. It helped to separate the fabric into quilting areas.

The fabric by Gunnel Hag, before it got totally FMQ
The threads I used were all variegated - from Superior Threads, King Tut and Rainbows and from  Wonderfil, Konfetti. The fabric was a joy to quilt and I got to use a bunch of different designs.

I started off doing spirals around the circles (above) and then slowly moved towards the left image. Since it was more structured, I used boxes within boxes and triangles.

Adding more structured designs
I added triangles around the triangles and then pebbles around the word "Red". It was fun changing threads and seeing the different effects.
Triangles and pebbles around the word "Red"
In the un-quilted fabric, you can see a faint image of ferns or maybe spruce leaves. I went a little nuts with these. I started by just outlining the larger one but then kept on adding thread. For the other two, I restrained my enthusiasm (I got bored!)
Adding colour to the ferns
Faint outline of ferns

I added small swirls around the ferns to try to emphasize them. It might have been more effective if the thread had matched the fabric!

It was then time to outline the word "Yellow". By then I wanted to use simpler designs. I used wavy horizontal lines around the word "Yellow". In the pink above I used a design that I don't know the name of - I call them j's and f's because that's what the motion feels like when I make them. Finally on the left side I made some meandering swirly flowers. I considered using matching thread when I got out of the yellow section but it was lovely to see the effect of the yellow thread on the green fabric.

Yellow and pink at the top
A finished agenda cover

Yes, I just made it. With only 5 hours before the OMG linking party closes, I'm now showing you the finished product. ๐Ÿ˜Š

This is the third journal cover that I've done, and it would seem that practice makes things much easier. I followed Christina Cameli's class on BluPrint and made lots of footnotes.  

The finished front of the agenda cover

The back of the cover

The back and front of the cover
Agenda cover with fancy fold-over elastic
For this cover, I even added a ribbon to keep my place.
My quilting agenda and notebook

What I learned
Cutting the fabric was the most difficult part!
  • It took me 4 hours to FMQ this fabric piece and only one hour to make the journal cover - and things went without problems.
  • I made tons of notes for myself so that I can keep making these journal covers easily.
  • I had to cut some of the FMQ fabric - it was difficult. I like what I chose but I'm sorry that I didn't keep more yellow and pink in the final piece.
  • I would also have liked to have the back of the cover be the front, but the word "Red" would have been upside down.
  • I never throw these extra quilted pieces out, so one day, you may see that lovely yellow incorporated into another piece.
  • Do you know if there's something I can do to make the ribbon a little stiffer? Would coating it with ModPodge work? If you have any ideas, please let me know.
Related links
Linking parties
I'm linking up to Elm Street Quilts' One Monthly Goal Finish for January. It looks like I made it ๐Ÿ˜Š I will also be linking up to Free Motion Mavericks with Muv since it's her week to host the party. Make sure that you go link up too! Midweek Makers, Colour and Inspiration TuesdayPut Your Foot Down, Needle & Thread Thursday, Off the Wall Friday, Finished or Not Finished Friday, Friday Foto Fun, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Beauties Pageant, TGIFF, Peacock Party,

Dione scored a rainbow for her Outback Weather Bingo with this project! Check it out at Colour and Inspiration Tuesday

Project details

FMQ agenda cover
Pattern and instructions by Christina Cameli
8½" x 6"
Techniques: FMQ, sewing
Material: hand painted, printed and or dyed cotton by Gunnel Hag, fold-over elastic, agenda

Sunday, January 26, 2020

The colours of books

To an avid reader, there is nothing more lovely and colourful that a library full of books.

Colours of books

I'm not a team kind of person, so when Challenge 11.2 of Team Colours came out for the Quilting Project on Sunday, I was stumped. My two favourite things, other than my family, are quilting and reading. These are things that I usually do by myself, but they are my teams - I love being in a library or a book store and talking about books. I feel the same way about quilts - which I share with my team of virtual and real friends. It's a lot like going to a sporting event to cheer for your team, but much quieter. ๐Ÿ˜

My Team Colours - books of all colours ๐Ÿ˜Š
I have to admit that I've been looking at making a bookcase quilt for a while. I've made mini book quilts, but never a full library of books - how exciting, and scary to do this in a week! For anyone who is interested, I've included a link to my favourite site in the Related links below.

I started by making a quick sketch of what I might make. I needed to figure out if this thing would be a mini or a medium sized wall quilt. Since I wanted to play with my free motion quilting (FMQ) I opted for medium size.
One of the many bookcases in the house

Then I went around the house taking pictures of the many bookcases that we have. I didn't even bother going into the basement and at the bottom of my closet, where most of the books I own are!
This gave me some ideas for the bookcase itself, the books in it as well as the objects that I could include in the bookcase.
Stitching books together

By Tuesday evening, I was starting to cut and stitch books on shelves.

I kept at it for two evenings and most of Saturday. It was officially finished last night!  ๐Ÿ˜Š Of course, there were pictures to take and a post to write...but I'm almost ready to publish and link up....can you feel the excitement!

So without further ado, here are the finished pictures of My Team Colours Challenge: The colours of a library.

My team colours: The colours of a library
Here are some details.
Plants go so well with books, when there's enough light!

The middle shelf has my favourite bookend.
The real bookend

There's always a travel memento somewhere on a bookshelf!
What I learned 
  • Although it was a large project to make in one week, it was very straight forward with little un-stitching to do!
  • I was very careful in my measurements for the bookcase, so even that went well. ๐Ÿ˜Š 
  • The best part was, of course, the FMQ. That was a real treat to decide on the thread colours, the designs and then doing it!
  • I put on the binding with the walking foot's now ingrained in my quilting brain. I love it!
  • I am really happy with this quilt. My only indecision was to FMQ the wood grain onto the bookshelf. The only reason that I didn't is because this would have to be done all over the bookshelf and I like the way that the bookcase lets the eyes rest. What do you think? I would really value your opinion.
Great News! I won prize #13 for Challenge 11-2. It's a Harper’s Garden Charms by Sherri & Chelsi and the Cupcake Mix Recipe 3 from Moda Fabrics! Thanks Kim and Moda!

Related links
Linking parties
I am linking up to Project Quilting, Challenge 11.2 - Team Colors, as well as other fun link-ups. Let's see what going on. TGIFFOff The Wall FridayFriday Foto FunCan I Get A Whoop Whoop?Monday Making, What I Made Monday, 15 Minutes to Stitch 2020, Free Motion Mavericks with Muv, Midweek Makers, Colour and Inspiration Tuesday, Put Your Foot DownNeedle & Thread Thursday,

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Welcome to Free Motion Mavericks

Hi! I'm glad that you dropped by for week 264 of Free Motion Mavericks.

It's been an incredibly busy week with my post for The Winter Blues Blog Hop on Tuesday and a finish required by Sunday morning with Project Quilting. I would love to say that I FMQ something just for today....but that didn't happen. Instead, I'm just going to show you my Cold and Sunny quilt and get on with the link up for the Free Motion Mavericks.

Cold and Sunny

Free Motion Quilted using Leah Day's designs

Cold and Sunny
Here is the schedule - see what's
keeping quilters from getting the Blues!
If you want to read more about how I did it and what I learned (it was a doosey!), then check out the post - but don't forget to come back to link up to Free Motion Mavericks and check out the entries! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Linking parties I'm linking up to some fun linking parties. Come see what's happening! TGIFF, Off The Wall Friday, Friday Foto Fun, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Monday Making, Design Wall Monday

August 20, 2020: Show me Something Free Motion Link-up, 

Free Motion Mavericks

We had some really lovely posts linked up last time.
Caryl is learning more FMQ designs and Karin was trying out the Half Carat Diamond Ruler. I want to share both of these with you this week, in case you haven't seen their post last time!

Half Carat Diamond Ruler work by Karin

Caryl is practicing some FMQ designs
Now it's your turn!

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

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Cold and Sunny at The Winter Blues Blog Hop

Welcome to my post in The Winter Blues Blog Hop. A big thank you to Carla for hosting this great event!

Cold and Sunny

For years I've been wanting to make a quilt block that looks like the sun. I found the pattern, Sunnyside, in Spotlight on Neutrals, Quilts and More for Any Decor by Pat Wys. Since I only make one large quilt every two years, making a full quilt for this blog hop wasn't an option, but I still wanted to try out the block.
Cold and Sunny

I realise that I haven't pieced a new quilt block in months. I'm going to use that as my excuse for all of the effort this lovely took!

It's always tricky to pull apart the instructions for a large quilt and break it down to a single block. I managed to inverse the colours for one of the section, in the instructions that I wrote for myself. Then, as you can see, I sewed some of the pieces not in the right place. Oops!!!

Block is properly pieced with
a velvet border 

The pieces weren't the only challenges. For this project, I used some hand-dyed fabrics by Elaine Quehl, a renown fibre artist. The yellow is simply stunning. For the blues, I had bought a Textile Temptation Pack that included dupioni silk and silk-rayon velvet, again all hand-dyed by Elaine. Making this blocks was difficult enough but adding these fabrics to the mix did not make it easier. However, I believe that the pain was worth it. I have the bluest blue that I could find with a bright happy yellow. What more can an art quilter ask for?
Ready to FMQ

Free Motion Quilting (FMQ)

The good news is that FMQ on these fabrics was lovely.

I did a lot of research and finally used two of Leah Day's quilting designs for the sun - Gentle flame (#3) and Sun Medallion (#254) from her Free Motion Quilting Project.

I was considering putting flames in the blue dupioni silk fabric but thought that it might be too much. I'm glad that I decided to use wavy lines, like the heat shimmering from the sun.

Details of the Free Motion Quilting

Cold and Sunny
What I learned
  • I wish that I was the kind of person who could make a practice piece before tackling the final one. I have no doubt that it would result in a much better final product. Unfortunately, no matter how useful it would be, it's not likely to happen. The best that could happen is that I'll use this pattern for another, different project. Then, at least, I might apply the lessons I learned.
  • Using different fabric would have made my life much easier, but these were perfect for this I adapted!
  • Until yesterday afternoon, I had no idea how I was going to finish this block. Finally I added two inch strips to the borders and just turned it under. The back is very messy and uneven, but the front is fine.
  • I drew the FMQ pattern for the Sun Medallion several times, but I should have practiced quilting it. I just noticed that it's in Leah Day's advanced designs, so a little more practice would have been good.
Related links
Links for Tuesday, January 21st

Quilted Delights
Kathy's Kwilts and More
Farm Quilter
Homespun Hannah's Blog
Elizabeth Coughlin Designs
Quilting & Learning: What a Combo (You are here!)
Life in the Scrapatch
Home Sewn By Us

Linking parties
Make sure to visit all of the other quilters participating in the blog hop. As well, I'll be linking up to many fun linking parties. Colour and Inspiration Tuesday, Monday Making,

Dione scored both cold and sunny for her Outback Weather Bingo with this project! Check it out at Colour and Inspiration Tuesday

I've linked this post up to Sarah Goer Quilts - Show Me Something with Solid

Project details

Cold and Sunny
15" x 15"
Block from Sunnyside, in Spotlight on Neutrals, Quilts and More for Any Decor by Pat Wys
Techniques: piecing, free motion quilting
Materials: hand-dyed cotton, dupioni silk, cotton, velour by Elaine Quehl.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

More slow stitching, meditation style

I've been doing some more slow stitching. This time with a little meditative quiet time added in.

Slow stitching, meditation style

In the October/November edition of the Quilting Arts magazine, I read an article that spoke to me. The article, Stitch Meditation, by Liz Kettle talked about meditating while stitching, since she found that regular meditation didn't really work for her. Wow! I've been trying to meditate and find it one of the most painful things to do. Quieting the mind is really difficult, except when I'm immersed in my quilting, or playing with code! Since I rarely play with code except occasionally at work, my best bet is probably stitching and quilting.
First four meditation squares
In the article, Liz says that she only has a few guidelines and one rule.

  • Avoid planning - choose your supplies quickly (less than 5 minutes)
  • Minimize distractions (for the meditative part)
  • The one rule: don't undo stitches - there is no need for perfection
Liz does talk about doing this every day, but I'm staying away from that since I don't need another commitment that I won't follow. I do it when I remember and when I feel like it. I trust that I will remember to do it when I need it.

I've cut up a bunch of 4" flannel squares from a dearly loved flannel blanket. I use this as my backing. For the fabric on top, I have a small bag of my hand-dyed fabrics. They are really perfect for this.

Angles is made with hand-dyed fabrics and stitched with several weights of thread and embroidery floss.
Green & Blue with bark includes an unraveling piece of dyed fabric, thread and wool, and two pieces of hand-dyed that friends though was bark .
Green & Blue with bark 
The moon in Pretty moon and star was made of pieces of felt from the backing of my daughter's embroidery pieces. The stones are pretty pink quartz and the star is a Murano glass bead bought in Venice last year.
Pretty moon and star 
For Shining rose, I cut up a hand-dyed cloth napkin that I had embroidered a very long time ago. I added shiny ribbon that I save up when I buy things. I also used some metallic floss.
Shining rose
Last week I started this piece. I was in the mood for ruffles so I just took another fabric piece and stitched it on. I used sewing thread, embroidery floss and even did some chain stitch. I like the look of the feather charm.

Orange, pink and a feather
If you've seen my Flower of Life piece for the first challenge of Project Quilting last week, you will see where I got the inspiration for this block. Now that I know about the Flower of Life, I see it everywhere! In this block, I did some embroidery, including fly stitches without tails, and added beads.
Web in the Flower of Life
What I learned

  • Making these blocks is really meditative.
  • I often start with fabric or embellishment from a recent project.
  • I really don't plan what I'll be doing. If I have some embellishments that I want to use, I'll make the block around them. Otherwise I take a piece of fabric and start stitching.
  • Some of the blocks were finished the same day I started them, but others took a couple of days working on them. They usually take about an hour to make.
  • I don't name the blocks when I make them - but it's fun to name them when I'm saving the images on the computer.
What's on this week
  • Today Challenge 11.2 of Project Quilting came out - something about Team Colours. I'll have to think about that since nothing jumps to mind. The project is due next Sunday morning - so I'll be working on that this week!
  • Join me on Tuesday for my post in The Winter Blues Blog Hop hosted by Carla of Creatin' in the Sticks. My piece is done but I have to figure out how to bind it....????
  • I will also be hosting Free Motion Mavericks on Thursday - so come back and link up your post - it doesn't have to be FMQ.
Related links
Linking parties
I'll be linking this post to many fun link-ups. Follow me and see what's going on out there in Winter Quilt Land! Slow Sunday Stitching, Oh Scrap!, Off The Wall Friday, Monday Making, Design Wall Monday, What I Made Monday, Free Motion Mavericks with Muv, Colour and Inspiration Tuesday, To-do Tuesday,

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Challenge 11-1 Project Quilting - Flower of Life

Challenge 11.1 of Project Quilting is due tomorrow morning. The theme is Notably Numeric which includes geometry. The Flower of Life is part of what is known as Sacred Geometry. It's all very intriguing stuff.

Flower of Life

I'm not mathematically inclined, but geometry, especially if I don't have to calculate anything, can be quite beautiful. In fact, geometry is the basis for traditional quilting. Although I don't do much traditional quilting anymore, that's how most of us learned to quilt.

Flower of life - a series of circles or orange peels
Since I love free motion quilting (FMQ) I hoped that I would find something to make that would involve this particular skill. I discussed my choice and some of my process in my last post (see Related links below). When I wrote it, I was psyching myself up to cut binding on the bias and bind the quilt.

Minor frustrations

The cutting of the binding went relatively well. Not perfect because I had mostly scraps of this lilac Kona fabric left, but it did the trick. I thought that I would increase my skills by sewing the binding together at an angle. That didn't go so well because I was trying to join two pieces of binding that had already been sewn together. I kept stitching the right side to the wrong side!
Minor puckering around the edge
I thought that sewing the binding to the quilt went really well since I was sewing it with a walking foot. Unfortunately I didn't account for the binding being on the bias! I must have pulled too much since the binding really wants to pucker around the edges. I added another circle about a ¼ inch on the outside of the first stitched circle. It helps to smooth out the edge a little.

Finally, I decided to add beads in the middle of the circles (where the orange peels meet). It does draw the eye away from the infinite pattern of the circles going on, but it adds to the finished piece. In the image below I was auditioning various size and colours of beads. I was going to sew a few of the different beads to try them out but finally I went with the top two on the left -  I think they're perfect.
Auditioning four types of beads
Now comes the difficult part - taking good photos at night. I could wait until tomorrow morning but since they're calling for more rain (yes, rain in January in Ottawa!) I didn't think it's worth waiting for.
Flower of Life
What I learned

  • Cutting bias really isn't difficult. There are lots of great tutorials on YouTube that you can check out. Using scraps is a little more difficult but what I got was obviously on the bias, so it went well.
  • Sewing the binding pieces together was a challenge. Although I usually love sewing with solid fabrics because it doesn't matter which side is the top, in this case, it made it more difficult to sew those pieces together properly.
  • When sewing on binding that's cut on the bias, DON'T stretch the binding when you're attaching it to the quilt.
  • Using a walking foot is a lovely experience ๐Ÿ˜Š and adding that second line of stitching on the edge helped somewhat.
Related links
Linking parties
I'll be linking up this finished Flower of Life to Project Quilting, Challenge 11.1. Let's go see what everyone has made! I will also be linking up to many fun linky parties. Off The Wall Friday, Beauties Pageant, Show Me Something Purple Link-up, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Peacock Party, Design Wall Monday, What I Made Monday, Colour and Inspiration Tuesday, Midweek Makers, Needle & Thread Thursday, Put your foot down, TGIFF, Free Motion Mavericks with Muv.

Sarah of Sarah Goer Quilts featured my piece in her Purple Projects Wrap-up post. If you love this pattern, go see the picture she took of a stained glass Flower of Life. It's gorgeous. Thanks so much Sarah!

Project details

Flower of Life
Techniques: free motion quilting, beading
Materials: Kona cotton, beads