Thursday, February 27, 2020

Finished Book Blocks

The Summer Book Club QAL may have finished a while back, but I just finished my last two book block minis. Better late than never - and I'm really happy with them. I think that they will look good in my colleagues' cubicles๐Ÿ˜Š

Mon jardin mini

Patricia requested a garden scene on her book cover, something like the Garden and Pond mini that I finished last fall. There wasn't much room for a full garden but I wanted to put at least a couple of different plants.
Mon jardin 
This week, while reading a quilting post, I got sucked into the rabbit hole that is the Internet and ended up at Dover Publications, the company that publishes, among other things, books of images that can be used in art pieces without copyright infringements.

I bought the ebook version of "400 floral motifs for designers, needleworkers, and craftspeople", from their Dover Pictorial Archive Series. This book has some really lovely and uncomplicated images of flowers that are perfect for free motion quilting (FMQ). I used some of their images for the daisies and the forget-me-not on the book cover.
Daisies and Forget-Me-Not
FMQ feathers in the border

I had almost completed Paula's book block (you can read more about it in the post listed in Related links below) but had no idea what to do with the border. I wanted to FMQ something but didn't want it to distract from the book. Finally I settled on FMQ feathers using Kimono Silk thread from Superior Threads. This matching, very fine thread was perfect for the border.

FMQ feathers in the border
Here it is! All finished ๐Ÿ˜Š
Fantastical Book 
What I learned
  • It was so much fun FMQ the borders and the flowers in the garden. The hardest part was deciding what design to use.
  • As usual, quilting with the silk thread was so lovely.
  • I'm so happy that I made the time to work on these. I can't wait to give them to my colleagues.
  • This was supposed to be my February One Monthly Goal (OMG) but I forgot to link up! So, unofficially they are my February OMG๐Ÿ˜Š
  • Although they are not part of my PHD list, these are two UFOs from last year, so I believe that I finally have two finishes. YEAH!
What's on this week
  • My next deadline, March 30, is for submissions to FibreFling, the annual show and sale for Out of the Box (OOTB) Fibre Artists group. We are able to exhibit 4 pieces, that were not shown at other OOTB shows. I have a few pieces that I've done since the last show, but I would like to finish my first Exit Strategy piece. I haven't worked on it since my January 5 post - so it's time! My goal is to work on it this weekend and write a post with an update as my March OMG. 
Related links
Linking parties
I'm going to be linking this post to the PHD March linkup, UFO Busting as well as Free Motion Mavericks - it's Muv's turn to host this week. Check it out! Needle & Thread Thursday, Put your foot down, Midweek Makers, Colour and Inspiration Tuesday, Off the Wall FridayFriday Foto Fun, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Beauty Pageant, TGIFF, 15 Minutes to Stitch in 2020, Monday Making, Design Wall Monday, Peacock Party,

Project details




Mon jardin
7" x 8"
Techniques: FMQ, foundation paper piecing
Material: cotton, silk thread









Fantastical Book
7 ¼" x 8 ¼"
Techniques: FMQ, foundation paper piecing
Material: cotton, silk thread

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Birds in the Air with Project Quilting 11-4

Challenge 11.4, "Birds in the Air" certainly challenged my creativity because I was determined to avoid making the traditional block at all cost! My accuracy challenged and tired brain was revolting against all of those HST (half square triangles)!

A conceptual Birds in the Air block


A conceptual Birds in the Air block

Since I didn't want to make those HST, I though of alternatives. When in doubt, I go to my strengths. Could I make a Birds in the Air block with free motion quilting (FMQ)? Sure, why not?

Ironic aside: it would have been much easier to piece the block with those dreaded HST than to figure out all of the challenges that came from making a conceptual block. ๐Ÿ˜Š

I'm not sure what my thinking process was, but I tend to start with the obvious, such as birds within the HST, which then suggested a blue sky fabric. Since I've been working a lot with my dyed fabrics, I was sure that I could find something.

I made the block but since it was the size of the finished block and there was no gripping space for FMQ or embroidering, I added a square of backing fabric so that there was about 1½" extending on all sides of the block. Then I stitched the conceptual HSTs on the blue fabric.

I originally though of embroidering most of the images on the block but I ended up procrastinating long enough that I didn't have enough time, so back to FMQ!

Adding Trapunto

I thread stitched the birds and then decided to add a little bit of trapunto for the tree after watching Patsy Thompson do it on BluPrint. I added a layer of batting between the fabric and the backing and then stitched the top of the tree. I repeated the process for the tree trunk.

You can see a little bit of the Trapunto on the tree trunk, where it's puffier.
The background trees and the grass in the foreground were free motion stitched next. At this point it was Saturday afternoon and I was getting a little nervous, so I decided that it was time to FMQ and bind the piece. I could embroider the rest after I had finished the quilting.

I cut around the block and the backing, leaving the original layer of backing to extend about a ½". I cut batting to this size and then used a lovely green batik as the final backing. I cut this piece 2" larger than the block.

Free Motion Quilting

Details of the embroidery and FM stitching
I had no idea how I was going to FMQ this piece since I didn't really want to add more thread to the
piece. Then I remembered that I received a free spool of Invisible Thread at last year's Quilt Canada. I decided to take the plunge. I used the Invisible Thread as the top thread and FMQ the conceptual lines of the HST in the top half. I then stitched-in-the-ditch between the blue and green fabric and then around the tree, grass and background trees.

I bound the quilt and then started embroidering. I ended up hiding the trapunto on the tree top when I added couched fuzzy yarn all over it. I liked the trapunto effect but I like the texture more.

Does it sound like it was a long drawn out process? Well it was. I am happy with my finished piece and I learned more than I really wanted. But it's done and I think that it's lovely ๐Ÿ˜Š

What I learned
  • It took me a while to figure out how the Birds in the Air block was made....until I turned it on point.
  • This piece almost didn't get finished. After cutting and sewing the two large HST, I had no idea what to do. As I mentioned it was too small to work on and deep down, the thought of embroidering all of it didn't appeal to me. It sat for a few days before I finally started free motion stitching it.
  • When I showed my almost finished piece to my son, he said that the birds are upside down. My daughter and I both think that they're correct. Maybe there's more than one way to draw birds in flight?
  • I added trapunto to the tree top. It was a little harder than I expected since I did it between the backing fabric and the stitched birds were sort of in the way of my cutting around the batting. I ended up cutting my backing fabric since I knew that it would be covered with batting and a final backing fabric. At that point, I really felt like I was channeling my mother's MacGyver energy. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • I would never have tried using invisible thread but one of the teachers on BluPrint recommended water soluble thread, especially to stitch around trapunto areas. Invisible thread isn't quite the same but I used it instead and was very impressed. The thread did show up a bit, although most of it was later covered by embroidery. I believe that they sell a few kinds of invisible thread - I think that a more smokey colour would have been better. I'll have to look into that!
  • Since I have less than an hour to publish this post and link up, I'm going to stop now!!!
Related links
Linking parties
I will, of course, be linking up to Project Quilting, Challenge 11.4 as well as many other fun linking parties. Make sure that you visit some of these and get inspired! Off the Wall Friday, Slow Sunday StitchingCan I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Put your foot down, Colour and Inspiration TuesdayFriday Foto FunPeacock Party, Beauties PageantMonday Making, Midweek Makers, Needle & Thread Thursday, Free Motion Mavericks, I'm also linking up to February's Favourite Finish Monthly Linkup

Project details


Birds in the Air
7" x 7"
Techniques: FMQ, embroidery
Material: hand-dyed cotton, wool, embroidery floss






Thursday, February 20, 2020

Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to week 268 of Free Motion Mavericks.

Free Motion Mavericks

I've been pretty quiet on-line and off, just getting through these winter days. I can feel daylight lasting slightly longer, which is wonderful.

I did some meditation stitching. Here are my last three blocks.

This was an old t-shirt that was used as a cleaning rag. The last time that I dyed fabric, I still had dye left over, so I threw in a few extras. This one one of them. You can see the image of dried flowers from the original t-shirt design.

Impressions of dried flowers
I wasn't very happy with the piece I created for "Put a heart on it", Challenge 11-2 of Project Quilting, so while I was playing with scraps, I cut these two felt pieces into a heart shape and stitched them together. The felt and background are scraps from my Connections and Intersections piece, made for the Connected by a Thread challenge for the Out of the Box Fibre Artists Group. I really like this mini piece๐Ÿ˜Š!
Mended heart
The velour fabric was also in that last batch of dyed fabrics. I made a couple of the chain stitched lines and then found this lovely Murano glass bead. It was fun adding these quiet chains to the piece.
Star light
What I learned
  • These little meditation stitched pieces are lovely to make. I never take more than a couple of minutes to grab what I need and start stitching.
  • I do get bored when doing the same stitch for long, so some of then, like Impressions of dried flowers take a couple of sessions to make. I don't start a new piece until the last one is finished.
  • I re-discovered my pinking sheers - they are so much fun ๐Ÿ˜Š
Related links
Linking parties
I will be linking up to many fun linking parties, so let's see what's going on in the quilting world. Colour and Inspiration Tuesday, Midweek MakersNeedle & Thread Thursday, Put your food down, Off the Wall Friday, Slow Sunday Stitching, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Friday Foto Fun, Peacock Party, Monday Making, Design Wall Monday, What I Made Monday,

Free Motion Mavericks

As you can see, you certainly don't have to be doing free motion quilting to link up! Thanks to everyone who took the time to link up last time. We had some lovely FMQ projects, but one of them made my own heart beat faster! It was Mel Beach's Crazy in Love, her silk wholecloth piece for Project Quilting's challenge "Put a heart on it". Every time I look at it, I see something new! Check it out if you didn't see it last time.


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

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Learning quilting math the hard way

Welcome to my 350th post! Wow! How cool is that?๐Ÿ˜Ž

Well, I guess that I gave my blog an appropriate name because this anniversary post is all about learning about quilting math the hard way - like having to make half-square triangles (HST) three times before getting it right! To be precise, it wasn't the making that was difficult, it was making them fit.
Version 1.0 - Loved-to-death quilt

I guess I should start at the beginning. 

My first goal for 2020 is to re-make my son's loved-to-death quilt made by his grandmother (my Mom). Here is the original, version 1.0.

A few years ago, my son asked me to remake it. He drew it out on graph paper for me (his math skills are excellent). The fabric was bought and ironed. I was quite anxious about starting this project. but tonight after work, I decided to start.
Step 1 - top left corner

Working from his draft and the original quilt, I decided to start with some of the smaller pieces.

Why was I anxious? Well, my mother made the quilt based on a picture in a calendar. That means not pattern. Although she had made a few quilts, her piecing doesn't follow standard quilting block style. She didn't use HST and frankly I'm not sure how she constructed the quilt but lets just say that her MacGyver skills were excellent ๐Ÿ˜Š



Step 1 - the top left corner

I wanted to make the first two strips in the top left corner of the quilt. I measured everything, wrote down the dimensions, added the seam allowances and started cutting fabric.

The first strip consists of a blue-gray and a red piece that is cut at an angle. That's where the HST came in. In my first attempt at the HST, I cut 2 - 2½" squares in each colour (mistakes number 1 and 2). After making the HST, I realised that one 2½" square in each colour would make 2 HST. Also, it turns out that making HST with 2½" square makes a block only slightly bigger than 2". Oops.
2 strips and 4 HST that are too small (and too many)
2½" squares for HST didn't work















Many attempts at HSTs





Then, since my mother's quilt really only needed HST that were 2"x 1¾", I decided to try with blocks of 3" x 2½". Did you know that you have to use a square to make a Half Square Triangle??? Yup. Mistake number 3. Those are the funny looking blocks at the bottom of this image.

2 strips done - roughly the same




Finally 3" squares ended up making 2½" blocks that went with the strips. So a couple of hours later, I have two strips of about 30" done!

Version 2.0 is not going to be exactly the same as version 1.0 but it will be close.
Part 1 of the quilt re-make











I'm not sure how many steps Part 1 of the quilt re-make will take. I've circled what I hope to be Part 1 in the image.






I'm not going to bother with my What I learned section for this post because it was ALL a learning experience. Since there will be many more HST to make for this quilt, at least I've learned a valuable lesson!

What's on this week

I don't have any deadlines looming so I'm going to keep working on this quilt as well as my two book blocks, which are my un-official OMG since I forgot to link up!.

Related links
Linking parties
I'll be linking up to Free Motion Mavericks with Muv, since it's her week to host the party. Let's go see what everyone is up to!
Monday Making, Colour and Inspiration Tuesday, Midweek Makers, To-do Tuesday, Needle & Thread ThursdayCan I Get A Whoop Whoop?Finished or Not Finished Friday,  Friday Foto Fun, as well as PHD in 2020.

Sunday, February 09, 2020

I heart Project Quilting

This week on Project Quilting, Challenge 11-3 was "Put a ๐Ÿ’– on it!"

Scrappy Heart Journal Cover

For those who read my blog, you will have noticed that I'm on a free motion quilted (FMQ) journal cover kick! My last post was about " A production of quilted journal covers". Since I'm on a roll, I thought that I would try out a few things on my latest journal cover.

What do you get when you:
  • Make scrappy fabric
  • Free motion quilt it to an inch of it's life
  • Using variegated thread
To make a FMQ journal cover?
You get this....
A FMQ Scrappy Heart Journal Cover!
It figures that this very scrappy FMQ journal cover is my best one yet, construction wise - just not design wise. I did learn a lot from this one!
The back of the scrappy journal cover
Scrappy quilt cover with elastic




















I even used some scrappy pieces to make the inside of the cover. I love it!

Scrappy even on the inside!
What I learned
  • In hindsight, I should have done ONE of the three things (scrappy, or densely FMQ, or used variegated thread). Using all three was just too much since they all add a lot visually to the piece. 
  • FMQ on scrappy fabric calls for either one overall design or a FMQ design that is simple and follows the fabric.
  • Variegated thread adds a lot to a piece. It really wasn't needed here - it's too much!
Related links
Linking parties
I will be linking up, with a couple of hours to spare, to Project Quilting, Put a Heart on It - Challenge 11-3. Let's go see what quilters have put a heart on! Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Oh Scrap!, Monday Making, Design Wall Monday, Midweek Makers, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Finished or Not Finished Friday,  TGIFF, Beauties Pageant, Peacock Party,


Thursday, February 06, 2020

Free Motion Mavericks

Hi! Welcome to week 266 of the Free Motion Mavericks linking party!

A production of quilted journal covers

A lovely neutral cover
If birds can have their own special words for groups, then I choose a "production" for a group of quilted journal covers.๐Ÿ˜Š

The very first one!














My own colourful
 agenda cover



The newest members of the Production of journal covers
Using dot-to-dot quilting

A friend from the quilt guild gave me several bags of scraps. Some were much more than scraps since she decided to get rid of fabric that she would never use.

Well, I might not use those fabrics either, but for this project, I used the quilt panel fabric on the back and sewed the front of the journal cover using the bobbin thread.

I really like the effect of the dot-to-dot quilting without really having the fabric delineate the blocks. Once again I used variegated thread in the bobbin.

FMQ on this panel to make the
yellow journal cover



The supplies for making the
yellow journal cover










This fun coffee fabric has been FMQ. Now to make the Coffee Lover's journal cover.

Aren't these great? If they look
familiar it's because I've made a 
few hexies with similar fabric
The blue-green polka dots will look
great as a background fabric
















An update (February 9, 2020): My Coffee Lover's journal cover is finished. I'd rather update this post than write up another one, so here it is!


Coffee Lover's journal cover

The back of the Coffee Lover's journal cover


I just love the inside of this one!

















Tall Tales Book block UFO 
One Monthly Goal for February

Tall Tales Book block UFO 
This month I will finish one of the Tall Tales Book blocks that I started making during my holidays last fall. You can check out the links below.

Oops, it would seem that I forgot to link up to the February OMG goal link up. Oh well, I still want to get these two done!



Related links
Linking parties
I'll be linking up to many fun linking parties. Let's see what's going on out there! Friday Foto Fun, Beauties Pageant, Off the Wall Friday, Put Your Foot Down, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Colour and Inspiration TuesdayMonday Making, What I Made Monday, and DrEAMi with Sandra at mmm quilts!

Free Motion Mavericks

We've had some great projects linked up last time - thanks so much for joining us. I'd like to give a special mention to Muv of Lizzie Lenard Vintage Sewing, my Free Motion Mavericks partner. Her free motion quilted piece, A Lane in May was undeniably frustrating to make, but I believe that it was ultimately a wonderful project. ๐Ÿ˜Š If you haven't seen it yet, go check it out.




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