Thursday, April 30, 2020

Fun FMQ samples at Free Motion Mavericks

Hi and welcome to week 278 of Free Motion Mavericks. I finally have some free motion quilting (FMQ) to share with you as well as a Big Mandala finish. Yeah! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Sample FMQ

After so much hand stitching and then quilting with my walking foot, I was getting desperate for some FMQ time!

I've been watching Angela Walters' latest FMQ Challenge on YouTube. She is doing some fun variations with the serpentine design, including a Plume Feather (links are in Related links below). I've been wanting to try the plume feather so this was the perfect opportunity. Here are my first three practice pieces.

Third Plume feather with a border

First Plume feather
Second Plume feather
within a diamond

FMQ the serpentine design is not my favourite, but again, now that I've practiced it, it's not so bad - and it is versatile, especially with the variations that Angela suggested.

Practicing the serpentine design and adding variations

The serpentine design with feathers and a lotus flower
All of the borders above, including the diamond outline were done with my FMQ ruler. It's getting a little easier to work with.

Big Mandala & April OMG finish

I made this improv pieced Mandala for the first week of the Project Quilting Quarantine. Since the rules were slightly elastic because there were no prizes, I posted it even if it wasn't quite finished. I just had some beading and final FMQ to add. This is also my April One Monthly Goal (OMG), so it needs to be posted soon!

BIG Mandala beaded

Details of the FMQ leaves in the last ring

What I learned

  • It was good to see improvements in my Plume feathers through the three pieces. 
  • I'm still struggling with the serpentine design. It seems that sometimes I get it and other times not so much.
  • Angela said that it's easier to do the serpentine design in a smaller space such as 3" - 4" rather than 5" - 6". She's right - it's easier to keep the shape in a smaller space, but still not easy for me. 
  • I took my finished picture of the Big Mandala before I FMQ the last ring. When I realised this, I went back to take more pictures but it was very blustery - so only the detailed picture has the FMQ on the last ring.

Related links

Linking parties
I'll be linking up to the April One Monthly Goal (OMG) Finish Link up as well as many other fun linky parties around the web. Let's go see what's happening and don't forget to link up to Free Motion Mavericks - it's not just about FMQ! Design Wall Monday, Monday Making, What I Made Monday, Off The Wall FridayFriday Foto Fun, Beauties Pageant, Oh Scrap!15 Minutes to Stitch 2020, Colour & Inspiration Tuesday,

Free Motion Mavericks

Thanks to everyone who linked up last time! There are some great quilting and quilting events to keep us productive and sane going on. Have you joined in any of them yet? Last link up Sandra of mmm! quilts had a lovely finish, even if she can't get it to her daughter quite yet. If you didn't see her Storm at Sea, go have a look!
Storm at Sea by Sandra of mmm! quilts
It's your turn.
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Bubble Up Lap Quilt in the making

It's almost done! I've been wanting to make another lap quilt for our love seats in our living room to keep Chevy cosy and the seats relatively dog hair free.

Bubble Up Lap Quilt - Where two spirals meet

Bubble Up fabric strips
Bubble Up fabric strips
The day that I heard that Quilty Pleasures, our local quilt shop, was not an essential service, and would have to close to customer traffic, I rushed out and supported the shop ๐Ÿ˜Š Among my purchases was a package of Bubble Up fabric strips. Enough to make one lap quilt!

I didn't get fancy, I just sewed all of the strips together. The fabric is so colourful and amazing that I didn't want to mess with it (that's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

It took me a while to figure out how to quilt it since the fabric was too busy, colourful and amazing. It wouldn't have been worth doing any fancy free motion quilting (FMQ). So I didn't.

Quilting spirals using the walking foot
Quilting spirals using my walking foot
In the meantime, I've been watching some excellent BluPrint (Craftsy) classes. I never used to watch them unless I was going to start doing the work, but in the last couple of months, I'm just watching them for entertainment. That way I can view many and just follow the ones that I want.

I started by watching the first of Jacquie Gering's walking foot courses, Creative Quilting With Your Walking Foot. I then watched her second course, Next Steps With Your Walking Foot. Jacquie is a really excellent teacher and her courses are interesting and instructive. I highly recommend them!

So how to quilt my Bubble Up Lap Quilt - with a walking foot using spirals. I learned so much from watching the courses and quilting this piece.

I'll be mentioning what I learned below but I did want to talk about the constructive interference that I experienced when these two spirals met. If you look at the picture, you will probably start to cringe!
Constructive interference -
when two spirals meet
Yup, you guessed it!

It looks like my quilt top wasn't quite taunt enough and trouble was coming. Anyway, I wasn't in any mood to remove any of the stitching, so I forged ahead. Yup, my quilt has some lovely pleats where the two spirals met. At that point, Better Done Than Perfect was my mantra. If you examine it closely, you can see the lovely pleats, but otherwise they are quite inconspicuous.๐Ÿ˜Š

I looked in my stash for fabric to bind the quilt but really, none of it was up to these amazing colours - so I just had to find an online store in Canada that had some Bubble Up fabric. My fabric is coming to me from East Coast Quilt Co, in St. John's, Newfoundland. If I can't travel, at least my fabric can!

Since it was a beautiful day, I went out with my son and Chevy for a photo shoot to a deserted park down the street.

Bubble Up - where two spirals meet
quilt and dog
Fun with Chevy

There's a lot going on in that quilt!

Bubble Up Quilt
basking in the sun
See the flowers blooming - oh, and there's the quilt!

What I learned
  • As you know, I love free motion quilting (FMQ) but since I've been using my walking foot to make journal covers, I've come to appreciate it. I thought that it would be good to try out quilting with the walking foot on this quilt.
  • Jacquie Gering warned us that quilting spirals with the walking foot could be tricky. It is! The hardest thing to master, in my opinion, is turning the quilt around while not leaving a trace on the quilting. I have quite a few tiny bumps in the quilting. I'm sure that if I had been in a more zen mood that it would have gotten better earlier in the quilting. I was getting the hang of it by the end.
  • I used a colourful variegated King Tut thread for the top of the quilt - and I wasn't sure that I would have enough. I'm happy to report that I did, although I don't think that there's much left on the spool.
  • I love the secondary pattern that comes from the two spirals intersecting. 
  • I'm really looking forward to binding the quilt when my fabric arrives. Of course, I'll post it when it's finished! 
Related links
Linking parties
I will be linking up to many fun linky parties, including Free Motion Mavericks which is with Muv this week. Make sure that you go link up - it's not only about FMQ!
I'm also linking up with Sandra's DrEAMi quilt party, as well as many other fun linking parties. Let's check them out and see what's going on while we stay home and quilt! Peacock Party, Friday Foto Fun, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Tuesday Colour and Inspiration, What I Made Monday, Monday Making,

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Free Motion Maverick and Community Stitch Challenge

Welcome to Free Motion Mavericks, week 276. I hope that this finds you and yours healthy and sane!

Community Stitch Challenge - Week 4

On Monday, the host of this week's challenge was Richard McVetis. His work exploring time and stitching is quite fascinating. Our challenge this week is to work with the couching stitch. I was quite happy because it's one of my favourites and it was great to see that it held much more potential than I would have thought!

He suggested that we use geometric shapes or shapes of things in our home to explore this versatile stitch. I don't draw much, but I can draw the shape of a book, since I've made so many of those foundation paper pieced book blocks. I like that it has specific sections that can be represented differently with thread.
Book image using various forms of couching embroidery
Couched book as well as the drawn shape
These are the assorted yarns that I used as background. Missing is some black embroidery thread that I used to outline the book. I used two strands to couch the other 6 strands. I've been collecting yarn for this type of work for years. I'm glad that I had a nice assortment to play with.
Book image with the yarns used for couched embroidery
Most of the yarn that I used for the couching background
 Couching the bright blue almost felt like weaving - which was my first textile love.

Book outline filled in with couched yarns
Couched book
I had so much fun making this. I drew my images at lunch time and then worked on it all evening. That's why there is no FMQ in my post...maybe next time ๐Ÿ˜Š

Update on the Community Stitch Challenge - Week 2 Re-do

In my last post I mentioned that I was re-doing the Week 2 challenge. I'm now making progress on the piece. I found a lovely peasant skirt that I bought but never wore because it needed serious alterations and mending. I think that this is a better use of it! You can see it at the top of the piece.

Fabric collage used to make textile art piece
Adding a top layer from a skirt

Update on fabric collage to make textile art piece
I'm starting to like the progress
Since I want this piece to depict these strange times, I'm not rushing it since there are probably a few more weeks of things to add to this piece. I'm going to enjoy densely stitching it. The joy of making this piece is definitely about embracing the slow process.

Cute puggle sleeping on the couch
Chevy - expert at couching!

What I learned

  • I learned that couching is even more versatile than I thought. 
  • I had never outlined an image using a couching stitch. It's not as clean as using a regular embroidery stitch but I'm sure that it could be used effectively. I'll have to think about that.
  • Here's this morning's joke, courtesy of my bored children. It turns out that Chevy is a couching expert....since she sleeps on the couch most of the day!๐Ÿ˜‰

Related links

Linking parties

I will be linking up to many great parties. Make sure to visit some and take the time to link up below!
Tuesday Colour & Inspiration, Monday Making, Midweek MakersNeedle & Thread Thursday, Put Your Foot Down, Off the Wall Friday, Finished or Not Finished Friday, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Friday Foto Fun, Oh Scrap!, Slow Sunday Stitching,

Free Motion Mavericks

Thanks to everyone who linked up last time! What wonderful quilting and quilting events to keep us productive and sane. We are really lucky to be a part of this amazing community๐Ÿ˜Š If you didn't get the chance to congratulate Sandra of mmm! quilts on her latest published pattern, Stars Aligned, make sure to check it out and download the free Modern by the Yard magazine.

Stars Aligned quilt created by Sandra at mmm! quilts
Stars Aligned by Sandra of mmm! quilts
It's your turn.
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Slow Stitching and Updates

I'm taking a short pause from my playing to make Easter supper (it's in the oven) and write a post on my many ongoing projects. There's lots to show, so here it is!

Community Stitch Challenge Redo 

So far I've participated in two stitching challenges with You may remember my challenge piece from Cas Holmes' week. I liked my piece but I knew that it didn't have the layers that Cas Holmes adds to her pieces.
Stitched piece for Cas Holmes stitching challenge
After thinking about it for a week, I remembered the fabric in my basement cupboard of clothes that I've kept for just this kind of project. I'm now going through these to see what I can add as layers to this little piece. It's far from finished but the project is now percolating in my creative brain. I'm looking forward to seeing what I come up with ๐Ÿ˜Š
Some ideas for adding layers
As you may be able to see, I want to make this piece as a reminder of this period in our lives. Do you see the little mask in the middle panel?

Mandala Update

In my last post I showed you the BIG Mandala that I created for Project Quilting Quarantine (PQQ) 2020. It wasn't finished - and still isn't but it's getting there! I had no idea what to do for the edge since I didn't have anything that I could just add like lace or some other finish. Finally I thought about adding a border of ruffled batik. With the addition of the twisted couched yarn, I think that it will do. I now need to add beads and one thin strip of free motion quilting in the last circle (if I can). I'm hoping to finish it this week.

The BIG Mandala now has a border ruffle and yarn. 

Making lace-type fabric with water soluble products

Last June, during Quilt Canada, I took a full day class with Amanda McCavour. She introduced us to 2 different Sulky Solvy products. I worked a little bit on my project after the class but never finished it. While making the BIG Mandala, I thought that I might make my own lace with these products as an edging to my piece. Well, I had fun experimenting with these products but quickly decided against using this as an edging because I would have needed 50 inches of it!

Here is my experiment. I used what I learned from Amanda McCavour as well as from the beautiful book I bought by Meredith Woolnough, Organic Embroidery. On a strip of about 3" wide, I FMQ a very dense circle (using tiny circular motions, sort of like mini pebbles stuck together), and then added lines in between, to a circle in the middle. I made two of those. Then I made one piece of very fine scribbling. Finally I make a couple of arches and since I had room, I added a couple of fine strips.

This is what it looked like after I had FMQ and before dissolving the Sulky product.
Different experiments

Two circles with webbing

My notes

Finished product

I left the corner of my hexie runner in the picture to give you an idea of size. Those are ¾" hexies! It would have taken forever to make 50" of lace fabric to go around the edge of my Mandala!
I will, however, add these to the Cas Holmes' Community Stitch Challenge Re-do ๐Ÿ˜Š and I'm looking forward to experimenting some more with these water soluble products.

Cutting Tumbler Scraps

I picked up a Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine a few months ago because it came with some tumbler templates that I couldn't resist. It's a lovely quilting magazine but I don't generally buy traditional quilting magazines because I make so few traditional quilts. However, this caught my eye and last week I didn't want to think so I just grabbed some scraps of fabric (anything bigger than 3"x 3") and started cutting out tumblers.

My tumbler template with cut out scraps.
It's going to be very scrappy but instead of the white background of the magazine quilt, I'm just going to use solids of any colour to break it up. Once I cut another gazillion tumblers, I'll start looking at how to place my fabric. Until then, no thinking, just mindless cutting!

Making Masks

Like every other person who can sew, I made a few masks. As you can imagine, they are not my favourite thing to do but I did want to help keep my sister-in-law healthy since she's an x-ray technician in the local hospitals. The first one was a prototype but with her comments I made 4 more that are definitely better. My son wanted to make his own mask, so now, if I get sick, he can make some for the family ๐Ÿ˜Š

Masks for my sister-in-law
My son learning to make his own mask.

Sewing fabric strips

The day before my local quilt shop had to close to customers in the store, I went in and bought some fabric. I didn't need anything but I wanted to encourage them since I know that times might get rough in the next few weeks (or months). I bought a few fat quarters but also a package of fabric strips called Bubble Up. There is enough to make a lap quilt to protect one of our love seats from Chevy's hair and nails.

I sewed it together that weekend and finally sandwiched it this week. I'd like to quilt it this week. I've been watching courses on BluPrint and am considering using my walking foot, or FMQ in rows. The fabric is quite bright so I'm not sure that FMQ would show up. I hope to feature this on the next Free Motion Mavericks on Thursday - as long as I start it!
Isn't this going to make a wild and fun lap quilt?
What I learned
  • As you can imagine from all of these projects, I am like a butterfly flitting from one project to another (or like a squirrel)!
  • I actually have more on the go, but this is enough for today's post!
  • I just checked and the challenge for Project Quilting Quarantine this week is Floral. I'm sure that I can add something more to my list - it's either that or read many books (or both!) Although if the weather gets nice (above 10C, I will go outside to clean up the yard - this would be the first year in a long, long time!)
  • I could work on my many UFOs but they all require some concentration, which is just not there right now. I do hope that it will come back some day.
What's on this week
    • Community Stitch Challenge - Week 4 with Richard McVetis. We find out what the challenge is on Monday.
    • Project Quilting Quarantine challenge - Floral (due Sunday, April 19, 2020)
    • Make buffalo plaid curtains for my niece.
    • Finish FMQ and beading the BIG Mandala
    • Keep cutting tumbler pieces from scraps.
    • FMQ or quilt with a walking foot, my Bubble Up lap quilt.
    Related links
    Linking parties
    I'll be linking up with Free Motion Mavericks at Muv's. Remember to link up too! I am also linking up to Slow Stitching Sunday, Oh Scraps as well as many other great link ups. Let's see what everyone is making during their quarantine time and if they had access to chocolates! What I made Monday, Design Wall Monday, Monday Making, To-Do Tuesday, Tuesday Colour & InspirationMidweek Makers, Needle & Thread ThursdayPut Your Foot Down,

    Happy Easter!

    Sunday, April 05, 2020

    BIG Mandala to help heal the world - PQQ 2020

    It would seem that the Project Quilting is not quite over. It's been extended to Project Quilting Quarantine (PQQ) 2020! Same fun stuff but with no sponsors and prizes, so that means that it's a little more flexible (good thing because my project is not quite finished!)

    A BIG Mandala to help heal the world

    A Mandala is the Sanskrit word for "circle". It can be a very sacred if created by monks, but it can also be a wonderful creation to focus meditation. You may have seen them in colouring books for helping to reduce stress.

    I created my BIG Mandala as a meditation tool to help heal the world. It would seem that at this particular time, the inhabitants of this small planet we call home are in need of healing...

    I'm going to keep this simple since I have 45 minutes to post before the deadline! I'll include more details in my final post, hopefully within a week or so.

    Making a BIG Mandala for PQQ
    I've been wanting to make a Mandala for a while. The quilted mandala is loosely based on the article, Patchwork Collage Mandalas by Rebekah Meier in the Quilting Arts magazine of October/November 2018 (see Related links below).

    In my research, I found that green in a Mandala is the colour for healing the body and that blue is for self-healing (among other things). That's why I chose to highlight these colours, especially in the scallops.

    I also used very specific free motion quilting (FMQ) designs to help to keep it simple (to aid in meditation) and to signify healing.

    Quilting symbols that could signify life and healing

    Creating hand-stitched cording to match the healing colours; adding
    green and blue scallops for healing the body and the self; and
    FMQ lotus flowers and the eternal flame.
    This is the Mandala so far. It still needs some beading, FMQ around the last circle and some trimming around the edge. I haven't quite figured out the exact finish so I'll be posting again with more details once it's finished.
    BIG Mandala to help heal the world

    What I learned
    • Well, I still haven't learned to make a deadline when there is an out, but I do want this to be a beautiful finish. I will be using it for meditation.๐Ÿ˜Š
    Related links
    One Monthly Goal for April
    This project is my OMG project for April. I really hope to get it done before the end of the month, but I have a few face masks to make before I can get back to this!

    Linking parties
    I'll be linking up to many linking parties - but the most important link is 
    Project Quilting Quarantine - Challenge 1 - BIG, with Kim Lapacek, at Persimon Dreams who is once again keeping us productive with PPQQ 2020. Thanks so much Kim!
    I'm also linking up to April's OMG with Patty at Elm Street Quilts. Thanks Patty for your great motivational party!
    I'll be linking up to many fun linking parties. Why not check them out? Slow Sunday StitchingOff The Wall FridayCan I Get A Whoop Whoop?Oh Scarp!, Monday Making, What I Made Monday, To-Do TuesdayMidweek Makers,

    Thursday, April 02, 2020

    Stitch Challenge and Free Motion Mavericks Link-up

    Welcome to Week 274 of the Free Motion Mavericks linking party - where you don't have to be free motion quilting (FMQ) to link up. We're here to share, connect and encourage each other, no matter what techniques we use. ๐Ÿ˜Š

    Week 2 of the Community Stitch Challenge

    In my last post, I shared with you my sampling piece that was created for the first challenge guided by Sue Stone. The Community Stitch Challenge on Facebook is organised by This week, we have the amazing Cas Holmes directing the challenge. We are making a small piece that depicts the landscape of our homes by exploring cloth and paper as a surface for hand stitching.
    Hand-stitching space

    On Monday evening I listened to Cas Holmes' video. After reading her handout I still couldn't think of a thing in my home that I wanted to stitch. I was just in one of those moods - so I let it peculate over night.

    On Tuesday, I sat in my hand-stitching area that I've create for myself in our sitting room, took out some stuff and before I knew it, I had picked a background piece (the corner of a hand-dyed napkin) and had drawn the outline of my scissors with a textile marker.

    From my pile of fabric bits, I added a couple of fabric strips to delineate my home and embroidered a window with the shining sun and a tree. I then added a piece of the wrapping of the Merci chocolate that my husband had just given me. This is the paper part of this exercise and is a thank you to these wonderful textile artists for this special opportunity to create with them.

    Since I've been doing meditation stitching, I created a mini meditation block. It's one inch square! I don't usually work with anything that small.

    Adding bits from my pile of possibilities
    This is what I have so far.
    Week 2 Challenge piece so far
    This is my design board of hand-stitched pieces.

    Design Board of hand-stitched pieces
    What I learned
    • As you can see, I'm really enjoying doing hand stitching. It's so relaxing. I love my colourful hand-stitched design board.
    • Maybe one day I'll feel like putting some of these together for a finished piece.
    • What I love about Cas Holmes' work is that it's seems very intuitive. She really seems to be playing with collage, hand stitching and FMQ.
    • My piece doesn't have much of the collage aspect that she is so famous for... but I'm not done...we'll see ๐Ÿ˜Š
    Related Links
    Linking parties
    I will be linking this post to many fun linking parties found around virtual Quiltland. Let's see what's happening! Slow Sunday Stitching, Off The Wall Friday, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Oh Scarp!, Monday Making, Design Wall Monday, Midweek Makers,

    Free Motion Mavericks

    Thanks to everyone who linked up last time. It's so great to see everyone's projects, whether they are in the conceptual stages, quilt tops or finished. Did you see Dawn's finished Reach for the Stars that she made for the 2019 Rainbow Scraps Challenge (RSC)? It's really lovely.

    Quilted by Dawn - Reach for the Stars
    Now it's your turn!

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