Monday, July 27, 2020

Mark-making & Dyeing perle cotton

July is almost finished! For a while it looked like it would never end....and now it's almost done! The heat and humidity has left me estivating - not going out if I can help it, so of course, that means working with fabrics, with a little paint and dye on the side to spice things up! 😊

Mark-making with Colour Vie

Almost three years ago, Out of the Box Fibre Artists Group had Gunnel Hag as their speaker. She has developed a pigment system, Colour Vie that is great to paint and screen printing. I tried it out when my artist friend, Lyne, came to visit (see Related links below). I had liked playing with them but haven't touched them since, Paint makes me nervous....

As you may know, I've been following's Stitch Club 2020 and this week's presenter was Gregory T. Wilkins. Our assignment was to make marks with paint and then add stitches to it. In two different sessions, I took out my Colour Vie pigments and made marks using all kinds of things like forks, a silk flower, stamps and stencils. I made 8 blocks on one piece of cotton fabric that was divided using green painter's tape. Between sessions, I ironed on a few pieces of freezer paper to cover some of the things I liked and I also added painter's tape to keep some spots blank.

I'm going to use Panel 4 for my workshop piece.

Here are the finished panels with the tape removed. I liked panel 4 the best for doing my project but there are various parts of each panel that I like - so one day I just might cut them up and put them back together - cause that's what quilters do! 

Eight panels with marks

I have started stitching on Panel 4. 

Running stitch and French knots
using #12 perle cotton
Running stitch and satin stitches
The centre is #8 perle cotton

The red/raspberry perle cotton that I used is the thread that I dyed a few days ago.😊

Lots of possibilities for embroidering some of the marks!

Dyeing perle cotton

My artist friend, Elaine Quehl, has taught courses in fabric and thread dyeing. To be honest, I couldn't understand why anyone would want to dye thread....well it turns out that she mostly dyed perle cotton. Since she had some extra from her class, I bought some white #8 and #12 perle cotton and did a little bit of experimenting. Thanks Elaine for your support - I should have taken your class😊

I also tend to get nervous about fabric dyeing - so to keep it low stress, I try to work in small batches. I made 2 skeins each of white #8 and #12 perle cotton. I very carefully placed them in the soda ash and water solution. Thread can very easily tangle, so they need to be handled with lots of care!

I placed the skeins in a wash basin and covered three of them with the dark raspberry dye. I then added water to the dye and used that for the last skein of thread. 

Skeins soaking to stop the dye  
from bleeding
Drying in the hallway -
it was too cold in the basement!

Helping me keep the thread from tangling
while I transfer it to spools

Several spools of  #8 and #12 perle cotton

Since I was in the basement dyeing perle cotton, I thought that I might as well dye a little bit of fabric. I dyed some cheese cloth and a strip of linen using the left-over raspberry dye. I also cut up a piece from my mother's use-to-be-white cotton sheet to see if I could do anything with it. The sheet is in great shape, just not white anymore. For this experiment, I dyed a piece of sheet using some left-over dye from a snow dyeing class that Pat, another artist taught. The dye combined many left-over colours and was a few months old, but I figured that I had nothing to loose. I folded one end of the fabric and tied it off, while I scrunched up the other end of the fabric and also tied it.

Here are the results. You saw the cheesecloth drying in the image above.

The scrunched up and tied end of the fabric

The other end of the fabric - folded and tied 

A piece of now light pink linen

What I learned
  • I love the gray coloured fabric. What a wonderful surprise! I should dye more fabric before the dye changes. 
  • The light pink linen was only left in the dye bath for about 10 hours, while the thread was in there for over a day, so that might account for the difference. However, the cheesecloth was only in the dye bath for 10 hours also. I think that the perle cotton and the cheesecloth may have absorbed the dye well because it's only a strand and not woven tightly. If you know the answer, please let me know!
  • The first skein of perle cotton that I placed on a spool went well, for about half. Then I got impatient and it got tangled. The good news is that since I don't want to machine stitch with it, different lengths of thread on a spool is not a bad thing, as long as they are each long enough to embroider with 😊.
  • I love the dyed perle cotton. It is quite a bit of work but mostly tedious, like making the skeins and then transferring to spools. I have two colours of perle cotton - a raspberry and a pink. You can see these in the images of the embroidered paint-marked fabric.
  • I also had a great time mark-making on the fabric. I was going to stop at 6 panels but then experimented with some fun texture techniques on the last two panels. As I mentioned, all of the pieces have some lovely parts that will get used some day!
Related links
Linking parties
I'll be linking up to many fun linky parties, including Free Motion Mavericks - where you don't have to be doing FMQ to link up! Muv will be hosting on Thursday, so don't miss it! Monday Making, Off the Wall Friday, Design Wall Monday, What I Made Monday, Colour & Inspiration Tuesday, Midweek Makers, Needle & Thread Thursday, TGIFF, Finished or Not Finished Friday, Off The Wall Friday, Slow Sunday Stitching

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Planning to Quilt Stars on Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to Free Motion Mavericks, Week 290. Yesterday I searched the internet to find some fun free motion quilting (FMQ) designs for the 6 star blocks in the Pinwheels and Stars Baby Quilt. 

Star Block FMQ Designs

I've been working on this quilt for a while now, but if you don't remember, here is the full quilt.

The Pinwheels and Stars Baby Quilt
All of the pinwheel blocks have been FMQ so now it's time to work on the star blocks. Here are some possible designs for quilting them.

This first one is a variation of Leah Day's Sun Star Block. The middle circle doesn't go through the diamond shapes. I really like this one. I might play with the quilting in the background - it's not part of her design. For the links to these blocks, see Related links below.

Based on Leah Day's Sun Star Block

This design is based on Star Struck, a post on the Seams French blog. I just noticed that I missed one of the corner diamonds. See, that's what practice is for 😊

A lovely design with diamonds outside of the star

This is an Angela Walters FMQ design. I'm going to have to practice it a lot before I'm ready but I love it.

Based on an Angela Walters design

This design is based on an image of a FMQ star on Flicker. The FMQ, by GF Quilts is really stunning. This is just a small part of the quilting. You'll want to check out the link below. 
Lots of curves in this design

There are 25 designs for Ohio Stars on the AQS Blog. You'll want to check them out too! This is a variation of a few of them. I would probably quilt the circles as spirals since they are much easier to quilt, but we'll see.

Many options to choose from on the AQS Blog.

This is the design that has been the most challenging to draw on the computer (more about that in the What I learned section). The middle is based on Leah Day's Flame Flower #36. I'll show you the original image when I attempt this one. I will need a lot of practice but I love the design.

Based on Leah Day's Flame Flower #36

I like the simplicity of this design. It's a combination of the AQS blog and my own design.

Simple lines can make for a good design

These are only design that I found on the Internet. I haven't even looked in my FMQ books yet! Some of these designs, or variations of them, will become reality in the next few of my posts of Free Motion Mavericks. I hope that you'll join me.

What I learned
  • I wanted my designs to look a little more professional than my last hand drawn pinwheel designs. I really didn't account for the amount of additional time that it took to draw them using the computer.
  • I don't have anything fancy - just Paint and PowerPoint. I must say that it was easier to draw than I expected - I usually stay away from drawing with Paint but after a few attempts the straight lines were easy to add. For anything more complicated I had to use PowerPoint. 
  • I recently learned about an app for the IPad but it turns out that it's too old. Where does the time fly and how crazy is it that 4 years is old!!!!
  • I should look in my books for a couple more designs - it seems a shame not to use them!
Related links
Linking parties

Free Motion Mavericks

Thanks to all of you who linked up last time 😊 It's always fun to have guests show up at the party!

This week's feature is the Fly High! quilt by Sandra of mmm quilts. It was created as one of her RSC 2017 projects and is made up of triangles....lots and lots of them! You can tell that she had a great time playing with her FMQ designs. If you didn't see it last time, check it out. It's really amazing!

Sky High! by Sandra at mmm quilts

Now it's your turn!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Monday, July 20, 2020

Ciboulette Stitches finished

It's done! My project for Sue Stones' Stitch Club 2020 is finished. I really enjoy the time that I have to stitch.  

Ciboulette Stitches 

Here it is! I'm really happy with the finished project. I had planned to only have one flower but it really needed more, so now there are three.

Ciboulette Stitches finished!
Here is a close up of the flowers.

Close up of Ciboulette flowers 

My model for the chive flower comes from my front garden. It hasn't received much attention but I love  that the chives grow without my effort - my favourite kind of plant 😊
The Ciboulette model

This project was a lot of fun. It took me a while to come up with the woven background that I liked. 

These was my first choices of strips. I then exchanged the darker fabric for the batik. I also played around with the order of the strips and finally chose the one that I'm using.

My first choice was with
this dark fabric
I replaced the dark strip with a mauve batik

I wasn't sure if I was going to just embroider the chives or appliqué them. I ended by cutting pieces and then drawing around them. 
I cut some chive pieces from fabric and then drew around them. 

What I learned
  • Getting the strips organised for the background was fun but not as simple as I thought it would be. I just wanted to ensure that there was some light spaces where the chive flowers would be.
  • I considered appliquéing the chives but since the exercise was in stitching, I ended up stitching everything. I'm glad that I did.
  • I bound the piece like a traditional quilt but I was hoping to leave the front woven strips loose and then just bind the back and batting. I hope to try that out the next time!😊
Related links
Linking parties

Project details

Ciboulette Stitches
7¾" x 10¼" 
Materials: cotton strips, perle cotton and embroidery floss.
Techniques: weaving and embroidery 

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Slow stitching with new projects

I'm still doing a lot of slow stitching and participating in's Stitch Club 2020. I think that it's our week off, giving me time to catch up on my projects.😊

Ciboulette Stitches coming along

Two weeks ago it was Sue Stone's turn to host our stitching assignment. We cut up some strips and made a woven background for our piece. You may have seen the beginning of Ciboulette Stitches (see Related links below). I'm now ready to stitch another two ciboulette flowers (French for chives). I'm not sure what's slowing me down - probably last week's project! 😊

Ciboulette Stitches is coming along

Close-up of Ciboulette Stitches

Best of Times, Worst of Times Concertina Book

Last week our featured textile artist was Mandy Pattullo. She showed us how to make a concertina book. Her book was mostly pieces of fabric that meant something to her and played well together. I was in a more literal mood so mine is more of a story book.

Pages 1 and 2 - The beginning 

My first spread, pages 1 and 2, is almost finished. I'll be adding stitches in the background once I've finished stitching the fabrics.

Pages 3 and 4 - Wishing

Pages 5 and 6 - Learning

Pages 7 and 8 - Moving forward

Stitch Challenge Re-do

I also worked a little on my Community Stitch Challenge - Week 2 Re-do (no new name yet).

Adding new bit of fabric and stitches to the Week 2 Re-Do

What's on this week
  • I really want to finish these two Stitch Club projects. The Ciboulette Stitches only has a few hours left of stitching. The concertina book will take a while longer.
  • I really enjoyed doing some FMQ this week for Free Motion Mavericks. I may try to take some time to play with my sewing machine.
What I've learned
  • I'm still spending a lot of time getting the studio organised. I've moved the sewing machine and desk around since I'm spending more time at the desk, so it's now in front of the window.
  • I have about half of my fabrics placed in the studio - it looks like it will all fit.😊
  • As I stitch the concertina book, I find that I'm missing not having a second layer to stitch through. 
  • Hand stitching is called slow stitching for a reason - the concertina book may end up being a longer term project since it's demanding a lot of stitching.

Related links
Linking parties

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Finished pinwheels and Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to Free Motion Mavericks, Week 288. This week I tried out different free motion quilting (FMQ) designs on the rest of the pinwheel blocks in the Pinwheels and Stars Baby Quilt.

FMQ the last three pinwheel blocks

Here are the final three pinwheel blocks. I didn't realise until I added the images here that all three blocks have FMQ in both the background and patterned fabrics.

Adding feathers 

Close-up of the FMQ feathers

FMQ echoed leaves

FMQ three lines within each triangle

You may remember that I drew 10 different possible FMQ designs for these pinwheel blocks. Before deciding on the last FMQ design to use, I reviewed the designs that I had used so far. Not surprisingly, most of them where more curvy than angular. To even it up a bit, I made this last one using lines. You can see that I marked one block in red. After that I just drew a dot at roughly each ¼" on the edge to aim for.
Pinwheel FMQ designs used
For the sixth design, I used a curvy variation - echoed leaves instead of echoed diamonds. Finally, for the seventh design, I added the lines to both the background and printed fabrics.

What I learned
  • I've really enjoyed working from a list of already prepared possible designs. I'm usually not that organised but it was worth the effort of finding FMQ designs on the internet and books, and then sketching them out. 
  • There are so many FMQ possibilities. Do you have a favourite? Click on the image to see the details.

Related links
Linking parties
Here are some of the fun parties that I will be linking up to. As well, make sure to link up below at Free Motion Mavericks - your post doesn't have to be FMQ related. Colour & Inspiration Tuesday, Midweek Makers, Put Your Foot Down, Needle & Thread Thursday, Finished or Not Finished Friday, Friday Foto Fun, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Peacock PartyOh Scrap!Monday Making, TGIFF (since Gail said that not finished was fine!)

Free Motion Mavericks

We had a respectable turn out for our last party here - thanks for linking up! If you didn't see them, we had two link-ups by participants of the Stitching Sunshine Blog Hop. 
Denise of For the Love of Geese, made her sun and two flowers using Dresden plates. Her sun is absolutely stunning! Here's a link to her post if you didn't visit it yet. 

Using Dresden plates - Denise of For the Love of Geese

For something totally different, read about Totally Irrational, the striking quilt made by Vasudha of Storied Quilts.

Totally Irrational - Vasudha of Storied Quilts
Now it's your turn!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

July is here!

I can't believe that July is already here. It must be Canada Day because it's really hot and muggy in Ottawa. It may get lively in the burbs today as people who usually head to Parliament Hill stay home and have small parties. I watched a few fireworks from my studio last night - that was a treat. 

Happy Canada Day!

Fireworks in July (2015)

I thought that I had only made one other Canada Day quilt, but when I looked at my old posts, it turns out that I made quite a few Canada minis for Canada's 150th in 2017. I must have forgotten them because I gave them all away except for my Canada 150 Art Quilt.

Canada 150 - Beaver block
designed by Sew Fresh Quilts

Canada 150 Logo
Designed by Dana Szucs Hayden of SeaSew

Sergeant Sesquicentennial block
from Quilting Pleasures

Canada 150 Art Quilt

I hadn't planned on doing a Canada Day quilt show but here it is 😊

What's on this week
  • I'm working on all of my hand stitched projects right now (Meditation blocks, Traveller's Blanket and the Community Stitch Challenge - Week 2 Re-do [I need a better name for this one!]).
  • This week's Stitch Club 2020 is hosted by Sue Stone. We are making a woven background with stitching. I'm really hoping to get most of it done by Friday. If you're wondering, "ciboulette" is chives - but it sounds so much nicer in French!
Ciboulette Stitches in progress
What I learned
  • I was pleasantly surprised by my collection of Canada Day minis. In 2017 I hosted several months of linking parties for Celebrate - Fêtons 150! It was great to look at those posts again - I also remember how much work all of this took but I really enjoyed it. 
  • It even had it's own page and button!

Related links
Linking parties
I'll be linking up to Free Motion Mavericks since it's Muv's turn to host it this week. Make sure that you link up also - no need to be doing FMQ to link up! Let's see what everyone is up to - check out these fun linky parties. To-Do Tuesday, Colour & Inspiration Tuesday, Monday Making, Midweek Makers, Put Your Foot Down, Needle & Thread Thursday, Off the Wall Friday, Peacock Party, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Finished or Not Finished Friday, Friday Foto Fun, Slow Sunday Stitching, Oh Scrap!, 15 Minutes to Stitch 2020

For our neighbours to the south, I hope you have a fun and safe Fourth of July!