Saturday, August 29, 2020

Swamp visit & slow stitching

Can you believe that August is almost over? Now that the weather is cooler, I feel like I'm finally coming out of my cocoon (aka my home's AC) and I even have a little more energy. As much as I love the cool fall weather, I have to remind myself to enjoy it because I keep thinking of the winter that's on it's way. I know....enjoy the moment! 😊 

Progress on Marks & Stitches

As my post title suggests, I went on a road trip and while hubby was driving, I was able to stitch to my 💖's content! I spent most of my time working on Marks and Stitches, the piece that I started at the end of July for Gregory T. Wilkins' workshop (see Related links for the other 2 posts).

Marks and Stitches - more progress

Taking advantage of the lovely setting

I did get more stitching done after our visit to the park but that's for another time.

A hike and a visit to the swamp

On our way to North Bay, Ontario we stopped in for a couple of hours at one of my favourite parks, Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park. (I actually have a few favourites since we have amazing parks in Ontario!)

We went on a walk to a lovely swamp - the trail was closed but we were allowed to go at our own risk. Considering the times, it's not surprising that they didn't spend a lot of time fixing the trail, but except for a slightly tilted boardwalk and some over grown areas, the trail was fine.

Here are my favourite pictures.

Dancing on the water - Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park

Driftwood and reflections - Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park

Waterlily - Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park

My daughter, husband and I had a great weekend. I got to visit with a great friend, eat home-made corn dogs, walk in the water of Lake Nipissing (I forgot my swim stuff) and visit family. It was so good to be out of the house. I'm very grateful that my son stayed with Chevy while we were gone.😊 

What I learned
  • I love embroidering in the car. It really makes the miles (or km) fly by!
  • A few days ago I undid some of my stitching on Marks and Stitches. I don't usually do that but I didn't really like a couple of spots. I'll share this with you in a future post.
  • I'm now trying to figure out how to finish Marks and Stitches. I don't think that I want to quilt it, so I bought a frame that will probably look good. I'll just have to get a bigger mat for it. 
  • About the swamp....I love swamps. When I was growing up we had a cottage that was next to a swamp. I've always been drawn to all of the activity going on in swamps.
Related links
Linking parties
I'll be linking up to some fun linky parties. Remember to go see Muv and link up to Free Motion Mavericks! You don't have to be doing FMQ to link up! 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

FMQ a mini on Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to Free Motion Mavericks, Week 294. I interrupt my regular programming (I've always wanted to say that!) to bring you a free motion quilted (FMQ) finish! 😊

"Ça va bien aller" is finished!

My August One Monthly Goal (OMG) stitched mini is finished! I couldn't wait to show it off - I'm really happy with it, and most importantly, so is my daughter (it's for her).

"Ça va bien aller" mini is finished!

You may remember that at the beginning of August, I wrote a post about the start of this mini. It was created as part of's workshop with Haf Weighton, a textile artist from Wales. The assignment was to stitch up a medal or other embroidered piece using words and appliqué. You can read more about the expression, "Ça va bien aller" in my last post and in an article on CBC News in Related links below.

After deciding on where to place the appliqué pieces, I embroidered parts of it.

Embroidering the appliqué

For a change, I had actually planned this piece out, leaving about a two inch border around the appliqué so that I could turn the background fabric over and make a facing. You can see in the picture above that I used a Frixion pen to mark the borders. I then added the batting and the backing fabric and basted it down.

The next step was to do some FMQ within the appliquéd part since there was no way that I could do this by hand and get it finished by the end of August.

FMQ the appliqué

You can see the back here after I've FMQ the appliqué. It was then time to stitch the back facing and then FMQ the rest of the piece.

The facing is ready to be stitched
The back when the FMQ is finished

What I learned

  • I am really happy that I took the time to plan out how I was going to finish this mini. It made everything so much easier. I REALLY hope that I remember to do that again. 😊
  • I really like the embroidery with the FMQ. It's great to be able to use different techniques and they really play well together!
  • One lesson that I didn't learn from my last post was to start on the FMQ of the star more than a day before the post is due. That didn't happen and I ended up finishing this piece instead. I have a couple of days off next week and I plan on working on the stars. Wouldn't it be awesome to have it done ahead of time? I almost can't imagine :-)

Related links

Linking parties

I will be linking up to many fun linking parties, including the August One Monthly Goal link. I also hope that if you're visiting that you will link up also. You don't have to be doing FMQ to join the fun! Long Arm Learning, Put Your Foot Down, Needle & Thread Thursday, Colour & Inspiration Tuesday, Midweek Makers, To-Do Tuesday, TGIFFShow Me Something Free Motion Link up, Slow Sunday Stitching, Off The Wall Friday, Friday Foto Fun, Beauties Pageant, Patchwork & Quilts, Oh Scrap!, Monday Making, Design Wall Monday, What I Made Monday

I'm calling this a squirrel - it might be a while in the making but it did spring up...and includes 2 squirrels! I'm linking up with Sandra at DrEAMi! This is also my Favorite Finish Monthly Linkup with Meadow Mist Designs.

I also linked this post up to Sarah Goer's Show Me Something That's a Gift.

Update: This mini quilt was also exhibited at the Stittsville Library in December 2020. You can see Connie's posts of the show in her blog, Connie's Textile Art.

Free Motion Mavericks

Thank you to everyone who linked up last time! It's always a pleasure to see what you are working on!

Last time Gretchen of Gretchen's Little Corner posted her finished quilt. What a lovely quilt - and FMQ with spirals. She did a really great job! If you haven't read her post, you really want to see this (after you link up of course!)

Gretchen's beautiful quilt with FMQ spirals

Before we get to the link up, Muv and I have an announcement to make 😁. You may have noticed that we are getting very close to Free Motion Maverick's 300th post!  On the 300th post, which will occur on October 1st if my calculations are correct, Muv and I will both be hosting special link ups. Stay tuned for more details in a couple of weeks!

Now it's your turn! 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Thursday, August 06, 2020

FMQ the first star on Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to Free Motion Mavericks, Week 292. Based on my last Free Motion Maverick's post, I chose one free motion quilting (FMQ) design for one of the 6 star blocks in the Pinwheels and Stars Baby Quilt. 

First Star Block FMQ Designs

The first star design with curves is done!
Star with curves

So let's go back a little. Here is the image of the FMQ design I chose. 

A curvy FMQ design that isn't too difficult

Although this design has several components, taken one at a time, they are not that difficult. It just requires some planning and practice.

I started with the feather/lotus design on the white background. I can now draw these fairly well and even - but it did take a lot of practice.

The next part was the thin loops along the star points. It's taken me quite a while to get these to be thin. I tend to make them too wide. The centre petals are a little tricky because they are not supposed to overlap. When I quilted them, I started with the ones that go to the corners of the square. Once these are done, it was easier to gauge the width of the petals going between the start points.

Drawing the design with a Fixion pen 

Star with curves - it's done!

View from the back 

What I learned
  • I'm going to have to start working on these posts before Wednesday if I'm going to FMQ the other star designs. Many of them will require practice - both by drawing and by FMQ. 
  • I've been debating introducing another colour of thread to FMQ within the star. That would help the quilt look more cohesive if I end up doing what I plan - which is to FMQ with coloured threads in the white wholecloth or centre part of the quilt. 
  • Well I did FMQ the star with a green thread. I think that it went very well.
  • I'm happy to say that I followed my plan for FMQ the star and it worked! I did the quilting this morning, early (for me), before I had a coffee. I took it very slowly. I'm very happy with the results.😀
Related links
  • Planning to Quilt Stars on Free Motion Mavericks, July 23, 2020
  • The FMQ design was inspired by this image by GF Quilts on Flicker
Linking parties

Free Motion Mavericks

Thank you to everyone who linked up last time! I always look forward to seeing what you've all done!
Last time, Vasudha of Storied Quilts linked up her Containment quilt. It's got a great story and will be featured in the book called Quarantine Quilts: Creativity in the Midst of Chaos, due to come out in 2021. If you didn't read about it, get going (after you link up!)😀

Containment by Storied Quilts

Now it's your turn.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Monday, August 03, 2020

OMG and slow stitching projects update

Since it's the beginning of August, it's time to:
  • Clean my machine (I do this at the beginning of each month), 
  • Write about my August One Monthly Goal (OMG), and 
  • Update you on my projects.

One Monthly Goal (OMG) for August

I started another project (yes, I's getting a little ridiculous!) It's the result of the many workshops that I'm following virtually! My OMG for August is from last week's's workshop with Haf Weighton, a textile artist from Wales. Our assignment is to stitch up a medal or other embroidered piece using words and appliqué. 

I'm making a mini wall hanging for my daughter - with a saying that we've seen around and have been using to encourage each other: "ça va bien aller"

Mini wall quilt for my daughter

I found an amazing background fabric and added some of her favourite fabrics. Here is a detailed look at the applique and stitching.

Close-up of "ça va bien aller"

I have been doing a lot of hand-stitching but I just don't have the energy or time to do this one all by hand. I used some lovely, fine silk thread to stitch down the appliqué. The piece is now ready for batting, backing and free motion quilting (FMQ). I will probably add more embroidery and maybe some beads - we'll see if it needs it and if I have the time 😊

This is where the saying comes from - I think that someone's artistic grandchildren in the neighbourhood drew this in late May. Chevy wasn't impressed but she did wait for me to take a few pictures.

The first time that I saw the expression, "ça va bien aller"

Slow Stitching Update

This next piece is from the workshop of a couple of weeks ago with Gregory T. Wilkins (it's the subject of my last post - see Related links below). I made the marks on eight panels using the Colour Vie pigment system and anything I could get my hands on such as a fork, a silk flower, stamps and stencils. 

I've been working on Panel 4 ever since and I have to admit that I'm really, really loving it. I think that it's even better than regular embroidery because I don't have to be precise 😊 (and we all know that I'm accuracy challenged!)

Marks and Stitches in progress

Enjoying the randomness of the stitching

Two daisies embroidered with my hand-dyed thread

The only other piece that I've worked on a little bit is my Traveller's Blanket.

Traveller's Blanket update

I've been working on a few additional meditation stitches pieces as well as hexies to add to the blanket. I'm looking forward to adding them to it.

Dyeing more gray fabric

In my last post I said that I would like to dye some more gray fabric - well I did. I ended up dyeing a good piece of cotton that I knew would hold the dye. Even though this new fabric was in the dye bath for over 24 hours, the colour is a lot like the last one except that some yellow managed to peek through! I also ended up dyeing more perle cotton which turned out a lovely blue-gray colour. The fabric underneath it was a white-on-white.

Gray fabric with streaks of yellow

White-on-white fabric and perle cotton now a lovely gray

What I learned
  • The two gray fabrics above are more closely related in colour - it's the daylight that affected the pictures - so who knows what the colour really is😊
  • I left my Marks and Stitches piece in the living room with my threads so that I was able to get to it often during the last few days. It's great to have a project on hand to play with. I will probably rotate them so that I can work on more than one!
  • Can you tell that I'm really liking all of these projects? This week is my turn to host Free Motion Mavericks so after cleaning my machine, I'll have to FMQ at least one star. Remember to come by to check it out!
  • I have so many projects on the go that I've decided to TRY to avoid starting new projects. It's too bad because Cas Holmes is presenting this week for our Stitch Club 2020 but I can get to her workshop later. I just have to give myself more time to get a few things finished.

Related links

Linking parties