Thursday, June 24, 2021

Thread, Tension & Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to week 337 of Free Motion Mavericks. Here is a short update of what's going on with Version 2.0.

Thread & Tension 

Whether I've wanted to or not, I've learned a lot of things making my son's Version 2.0 quilt. At the beginning it was math - the hard way, and now it's quilting with black batting, choosing the thread and making sure that my thread tension is good. 

Back and front of stitching-in-the-ditch


I was really hoping that I could use the same colour of thread for the back, but still have the front thread match the fabric. As you probably know, that's not always easy to do. I believe that this is the first time that I've worried so much about my thread colours and tension on a quilt. Since the quilt is made up of solid fabrics, the quilting will show, no matter what. It's just a matter of how much.

Struggling with the tension

Working on the back thread

In my last post about this quilt, I was wondering if I should use heavy or light thread. Well, I made it easy on myself...I am using mostly cotton, and essentially what I have on hand. I did pick up more dark bobbin thread but when I tried out the dark thread with the light top thread, there was no way that my tension was going to be perfect - so I've opted for a lighter more pinkish bobbin thread to go with the beige and red top threads.

Quilt sandwich ready to be quilted
So far, it's worked out fine. I started stitching-in-the-ditch of the red thread on top and the pinkish thread in the bobbin. That was the photos on top. My backing is made up of two different darker colours - maroon and burgundy. I sampled both of them on my quilt sandwich and it will be fine.

It's been a long time since I worked on a very large quilt. I do love free motion quilting (FMQ) but it is more of a challenge with a large quilt. The two long red strips have now been stitching-in-the-ditch. I'll get the other two small ones done and then start on the other colours. I will run out of the pinkish bobbin thread so back to the store I'll go. 

My FMQ set up for a large quilt

This is my set up for FMQ this quilt. I have a table on one side and a chair on the other to hold the weight of the quilt when necessary. I also moved a couple of my art pieces on the wall since they keep getting bumped around. Thanks for sharing the beginning of this FMQ journey.

What I learned
  • It's good to want to get the tension right but I'm now going to stop worrying about my thread. It will be fine as long as I don't go too fast...which will be difficult to do on such a large quilt!
  • I'm looking forward to finding designs in my books and online. I already have quilt sandwiches ready for practicing 😊
  • Thanks to the readers who left me some ideas on the thread and what to do about the cable design around the border. I will try to enlarge the pattern and maybe even see if I can add a little something to it - echoing?. There's lots of time for that since it's likely the last thing that I'll FMQ.
Related links
Linking parties
I'll be linking up to some great linking parties, so why not check them out. This will also be my One Monthly Goal (OMG) post since my goal for June was to sandwich the quilt. Well that's done!

Free Motion Mavericks

It's now time to celebrate all things quilty - from hand quilting to quilting with super duper computers! We've been following Frédérique as she works on her Drunkard Path quilt. What a little beauty! I love the minimal but effective FMQ that she has done. If you didn't catch her finish, check it out!

You'll want to check out the whole thing, but this
picture with details is lovely!

Now it's our turn!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Fairy Tales Blog Hop

 Thanks so much Joan for organising this blog hop, and I'm so sorry for being late to the party. 😒

Garden Fairy    

Here is Rose, my Garden Fairy.

Rose lives in my back garden

I am very privileged that Rose lives in my back garden. She loves flowers of all kinds.

She's not always easy to spot but she did stand still for a few pictures. She loves flowers but her favourites are the pink and mauve ones. She can find some of these all summer long in different parts of the garden.

Rose loves pink and mauve flowers

Rose visiting the bird feeder

Rose let me create this piece. It's mostly raw edge appliqué over some fun pink tulle with dots! I FMQ the appliqué and then hand-stitched and embroidered three of the edges. Since she loves all things translucent, that's what I used. There are even small white seed beads.

Rose, my Garden Fairy

I'm so glad that you were able to meet Rose. She is looking forward to seeing the other posts in the Blog Hop and hopes to meet other fairies 😊

What I learned
  • Even if a piece is done, it doesn't mean that the blog post has been written!
  • A quilting calendar is only useful if you actually check it!
  • I had a great time creating this piece - Rose was thrilled to have an art quilt made about her.
  • I did add any batting to this piece, so it's not technically a quilt. It just didn't seem to require it, especially since the tulle was only stitched where other pieces are over it, so it adds shadow and a third dimension to the piece.
  • I didn't want to bind it so I started by adding the ribbon on the right and from there just lace and embroidery stitches.
Linking parties
I'll be linking this post to many fun linking parties. Check them out as well as the other participants of the blog hop listed below. Free Motion Mavericks with Muv, Patchwork & QuiltsMonday Making, Design Wall Monday, Midweek MakersPut Your Foot Down

Here is the list of participants. I will update the week's links as the party continues. Thanks again Carole for organising this fun event.

Monday June 21

Tuesday June 22

Wednesday June 23

Just Let Me Quilt



Elizabeth Coughlin Designs

Just Because Quilts

Domestic Felicity

Thursday June 24


That Fabric Feeling

Ms P Designs USA

Quilt Schmilt

Patchouli Moon Studio

Days Filled With Joy

Goofin' Off Around the Block

Saturday, June 19, 2021

A quilt sandwich and housekeeping

Hi! If you follow or read other blogs, you will have heard by now that there are some changes happening. The service that lets you subscribe to the blog, so that you automatically receive it by email is ending. That's got a lot of bloggers scrambling to transfer their subscriber list to another service.

Welcome Mailchimp service

Thanks to the wonderful work of my fellow bloggers, in particular Frédérique of Quilting Patchwork Appliqué for being brave, trying it out and then writing a post on how to do this. She wrote great instructions so between the Mailchimp how-to articles and her posts, I was able to successfully (I hope) transfer my subscription service.

I have designed a very simple email that will go to your mailbox once this blog post is published. I have to thank you ahead of time for your patience as I experiment with the format of the email that you will receive. With any luck none of the email services will throw the email in your spam bin. It may, however, end up in your Promotions folder. 

So, to ensure that this post is not a wall of words, here is my son's Version 2.0 quilt as it was getting sandwiched at my girlfriend's place on Monday.

Version 2.0 has been sandwiched

We pinned it together on Monday and today I adjusted the pins because as you know, no matter how well you keep the layers taunt, there is always some puckering on the other side. I am pleased to say that the puckering was minimal and I was able to adjust the pins on my kitchen table. 

Usually I have to adjust many, many times but today it was just once from the back and only a little bit on the front. I owe a big thank you to Lyne for helping me out (and giving me a haircut) 😊

Minimal puckering on the back

Just minor adjustments

This evening I basted the quilt, starting in the middle and going outward. The pins have now all been removed and I'm ready to quilt in the ditch. The next step is deciding on all of the threads and making some small samples to try them out. 

Upcoming event

Next week will be a busy blogging week since I am participating in the Fairy Tales Blog Hop, hosted by CalicoJoan of MooseStach Quilting. It's only going to be about the blogging since my piece was finished last week - I know, incredible!

So join us next week (I'm on Tuesday) for some fun fairy tale themed quilts.

What I learned

  • I am not eager for change, especially when things are working - so going from Feedburner to Mailchimp was not my idea of fun. I really, really hope that this will work out. Don't be shy to give me feedback on the email.
  • This was probably the easiest sandwiching that I've done, other than tiny quilts! Mom was probably watching over me to make sure that it went smoothly 😊
  • I will be hosting Free Motion Mavericks next week - so drop by to see how the FMQ is going.
Related links

Linking parties

I'll be linking up to many fun linking parties, include with Muv who is hosting Free Motion Mavericks this week. Patchwork & Quilts, Monday Making,  

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Planning and Free Motion Mavericks

As you may have read, I finished the quilt top for Version 2.0 of my Mother's quilt to my Son as my May One Monthly Goal (OMG). For June, my OMG is to sandwich it. I trimmed all of the threads on the back of the quilt top, pieced the back, and it's now ready to be sandwiched!

Planning the Free Motion Quilting (FMQ)

My mother made the quilt in 2000, for my son's 9th birthday. All of the hand-quilting were motifs of things in my son's life, such as nature, school, books, sports, math, music, friends, mine heads (many of our ancestors were minors in Northern Ontario) as well as symbols of his heritage. The centre was the sun and the border was a chain. 

Here is one of the mine heads

Baseball ball, glove and bat

Mom wrote an account of each of the designs in a duo-tang that she gave to Stéphane. By-the-way, she named the quilt "La courte-pointe Stéphane".

I'll be using the original quilt as well as her notes to come up with quilting designs. Some will be the same while others will be my own, while still trying to illustrate Stéphane's interests.

Mom's template of a book, with numbers and notes used elsewhere on the quilt

The quilted book design

Tonight I coloured in the last copy of the pattern that I have of the quilt that Stéphane drew to scale. The quilt isn't exactly the same, especially the scale, but close enough! 

My map of how my mother quilted it.

I've prepared a couple of quilt sandwiches to try out some of the motifs after drawing them. I'll practice a bit on those and then create another sandwich with the quilt's fabrics and batting, to audition the threads that I'll use. The threads will match the quilt colours, but I'm not sure if I should go with a heavier or lighter thread. My instincts say heavier, but I'll see the effect when I practice. I had better figure it out soon because I may have to order thread, depending on what I choose.

I also have a template for the chain in the borders (which was probably my mother's) but since the borders are not the same width, that could be tricky. If anyone has any ideas on the thread weight and the border, I'd appreciate them 😊

What I learned

  • I had a really nice time tonight drawing the quilt, reading my mom's notes and then matching them to the quilt. It was like being there with her.
  • I can't wait to get started. I will probably check out some of the FMQ books that I have to find motifs to add to the quilt.
  • The hard part will be to not quilt it too densely. It has to be quilted more densely than my mother did because that's one of the reasons the quilt didn't last.
    Version 2.0

Related links

Linking parties

I hope that you'll be able to link up below to Free Motion Mavericks, even if you don't have any free motion quilting to show us 😊 I'll be linking up to many fun linking parties. Let's see what other's are up to! Design Wall Monday, Midweek Makers, Put your foot down, Needle & Thread Thursday, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Finished or Not Finished Friday, Off the Wall Friday, Patchwork & Quilts

Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to week 335 of Free Motion Mavericks.  We had a lovely turn out last time. Thanks for linking up and dropping by!

This week, I thought that I would mention Deb's quilt, Out to sea. Deb of A Scrappy Quilter is working hard on her free motion quilting skills and did a great job on her quilt! If you didn't catch it, check out her post - the back of the quilt really shows the quilting!

Out to sea! by Deb of A Scrappy Quilter
Now it's your turn!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Sunday, June 06, 2021

Snippet Exchange

Exchanging Snippets
In mid-February I exchanged the background of my snippet with Dorothy, another member of the Out of the Box (OOTB) Fibre textile group. We had until May 17th to finish embellishing our partner's snippet background and exchange them for the final reveal during our monthly virtual meeting.

Snippet background

A snippet is a small piece of something. You've probably heard of a snippet of music or video. If you Google "snippet roll" you will find that they are generally narrow lengths of embellished fabric that are often rolled around a piece of wood, such as a dowel or tube.

Dorothy's background
My background

Dorothy's background was made of purple fabric that she had hand-dyed, as well as a square of dyed cheesecloth. She has a lovely gradient of purples there. My background consisted of two strips of rather wild coloured fabrics that ranged from light blue to deep purple and fuchsia. I bought this fabric years ago when Ricky Tims came to Ottawa for a presentation.

Embellishing a snippet

The snippet that I was to embellish hung on my design wall for at least a month. When I finally started putting things to embellish it aside, it slowly came together. I filled a small basket with threads, yarn, buttons, hand-dyed scraps, lace etc. 


The first piece of fabric that I stitched on was the long pinkish sliver on the left. I used Kimono silk thread to attach and sew when I didn't want the stitching to stand out. Otherwise I used my hand-dyed perle cotton as well as other embroidery thread.

First pieces of fabric
Adding various elements

Top of the snippet
One evening I stamped a couple of my hand-dyed fabrics. The swirl next to that first piece was stamped and then I just added random cross-stitches. On a piece of purple and blue fabric, I stamped on some birds. I added them at various places to add a little bit on cohesiveness. I embroidered around that first bird but since the result wasn't worth the effort, it was the first and last bird to be embroidered.

Here are the details of the completed snippet in three images. 

You can see that I added a lot of different fabrics. The colours that matched the background were easy to find while the contrasting pieces were more difficult. That's why I added that first pinkish piece - to remind myself to use contrast.

While colour is important, I also wanted to use contrasting textures in the fabric scraps. Here is a piece of voile from an old skirt that is attached to the first pink fabric and the printed swirl. 

Layering fabrics is a great way to add contrast and interest. At the bottom of this image is a layer of silk organza, a scrap of a dyed t-shirt and finally some dyed cotton velour.

Middle of the snippet
In the middle section, you can see a couple of other stamped birds that I didn't bother to outline with embroidery. Near the middle, Dorothy had used a purple cheese cloth so I added a piece of white silk organza to add some depth. 

I couldn't resist adding a small scrap of fabric with violets - it was just so perfect.

The fabric that starts in the middle and goes all of the way down the right side is the back of a skirt where tulle had been attached to the dark purple slip underneath. What you see is the sergered stitches. I thought that it might add interest to a piece at some point. 

Yarns and thread

Since I wanted to use many yarns in the piece, I started by couching some fuzzy dark purple yarn to create the top flower. 

Bottom of the snippet
I wanted to cover the stitching on the background piece, so I alternated between couching yarn and embroidery stitches.  

I also couched a piece of cheesecloth and added beads for interest. Many are small pieces of amethyst from my mother's broken necklace.

At the very bottom, you can see a white piece that is sort of lacy. It's a piece of FMQ on soluble fabric that I made a couple of years ago. I backed it with purple semi-transparent fabric.  


I added a couple of fun purple buttons with white dots on them for a little bit of whimsy. There is also a beautiful hand-carved flower button near the bottom.

My Snippet

Here is the lovely snippet that I received from Dorothy.

My snippet made
by Dorothy
Dorothy used embroidery, appliqué, and beading. She added a few pieces of cheese cloth, some fun buttons (stars, an inch worm, bees, sewing machine, etc.) as well as ribbon that looks like a measuring tape. 

She made the swirls from foil that lines the inside of many food containers (I'm going to have to try that!) as well as two hand-made flowers.

I attached the snippet to those ice cream sticks that I roll up my hand-dyed thread on. It now hangs in my studio.

My new snippet roll.

My June OMG
June's One Monthly Goal (OMG)

I will be sandwiching my son's Version 2.0 quilt by the end of the month. Hopefully I will have gotten further along but at this point I'm being prudent by just putting the sandwich as the goal.

What I learned
  • The blank background was very intimidating but when I started to gather possible materials, it became less daunting.
  • I found it difficult at first to work on such a narrow background. 
  • When I found my groove, it was a real delight of slow stitching to put this together. 
  • I found it hard to part with the piece but I got such a vibrant, joyful piece back. 
  • Our snippets are so different. I can really see the influence of the workshops that I've taken from Stitch Club.
Related links
Linking parties
I'll be linking up to many fun linking parties, including Free Motion Mavericks which is being hosted by Muv. I will also be linking up to Patty's June's One Monthly Goal as well as other fun linking parties. Let's see what's going on out there! Oh Scrap!, Slow Sunday Stitching, Patchwork & Quilts, Peacock Party, Beauties Pageant, Off the Wall Friday, Monday Making, 15 Minutes to Stitch 2021