Thursday, August 26, 2021

Remembering Chevy

Chevy came to us 5 years ago in June. I remember feeling that she had pushed her way into my heart within hours! 

Chevy - our Warrior Princess!

Last Christmas my daughter and I bought Chevy a new collar from Pooch & Tabby of Toronto. It was called Warrior Princess and it was perfect! Chevy was feisty, protective and full of love for her adoptive family and of food (not sure in which order!)

My favourite picture of Chevy sleeping on her quilts!

Chevy was also part of my Muse. Taking our walks has lead to a few of my favourite art quilts. This is one of them.

"Ca va bien aller" - at the beginning of the pandemic

One of the art pieces inspired by our walks

Warrior Princess Collar - perfect for our Chevy

"All for One"

Chevy was very good at giving us her paw, especially if there was a treat involved. From there, it evolved to "All for One" between Chevy, my daughter and I. This is the picture that I've been working on embroidering. I have the second one almost done but have decided to change one of the thread colours since it doesn't stand out quite enough.

"All for One!"

First attempt at "All for One"

Keeping me company

Chevy was usually only a few steps behind me. She would follow me around the house and make sure that I wasn't up to mischief! Here are a few of the pictures that have been posted on the blog in the last 5 years.

Chevy soon after her arrival into our home and hearts

Chevy supervising the sandwiching of the king-sized bed quilt
Always happy to help ๐Ÿ˜Š

Chevy making sure that my first fabric dying attempt is a success!

Always happy to pose

Chevy's spot in my studio - it's feels pretty empty now ๐Ÿ˜”

Chevy posing with more hexies
Chevy posing in her spot on the couch with
hexies made of doggy fabrics

What I learned

  • Opening up your heart to a doggy leaves it vulnerable to being broken - but it's totally worth it.

Related Links

Linking parties
I am linking up to Susan of QuiltFabrication's National Dog Day linking party. It's the perfect day to remember all of the joy that Chevy has brought our family! 
I will also be linking up to other fun linking parties. Let's see what's going on in quilt land! Put Your Foot Down, Design Wall Monday, Needle & Thread Thursday, Patchwork & Quilts, Off the Wall Friday, Slow Sunday Stitching15 Minutes to Stitch 2021

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Free Motion Mavericks Link-up

Welcome to week 344 of Free Motion Mavericks. I'm afraid that I have no free motion quilting (FMQ) to share with you today. All of my attention, other than the Instagram posts for my #100dayschallenge (which will probably start slowing down) have been given to Chevy. She's now blind and very anxious, poor thing. When she's not pacing in circles around the first floor, she's passed out, exhausted. So I'm sharing this picture of my still cute Chevy, who gets stuck, even behind the curtains.

Chevy pacing and getting stuck

Chevy sleeping, exhausted

Linking parties

I will be linking up to a few linking parties as a reminder to come and link up! Midweek Makers, Put Your Foot Down, Needle & Thread Thursday

Free Motion Mavericks

It's been very quiet here. I hope that you'll join me, even if your project is not free motion quilting. Thank you Gail for linking up your Fabric Bowls tutorial. I now have something to do with all of those narrow strips of batting that I couldn't part with! If you didn't see her tutorial, I suggest that you check it out!

Gail's Fabric Bowls

It's now your turn.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Sunday, August 15, 2021

More slow stitching challenge

I'm happy to say that I'm still doing well with the #100dayschallenge on Instagram. Yesterday I finished my first week! If you haven't been following on Instagram, here is a recap and more details.

Stitching the Hexies, Diamonds and Spiral

So far, I've been stitching with yummy thread on an improv piece with free motion quilting (FMQ) in the centre panel. My #100dayschallenge has been to stitch the centre panel. This week I've played with some very special hand-dyed threads from Maiwa, in British Columbia. They have craftspeople in Bengal who hand-dye silk, linen, cotton and wool with natural plant-based dyes. As well, they have their own brand of thread, Honest Thread, that is also hand-dyed. You can read more about them in my previous posts (see links below).

Days 2 to 7 stitches

Days 4 and 5 - Fly and Cross Stitches

I played with both the fly stitch and the cross stitch within the border of the diamonds. I experimented with the size, and for the fly stitch in particular, the order in which I made them. Generally instructions for the fly stitch are from top to bottom (or else that's what I've always assumed!). I found that for me, this was the most difficult way of making them for a consistent outcome. I'm much better at making them from side to side, or even better, from bottom to top.

Fly and Cross stitches

Both of these stitches are made using Honest Yarn's lace linen thread in Lac. It's one of my favourite colours ๐Ÿ˜Š

Day 6 - Coral Stitch with Chain Stitch Variations

This hexie started with a line of coral stitches. I left it for a couple of days because I had no idea where it was going. After checking out my embroidery stitching books, I decided to play with a chain stitch and one of its variations. 

Coral stitch inside the hexie

Before jumping into the chain stitch however, I added another echo of coral stitching. The first line was made with 2 strands of Bengal linen in madder, while the second has three strands of the Bengal linen in marigold. It's nice to see the difference between a line of stitching using 2 and 3 strands.

I wanted something a little brighter ๐Ÿ˜Š so I used my hand-dyed #12 perle cotton to make the chain stitch. Next came the fun part. I added a berry stitch, which is a variation of the detached chain stitch to make the petals and then some French knots with some lovely golden #5 perle cotton.

Coral, Chain, and Berry stitches with French knots

Day 7 - Battlement Stitch

Doesn't that stitch sound grand and aggressive! I suppose that it could look like fortifications, but it's just rows of buttonhole or blanket stitches stacked row on row. If I had actually planned this, I would have made the first row (2 strands of Bengal linen in marigold) further away from the edge. I then had to squish the second row into it (2 strands of Bengal silk in madder).

Battlement stitch

Stitching slowly coming along!

Day 8 - Feathered Chain Stitch

I pretty much exhausted my usual stitches after a couple of days, although the stem stitch hasn't made it's way in yet...but I'm sure that it will eventually. So I've been looking at my three wonderful books of embroidery stitches. I'll talk a little about them after this stitch.

I really like the chain stitch. It has so many possibilities and can look very different depending on the thread used. I decided to try out the feathered chain stitch as a filler for the top spiral. I had to practice this one because remember, I'm accuracy challenged, so trying to make an accurate(ish) zig zag of stitches does not come naturally. Even my straight lines are only straight(ish)! This stitch is not difficult - it's really a long-tail chain stitch that follows a zig zag path.

Feathered Chain Stitch

For this stitch, I used a variegated  Eleganza #8 perle cotton from Sue Spargo's collection (more about some new threads in a future post ๐Ÿ˜Š).

Embroidery Books

I have three embroidery books that I LOVE and highly recommend. The first, The Beginner's Guide to Freestyle Embroidery, is the one I used to re-learn to embroider as an adult. On one of our family trips to the South-west states, I did most of the samples in the book. I've mentioned this book before in previous posts.

Beginner's Guide to
Freestyle Embroidery

I use the e-book version of Joyful Daily Stitches - seam by seam by Valerie Bothell to find interesting stitch combinations. It's created primarily for crazy quilting and has a lot of fun stitch combinations, something that I'm always struggling with.

Joyful Daily Stitches - seam by seam

Finally is a new book by Sharon Boggon, Creative Stitches for Contemporary Embroidery. I found Sharon's amazing website, Pintangle, a few years ago. I has a great Stitch dictionary. Sharon also hosts Take A Stitch Tuesday (TAST) which I followed on and off for a couple of years.  I've used this book for many of the stitches in the #100dayschallenge so far.

Creative Stitches for 
Contemporary Embroidery

What I learned

  • I really love learning new variations of the simpler stitches. Sharon Boggon's book is really great for this and I will be using it a lot.
  • I think that this #100dayschallenge is more about posting on Instagram every day than it is about stitching every day - and I'm ok with that. I don't see the point of stitching every day if I'm really not in the mood. I'm much better at stitching every couple of days and preparing for two or three Instagram posts. It's what works best for me!
  • As I mentioned, I got more thread (sigh). I'll either show it off as I use it or will include it in the next challenge post.
  • I had better go stitch today's Instagram post - it's now Sunday! ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

Related links

Linking parties

I'll be linking to many fun linking parties. Let's see what's going on out there! Slow Sunday Stitching, Patchwork & Quilts, 15 Minutes to Stitch 2021, Off the Wall Friday

Monday, August 09, 2021

#100dayschallenge started

Hi! I started another challenge on Instagram - not really following anyone, just stitching my free motion quilted (FMQ) Improv piece to encourage me to stitch every day and to post a little more on Instagram.

Stitching on my FMQ Improv piece

As you may have seen in my last post, I am having too much fun collecting yarns and threads. I have to justify those purchases, so the least I can do is practice my stitching and play with these beauties. 

My new silk and linen threads

A little about the thread

Before I talk about the effects of the thread on the stitches, below are the different threads so that you can compare.

From the left:
  • Bengal linen in Indigo. It is very fine and so far I've used two or three strands.
  • Honest Yarn, hand-dyed lace linen in a light Indigo. It came in a skein so I prepared it so that I can more easily stitch with it. It's thicker than the Bengal linen, closer to a #8 perle cotton.
  • Bengal silk in Indigo. It not as fine as the linen but varies in thickness.
  • My hand-dyed thread - it's a thicker perle cotton - I believe that it's a size #5.
  • WonderFil size #8 perle cotton, which is slightly different in size from a DMC #8 perle cotton.
  • Another hand-dyed thread - it's a #12 perle cotton by DMC.

Comparing different size thread

Day 2 - Mostly Chain Stitch

It really has been a great education. The threads are so different from each other, and therefore stitch very differently. Here's a closeup of the first stitches so that you can see what I mean.

What a difference the thread makes in the stitches.

The first, outside chain stitches are made with the Bengal silk. Because it's not a consistent weight, it makes for a rather sloppy chain stitch. The second thread is the Bengal linen that I doubled. It's a better stitch but pretty tiny. The inside chain stitch is made with the lace linen. The stitches are much more defined and because of the thickness, it's slightly raised.

In between the chain stitching, I tried out two strands of the Bengal linen in marigold. There's a running stitch and a back stitch.

Day 3 - Couched Filling Stitch

My hexie lost a bit of it's angles as I stitched inside, so it looks a lot more like a circle in the middle. I used a couched filling stitch, so essentially I prepared a quadrant with the two strands of marigold Bengal linen and then made knots at the intersections with one strand of the Indigo Bengal linen.

Adding a couched filling stitch to the middle

What I learned
  • I really need to practice my embroidery stitches but I tend to get bored easily, so this is a great way to try things and compare the results. As well as keeping a record in this post, I'm also writing it down in one of my many journals. It will be a great reference.
  • I posted my Day 1/100 on Friday and then managed to forget to post on Saturday, even if my information was all ready to go. It's going to take a little bit of time to get used to posting again.
  • I'm a little bit ahead so that if I don't stitch every day, I'll still have a post ready to go...if I remember ๐Ÿ˜Š
  • As I found out, Bengal silk thread is not good to use in stitches that are more even. I did use it in a backstitch for the new version of "All for One". In this case I didn't mind that the stitches would be uneven. I should be posting it soon - it's almost done and looking much better!
Related links
Linking parties
I will be linking up to many fun linking parties. Let see what's going on out there!

Thursday, August 05, 2021

Improv piecing and FMQ

Welcome to week   of Free Motion Mavericks linking party. I'm not sure if the eye candy will show up today since I waited too late in the day to take pictures.

Playing with improv piecing and FMQ

I'm really into mindless at this time. The heat is back and Chevy is not letting me sleep as much as I need to! All that to say that last night I wanted to sew but I didn't want to follow a pattern or plan, therefore, improv piecing! Since I also wanted some free motion quilting for today's post, I added solid fabric in the middle of the improv piecing.

FMQ the Improv piece

For the improv piecing, I used up fabrics from a box of partially stitched pieces that didn't make it into an improv quilt. Since I wanted to be able to FMQ and hand-stitch, it needed some solid fabric. This is what the piece looked like this morning. I kept looking at it during the day, hoping for inspiration on what to FMQ on it. 

Improv pieced background

In the end, I decided on various shapes. I was inspired by a placemat under my work laptop in the dining room. There were boxes within boxes and diamonds on them. I added a circle, some hexies (of course), and other shapes.

This is what it looks like so far. I used mostly variegated thread for the stitching, which doesn't show up well.

Close up of the free motion quilting

What's next?

Playing with thread - both hand stitching and possibly more FMQ.

Last week I discovered Maiwa. Two orders in less than two weeks later, I'm in big trouble. I'm totally addicted ๐Ÿ˜Š I think that it's a great addiction - it's socially acceptable (there may be some eye rolling from non textile people), it has no calories and it takes up less space than fabric. That's a win, win, win situation!

In the box are two sets of hand-dyed Bengal thread - silk and linen. They also have cotton and wool in these colours but I couldn't resist the silk and linen. I have started using them and I'll tell you all about them in another post. 

Bengal hand-dyed thread from Maiwa (silk and linen) 

These are hand-dyed linen, also from Maiwa

I will be using these and other threads to add to the FMQ. I'm really not sure what I'll be doing except for using some fun stitches over and around the FMQ. You'll have to come back next time to see what I end up doing!

What I learned
  • It's really hard to not plan a project. The improv piecing was straight forward but I really didn't want to spend much time planning the FMQ. I hope that the use of shapes was a good idea...we'll see.
  • The trick when hand stitching will be to make the piece interesting, with mouvement and cohesion.
  • I discovered Maiwa from an article where Sue Stone is interviewed and she talked about some of the supplies that she uses. When I read that Maiwa was a Canadian company, I just had to check it out. Wow! (See Related links below)
  • I'm really looking forward to using the linen thread. I bought a white skein to eventually dye. That could be a lot of fun!
Related links
Linking parties
I'll be linking up to many fun linking parties. Join me to see what's going on out there (but that's after you've linked up below!) Midweek Makers, Put Your Foot Down, Needle & Thread ThursdayOff The Wall Friday, Patchwork & Quilts, Slow Sunday Stitching, 15 Minutes to Stitch 2021Monday Making,

Free Motion Mavericks

It was a small intimate party last time but wow - the FMQ was impressive. I'm going to be featuring them all!
Let's start with Rebecca's White On White Bailee Quilt. Rebecca may be using a computerized long arm but that baby needs some guidance to quilt this kind of quilting. 

Rebecca Grace's incredible White on White Bailee Quilt

Sandra of mmm quilts participated in the Just One Charm Pack Blog Hop with a lovely quilt designed by Cheryl of Meadow Mist Design. The Blog Hop was to showcase quilts from Cheryl's book, Just One Charm Pack Quilts. It's really amazing how the fabric and the quilting can change the look of a quilt. Sandra did a stunning job, as usual ๐Ÿ˜Š.

Sandra's version of Blossom Chains, called Captiva Meadow

Gail of Quilting Gail got another UFO finished! She had some trouble with a couple of rows of swirls and found out that a new needle was the solution. It's a painful lesson to learn, but at least the solution was simple! Check out Gail's swirls. She did a great job of putting those two sets of panels together to make the quilt.

Another UFO finish by Quilting Gail!

And now it's your turn!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Sunday, August 01, 2021

A gaggle of hexies

I'm not sure what a whole bunch of hexies are known as, other than possibly a quilt in the making! ๐Ÿ˜ 

Adding more hexies

This week I wasn't up to much, quilting wise, so I decided to make a few more hexie flowers for the ever expanding Hexie Lap Quilt. There's not much to say, so here is a thousand words worth in pictures....

Hexie Lap Quilt expanded by two large flowers and a few smaller ones

One of my favourite double hexie flower

Big beautiful double hexie flower

Red hexie flower

I had a lovely supper with a dear friend this week. After supper we walked to nearby Maplelawn Garden. I wish I had brought my Red hexie flower - it would have looked at home with the beebalm!

Beautiful Maplelawn Garden in Ottawa

Beebalm in Maplelawn garden

What I learned
  • I don't think that I always need big serious projects to post. A little short post with lots of eye candy is a good idea sometimes!
  • When I don't feel like quilting or stitching, adding hexie flowers to my Hexie Lap Quilt is a great mindless way to pass the time in my own garden.
Related links

Linking parties

I'll be linking up to some great parties - let's see what's up in Quiltland! Patchwortk & Quilts, Oh Scrap!, Slow Sunday Stitching, Monday Making, Design Wall MondayPut Your Foot DownNeedle & Thread Thursday, Finished or Not Finished Friday, Off The Wall Friday