Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Update on my Traveller's Blanket

I started my Traveller's Blanket in May 2020 based on a course by Dejanne Cevaal. This will be my second stitching project for the next part of my #100dayschallenge on Instagram.

Traveller's Blanket so far

Mixing up projects and techniques

This project has what I love best - a mixture of different projects and techniques (links in Related links below).
  • Meditation stitching - after reading an article by Liz Kettle in the October/November 2019 edition of the Quilting Arts magazine, I started making 4" squares. It was very calming and creative, but what to do with all of those little squares?
  • Hand-dyed fabric - I've been hand-dyeing fabric for a while now. I use scraps in my meditation stitching and used a large piece as the base for my Traveller's Blanket.
  • Hexies - you may know that I have an on/off obsession with hexies, the English paper pieced ones (EPP). During #100hexies100days2021, I embroidered on some larger hexies. I'll be including them in this project
  • Sashiko stitching - I have even included a square of Sashiko stitching😊
  • Embroidery - you may have figured out that I love embroidery...but get quickly bored of doing the same thing for too long. This is another great project for trying out new things and stitching some old favourites.
Meditation block made with hand-dyed fabric

Embroidered hexies

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Eco Printing - Take 2

In February of this year, I did some eco printing based on Caroline Nixon's workshop for TextileArtists.com. If you don't remember the post, it's because it was never written. Last weekend I decided that I would take a second stab at it since I love the results of eco printing. Here is what I learned 😊

Eco Printing & learning

My first attempt, as you may have figured out, was not wonderful. That was due to a few things - like not reading the instructions carefully enough and by the fact that Ottawa in February doesn't have any green stuff outside to use! I had bought a couple of bundles of flowers and got a few great prints from the rose leaves but not much else.

Great eco print on the pocket of a linen skirt

However, I know that we can over dye, so why not over print? Those blank spaces on my fabric were certainly big enough to add more prints. 

I resolved to try again when I found a bouquet of eucalyptus at my local grocery store. They are really great for eco printing, so it was time.

All of the leaves outside are very green, with a few reds and oranges, so there is an abundance of material to work with. 

I re-read all of the instructions, watched all of the videos and was ready. On Saturday morning, with an apron over my PJs, I gathered what was available in my back yard and then set off to the school yard down the street to gather more interesting leaves.  

While I was picking leaves, the fabric was being scoured (washing the fabric with delicate soap in the washing machine). It was then time to let the linen soak in the soda ash mixture and then a quick dip in the ferrus sulphate mix (iron water). 

Here are a few pictures of the process.
Fresh leaves added to the previously
printed fabric
An assortment of leaves on my drop cloth

Once the leaves are placed on the damp fabric, I added a barrier (plastic wrap the first time and parchment paper the second time) and then rolled up the fabric onto dowels. When I used parchment paper as a barrier, I protected the rolled bundle with plastic wrap and then tied it using cotton bias strips.  

Into the pot they go

I used an old, huge cooking pot and placed the rolls onto a metal platform (made to cook chicken with beer - that I never used). Once all of the bundles were ready, I added water to the pot and then the fabric bundles were steamed for 90 minutes.

Wrapped and ready to steam

This batch had 7 bundles

Steaming the bundles

Seven bundles cooling off,
waiting to be opened

Once the bundles have cooled off, it's time to see the magic. The colours on the fabric are just wonderful when they come out. You then hang them up for 24 hours to cure and dry. Unfortunately, they don't look as vivid after they are washed.

You can see the difference below.

This is the same bundle that I added
leaves to in the top image.

The final result,
after being washed

My favourite piece is on new linen fabric that I purchased the day before. I used a technique that Caroline suggested for making larger pieces. 

The leaves are placed on one half of the fabric, and then the fabric is folded over. You're supposed to place the leaves as close to the fold as possible, so that you don't get an empty line. As you can see, the leaves weren't quite up to the fold but it's still a beautiful piece. 

You end up with an image of both sides of the leaves. It's not a mirror image since most of the leaves will print better on one side, usually the one with the ridges on them (the back side). When you use this technique, you want to place the leaves both front and back so that some strong images appear on both halves of the fabric.
My favourite eco-dyed piece

Adding leaves on one side of the fabric

Here are a couple more pieces below. This first one has some great prints but also shows what happens when the fabric is wrinkled while it's bundled up. 

The second piece was over printed. The original images were quite blurred but the over printing brought some lovely results. It looks like I'll have to do some mending at the same time as I stitch this one. What fun 😊

A wrinkle in the eco printed leaf

Over printed piece what will need some
lovely mending.

What I learned
  • After my first try, I was really disappointed with the results after the final washing of the fabric. I knew what to expect this time, and I believe that my eco printing came out better, but I will have to look into it to see if there is something that I can do to keep those beautiful colours and images.
  • In my first try, I didn't soak the linen in ash water. I missed that step and it probably made a difference.
  • I also read up on what plants make the best eco prints. I learned the hard way that you get nothing from tulip leaves! 
  • Here are some really great leaves to work with: geranium (the perennial kind), eucalyptus, locus leaves, rose leaves, ginkgo and walnut. I'm sure that there are more - I will have to check out more websites. I may have caught the bug...and I also need to do something with these!
  • I found a blog about how to dry leaves for eco printing (she's from Canada also :-)) so I think that I will join the animals out there and start saving up for winter....not nuts, just leaves! 
  • When an eco printed piece doesn't look that great, there is nothing stopping me from cutting out and using the good prints.
  • I also created a PowerPoint of the pictures that I took with the leaves, before and after washing. I'm hoping that this will help me for the next time.

  • Below you will find the finished piece, Mixing it up! from the fist 25 days of my #100dayschallenge. I didn't want to write up a new post just for the final image.

Related links
Linking parties

* If you're looking for Free Motion Mavericks, we are taking the week of Sept 23 off. The next link up will be with Muv on September 30. See you then!

Project details

Mixing it up!

First piece made during days 1 to 25/100 for 
@100dayschallenge on Instagram

Size: 12½" x 14½"

Materials: cotton scraps

Techniques: Improv piecing, free motion quilting, embroidery

Sunday, September 19, 2021

First stitching project almost done!

I haven't been doing a lot of quilting, but I'm now on day 25 of my #100dayschallenge on Instagram 😊 

More stitching in 100 day challenge

I was having fun, then I got bored and then made flowers and enjoyed it again! I guess that the lesson in all that is to figure out how to make a project fun once it starts getting boring. Since I'm making the rules as I go along, it was all up to me.

I'm going to recap but I'll give you a quick version since my last post was on Day 8!

Day 9 - Threaded Chain Stitch

Using 3 strands of Bengal marigold linen thread for the chain stitch, and Honest Yarn lace linen in lac for the threaded stitch.

Threaded chain stitch

Day 10 - Tulip Stitch

I wanted to put something interesting inside the hexie. Since the flower on Day 6 was a real hit, I looked for another type of flower. This one is made with a tulip stitch, which is a variation of the chain stitch. The leaves are detached chain stitch and the stem is...stem stitch!

Tulip stitch flowers

Days 11 to 13 -  Whipped chain stitch and Satin stitch

I got a bunch of new threads and so tried some of these out on the box within a box designs.

Deciding what threads to use

The outer boxes are all chain stitches and are whipped in different patterns. The center boxes are satin stitched.

Six box within a box, whipped with various threads

Whipped chain stitched with
satin stitch centres

Days 14 and 15 - Herringbone stitch

I practiced and did two days of herringbone stitches. On day 14, they were in rows and on day 15, it got tricky and circular. If you notice something weird about the circular pattern it's because the stitching is outside of the spiral! See "What I learned" below for more details.

Herringbone stitch in a circular pattern
Herringbone stitch in rows

Days 16 and 17 - Straight stitches

I used some straight stitches to fill in the diamond shapes within the diamonds. I found these designs in the Joyful Daily Stitches book that I mentioned in my last post. It was perfect - simple but interesting.

Interesting designs using simple straight stitches

Day 18 - Buttonhole Wheel stitch

I had free motion quilted (FMQ) a design that didn't quite work out - so I just covered it with the buttonhole wheels. The centre of the wheels are not very successful attempts at Reverse Bar stitches.

Buttonhole Wheel stitch

Day 19 - Running stitches

I was getting bored of stitching within small designs, so I started stitching the background with running stitches. This is done with Bengal linen thread in Indigo. I took advantage of my day to work in the Parks Canada National Library to take some pictures - I love their index card cabinets, even if they're not used anymore.

Adding running stitch to the background

A great picture of the index card cabinet

Day 20 to 22 - Creating a flower garden

On day 20, I made the stem of the flower pattern using Alternating Up-and-Down Buttonhole stitches. On day 21, it was time to add the Oyster stitches. That took me a few days to master not mess them up too badly 😊 Finally on day 22, I added some colourful French Knots to add to the flower garden. 

Stem and buds in stitches

A border of flowers in French Knots

Day 23 - Pistil and Stem stitch

I love this interesting plant in stitches that are easy and elegant!

Lovely plant in Pistil and Stem stitch

Day 24 - Buttonhole stitches

I decided to keep it simple and fill the smaller box within a box designs with 12 wt. thread. 

Adding buttonhole stitches 

Day 25 - Running stitch

I finished adding running stitches to the background of the centre panel. I love the secondary pattern that the space between the stitches makes.

Running stitch in the background

What I learned
  • I'm glad that I kept notes, because I've forgotten most of what I learned!
  • For the chain stitch using 3 strands of the Bengal linen (day 9), I will use beeswax the next time I use more than 1 strand (I found my beeswax as I was writing this!)
  • The herringbone in a circular pattern (day 15) was not supposed to be outside of the spiral shape! I thought that I was starting in the centre but I wasn't. It's safer to start at the tail, like that you're guaranteed to be within the spiral shape! It is pretty cool though. 😎 
  • So now what? I'm trying to figure out what to do with the rest of the border. Do I just finish it up in FMQ or do I keep embroidering a little more? Let me know if you have any ideas!
  • Update: To see the final image of Mixing it up! (I finally though of a name), go to the bottom of my next post.

Related links

Linking parties
I wrote this post tonight so that I could link up to my favourite slow stitching linking party - Slow Sunday Stitching. Check it out, as well as the other great link ups. Patchwork & Quilts, Off The Wall Friday, 15 Minutes to Stitch 2021, Design Wall Monday. Monday Making, Put Your Foot Down, Finished or Not Finished Friday, Peacock Party

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Fence Art Finish and Free Motion Mavericks

I was able to finish my Fence Art this week. I really love how it turned out. 

Outdoor Textile Art

It's hanging with the correct hardware (more on that later) and has been weather treated with spray, three times in the front and once in the back. All that's left is to paint and shorten the bottom dowel - which I got done, see last image!

Colours in the Garden - finished!

Garden Art on the fence adds colour when the flowers are fading 

I had a lot of fun FMQ the bee. The appliqué was all black with the white wings. I added the legs and antennae in black thread, the yellow stripes and then from the back, I FMQ the wings with metallic thread in the bobbin. I'm not sure how the thread will hold up to the weather but I can always touch things up when needed.

Bee with wings of metallic thread

Hardware and dowels
I've learned the hard way that it's very important to hang your outside art well, so that it doesn't fly away every time there is a strong wind. I have a pole (the black one below) that was used for something in the garden since it was with my gardening stuff. I'm using it for the top sleeve. 

I purchased a couple of packages of screw eyes to hold them on the fence. I was going to use the thinner dowel for the bottom sleeve but since I have the larger ones, I may as well make this as secure as possible. So the bottom sleeve has a wooden dowel roughly the size of the black one.

I put the dowels in the sleeves and then screwed in the screw eyes. The top ones are about an inch away from the edge of the piece while the lower ones are right at the edge. I'll be painting the wooden dowel green and cutting it so that it's only about an inch longer on each side.

Another look at Colours in the Garden

What I learned

  • Final update - dowel painted!
    I did end up stitching the outside edges of the blue fabric to minimize the amount of fraying. I love the look of the frayed edges but I'd rather that it didn't fray to nothing 😊
  • It took me a while to find the screw eyes - the tiny ones were with the picture framing stuff but the larger ones were elsewhere!
  • I think that a fun, fall fence art piece would be cool.

Related links

Linking parties

I'll be linking up to many fun linking parties. Let's have a look at what's happening out there, and don't forget to link up below - it really doesn't have to be a post about Free Motion Quilting! Midweek Makers, Put your foot down, Needle & Thread Thursday, Off The Wall FridayTGIFF, Peacock Party, Beauties Pageant, Oh Scrap!, Patchwork & Quilts, 15 Minutes to Stitch 2021Monday Making

Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to week 348 of Free Motion Mavericks. Are you getting back into the swing of things, now that holidays and the summer is mostly over, and the kids may be back in school? I know that I'm looking forward to starting FMQ my son's quilt. I have no excuses left - it's no longer too hot!

We saw a few lovely quilts last time and even got a behind the scene look at digital custom long arm quilting from Rebecca. It's always great to learn about these things that look like magic to me 😊. 

If you didn't see Frédérique's latest Bow Ties baby quilt, make sure to drop by. It really is lovely and colourful. It was simply quilted for maximum baby softness.

Frédérique's Bow Ties baby quilt

And now it's your turn! 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Thursday, September 02, 2021

Garden Fence Art

I hope that this post finds you well. The cooler days and nights are with us, hopefully for a while, and I'm very much enjoy them. I never want summer to end, just because it's always too short, but this heat is nuts and I'm glad that fall is in the air. The leaves haven't changed yet but it won't be long!🍁

Making Garden Art to Hang on the Fence

This summer I've been wanting to make an art piece that I could hang on my fence. Fabricland had a sale in July and I bought some lovely blue outdoor fabric for the base. 

Colours in the Garden 

It's not quite finished, but I did want to see how it would hang outside on the fence. Looks great to me😊 I mainly followed the picture of a pattern that I bought years ago on Crafsy.  The pattern is Ribbon Cone Flowers Quilt Pattern by Diane McGregor (you can find the link in Related links below).

I used Wonder Under to fuse the flowers, leaves, butterflies and grass onto the background. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the fabric ironed well. All of the fabrics are batik since they tend to be denser and fray less.

Once tacked on, I used a narrow zig-zag stitch around the shapes. I then added the bottom grass to ground the piece. Next came the butterflies - aren't they amazing? They're cut directly from a batik fabric. The bee hasn't been stitched yet. It will get those yellow stripes soon!

Close up of Colours in the Garden
As you may be able to see from the close up, I free motion stitched veins to the leaves and added a little depth to the flower petals. The grass was also stitched down with the free motion foot.

Colours in the Garden adding colour to the garden!

I found some type of galvanized rod in the garage. It's great for hang the piece on the fence. I will also add a sleeve to the bottom of the piece and put something similar to weight it down.

Colours in the Garden

The piece will hang on this fence since it's facing north and won't be too affected by the sun. This area is the last spot in the garden that needs a major clean up. It's going to be my quiet spot with a fountain. There is still a lot of cleaning up to do in that space but I'm really enjoying the work and am not overly anxious to finish. Since I've accepted that a garden is a never ending project, I'm much happier working in it.

Once the stitching is all done, I will waterproof the piece using waterproofing shoe spray (thanks Lyne for the great idea!). Since I have lots of that, I hope to finish it all this weekend.

What I learned
  • After the drama of the last couple of weeks, I really needed to play with colourful fabric. This was the perfect project.
  • Thank you all for your lovely comments about Chevy. She is greatly missed but she is in my heart forever!
  • Working with this waterproof fabric was much better than I expected. I hope that they have a sale on because it would be awesome to make a fall themed garden fence art piece.
Related links

Linking parties

I hope that you will link up to our Free Motion Mavericks link up below. I'll be linking up to many fun parties out there. Let's see was fall is bringing us! Design Wall Monday, Midweek Makers, Put Your Foot Down, Needle & Thread Thursday, Off The Wall Friday, Finished or Not Finished Friday, Peacock Party, Patchwork & Quilts, Oh Scrap!Monday Making

Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to week 346 of Free Motion Mavericks. Things seem to be picking up a bit - I guess most people are back from holidays and getting ready for fall and everything that means! I'm going to highlight all three posts cause I don't want to make any more decisions today 😊

Frédérique, of Quilting Patchwork Appliqué, linked up her Positivity baby quilt. It's so sweet!

Baby Quilt Plus (Positivity) by Frédérique

Shasta Matova, the High Road Quilter, linked up her Fish and Bubbles, a cute mini quilt.

Fish and Bubbles by Shasta Matova

Gail of QuiltingGail, linked up her lovely Let Your Star Shine

Let Your Star Shine by Quilting Gail

Now it's your turn to link up.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter