Thursday, October 28, 2021

Trying for something different and Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome! I do have some free motion quilting (FMQ) to show you, but not on my son's quilt...my Jag is getting a long overdue tune-up and it could take a few weeks.

Creating an improv quilt during a playdate 

The Out of the Box Fibre Artist Group had a playdate which I attended, since at the last minute, I had decided to take the day off work. Our playdate host, one of our members, did a great job of introducing us to improv piecing and stripes. Who knew that there was anything to say about stripes other than wide, thin, horizontal and vertical!😁

Improv piece with Shadow Stripes

I don't have any pictures until I got to this stage. With the FMQ, I wanted to try different effects on the solid fabrics. In the end, since I wasn't sure what to do next, I put it on my design wall and took pictures. 

I liked the piece but it was just ordinary. What can I say...as I've started hand stitching, everything is calling out to be embellished somehow, and this piece was no exception.

Adding embellishments

The first thing I did was add this bright pink ribbon in one corner and then embroider fly stitches and stars. The ribbon is fun because it's translucent and has wire within the edges to give it body.

Pink ribbon and stitching off the quilt

After this beautiful embellishment, I had no idea what to do. So, I started thinking about what I wanted the piece to represent and made a mind-map to get me going.

The improv shadow striped piece is now called "Glimpses of Joy". I want it to represent life, the messiness and the joys, since I don't think that we can have one without the other. The background improv piecing depicts the messiness of life where lines don't necessarily join evenly, but they are beautiful despite this.

I started thinking about some of the things that bring me joy. There is a whole list, but I'll explore these one at a time as I make something to depict it on the quilt. The first one is the Sun.

The Sun - source of life
I had lots of fun making the sun. I wanted to use some yellow hand-dyed silk organza as well as cheese cloth. Since I collect absolutely everything for my art, I though of using these plastic discs that are at the bottom of Keurig coffee pods. They have these lovely holes to stitch through.

Covering up the disk with fabric

Stitching the fabric to the disk 












The rays of the sun are made from a silk scarf that I bought on our trip to China. 

The wonky heart is filled with all kinds of stuff - love, hope, fears, pain, gratitude, envy, etc. There are so many things that fill our hearts. I'm probably not finished with this one yet, but we'll see.

The next piece is from one of my eco-prints. I embroidered it and then attached it to the piece. There is so much in nature that brings me joy, as well as learning new things such as eco-printing and stitching😊
Embroidering on eco-printed linen


Wonky heart full of so much stuff!




















This is what "Glimpses of Joy" of joy looks like so far.

It's coming along

What I learned
  • A lot of the art quilting that I do start off intuitively. However, sometimes intuition only takes me so far, and then I need to think about the details of design.
  • I learned years ago how to create a mind-map. I mostly use it to help me think things through, and to keep me organised when I have guests over for a meal. This is one of the things that really stresses me out - so having all of the steps and considerations needed to get things done on a mind-map is my life-boat.
  • I'm still posting on Instagram. The wonky heart today was Day 45/100. Tomorrow's post will be the leaf. I'm enjoy the process of posting - not daily but about 5 times/week. It's encouraging me to keep stitching but it doesn't stress me out if I miss a day or two. 

Related links

Linking parties

Free Motion Mavericks

This is week 353. I hope that you had time go see Muv's post, Very Newly Wed, with her daughter in her wedding dress. It looks like it was a wonderful event! 

Last time, if you didn't catch Karin's FMQ with rulers, go visit. It's well worth it! 

Patience Corner Quilt Finished by Karin

Thanks for visiting - it's now your turn!

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Thursday, October 14, 2021

Welcoming Fall on Free Motion Mavericks

I hope that you're having a lovely fall (except those of you on the other side of the world who are enjoying Spring!) The leaves are slowly changing here in Ottawa but all of the rain is pulling them down quickly!

I didn't expect to be writing this post today but Muv is very busy getting ready for her daughter's wedding this weekend. I can't imagine how that must feel. So welcome to week 351 of Free Motion Mavericks. I'm still planning the FMQ design for my son's quilt, so here is a look at fall quilts that I've done through the years.

Fall pageant of wall quilts

Here are some of my fall quilts, beginning with the newer ones. If you're interested in reading more about them, see Related links below for the original blog post.

Swirling Leaves made for the
Welcome Fall Blog Hop, 2020

Lone Tree 2 or "Tired or Overachiever?"

Fall Tree - pattern and course with Elaine Quehl

Patches the Pumpkin Patch Protector

Fall Door Hanging, on my studio door

What I learned
  • Since I'm not ready to free motion quilt (FMQ) the stripe that I'm still designing for my son's quilt, I thought that I would give you a little seasonal eye candy. 
  • I love fall colours even if they are not the colours that I gravitate to.
  • I just put up my Fall Door Hanging and my Patches wall hanging, so it's timely.
  • I keep forgetting that for some of my readers who haven't been following me for years, could be seeing these for the first time 😊
Related links

Linking Parties

I'll be linking up to many fun linking parties. Let's see what's out there (after you've linked up below!) Midweek Makers, Put Your Foot Down, Finished or Not Finished Friday, Off The Wall Friday, Patchwork & Quilts, Design Wall Monday, Monday Making, 15 Minutes to Stitch 2021, Oh Scrap!

Free Motion Mavericks

We had a small intimate party last week with some lovely quilting. Thanks to everyone who linked up. For more eye candy, here is Gail's Flutterfly Star.

Flutterfly Stars for Island Batiks by Quilting Gail 

It's now your turn!


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Monday, October 11, 2021

Updates on Slow Stitching projects

My Traveller's Blanket made it's way to North Bay for our Canadian Thanksgiving. It was the first time in years that I was able to go and it was great seeing all of the family again. I showed off the blanket and even got a little bit of stitching done at the hotel before we checked out. I also took some lovely pictures of Lake Nipissing - it's such a beautiful area, even when the sun is behind clouds.

Stitching up an eco-printed piece

I really wanted to see the effect of stitching on my eco-printed piece. It came out well for my first try.

It's Day 31 on my #100dayschallenge on Instagram. I used 2 strands of the Bengal linen thread for all the embroidery. The running stitch came out well in all of the colours except for the marigold stitch on the bottom left. I ended up stitching another two strands on top of the original 2 strands. I'm not sure that I'm supposed to do that but it came out fine 😊

Running stitch with Bengal linen thread on a piece of eco-printed fabric

I'm looking forward to working on another little piece, although I'm considering using brighter threads.

Traveller's Blanket Update

I've been working steadily on my Traveller's Blanket and posting my stitches on Instagram. Stitching a little bit every day, or more every few days, really makes the project advance.

Day 28 -  Sky Lights block

I attached the block with a buttonhole stitch and then used the same coloured thread as the background for the threaded chain stitch. The dark green thread is Honest Yarn linen. I love using the same type of stitch around the block as within it. Spoiler alert, Day 37 below has a second border that I forgot to post.

Sky Lights block surrounded by a
threaded chain stitch border

Day 30 - Pink Stitches block

I attached this block with a running stitch but didn't think much of it, so then went back and made sort of a cross stitch. It's surrounded by some lovely herringbone stitches. The thread is Sulky variegated Cotton Petites. 

Pink Stitches block with a herringbone border

Day 32 - Angles

Angles got surrounded by a Triangular buttonhole stitch using a Sulky bendable cotton Petites. I really should have practiced but couldn't find my sample cloth (story of my life!) They're a bit wobbly but proof that with practice, even if it's on the piece itself, your stitches can get better! Besides, don't you like the experimental vibe of this piece?

Angles block with triangular buttonhole stitches

Day 33 - Hexie with stars and sheaf 

The following hexies were embroidered during my last #100hexies100days challenge. To match but keep it simple, I added some Algerian eye stitches using my hand-dyed threads.

Hexie surrounded by Algerian eye stitches

Day 34 - Pink and blue hexie with stitches

I surrounded this hexie with chevron. Between the chevrons and the hexie, I added pink detached chain stitch flowers (lazy daisy stitches) and then blue French knots on the outside. All of the threads are hand-dyed. I just love the colours of this hexie!

So many stitches!

Day 35 - Gone fishing hexie

This hexie and the one that follows were made from fabric that I painted for my Marks & Stitches project. For this one, I added some chain and fly stitches. I thought that it might be nice to surround it with more fly stitches made with Sulky variegated Cotton Petites. 

Fly stitches - are we going fishing?

Day 36 - Woven and whipped hexie

Here is the hexie before it was attached to the blanket. It's from the same painted fabric as above. The hexie has a cable stitch and a large buttonhole stitch. Once it was placed to the blanket, I wove the buttonhole stitch with the green Sulky variegated Cotton Petites. I surrounded the hexie with whipped cable stitch. I think that it may need another border.

Painted fabric with cable and
buttonhole stiches

Buttonhole stich woven and then the
chain stitch around it is whipped













Day 37 - Second border around Sky Lights

The second border is whipped chain stitch.

Sky lights block with a second border of
whipped chain stitch 


A squirrel!

Day 29 - Stitching on a Hosta leaf

Yes, you read it correctly! The Hosta leaf was stitched as part of a workshop with Hillary Waters through TextileArtist.org I never thought that I would be stitching on a Hosta leaf  or any other vegetation!😊 These are bits of Couched hand-dyed thread.

Stitching on a Hosta leaf

Couched hand-dyed thread











Nature pictures of the weekend

Here are some pictures that I took of Lake Nipissing. It was really great to be out there.

Sunrise on Saturday (yes, I actually got up!)

Sunrise at Lake Nipissing

Fall foliage


Quintessential White Pine of
Northern Ontario


























Fallen leaves on the shore
Water, waves and rocks


So powerful and yet tranquil

What I learned

  • I really love how my Traveller's Blanket is coming along. I only have one hexie to finish stitching and one hexie to add a second border to, and then it will be time to start stitching the whole piece.
  • I'll be using running stitches in fine thread for what will essentially be the quilting of the blanket.
  • I'm thinking of echoing each block or hexie and then stitching horizontally around each one. I'll try it out on a section and see how it looks. The piece is quite busy, so I don't want to over do it.
  • What did you think of the stitching on the Hosta leaf? I'm really glad that I did it, but it felt really weird stitching on something that was alive. It's very transitory and the leaf has started to dry up and has changed colours. It's interesting but a little sad. I'm not sure that I'm going to be doing this again, although it goes to prove that we can really stitch through anything!
  • For those who are wondering, I just applied some glue to the back of the Hosta and let it dry before stitching on it. You can do this to pretty much anything - and add more glue to stiffen it up if needed. Not all glues work the same, so you will want to try some out before stitching too much.
  • Since today is Thanksgiving in Canada, I added a link to my Quilty Great Fullness below. It was written in 2015 and still applies!

Related links

Linking parties
I'll be linking up to many fun linking parties. Let's see what's going on - and if you're doing an FMQ, remember to link up to Free Motion Maverick with me or Muv! Off The Wall Friday, Patchwork & Quilts, Design Wall Monday, Monday Making, Put Your Foot Down

I posted the Hosta leaf as a squirrel at DrEAMi with Sandra at mmm quilts!
I also linked up the Nature pictures with Wondering Camera.

Thursday, October 07, 2021

Planning and FMQ with Free Motion Mavericks

Hi! I've finally started on my son's quilt. I've been planning the designs, which are loosely based on my mother's hand quilted designs from Stéphane's original quilt. I also free motion quilted (FMQ) the first little section.😊 

Planning the FMQ designs

I'm not that technically advanced when it comes to FMQ but I did use my trusty PowerPoint program to map out the original designs and send my son some suggestions for changes. Here is my FMQ design map. If you click on the image, you'll get a larger image.

Map on PowerPoint of my mother's original quilting designs

I wanted to start FMQ so that I would have something to show you today. Nothing complicated but it's a good start.

These designs are at the bottom right corner of the quilt. There are hearts connected to friends. These are original designs that my mother used, although they've been adapted for free motion quilting.

Hearts to symbolize the love of friends and family 

Friends & Hearts

There are the friends - silhouettes of people holding hands


I spent last evening looking through my e-books for FMQ designs that I can use. Stéphane and I agreed that one of the areas will have nature scenes on it - fishing, camping, trees and possibly animals. My mother had quilted one of the red strips with rainbows, so I suggested that I FMQ various weather designs such as rainbows, snow flakes, rain, etc. 

What I learned
  • It took me much longer to stitch-in-the-ditch than it should have. The warm weather didn't help and I had forgotten what a pain quilting a queen size quilt on a domestic is. I think that it was worse for the stitch-in-the-ditch since most seams ran across the whole quilt. When doing FMQ, at least it's one area at a time, and you don't travel quite so quickly.
  • I had planned to use only two colours of thread in the bobbin so that the back would look better, but as I practiced stitching with the blue-gray thread, there was no way that my tension was going to be good enough. I've now decided to use what ever bobbin thread that I need. There are only about six different colours of fabric in the quilt anyway. Good tension on the front is worth a more colourful back.
  • Once my son and I figure out what is to be quilted, it should go fairly quickly...I hope 😊 At least there is enough variety of designs to keep me interested!
  • For all my Canadian readers, Happy Thanksgiving! I'm going up north to visit friends and family, pig out enjoy some good food and see the changing colours (they are ahead of us by at least 2 weeks!) Take care!
Related links

Linking party
I'll be linking up to many fun linking parties. I hope that you'll check them out and also link up below.

Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to week 350 of Free Motion Mavericks. It's been longer than a fortnight since we last saw each other. A break is not such a bad thing, especially as things start getting hectic in the fall. I'm glad to say that it's no longer too hot for me to FMQ in my studio, which is why I started on my son's quilt again. 

If you didn't see Sandra's quilt, "The Light Within", then you need to get over there to check it out. Sandra of mmm quilts her FMQ her projects on her longarm. She's both proficient and prolific 😊
This quilt was published in the latest Make Modern magazine (issue 42).  She took some great pictures, but I want you to see her quilting! 

Sandra's The Light Within 

Now it's your turn!

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