Thursday, March 23, 2023

Making Journals on Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome! I can't believe that it's already time for Free Motion Mavericks! I doesn't help that I posted a day late last week. This week I'm on time but no FMQ (free motion quilting) to share. 

Upcycled Traveller's Journal 

This week there is an exciting free event going on - Sketchbook Revival 2023. There are loads for really cool teachers presenting various things related to art, sketchbooks, colour and creativity. Before the week began, Ali Manning of Vintage Page Designs and the Handmade Book Club (of which I'm a member!) showed us how to use an old book binding to make a traveller's journal with separate journals that can be added or removed from the cover. It's so cool!

I used an rescued book cover whose book was falling apart. It's not the prettiest book cover (9¼ " x 6") but perfect for learning how to make this journal. I glued a piece of cloth over the spine area. Since the inside of the book cover wasn't pretty, I added a pretty piece of craft paper to the front and back. 

Book cover and first journal

I prepared 4 journal to fit into the cover. Each journal has craft paper as a cover. 

First and second journals

Each journal is stitched and then attached to the book cover using stretch lace elastic. 

Each journal can be removed from the book

Washi Tape Journal

The bonus course from Ali is a fun washi tape journal.

Washi tape journal
This small journal (5¾ " x 4½ ") was super simple and quick to make. It consisted of 2 signatures of 10 photocopy pages each, folded in half to make 20 pages.

Two covers are made using a legal size folder. We covered them with washi tape but they could be decorated in any way. Since the legal size folder is long, you can add pockets on the inside and middle of the journal. My pockets are attached with paper clips until I buy some narrow 2-sided tape to keep them down.

Journal with a pocket on the inside cover

The second cover ends up in the middle of the journal, where additional pockets can be added.

A smaller pocket in the middle of the journal.

A larger pocket, also in the middle of the journal.

This is one of my favourite journals - so easy and simple to make but very versatile. You can use all kinds of paper for the signatures and decorate it any way you want.

A lovely slim journal that can fit anywhere.

Update on my SAHRR baby quilt

Just a quick note to say that I've completed the first step of making the pinwheel blocks by make batches of half-square triangles. 

Next step in the SAHRR baby quilt

What I learned
  • I'm happy to say that making journals is getting easier. 
  • I should have cut my paper for the Upcycled Traveller's Journal by about a ¼ " shorter. This would have made it easier to put the journals in the elastics. Next time 😊!
  • Old washi tape doesn't stick as well as new stuff, so I may have to glue some of it down. 
  • The narrow two-sided tape will be great to keep the pockets down. I love adding pockets to my journals, so it will be a good investment.
  • I'd like to make more washi tape journals but experiment with fabric. Mod Podge would affix the fabric to the cardboard and make it stiffer (and help keep it clean).
  • I also have many nicer book covers that I'd like to use to make more Upcycled Traveller's Journals. 
  • I also want to make larger journals (the size of a duo tang) with lots of pockets to hold my travel souvenirs, notes, etc. The cover is not a problem but getting paper that large can be.
Related links
  • Ali Manning, Vintage Page Designs and the Handmade Book Club à
  • Sketchbook Revival 2023 - I think that you can still sign up!

Linking parties

Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to week 423 of Free Motion Mavericks. Did you have time to do any FMQ? Either way, we'd love to see what you're working on 😊.

Since we didn't have any FMQ, here's what Donnalee, Melva and Joy are working on!

Donnalee is making a second runner with some lovely Spring colours.

Spring runner by Donnalee

Melva was on her eleventh mini, but I want to show you number ten, Angel on the Shore.

Angel on the Shore, a mini by Melva

Joy linked up her Split Back Star blocks for a QOV quilt. Welcome Joy!

Split Back Star blocks for a QOV quilt by Joy

It's now your turn.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Project Quilting 14-6 - Conquer a fear

I'm so glad that I saw Kim Lapacek's newsletter on Friday, because that gave me a whole day to prepare this fun quilt. I couldn't resist creating something that might help me though my fears....of submitting a quilt to a show! Maybe this will help 😊


When it comes to my art, there isn't that much that I'm afraid of. It seems that ideas abound (and if they don't, I just think it through or wait it out), new techniques to try, and now I even have time to play 😊. I know that if I create a mess, that I'll figure out a way to fix it. I'm also not looking for perfection. What does scare me though, is rejection.


I'm not someone who takes risks. I've applied for jobs that I didn't get, but somehow that didn't phased me much. However, having someone reject my creation is more than I can bear. So I created this piece to help me through this fear.

In the centre of the flower, I wrote down words of the things that I fear - of the feelings that I'm afraid of, such as rejection, unworthy, criticism, submit, mistakes, imperfect, humiliation. I realise that imperfect is in there, but if you want to submit a piece to a show, it usually has to be close to perfect!😕


To counter those fears, I wrote encouraging words in the petals: believe, courage, process, fun, trust, just do it, practice, create. 


The only process picture that I took is this one. I created a template on tracing paper and then cut out 12 petals. I then trimmed the petal template and cut out the adhesive backing.

Cutting out petals

What I learned
  • Chevy
    If I had thought through the process, I would have added the adhesive to the fabric before I cut it. I really should be remembering this by now.
  • I wanted to make a colourful, encouraging piece about my fears. I wanted it to include hope, not just darkness.
  • The flower top with the petals is out of proportion to the stem and leaves, and that's intentional. It's about the flower and its petals. It reminds me of taking pictures of Chevy where all you can see is her head, while everything is behind her!
  • I'm amazed that the words in the petals fit - I usually run out of space!
  • I had a great time FMQ the background with feathers. I love how the feather stems show up and give the piece mouvement.
Related links

Linking parties

Project details

Made for Project QUILTING 14.6 – Conquer a fear 
Size: 11" x 14"
Material: Kona cotton and hand-dyed fabrics
Techniques: Machine appliqué and free motion quilting (FMQ)

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Embroidery and Free Motion Mavericks

Hi! I'm back 😊 after an amazing trip to another side of the world! 😊 (Argentina and Antarctica). The travelling was safe, the sights were outstanding, everyone was so lovely and the food was scrumptious 😋. I even got some sun 😎! I'll be writing up a post soon with a little bit of art and lots of photos of nature 🐧

Embroidery on the Ocean

Since we are so tightly squeezed on airplanes, I didn't bother trying to stitch during those long flights. They were good for reading and listening to audio books. Once onboard the Norwegian Star, I took out my embroidery in the evenings and during our days at sea. 

Progress so far on Glimpses of Antarctica

I started the trip with the two bottom pieces but then attached the top two. I'll trim then up eventually.

At first I was just doing some abstract stitching, using the stitches that I know from memory. At some point, I decided to add stitches that represented my trip. Here are some birds and fish.

Birds in a line

Fish swimming in the ocean 

I then got ambitious and drew a little penguin on another piece of the painted cloth. I stitched it up, cut it and then appliquéd it to the piece.

Penguin appliquéd to the piece

After a fellow traveler suggested a whale, I added it into the piece, with a few of his/her friends blowing water. At one point, they estimated that we could see over eighty fin whales from the ship, blowing water and swimming about. I used a few strands of Mouliné étoile embroidery thread from DMC to show the water sprouting up.

Fin whales blowing water

Here is a closer look at both sides of  the embroidery.

Left side of the piece

Right side of the piece

I've decided to make this piece as representative of Antarctica as possible, so I'll be stitching in some of the islands that we visited. That's why it's called Glimpses of Antarctica - like an abstract map with real things in it. See Related links below to the previous post.

What I learned
  • When I was first looking for spots on the ship to embroider, I was looking for comfort and ambiance. It didn't take long to figure out that the most important element was light! It's difficult to thread a needle in dim light!

Great view and light!

  • I didn't have access to the internet a lot, so I relied on my memory of embroidery stitches. I may have made up a few, but it's all good.😊
  • It was nice to have something to stitch. I also worked on a hexie diamond at the beginning of the trip. It's about half stitched together.

    Hexie diamond

Related links

Linking parties
I'll be linking up to many fun linking parties this week. Why not check them out? Put your foot down, Finished (or Not) Friday, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Peacock Party, Off The Wall Friday, Patchwork & Quilts, Design Wall Monday, Sew & Tell

Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to week 422 of Free Motion Mavericks. Thanks to everyone who linked up while I was gone. 

Donnalee shared with us a wall quilt that she FMQ with a serpentine pattern. Isn't is lovely for someone who says that she doesn't FMQ?

Wall quilt by Donnalee

We have two quilts by Gail, of Quilting Gail. The first involved some ruler quilting while Gail FMQ the Baby Stars.

Made for the Sweet on you blog hop by Quilting Gail

Baby Stars by Quilting Gail for the Island Batik catalogue

Frédérique, of Quilting Patchwork Appliqué FMQ her lovely quilt for the Dust Off A Quilt Book blog hop. She added trapunto to the musical note based on the book she dusted off! Here is her Modern Bargello, Huahine.  

Modern Bargello, Huahine by Frédérique

It's now your turn 😊

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Thursday, February 23, 2023

SAHRR, a lap quilt and an extended Free Motion Mavericks party

Welcome to week 421 of Free Motion Mavericks. I have a lot to share and the linking party will be on for three weeks while I'm on a travelling adventure.

Square within a Square for SAHRR

This week's instructions for the Stay at Home Round Robbin (SAHRR) is a square within a square block, recommended by Emily at The Darling Dagwood. She will be appliquéing flowers in the middle square, but I wanted to keep it fast and easy. A quick search bought me to 10 Ways to Make a Square-in-a-square block (see Related links below). I followed Methods 1 & 2 to see if there was any difference in accuracy. 

Round 5 - square within a square

Row of Square within
a square
For the first method (Triangles on the Square), you cut your HST (half square triangles) and sew them on, opposite sides at a time to the middle square. For method 2 (Squares on the Square), you use a larger square, place smaller squares at each end and sew through them diagonally. You do the same thing for the other sides, et voilà!

It turns out that I'm accuracy challenged at both of these 😁. Since my blocks were not any better using method 2, I just used the first method to make a few more. 

I also introduced a couple more fabrics. Here are the blocks that I made with them. They don't have the same intensity of colour but they seem to play nice with the others. 

I used Gail's suggestion of adding fabric between the blocks to space them out. Thanks Gail (of Quilting Gail).

Square within
a square with new fabric

Square within
a square - the reverse

In the last round of flying geese, I had made extra ones to add to the quilt. I wasn't sure of the layout. At the bottom of the quilt, you can see that extra row.
An extra row of flying geese at the bottom of the quilt

Daisy Quilt

My daughter loves embroidering. This fall, I added a border around one of her embroideries and she hand-quilted it. She is now ready to hand-quilt her own quilt. After finding a pattern, she bought most of the fabric at Mad About Patchwork. After I cut the 4" blocks, she placed them and I pieced them. The sandwich is now based and she's ready to quilt her first lap quilt. 😊

Daisy Quilt ready to hand-quilt

The pattern is the centre part of the Pink Daisy Quilt in the Scrappy & Happy Quilts book by Kate Henderson. I love the fabrics that my daughter chose - she has a good eye for colour! We weren't sure about which yellow to use as a border, so I tried out both. The quilt is roughly 41" x 45". I think that it's really lovely.

Scrappy & Happy Quilts
by Kate Henderson

What I learned
  • I really don't know what I did wrong that both methods of making a square in a square block wasn't very accurate. I was out less than a ¼" but I was being so careful that they should have been accurate. Oh well, they did turn out fine - I just made my row a ¼" less wide. That's the great thing about designing your own blocks and quilts 😊
  • I wasn't sure about adding a couple more fabric to the SAHRR but I think that it's fine. I even found a scrap of that very pink fabric that I used to make one of the petals. I'm looking forward to adding that little scrap.
  • I also have a few blocks that I made that I haven't added to the quilt yet. At the very least they could go on the back.
  • I love my daughter's quilt. She has a much more sophisticated colour palette than me 😊 I'm drawn to "the wilder the better" lol! She very diplomatically told me that the SAHRR quilt wasn't one of her favourites. I admire her gentle honesty.
  • I'm really sorry that I won't be making the next two rounds of the SAHRR with everyone. I will try to read the posts online but won't get anything done for the next three weeks. If I'm able to link up to parties, please forgive me if I don't add the links to this post until I get back.

Related links

Linking parties

Free Motion Mavericks

As I mentioned, this linking party will be open for 3 weeks, until Tuesday, March 12th. Please feel free to link up as often as you like! 😊

Melva of Melva Loves Scraps tried out "dimple quilting" on an orphan block. Here it is!

Melva tried out "dimple quilting

The Joyful Quilter made a Duke's t-shirt quilt for the member of her friend's family that lost everything in a house fire. She semi-custom quilted it on her longarm. What a great gift for someone who will doubtlessly appreciate it. 

A Duke's t-shirt quilt by the Joyful Quilter

Quilting Gail made a puff quilt as part of Island Batik‘s February challenge. If you don't know about puff quilts, you may want to check out the challenge. Pretty incredible....and lots of work! You can read how she made it here. Well done Gail!

Gail's Puff Quilt with Island Batik fabric

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Off the Grid Sampler is finished

Welcome! I'm very happy to share this finish with you 😊 It's been a fun project but it's nice to see it finished so that I now have a few less projects on the go, or I can start another one! 😁

Finishing up "Off the Grid"

Since I kept track of all of my different stitches, I can tell you that there were 44 different area to stitch. In some of those areas, I even managed to use a combination of more than one stitch.

"Off the Grid" Sampler finished and mounted

I don't usually track all of this but a sampler that doesn't include a record of the stitches used is difficult to learn from. Sometimes I can tell which stitches I used, but at other time, I don't have a clue!

This is my sampler - I did miss two areas, between 23 and 24, and then on the other side of 23. 

A drawing of the sampler

These are the stitches that I used the most, in several places: 
In case you're interested, I linked the stitches above to Sharon Boggon's Pentangle Stitch Dictionary. 

Here are a few more images of stitches.

Raised band herringbone stitch, a row of chain stitch,
lots of French Knots, random fly and feather stitches,
and outlined satin stitch

from left, clockwise
Seed stitch, stem stitch, buttonhole stitch, double buttonhole
and battlement stitch, threaded running stitch (with transparent elastic),
threaded backstitch and couching stitch (at bottom)

I finished my sampler by mounting it on a canvas board.

Off the Grid Sampler

What I learned
  • As I typed out my notes about the stitches, I realised that they weren't very good - better than nothing but not consistent or detailed enough.
  • Using variegated thread for almost any stitch adds colour and interest.
  • My least successful stitches were in not very straight rows. 
  • In doing couching stitches, if you want them to show up, they need to be very contrasting and use more than one thread. 
  • I had given up on making the sampler pretty and used many more colours than I usually do. I'm not really sure why it works but it does look good. I did try to repeat the colours, so that may have helped.
  • I really like using the Mouliné étoile embroidery thread by DMC for French Knots. They are slightly fluffy and look great.
  • I love trying out different yarns for embroidery. Another fun yarn is Tencel Pearl. I've linked to the company, Trail Head Yarns, below.
  • I also discovered that you can buy linen at the yarn store for embroidery. I got 3 colours of the BC Garn Lino for Christmas. What beautiful linen and perfect for embroidery. Buying a skein of linen is economical considering how much linen it contains. It's going to last many years 😊

Related links
Linking parties
I'll be linking up this post to many fun linking parties. Let's see what's going on out there! Patchwork & Appliqué, Design Wall Monday, Sew & Tell, Midweek Makers, 

Project detail

Off the Grid sampler
Based on a workshop with Sue Stone,
Size: 8" x 6"
Material: Kona cotton, embroidery floss, metallic thread, Mouliné étoile, Tencel Pearl, perle cotton, transparent elastic, etc.
Techniques: embroidery (see post for stitches)