Thursday, April 27, 2023

Wild Hexies and Indecision on Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to week 428 of Free Motion Mavericks. I actually have some free motion quilting (FMQ) to show you 😊 It was my FMQ or darning foot that was giving me grief. I figured it out and I'm zooming right along. Yeah!

Cute critters on the Wild Hexies Quilt

I have two rows of hexies to FMQ. I decided that these would be filled with cute animals and flowers. I'm using the 501 Quilting Motifs by the editors of Quiltmaker Magazine (see related links below). I traced the images onto Golden Threads quilting paper, pinned the paper to the quilt and stitched over it. 

Teddy Bear with a heart

Teddy bear traced and FMQ

Here are some of the other designs that I FMQ this evening.

Baby bird


Baby duck

Skating penguin


I'm really hoping that even if they are difficult to see, that the recipient will eventually love finding all of the different things on his quilt!

2023 Table Scraps Challenge 

April's challenge was using the letters Y and/or N and the colour purple. I couldn't get past the obvious  "Yes and No". I used a hand-dyed pink fabric and stitched on some letters. Purple for Yes, Blue for No, and some FMQ and embroidery for Maybe? 


I had a great time FMQ meandering flowers around the top and the Yes. I then switched to more angular shapes around the No and finally some gentle curves and hoops for the Maybe? 

Sometimes it's so easy to make decisions, but often it isn't. I used to be quite decisive at my job but I think that I'm mellowing out and that decisions are not as obvious as they used to be. Either that or I'm just tired or don't care enough to decide 😁. These days, the hardest decisions are what's for supper? and what should I work on next?

A place for my cup and a reminder to
not take things to seriously 😊

What I learned
  • I was so relieved that my Jag (sewing machine) is fine. When I cleaned it, I noticed that I had two darning feet. When I looked at them, I realised that one of them was nicked, which is why the thread was sometimes catching. That foot has now been put away with a paper attached to it to say that it needs to be fixed. I suspect that a little bit of sanding could fix it.
  • It was so nice to FMQ the challenge piece without issues! 
  • For that piece, I really didn't want to spend much time on it, so instead of adding a binding, I just used a zig-zag stitch. It really is perfect for it.
  • I had only FMQ the "Maybe?" but it wasn't very visible, so I took out some thick thread and embroidered around it in bright pink. 
  • I really enjoyed FMQ the animals onto the Wild Hexies quilt. It was my OMG for April and I'm not sure that it will be finished in time. I do wish that I had said that it would be quilted by the end of the month - that might still happen. I'm looking forward to finishing it and passing it along to the baby!
  • I was looking at the FMQ that I had done previously. I just might unstitch some of it and repair the stitching. I would hate for the quilting to get undone.

Related links

Linking parties

Free Motion Mavericks

Did you see Melva's mini Angel and Her Wings? It's to commemorate the passing of a HS friend. It really is a lovely mini. 

Melva's mini Angel and Her Wings

It's now your turn!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Rainbow Neighbourhood Houses - Blocks 2 to 4

I was falling behind on my Rainbow Neighbourhood QAL so I'm now all caught up. 

A Mauve House

The second house was finished in the middle of last week. It was easier to make the second time around. Of course the star blocks are all different, so there is a learning curve there.

The mauve house with a blue Friendship star!

For the window details, I added a hanging planter and a bird who is visiting out of his cage. Will he go back in? I found a beautiful mosaic type fabric that looks like stained glass, so that's what I used for the window in the door. I also used my fancy machine stitches to hang the planter and make a door knob.

Details of the mauve house

Here are the first two houses.

The blue house has a mauve Evening star
while the mauve house has a blue Friendship star

I placed a sky fabric between the two houses, with some green for a yard and a little tree. I'm trying out a few things to see how I'll be able to place the houses on a quilt. I would like the sashing to act as a yard between the houses. These houses have tiny yards, just like mine! 😊

An Orange House

I finished up the third, orange house. In keeping with the funky lawn, I used some fun fabric to decorate the windows, door and the yard. 

The orange house with the yellow Woven star

Details of the orange house

A Yellow House

The fourth house is yellow. I haven't added anything to the windows yet. I may wait until I get them into the final layout and find more possibilities in my stash (or... add to it with a fat quarter or two 😁).

Yellow house with an Ohio Star 

Yellow and orange houses 😍

What I learned
  • Practice definitely helped me make these houses faster. Making them two at a time helped even more!
  • So far all of the star blocks have worked out well. I also learned that I don't really like making the Ohio star πŸ˜’ I made all of the little stars the exact same way and two are smaller than the others! It was also difficult stitching them in a row with all of those seams. There will probably be some repetition of the star blocks, but it won't be that one!!!
  • I made myself a little pattern out of tracing paper for the lawn and walkway. That has been more helpful than just writing the measurements. 
  • As I mentioned, I didn't add anything to the windows of the yellow house yet. I have more fabric that I have to look at to see if I can make something different. I also don't want to over do it because I may have some other fun ideas when I put all the blocks all together. 
  • I'm glad that I didn't have many traditional lawn and garden fabrics. I've had to think outside the box by using more fun and funky green fabrics. I love them!
  • I have run out of the roof and the sky fabric. I'll be finding some alternative fabrics for these. I know that traditionally it's better to plan all of this out, but this is much more fun 😊. That's when happy accidents happen!
  • I'm making this quilt as a large throw for some friends. I think that one of the houses should look a little bit like theirs. Since they live in the country, that could make for a wonderful centre house with a little forest and lake. 
  • It's never to late to start planning the quilt, even in the middle of the project!

Related links

Linking parties
I'll be linking up to many fun linking parties. Why not check them out? Sew & Tell, Midweek Maker, Put your foot downOff The Wall FridayCan I Get A Whoop Whoop?Peacock PartyPatchwork & Quilts

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Fibre Fling and Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to week 427 of Free Motion Mavericks. This week I'm busy getting ready for the annual Out of the Box (OOTB) Fibre Artists Group show. It's been virtual for the last two years so it's wonderful and a lot more work, now that it's live again.

Fibre Fling 2023

Fibre Fling 2023 is this week in Ottawa

See you at Fibre Fling 2023!

I have two pieced in the show this year, one of them you've seen a few times on the blog.

This first piece is still my favourite - Let Them Flourish. This was created through a workshop with Kate Tune for It has been exhibited but never at Fibre Fling.

Let Them Flourish

Let Them Flourish
details of the owl and French knots!

I finished this second piece with minutes to spare 😊. I must love living dangerously! This is the third embroidery that I made based on's workshop with Bethany Duffy. The other two embroideries were seascape. I loved the technique so much that I used a half-nut instead of a seashell. I just LOVE that adorable squirrel - he looks so mischievous (or stunned - either works for me!). 

Squirrel - finally finished 😊

I brought the unfinished piece to my last Fibre 15 group meeting and asked for advice on how to finish it. This is what it looked like at the time. I knew that something else was needed, or at least that there needed to be something in the top part. Everyone recommended that I extend the tree to cover most of the top. I really like it now.

The embroidery piece before fixing it

I finished it up this afternoon. There wasn't much work to do. I removed the "leaves", added a branch and more fabric on the tree bark for texture. I then added another section to the top of the tree. A few blades of grass helped to ground the tree. The squirrel and tree trunk hadn't been stitched, so I took out my lovely Kimono silk thread and finished it off 😊

Finished backing

The Light Beyond is in the Silent Auction, to raise funds for the Stephen Lewis Foundation and the Ottawa Food Bank. Hopefully it will do well.

The Light Beyond - to be auctioned

Update on Fibre Fling 2023

I spent most of the day at the exhibition. It was so good to see all of the art, the participants and talking with the attendees. 😊 Here are a few pictures to share.

So much beautiful textile art!

Doing a mindful stitching demo

Here's my Squirrel!

What I learned
  • Retirement has really messed with my perception of time.
  • I need to fill in my quilted calendar regularly because I was totally unprepared for Fibre Fling. I was sure that it was next week!
  • Even if I have blogged about a finished piece, it doesn't mean that it's ready for an exhibition. Labels, hanging sleeves or hooks and wire probably still need to be added. 
  • For instance, The Light Beyond, completed over a year ago, not only needed a label, hooks and a wire, it also needed to be permanently stapled to the frame. I had just used tacks! 
  • I have to admit that I'm supposed to have three pieces in the exhibition. This morning I sewed a hanging sleeve on my Courage piece (from Project Quilting 14-6). It was all ready....but I can't find it! Truly, I've looked everywhere in my studio and it's not here. I have no idea where it is, so it won't be in the show. Maybe I need to work on my mindfulness more.πŸ˜’
  • Update - the missing courage has been found....hanging on the front of my studio door, over my winter quilt....I now have 3 pieces in the show!
Lost but now found!

Related links
Linking parties

Free Motion Mavericks

Check out these two very different quilts from our last party. 

Gail made her crazy quilt as a quilt-as-you-go and used her many, many lovely machine stitches. She had so much fun that the quilt is called A Kid in a Candy Shop!

Quilting Gail's Crazy Quilt for Aurifil

Melva is still working on her client's quilts. Her diagonal quilting is perfect for the quilt and I'm sure that the family will be very happy with all of them.
Melva's quilting enhances the quilt!

It's now your turn!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Cars, trucks and mixed media collage on Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to week 426 of Free Motion Mavericks. I even got a little bit of free motion quilting done, even though my machine is not cooperating πŸ˜’.   

FMQ Cars and Trucks

This is my last row of designs by Lori Kennedy.  I can't FMQ a baby quilt without some cars and trucks....zoom!

A mini bus?

I drew a whole bunch of cars and trucks on paper and then FMQ them.

A little red car

Another car

There are the FMQ designs that came out the best for photos. There is also a truck in there, of course!

Mixed Media Collage

I played with some mono-printing for the first time. It wasn't as messy as I expected. 😊  This was part of a workshop with Helen Hallows, "Landscape-inspired mixed media layers", through 

I spread Rollerball ink on parchment paper over my cutting mat in my studio. I mostly used cutout pages from a book whose hard cover I'll be using in a new handmade journal. 

Since I really didn't have a clue, I followed Helen's instructions and some of her design ideas. I was truly playing.  I really love her birds!

Some of the black marks

I started with some black ink and used a pencil to make the marks. I found these rather wide and dark.

These are images of the collages that I put together in my Traveller's Journal. 

I also used yellow and teal ink. Some I added to those printed pages and others to scraps of hand-dyed fabric. There is a little bit of stitching on each page.

Mountains, birds and sun

On some pages, I added the excess paint from my roller. That was cool and has lots of potential. 

I started out stitching directly on the left hand side of the page below. It's tricky but fine if you don't have anything on the other side of the page. I just made sure to glue the image over the stitching on the other side.

Learning to stitch onto paper and two-sided pages

However I got carried away with gluing and then wasn't sure what to do. One of my solutions was to stitch pieces on top of a background paper. Once stitched, I glued the background paper onto the page.

Ghost prints, marks and stitching 

Another way of dealing with stitches that show up on the other side of the page is to then glue something over those stitches. That can be tricky, depending on the designs.

The journal I used

within the Upcycled traveller's journal 

What I learned 
  • It looks like I have to take my sewing machine in. It seems to get caught underneath when I FMQ. It isn't the thread, the tension, the needle or the bobbin, so there's not much else for me to try.
  • I may not be able to finish up my FMQ, but I can practice the next designs for the Wild Hexies quilt. 
  • Making these collages in my journal was a great idea. I didn't feel like I had to have a "finished" piece. It was just for experimenting.
  • I also learned a few things about stitching in a journal (see above) and layering.
  • I'm relieved that mono-printing with the Rollerball ink wasn't messy and that I could do it in the studio.
  • Spreading out the ink on parchment paper worked really well and was very easy to dispose of.
  • I'm trying to psyche myself up for some gelli printing next!
Related links
Linking parties

Free Motion Mavericks 

It's been a busy week out there in quilting land 😊

Sandra of mmm quilts finished up a commission - what a lovely quilt! It took me a second to see the cats 😁 She FMQ large swirls that give a great texture and remind her of cats' entwined tails.

Kool Kats Kwilt by Sandra

Anorina, aka Samelia's Mum, quilted up a really beauty for a little girl named Evie. It was made during the March challenge, "It's All Up To You" with Island Batik.

A Quilt for Evie by Anorina (Samelia's Mum)

Melva made another mini - this one using match-stick quilting and variegated thread. 

A 5" x 7" mini by Melva Loves Scraps

Denise finished her Crazy Quilt runner - what a beauty! If you didn't catch her post, check it out here.

Denise of the Quiltery - a crazy quilt runner for Island Batik

It's now your turn 😊

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Saturday, April 08, 2023

Block 1 of the Rainbow Neighbourhood QAL

Hi! I hope that you are all well 😊. The winter storm is over and it looks like Spring is finally here 🌞 Yeah!!!

Rainbow Neighbourhood QAL

I can't believe that I'm doing another QAL! I've been looking at Sandra's Rainbow Neighbourhood pattern for a while, so why not join? Who knows, I just might make a whole quilt, now that I've done the first block. Here's hoping 😁

First house - blue!

I chose my fabric for the whole quilt, which is pretty unusual for me. They are mostly Alison Glass fabrics that I bought a few years ago. I'm using the ones with the white drawings over the various colours - her Sun Print collection.

Mostly Alisson Glass fabrics

I must say that I love these huge blocks! It was a little scary cutting up the fabrics for the roofs and sky - I don't think that I'll have enough of these, but I'm sure that I'll be able to find others. I'm really going to try to make the whole quilt from my stash. We'll see how that goes!

This is the finished roof section

This was my first attempt at putting the roof together....oops!

If I'm going to make this whole quilt, I have to find ways to amuse myself, so I've decided to have fun with the windows and the grass. I'll be using hand-dyed fabric for all of the doors and windows. I also want to add something in each window - probably something whimsical like these.

Going for a whimsical feel 😍

For the grass in front of each house, I'm going for an interesting lawn or garden. For the first block I've added some garden fabric and a path leading up to the door.

Each house will have it's own grass or garden in front.

What I learned
  • I'm really not used to quilting this big. The whole house block is 16½" square! For me, that's huge!!!
  • I mentioned in my last SAHRR post that working with larger blocks seems to be easier....and many of you agreed with me. Well I now have the proof! This could be the beginning of a new era for me, as far as traditional quilting goes.
  • I've decided to use a matching Kona cotton for the star blocks. I'd be very surprised if I don't have something that will match all of the house fabrics.
  • You probably saw my one big oops moment above. Next time I need to look at the block before I stitch two parts together! I was so concerned about accuracy that I didn't notice that they were in the wrong place....but my seams were accurate πŸ˜πŸ˜‚!
  • It took me most of the day yesterday to make one block! I'm hoping that each block will be faster to make. 
  • To help me along, I originally cut 2 of the sky and roof pieces. After I finished the first house yesterday, I took the time to cut out the pieces for the second house. It will be sort of the reverse of this first house, so the house will be plum and the star will be blue. I wrote myself a lot of notes so that I'll be able to, hopefully, whip it up, and prepare a couple more blocks next week.
  • I'm thinking of making a variation of Sandra's larger quilt, but with yards or fences between the houses. At this time the plan is to make as many houses as I can, and then figure out how to put them together.
Sandra's twin size quilt - isn't it gorgeous?

Related links

Linking parties