Thursday, December 28, 2023

Table Scraps Challenge on Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to week 462 of Free Motion Mavericks - our last linking party for 2023. This week, if you don't have anything new to link up, why not link up a favourite post or quilt? It doesn't have to be free motion quilted, just a excuse to join in the fun πŸ·πŸΎπŸŽ„πŸ₯³

A colourful scrappy mug rug

December's colour for the challenge is rainbow and the letters are S, H, and E.

Do you remember the teal scrappy improv runner that I made for my brother's birthday? Well I had pieced a mug rug with the same fabric but never got it here it is. To add something special to it, I used some of my Jag's fancy stitches. I added them to my sampler page and quilted up the mug rug with different stitches and variegated thread.

Colourful scrappy mug rug

You can really see the stitches clearly from the back. That was a lot of fun 😊

Back of the mug rug - what fun stitches!

There's not much to say about the construction except that I stitched it and then removed the batting from the edges. That left me with some backing fabric that I then trimmed and sewed down to make the binding.

Stitched mug rug

I had originally decided to cut the binding to one inch, but that was too wide. I ended up cutting it to ¾" and then folding it twice and stitching it down. 

Batting removed to make the binding

You can see the different stitches that I used (click the image for a closer view). My binding is really not great but it will stay together!

Rug mug stitched with fancy machine stitches

This is the stitch sampler page that I added to while I played with the stitches. I made several pages like this at one time, but got bored! At least I'm adding to it when I play with stitches....and when I'm really feeling smart, I'll even sample the stitch before I use it πŸ˜ƒ. The two complete rows on the left were made before I stitched the binding on my niece's t-shirt quilt last week.

Stitch samples

For the holiday season, I bought some Twining's Gingerbread Tea. It's black tea with ginger and cinnamon. I'm not a huge tea drinker, but it's really good with maple syrup! πŸ˜‹

Mug rug, tea and chocolate. Yeah! 

I wrote a post yesterday about the Best of 2023. I took the opportunity to go through the year's projects to see what I accomplished. For the 2023 ABC Table Scraps Challenge, I have one WIP (work in progress - Swirling Leaves 3) and there is a mug rug that was for February but was finished in October and never blogged about. Unfortunately the December mug rug is missing, but I'm not redoing this photo.  

This year's 2023 ABC Table Scraps Challenge

What I learned
  • Using the fancy stitches wasn't difficult, unless you have to stop and start over. Depending on the stitch used, that can be pretty tricky.
  • Trust me when I say that you do not want to have to pick these stitches out!!!!
  • I used one of the stitches for the t-shirt quilt. The first corner was difficult because the machine got stuck, but the others went well. I though that it would be the same here, but I didn't realise that working on a much narrower binding wasn't the same. The corners were harder to fold on this smaller quilt and binding.
  • I'm happy with my mug rug and I'm sure that my brother will like it. It was a Scrappy, Happy Endeavor
Related links
Linking parties
I'll be linking up to many linking parties. Why not check them out, after you link up below? I'll be linking up to the Joyful Quilter's December 2023 ABC Table Scraps Challenge when it opens, as well as Midweek Makers, Sew & Tell, Put your foot downBeauties Pageant, TGIFF, Patchwork & QuiltsFinished (or Not) Friday,

Project details

Colourful scrappy mug rug
Made for the December 2023 ABC Table Scraps Challenge
Size: 7" x 8"
Material: commercial cotton scraps, variegated thread
Technique: improv piecing, quilted using fancy machine stitches

Free Motion Mavericks

Gail reminded us that the 2024 Stay At Home Round Robbin is happening again soon. Here is one of the quilts that she has made during the challenge. Check out her post if you're interested in participating this year!

One of Gail's previous SAHRR quilt

Thank you Melva for linking up to the party. Here is Melva's mini, Star of Wonder

Melva's mini, Star of Wonder

It's now your turn!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Best of 2023 Linking Party

I'm so glad that Cheryl of Meadow Mist is hosting this great party again. I looked at my posts, and I've been participating since 2016. Not bad since it looks like I only missed her first year. Thanks Cheryl 😊

Overview of 2023

This is my first full year of retirement. I'm assuming that this has made a difference. However, as I re-read my 2022 post, I'm not sure that much has changed. Is it a groove or a rut? I've reviewed my projects, crunched the numbers and will let you know in the "What I learned" section below.

My 2023 projects can be broken down into five categories, and all of them include fibre, mostly fabric and some paper. Many are free motion quilted (FMQ) while others are hand-stitched. I've also included WIPs (works in process), which may have become UFOs (unfinished objects). All were started, worked on or finished in 2023.
  • Bed quilts and throws,
  • Small quilty projects, 
  • Artsy projects and quilts, 
  • Meditation stitching, and 
  • Hand-made books.

Bed quilts and throws

I've changed the name of this category this year. It was previously called FMQ but that's more of a technique than a category. This section included bed quilts, baby quilts and throws, whether they be finished or flimsies 😊.

Version 2.0 finish ✔ Rainbow Neighbourhood flimsyT-shirt quilt ✔
Daisy quilt flimsy , SAHRR flimsy and Wild Hexies baby quilt ✔ 

Small quilty projects

This category includes projects made through Project Quilting (PQ), the ABC (Table) Scraps Challenge 2023, as well a some squirrels such as FMQ journal covers.

ABC (Table) SCRAPS Challenge 2023

Project Quilting and FMQ Journal Covers

In 2023, I participated in 3 Project Quilting (PQ) challenges. I also started the new year with a new FMQ journal cover and made 4 more journal covers in October.

Artsy projects and quilts

All of these projects and quilts originated through workshops presented by I've been a founding member since June 2020. I haven't participated in all of the workshops but I've really enjoyed every workshop that I've followed😊. It's a great way to keep learning with simple projects that can be taken to the next level.   

I've done so many projects this year that I had to separate the group in two.

Meditation Stitching

A lot of the Artsy projects would qualify as meditation stitching, but I've kept this as a separate section to highlight some of the work that I've done, particularly as mindful stitching blocks commemorating special events. I'm also including English paper pieced (EPP) hexies in this category. 

Fly, Fly AwayRent meditation block,
Card with natural elementsFibre Fling Meditation Block
Cabane Γ  sucre Brazeau


I participated in #100hexies100days 2023 again this year. Unfortunately, I only made it to Week 11 (of 15) on Instagram, and Week 4 on my blog. πŸ˜’ I did make more hexie flowers that I'll try to post on Instagram and eventually on the blog in the new year. 😁

Hexie Love and Hexie Fun
Instagram:  Week 5, Week 6Week 7Week 8Week 9Week 10, Week 11

Hand-made books

I made quite a few hand-made books and journals since I was a member of the Handmade Book Club for most of 2023. It really came in handy for making journals and books as gifts.

Upcycled Traveller's JournalFabric journal-long and link stitches, Nature printed fabric book,
3 Booklet Journals, Refillable Notepad Cases,
Butterfly Binding Journal, Glimpses of Antarctica JournalLittle Library 

Journal with Hour-glass binding, Whirlwind or Dragon Scale Journals, 
Booklet Journal, Single Sheet Coptic Binding with Map cover

What I learned
  • I was not surprised that QALs (Quilt Alongs) resulted in WIPs or UFOs again this year. 
  • However, I was very surprised that I worked on so many larger quilts. That is definitely a result of retirement and having more time to play during the day! πŸ˜ƒ
  • The beginning of the year was busy with finishing Version 2.0 and creating my SAHRR quilt. I managed to miss a few of the Project Quilting but did get three done. 
  • The ABC (Table) Scraps Challenge 2023 was a lot of fun. I would usually remember near the end of the month but playing with scraps is always enjoyable, so I managed to participate in most of them. I have a quick one coming up for December - keep a lookout for it!
  • It looks like I've been busier than ever with the's stitch club. For many of the workshops, I've done more than one project, or a bigger project. I also want to go back to a few of them and continue trying things out. 
  • I haven't done that many meditative stitching blocks, but I really like the idea of making some that commemorate an event. I just find that these are best done soon after the events, and somehow that doesn't happen often. 
  • Most of the Stitch Club projects involve hand stitching and are usually meditative in nature.
  • I had fun doing the first half of the #100days100hexies 2023. I do have a few more hexies and hexie flowers stitched, so I'll be posting them on Instagram eventually soon since many are made with Christmas fabric. It would be nice to finish the 100, even if they are late!
  • I made quite a few books, journals, sketchbooks and booklets this year. The playdate that I was organising was postponed, but I did play with different materials for booklets to get ready for it. I'm looking forward to presenting it later this winter.
  • I also started a separate page on the blog for book making. I hope that have that finished in the new year.
Reflections on my plans for 2023
    • As I reviewed my plans for 2023, I realised that they were mostly met.
    • My intention for 2023 was to "learning by playing, with mindfulness and contentment". I feel that I did play more and I generally have to be mindful when hand-stitching. I really tried to stay away from the stress and minor chaos that I'm so good at creating, however... 
    • participating in two quilt alongs (SAHRR and Rainbow Neighbourhood), especially at the beginning of the year, contributed to that minor chaos... and they did create two UFOs.   
    • There was also some major stress and chaos in finishing the t-shirt quilt. I'm so happy that it's done. My niece really loves it - and I couldn't be happier!
    • The courses that I took outside of the Stitch Club and the Handmade Book Club were not really worth it. I hope that I'll remember to give these a pass!
    • I've also been generally disappointed in the free events that are offered on the Internet. I think that I'm not the target audience for these and hope to remember to give those a pass also!
    • I have been hosting the The Free Motion Mavericks linking party alone this year. It's a lot of work but I generally enjoy it. Since it's a specialty linking party, I know that no everyone is interested in linking up or even do any FMQ. I am really grateful to all of my readers who link up when they can. I really, really appreciate it.
    • Free Motion Mavericks also encourages me to do FMQ. I suspect that I will have enough projects in 2024 to keep me going for another year. 😊
    • It's been a full year since I've taken my retirement and I LOVE it!!!!
    • The biggest change has been that I no longer have to guard my weekends. I used to fight so hard to keep others from taking time from my weekends, and usually didn't succeed! Now, I spend my weekends gladly with my family because I know that when the week starts over, most of that time will be mine to play with in the studio πŸ˜ƒ, or not (but at least it's my choice).
Linking parties

Thursday, December 21, 2023

T-shirt Quilt Finish on Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to week 461 of Free Motion Mavericks. I delivered the quilt to my nephew last night at 10:30 so that he could pack it up to bring to Denmark. He lives down the street so it wasn't a long journey. He and his roommate are tall men, so they helped me take a few quick pictures of the quilt. Thanks guys!😊

A Finished T-shirt Quilt

It's done and since I drove my nephew to the airport... I know that it's way to Copenhagen ✈ 

A finished queen size t-shirt quilt

I'm not going to go through all of the blocks, mostly because since I don't have the quilt with me, I can't really see from the pictures what I quilted on them! 😎 Here are just a few highlights. 

I had quilted stars in the sashing of this t-shirt but wasn't sure what or with what thread to quilt the t-shirt. In the image below this one, you can see the threads that I used. I FMQ with the neon orange while I originally used the variegated thread to zig-zag stitch the "14" panel from the back of the shirt to the front. 

Free Motion Quilting (FMQ) the bright orange t-shirt

Threads used to stitch the t-shirt

On the next two Ottawa Lions t-shirts, I FMQ the sashing with some dot-to-dot diamonds and other designs within the squares and rectangles. It was good to do something different.

Using dot-to-dot FMQ in the sashing

More dot-to-dot FMQ

The last t-shirt quilted was the New York one. For part of the sashing, I FMQ some lightning bolt designs. I then quilted the contour of the buildings, signs and statue. I used a pink thread to fill in the sky.

FMQ the New York t-shirt 

FMQ the Border

I wasn't sure what to FMQ in the two side borders. I knew that it had to fill in the space quickly without being too fiddly. I found the design in Angela Walter's second book, Shape by Shape Collection 2. She calls it the Serpentine Clusters. It has three serpentine lines and then a row of feathers. 

Angela Walter's Serpentine Clusters design in the two borders

Squaring the Quilt

I am accuracy challenged at the best of times. With a t-shirt quilt, you just make it up as you go along since most blocks are different sizes. It's difficult to square things when you can't really measure from anything. All I could do was make each side straight-ish and then see if the quilt could be folded in half properly.

Straightening the border sides

The quilt didn't past the folding or wonky test. Since these are just the borders, I knew that I could adjust them as required.

Folding the quilt lengthwise

Trimming the edges

I put together strips of the Kona Solids that I had used for sashing in the quilt. I was lucky that the sashing also used 2½" strips. I was able to use many of them for the binding and didn't have to do too much cutting. 

Cutting strips after squaring the quilt
Strips of binding ready to be sewn together

I then used Quilting Jet Girl's Tips for Making / Planning a Scrappy Binding. It was very useful (see Related links below). I needed the binding colour used around the quilt to be a different colour from the fabric it was going to be attached to. Otherwise, the binding tends to recede and looks like there is no binding. 

I put the quilt on our king size bed and placed each strip down where I wanted. Then I very carefully stitched them in the correct order and side. It was then time to attach the binding strip to the back of the quilt.

Attaching the binding strip to the back of the quilt

Finally I turned the binding over and stitched it using one of my fancy stitches. It was the first time that I did this, and I really like the result. My wavy stitching pattern isn't straight but it doesn't show as much as a straight stitching line that is wonky! 😁

Stitching down the binding with a fancy stitch

Here's a couple more pictures of the finished quilt. I hope that my niece will take some so that I can post them.

Part of the finished quilt

The best pictures I could get of the finished quilt

What I learned
  • FMQ a quilt that did not have batting was different. There is no doubt that the quilt would have been too heavy for my niece with batting.
  • The FMQ went well. I only had issues with tension a couple of times. I'm not sure what happened but when I re-threaded the machine, everything was fine.
  • All of the thread used for FMQ was polyester. The bobbin thread was Superior Thread's Bottom Line (60wt). I used two more colours of Bottom Line. There was also 4 colours of Madeira polyneon, 6 colours of Glide polyester thread and then the neon Orange polyester thread from Coats (I think). They also needed the same tension, so that was great.
  • As I mentioned, I used Quilting Jet Girl's Tips for Making / Planning a Scrappy Binding. I know that the colour of the binding needs to be a different colour from the fabric that it's attached to, otherwise the binding tends to recede and it ends up looking like there is no binding. 
  • I knew that I wouldn't have time to hand-stitch the binding so I found a video, "How To Bind a Quilt on a Sewing Machine with Jenny Doan of Missouri Star". It taught me what I needed to know and except for one corner, the stitching went really well.
  • I decided to use the wavy stitch from my machine since I knew that a straight stitch line would not be straight. I also wanted something a little bit wide to attach the binding well.  
  • Now that my niece's t-shirt quilt is done, I can focus on Christmas πŸŽ„πŸŽ… and other projects.
  • I'm also looking forward in participating in the usual end-of-year blogging posts. See you then!
Related links
Linking parties
I'll be linking up to many fun linking parties. Why not link below before checking these out? This quilt was my December OMG. I'll link up when the party opens! Put your foot down (at the Quiltery), Midweek Makers, Design Wall Monday, Sew & Tell, Patchwork & Quilts, Beauties Pageant, TGIFF with Anja
I'm linking this post up to Tips and Tutorials on the 22nd

I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas and Holiday Season! 

Christmas Tree Window Hanging

Free Motion Mavericks

What wonderful quilts we had last week. I haven't visited everyone yet, but I will! 😊

Denise of the Quiltery (Love of Geese) made this really lovely Christmas hanging for both the Virtual Cookie Exchange and the Island Batik Ambassador Celebration Challenge.

Christmas tree and gift wall hanging  by Denise 

Donnalee finished her first fabric collage piece based on mushrooms that she saw on a trip to New Zealand. What a great finish!

Mushroom fabric collage piece by Donnalee

Melva of Melva Loves Scraps, finished her customer's t-shirt quilt and it's been delivered. It really looks great with the sashing and border fabrics.

Melva's finished customer's t-shirt quilt

Quilting Gail participated in the monthly Classic Car Colour Challenge hosted by Jen @ Patterns by Jen. What a great quilt! I especially like the border piecing. Gail did “Wild” or “Graffiti” quilting in the centre. The outside was quilted using Silly Moon’s Rocket ruler.

Gail's Classic Car Colour Challenge finish

Sandra of mmm quilts made a Christmas tree farm quilt for her daughter. What a wonderful finish! My feathers sure don't look like that! πŸ˜€

Sandra's Christmas tree farm quilt 

Thanks so much for participating! It's now your turn.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Back to FMQ the T-shirt Quilt on Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to week 460 of Free Motion Mavericks. I have been able to do free motion quilting (FMQ) this week. It felt good to be back home and at my Jag (my sewing machine) 😁 

FMQ the T-shirts

I started quilting the outlines of the hearts on this lovely t-shirt. Once I finished the hearts, I added the row of ruffle to the top of the block. Isn't it cute? 😍 I'll come back and do the sashing when I have blue thread in the machine. 

Lovely heart t-shirt with a ruffle

I then FMQ some of the t-shirts whose sashing I had previously quilted. In this case, I just wanted to keep it simple. They are mostly wavy lines.

The three high school t-shirts ✔

I just FMQ around the people and outlined the letters. After adding the photo to this post, I decided that it needed a little more quilting.

Outlining the group and name

Adding more swirls in white

I then started another t-shirt block. On this one I fudged improvised the sashing a lot because the t-shirt had to be cut at odd angles. I FMQ linked squares and rectangles and then went around the letters. I didn't want to stitch over the image too much because it's rubbery, but I went around the hat and it seems ok. I love the sentiment of this t-shirt...I guess my niece and I have that in common 😊

Linked squares and rectangles in the sashing

Here are a couple more blocks. I had fun with the Bridge t-shirt. I FMQ clouds in the sky, then water below, with fish and a sailboat. It's not obvious but it will be a fun discovery 😊 I'll be FMQ the border when that navy blue thread comes out!

Bridge t-shirt with FMQ landscape elements 

For this t-shirt block, I used some dot-to-dot type FMQ for the sashing. The sides have rather rough diamonds, the bottom is covered with echoed paisley and the top is another variation from the dot-to-dot design. On the t-shirt itself, I quilted a row of meandering flowers at the bottom and then some swirls. I also outlined the girl. Isn't she precious? She reminds me of my niece when she was young!

Dot-to-dot variations in the sashing

For this next t-shirt, I had a dilemma. I FMQ the Anna Canada t-shirt following the very faint lines that are in the t-shirt fabric, and I outlined the numbers. However, you can probably see the extra t-shirt fabric on one side. It's more than a little pucker and it will be vulnerable to ripping so I went back and sewed it down by giving it a slight tuck. It took quite a few lines of stitches but it's better than a huge pucker. 

Puckers stitched down
A dilemma that
needed to be fixed

The emoji t-shirt was FMQ with a kind of flowing algae design with white thread. It's much better than what I usually do, which is to circle around each element. 

I went back to the music t-shirt and added more looped filling within the t-shirt. As I cropped the image, I realise that I'd be going back once more to put a few lines between the locations at the back of the t-shirt. That has flatten it out well.
Additional lines of FMQ to flatten the t-shirt

The back of the t-shirt 

Here is the t-shirt that I was working on when I ran out of bobbin thread and called it a day. I have to eventually publish this post! For this pink t-shirt, I'm FMQ some allover large echoed flowers. It's a lot of fun but is time consuming.  

FMQ allover large echoed flowers

What I learned
  • The FMQ goes quickly when I know what design I'm going to use. It always slows down when I have to think of something new to use.
  • I spent a few hours looking for and drawing out some fun designs. This time, I went back to Leah Day's 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs. I drew then out and added them to my FMQ journal to keep track of.
  • It turns out that even if there is no batting, I still need to quilt all over or there will be loose fabric that can get caught, as I showed you. 
  • Considering how accuracy challenged I am, I'm pleasantly surprised that there haven't been more problems.
  • I did manage to cut the backing too much at the top of the high school t-shirts. I left the top sashing unquilted for now, so that I can add a couple of inches of backing. πŸ˜’
  • Of the 25 t-shirt blocks, I have 7 more blocks to complete, 1 t-shirt only to FMQ (not the sashing) and I've almost finished the pink all-over block.
  • All of this, including the binding needs to be finished by next Wednesday. It will be done ✔
Related links
Linking parties

Free Motion Mavericks

There were no link ups last week. I don't think there were issues with InLinkz. If there are, please let me know in the comments. Thanks.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter