Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Green Improv Placemat for the January Table Scraps Challenge

Allô and welcome 😊 It's been a very busy and productive week. This post is for the January Table Scraps Challenge hosted by the Joyful Quilter. Since the challenge doesn't aligned with my blogging schedule, I've decided to make this a Free Motion Mavericks linkup post (Week 467) that is opening very early. I hope that you're all fine with this. I think I need a short break!

Green improv placemat

The colour of the month is green. Since it's hubby's favourite colour, he's getting a green placemat. Yeah! Now we all have a lovely scrappy improv placemat!

Green scrappy improv placemat

There isn't much to say about the scraps or the placemat. I used a number of different greens to give it some interest. I even got to use a leftover binding - that's the first time that it's happened!

For the free motion quilting (FMQ), since the theme was snowflake, I decided to use designs that included different seasons. There is a tree, flowers, leaves and the snowflakes. The snowflakes are in the bottom left side on very light green fabric.

Here are pictures of the three scrappy placemats on the kitchen table. 

Three colourful scrappy placemats

Another picture of the colourful scrappy placemats

Here they all are!

What I learned
  • When I was taking the pictures, I realised how small these placemats are. I may have to make some bigger ones eventually.
  • We still have tons of the original 12 placemats that I made. We'll probably end up using those most of the time. It's just nice to change things up.
  • The FMQ really shows up well on the back of the placemat but not at all in the pictures.
  • I'm looking forward to washing it so that it will have those lovely wrinkles. 
Related links
Linking parties

Free Motion Mavericks

A big thank you to everyone who linked up! I closed last week's link a little early so please feel free to link up below. Here are the FMQ projects from last weeki!

Gail made a gorgeous "Bunny Hugs" quilt with Island Batik’s “Baby Bloomers” collection and Porcelain Fireside for the bunnies. This was for the White Rabbit Blog Hop. Gail used her walking foot for the bunnies' quilt and stippling in the border. 

A gorgeous "Bunny Hugs" quilt by Gail 

The Joyful Quilter FMQ her January Table Scraps piece. It's a lovely snowflake! It was a UFO called SNOWFLAKE at Midnight. Congrats on a great finish!

SNOWFLAKE at Midnight by the Joyful Quilter

It's now your turn. 😎

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Project Quilting 15.2 - Sky Colour, Challenge 2

Hi and welcome to my second challenge of Project Quilting (PQ), Season 15. The theme this week is sky colour - "take inspiration from the colours of the sky, but exclude or use less than 10% of the usual blue" (cerulean). Thanks Trish for this great prompt and Kim for hosting! 

A landscape and sky for my agenda cover

For the last few years, one of the first projects that I've made in January is a new agenda cover. They've had many interesting, colourful fabrics that are usually hand-dyed. This year I combined my agenda cover with the PQ Sky Colour challenge.

Front of the agenda cover - landscape with the setting sun

Agenda cover - back

This is the second agenda cover that I've made this week. My niece was in town from Copenhagen and I made her one. I'll be posting about that one on Free Motion Mavericks next week.

I started by creating my landscape over a piece of thin cotton/polyester fabric as a base. I went to my scrap box of batiks and picked out anything that might look good. It didn't take me long to figure out what I wanted and then pin everything down.

Thread used to FMQ the landscape

I let the landscape sit overnight and in the morning, I made minor changes to some of the areas, especially the setting sun. I put a batting under the piece and started free motion quilting (FMQ). Nothing fancy, just following the landscape to give it texture and to stabilize it. I didn't use any fusible webbing and I did get a couple of minor puckers, but nothing serious 😊

A closer look at the finished FMQ piece

Time to trim the landscape and make an agenda cover

Once it was all FMQ and the pictures above were taken, I started putting the agenda cover together. Because I had just made one for my niece, I didn't even look at the instructions and just went for it. I'm thrilled to say that I only made one minor mistake which was easily fixed.

I used a fun and colourful batik to make the side panels, and a dark blue ocean fabric to make the backing. I also remembered to affix my small fabric name tag to the front.

The side panels of the agenda cover

Here is what the landscape looks like. The purple at the top looks more like navy blue, but it really is dark purple. 

Agenda cover made with a landscape and
wonderful sky colours

What I learned
  • I did add a thin strip of cerulean blue (I love that word and I'm working on learning to spell it!) at the beginning of the sky. I wanted a clear separation between the sky from the landscape. I'm quite sure that this is less than 10%.
  • I love colourful skies and I'm quite happy with my sunset. 
  • It was fun to work with batik fabrics - it had been a while.
  • The FMQ went well and when the fabric moved and created an open space I just added more fabric on top! That's why I love art quilts - they are so flexible!
  • I also didn't like one of the areas of the sky that I had FMQ - so I did the same thing and added a strip of fabric to cover it up 😊
  • I made this agenda cover slightly larger than it should have been. This worked out perfectly since it's quite thick. This avoided the problem that I had making my niece's agenda cover.
  • As usual, I managed to forget about Project Quilting until Wednesday, when I read Sandra's post that she added to my linking party. Who needs a week when a couple of days will do? I now have a reminder on my phone for the Sunday that the next PQ challenge starts...and not just when it's due.
  • Are you wondering why I actually have an agenda? So am I...but I do love to write notes about the smaller projects that I'm working on, instead of in a sketchbook that I may or may not find....yes, I admit it - I have a huge information management problem. 😁
Related links
Linking parties
I'll be linking up to many fun linking parties, particularly Project Quilting 15.2. You'll want to check out what others are making. Free Motion Mavericks, Off The Wall Friday, Put your foot down, Patchwork & Quilts, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Beauties Pageant, 15 Minutes to Stitch 2024, Oh Scrap!

Project details

Agenda cover - made for the Project Quilting 15.2 Sky Colour
Size: 8" x 9½"
Materials: base commercial fabric, batik fabric, thread, batting
Techniques: Free Motion Quilting (FMQ)


Wednesday, January 24, 2024

A Shuttered Window and Open Works Tutorial on Free Motion Mavericks

Hi and welcome to Week 566 of Free Motion Mavericks! I taught part of a playday on Monday for some members of the Out of the Box Fibre Artists group (OOTB). Since I'd like to share this with you, I created a tutorial. Hope you enjoy it.

Shuttered Window

We start by making the shuttered windows. The open work, which are the threads on top, is optional and is done once the shuttered window is finished. 😊

Shuttered window

Shuttered window with open work

These are the triangles that I made for my Exit Strategy piece.

For this tutorial, 
  • I made a few samples, so please don't mind the different coloured fabrics.
  • There is both a hand stitched and machine stitched component. 
1. You will need two pieces of fabric. The larger one is at the top and the slightly smaller one is at the bottom.

2. Mark the shape that you want on your top fabric. The shape needs to be smaller than your bottom fabric. 
  • You can use any shape that you like, but one side needs to be straight. That's the side that you will be using for your shuttered window. A triangle, rectangle, or square works well. They can also have wonky sides.
On the top fabric, mark your shape.
    • If you're not sure if the shape is larger than your bottom fabric, place your top fabric over your bottom fabric and hold these up in front of a window or a light. You'll want to ensure that your bottom fabric is at least a half inch (½") larger than your shape, on all sides.
Use a light or window to check that your bottom  
fabric is larger than your shape

3. Except for the side that will be shuttered, cut the other sides of your shape along the line.

Cut the sides of your shape, except for the straight shuttered side.

4. Place the bottom fabric underneath the top fabric, both facing up.

The bottom fabric peaks out of the open shape

The sides of the your shape can be wonky 😊

  • Decide on the orientation of your bottom fabric if applicable.
You can change the orientation of your bottom fabric
as long as it still a ½" larger on all sides than the shape.

5. Stitch around the three sides of the fabric. Fold the window shutter section to keep it out of the way of your stitching.

Stitch all sides except the window side.

You can stitch however you like, as long as the sides are stable.

You can use one of your sewing machine's 
fancy stitch to sew around the three sides.

6. Fold your window shutter any way that you like and then secure it using stitches, beads, buttons, etc. 
  • You can be as fancy with your folds as you like! 
1. Close your window shutter

2. Fold the shutter in half diagonally 

3. Fold the other side diagonally

4. Bring the point up and pin

4a. Fold the point to face downward

Point is facing down. Secure it.

You can fold the shutter accordion style and secure it with beads.

An accordion fold secured with stitching

Open Work

To add the threads across your window, you can do this by hand or by machine. 
  • Ensure that you secure the thread on the edge, each time that it crosses the window. 
  • Watch the tension on the thread so that it isn't too tight (and pulls) or too slack (and sags).
If you do this by machine, 
  • Take a few stitches on the side to anchor or secure the thread. 
  • Lift the foot and go across to the other side where you want your thread to land. 
  • Anchor the thread by taking a few stitches on the side.
  • Repeat until you are happy with your threads.
The open work can be done by machine.

If done by machine, once you are finished, you can clip
the bobbin threads at the back of the piece
since they have been secured at the side.

The finished block that was stitched by machine. You can now 
secure the window if you didn't do it before.

Class piece finished with open work

Demo finished with open work.
Threads were doubled.

Members' work

Here are images of the work done by the members during the playday. There are some very interesting variations!

What I learned
  • It was so much fun teaching my part of the playday. I was the second presenter and it was the perfect position since my section was the easiest, so a bit of a break between the two more involved sections of smocking and creating tucks. 
  • All the participants had a good time and did some interesting things. It's always nice to see the creativity in the class.
  • When I presented, I mentioned that at least one side of the shape had to be straight for the window shutter. That got me thinking that my other sides didn't have to be straight. That's when I made my wonky sides 😊
  • I enjoyed using my sewing machine to make the fancy stitches on the side of my demo for you. It has so much potential.
  • Did you recognize the fabric? These are scraps from my niece's t-shirt quilt.
Related links
Linking parties

Free Motion Mavericks

We had three lovely FMQ finishes last week. 

Melva made a runner and bowl cozies for a client. The mountains on the runner are prairie points and the "C" is for Colorado! 😎

Melva's lovely Colorado runner and bowl cozies.

Frédérique of Patchwork & Appliqué made this gorgeous reversible Patio quilt for her husband. It took a few years to accumulate the right fabrics, but what a finish! Her backing consists of blocks made during the "30 days of improv" challenge last year. She made a stencil of a lovely continuous line flower pattern. It looks amazing! 

Frédérique's reversible Patio quilt is finished!

Sandra of mmm quilts finished this cute pixelated heart quilt for her daughter's cat. How wonderful! I'm sure that Harper will enjoy cuddling up on it. Sandra quilted it with lovely double loops. You can see Harper's name quilted in the bottom left side of the quilt.😊

pixelated heart quilt for Harper by Sandra of mmm quilts.

It's now your turn!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter