Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Raining Pink Petals - a Garden Fence Art Quilt

Hi and welcome 😊 This week was about the garden and I even had time to work on the first of my garden fence art quilts. This will be one of the pieces shown outside at the Arbor Gallery from July to September. Things are slowly coming together!

Raining Pink Petals

Have you ever noticed in the fall, the leaves falling like rain? Well, this is the spring version of that. A tree down the street has gorgeous pink blossoms in the spring. Eventually they fall, like pink rain. 😁

The inspiration for Raining Pink Petals

This is as far as I've gotten. The petals still need work to make them flow like my sketch. I will also even out the falling petals.

Raining Pink Petals - so far

The sketch from the photo.

I wasn't sure how to get the tree onto the background so I attached three large pieces of paper together to draw it out to size. I then cut out templates of both the tree top and the trunk.

The template for the tree

I pinned the trunk template to the reverse of an upholstery scrap that I got last week from a fellow OOTB artist.

Trunk pinned on the back of upholstery fabric

For the tree, I used green and white scrappy fabric that I got in that same batch of scraps. I pieced it together and then cut it out following the template.

Starting to put it together

The pink for the petals come from the same hand-dyed fabric that I used to make the 3D tulips last month. I cut them up into snippets, first with scissors and them the rotary cutter. I placed the snippets on the tree and then covered these with pink tule. The tule is not very noticeable on the tree but you can see it against the background.

The background fabric looks different in the light

What I learned
  • I started by cutting up the snippets with the scissors but it went so much faster using the rotary cutter.
  • Isn't it crazy how the background fabric looks gray in the light but brown in my studio? It'll be interesting to see how it looks on the fence at the Arbour Gallery.
  • This morning I went to the back yard to look at my first garden art piece to see how I had finished it. I'll be machine stitching around the outside of the background to stop it from fraying. I'll then add one or two sleeves at the top and bottom of the back to hold the dowels for hanging.
  • There does seem to be a lot of puckering on this piece. If that's still the case when I hang it, I may have to add some interfacing to the back.
  • I'm hoping to get this piece finished before I leave for Alaska on Sunday. That will be one piece less to do when I come back with only three weeks before we hang the art at the Gallery.
  • Since I'll be away on holidays next week, I'll let the Free Motion Mavericks linking party up for two weeks. I hope that you'll link up as often as you want!😊
Related links
Linking parties
I'll be linking up to many fun linking parties. You may wish to check them out, after you've linked up below! Design Wall MondaySew & Tell, Midweek MakersNeedle & Thread Thursday, Put your foot down, Off The Wall Friday, Finished (Or Not) Friday, Patchwork & Quilts, 15 Minutes to Stitch 2024

Free Motion Mavericks

It's been another busy week out there in quilt-land. So many fun quilts being made and given. Thanks for linking up. Here are the projects from last week that included FMQ, ruler work or walking foot quilting.

Gail of Quilting Gail participated in the On The Road Again Blog HopOn The Road Again Blog Hop. Since she couldn't decide on where she would like to go, she choose a real doozy - to the stars! She quilted this beauty using two Silly Moon rulers, Rocket and Twinkle, as well as doing some FMQ.

Gail's project for On The Road Again Blog Hop

Quilting details of Gail's On The Road Again Blog Hop

Melva finished her three Memory Quilts and had time to make some really cute placemats. Here are her memory quilts.

Melva's three Memory Quilts 

I jumped ahead to see her finished quilted placemats - so here they are!

Melva's finished placemats and their cute labels

Preeti of Sew Preeti Quilts has done it again! She has another lovely quilt pattern, Diva, published in Make Modern...and it's on the cover!

Preeti's Diva on the cover of Make Modern!

Vicki of Vicki's Crafts and Quilting has another lovely runner finished. This one made up of watermelon pieces. It sure screams Summer!

Vicki's Watermelon runner

Kat of Scrapbox Quilts has made another quilt - this one is Charming Rails. It's so cute. She quilted it in straight lines and gave it a fleece backing. That is going to be so great to cuddle up in!

 Charming Rails by Kat

It's now your turn!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Nature's Narrative Workshop and Free Motion Mavericks

Hi and welcome 😊. It's been an incredibly busy week filled with heat, gardening, learning and art. Except for the heat, it was great! I want to share with you some of my learning and art - through a wonderful speaker at Out of the Box (OOTB) Fibre Artists and a workshop the next day. 

Alice Vander Vennen 

Alice Vander Vennen is a "Canadian artist working in mixed media assemblage, primarily with textile, copper, and found objects, capturing stories of loss and hope; courage and strength." (from her website - see Related Links below). 

Her work is both organic and structural, made up of found objects, natural elements and almost always copper! She is also an incredibly lovely and generous person who always had something positive to say about her students' work!
Alice Vander Vennen - guest speaker
(please ignore the glare on her frame!)

In the workshop, our first exercise was to create a piece on card stock that could be affixed to a greeting card. We were encouraged to bring a bit of found objects or things that had meaning to us, and we're encouraged to chose fabric, as well as leaves, copper pieces and wire from Alice's stash.

My first exercise at the debrief

The image above was my piece at our first debrief. I later changed some of my piece by adding a bit of layering and stitching down the green fabric in bunches. I love the lace butterfly at the top. The copper works well with the fabric layered around the leaf. At home, I added the embroidery and the beads strung from a copper wire.

My first exercise, finished that evening

After an hour and a half, we had a debriefing with Alice. All of our pieces, finished or in progress, were placed on a black felt on the floor while we sat around them. Alice went through each piece, highlighting what was good about them. She talked about composition, colour, etc. It was fascinating and educational to hear how she saw each piece. 

At our first debriefing, our first exercise, finished or in progress

The second exercise focused on composition and we had to use the shadow box frame (which she provided from Ikea). We could use the piece from our first exercise, or we could create another. We could also keep the piece within the mat of the frame, or make it larger and place it over the mat.

I had picked up a piece of fabric with a lovely blue paisley flower from Alice's stash. I wanted that to be the focus. There was also a great hand-made stitched piece that I added. The background and the beautiful pink fabric comes from three scarves.

The beginning of the second exercise

Playing with the second exercise

The scarves were very slippery so I used the back of a canvas fabric to stitch everything on. I'm still struggling with the composition. During the workshop, Alice shared with us her methods for gluing stones and other things onto her pieces. I couldn't leave the workshop without trying it out 😊

Stones and broken pottery glued onto fabric under a layer of canvas

Trying out white borders around the piece

We had a second debrief at the end of the day. Some participants had finished their pieces while others were finishing up, or struggling like me. It was really great to see such different and lovely work. Here are a few of them. I'm afraid that I don't know the name of the artists who made each piece. I'll add them as I find out  

Alice during our 
second debriefing
Memorable objects in a
lovely composition

Dazzling jewelry in
and out of the frame

Fabric strips layered
with glittering circles

A knitted copper piece among
folds of fabric

A great landscape composition
by Kathy

Natural objects in a lovely 
composition by Katherine

A glowing simple composition
and layered card by Caroline

What I learned
  • I think that the debriefings were some of the best parts of the workshop. It was fascinating and educational to hear how Alice saw each piece. 
  • She talked about colour and composition in a way that wasn't intimidating and this sparked all kinds of ideas in my mind. It was after the first debriefing and looking at participants' work that I figured out what to do with my small piece.
  • It was great to see Alice put a piece together for our first exercise and then cut it up for the second!
  • I couldn't cut up my composition since the stitches wouldn't have stayed in place. Besides, I really wanted to do something with the blue paisley flower.
  • I'm really not happy with the piece, but I will let it simmer in a safe place and hopefully get back to it before our next OOTB meeting in June, where we will share our work. 
  • Alice offers various workshops in Ontario and elsewhere. If you're in that area, you may want to check these out! 
  • You may also want to check out more of her work, as seen on her website.
Tips for going to workshops
  • If you're supposed to bring fabric but don't know what you'll be doing with it, it's better to bring less than too much - too much choice can overwhelm the creativity process.
  • You can always trade scraps of fabric and things with other participants.
  • Remember to bring extra lighting if you need it!
  • Bring fabric scissors and another pair of scissors for paper and other things.
  • A cushion on a hard chair can make a huge difference.
  • If weather permits, take a few short breaks outside to clear your mind.
  • You can scrounge for found objects anywhere - including the parking lot!
  • Too much food and drinks is better than not enough 😋 since you can always take the extra home!
Related links
  • Alice Vander Vennen, website
  • Out of the Box (OOTB) Fibre Artists, website
Linking parties

Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to week 583 of Free Motion Mavericks! It was a very productive week! Thanks for linking up. Here are the projects from last week that included FMQ, ruler work or walking foot quilting. 

Janine of Rainbow Hare made a harmonious piece for the Endeavourers. Here is the Elephant in the Room with lovely machine and hand quilting 😊!

The Elephant in the Room by Janine of Rainbow Hare

Frédérique of Quilting Patchwork Appliqué made a lovely baby quilt, Reine des prés/Queen of the Meadows, for the local hospital. The background is a disappearing 9-parch with lovely hints of colour. The bee in the centre with the quilting really looks great 😍 

Reine des prés/Queen of the Meadows, by Frédérique

Angie of A Quilting Reader's Garden was quilting this lovely quilt when she had a mishap! She's now OK and her quilt if finished👍!

Angie's finished quilt.

Gail of Quilting Gail has been busy making her Christmas tree skirt for the Island Batik Paper Pieced Celebrations Blog Hop. Daphne was impressed when she got to chill in the sun 😎

Gail's Christmas tree skirt with Daphne 
It's now your turn!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Mixture of Sun and Clouds on Free Motion Mavericks

Hello! I hope that Spring has found you and that you have a little sunshine in your days. We've had lots of clouds and rain, but I've been busy making my own Suns and clouds in the studio, getting the second part of my Outdoor Hanging Sculpture ready.

Finished Suns

The three Suns are ready - there's Sunrise, Noon Sun and Sunset. They were finished so I hung them out in the back yard to see how they would do. 

Sunrise, Noon Sun and Sunset hanging off the umbrella

Once I had done both Sunrise and Noon Sun, it took me less than 2 hours to make Sunset. It seems that I had worked out what I wanted and just did it! Here are process pictures. 

I started off with an orange silk scarf that I bought at Fibrefest a couple of years ago. The silk was fragile and rather difficult to work with. I wasn't worried because I knew that I would be adding layers on top of the silk background.

Free Motion Quilting (FMQ) layers of tule, organza, etc. over the silk

I made sure to work outside of the primary area so that it would overlap when placed in the smaller hoop.

In the hoop, before trimming it.

Here's what it looks like now, after having spent a few days outside. Since the silk and layers are not stiff, I'll be adding something to stiffen the outside edges. I was looking into a spray that would be waterproof, or I could also add a couple of layers of tule like my Noon Sun. I'll have to work on that 😊


Here is a picture of my yard art - the Tibetan Prayer Flags on the left, the Suns in the centre and the fence art to the right.

Backyard art

Clouds in the making

The next level on my sculpture are the clouds. The first fluffy cloud that I made turned out smaller than I expected. I'm using doubled 22 gauge wire and adding different colours of tulle, chiffon and other translucent fabrics. 

This first cloud is roughly 6" x 5" At this time, I'm thinking of making another small happy cloud to attach to the one below.

Fluffy happy cloud

The second cloud is starting off bigger at 9" x 7". I'm trying to keep it larger by not tightening the fabric as much. I've discovered that I can cover the wire with fabric and then stuff the layers with more fabric to change the colour and consistency. It's more 3D than the first cloud. 😊 

Supplies used to make the dark, storm cloud

Larger, storm cloud

The clouds and suns will look different in the various lights. That's part of the fun of it all.

Yesterday we went to visit the venue in Vankleek Hill. The outdoor exhibition will take place on the Arbor Gallery property. It's a really lovely area, slightly secluded with all of the beautiful trees, but with enough local traffic that everything should be safe outdoor.

There are the two outdoor settings that I've chosen for my art. The tree that is horizontal stands near the back of the property, near one of the parking areas. It will be perfect for my outdoor hanging structure (which will need a name soon!)

The horizontal tree for my outdoor hanging structure

My other spot will be along this wooden gate. I took out the fabric that I bought when I first made my fence art. If I have time, I hope to make three smaller fence art pieces to hang on the wooden gate. Now I have to figure out what to put on them. They will most likely be appliquéd and have natural elements attached.

Fence on the side of the property

Fence Art in my backyard

What I learned
  • Working with wire has been interesting. I've enjoyed adding pieces of translucent fabric between the wire sections.
  • I didn't want to glue anything down since I don't know if that will last outside in the rain etc.
  • My Suns are more or less finished, but I'll be ensuring that they are tight in their hoops, probably by stitching around the hoop in a few spots.
  • Even though the art will be outside for the summer, I expect to go see it at least once a month to see how it's doing. We will also get a call from the curator if something happens to the art.
  • I still have work on the clouds but I want to try hanging everything to see if I need a larger fluffy cloud, or if it will be enough. I will probably add to it since I would hate to have a bigger rain cloud that a fluffy one. That might be how our summer will work out, but I sure don't want to jinx it!😊 
  • The next step in the outdoor hanging sculpture is to finish it off. I'm hoping to add either a piece of bark or a branch, with a bird on it....we'll see 😎
Related links
Linking parties

Free Motion Mavericks

Welcome to week 582 of Free Motion Mavericks! I hope that this week will be as enjoyable and as productive as last week. Thanks for linking up.😊 Here are the projects from last week that included FMQ, ruler work or walking foot quilting. 

Melva has been very productive and this includes this green memory quilt for a client.

Melva's finished Memory Quilt #2

Gail of Quilting Gail had the pleasure of seeing some of the finished quilts that she had designed for last fall's mystery quilt at both a guild meeting and a quilt show. It's so lovely to see the different versions of the same quilt - colour really makes a difference! You'll want to check them out if you didn't see them last fall!

Fall Mystery Quilt by Gail

Another version of the Fall Mystery Quilt by Gail

Sew Preeti has been busy again in the Island Batik May Challenge and Blog Hop. This time she's made a challenging foundation paper pieced quilt. It's a good thing that it's stunning! 😍

Preeti's Wagon by Ikea

Kat of Scrapbox Quilts has finished a lovely Kobi quilt designed by She has vowed to make many more of these....eventually. This is her second one.

Kat's Kobi quilt

Deb, the Scrappy Quilter has finally been able to add satin edging around her pineapple quilt! It was quite the process but it's done.

Deb's  pineapple quilt with the satin edging

Vicki has made another runner with a set of delectable mountain blocks. This time her runner has a South-West vibe to it. Vicki has also shared a tutorial for that block. You may want to check it out!

Vicki's South-West delectable mountain block runner

It's now your turn 😊

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter