Sunday, June 11, 2017

Playing and Trying New Techniques

Appliquéd English Paper Pieced flag
I've enjoyed making Canada 150 quilts, but following other people's patterns and doing traditional quilting for any length of time is difficult for me. I need time to create and play with fabrics without a pattern or clear idea of where I'm going. So I decided to create a Canada 150 art quilt with some of the techniques I learned during Hillary Rice's surface design workshop.

As you may have read in my post, several weeks ago I took a two-day surface design and embellishment course with Hillary Rice. It was great to learn new techniques from this wonderful lady, but I felt unsettled. We sampled many techniques and were supposed to create an art quilt using these, but even as I started two pieces I couldn't get into it. In retrospect, I think I needed a theme or a vision for the art quilts, especially abstract ones.

This piece started with English Paper Piecing. Using a diamond template that I bought at the Festival of Quilts show and freezer paper, I made some diamond pieces with Canada 150 fabric.

Do you recall that I've said, many times, that I'm accuracy challenged? Well the diamonds were not accurate but I did manage to put these nine pieces together as a symbol of a Canadian flag.

Details of the sheer overlay and encasement, and thread painting
For the background, I used some beautiful blue eco-printed fabric with maple leaves that I bought at Fibre Fling 6. I added a strip of text fabric in the middle and then started playing. Here are the steps and the different techniques I used from the workshop. After appliquéing the English paper pieced flag, I used sheer overlay for the centre maple leaf. I placed the pink tulle over the leaf and free motion stitched around the leaf in a bright red Rainbows thread by Superior Threads. I left an opening because I was hoping to find something to place within it. This is called encasement - and I finally found a little cutting tool that made snow flakes - how perfect!

At the top left, the fabric suggested Northern Lights. I used shiny Madeira Polyneon and Gütermann machine embroidery thread to do free motion embroidery. I really like the effect but as I look at the image here, I'm going to make the northern lights bigger.

Suggesting regions of Canada with appliqué
Under the flag, you can see the couching of knobby gold yarn. I followed the design on the fabric to outline some mountains. I attached the couching by hand and then, between the two couched lines I added some sparking sheer overlay. To give the impression of snow, I embroidered three of the mountain peeks.

At the bottom centre, again following the outline of the fabric, I added several layers of organza and embroidered around them. I know that I should have waited to add the fish, but I was too impatient. Besides, I just free motion quilted around them!

Once this was completed, I had no idea how to add elements that would suggest various parts of Canada. I went into my landscaping stash and found some fabrics that I thought might work.

I used the crafted appliqué method and ironed the fabric onto the background. I then free motioned appliquéd the fabric and added thread painting.

Canada 150 art quilt incorporating some of the techniques learned 

I don't think that there's much left to finish this piece. I need to work on the northern lights and then probably free motion quilt designs in the background that will bring all of the appliquéd pieces together. I'm not sure if I'll be able to add more techniques I learned to this piece. There are still 11 techniques to go! Maybe this will encourage me to keep working on my class pieces!

What I learned
  • I didn't realise how many techniques we had covered until I started going over my notes and looking at my samples. Although I knew some of the techniques, there were many that I've wanted to try out but didn't really have the courage to do so by myself.
  • I would love to add encaustic to this piece - it's using melted crayons to add colour. It was my all time favourite technique of the workshop, followed closely by metal appliqué. More about these when I finally use them :-) 

Related Links

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Sergeant Sesquicentennial

Completed Sergeant Sesquicentennial  block from Quilting Pleasures
Completed Sergeant Sesquicentennial
block from Quilting Pleasures
The Sergeant Sesquicentennial block from Quilting Pleasures is done! No offence, but I hope I never have to write those two words again! I keep spelling the first word wrong and I don't even want to pronounce the second - thank goodness for copy and paste. Canada's 150 will have to do!

This gentleman is part of the Northcott's Trans-Canada Block Party and is sold exclusively at Quilty Pleasures in Orleans. I picked up the kit for the block and fabric for the border and binding last month.

The piecing went fairly well, except when I reversed his torso and gave him huge shoulders and a tiny waist! After fixing that, it was all good.

I really wasn't sure how to quilt it. In-the-ditch around the guy was easy but what next? I wanted a background that might look like wallpaper behind a portrait. With all the straight lines in the pattern, except for the mustache, I thought that something linear would be appropriate. I chose to FMQ blocks since vertical lines would have accentuated my accuracy-challenges.

Do you like the buttons? I was supposed to applique circles, but I'd rather use real buttons, It's hard not to add embellishment...

Details of the FMQ in the background and borders
Details of the FMQ in the background and borders
In my last post, I hadn't quite completed the quilt. I still needed to bind  it and then finish quilting the borders. If my order of doing this sounds like a mistake - it isn't. When borders are not very large, I will often FMQ the body of the quilt, square it off, bind it and then quilt the border. So far I haven't found any reason for not doing it this way. 

Growing Up QAL - Block 5

I had such a good time making this block! I went through my scraps of pink fabrics and found two great pieces to add to the pink and grey solids of my other blocks. The grey and maroon flower fabric is a scrap from a quilt my mother made a very long time ago.

Block 5 of the Growing Up QAL - Improv Piecing
Block 5 of the Growing Up QAL - Improv Piecing

Improvisational blocks are some of my favourites - few rules and lots of potential!

What I learned
  • I need to try different techniques if I want to keep making Canada 150 quilts. I get very easily tired of making conventional quilts and blocks. I've started on a couple of Canada 150 art quilts - using some of the techniques I learned from Hillary Rice's workshop. Hopefully I will have something to show you soon.
  • I've been using a bit of Best Press to starch my daughter's appliqué. I used it on the block today - it makes it look great for photographing. I've heard of people starching fabric when piecing them. I may give that a try.

Related Links
Sergeant Sesquicentennial posts:

Project Details

Sergeant Sesquicentennial
17" x 22 3/4"
Pattern: Sergeant Sesquicentennial block from Quilting Pleasures.
Materials: cotton, buttons
Techniques: piecing, appliqué, free motion quilting

Linking Parties: I will be linking to the Growing Up QAL and Celebrate - Fêtons 150 in June as well as the following blogs. Check out what everyone is making. Oh Scrap!Main Crush MondayMonday MakingMoving it Forward Monday, Linky Tuesday, Can I get a Whoop Whoop? Off the Wall Friday, Finished or Not Friday,  

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Celebrate - Fêtons 150 in June

June is here and it's only a little over a month to Canada Day, our 150th birthday!

The Celebrate - Fêtons 150 had a good month although the numbers are down for the link-ups. That's probably because everyone's slab blocks have been sent to Toronto in preparation for Canada's Biggest Quilt Bee. I don't think that I will be participating, but I hope to visit and take pictures while I'm at Quilt Canada 2017. Your intrepid reporter will bring back photos of all that's happening on the Celebrate - Fêtons 150 front!

May's winner of the Sergeant Sesquicentennial kit from Quilty Pleasures in Orleans is Terry Aske of Terry Aske Art Quilt Studio. Congratulations!

Sergeant Sesquicentennial from Quilty Pleasures, Orleans Ontario
Sergeant Sesquicentennial from Quilty Pleasures, Orleans Ontario
As you may be able to tell, I finished all of the free motion quilting (FMQ) except the borders. I did sew on the brass buttons once the quilting of the Sergeant was completed. When I finish binding and quilting the borders, I'll write a post on this celebratory guy!

More Canada 150 Quilts

In my last Celebrating 150 post of two weeks ago, I posted pictures of the Canada 150 Interguild Exhibit that was shown as part of the Ottawa Valley Quilter's Guild Show - Festival of Quilts 2017.

Now I have another treat - a selection of the quilts made by members of the Ottawa Valley Quilter's Guild. Some of the quilts were made as part of the President's Challenge - to create quilts representing the diversity of Canada. Other quilts below are not from the challenge but represent Canada beautifully (in my opinion).

This quilt is of the Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings. It has some lovely, subtle fireworks in the FMQ.
Parliament by Beth van Wyngaarden
In Canada, it's difficult to celebrate our country without the maple leaf. This first quilt has 13 leaves to represent the provinces, territories and the diverse people of Canada.
Canada 150 by Beth Cameron

Glorious Maple Leaf by Beth van Wyngaarden

We the North Since 1867
by Michèle-Renée Charonneau

These next quilts celebrate the diversity of the geography of Canada.

Canada - Natural Regions by Beth van Wyngaarden

Split Rock by Mary Walsh

Fall Foliage in Ontario by Patricia Ibarra

From sea to shining sea by Carol Gaudet
based on the pattern "Windows Across Canada"
by Dianne Milani
I hope that you've enjoyed this Celebrate - Fêtons 150 themed visit of the Ottawa Valley Quilter's Guild Show - Festival of Quilts 2017. Later this month I will feature Celebrate - Fêtons 150 quilts from Quilt Canada.
Neutral Lap Quilt - June's OMG

For my One Monthly Goal (OMG) for June I want to do some free motion quilting on my Neutral Lap Quilt - Take 5 Loves Coffee Milk. It would be nice to finish it, but if I can at least sandwich it and start quilting, I'll be very happy!

What I learned
  • When I'm too tired to work on ongoing projects, I'll sometimes play on a small project. That was my completed project and last's post - Classy and Scrappy, a placemat. Then, when I'm too tired to quilt, I read. Bottom line - I'm tired. I really hope that the spring sun will stay a while. I need it :-)
  • I've also discovered the joys of English Paper Piecing. I've worked on a few projects using freezer paper templates but so far with mixed results. I need all the help I can get on my accuracy, so I think that these new card stock templates I bought are going to be perfect (I hope!) Working with fun, colourful fabrics makes me happy :-)
Working with fun, colourful fabrics
makes me happy :-)
Related Links
For the link-up and comments prize this month, I will be picking something up at Quilt Canada 2017 - it's a surprise!

To download the button, click here.

Linky Parties
I will be linking this post to the following linking parties: OMG - June Goal Setting Link-up, Free Motion Mavericks, Thread & Needle Thursday, Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers,  Off the Wall FridayCan I get a Whoop Whoop?, Slow Sunday Stitching, Main Crush Monday, Monday Making, Moving it Forward Monday, Linky Tuesday,

Monday, May 29, 2017

Classy and Scrappy

This crazy month of May is almost over - and it's still raining in Ottawa. Hopefully not enough to cause more flooding! Everything is very green when the sun does shine :-)
I haven't been quilting as much as I think I should. But I have been reading books (not audio or even digital). What a treat!
Classic side of the placemat
Classic side of the placemat

This weekend I made a placemat for a very special friend. Tipi was one of my mother's best friends. She didn't want anything big, but said that a placemat would be great. She mentioned dark red, blue and yellow.

All of the fabrics were from my stash. I did have three fat quarters from the same line, full of beautiful roses. I'm not sure that it's her style, so I added some more funky flowers to the mix.

The placemat will go with whatever mood she's in - one classic and the other fun and scrappy. I used a blue and yellow Provence style fabric as well as many red, yellow and gold fabrics from my stash and scraps. I put two log-cabin type blocks together.

Fun and scrappy side of the same placemat
The first, more classic side, comes from the Square Scramble pattern by Kate Colleran in the Spring 2016 Quilts and More magazine.

Square Scramble pattern by Kate Colleran
I free motion quilted (FMQ) the placemat with an all-over design of small flowers with a couple of loops. I used a slightly variegated beige thread (King Tut, 40 wt. from Superior Threads) for the top. 

Free motion quilting on the classic side of the placemat
Free motion quilting in beige on the classic side 
The bobbin was another lightly variegated yellow thread.  I love how the yellow shows up against the dark reds.
Free motion quilting in yellow on the scrappy side of the placemat
Free motion quilting in yellow on the scrappy side
What I learned
  • Even when I was really careful with the cutting and piecing, my classic placemat didn't come out even. I'm really going to have to take our guild's course on sewing with accuracy. Even if it's not my idea of fun, being accurate when I'm trying would be nice!
  • I love the two different sides of this placemat. One classy side and the other fun and scrappy. Great for any mood!
  • I don't often use an all-over pattern when free motion quilting. Because of the two different sides, I believe that this was the best way to go.
Related Links
Project Details
Classic side of the placemat
Classy & Scrappy placemat
20" x 13"
Classy side - Square Scramble pattern from Quilts and More magazine, Spring 2016
Materials: cotton 
Techniques: piecing and improvisational piecing, FMQ

Great News! Classy & Scrappy was featured on Free Motion Mavericks!

Linking Parties: I will be linking this post to the following link-ups. Check out what everyone is making! MOP Monday, Monday Making, Main Crush Monday, Moving it Forward Monday, Oh Scrap, Linky Tuesday, Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers, Free Motion Mavericks, Needle & Thread Thursday, Off the Wall Friday, Can I get a Whoop Whoop?, 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Celebrating 150 with Quilts

150 years of quilting in Canada exhibitI've had a crazy busy week with Art with Fabric on Monday and then a two-day surface design course with Hillary Rice. I can't wait to write a post about my surface design experiments, but it'll have to wait a few days, cause today we're going to Celebrate - Fêtons 150 with some amazing quilts from the Ottawa Valley Quilter's Guild Show - Festival of Quilts 2017.

There was an exhibit of  "150 Years of Quilting in Canada" at the Festival of Quilts 2017. The quilt below fits right into our theme. The British Empire Quilt features many of the provinces of Canada. The quilt was probably completed between 1949 and 1956 since Newfoundland is included as a province.
British Empire Quilt

I love this block of New Brunswick since it's also part of the Ottawa region's history - "draveurs" or draftsmen taking the logs down the river.

What a wonderful piece of history!

New Brunswick depicted with
raftsmen on the river

The Canada 150 Interguild Exhibit was featured as part of the quilt show. Many guilds from the Ottawa area created their own Canada 150 quilts. The exhibit is travelling to various quilt shows this year. Here is a sampling:

Canada 150 quilt by the Almonte Quilters Guild
Almonte Quilters Guild

Canada 150 quilt by the Cornwall Quilters Guild
Cornwall Quilters Guild

Canada 150 Quilt by the Lanark County Quilters Guild
Lanark County Quilters Guild

Canada 150 Quilt by the Ottawa Modern Quilt Guild
Ottawa Modern Quilt Guild
Common Thread Quilt Guild
Postcard Quilt
Fireworks at Parliament postcard
Do you remember the Common Thread Quilt Guild's Postcard Quilt? It was also part of this exhibit.

Here are a few of the postcards:

Isn't it great how different the postcards are? So many different techniques and colours used.

Embroidered beaver postcard

Canada Goose postcard

This was my Canada Goose contribution.

Moose postcard 

Double Double Coffee postcard 
I couldn't resist ending with our national obsession for a certain coffee.....

There was also a President's Challenge as part of the Festival of Quilts 2017. There were some incredible quilts! I will include these in a later post.

Finally, here is what I'm working on - Quilty Pleasure's Sergent Sesquicentennial block. Don't forget to leave comments or to link-up your projects to the Celebrate - Fêtons 150 in May. You could win your own Sergent Sesquicentennial block kit!

The picture on the left was taken before I fixed the Sergent's torso. Turns out that he doesn't have very broad shoulders and a tiny waist!

Here's the latest photo. I picked up some brass buttons tonight so these will be added on once the block is finished.
Sergent Sesquicentennial block
almost done
Oops version of the
Sergent Sesquicentennial block

What I learned

  • I had an amazing time at the Festival of Quilts 2017. On my first tour of the show, I took it all in. Then I took photos on the second pass. Finally I went shopping! After that I was more exhausted than if I had worked a full day! I'm really going to have to pace myself when I go to Quilt Canada!
  • It was great to see the Canada 150 quilts. As I took pictures, I felt like a reporter going after the big story :-)
  • As you saw, I had some minor misshapes with the Sergent Sesquicentennial block. I really need to stop when I'm getting tired before making the mistakes. Luckily these were fairly minor - nothing that I couldn't rip out!  

Remember to link-up!
Related Links

Linking Parties - Come party with us! Check out the link-ups that are going on! I will be linking up to my very own Celebrate - Fêtons 150 in May. Moving it Forward Monday, Linky Tuesday, Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers, Needle & Thread ThursdayOff the Wall FridayCan I get a Whoop Whoop?Finished or Not Friday, MOP Monday, Main Crush Monday, Monday Making,

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Joyce Wieland and Art with Fabric

Reason & Passion - based on
Joyce Wieland's Reason Over Passion (1968)
Welcome to Art with Fabric - Spring 2017! I'm thrilled to be participating in this blog hop again - thanks Alida for organizing it! It's so much fun finding an artist's work to use as inspiration. I had to find one that I liked since I spent about 4 months thinking and working on this piece.

The piece I've chosen to interpret is Joyce Wieland's Reason over Passion, created in 1968. Joyce Wieland (1930 - 1998) was an amazing woman. I was introduced to her art by my daughter who studied her works in a Canadian Art History course.

Joyce pushed many boundaries as an artist, film maker, feminist, and political activist.
Reason over Passion by Joyce Wieland, 1968

Reason over Passion was one of several textile art pieces in Joyce's True Patriot Love exhibit (1971). That show was also the first solo exhibit by a female artist at the National Gallery of Canada. You can imagine the  comments from the art establishment about fabric in an art exhibit in 1971. Joyce Wieland was a pioneer, incorporating many traditional textile techniques in her work as a way of elevating "women's work".

Reason over Passion was based on Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau's claim that he used reason over passion to guide his decision-making.

Here's a great story about this work of art. Joyce created both a French and an English version of this piece, probably to reflect official bilingualism in Canada. La raison avant la passion was given to Prime Minister Trudeau and hung in the official residence. One day, his wife Margaret Trudeau pulled the letters off the quilt and threw them at her husband. I can imagine how difficult it could have been to live with a man who lived by the motto: Reason over Passion!

You can read more about Joyce Wieland in my last post and in the Related Links section below.

Reason & Passion
Reason & Passion - Art with Fabric, Spring 2017
Reason & Passion - Art with Fabric, Spring 2017
Reason & Passion
Having thought about and worked on this piece for so long, I suspect that Joyce Wieland was being ironic when she created it. Notice that the colours she used are all in the warm palette and the hearts she placed all over it. Joyce loved hearts and these are not symbols or colours linked to reason, but rather passion.

I wanted to create something different from Joyce's work - something that would reflect my thoughts and beliefs as well as the evolution of textile art. I decided to create Reason & Passion because I believe we need to balance both of these elements in our lives. Even scientists like Albert Einstein complemented their rational, reasoning side with creativity and passion in their work.

To acknowledge the evolution of textile art, I created a wholecloth quilt filled with free motion quilting (FMQ). No one will be able to throw my letters at me!


The quilt is divided in three horizontal sections.
  • The letters and FMQ are in cool colours - blue and green with some neutrals.
  • The FMQ motifs are geometric or linear.  
"Reason" in cool colours and geometric motifs
  • The "&" is in a bright multicoloured thread with the FMQ starting to be in warm colours such as red, pink, orange and yellow.
  • The FMQ motifs are more organic - mostly those found in nature such as flowers, leaves, stars and snowflakes.
"&" in bright multicoloured thread and organic FMQ
  • Passion is written in bright warm (or hot) colours which are echoed in the FMQ.
  • The FMQ motifs are still organic (and a little wilder) and become more abstract with the addition of paisleys and quilted feathers. There are also a few symbols that Joyce Wieland used in her works, such as lips and hearts. 
  • I also added "Yin yang" symbols throughout the piece to illustrate the wholeness that we create when we accept what are seen as opposite qualities within us, as complimentary.
"Passion" in hot colours with organic and abstract FMQ
What I learned
  • My passionate side is the strongest in me. I loved creating those patterns with the wild colours.
  • My reasoning or rational side came out in the planning of this piece. It was, however, more difficult to quilt geometric patterns in cool colours.
  • I have to thank Leah Day for her inspiring book: 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs. I could never have come up with all of the FMQ motifs on my own! 
    Working on the FMQ
  • Those who know me won't be surprised that I used a wholecloth for this project so that I could minimize the piecing and maximize my FMQ practice. A win-win combination! I learned many new FMQ motifs that I will incorporate in my quilting.
  • For the letters I used size 40 threads; Madeira Polyneon, Rainbows by Superior Threads as well a Signature variegated thread. I didn't have enough colours so ended up picking up some Gütermann machine embroidery thread. It was fine and all had a nice sheen. 
  • All of the FMQ was done with Kimono Silk thread from Superior Threads (size 100), except for one flame made with Signature variegated thread.
  • I used Superior Threads' Bottom Line in the bobbin and two 70/10 Microtex needles (that's a lot of quilting!). Since I've started using these needles with Bottom Line and Kimono Silk thread, I've had no problems with the tension. Yeah!
Details of some of the FMQ:
  • A flaming arrow,
  • Snow flakes
  • A lotus flower
  • Circle of hearts 
  • Quilted feathers
  • Yin Yang symbol with snow flakes and flames
  • Many leaves and flowers

Related Links

Project Details

Reason & Passion
32" x 24"
Inspired by Reason over Passion (1968) by Joyce Weiland (1930 - 1998) 
Materials: Cotton, buttons
Techniques: Wholecloth quilt with free motion quilting (FMQ)

Art with Fabric Schedule - Check out the participants' art work!
Art with Fabric blog hop

Monday, May 15th, 2017
Art with Fabric - Day 1
LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color 

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017 
Adele at Adele Mogavero

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017 
Bea at Beaquilter
Janeen at Quilt Art Designs 

Thursday, May 18th, 2017 
Jennifer at Inquiring Quilter  
Carol at Quilted Fabric Art 

Friday, May 19th, 2017 
Art with Fabric - Day 5

Linking Parties: I have also linked my post to the following Link-ups. Check out what everyone is doing in Quilt Land :-) Monday Making, Main Crush Monday, Linky Tuesday, Moving it Forward Monday, Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers, Needle & Thread Thursday, Free Motion Mavericks, Off the Wall Friday, Can I get a Whoop Whoop?, Finished or Not Friday,

This project was also my OMG (One Monthly Goal). I've linked up to the May Finish Link-Up