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,