Friday, 27 December 2013

Bubble Wrap - free motion quilting Cameo 11

Bubble Wrap - free motion quilting Cameo 11
This is a real textural piece. First, each chain of circles is echoed. This in itself looks good. Filling in the gaps with more 'circles', which of course become more ovals as the space changes, gives a richer, denser texture.


Thanks for dropping by...

Hilary Florence

Monday, 23 December 2013

Square Division - free motion quilting Cameo 10

Square Division - free motion quilting Cameo 10
This is great to use for pieced squares or diamonds. It can be made square, as here, or easily elongated a bit to fit more pointed diamonds. A half drop repeat will cover the whole surface, where as a simple repeat, as here, creates a negative square which becomes part of the design.


Thanks for dropping by

Hilary Florence

Friday, 20 December 2013

Stampede - free motion quilting cameo 9

Free motion quilting, original design, pattern
Stampede - cameo 9
This is a motif I use quite a lot. On mass, as here, I thought it looked quite like a lot of cross-eyed cattle stampeding - hence the name!
It isn't really symmetrical, although it looks like it. By following the continuous line, you can see the first 'horn' echos back, then stretches out to form the second horn, and the echo bring you back to the centre for the 'S' to make the eyes.


Thanks for dropping by

Hilary Florence

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Strata - West Country Quilt Show Part 2

The Second of the Quilts that I entered into the West Country Quilt Show 2013 in the small wall hanging category.

Strata -  Shown at the West Country Quilt Show 2013

In this quilt I really enjoyed playing around with continuous line free motion quilting. The undulating tracks open and close, altering the density of the pattern and increasing the texture of the piece.

I wanted a kind of slate appearance, so used a piece of cotton I had dyed in charcoal with a flush of pink (which doesn't show up well on the photo).

Strata - detail - free motion quilting -hand dyed cotton

Strata - detail - free motion quilting -hand dyed cotton

Strata - detail - free motion quilting -hand dyed cotton
 I had this piece of pink-dyed material which as used as the back, partly because it picked up on the pink tones of the front, and partly because I don't particularly like the colour, so was happy to consign to the back. However, several people have told me they prefer it to the front!!
Strata - reverse side
 The colour contrast is obviously better and it show up from a greater distance, but I do like the the subtlety of the grey.
Strata - reverse side
I had high hopes for this piece and i did get a 'good' for machine quilting and originality, but everything else was the dreaded 'statisfactory'. So, back to the drawing board. I will post a picture of the winner of the machine quilting prize next time, and it is really, really fantastic. Onward and Upward.

Thanks for dropping by

Hilary Florence

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Frosted leaf - free motion quilted cameo 8

It is time for the next cameo.

Frosted leaf - free motion quilted cameo 8
Leaves are a never ending source for quilters. This stylised example is very adaptable. Here it is shown in a simple repeat, which also gives a nice negative shape. It can also work very well with a half-drop repeat.

Detail of Soliloquy showing Frosted Leaf

Here it is used in Soliloquy. I think here you can see the lovely curve this design gives - and how it can be adjusted in size with each repeat.

Thanks for dropping by

Hilary Florence

Monday, 2 December 2013

Soliloquy at the West Country Quilt Show 2013 - part 1

 I decided for the first time in my life to enter a quilt in competitive show - and what better place to start than my local one - the West Country Quilt Show.

You know by now that I love playing with pattern - not just creating new continuous line quilting patterns, but also playing about with each pattern, expanding it, shrinking it, distorting it - in short, anything but an exact repetition.

art quilt wall hanging white on white, free motion quilting, original design
Soliloquy at the West Country Quilt Show 2013

Soliloquy grew out of a practice piece I was doing - white on white. I wanted to try white on white because it is such a quilting tradition, but i was also toying with the idea of quilting first, then dying, letting the dying be dictated by the quilting lines. Everyone who saw the piece loved it white and howled when I suggested colouring it. The problem was, how ever fascinating the quilting was close too,  from a distance, it just looked like a piece of white fabric.

So I came up with the idea of creating a single inset in a neutral tone. I wanted it to be simple but elegant, to draw people in from a distance so that they could see all the pattern work closer to.

art quilt, free motion quilting, curved piecing, white on white, original design
Soliloquy - detail

I've added some close ups to show the quilting. The curved spaces both echo the idea of the inset and give a variety of stitch density and texture.

art quilt, free motion quilting, curved piecing, white on white, original design
Soliloquy - detail 2
 When the space gets very narrow, particularly white on white, I really can not see what I am doing. I also find the quilting foot  gets in the way adding to the difficulties. In these situations, I try to do the shape by feel. I also try to comfort myself, if I can not see what I am doing, then hopefully neither can anyone else but with a digital camera's ability to zoom in, I may be kidding myself!

art quilt, free motion quilting, curved piecing, white on white, original design
Soliloquy - detail 3

Oh, and just in case you are wondering, no I didn't win a prize. I did get a judges comment of 'Interesting design. Good machine quilting'. I got a 'good' for piecing, machine quilting and design - everything else was classed as 'satisfactory'. (The classes are -needs attention - satisfactory - good - excellent) Without knowing what the other quilts got in the way of comments and marks, I really can not judge if this is good for a first attempt or not. I do have a negative emotional response to the term 'satisfactory', which feels just OK enough not to complain about - and therefore totally forgettable. You don't notice what is just satisfactory. I've been trying to think of a term which could be more encouraging - 'promising' maybe, or 'shows potential'. Can anyone come up with a more satisfactory term than 'satisfactory'?

I'll show my second entry in part 2

Thanks for dropping by..

Hilary Florence

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Bottle Jam

It has been a while since I have blogged. According to google statistics, nobody is reading this and I got a bit discouraged. Still, if I don't put anything up, then nobody will see it. So if you are out there and would like to see more - please do let me know!

Bottle Jam - detail
 I showed you my bottle blocks a few blogs ago. I had pieced 3 together and quilted the outlines of bottles. I have now filled the shapes created with a variety of my quilting patterns. (Stay tuned to see them more clearly in forthcoming free-motion-quilting cameos)
Bottle Jam - detail
This was something of an experiment. It was great fun to do and quite a challenge manipulate the patterns to fit all those odd shapes.  However, it hasn't really been a success. Nobody who has seen it has spotted the quilted bottles - they have just noticed a lot of patterns. I think that the pieced bottles have such a strong colour, that they dominate. The mixture of quilted bottles superimposed on pieced bottles is just too much. You can see the quilting a little better on the back.

Bottle Jam back - detail

Bottle Jam back - detail

Bottle Jam back - detail

Bottle Jam back - detail

The idea is good, but I still think this is a bit too muddled. What do you think?

Thanks for dropping by

Hilary Florence

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Going Loopy - Free Motion Quilted Cameo 7

Apologies for the delay - more internet problems that I won't bore you with.

Going Loopy - Free Motion Quilted Cameo 7
This cameo is all about loops - and some of the things that you can do with them. Very simple, but effective and easy to combine together to make a bigger pattern as here.

The 'chorus' line if you like, the one in between each variant, is a simple drawn out loop. As in all 3 patterns, it is echoed by an inversion with interlocking loops. The second, the curve between the loops is drawn into an angular V and in the central 3rd pattern, that V is echoed.


Thanks for stopping by...

Hilary Florence

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Ship Ahoy - free motion quilting cameo 5

This is a very open, spacious motif that gives lovely billowing curves that remained me of sails - hence the title. I have done this as a 'there and back' motif - inverting it on the 2nd and 4th columns. This is handy as it means you don't have to end and restart the thread with every row - but it would work equally as well with all the columns in one direction.
Ship Ahoy - fmq cameo 5

When you come to the end of the vertical line, I do find I have to think very carefully about turning right or left!

Thanks for dropping by

Hilary Florence

Friday, 13 September 2013

Looping the loop - Free motion quilting cameo No. 4

Today's cameo is quite a simple one, but never-the-less effective. Loops are easy to do and versatile in the extreme. Not only can each loop be a different height or breadth on its own, endless patterns are possible with how they are assembled together. Loops are also one of those motifs that induce a rhythmic meditative state to quilt.

looping the loop fmq No. 4
Here I have made  symmetrical diamond shapes, where what is not stitched becomes as much a part of the motif as what is stitched.

Thanks for dropping by
Hilary Florence

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Catching up, bottles, UFOs and Free Motion Quilting

Blogger technical problems seem to have evaporated as suddenly as they appeared - both events seemingly without my intervention. So now I can catch up with some posts and share with you what I am up to sewing wise.

Revisiting an old UFO - an exercise in curved piecing using bottle shapes
Along side the 101 Free Motion Quilting Cameos, one of my projects for this year was to dig out and re-visit my UFOs (unfinished-objects). Having other work commitments has always meant that my imagination works quicker than my hands and time permit. I itch to get going with a new idea and my quilting life is littered with victims of my impatience to start something new before completing the current work.

I've recently blogged about bottle shapes and it is not the first time I've used them. A few years ago, I used them to practise curved piecing and made about 15 or so blocks, but never got around to sewing them together.

I decided, rather than to make one big piece I would make several smaller wall hangings. This would also give me the chance to try out several different quilting ideas.

3 bottle blocks added together to make a small wall-hanging
I started my quilter's life by dyeing material for the sheer love of colour. I got into piecing because it seemed to be the only thing to do with all this wonderful fabric I was creating. I got into curved piecing because I found stitching squares boring. And then I discovered the joys of free motion quilting and really got hooked.

I really wanted to use some of the designs from the cameos on this. So I've started out by quilting bottle outlines.

Bottle quilt - bottle shapes outlined in quilting
 The shapes are echoed - and I didn't want the lines to be totally parallel - although I've got one or two wobbles more than I wanted!!

Detail showing outlines to be quilted

Detail showing bottle shaped outlines to be quilted

This does make very awkward shapes to quilt - should be interesting!

Thanks for dropping by...


Monday, 9 September 2013

Underneath the Arches - fmq cameo 3

As much as I admire the skill of many free motion quilters, particularly long-arm quilters, to make each motif a clone of the previous one, I actually don't aim for total accuracy. I don't like it too look too machine like. I like the phrase 'consitantly inconsitant'. I also love playing around with size, scale and density.

Underneath the arches, one of my original designs also shows a technique I use a lot, namely building up rows to create and area of texture.  It is a 'there and back' design. The 'there' creates the arch and foot, and coming back I echo the arches.
Fmq 3 - Underneath the Arches

Thanks for dropping by...

Sunday, 8 September 2013

A sensuous curve too far

Now for a free motion quilting interlude - which is another way of saying that I could never stick to one thing at a time. Somehow the ideas in my head queueing up to get out are too impatient to wait their turn. Impatience is great for creativity but not too good for finishing things in a hurry! I usually have several things on the go at once.

Time for a bit of procion paper play

Procion paper play is all about thickening up some procion dyes with manutex and printing, rolling, painting, dribbling, splashing them about on paper. Anything goes really. It is a great way to explore, experiment and play with no goal in mind - just discover what come out.

Bottles are a gift for quilters - all those sensuous curves. I've been meaning to explore exploiting them for ages. A clear out had left me with a pile of old folder dividers and I decided I could up-cycle these into masks and stencils. I perfect opportunity to make something for nothing and feel virtuous about reducing my rubbish. The idea - gleaned from an article on making stencils - was to paint them in acrylic to make them waterproof. I expected them to curl up when the first side was painted. I expected them - as per article - to lie flat again when I painted the reverse side. Not so. My stencils, not having read the article, decided to corkscrew. I know that I wanted sensuous curves, but that was taking things too far!

It was also quite time consuming, messy and used up a lot of acrylic paint - and probably cost a lot more than simply cutting them out of acetate. Ah well - I tried.

Here are the un-corkscrewed stencils, weighed down by stones to keep them flat...

stencils made from painted dividers - weighed down to stop corkscrewing

and the masks.

masks made out of old dividers, waterproofed with acrylic paint

This first one uses a couple of the masks and stencils, apply the dye with a sponge roller. Sponge rollers are very dye hungry and soak up a lot of dye-paint, but I do like the texture they give.
Procion paper play - bottle masks and stencils


For this one I've limited myself to just one bottle shape. It's done with a brayer, which gives a totally different texture. It looks thicker, glopier, much more messy, but therefore there is more textural interest. I used electic blue and mustard yellow, which I think give a lovely colour combination. Areas under the mask were of course white, and I've gone over these with lemon yellow.
Blue and yellow bottle procion paper play

Blue and yellow bottles - detail

The last two from this session are cheerfully chuby. Again the sencil and mask give the postive and negative shape. I've used the sponge roller again and given a bit of extra colour with a light rolloing of magenta. I might give it a colour wash at some stage to colour in the white.
Cheerfully chubby bottles in yellows and organges with a bit of magenta


Back to the quilting next.

Thanks for dropping by.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

fmq cameo 2 Figures of Eight

Here is the next cameo, several days later than promised. I hadn't reckoned with technical difficulties - such as not being able to open a new post - does make things a bit difficult! As you can see, I've made it with umpteen clicks and going around in circles. The last post was 'we have lift off' - I was tempted and call this one 'and we've crashed'! I've also just seen on the preview that the picture has publised twice. It isn't there twice on the original post page, so can't fix that. Definately something wrong here. Sorry.

Anyway, technical difficulties apart - here is number 2. Figures of eight are not original I know, but I have never seen their versatility exploited (let me know if you have). You can change the height, breadth, size of loop, how spaced out they are... Here I have done them in undulating columns. The photo doesn't really show how they 'negative' space between the columns also then stands out and becomes a feature. When stitched in colour, changing the size and thus the density of the pattern gives the illusion of darker and lighter shade. It is also great to quilt as  you can get into a lovely swinging rhythm.

fmq cameo 2 - Figures of Eight

Enjoy and thanks for dropping by

Monday, 2 September 2013

101 free motion quilting cameos - we have lift off!

Welcome to the launch of my project - 101 free motion quilting cameos - and the very first one!

The project was born out of a desire to make a record of my quilting ideas that was more cohesive than note books and odd scrapes of paper. I thought they deserved a more permanent home. 

So here is one of my all time favourites - Angel Flight. I certainly didn't create it thinking of angels. Like most fmquilters, I doodle a lot. It is lovely to quilt and easy to get in to the swing of those gorgeous curves.

1. Angel Flight

I've done it with a half-drop repeat and two way. It works just as well one way.

Number two will be in a few days time.

Thanks for dropping by

P.S. Just in case you are wondering, no I have not completed preparing all 101 squares since my last post. I've done enough to know that I do not want a career making coasters!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Four corners turned, four hundred to go and the faults of mental masterpieces

The beauty of my mental masterpieces are that they are so easy. Mostly I think of them in quiet daydreaming moments, in bed, sitting in the garden...

'Mental masterpieces' are a mental picture of the finished article - which is good to know where you are aiming, but they are delightfully vague as to process of getting there. In this instance, I had an image of  my 6" indigo square, quilted in white, but didn't really think about assembling, trimming, turning, pressing and edging times four hundred and four.

Ah well, here is the first square ready for quilting.

First square all ready for quilting

One down - one hundred - and four hundred corners to turn- to go!

Thanks for dropping by...

Thursday, 29 August 2013

The count down begins!

 The count down has begun to my project

101 Free Motion Quilted Cameos

The idea of this project is to produce 101 6" squares, each a sample of free motion quilting.
Many of the designs will be my own original patterns. Some will be well known and well loved patterns but perhaps done in a different way. And some will be just for the fun of it because I love them! I will be posting them twice weekly - I hope!

I want the finished project to hang together and also work as an exhibition piece, so I have decided to use one colour only. I was never a fan of indigo until I had a commission to make chair covers to go with the colours of an oriental rug in reds and dark blues. The white quilting I did sang on the dark colours and gave me the inspiration to use indigo quilted in white for this project - and converted me to indigo in the process! So, out with the dyes. I tend to dye small quantities of cloth in a wide range of colours and shades - which means that plastic pint beakers serve my purpose well. Enough fabric for 101 7" (to include seam allowance) squares required something a bit larger - like a big bucket - or two.
Stacks of squares - 2 shades of indigo and wadding reading for sewing
Fabric dyed, dark for the front and a lighter shade of indigo for the back, I set to work with a rotary cutter. A lot of cutting later and I had 3 neat stacks of squares ready to be assembled.

Yards and yards of neatened ribbon
 I spent some time experimenting with ways of making loops to hang the squares. Any kind of folded strip was just too thick, so I ended up making a  looong 1" ribbon. Zig-zag neatening all that edge went on forever.
The ribbon cut up into 4" lengths ready to form the loops

Two loops per square - 202 4" pieces.
Now all I have to do is sew them all together.

Thanks for dropping by.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Healing Pause

With complications following on from my accident and broken arm/shoulder, I have sadly decided I need to pause this blog until things have healed.

Although there is little I can do at the moment, I have a lot of thinking time. I have so many exciting projects that I will launch in September - starting with:

101 Free Motion Quilting Cameos

full of new patterns, designs and ideas for free motion quilters using a domestic sewing machine.

Thanks for dropping by and I look forward to seeing you again in September.

Friday, 10 May 2013

surface design with procion MX dyes

As in the previous post, these couple of abstracts are done with (an old!) credit card. This time, the card was not so loaded, so no beads of dye around the edges. I've created movement by dragging the card in a curvy waves.

The 'doodling' is again done with a needle-nosed bottle. I've aimed at imitating a script without it actually saying anything. 

I really enjoy working with the effects you can create using a needle-nosed bottle. It took me a long time to find a supplier in the UK (Art-van-go has them). Then a friend produced the bottle her home hair-dye kit comes in. Identical! So if you are having problems finding a needle-nosed bottle - go and buy some hair dye.

I've used turquoise and charcoal dyes, which of course mix to give lovely shades of teal.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

printing paper and fabric with procion MX thickened dyes

My free motion quilting project is now sadly on hold while my broken arm mends, so I thought I would use the time to post another project  I did on printing paper and fabric with procion MX thickened dyes.

These two abstract designs are done using an old credit card to scrape thickened turquoise and lemon dyes onto paper. The darker lines are made by using a heavily loaded card that leaves thick streaks. On paper, leaving white areas added texture and lightness, but didn't look so good when I tried it on cloth.

This next one has no white left. I have also added scribbles using a needle-nosed bottle. The thickened dye needs to be quite a bit runnier for this.