Friday, 4 August 2023

Per ardua ad astra


Thank you everyone for your patience. I have finished at last - though the photos are indoor/nighttime and don't show the colours well. 

My son asked me a while ago if I could make a picture for my grandson's room, which would also be a memory of my father, who sadly died last November. I thought the collage theme would be a good opportunity to do that so I started by drawing the main elements onto a piece of linen stabilised with freezer paper and fusing on the hexagons for the sky and  scallop strips for the sea. I then attached the piece to wadding by machine stitching wavy lines (sky) and hand stitching (sea). I then fused on the gold frame and quilted with straight lines.

After that, I fused on the various elements apart from the metal cogs, which I glued on at the very end. The sausage dog is lighter than the photo and is velvet with leather ears and nose and I was very surprised and impressed that the velvet didn't fray. The plane was printed onto fabric.

Unfortunately it looked very drab and I struggled to decide how to brighten up the picture until I realised I could liven it up by getting more colour into the frame.  That allowed me to put the words into the main picture where I thought there was too much empty space.

I've never been a fan of fusing in quilts before but, apart from the trials of actually finding time to do this, I really enjoyed the collage techniques and I was very pleased with effect. In particular, I could never have got the dog's tail or the shine on the balloon so precise with turned applique and the fabric spots would have taken forever. I feel I've been missing a trick all these years! When I get a chance, I will take a better photo and give more detail of the story behind this quilt over on Rainbow Hare.

I enjoyed seeing everyone's collage quilts and I'm really looking forward to seeing the circles and squares in November. I will be sure to start very early this quarter :)

Thursday, 3 August 2023

New Theme Announcement

Thank you for all your wonderful "Collage" quilts. They were all so creative and fun. It's time to choose the next theme. This is the list we're working from. 

  1. Patterns in Nature
  2. Vintage
  3. Circles and Squares
  4. Spices
  5. Mosaic
  6. TBA (Edited to add "Harmony" to the list)
I've removed "Collage" from the list to narrow it down to the remaining categories. For our next theme, the Random Picker Wheel landed on number 3:

 "Circles and Squares."

The deadline for this theme is November 1st, 2023, at 10:00 am GMT but remember you can always put your post up earlier and schedule it.

In the meantime, you are welcome to share your thoughts, ideas and progress here on The Endeavourers Blog.

Happy Sewing!


Tuesday, 1 August 2023

Bountiful Bouquet Collage

With such a wide-open topic, I thought I would use this opportunity to blend a lot of vintage materials together with some new-to-me techniques. I buy crates of linens at auctions, and I have even rescued sewing baskets from the side of the road, and it is always so much fun to find out what's inside! 

 So I pulled together a shredded tablecloth, a torn feed sack with a lovely tatted border, hem-stitched linen napkins, and old handkerchiefs, and combined them with some new materials. I count the work of six other makers besides me in this piece!

A collage of flowers, 1930s to 2023


Dogwood embroidery from a torn tablecloth of the 1950s.  I added the spiral print which I ended up not liking. But I can always cover them up with other flowers, and there are three more sections of this embroidery to use elsewhere.  :)

Some of the new materials I used were Jacquard Lumiere paints, Tsukneko VersaMagic chalk ink pads, Lutradur, and variegated WonderFil threads. To see more details and to read more about how I made it, you can go to my home blog Deep in the Heart of Textiles.

As always, I enjoyed working on this challenge, and I loved the chance to use up some vintage scraps!

Floating around

 Like so many of these challenges I took forever to decide upon my project for this theme. 

My lightbulb moment was coming across this unfinished project from the textile printing summer school I attended last year. I realised that I could use this as the starting point for a bigger piece of work with a water/underwater theme.

Rummaging through my cupboards I came across these orphan blocks that I thought would work with the original piece and fit the watery theme.

This is what I ended up with! You can see the original blocks, which have now been embellished with embroidery stitches, FMQ stitching and a random selection of beads and sequins. 

My luckiest find, and the focal point of Floating Around, was this piece of frog and lily pad cross stitch that I inherited when my parents passed away four years ago. My mother was an avid cross stitcher and left a box full of pieces just like this, so I am really pleased to have been able to put this one, at least, to use.

I also inherited several pots and blister packs of beads so they were put to use in Floating Around too. 

My intention is to mount Floating Around on a canvas but that will have to wait until I find one the correct size! 

Looking forward to seeing the results of my fellow Endeavourers responses to this quarter's challenge, they will, no doubt, be inspiring as usual. 

If you want to read more about the construction of Floating Around head on over to Celtic Thistle Stitches

Collage: Fantasticat

When the prompt was selected, I thought I'd make a quilt I've been wanting to make for a long time. But then, I realized I could use it for a different upcoming prompt. Never fear. You'll see it eventually. Instead, I went in search of something else. Eventually, I came across a photograph I'd saved at least two years before. It was an illustration from the NYTimes by artist and illustrator Angie Wang. 

When I saw her illustration, I knew right away I wanted to make a quilt from it. I wrote to the artist and requested her permission. But then, so much time passed, that I felt it was important to ask again...just to be sure. She responded saying she was "excited about it!" Okay, then. So off I went. Here is the quilt I call "Fantasticat."

Usually, when I make a quilt like this, I start from the center and make my way outward. For this one, I did just the opposite, starting at the outer edges and making my way inward.

My stash is not heavy with solids, and I was trying to stay fairly true to the colors she'd used.

Even with borders, my quilt ended up at 19 x 19 inches. So you can see that some of the pieces were very, very small.

As I reached the middle, it was hard to decide which pieces went over which. 

Any color could have served as the background "foundation" piece.

When all the color was added, I settled on white as the foundation, peeled the color off my teflon pressing sheet, and fused the whole of it to a white background.

From there I added borders. That inner purple is a hand-woven fabrics brought to me from Guatemala by a friend of my son.

And then I quilted it using a microtex needle and monofilament thread.

The outer border was quilted with a variegated thread in a ribbon motif to finish it off.

The quilt back was made using some fabric I'd used in another quilt. The colors were just right, and so that was a lucky find in my stash. I added hanging pockets and a center loop.

For small quilts, I like this method of running a dowel through to keep everything straight and flat.

And now it has a place of honor among the other cats in my stairwell "Mewseum."

I hope you like my quilt. I had so much fun making it. Working with so many bright colors was a delight for the eyes. 

A Humming Collage

 My first thought when I saw that the new theme was collage was to do something simple, whatever that would be. I had a difficult time coming up with a subject along those lines. I started to peruse my books to see if I had any inspiration, and that's when I stumbled upon this book, given to me by my daughter awhile ago. 

I had completely forgotten that I even had this book. When she gave it to me, I thought I'd likely never try anything like that, but still hung on to the book. Even when I started paging through, I thought "don't think I could do this". On the other hand, it was very intriguing, and it seemed to fit the collage theme! 

Then Christian Dalbec, a photographer from northern Minnesota that I follow on Instagram, posted a photo of a hummingbird on his Instagram feed, a cropped image of the hummingbird's head, which you can see here. I reached out to Christian to ask if I could use his photo as inspiration for this challenge, and he agreed. Now I was committed. 

After reading through the book, watching some Susan Carlson videos and studying Christian's photograph, I dove in, sketching out the hummingbird head on fabric, then starting the process of building the collage. To say it made a huge mess is an understatement (bits of fabric everywhere), but what grand fun! 

This is the image in its early stages. There was much pinning and eventually gluing. Even after the pieces were tacked on with glue, some were changed. I could only work for so long before I had to step away and work on other projects, just to give my brain a break. However, I thoroughly enjoyed this challenge. 

Eventually, it was finished. Once all the pieces were glued down, I did some thread painting using threads that matched the fabrics. My free motion quilting skills are still not great, and I didn't want my rudimentary skills with thread painting to be too obvious. It was fun to look at the back and see how my quilting got more relaxed and improved as I went along. 

This photo doesn't show it well, but I thought you'd enjoy seeing the back. I used 12 different thread colors, all Aurifil 50 wt., all from my thread stash. It was grand fun until it came time to bury the threads! 

And finally, the finish! 

This was, by far, my most challenging project since I've been part of this group. It was so much fun, but so much work! Will I make another one? I'm not sure, but I have been thinking about subjects, so maybe. This finished piece measures 18.5 inches by 26.5 inches, a very small project compared to the size of the projects worked on by Susan Carlson, the author of Serendipity Quilts. I'm terribly tempted to do something on a larger scale, but then I think of the time and the mess - but oh, the fun! 

I'll write up more details about the creating of this piece on my personal blog, if you are interested. Thanks for the fun, yet challenging, challenge! 




Collage was never my forte since I don't really like them. But this is a group of most of the cats of whom we have been the guardian. Starting at the upper left that's Iksandria (aka Ikky) then Ahknaton (aka Nuttin) - we were on an Egyptian craze at the time, then there's Mo, Gandalf (aka Pinky), Miaowara Llasa (named after the Samurai Cat, if you don't know who that is go to Wikipedia), Merlin (aka Curly), and Fuzz (our current baby). 

If you look closely, the quilting has several words included, upper tight is Meow. Try and find the others :)

Improv fun!

I dip in and out of collage as a quilt making techinque and I am always surprised that there are so many different ways to collage a textile piece.  

Improv piece of the fastnet rock lighthouse using fabrics other then cotton.
Making Waves using bondaweb and raw edge, I entered this into an Irish Patchwork Society exhibition, inspired by the Great Wave by Hokusai.
Using up scraps from a Laura Heine collage workshop to make Jupiter!
Whimsical fun using scraps and big stitch embroidery in the style of Laura Wasilowski.

So when the theme of collage popped up I thought : Yes!  I've got this... and then I thought what can I make that's not the same as all of the above?  I got stuck! 

Then, the opportunity came to sign up for a collage portrait class, with Paula Rafferty, at the River of Dreams annual exhibiton in Limerick and I jumped at the chance.  We made a portrait of Dolores O'Riordan from the Cranberries, also from Limerick, and I had the opportunity so many times to hear her sing and the band play as I was growing up, when they were starting our on their amazing music journey.

In the end though, I ended up going back to improv and having a play.  One of my favourite places on the West coast of Ireland, about an hours drive away, is Kilkee.  It has a horseshoe bay and two cliff walks on either side of the beach.  Maybe this colourful, cartoonish, childlike collage is my go to.  I don't know, but I had a lot of fun playing with shape and colour and straightline quilted it to put in a frame.
I think I might change or add to the car pulling the boat, thats a tiny bit too basic I think.  I really like the houses falling away on the frame and I think this could be fun to make bigger and add more detail, like the steps going down to the beach and some boats in the sea.  Otherwise, I quite like its happy maddness, and it was very much a happy way to spend a rainy afternoon playing with scraps!

Wednesday, 3 May 2023

New Theme Announcement

Thank you for all your wonderful "Maps" quilts. They were all so creative and fun. It's time to choose the next theme. This is the list we're working from. 

  1. Patterns in Nature
  2. Maps 
  3. Collage
  4. Vintage
  5. Circles and Squares
  6. Spices
  7. Mosaic
  8. TBA (Edited to add "Harmony" to the list)
I've removed "Maps" from the list to narrow it down to the remaining categories. Someone still needs to choose a theme for "TBA." Any ideas? For our next theme, the Random Picker Wheel landed on number 3:



The deadline for this theme is August 1st, 2023 at 10.00am GMT but remember you can always put your post up earlier and Schedule it.

In the meantime, you are welcome to share your thoughts, ideas and progress here on The Endeavourers Blog.

This is my first attempt at choosing a theme. My thanks to Janine for prompting me and telling what I needed to do.

Happy Sewing!


Monday, 1 May 2023

Maps: The Honeymoon

Honest confession - maps have never really been my thing. On the other hand, my husband loves them. So when I told him about this challenge with the theme of Maps, I asked him what I should do. He said I should replicate the Fisher map we used on our honeymoon trip. Fisher Maps - if you have every trekked into the border country of Minnesota and Canada, you may have used a Fisher map, made by the W. A. Fisher Company. They are iconic maps that have been made since 1929. You can read more about the company here

A little about our honeymoon trip. I had never been to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW, but it is usually shortened to BWCA), but I had been KOA camping (meaning, comfy camping in a camper), so I figured I knew enough. Ha. Camping in the BWCA is sleeping in a tent, eating by campfire, using a very out in the open toilet (okay, there are trees), and no showers. Hubs had been to the BWCA quite a few times, but this was his first time going in solo, with a new wife in tow. We learned a lot, about camping - and each other. 

Years earlier, my dad and my brother built redwood strip canoes, and hubs thought it would be a neat way to honor my dad (who he never got to meet) by taking the canoe on the trip with us. It was a beautiful craft in the water, but it was heavy even before being fully loaded. To give you an idea, hubs made an oak yoke for the canoe, so it would be easier for him to carry. We took it out for a trial run (without packs, etc.), and the yoke broke when he flipped it up onto his shoulders. Hmm. It was so wide at the center that it took up most of the roof on our old Chevy Impala, while other cars were zipping by with two canoes strapped to theirs. But as I said, it was an awesome canoe in the water, so we were determined. 

A week before we were to head in, there were news reports of a bear attack in the BWCA - a rare thing. The attack just happened to be in the area where we were headed. Hubs wisely decided that it might be good to go to another lake rather than have me worrying about a bear (not that it stopped me!). When getting approval to switch our entry point from the ranger at check-in, she quipped, "If you can make it a week in the BWCA for your honeymoon, your marriage will last forever!" Well, here we are, 30-some odd years later. I guess we did something right. 

Upon arriving at our campsite, after paddling through the rain and hilly, muddy, slippery portages (only two, thankfully), we found a little plastic giraffe left on a big rock. Since our campsite was on a point, we dubbed the campsite "Rainy Giraffe Point". I seriously considered taking that little giraffe with me for a momento when we left, but in the end, left it for the next campers to discover. 

Fisher maps are known for their bright colors, a yellow green for the land, and blue for the water. There are topographic markings as well, and I wasn't sure how I was going to stitch that in on the land. I was surprised to find a piece of Tula Pink fabric I had in my stash - no idea when or where I bought it - that had a design that looked topographical, and in the right color! I love it when that happens. 

So I did a rough trace of the lake, just making it kinda like the actual shape. I traced it in reverse on some fusible, and fused it to the blue fabric and cut it out. Even with rough tracing, those little ins and outs called for a sharp scissors. Before I attached the lake to the map, I sandwiched the yellow green fabric, batting and backing and did some quick grid quilting to mimic the latitude and longitude lines on the map. 

Once that was done, I fused the lake onto the quilt. I decided to hand stitch around the outline of the lake using Aurifil 12 wt. blue thread, then I stitched in some depth lines, but not exactly like what would be seen on the actual Fisher map - just enough for you to get the idea. Next came marking the campsites in little red x's - the campsite we stayed at is marked with a heart. BWCA maps come marked with designated campsites, which have a fire grate on site and biffies (toilets) nearby. Campers are only to camp at those specified sites, and they are first come, first served. If all the sites are taken, you find another lake on your route with an open site. 

I also stitched in the approximate route we took across the lake to the campsite. It rained the entire way, but thankfully broke long enough for us to get our tent up and attempt to hang our packs. Did I mention that our packs were heavy too? The ropes broke while we were hanging the packs, so we ended up putting the packs in the canoe, and the canoe out in the water (tethered to a tree) and hoped no bear would come into camp. I was beginning to see why the ranger said what she did . . .

Next I attached the label, which I wrote up with a Pigma pen. Then I worked on the silhouette sketch of Rainy Giraffe Point - that little giraffe-ish figure was a bit difficult in that tiny size! 

For the backing, I used a fat quarter I've had in my stash, just waiting for the perfect quilt. It seemed appropriate. Then I added striped binding, because I like striped bindings. 

Here's a peek at my finished quilt next to a Fisher map. I think it worked out well! 

I'm looking forward to seeing the other Maps quilts! Thanks for the fun challenge! 


Maps: London 1572

Looking at maps sets me to dreaming of adventures, so for this prompt I looked for one that epitomizes that feeling.  This one has beautiful soft colors, and so many details you feel like you could jump in and time travel.

Londinium feracissimi Angliae regni metropolis, 1572.

I found it in The Map Book, edited by Peter Barber, ISBN 0-8027-1474-9.  His credits are very small and abbreviated, so I think the original is at the British Library, but I haven't been able to find it online.

First I chose just part of the map where I really liked the shapes of the neighborhoods, and then I placed the Thames directly beneath them, editing away whole areas of the real London. And of course once I got working on it, very few of the shapes matched the originals.

I made big panels of scraps and then cut them into the shapes I needed.  Originally I thought about using textile paint over all to give a more antique feel, but I ended up liking the colors of the scraps and kept them as they were.

For the city areas, I outlined the shapes with piping and other trims; for the rural areas, I did free motion "scribbling" to evoke the hedges in the original map.  (I wish I had remembered the technique of mounting those shapes on black felt to create a nice outline.  Next time.)

Detail of the "neighborhoods."
The hardest decision for me was what to use for the border!  I tried so many things, but when I picked up this English ivy green fabric, I knew it was perfect.  Although the border kind of blends into my yard in this picture.

I could definitely go back in and free-motion stitch little cobbles in all the pathways, and stitch little boats in the Thames, and I could add some more shapes to the white space, but overall I do like this quilt.  It's got a sort of kids'-storybook vibe to it, I think. Looking at it reminds me of the time I spent perusing the original and enjoying all the details.