Monday, 26 January 2015

Night Sky Finish

While most of this month I have been working away on projects I can't share just yet, I am happy to say the Night Sky Quilt is finally finished. I didn't get it completed in time for December 25th but did manage to finish it yesterday for January 25th! The pattern is Camille Roskelly's and can be found on her Thimble blossoms shop here.

When Jana asked me if I wanted to take part in a Quilt-A-Long to make this I instantly said yes.  I love Camille Roskelly (have 2 of her books!) and wanted to make a Christmas quilt.  This seemed perfect for it.

The pattern is made up of 8" and 16" sawtooth stars and as I was making mine from scraps, (Joy by Kate Spain, a little bit of Riley Blake, some new Folk Art Holiday and leftover solids Kona Navy, Snow and Ash), I was happy enough to make a smaller size.

Much and all as I love the look of this quilt, the repetitive nature of so many 8" blocks makes me happy I made a child quilt or throw sized quilt.  Leaving out the last column and the two bottom rows gives a 48" x 56" quilt and was perfect for the scraps I had on hand.

This is destined as a late baby present - sorry Charly you can't keep this one (even though I quite like it in the study too!)

There will be a final link up on Jana Machado's blog for the Quilt-A-Long finish over the next few weeks and linking up to the Friday Finshes this week at Crazy Mom Quilts, TGIFF and Can I get a Whoop Whoop!
And finally, this is one of my goals for A Lovely Year of Finishes and Finish-A-Long 2015 so quite a bit of motivation to get his one done!  So happy to have this first finish for 2015 done and dusted, a happy way to start the year.

My Button2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Monday, 19 January 2015

Make Modern Magazine & Pattern Release

It may have seemed a little quiet on the blog but it's not due to lack of quilting related activities!   Last year, Make Modern Magazine published my colour block pattern called Storybook. 

It gives instructions for a baby quilt (40"x40") made from 5" charm squares and a bed size quilt (90" x 72") made from 10" layer cake squares which I made for my mum.  I love how it looks in her bedroom and keep wanting to steal it back!

I've had a second design accepted and am working hard on that at the moment for issue 5.  It will be an 84" x 84" (biggest quilt I've ever made myself!) based on this arrows idea I shared last year in the Around the World Blog Hop.  I can't show you pattern or in progress details on this one just yet but I'm making good progress.

In the meantime, Make Modern have reduced their subscription prices and are now offering individual magazines at $6.95AU, about €5 which is a great price for a quilting magazine! 

One of the other big pluses about publishing patterns in Make Modern, is that after the issue is replaced by the next one, the pattern rights revert back to the designer. 

So, I now get to sell my pattern on my own blog!  I re-formatted it to add more detail for the layer cake version and lots of photos.  Suzanne, in our Just Threads sewing group comes from a Quality Assurance background and inspected the language and instructions thoroughly!  She even made a quilt!  Suzanne added in some solid fabric to the outer border and had some charm squares left over to make a cushion.  Fabrics are Good Fortune by Kate Spain and I love Suzanne's swirly quilting!  Thank you so much Suzanne!

Due to the EU VAT laws, I'm offering the pattern through Payhip (who look after all the VAT for me!) and have updated the blog header and added a new Pattern Shop page. It's all very exciting and I have to thank Kristy, Jane and Lara at Make Modern for this and placing me on the path to writing a pattern!

The blog header images are licenced from and as soon as I saw the Jack Russell and Basset Hound images, I had to buy them - they are the spitting image of Charly and Wilbur and even capture their personalities perfectly. 

So while I get cracking on finishing pattern number 2, I hope you will visit Make Modern Magazine and their blog page where you will find previews, prizes and guest posts.

Linking up this week to Thankful Thursday @ Quilting Jetgirl.  Next week, fingers crossed I'll have a Night Sky finished Quilt to share in time for Jana Machado's Quilt-A-Long on the 25th.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Schnitzel & Boo Mini Quilt Swap

When I shared a photo like this one on Instagram describing how much fun I was having shredding fabric I got some very quick reactions.  The fabrics were from my scrap basket of prints and solids so not the end of the world if my exploration into confetti quilting didn't work out!

I had an idea for the quilt I wanted to make for the Schnitzel & Boo round 3 mini swap but it didn't seem to fit right with my partners taste in fabric.  My swap partner is a big Lori Holt fan liking white backgrounds and clear bright colours.  So instead of an orange peel multi-coloured project I decided to give this technique a try. 

I saw this project by Kerry @ Pennydog Quilting in this months Popular Patchwork magazine.  It involves chopping up fabric with your rotary cutter and using fusible to hold some of the pieces in place.  Cover with sheer net and quilt over it. 

I really liked the idea of it for clear bright rainbow colours so thought I'd go for it with letters instead!

I printed these using a font called Berlin Sans FB Demi and used them to cut templates from fusible paper and trace on the fabric background (Kona Snow) with an air erasable fabric marker.  It allowed me to place the fusible letters and then sprinkle the fabric pieces in place.

I initially thought about using the water soluble stuff that you quilt over and then washes out but i couldn't find any so I stuck with Kerry's instructions and bought some fine lightweight tulle that is used for wedding veils!  It practically disappears over the bright white fabric.

To keep it in place I handstitched around the letters with perle cotton.  I hoped this would give the letters some definition too.

I did get a good bit of pulling  and puckering after the handstitching and was a little worried at this stage that this letter idea was not going to work!  I may have overstuffed them a little bit too!

Thankfully after trimming around the letters and cutting into the net the tension in the piece relaxed quite a bit.

I was quite careful on the basting too and spray basted the back, wadding and top together.  Then I made sure it was a smooth as could be and pin basted near the letters too.

It worked a treat and flattened it back into shape!

Even under the net the pieces move quite a bit so a dense quilting pattern is recommended.  I decided I'd try coloured matchstick quilting. 

I had previously made a cushion and used this technique with just white and quickly got bored with it.  Changing up the colours and straight line quilting this small piece went very quickly and was really lots of fun!

I used 9 different threads, 3 variegated and 6 solids in colours close to the rainbow letters.  Threads were Auriful 40wt and YLI 50 wt.   I used a light and a dark and spaced them 1/8" approx apart.

This round in the Schnitzel & Boo mini quilt swap is trying to support animal rescue which is a subject near to my heart.  Our Basset Wilbur is a rescue that was very close to being put to sleep.  If it wasn't for the volunteers and kindness of Ash Animal Rescue, Wilbur would not be with us. Even he decided to leave his mark on this quilt!  

Every now and again Wilbur gets bored of sleeping and eating and wants some attention (Bassets are incredibly lazy dogs!).  He has a long bony nose that he likes to stick under your arm and flip very quickly into the air.  It's funny most of the time except when you have a cup of tea or are quilting.  There is one really wobbly line because of this that I'm calling the Wilbur wobble.  As it is a special cause we are supporting I decided to leave it be and not rip it out!

Charly, on the other hand, spent the day watching out for the neighbour's cat and tearing into a new toy my cousin sent from the states as part of a Christmas parcel.    The rest of us were ignored completely!

Leaving me to crack on and finish the quilting complete with Wilbur wobble.  I was quite surprised by how much the letters changed with the matchstick quilting.  They got well and truly squished and G in our sewing group described them as organic looking. Not what I expected!

I chose purple for the binding and finished it up with a label on the back prepared for the quilt swap by Ali.  I can't show you the label as it is a secret swap and this mini is going in the post this Friday! 

Really hope by partner likes this.  It's not quite the clean and crisp Lori Holt style that I intended but it was a real learning and quilting exploration all the same!  I did put a bit of work into it and tried my best to make it work.  I hope to make up for it by adding in lots of goodies.   Fingers crossed she's not expecting something completely different!

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

2015 FAL and ALYOF goals

2015 FAL at On the Windy SideThis year Katy @ The Littlest Thistle has passed the baton for Finish-A-Long 2015 to Adrienne @ On The Windy Side.  This will be my third year taking part and setting goals to finish projects quarter by quarter.

I can't say I am the most successful at completing my to do list - I do get things finished though it takes a while as I am usually starting more projects than completing them!  This year though I hope to be a little less distracted and dig in deeper exploring quilt design and the techniques used to make a quilt.  I really hope 2015 is when I get comfy with free motion quilting!

So the projects I hope to focus over the next 3 months are
My ButtonFinish Night Sky QAL - yes I have a quilt top.  This was one of the things I kept going on, a little bit at a time, over Christmas.  Hoping to have this quilted and finished to link up with Jana Machado for the 25th of this month.  This will be my January goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes too hosted by Sew Bitter Sweet designs.

Schnitzel & Boo Mini Quilt swap round 3 - this is my attempt at 3D letters using a technique from Kerry @ Pennydog Patchwork.  I may have over stuffed it a bit!  I hope to matchstick quilt this with varieagated thread to keep all the little bits in place under the netting.  Need to have this in the post by the 16th!

I have a pattern for Make Modern Issue 4 that's due at the end of the month too so January is pretty much accounted for - Really need to get cracking!  Can't wait to show you guys in March!

Hopefully for the rest of February and March I might be able to get some me sewing done!  I think I have enough Camera fabric now thanks to Serena and Claire's generosity and Yvonne's help tracking down retro cameras on Etsy to make a photo quilt all for myself.  Truly selfish sewing this one!  Big thanks to you guys for gifting me fabric and helping me out.  I know we often say quilters are givers but only because it's true!

I also need to thank Wanda @ Old South Fabrics.  I'm making this giant star quilt for our bed and decided I had to use Wrens and Friends fabric for it. 

I had bought some in a bundle from Fluffy Sheep Quilting and it was the perfect colour for what I wanted but of course I didn't have enough.  Before Christmas I scoured the internet and found some on Old South Fabrics and have to say buying from them was a pleasure.  Wanda was very friendly and helpful with shipping and even included a Christmas extra for me in the parcel.  Thank you so much Wanda, I will be back for more!

And lastly but not leastly, I want to get somewhere with my Japanese inspired quilts.  I hope to free motion quilt the applique one and hand stitch the second with lots of Sashiko designs.

That's plenty to be getting on with I think!  What about you, have you made your list yet?

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

And we're back!

Happy belated New Year everybody!  I hope you enjoyed the short series of posts hosted here and got to know some very creative quilters!  I had 2 weeks off over the Christmas and New years from the day job and took the opportunity to host posts, from some of the Quilty bloggers and Instagrammers support group on Facebook, during that time, to maximise time spent with family.  I also had great sewing plans! 

Though I ended up with sick with Sinusitis and spent most of the Christmas watching all 8 Harry Potters and babysitting some of the Godchildren,  (I used them as an excuse to go see Paddington - great movie, loved every bit of it!) I did manage to clear some unfinished objects and catch up with my quilting bee duties.

Back in November Anna asked our Modern Irish Bee for some scrappy Circle of Friends Blocks and to put some positive energy into them for her as she had a crazy busy year last year moving house and setting up to work from home.  The  blocks were to be made with Kona white and rainbow colours.

I only had a small piece of Kona white left and not enough to make the two blocks so I ordered some more which Mr. Postman seems to have forgotten to deliver.  Annaliese also chose Kona White for use in her Bee blocks for December so after the obligatory 30 days waiting and no show I went and bought a yard - probably should have bought more and this is now nearly gone already!  Anyone ever bought a whole bolt of Kona? 

Harry Potter being a bit dark and deadly dind't seem to have the right energy for watching on the the TV while making Anna's blocks.  I considered Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (my most favourite film!), How to Train your Dragon (pt1), Happy Feet (who doesn't love penguins?) but in the end Guardians of the Galaxy won out!

We are Groot!
I love the music in this movie and Rocket & Groot make the best sidekicks ever (except maybe C3-PO and R2-D2 now that I think about it!)  It's smart and funny and yes there is a bit of blowing things up, but I love that its a team effort and not the dude with the biggest gun that wins.  Might isn't right, friendship is, so that's what my blocks are about for Anna's quilt! Plus the music has a great happy vibe to it!

 The block is made up of 2.5" squares so I did manage to sneak in a Tula Pink Hoppy dot bunny too!

Anneliese's December blocks were half square triangle diamonds with smaller triangles in the centre of one block and a fussy cut square in the centre of the second block.

Anneliese asked us to include something personal in the blocks so I used my favourite Kate Spain fabric (only a little left from that layer cake now!) and some scraps from my Penny Sampler quilt I thought co-ordinated well.  For the centre I had to chose a dog!  I hope its ok and not too kiddie for her.  I love it and can't wait to see these quilts finished to a quilt top.

If you want to make these the instructions are on Modern Quilters Ireland Bee Blocks page under November and December.  Glad to be all caught up and ready for 2015!

Friday, 2 January 2015

Meet Maria @ Quilting Oneness

Finally rounding up our posts meeting quilt bloggers from the facebook group Quilty bloggers and Instagrammers support group  please meet Maria @ Quilting Oneness.

Maria can be found at the following: 
Website/Blog: quiltingoneness
- Spoonflower
- Society6

The Questions:
1. How did you come to be a quilter?
I first got interested in quilting about 20 years ago when I saw in a textile art magazine a beautiful old English quilt made entirely of hexagons - I wanted to make something similar myself. I never did, but I got completely hooked on English Paper Piecing for quite a while. Then my life started changing a lot, and although I always had something textile to work on, for many years there was no specific direction to what I was doing. In summer last year a new path began to appear and I experimented with textile mosaic, that is pieces of fabric wedged into polystyrene board. This allowed me to combine fabrics - layered silks, viscose, cotton, polyester, brocade with metal threads, polyester velvet,... - in a way that would not have been possible if I had tried to sew these pieces together. I was fascinated by the process, I love the outcomes, but still I wasn't a hundred percent satisfied. These mosaics lack the advantage of textiles over for example paintings: textiles are flexible, mobile and multi-purpose. We can wear them and use them daily and carry our textile art around with us. A by-the-way comment of a friend a few months ago made me reconsider patchwork and quilting, and during these past months I realised that there's a huge unexplored terrain for me.

2. What is it that you love about being a quilter?
That I'm part of a worldwide community which I regard as a great model for a society based on mutual support, kindness and sharing, cooperating freely and with generosity - while having a lot of fun. :) Quilting itself is about resourcefulness and repurposing, about uniting different layers with different functions in a way that is beautiful and useful, where every single piece of the puzzle is important and respected and valued - as it is and for what it is - and contributes its uniqueness to a new whole. It's more than just a symbol, it's a practical application of Oneness.

3. What are you most proud of from your quilting experience?
That I started blogging about it - although I'm in some regards a beginner and despite all those wonderful and awesome blogs that already exist - and also that, despite the just as overwhelming variety of patterns and techniques, I'm holding on to my belief that I can add something new to this mix.

4. What’s the one piece of advice about quilting that all new quilters should know?
Take your time and enjoy the process :)

5. Who’s the quilter(s) that inspire you at the moment?
Too many to name, at any given moment...

6. What quilting challenges would you like to conquer in the next 12 months?
I know that I have phases when I don't feel like stitching, or don't feel like pausing and writing or taking the time to document what I do, or sometimes don't feel like communicating at all for a few days. My challenge is therefore to use 2015 for finding how I can blog and be productive with some consistency but while still respecting my inner rhythm, that is for developing a flexible navigation system with lots of space for spontaneity and improvisation, detours and retreats instead of forcing myself once again into the usual gridlock type schedule of should's and no-can-do's and deadlines. - Creativity is like flying, and one of the three basic requirements of flying happens to be that I take my feet off the ground. ;) (Number two is having a sense of direction, and the last one is flapping my wings until I get into a thermal I can ride ... just in case you're interested.)
7. What’s your 3 favourite quilts that you’ve made that reflect who you are as a quilter?
I think every quilt I make/made reflects who I am/was at a certain stage, therefore every quilt is my favourite. Sorry I can’t show you the first ones, at the time I didn't think about taking photos of them before giving them away as presents. - Looking back all the way until now, I think I'd describe what I did and still try to achieve as "Merging Scandinavian Simplicity with Oriental Abundance". It's a lifestyle, really, reflecting myself.

8. If you weren’t a quilter, what other creative endeavour would you like to master?
Writing fiction, playing flute or bass guitar or both.

9. What is your favourite kind of pie?
The magpie ;) - I think they’re very beautiful, elegant and intelligent pies.

10. What holidays, traditions or religious occasions do you celebrate in your family at this time of year?
My partner and I love giving each other hand-crafted presents, and then watching the other’s face while opening them :) He’s English, I’m German, so we have our presents on Christmas Eve (German tradition) and English roast dinner on Christmas Day – our dogs get a Yorkshire pudding each, and believe me, they know it! As we live in Greece we phone or go online to connect with "the kids" and other distant family members. Apart from these celebrations and get-togethers, the solstice itself is very important to me as it signifies new life, a new start, new fresh energies – enough to carry me all the way through winter into spring.

11. Do you listen to music, watch television or prefer the hum of the sewing machine when you sew?
I love hand stitching, and whenever I can I go and sit outside. I love the sounds of a breeze, birds, bees, sheep bells, and I don’t mind the occasional dogs barking, scooters revving past, people shouting in the distance; I accept them as part of the scenery. Typically I switch on my sewing machine to block out sounds that I find more difficult to deal with, especially constant mind-chatter. At the moment it’s olive harvesting time here in Greece, and I much prefer the rhythmic rattle of my machine (it doesn't do hum) to the sound of air compressors... I find it very soothing, especially when free motion quilting where I rely on the sound for coordinating my hand movements and keeping the stitches even. Else I don't mind gentle or uplifting music, as long as it stays in the background.

12. What are your favourite types of blog posts to read?
My favourite flavours are Informative, Inspiring, Resourceful and Out-of-the-Box.

13. How important to you is learning a craft? How do you think we can keep the craft alive?
There are so many and different benefits to learning a craft - any craft or skill! - that I find it difficult even to sum them up or categorise them. What I can say is that learning a craft influences many other life areas as well, from stretching yourself over acknowledging your potential and being amazed by what you can do to making new friends. Creating and the process of learning something new gives a new sense of well-being way beyond perfect material results. As for keeping a craft alive: Add something of your own, of yourself. Once you've understood the very basics, keep your eyes open and see what others do - but don't just copy: Use what you learn by doing it your way, find your own version!

14. If you had to pick any designer to sit down and chat or work with for the day who would it be and why?
[sobbing] Only one designer and one day?? There are many I'd like to get to know as persons and find out what is the "reason behind" their work, what makes them tick, but also work with for experiencing different approaches regarding technique, design and process. Perhaps my number one at the moment is William Morris, whose designs reflected the great social change of the period during which he lived, in many ways similar to the one we're living in now.

15. What’s your favourite colour combination to work with and why?
I like experimenting with new combinations, for instance taking two or three colours that don't seem to go with each other and then figuring out how I can unite them. This, by the way, is something the textile mosaics taught me, simply because often I didn't quite have the piece of fabric I thought I wanted. A colour combination I often come back to is the turquoise/sky-blue range with white and gold or silver - it gives space and light - but I love rainbow and jewel colours or earthy neutrals just as much.

16. Do you have any quilting goals for 2015, what are they?
In 2015 I'm doing A Block a Month on my blog ... with a twist: I (probably) won't offer ready-made patterns until afterwards but instead I want to encourage my readers to design and make their own blocks by showing what I do, including the "ugly" bits of the process where things don't turn out as expected. I have the impression that many people who buy patterns for quilts believe that a designer is a genius who receives a perfect idea from out of the blue and turns it effortlessly and unerringly straight into a beautiful, workable pattern. And if or when they try the same thing themselves and meet obstacles, they think they're not good enough or don't have that certain genius gene and give up. - The goal for myself is to stretch myself, too, and to discover or "invent" each month new combinations of ideas and techniques, both by hand and by machine, to brush up and develop old skills and to learn new ones. I'll leave the details for my Muse to fill in...

17. Do you prewash your quilting fabrics?
Primarily I use reclaimed textiles, so new fabrics need to be washed (as hot as I dare to) if I want to combine them. I starch fabric only before I cut it and only as much of it as I'm going to use at a time.

18. What’s the best quilting tip you ever got?
Take your time and enjoy the process :)

19. Do you have any favourite tools that you love to use?
The quilting tools I bought 20 years ago have deteriorated over the course of time: The cutting mat has become brittle, the rotary cutter blade blunt and I never had a proper quilting ruler in the first place. Yes, I know that it's possible to buy new ones, and at some point I'll probably do, but I also believe in the validity of the Creative Limitations of Now: They lead me in directions I would not have discovered or explored if I had everything I wanted; for instance I would not have tried to cut hexies in stacks with sharp (!) scissors and discovered that it's actually easier than cutting single layers. Neither would I've found out that even on my old cutting mat I can cut one or two layers of fabric with a simple retractable knife (the trick is to keep the knife at a very small angle to the mat and to frequently break off a segment of the blade to refresh the tip) and that a cheap, large standard set of plastic rulers and triangles meets my requirements sufficiently. That said: If I wanted to get into making large quilts, I'd love a new cutting mat, a small and a large rotary cutter with spare blades, two or three different quilting rulers, and a variety of quality needles for my sewing machine ;) Did I mention a powerful, humming sewing machine with a wide arm, a flat sideways extension and a walking foot...?

20. What are you hoping the festive season will bring for you?
Feeling festive about myself, too: That I don't allow myself to be rushed around by any cultural "obligations" or limitations, and that instead I do allow myself and others to be as we are ... so we can enjoy each other's company as well as being who we are. I think this would be a great start into the New Year :)

Thank you Maria for sharing with us!
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