Thursday, 14 July 2016

Wandering Camera!

Things have been busy!  I'll have more posts soon on the numerous exhibitions that have been on in Limerick but the big news is there is a new puppy in the house!  This is Maggie, another Basset Hound!

1.Sleepyhead 2. Where did that small thing come from? 3. Eating Charly's collar  4.  Big smiles - first day home!
5. This is what I have to look forward to... 6. Pounce! 7.  White sharp nails - not enough calcium in early weeks!  8. Mine!
9. Are step ladders edible?  10.  Cuteness overload 11. Still mine!

I'm supposed to be decorating the front room and the hall this week but my back has given out on me so its spending lots of time in the garden with the pups!

Colours from the Garden!

Quilting wise not much new to report on the making front but I did buy some new fabric to add to the rainbow stash!  Think I need another Ikea trolley!

Rainbow of colours from Ruth's stash! (Did buy some grey toned fabrics to try out..)

Wilbur's not too sure about the little intruder so we're giving him lots of treats and making a big fuss of him.  Charly on the other hand is over the moon to have a little thing to boss about!

Wilbur looking for a spot to bury a bone in the garden.  Charly - who needs a bone when you have ball?
Hair growing back after MRI - way nicer to pet him on the head now!

Be back with photos of Evolution, Distance, River of Dreams and a trip I took to MountMellick to see Ethelda Ellis's exhibit.  Yup, not a lot of making but still a lot of quilty things going on here!  Linking up to

Camera And Photography Linky Party

Monday, 4 July 2016

Essential sewing tool - a camera!

I don't know what it is about the process of making but sometimes you can get tunnel vision in trying to complete a block and when this happens, somehow, I just can't seem to see what is right in front of me. It's only when I go to upload a photo for the blog, that I properly see what I've made.  Sometimes it works our brilliantly and I get perfect points;

but most of the time its because I've gone and done something daft like this:

For the second time last week, I managed to piece some green triangles in the wrong way around!  I didn't notice I had one of the star points made into a mountain instead of a star in this Stash Bee block until I was writing my stash bee post.  It was a case of run to the hall table, take back the parcel, rip it open and start unpicking again!

Of course when I ripped it apart I poked a hole in the white with my seam ripper and had to re-cut and re-sew quite a bit of the block!  Doh!  That's what I get for rushing.

My camera came in really handy on Saturday too as I was out in the Limerick Quilt Centre buying fabric for Yvonne's Snowflake Shimmer Quilt-A-Long.  I wanted a subtle kind of a snowflake quilt so was going for bright white, a frosty blue and a warm grey.  I thought Kona Ash might be too dark so picked shadow and blueberry.

The shop didn't have these but did have Lake and Silver.  In the shop light Silver looked ok but in B&W on the back of the camera it looked far too similar to work.

So its back to the Shadow again!  The QAL has just started and its fabric selection in the first week so I have to get some ordered!  And the silver?  I have plans for that for another Christmas type quilt ... and I may yet go with Ash.  Decisions, decisions.

So after all that fabric selection and unpicking of green HST's it was nice to have a random improv style block to make for Stash Bee July!

This HST block is made by randomly selecting squares, making HST, putting them in a bag (I used a big Ikea basket bag to make sure I didn't peek!), randomly pulling HST out and sewing them together - only rule was one of the triangles had to have a pop of colour suitable for a boys quilt.  I picked green - I was on a roll at that point with green, right?  This block is impossible to sew things in upside down, well you can but it doesn't matter!

Thankfully it wasn't all unpicking for me with this one -back to perfect points - at least in the centre section anyway!  Taking the small victories when they come.

Wilbur on the other hand had enough of me messing about with the camera and the seam ripper!   It might look like he was keeping me company while catching up with Stash Bee but no, he strategically placed himself between my machine and the ironing board and had a great chat with me,  telling me, via whistles, whines and Mutley mutterings it was time for a break and our evening walk!  He also woke me up yesterday morning before 7 to go outside and get his morning tablet for epilepsy (with Philadephia cream cheese!)  Better than an alarm clock. No snooze button though ...

Friday, 1 July 2016

To Border or Not to Border!

That question has new meaning on this green and rainy island of ours after last weeks surprise vote on Brexit.  I am doing my best to think positively and reminding myself that it must be worse for all those who voted to stay in but are now on the way out of the EU. There's a lot of work ahead to protect the peace process here now that we are not all part of the same bigger vision, despite Northern Ireland voting to stay in.  Here's hoping sanity reigns at some point and the open border stays put!

While I can't do much about the geographical border, I can make some decisions on my quilt top.  All along I had intended my Rainbow Rose quilt to be floating in the wide open space of the invisible background fabric borders.  The borders are there but you don't really notice them!  Then I read on the blog of someone making this one block quilt, what was coming next – applique maybe?   borders2

Quite a few people had gotten on with assembling the centre section, I thought that might happen so was sure to add in the bit about rotating the star for complimentary colours if they wished, just in case everyone forged ahead!  Some did rotate the star and some didn’t – depending on the fabric choices it really looked better one way in one block and the another in the next block.  It has been really fun seeing how different they all are turning out.

Feeling that the last post I was writing might be a little bit light in terms of instructions, just assembly and borders, last Thursday, while mum was visiting and hogging the telly to watch Emmerdale, I pulled up inkscape and got to playing.  I had two ideas, a flourish like in calligraphy and some Orla Kiely inspired gradient coloured petals.  This was the end result!

I’m the only one making the larger sized quilt out of 10” squares, most are making the 40” baby quilt version out of 5” squares.  As the border is a little thinner on the larger size, I wanted to make sure the border ideas would fit both just in case someone out there might be doing the same as me or someone in the future comes back to this to make it!  So on Friday evening I made the templates in two sizes!

And on Sunday morning I made the pieces to test the against the quilt!  Now I’m seriously thinking of adding the applique!  I’m stuck between the hexagon flourish or the circle with petals.  That last one seems to add movement and make the block spin and seems very appropriate for the week that has been in it!

What do you think? Flourish or petals?

I quite like this one but the fussy cut circle will have to change.  All I read when I look at it is Air Conditioning!

So while I'm deliberating my choices, hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!
Linking up to Modern Quilters Ireland.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Design wall Monday - Catching up with the Rainbow Rose!

I need a bigger design wall!  So far my 80" version of the Rainbow Rose is looking like this! There are pinks hiding behind the purples and the yellows are a bit squished trying to fit it all on the wall!  Standing as far back as I could in the kitchen this was all I could fit in the photo this morning - might have to go wider than 18mm on the lens to get it all in!

I'm happy with the blues but there is still one triangle in the blue green that is sticking out to me, overall though I'm feeling the rainbow is working so just need to get to sewing it up now to catch up.
I've had to leave it there on the wall to get on with making up the samples for the border options for this weeks post on Wednesday.  This involved drawing up templates in 2 sizes for some optional applique and fiddling on the computer to get them in a PDF format!  It always amazes me how you can lose hours of your life messing about with software!

Looking forward to sharing them and releasing this weeks post on Wednesday on assembly.  We will also have our final look at the colour wheel - I have some very cool quilt tops from Paula Rafferty to share as our last colour exploration!  See you on Wednesday over on the Modern Quilters Ireland Blog?

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Rainbow Rose–Thanks to all Quilting–A–Long!

Thanks a million guys to all who are quilting a long with the Rainbow Rose QAL I’ve been hosting over on the Modern Quilters Ireland Blog.  We are onto week 4 now which is piecing the centre star and next week is assembling it all together and adding borders.  It has flown by!  Prizes are still up for grabs for any progress made on the QAL so it’s not too late to join in if anyone fancies a 40” baby quilt or 80” lap quilt!

Where am I with the making of the 72” block for the 80” quilt – ammmm just about onto week 3 now so 1 week behind!  My green to blue from week 2 needs a little bit of work so major catching up to do this week.  It is the only thing on my table (embroidery machines all packed away, 44 quilts for Evolutions exhibition in July all photographed and processed!)  and now I am ready to get piecing!

Even though I had a lot of the blog posts prepared in advance, it has still taken quite a bit of time to double check dimensions, edit, add a bit more, edit again, make visuals, chase up photos for prizes, add them in, check links and figure out how to use inklinkz!  I did get the timezone wrong on the first post and it ended a few hours too early as it thought I was in Africa not Ireland!   Oops!  Sorry to all who missed out on the first link up because of that!

On a documentary about writing I saw Jeffrey Archer interviewed and he said for each book he writes 13 revisions!  I didn’t do anywhere near that many revisions but I really did enjoy pulling in the info on the colour wheel into the blog posts and as Leanne mentioned in a comment on blogging, seeing the link ups appear really gives you a boost and makes you feel like happy dancing!  Letting those that won the prizes of fat quarters was great fun too!

hot cold 2

This big version of the Rainbow Rose I’m making is for myself to keep  and like everyone else who is quilting a long, I couldn’t resist playing around with the shapes. Using just the centre pieces makes this weird shape and it could make for a fun quilt block.  The corner pieces on their own make another nice block and I’m sure this must exist as a traditional block somewhere!


I had a bit of fun with the colouring and like this last version as a bee block maybe?  I’m itching to do a Black & White Quilt and these could be fun to play with!

But enough playing for one week – down to the serious business of making from here on in!

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Embroidery machines make great quilt labels!

Have you ever seen the back of Tula Pink’s quilts?  She sold some last year on her blog and showed the quilt labels she used to name and sign them.  One was an aerosol can with fancy writing on the label of the can, naming the quilt.  They were really amazing and I realised, how bad a job I do on my quilt labels.  From time to time, I just write on the back with a micro fine pen!  One quilt, I signed with quilt writing on the front, in each of the 4 corners.  It’s legible to me!  This weekend, getting the embroidery machine I was given at the Cork IPS (Irish Patchwork Society) meeting going, I thought I need to do a better job labeling my quilts. 

G is a computer engineer and a bit of a hoarder – as such it was no trouble to find an old laptop with Windows XP on it and I got the driver installed so the laptop could finally talk to the little Huskystar EM10.  Using some Gutermann rayon thread that I had on hand, I downloaded some patterns I had purchased on sale from Urban Threads and stitched them out.  This little machine is a doddle to use and the hoop firmly holds the stabiliser and fabric with no shifting.  No thread breakage at all and you can walk away and let it do its thing.  The only issue is, from time to time, a faulty sensor on the presser foot gives an error.  I cleaned the machine, oiled it and released the lever and it started up again!


I did get a stitch error on the snowflake when I ran out of bobbin thread and missed sending the machine back a few steps when it restarted – can you spot the error in the stitching?  Totally my fault!


Then I did got a bit ambitious and tried a really dense pattern – I think this is really meant to be a bigger pattern – it has over 20,000 stitches and in a 4” space, this means a lot of thread.  It didn’t really like this much and thread breakage ensued but it got there in the end.  I can see these as really cool as pockets on a t-shirt, used as an embellishment for a bag or covers of notebooks as well as labels!

Saturday morning was pretty much taken up by all of this and when G saw my progress he asked if using the little machine had taught me anything I could apply to my own H600e – aka she who must not be named.  (If I named her she would be Hideous Heidi the Husqvarna, temperment like a Viking warrior!)  So while in town with mum looking for wedding presents, I just happened to pop into Hickeys, a haberdashery shop in the city centre.


I thought I might buy some more Gutermann thread, as the morning’s session has left me with very little on the spool.  I was shocked to hear they don’t carry it anymore!  They do have lots of hand embroidery threads so that’s a good sign!  I like hand embroidery but if I tried that for quilt labels none would ever be finished!  I did leave with a new oil cloth for the kitchen table though!

Pondering machined embroidery labels for my quilts while mum was oohing over a beautiful white stand up mirror, I told her I’d be back in a sec and wandered up to Lena’s who sell sewing machines, do custom embroidery and are the only place in town I can get Debbie Bliss yarn.  There was queue.  I was a little bit more than a second but I did pick up some Royal Rayon thread in these gorgeous colours!  Not cheap at 4.95 a spool!


So new thread, new bobbin case and old machine I gave she who must not be named another go!  The hoop size is much bigger about 8” x 11”.  The software is different too and runs off my windows cheapo tablet from Walmart, another plus!  It was getting a bit crowded on the kitchen table at this stage!


The software with the H600e will resize, allow you to add lettering, combine motifs and delete elements but doesn’t mirror and and you can’t precisely position something in the hoop too easily.  The little EM10 will mirror and is easy to position but not too easy to customise a pattern.    The EM10 follows the pattern on the screen so you can see how much is left.  The H600e instead gives you the number of stitiches done and shows 1 layer at a time.  Why you pay a fortune for an embroidery machine and the software from the same company is so different is beyond me but these are considered bottom level entry machines so maybe the 2000-3000 Euro machines have something different?


This wolf from Urban Threads reminds me of Game of Thrones and epic episode this week with Jon Snow, so I tried it out in the blue threads I bought (original pattern uses grey & black!)


 It’s fun watching it stitch out, kind of like waiting for a polaroid photo to appear.  Each new colour of stitching really adds to the effect.  I like this guy so much I think I’m going to hang him on the wall for decoration!


I learned something new.  My machine loves this Royal thread!  Not one breakage – no beep beep beep except when bobbin is about to run out – wish all machines had that sensor!

I kept trying to make this machine free motion quilt and had some success with Aurifil, but could never really get past the tension issues without adjusting the bobbin and you are not meant to do that with this beastie.  It seems all her short life, she only ever wanted to be an embroidery machine and have Royal Rayon for dinner.


So the weekend kind of got away from me!  The baby quilt I could have been making, the quilts I should have been basting and the QAL catching up didn’t quite happen but I did get some labels made.


A generic pretty label and those suitable for my dog quilt, camera inspired quilt and christmas quilt I am planning in my head!  I’ve left room to add the quilt name and date when I get to that stage.  Now I just have to find a home for the little EM10.  It’s not thread fussy and doesn’t pull in the hoop and is really easy to use.  She has a name – I’m calling her Happy Henrietta!  Glad she got diverted my way on her way to the dump!

All in a weekend's work!

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

So... the class went well!

Last Saturday I had my first class running a workshop with the Southern Branch of the Irish Patchwork Society in Cork!

I was nervous enough about it as I had done demonstrations at our own branch but never before developed a class, class materials and created a lesson plan!  There was a lot of work in it but I'm really glad now it's happened that I took on this challenge.  Having written and published 2 patterns helped a lot in making the block directions.  Writing practice weekly on the blog here has left me happy enough to just start writing on a blank page and I filled up 18 pages about ways to play with traditional blocks in no time.  At the end of the process I had 3 quilt patterns and 14 block patterns!

Editing it was more work than the writing and I am very grateful for my blogging friends who proof read and pattern tested for me.  Thanks again to Serena, Anja, Abigail and Sandra!  I had really good advice from Paula Rafferty who has been teaching for many years.  The most valuable thing she told me was to have lots of step outs for each block showing how it is put together.    I chose 4-5 blocks out of the 14 and made step by step samples and these were better than the written instructions on the day!

It was a really fun day out starting with the branch meeting and a bit of shopping at the Patchwork Plus pop up shop.  Moya's shop had been to our own branch the night before in Limerick and I had bought some half metres of fabric and seeing it all on display again, I tried very hard but eventually gave in and bought a little bit more!  Though in my defence I did need to replace that 6 1/2" square ruler that I had chipped the corner off so, had to be done!

The branch meeting space is lovely and light in the hall of the Sacred Heart Church on the Western road in Cork.  I had great fun at the meeting socialising an hour before the meeting started, with tea and homemade buns!  Sandra @Sew of Course popped in to say hello and it was brilliant to meet her  and thank her in person for all her help proof reading and checking measurements on the class materials I had prepared!

At the end of the meeting, I gave a talk on Modern Quilting to the branch and after lunch, 13 of the ladies stayed on to do the workshop, Traditional Blocks Made Modern.

Between the group, 5 different blocks were made in the space of the afternoon!  Some very speedy sewers.  As we only had an afternoon for the workshop, I had sent on the dimensions to pre-cut fabric in advance and that helped immensely.  We made the Modern Economy, Offset Log Cabin, Wonky Star, Modern Churn Dash and I think the block that people liked the most was the Wonky Bento Box block.

Everyone's fabric choices were so different.  It was really brilliant towards the end of the day to see the blocks being added to the design wall, one by one.

I had serious fabric envy on the day looking at the ombre effect fat quarters Moya was using.  I love her choice of grey as the accent colour in the wonky bento blocks too!

And her very creative arrangement of the blocks.  Can't you just see a whole quilt made with these?

The design wall was a big hit!  I bought this on Massdrop last year thinking it could come in handy for photographing small quilts but this was its first proper outing and it was brilliantly easy to use!

This is the largest size 72" x 72" but it folds up into a small black bag about a foot long.  Clipping the support bars onto the frame is the hardest part, as you need a bit of finger strength to get them to pop in place!  Erin helped and we had it assembled in about 5 minutes, even less to take it down!

I think it really helped to close the class on a high note as we all got to see how productive everyone was on the day. And also to see how the different fabrics people were working with looked in the block designs.  Strangely I found myself pulled to the warm traditional creamy browns!

Oh, and I came home with an embroidery machine too!

They are a very generous bunch in the Cork branch.  Unwanted fabric was donated to whomever wanted it and one lady offered up 2 unwanted embroidery machines, older models that would only run on Windows XP.  I said if no one else from the branch claims it I'll take it.

I've spent the last two nights trying to get it running on windows 7, even found instructions on the net to make it work but for some reason the software will work but the driver for the machine is missing and the software can't detect when the machine is plugged in.  So I bugged Gordon to borrow an XP machine and after a long time looking at the swirly circle, it installed and recognises the machine, a Husqvarna Viking EM10.  Hoping to play with it tonight and stitch something out!

No idea what to do with it after that - just couldn't bear to see it unloved or on its way to dump!  So all that has left me a week behind my own QAL!  Instructions are up on Modern Quilters Ireland for week 3 - piecing the corners!  It's not too late to join if you like.  You can link up any progress on the Rainbow Rose block to win a prize of fat quarters.  Thanks a million to all of you are Quilting-a-Long.  It's brilliant to see all the gorgeous fabric pulls!  I'll be catching up this week on piecing the middles and getting cracking on the corners!  Links to the blog posts are in the tab above called Quilt-A-Long or on the Modern Quilters Ireland Blog

Linking up to Let's Bee Social!
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