Wednesday, 20 August 2014

WIP Wednesday - Blame Craftsy!


There is something about text prints that I love and Oriental text prints are really hard to ignore!  I saw this print and loved the deep blue colour (no idea what it says!) so when I was buying fabric on Crafsty and realised that my shipping costs would be the same if I bought some charm packs and a jelly roll, or added in a fat quarter bundle, I didn't hesitate to pad out my order with this 15 FQ bundle from Robert Kaufman.  There was a choice between a blue or a red colourway and of course I went for blue!


As soon as I got it, I opened it up, admired all the pretty prints and then promptly put it away again.   It's been sitting on a shelf staring at me this past while and of course I keep walking by thinking, I must do something with that bundle!

Then I saw what Susan @ The Bored Zombie did with her similar purchase and then Fat Quarter Shop released a free pattern, Fat Quarter Fizz, using pretty much these colours so that was it.  My mind was decided for me!


The pattern calls for 20 FQ's and so I added some creams from stash and some lightweight denim material, I had been gifted from my Aunt, to make up the numbers.  (Hope this works - not used denim in a quilt before!)  There was some difference between the cuts in my stash and this bundle.  Some of my FQ's were 18 x22 and some 18 x 21 so a bit of lining up and trimming to cut 4 at a time was needed.


What I like about Fat Quarter Shop's free patterns is the clever way they show you to make a quick simple quilt.  In this case using two 6.5" rulers to cut 13" strips.


The 13" strip is then sub cut into a square and a rectangle and you take one large dark square and sew to a small light rectangle and vice versa and cut them up again! So that is what I will be doing this week.


I do have some left overs, some strips and 68 squares 4.5" x 4.5".

They will probably go back on the shelf for now!

Any suggestions for these?



WIP Wednesday at Freshly PiecedLinking up toSew Fresh Quilts

Monday, 18 August 2014

Just Threads Finished Quilt & FOQ

Remember these blocks from last May?


They are the Moda friendship blocks our Thurday group, Just Threads, made as a group project.  There are over 30 blocks in this series and are available on Sylvias Stitches if you want to download them.  We each made blocks using Spring as the theme for fabric selection and chose a navy solid fabric to sash them which worked really well to pull the various blocks together.


We are hoping to raffle it next year for Irish Quilting week but this year we got it made just in time for the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham.  I didn't get to go to the FOQ but got to see the finished quilt on Paula's blog and Suzanne, who attended, kindly took some photos for me.


Suzanne also sent me a photo of Ireland's EQA exhibit, Winter Garden.  Thanks Suzanne!  My mini is the top right called Windy Winter Morning, aka Robin on a branch (I showed a close up of it last week).  I'm right beside Isobel's, Paula's daughter, who made the gorgeous Snowflake on a window. Meg and Claire from Just threads are also included.  Meg's is second left on the top with some frosty trees and Claire's is second right on the bottom row, a lovely snowy house scene!


This was my first attempt at thread painting.  Well first isn't exactly correct.  It took me 4 attempts to get it looking close to right!

During our last Irish Patchwork Society meeting Kate O'Donoghue made a really lovely landscape scene using a zig zag stitch and she urged me to give it a go so I googled  some Robin images for inspiration and looked up thread painting on YouTube.  I ended up using the following to make my mini :

  • feed dogs down & free motion foot on machine
  • top tension reduced from 4 to 2 (advice was to use 0 for metallic threads)
  • 2 threads in the same needle e.g. 2 shades of red/orange for the redbreast
  • lightweight embroidery thread in the bobbin 
  • zigzag stitch set at 2.0 and used moving the fabric horizontally to create straight stitches rather than the usual method of vertical to make zigzag stitches.  This meant stopping and turning quite a bit to keep moving the piece horizontally
  • 2 layers of stitch and tear under the top fabric stretched in an embroidery hoop (much easier to move the piece around too using the hoop)
  • thread painted first then spray basted the 3 layers together (as opposed to first attempt above!)
  • quilted a small loopy stipple pattern all around the Robin and branch to give the effect of a cold, windy, winter morning
  • faced the quilt (as opposed to binding) using this tutorial by The Silly BooDilly


In addition to all the settings above and the practice pieces, I learned to just take a breath and give it a try.  Once I had Robin #4 looking somewhat like I imagined I was nervous to do the loopy quilting - there is always that "I'm going to mess this up" voice talking away in the background.  I drowned it out with the "Be brave, breathe and just do it" talk I gave myself!

Nike would be proud their marketing campaign worked on me!  It wasn't that hard in the end though a little practice was required and I would definitely do this again!

Linking up to the Friday finishes:
 Crazy Mom Quilts and

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Bee Blocks round up for July

Just a quick reminder, voting for Pets on Quilts has opened.  Wilbur has entered for the dog on quilt category at number 33.  If you could spare a vote that would be much appreciated!

Please pop on over to Lily Pad Quilting to see the prizes from the very generous sponsors.  There are lots of prizes and giveaways and a number of ways to enter for them.


I managed to get my Bee blocks off at the last minute in July and have yet to start August's but I thought I'd post an update with links to the tutorials in case any of these grabbed you to make.


Jennifer from A Quarter Inch From The Edge chose one of my favourite blocks for July Global Scrap Bee.  This is my scrappy version of the converging corners block from Film In The Fridge.  I love this block.  When tiled with 3 more you get a really funky cross with cornerstones in between.  Jennifer chose red, aqua and grey as her colour palette.  A brilliant block for using up scraps!


Speaking of scrappy blocks for Modern Irish Bee, Fiona asked us to make string blocks with selvedges along the centre line.  This was a little bit tricky as I don't normally keep my selvedges. A lot of fat quarters in my stash were cut from the other end with no selvedge info, so I had a good look to see what I could find to make 8 squares.  I thought I had hit the jackpot with some Halloween fabric that had the colours depicted with really cute owls but when I sewed them into the blocks I lost most of that cuteness in seam allowance.  I hope these squares scattered through out the top will work for the finished quilt!


Finally for Stash Bee Hive #10, Tabatha asked us for cups and saucers from Kate Spain's In From the Cold pattern for Moda.  The blocks are for a quilt for her little girl who loves tea parties!  I think it's a really lovely idea.  I've been catching up on Once Upon a Time, season 2 and totally taken with the Belle/Rumplestiltskin storyline (love Robert Carlyle as Rumple!) so I was hummimg  Disney's Beauty and the Beast making this one.


I liked the idea of using different fabrics to make the set look like it was made up of separate collections, as Chip, the cup in the Fairytale, is a little damaged and a bit of an odd one out from the set.
I wasn't sure about the saucer fabric, might be a bit too dark, but it will draw the eye in the quilt when it is pieced in so I left it as is and my version of Chip should be more than half way across the Atlantic by now if not there already!

Linking up to
Needle and Thread Thursday

Monday, 11 August 2014

Around the world blog hop

It's Design Wall Monday and my turn on the Around the World Blog Hop.  The blog hop is pretty much a big game of tag ping ponging around the world between quilt bloggers.  I was tagged by Marly from the Netherlands last week to answer a few questions and in turn tag some other bloggers that I follow that make really lovely stuff and I think you would like.

So I'm tagging Tomomi who blogs at Slaney Handcraft and has the most beautiful quilting and fun art quilts on her blog.  I haven't met Tomomi yet in real life but I've seen her work on display!  Hopefully I'll put that right when the Modern Irish Quilters meet up this Autumn.

I'm also tagging Yvonne from Quilting Jet Girl, who I met on the Plum & June Let's Acquainted Blog Hop.  I love Yvonne's exploration of free motion quilting especially quilting in rocket ships here and there on her space quilt.  Please go have a look, it is really fun!

My third person I'm tagging is Kerry from Penny Dog Patchwork.  Kerry is a fellow dog lover, writes patterns for the UK quilt magazines and enters quilt shows. She was picked for Sewvivor and is working on her nautical themed project this week!  I love the work all three share and I'm sure you will too!

What am I working on?
Above photo is the design wall today.  Yes I finally have a proper design wall!  My uncle Tony saw my collapsible flannel sheet strung between a bookcase and a mirror and decided we could do better than than that and made me a 7ft x 4ft wall.  No, I can't reach the top but I do have a step ladder (those that know me, know I'm a shorty at 5ft tall!)

This weekend, Gordon helped me cover it with cotton wadding and the first thing that went up was my un-named triangle quilt.  Not sure what to call this one - I'm open to suggestions if anyone has any!

I also finished up the stipple quilting on mum's Table for 2 quilt , here's a little peak of the front of this quilt.  The quilt back is described in this post from last week.  Just binding and labelling to go!  This was 72" x 90" approx and probably the biggest thing I've quilted so far!


How does my work differ from other of its genre?
This is a tough one to answer as I'm not sure I'm any bit different from all of us, who can't imagine not playing with fabric and colour, and making quilts!  I like all sorts of colour except probably browns and I like a variety of projects from traditional piecing to foundation paper piecing.

I learned to quilt watching Craftsy and YouTube and reading blogs, trying out techniques and tutorials that others have freely shared, so I'm usually not afraid to give something a try!  One of my favourite online teachers is Rachel from Stitched in Color and she has a new class coming up this month all about angles, if you want to check out the details here.

I do like to try new things and recently tried my hand at thread painting for a piece for the Irish Patchwork Society for the EQA Garden display at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham.

Ireland had the winter garden and it took a couple of attempts (4!) to get the Robin the way I wanted him.  (Robins on our side of the Atlantic are round, tubby looking birds that are really fiesty!)


Why do I write/create what I do?
For me quilting is quite different from the day job which is quite left brained, analytical and requires lots of communication.  Quilting allows me to play and zone out, getting lost in shapes and colour and I get a great sense of satisfaction coming up with a design, testing it out, finishing the quilt top, getting it basted, adding the quilting and finally sewing that last stitch in the binding!

I write to share about what I've learned and fun things I've found that may be of interest or solve a problem for someone else making a quilt!  To give back a little bit as I've learned so much from other's online freely sharing their work and experiences.



How does my writing/creating process work?
Sometimes a word pops into my head like Stars or an image like the Robin on a branch above but usually I see something in a book or a magazine that catches my eye and I start playing with shapes and colour.

This 12" block, the London Roads, published in McCalls Quilting, grabbed my attention.  I liked the idea of the arrows but not the colours so I decided to draw it out myself and see what I could come up with.  I usually draw the blocks out with no colour first to see what shapes I can find.

In the end, I thought a warmer brighter feel to this in a large quilt would be fun.  So, I redrafted with a scrappy look and came up with much larger blocks to give a throw sized quilt 70" x 70".





Things often change in practice so yesterday morning I took my design, as many low volume prints for the background and what I could find of pinks and oranges I had on hand and started cutting.


I'm happy with this so far and love having my design wall back to put them up there and stand back and see what works and what doesn't.


 So I think it'll be a busy week cracking on with these two projects.  Linking up to Design Wall Monday and
WIP Wednesday at Freshly PiecedSew Fresh Quilts

Friday, 8 August 2014

Friday Finish - Sorting out the Sewing Space!

Nothing like a good clean up to clear the head and get me back to me the sewing machine.  The kitchen table had become a right mess with works in progress and sketches of plans for quilts.  So last week, I had 2 days off and decided to put them to good use and get my sewing space in order!  Plus Gordon's mum was coming to dinner!


While tidying, I found these gorgeous elephant prints from Karavan by Valori Wells.  This was my first fat quarter bundle.   I bought it on Etsy and it was one of those collections that grabbed me straight away.  It was this elephant, printed in 3 colours, that did it.  Very like my Noteworthy obsession, I just had to buy it!  I used the FQB to make this quilt (My First Modern Quilt pattern by Whipstitch) which was my very first pieced quilt. (Quilt #2!)

Modern Chevron, Double Pinwheel, Log cabin
Pinwheel, Dresden plate, Rail Fence
Double 9 patch, Ohio Star and Card Trick
One of the elephants got chopped up and put back together Picasso style in the double 9 patch and bits of pieces of them show up in the rail fence and log cabin.  What I like about this collection is the hot pink and mustard.  Colours I would never have put together before!

I hadn't the heart to chop up the 3 leftover elephant prints and had put the fabric aside draped over some small cushions (in addition to Noteworthy I do have a cushion obsession too!) and there it sat for over 2 years!


The last time my friend Mary came to visit, she told me to just get on with them and so I did.  I kept it real simple and used them to cover some puffy lumbar cushions I did't like much.  Mary is right sometimes you just have to finish up some things to make way for the new.  I'm an awful magpie and get attracted by shiny things.  I flit from new idea to idea but sometimes the best way to tidy up fabric is to use it!


So elephant prints are de-cluttered from the kitchen and I don't have to feel guilty looking at them unused anymore!  My sewing space is looking spiffy and bright.  Table is clear of clutter and ready for a project!


It feels good to have a clean slate and I can make whatever I feel like working on!  What to take off the to do list next?



I think I'm in the mood for triangles this weekend! This has not gone very far since the Sassy Quilters Triangle-a-Long this year.  I'm determined to not let this one sit for 2 years especially as it is one of my Finsh-A-Long goals so unnamed triangle project you're next!  What are you going to work on this weekend?

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

WIP Wednesday : Table for 2!


There is a new online craft magazine coming out in September called Make Modern.  It's the brainchild of Jane, Lara and Kristy.  I met Jane thought the Plum and June Let's get acquainted blog hop and have been following Kristy's paper piecing link up for quite a while so I was very excited when they accepted my baby quilt design.

The deadline for submission was last week so to test the pattern, I made a larger version for my mum out of 2 layer cakes.  Can you believe in all this time I've never made my mum a proper quilt?

I was surprised by that and determined to put that right.  I can't show you guys the finished quilt tops yet but I can show you my WIP on the back of mum's larger version!


So last Saturday having completed the quilt top mum and I popped out to our Local Quilt Shop, the Limerick Quilt Centre, to buy backing fabric.

I had a plan to let her pick out the backing fabric and I'd piece it straight down the middle, easy peasy!  Of course when we got there mum spotted these panels from the same range as the Layer Cakes I had used called Table for Two and really liked them. The panel has 8 prints using these 2 designs.

Trying to figure out how much fabric I'd need for a quilt approx 72" x 90"finished and how to piece in the panel was tricky but luckily Maeve the shop owner arrived and worked it all out for me in a heartbeat!   Then of course mum and Maeve realised they knew each other and came from the same part of town so we were there a while!


So this is the back!  Originally when mum picked out the panel I thought about having it going down the back of the quilt off centre but that would have been expensive.  Turned out we had just enough width of fabric to piece on either side of the panel going horizontally and this was the last of the bolt too!  Just made it!


To baste a quilt this size I had to clear the floor and move all the furniture up to one end.  Amazing how much stuff you can have in one living room!



Just enough room to fit with a few inches for me to work my way around it with the masking tape!

My shadow Charly was sent outside to guard the garden while I got on with the important job of pin basting through all the layers.  It took a bit of time and I didn't notice until the quilt was done that it had started to rain.  Sorry Charly, don't think I'm in her good books today!

Linking up to
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sew Fresh Quilts
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