Thursday, 17 August 2017

Happy Sad!

It was a happy sad week last week and I'm only starting to come around to myself again this week now.  We had the awfulness of sending Wilbur to sleep and then I left straight away, for the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, with friends from the Irish Patchwork Society.

A tired looking me posing in front of The Rainbow Rose I designed for the MQI group QAL and quilted by the amazing Tomomi McElwee @ Slaney Handcraft.  We submitted it as a 2 person quilt and it was chosen to represent Ireland in the European Quilt Association gallery called Diversity.
Not having a goods nights sleep since the Thursday before, I was not really in the form for a road trip but I wasn't going to let anyone down and stay home feeling sorry for myself.  Gordon had the week off and stayed around the house spending time with Maggie and Charly, so I didn't have to worry about the two furballs and them missing Wilbur. I knew they'd be distracted by having one of their humans around all the time.   The trip was worth it and I would have enjoyed it better if it had been any other week.  I took over 200 photos and bought some interesting bits and pieces and will share them with you in the next post!

For now, I thought I'd show you some of the process of blocking this quilt and the amazing quilting that Tomomi did for it.  There was quite a bit of preparation involved getting this quilt ready for exhibition.  First I had to wash it, as the blue water erasable marker didn't come out of all the white with just spritzing.  I wasn't going to put this gorgeous thing into the washing machine with out cleaning the machine first, so 2 bottles of Dettol washine machine cleaner and 2 rinse cycles later, I cleaned out the rubber seal on the door and found coins, hair pins, SD and usb sticks!  Then I took a deep breath and popped it into a cold wash with 6-7 colour catchers.

With all the strong colour in this I had a suspicion the red would run but it didn't.  The only thing the colour catcher picked up was the green from the extra wide backing fabric.  That surprised me as I was not expecting that to run at all!  Still the quilt itself was perfect so onto the blocking step!

As we don't have carpets in our house (only on the hall stairs!), I needed something to be able to pin the quilt to, to stretch it out while wet.  I bought 4 packs of these kids playmats from Argos, moved all the furniture and set to smoothing the quilt out and pining every 2 inches or so, all around the quilt, with sturdy glass head pins.  I used a ruler to measure out from one of the seams all the way around with the same measurement to make sure I got the star square and pinned in place.

It took over 2 days to dry and the green blues section was a bit puffy, so I got the steam iron out and hovered over those sections using steam to make them lie flat and a few extra pins, to get the seam straight on.  I think it worked quite well. It certainly made the trimming process that bit easier having a flat straight quilt!

The only thing that was a bother was this room could not be used for the 2 1/2 days.  No dogs allowed and this is normally where they play and spend time with us in the evenings.  They were not impressed and wanted in!  Gordon also had to skip the TV as this is where the telly is.  He happily made do with 4 library books!

Being an animal lover Tomomi added in lots of Irish wildlife to the quilting and I love her to bits for it.  I told her to give it the Tomomi treatment with no help at all for quilting ideas and she certainly did that in spades and came up with so many beautiful motifs.  The quilting makes this quilt and is the reason it got chosen for Birmingham.  You have to look at the back to see the quilting properly and here are some of the animals found in the quilt.


And my favourite!  A Basset Hound that I thinks is the spitting image of our puppy Maggie.
It was hard at times last week being away.  There were times I wanted to just go home and times when I was completely distracted immersed in sewing talk and quilty inspiration.  A happy sad week!
Losing Wilbur was incredibly sad but happy that we had him for as long as did.  He was tons of fun and gave us many laugh out loud moments and many more quiet contented moments.  I found this photo of our holiday last year with us all walking the beach.  It makes me sad that we are all moving on without Wilbur but we are not leaving him behind.  Like me following on at the rear taking photos and letting him take his time, I'm carrying the happy memories with me.  And now I have Maggie in quilt form too!  So, so happy I didn't try and quilt this one myself and let Tomomi do her thing instead. So Happy Sad, but more happy than sad!  Can't ask for more than that.

Linking up with the Friday finishes!

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Goodbye Wilbur!

Yesterday morning we had to say goodbye to Wilbur.  Crikey even writing those words is hard.

We knew this was coming as he was 11 yr 1month and epileptic.  The seizures we had been managing for the last 2 years finally got the better of us and over the weekend he went into a state of continuous seizure and emergency treatment at first seemed to stabilise him wasn't enough.

It's always hard saying goodbye to a dog and Wilbur was our second Basset and third dog we had to send on his way - there is no getting used to it and I now understand for the first time why people say never again.

It hurts and will hurt for a while but I would not trade the 4yrs 5months of his life that he spent with us since we rescued him from Ash Animal Rescue.

He had a big personality and was tons of fun and I'll miss him.

Pets on Quilts 2017So this year we are taking a break from pets on quilts which starts tomorrow over on Lilypad quilting. 

Wilbur always managed to steal the show and we had tons of fun making a special photo shoot with the dogs. It gave us some of my favourite photos of him. 

Please visit the other quilters celebrating their furry friends.

Goodbye pal, thanks for the slobber, the chewed up sofa, half eaten laundry, the thousands of cuddles,  warm welcomes and wagging tail, happy memories and lots of love.

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