Thursday, June 30, 2011

I'm Back!

Did you miss me, my friends? I suspect not! I've been off on a little break with my family - and it was really lovely to catch up with them. We visited my parents and caught up with my siblings and gorgeous niece and nephew and while I was there I even got to visit a very special person - my friend's brand new baby boy. He was so adorable! While I was there I talked to N about the quilt she wants me to make for him and I think that the Kaleidoscope quilt might just work out perfectly!

I am a little behind on this quiltalong having been away but catching up as quickly as I can. When I got back today I got out my cutter and got to it and ended up with this little pile of triangles:

I now need to cut my white solid (well, I need to go buy some first!) and play around on my design wall/bed/floor to get it working and flowing. Then its time to crank up the machine for Linksome chain piecing and hopefully by next week I'll have caught up with the group!

The surprise of the week was our visit to Johnstown Castle in Co. Wexford which is home to an Agricultural Museum and Famine Exhibition. I was not terribly excited about going to this museum but thought it might be fun for the kids. Much to my total surprise, it was really really interesting and we all really enjoyed it - the kids adored the old farm equipment! A lot of the exhibitions were social history centred and there was a lovely exhibit of old country furniture upstairs - including some replica quilts. But the star of the show for me was this unfinished Famine Quilt which was part of the Famine Exhibition.

Isn't it amazing? Its paper pieced and as you can see, the newspapers date back to 1847.

I can't believe the tiny stitches, the tiny hexagons, and how much time and work this must have taken! I also just love the colours and how this pattern was put together. And all by hand...

It was made by a lady called Mary Stedmond who lived in Co. Wexford and its quite amazing to think that something this beautiful came out of such a terrible period in Irish history. Seeing as how I was blown away by it, I thought some of you might be interested to see it!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Dreams Quilt

The Summer Dreams quilt is finished! Another summer sewing list item done :-)

This is a commissioned quilt for a Christening gift for a baby girl. It is based on my Sophie's Dreams quilt, using the same simple square pattern but with a slightly different selection of fabrics. I did stick with a similar colour palette though. I think for little girls the red and green combo is a good one. It avoids too much pink but is still girlie and pretty - but I did get some pink in there (of course!), especially some stronger pink values.

The backing is a pretty cream fabric with a small floral print with reds, pinks, and greens which I found in my local fabric shop. (They stock it in a number of colours and I love it, its a great backing/lining fabric). I appliqued the baby's name on the centre of the backing using raw edge applique - you can see the first few letters here. I like to make the letters a little wonky to match the wonky lines of the quilting.

Its quilted using the same wonky straight line method I used for the original Sophie's Dreams quilt, but I spaced the lines a little further apart this time. I do like the texture they give. This quilt fought me all the way when I was quilting it. I originally tried to do alternate straight & wavy lines but 5 lines in, it really wasn't working and I had to unpick all the rows :-( Even on the straight lines, nothing really flowed, I don't know why! Maybe because I took so long to baste it - it was on the floor for 3 nights because of my work schedule and I think that the fabric loosened out - the masking tape I used to hold the backing taut on the floor had come away in a few places but because I was almost done I didn't think much of it at the time, but I could feel it when it came to quilting.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with this one and I hope that it is well received by baby's mammy and J who ordered it.

Quilt Stats:

Name: Summer Dreams
Made For: Commissioned quilt for J - a Christening gift for her niece M
Fabric: A mix from my stash including Riley Blake's Rainy Days & Mondays and Bloom & Grow, Michael Miller Ta Dot, Ann Kelle Remix & Urban Zoologie, Alexander Henry Willow Wren. Momo's Freebird, Laurie Wisbrun's Tufted Tweets, Amy Schimler's On A Whim II (Owls & Cats) and lots more
Batting: Warm & White
Size: 59" x 51" approx
Quilting: Wonky straight lines
Pattern: Simple 7.5" squares

I'm officially on my holidays now so I think that posting might be very sporadic for the next couple of weeks as I spend a little quality time with the kids :-) But I will be posting an update on my Summer Sewing project the first week of July so if you linked up in May, get your posts ready for the mid-term review!! I can't wait to see what you've gotten done from your lists :-) You can also join in at that point if you want! I also have a new button for it if you want to grab it.

FairyFace Designs

I'm also linking this up to Lily's Quilts Fresh Sewing Day - it's my fave make of June!

Fresh Sewing Day

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Long Overdue WIP Wednesday!

It's been 3 weeks since I posted a WIP Wednesday update. Despite it still being busy, despite evening games of football with the kids, a constant battle against the creeping intrusion of the sandpit into my kitchen, children who can't go to sleep until it gets dark at 10:30pm and a little evening away with my lovely hubbie at the weekend, I still managed to get lots done this week. I kind of suprised myself! So here goes:

Completed this week:

Box pouch and coin purse:

I'm going to make a couple more of these for my kid's preschool teachers for next week, they were so easy to make and so lovely finished! This project also got my sewing mojo back in action - nothing like a quick, easy and fun project to inspire!

Work in Progress:

All of a sudden I have a lot going on. I am at basting stage with this commissioned quilt based on my previous "Sophie's Dreams" quilt. Thanks to everyone for their suggestions on names! I was going to name it after the little girl it's being made for but decided to go with "Summer Dreams" instead. After seeing how Becky quilted her Little Man quilt and how gorgeous it turned out, I think I might just steal that idea for quilting this one - hope you don't mind Becky? I reckon it will really work with this quilt!

I've finally got back to my Skittles quilt and have all the fabric cut for the quilt top. I also got the first 6 blocks made up:

This pattern uses the Stack n Slash method. At first, I got really confused sewing up the strips and was convinced I hadn't organised them correctly or had mixed up my layers of strips. Then about 1/3 of the way through, I suddenly "got" it and once I knew what I was doing, it was a breeze and I chain pieced the rest at top speed. I didn't manage to trim these blocks yet so the photo is a little messy, but you get the idea. There's another 3 fabrics to make up the next 6 blocks and then I need to make up another 12 the same as the first 12. I'm very excited about this one now.

I've another very important project going on which I'll tell you more about in a few weeks (*nothing like a bit of mystery, eh??*)

I finally got the blue fabrics I bought for Jennifer's Rainbow Charm swap in the post this evening - need to decide which one to use, cut it up and get back in the post before the end of the week. No pressure!!

I signed up for Elizabeth's Kaleidoscope Quiltalong (not being at all busy of course!)

Lastly, I signed up for Cindy's Japanese import fabric swap which is the first Irish fabric swap I've seen hosted - and I'm really excited about it. Its also open to people in the UK - I can't wait to receive my fabric. I'm always admiring the Japanese fabrics but find them a little pricey. This is such a great way to start a little stash of Japanese fabrics!

Fluffy Sheep Quilting

Ok - lots there despite the fact that I'm supposed to be taking it a bit easier! I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced with some super talented ladies!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Great new fabric swap!

My friend Cindy has just posted a great new fabric swap over on her blog, Fluffy Sheep Quilting! It's a Japanese import fabric charm swap and I'm really excited about it :-)

Fluffy Sheep Quilting

It's open to Irish and UK based peeps so click on the button above to get over there and sign up fast!!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Birthdays All Round.....

It's been a week of birthdays here! There are 6 birthdays in our family in June, and 4 of them were this last week, including my son, my sister and myself. So I decided today to make a little pressie for my sister using this gorgeous Tanya Whelan fabric that my friend H bought me a little while ago.

I used this great tutorial at The Plaid Scottie that I found through Elizabeth and it was really a very straightforward make - even though I was, as always, afraid of getting the zip ends all messy. It takes only 2 pieces of 8" x 10" fabric, the same of lining fabric, a zip and some twill tape. Oh, and interfacing of course! But for a simple, gorgeous little bag its a winner and I'll definitely make more of these, I can see lots of use for them. Even the zip was easy!

The outer fabric is Darla Rosie Dot in Red (although I would see the colour more as a cerise pink) and the lining is Darla Rose on a pale blue background. I love Tanya Whelan fabrics and this is so girlie - its perfect for a makeup bag.

Then, when I had made it I felt it was a bit lonely - so I decided it needed a little purse to go with it - something that would work for coins, or some lipstick & eyeshadow - just a little handbag purse. I looked at the coin purse pattern in the Amy Butler Style Stitches book, but, to be honest, wanted something quick and easy and those patterns tend to be over complicated. So I cut a couple of 6" squares, made a small pleat and kind of improvised as I went along. I had a bit of a panic when it came to sewing up the side seams, but it turned out ok. I lined it with the same fabric as the pouch and its pretty much done, except I need to do a tiny bit of hand sewing to close the lining at the zip ends.

Cerise rose coin purse zip

I think the two of them make a nice pair and I hope you like them M, if you're reading!

Even though I'm supposed to be working from my stash only at the moment and not buying new fabric, I was browsing through the shelf of fat quarters in a little city centre craft shop yesterday and, to my total surprise, came across these:

They are Penny Lane by Riley Blake fabrics and I've never before seen Riley Blake fabrics sold in any shop here in Cork! I just couldn't resist them, it being my birthday, so I bought them - aren't they pretty? I also was very naughty (as I would tell my kids!) and did a little internet shopping on Friday evening (I felt I deserved a little extra present!!). I bought some FQ bundles - 1001 Peeps by Lizzie House in 2 different colourways, this blue and also in dusk/orange:

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

And Just Wing It by Momo for Moda, also in 2 of the colourways, this lovely pink and the blue also.

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

I just can't wait for these to arrive - lots of plans are flying around in my head for what to do with them!!

I'm linking this to {Sew} Modern Monday and Fabric Tuesday as well as some other lovey blogs - links in my sidebar -->

Friday, June 10, 2011

Another finished quilt top

I managed to get finished today this quilt top which is for a commissioned quilt. Its based on my previous "Sophie's Dreams" quilt, using a similar colour palette but with a different colour balance and many different fabric prints. I'm happy with how its turning out :-) I'm hoping to get the baby girl's name appliqued on the backing and get it basted tonight so that I can start quilting it on Sunday after picking up some natural cotton thread tomorrow.

Not sure what I'm going to call this one - I don't want to call it Sophie's Dreams 2! Any ideas?

I also decided to join up with Elizabeth's Kaleidoscope Quiltalong which I'm really excited about!

These are the fabrics I have picked - I'm going to do the baby size quilt for a little boy.

What do you think? I love them!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Missing in Action

It's been more than a week since I last posted.....can't quite believe that! I've definitely been missing in action this week. Not only have I not posted, but I've barely been online, have only been able to read a small number of blog posts and have done only a small amount of sewing. And I'm afraid that, for the next few weeks, that's probably going to continue although I hope not to the same extent - I should, at least, be able to read my favourite blogs! This time of year is pretty much my busiest of the whole year in work, and it doesn't ease off until mid to late July. That means increased hours, increased stress and - definitely - increased tiredness. Plus, with the long evenings, I want to be able to spend time out in the garden with the kids, and they're definitely going to bed much later these days, which means my evening sewing time is much reduced. So I hope you'll understand if I'm not around as much as usual and bear with me - I have no doubt I'll be back to my usual self by the end of the summer. So please - don't go anywhere, I'm here, I'm just a little quieter than usual!!

What I was doing this week, in between planning & hosting my little man's 5th birthday party this weekend, was catching up on some customer orders which I have outstanding. One was a sweet baby buggy blanket, and this little tag comforter:

The other fun project I finished was some pillow cases/cushion covers for Anna. These are to coordinate with
the quilts I made her earlier in the year. They measure 50cm x 50cm and I'm pretty happy with them. I found it a little funny working in metric, having gotten really used to working in inches, but I soon figured it out!

There are two to match the PictureBox quilt:

and two more to match the Sophie's Dreams quilt:

After making these and the Pinwheels pillow for my daughter E I'm suddenly addicted to cushions (or pillows as my non-Irish friends call them) and when I was ordering the fabric for Jennifer's Rainbow Charm swap I ordered a small amount of Bliss yardage to make some fresh cushions for my sofa to match my Bliss charm quilt. Can't wait for that to arrive!

Rainbow Charm Swap

I'm really excited about this swap. My colour is blue and over the weekend I was guilty of totally overthinking it - getting freaked out about shades of colour and how badly colours appear on screen - so, unable to tell if a particular fabric was blue or teal or aqua or navy.....and, obviously, it all assumed a significance beyond a few fabric charms in my little brain :-) After all the angst, today I decided to pop into the city and visit the only store that carries designer fabric here in Cork (and that's confined to a limited selection of Amy Butler prints and a small range of Tanya Whelan - both double the price I can buy it for online, of course!) in order to properly see the colour values. But the city marathon was on today (its a public holiday here) and of course, it was closed when I got there. Sigh. So I ordered two different blue fabrics online today and can't wait to get them to see which I'm going to use! One I have already and love but the print is a tiny bit bigger than I wanted. The other I thought looked about perfect for what I was searching for but I need to see what the colour is like. (See what I mean, TOTALLY overthinking it!!!!)

Ok, so that's been my week. I hope you stick around, and don't mind too much if I slow down a little over the summer - I promise I'll do my best to keep in touch!

I'm linking this to Fabric Tuesday, Sew Cute Tuesday and some other great blogs... Check out my links on the sidebar!!