Monday, October 31, 2011

A little bit of this, a little bit of that...

Happy Halloween everyone! I hop you have been out with your kids and managed to scare the neighbours into giving the kids some chocolate for you to eat when they're in bed put away and keep for them for another day so they won't be sick.

My kids are at a little post trick-or-treat party in their friends' house so I thought I'd take advantage of the peace and quiet to share some pics from my weekend with you! No sewing, not a bit (eek!) but thanks to everyone's suggestions for where my mojo might have been hiding. I've come to the conclusion that it has emigrated to a less busy and stressed climate but I think it might be on the way back after a weekend of chilling out with my family and meeting some friends.

So what did I do? Well, a lot of this:

And a little bit of that:

I have the back done on my cardi and am half way up one side (sitting by my dad's roaring fire is very conducive to knitting). Its not brilliant, my tension is way too loose but I am enjoying it and hopefully it will be wearable at the end. The yarn is a cotton/bamboo mix and just divine to knit with.

The crochet is half a motif from this floating wrap pattern:

                                                                      Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Well, its supposed to be a half circle, I know its not but hoping that it will be ok when I put them all together and join them.

When I was pulling those projects out to take some pics right beside the patio doors today to get the best of what little light there was, I found these little cuties at the bottom of my knitting bag. Some crochet coasters I made a while back - must make some more. The pattern is from The Yvestown Blog. As you can see, consistency of tension is not my strong point! I'm not sure what the yarn is, its definitely some type of wool as I know I could only make 2 before I started feeling itchy (I'm slightly allergic to wool - not dreadful but I couldn't knit a full garment with it which is awful, as I love working with natural yarns but have had to stop.)

I also got to meet up with my friend Fi of Patchwork Delights fame and we managed to chat about quilting despite the active participation of our kids in the conversation :-)  Fi has started to sell 100% Egyptian cotton thread which she has sourced in Greece and I picked up two spools from her to try out.

Aren't they gorgeous? And at €5 for 1000yds, great value! She has some lovely colours available so if you're interested, pop over to her Etsy supplies page Threads2000 and have a look.

I also popped into IKEA to pick up some fabric on our way home. I got two 3metre bolts primarily for use as backing fabric for kids quilts - and am really pleased with these.

I've used other prints in the same fabric quality and they are perfect for quilt backing. And at a great price - €6.99 per bolt. Fantastic!

All in all, a great weekend! Hope yours was too - enjoy the spooky celebrations :-)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Bloggers Quilt Festival Quilt

Hi and welcome to everyone visiting from the Blogger's Quilt Festival! I hope you enjoy looking around my little blog and come back and visit again soon. My finished quilts are in the tab at the top of the page if you want to see some more of my projects!

This autumn, I don't have a new quilt reveal to show you so I thought I would share one of my favourite quilts from the last few months with you.

This is my Across the Sea quilt - from the quiltalong I hosted with my good friend Jennifer. This was the first quiltalong I've hosted and I really enjoyed it and was so thrilled to see everyone's interpretation of our pattern.What makes this quilt even more special is that it is made for my new niece and is ready to be delivered next weekend at her Christening.

Jennifer designed the front of this quilt - the cross blocks are simple and striking and the scrappy border really ties it together, I love it!

I designed a "floating crosses" back pattern which lines up with the front crosses to make quilting it even easier.

My quilt was made mostly with some FQs from "Just Wing It" by Momo for Moda, with some additional fabrics added in to vary the colour palette. I love how colourful it is, and that is is nice and girlie without being too pink!

I free motion quilted it myself with a meandering stipple.

And its bound in a lovely small scale red and pink apple print. Perfect!

I do love this quilt and hope you do too. If you're interested in making it, the instructions are all available in the Quiltalong page tab at the top of my blog and let me know if you have any questions! Its suitable for all ranges of quilters, even total beginners and there is lots more info in our Flickr group too.

Quilt Stats:

Name: Across the Sea quilt
Made For: My niece R
Fabric: Just Wing It by Momo for Moda + some additional fabrics
Batting: Warm and White
Size: 46" x 58"
Quilting: Meandering stipple by me
Pattern: Mine and Jennifers quiltalong pattern.

Thanks for visiting and hope I see you again soon!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

If you've seen my sewing mojo anywhere...

Send it this way please! Seriously, I have barely sewn a thing in the last week and a half and worse still, I've been struggling a bit to work up the enthusiasm to do *anything* except sit in front of the fire at night watching Australian Masterchef, my new fave tv viewing and wishing I was out there in that sunshine. Not like me at all, and no reason for it either, seeing as I'm working on some great projects at the moment that I am totally in love with. I suppose life is getting in the way a little on the home front but hopefully with me having a week off work next week, I can catch up with myself and do some daylight sewing (and taking pics).

Anyway, feeling a bit sad I had no finishes to show you this week and no post since last Friday, I decided to just do a quick progress post.  This is for the quilt that is no 1 on my Winter Stitching list (by the way, I am blown away by how many people have linked up. The linky is open till Monday 31st so there's still time for people sitting on the fence about it. Not thinking of anyone in particular.... really....)

This is a quilt for our friends' daughter - its going to be bigger than a baby size quilt, more a toddler bed size quilt. I suggested a red pink and aqua palette to her mum and was really pleased she liked it - seeing how its my fave colour combo at the moment. And I have GREAT fabrics in these colours.

I drew up a rough sketch but only sat down to work out the details last week of the cutting requirements. Then I did some trial blocks. Its pretty much a square within a square design. There are 3 different blocks, with 3 different sizes of central square (or rectangle for one of them). I was really pleased with these blocks and happy this will work.


 These blocks will work in lots of different ways and can be turned around to change the placement of the centre block to really add interest to the design.

I did not give much thought to the cutting that would be required. The acres and acres of cutting. Silly me.

This quilt will have 56 blocks at 8" square cut, 7.5" square finished. Each square needs 5 pieces. That is 280 pieces to cut for the quilt front. Now those of you who know me know I like to take shortcuts. I cut all my fabric for the ATS quiltalong in about half an hour flat - I normally cut lots of layers together. But the square centres really cry out for fussy cutting and the other pieces are all different sizes so its not really that straightforward. I cut for about 2 hours today and got about 2/3 of my centre pieces cut and a small number of the surrounding strip pieces for the blocks. I really love the fabrics and I'm hoping they sew up as well as they look when they are cut!

But the bad news - there's still a pile of fabric waiting to be cut! Oh well, just writing this has made me look forward to it ;-)

 Bring on Tuesday morning when I will be shooing the kids off to play a game, or even watch a dvd (yes, bad mammy moment in planning) and get the rest of these in some kind of order! I won't get to do my FMQ post this week for Cindy's practicealong unless I manage to squeeze an extra hour into tomorrow, which is unlikely. But I will link up next week on the double! And hopefully, by then one of you will have figured out how I can recover my sewing mojo and crank up the productivity again!

PS - there is another giveaway running over on the Sew Irish Facebook page for the last pair of tickets to the Dublin Knitting and Stitching show for Irish peeps - pop over and leave a comment on the giveaway post to enter.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Free Motion Friday 3

Don't you think Cindy's Free Motion Friday is an inspired idea? I have to say I'm really loving trying the new designs each week and seeing how everyone else is doing. I didn't get to link last week, or to comment much although I did manage to visit and have a quick look at a lot of the drop art on my phone.

This week I'm doing a little catch up. After the first week's disaster I decided it was time to get serious and equipped myself with these:

A pair of ladies gardening gloves from B&Q for the princely sum of about €3. They're pretty lightweight but give me a good grip and I definitely found them helpful.

My first attempt at the drop art didn't really look like drops. A bit squidgy and squashed:

But I went back for a 2nd attempt later in the week and was much happier. Not perfect, but it looked a little like drops and I felt I had much more control on this one.

When I saw the challenge for this week, the Slate Tiles I was really happy. I love this sort of design and the imperfection of the pattern is totally my style. I loved it so much I gave myself a good big area to work on and although its by no means near the standard of the video version, I really like it. I can definitely see myself using this one in a mini quilt or placemat or something similar. I also like that I can see improvement as I move across on this one - that 2nd last column is my fave!

I did another version, but I actually think there's not much between them.

I can't wait to see what we're working on this week - this practice-along is so much fun! Linking up to Cindy - go check it out and jump in with the rest of us :-)

PS. - Don't forget to pop over and link up to my Winter Stitching list & link up. You can read up on what you need to do here and the linky post is here! The linky is open till 31st October to give you plenty of time to figure out your list and write up your posts :-)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Big Winter Stitching List & Link-Up!

Hi and welcome! I hope you've come ready with list in hand? Yes? So, let's get to it and get linking up.

FairyFace Designs

I suppose I should set a good example, yes? Well, whether good or bad, here's my list, in no particular order:

1. Finish the quilt for my friend A's baby girl E. I've already started with this one, using lovely pink, red and aqua fabrics and can't wait to get it done!

2. Quilt for my son D. This is a carry over from my Summer list and I really need to do it before Christmas for him. He is obsessed with trains so it shall be a train themed quilt!

3. Yellow and white baby quilt. This is for another friend F's mother and all the fabrics ordered arrived this week.

4. Christmas Table Runner Swap - can't wait to get stuck into this one

 Modern Christmas Table Runner Swap 2011

5. Finish my Skittles quilt - the top is done, needs to be quilted and bound

6. Finish my Tumbling Blocks baby quilt and sell it!

7. This is a maybe! If there is a 2nd round of the Solids Swap I definitely want to take part so fingers crossed for another round in the new year.

8. Make a quilt for my lovely hubbie who insisted I put that in my list! He wants something with trees and mountains. Ideas anyone?

9. Finish the curtains for our bedroom before aforementioned hubbie moves into the spare room in protest at the "waste" of all his (read: our joint) efforts wallpapering (and to be fair, his super painting job).

10. Make a quilt using the Ruby layer cake I just bought to go on the 2nd sofa in the living room.

11. Finish the cardi I am knitting for myself

12. Finish the scarf I'm knitting since last year

13. Crochet a granny square blanket - something like one of these:

                                                        Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

14. Make another skirt for myself using the lovely fabric I bought on sale earlier in the year

15. Write some tutorials for my blog! There are 2 or 3 things I've made that could easily translate into tutes - like these:

16. Crochet a wrap for myself to match this skirt I made last year I have the pefect pattern, and the yarn. I just need to do it!

17. Make an engagement gift for my good friend R - I'm thinking a super modern stylish table runner

18. Quilt for another friend A in the New Year. No ideas on this one yet.
19. Make a quilt using my Little Apples FE bundle

20. Continue following along Cindy's Free Motion Friday and improving my FMQ skills:

21. Keep up with Sew Bee Blissful and figure out what I want to do for my month as Queen Bee in February.

22. Make some long overdue handbags for some friends.

So, that's my ginormous list! Pretty impressive right? Well, it would be if I was to actually get it done! But, it's good to aim high, isn't it? That's what I was always taught :-) If I even get half of this done I will be delighted!

I can't wait to see what you're planning to get done :-) I forgot to mention on Monday but I have a little incentive - I'll do a little giveaway at the end for someone who takes part from start to finish with a little handmade goodie by me as the prize. So, get linking!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

K&S tickets winner

Thanks so much to everyone who entered our giveaway for the pair of tickets for the Knitting & Stitching show.

I went and consulted the Random Number generator and got a surprise! Mr. Random picked this number:

Have you ever seen Mr. Random pick no 1 before? No, me neither. I love it!  Then I went to check who no 1 was and I loved it even more - its my bloggy friend Cindy from Fluffy Sheep Quilting! I'm so pleased for you Cindy and can't wait to finally meet you in person :-) I've emailed you.

Don't forget we'll be giving away a third pair of tickets over on the Sew Irish Facebook page very soon so if you want another chance to win, make sure to pop over and like it and watch out for the giveaway announcement!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Winter Stitching Plans!

FairyFace Designs

Are you ready? Made your list? Checked it twice? Do I hear a yes? Right so, let's press on!

By popular demand (you can't imagine how happy that phrase makes me!) I am setting up a new sewing list for you all to keep track of your winter sewing plans. I know we're in Autumn right now (or Fall, for my friends across the big pond) but its dark and dank and miserable and the evenings are just perfect for cosying up on the sofa in front of an open fire with some hand stitching, knitting or crochet. Or settling in at your sewing machine when the dinner is done and the kids are in bed, and getting stuck into some serious crafting.

I'm not a list-lover by nature, preferring to keep a lot of stuff in my head. But I did find that the utter satisfaction of looking back on what I'd done from my summer list was definitely worth the trouble of writing it in the first place. Sometimes, we're so focused on what we have to do, and what we haven't done, that we forget to celebrate all the fab things we have done. Here's where my Winter Stitching list comes in.

It's simple, really. Go, write your list. Now, be warned, like a new pet, this list is not just for Christmas. It's for life I jest! Its for the next 4 months or so. We'll be wrapping up in early spring. Lets say, mid March, when the evenings start to stretch out a bit and it feels like the cold and the rain and the need for central heating are finally starting to come to an end. (Spot the person who hates Irish weather).  So, think, what do you want to get done by then? What's in your list? You don't need a magic ball - we'll do a mid-winter catch up just after Christmas for you to show off all your Christmas crafting success and add in new projects that might have come up, inspired by the New Year and maybe whatever Santa brings. But do try to think into January and February in your plans.

Feel free to go beyond sewing and quilting - I deliberately used the word stitching for this one because so many people like to pick up knitting or crochet needles in the winter. If there are other stitching crafts you love, get them on the list - so embroidery, cross stitch - whatever takes your fancy, include it all!

Then, grab the button at the top and post it on your blog. Write your Winter Stitching post (I'd love if you included the button in it too) and come back here and link it up in the Linky I'll be posting on Thursday. Then comes the fun - go visiting :-) Pop over to some of the other bloggers linking up and say hi. Discover some new bloggy friends and cheer on their progress. Sounds like fun? That's because it is! Get to it!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Double Trouble: Baby Boy Quilt Finishes

Frogs and Snails and Autumn Baby quilt together hanging 

The best things come in pairs right? Quilts are no different and I seriously was not joking last Sunday when I proclaimed that I was in a super productive phase right now! So I'm going to post lots of photos here - just because I actually got a sunny morning to take pics and took loads, all of which I love! I'm really pleased with these two. **If you're looking for the ticket giveway for the Knitting and Stitching show Dublin, it's here**

Frogs and Snails quilt front

First up - the Frogs and Snails quilt is done! This one was made for my MIL and is a gift to my husband's cousin who has a new arrival and I love the freshness and crispness of the triangles. I decided to free motion quilt it rather than quilt the diagonal lines and love the effect.

Frogs and Snails folded on chair

I had some tension issues on the back (and had to rip back about 1/3 of the quilting, eek!) but got them sorted by actaully adjusting the tension successfully (a major achievement for me, I am usually a "don't touch the manufacturer's standard tension" kinda girl) and flew through it.

Frogs and Snails Quilting detail

I used a very soft blue and white gingham on the back and love how the quilting pattern shows up on it.

Quilt Back Frogs and Snails

I found this little hearts fabric in my local store - its a really lightweight cotton and perfect for binding, I'm really pleased with it.

Frogs and Snails binding

All in all a successful make.

Frogs and Snails triangles in a row

Quilt Stats:

Name: Frogs and Snails baby quilt
Made For: Baby J, a new arrival in our extended family
Fabric: A wide variety from my stash - mostly from my scrap basket. Including Riley Blake's Hooty Hoot, Wheels, All Star 2, Saffron Craig Beetle Bugs, Moda Just Wing It, Ann Kelle's Urban Zoologie Owls and Whales, and Ready Set Go, and lots more!
Batting: Warm and White
Measures: 37" x 46" approx
Quilting: Meandering stipple by me
Pattern: Simple half square triangle design

Autumn Baby quilt front

Next up, the Autumn Baby quilt. This is one my friend A asked me to make some time ago and she was pretty clear on the colours she wanted - greens, browns and oranges. I have had this quilt in my list for a few months now, but wanted to wait till we hit autumn to make it - those colours being so seasonal and autumnal and perfect for a new baby arriving this time of year. I really was inspired by the falling leaves in the countryside around me and when baby F arrived a little earlier than I had expected last week, I was ready! And delighted, as originally I had planned it to be a gender neutral quilt but now I had a great opportunity to use some complimentary boy fabrics I had. I cut my fabric, did the layout and ran up the quilt top in the 2.5 hours I had free on Wednesday morning when E was in playschool. I basted it very quickly and last night I was just in zone and got it quilted completely (plus finished the Frogs and Snails one). The binding went on this morning (you know I love a machine bound quilt!) and I rushed out to get the pictures in the October sunlight, seeing as how it was the first sun we have seen for about 2 months here. So, like its friend above, its not all crinkly after washing and drying but its on its way to that right now :-)

Autumn Baby quilt on chair

I stuck to a simple 6" square design to let the fabric do the talking. This quilt came mostly from my stash too - there are some really precious fabrics in there - my 1001 peeps, the Spring Street, the Ann Kelle cars, my prized Saffron Craig Beetle Bugs and my last big pieces of Michael Millers Hedgehogs. I really love the interaction of the colours and how autumnal and natural it all looks.

Autumn Baby quilting detail 2

I free motion quilted this one too with Gutterman cotton thread - the 919 colour which is a natural, ivory type shade. At first I wasn't sure about it over brown blocks but as I went on, it really grew on me.

Autumn Baby quilting detail

I backed in it a piece of Amy Butler fabric from the Love range called Bali Gate. Not only was the colour perfect for what I wanted, but the feel of the pattern had that lovely natural, slightly bohemian type of feel to it that complimented the front. I appliqued  on the baby's name in some of the leftover brown fabric - and handstitched to secure. The handstitching gave a bit of texture around the edges of the letters, giving them a slightly "distressed" look which I like.

Quilt back Autumn Baby

(For the curious, that's an Irish name pronounced Fee-un-awn -the Fee is a very short sound, emphasis on the last syllable!)

The binding is another lightweight cotton from my local store in a tan colour - not a colour I'd normally go for, but I wanted a neutral and a darker brown would have been too heavy against the rest of the quilt and overpowered it. I wasn't sure about this one till I put it on but am really loving it now.

Autumn Baby quilt binding

So this one has been washed and is drying now, ready to be parcelled up and posted off to A in Germany tomorrow.

Autumn Baby side view

Quilt Stats:

Name: Autumn Baby quilt
Made For: My friend A
Fabric: As above - a total mix!
Batting: Warm and White
Size: 36" x 48"
Quilting: Free Motion quilting
Pattern: Simple squares

So, there you go. Two quilts in two weeks. And I'm working on a third, plus the Christmas table runner, no wonder I can't figure out where the weeks are going ;-)  Don't they look all squashy and lovely together on the chair?

Frogs and Snails and Autumn Baby folded on chair

I also did get to my Drop Art FMQ practice for Cindy but just couldn't get to post it over the weekend, with laptop trouble. So I'll save it and post it with next week's. Plus, I'm sorry I've been a bit flaky about visiting blogs, commenting and replying to comments the last couple of weeks - I'm spending so much time staring at a screen in work these days I'm finding it hard to turn on the laptop in the evenings, particularly when its being so temperamental. And I've been trying to clear the decks a bit sewing wise, and when I'm online, I'm not sewing! But another week or so and that should improve! And lastly, by popular request, I'll be starting up a Winter Sewing plan & linky in the next 2 weeks so get started thinking about what's on your lists and start preparing your posts :-)

So, having 2 quilt finishes, you can be sure I am going to be doing some serious linking up this week. Watch out for me hanging out with some really talented ladies over at Sew Modern Monday, Manic Monday, Fabric Tuesday, (buttons all here) and also I'm entering my Autumn Baby quilt in Celebrating Colour over at Stitched in Colour:

Celebrate Color