Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Circles Quilt Top

I. am. in. love.


Totally in love with this quilt top.

Sorry, did I overdo that up there at the start? That's because.....you guessed it!!

I finished up the quilt top for my little boy D on Sunday afternoon. I think its safe to say that he is in love too. It's a nice big generous lap size, measuring about 60" x 65".

I love the movement, I love how all the work fussy cutting the applique was totally worth it (thank you dear hubbie for helping me with the applique!). I love how this quilt contains some of my very favourite boys' prints. Some came from the very very bottom of my scrap basket - fabrics I had forgotten I had - like Laurie Wisbrun's elephants, Ann Kelle's owls, Michael Miller's hedgehogs and Saffron Craig's Beetle bugs (I really thought I had used all those last year).

You will remember last week I was deciding on the colour for the sashing. A lot of people agreed with my turquoise idea so I went off looking for some. I couldn't find turquoise, but I did find this gorgeous blue. The fabric label calls it Sapphire but I think its more like a Peacock blue. Whatever about the semantics, I am so pleased with how it works with the grey and the circles. I was a bit concerned that the grey would be a little dull as a background for my little man, who loves lots of colour. But the blue kind of electrifies the quilt (if that makes sense) and the whole thing just pops. It's so vibrant and exactly what I wanted for him.

I need to baste and quilt this one next...not looking forward to the basting. The effort of basting the Stained quilt left me in bed for most of the day afterwards - I felt so ill - but that was maybe a combination of the basting spray and early pregnancy hormones and utter exhaustion. I think I might pin this one. I'm planning to quilt this pretty simply - cross hatch to outline each of the squares, and the hand quilt around some of the circles as in the original pattern.

Now I need to decide on what project to start next! I'm looking at my Birds and the Bees fat quarters....

I'm linking this up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

  WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Princess Charming is done!

It's so lovely to have a quilt finish to celebrate. Feels like my first finish in ages - even though I know I have had other projects in the last couple of months - but this was a quick turnaround and one I had a lot of fun with.

Princess Charming turned out just as lovely as I hoped. She is free motion quilted in a very random stipple and the simple pattern and quilting leaves the emphasis on the charms and lets the fabrics shine through.

I left a blank row in the quilt top for the baby's name, Aisling, to be embroidered, and I did this using a dark pink perle cotton, using stem stitch which is lovely for outlining letters (thanks to my sister for this tip!) I then appliqued on some hearts on either side of the name. 

For those not familiar with Irish names, Aisling (pronounced Ash-ling) is a beautiful girl's name meaning a dream or vision.

I used some more of my lovely Ikea hearts print for backing - I love this print, it is so colourful and yet the design is simple, and its perfect for the back of a quilt like this with all those hearts.

I am using my little labels now on all my stuff - love how it looks on the back of my quilts:

The binding is the same as the fabric bordering the name space. I love this little red and pink floral, its one of my favourite stash fabrics which I got from my friend H.

This measures about 38" x 50" - a good size for a cot/toddler bed. I tried a new batting for this one - Simply Cotton - which I bought from Pippablue. I really liked it and it shrank beautifully giving it a lovely crinkly texture. It was great value so I'll definitely be using it again.

I don't have much more to tell you about this quilt - all the info about the pattern etc is in this post. As I'm feeling so happy with it, I'm just glad I managed to take advantage of a little burst of sunshine in between the frequent showers this afternoon!

P.S. Thank you all for your lovely congratulations and good wishes on my last post, we are very excited about our new addition to the family and all your comments meant so much to me :-)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

WIP Wednesday: The Resumption of Normal Service

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

It's Wednesday! And feeling human for the first time in almost 4 months, I am doing a WIP Wednesday post...and it feels great! I actually have some projects to report on. I have ideas whirling round in my head. Life is good :-)

In Progress:

I have gone from a big fat zilch to suddenly being busy again.

First up - I am just about done finishing the binding on the Princess Charming quilt. Can't wait to get this one washed and dried and finished. Hopefully before the weekend!

I started a cross stitch project - the Fellowship of the Ring. I'm loving my Gandalf - hope the rest go as well :-) More details on the pattern here.

And lastly - I am finally making real progress on  my little boy's quilt. I started back at the start of May, using a pattern in the Block Party book which I loved and thought would work perfectly to mix in all the different fabrics he told me he wanted in it.

 After a few sessions of marking out circles on the Bondaweb, and making the applique circles, I got a bit discouraged. There were just so many of them,to make a whole quilt, rather than a few blocks, and it was so, well, so BORING. So I procrastinated. A lot! Its a project that has been stalling my energy in all sorts of ways - even having the fabric stack I had pulled for it permanently in my WIP basket, taking up mental and physical space. So, feeling more like myself this week I decided to tackle this project, mainly to stop the constant guilt every time D asked me was his quilt nearly done. But I was clever. I enlisted help. My lovely hubbie, taking pity on his pregnant wife and her sore back, sat down beside me and cut the circles from the Bondaweb as I traced them - well over a hundred of them.

Then I fused the fabric and he cut out the applique circles. All of them, while watching a dvd. Serious brownie points for him this week! A joint effort and in no time we were done.

Once the boring bit was over, I had lots of fun laying out my blocks, and fusing on my circles. That bit is all done. All that remains before laying out the quilt top is to zig zag stitch all the circles to secure, and that is more than half way complete. I am back in love with these blocks again! Can't wait to see it come together now. I'm thinking a strong turquoise blue sashing between the blocks would bring it all to life - but I'm open to suggestions if you can think of another colour that might work? I don't want to go with a deeper gray as my little man loves colour and I think it would make it too sombre for him.

So, did you notice my little news in there in the middle of all that? My biggest WIP project? Yes, we have another baby on the way - hoping he or she will arrive safe and well in early January! And I just can't wait to get making some cute little projects once I get a bit further along :-) This also might explain why I have been missing in action for most of the last few months - but I'm hoping that now I am feeling more myself again, it will be back to (almost) normal for the next few months, all going well.

Stalled Projects:

There are a few projects I need to move off my stalled list and onto my progress list so I think maybe its time to start listing them.

Starflower Bee quilt top needs some extra blocks to finish
Ruby Crazy 9 patch lattice quilt top awaiting quilting
Tumbling Blocks quilt top awaiting quilting

Oh -it feels good to be busy and inspired again. I have a lot of projects I can't wait to get working on too!

I'm linking up today to WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced - pop over and check out what everyone else is up to!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What the postman brought.....

The postman rang the doorbell both yesterday and today. I just love when he does that!

First up was the mini quilt my partner made for me in the swap between the Atlanta MQG and the Irish MQG. I was so thrilled when I opened the package - look what I got!!

Lennye read me absolutely right - I love the colourful prints against the solids, I love the hexie and I adore the dense quilting. It's just fab!

She also sent me 2 bars of gorgeous handmade soap, they are lovely :-)  I love the pieced back on this quilt and the label (which I have blurred, in case you're wondering!) It even has little corners so I can hang it - just need to decide where. Thanks so much Lennye, its lovely!

Then, today, another lovely package. 8 FQs of The Birds and the Bees from the lovely Julie - I have been swooning over this online and couldn't wait to get it into my hands. I have lots of ideas flying round in my head for this fabric, can't wait to cut into it!

Monday, July 23, 2012

It's Gandalf....in stitches!

A few weeks ago my youngest brother sent me a link to a page he had come across containing all sorts of cross stitch patterns. A lot of them were for superhero types and I had a lot of fun looking down through them. Then I came to a Lord of the Rings pattern for the fellowship of the ring and just had to go off trying to source it.

Sure enough, I soon did:

                                                                     Source: etsy.com via FairyFace on Pinterest

I bought the pattern from weelittlestitches on Etsy and I'll definitely be back for more. They have the coolest range of patterns including one from The Princess Bride which I just have to make for a friend of mine.

Cross stitch is something I've always wanted to do a little bit of, but the patterns in my local craft shop seem to be mostly aimed at little old ladies. So when I got this into my hands I was thrilled, being a Lord of the Rings fanatic. It took a little while for the right fabric to come into stock, but I got some last week and yesterday I started stitching, with Gandalf.

Doesn't he look cool? For my 2nd cross stitch ever, I'm pretty happy with him although I messed up a little on the thread and used a wrong colour gray in the middle of his cloak. But Gandalf was cool so I'm not sure he'd mind!

Can't wait to get back to it later today. Plus I must finish the binding on my Princess Charming quilt. Hope you had a lovely weekend!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Princess Charming baby quilt top

Don't you love a new project? One that grabs your imagination and gets you creativity flowing again?

When my mother in law asked me if I would make a baby quilt for her friend's new granddaughter, I was thrilled. There are lots of lovely fabrics in my stash and I wanted something colourful and cheerful, simple and bright. Not too taxing, construction wise.

I cut lots and lots of charms using precious scraps like the very last of my swinging girls, my owls, my willow wren and lots of other pretty ones. I added some Japanese charms from last year's swap. Soon, I had a big pile of gorgeousness just waiting to be laid out.

I thought about the pattern for a little while and then decided to use a modified version of 2 different patterns - this crib quilt from Moda Bake Shop, and Kristie's McKinley quilt pattern which I had made before. I increased the size of the crib quilt to make it wider, and want to do something a little like what Kristie did - i.e. applique and the baby's name embroidered.

I had lots of fun piecing this the last couple of days, it flew together for me and I intend on embroidering the name tonight so I can baste it tomorrow and get it quilted. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Wonky Star Mini Quilt

Anyone got some sunshine where they are? Care to send it this way?  After the wettest June on record here and massive flooding in my village this week, I am completely and utterly depressed by the weather. But although talking about the rain is all anyone seems to do these days round here, its time for me to focus on some sewing fun.

When we kicked off the Modern Quilt Guild of Ireland earlier this year, Cindy and Pam of the Atlanta Modern Quilt Guild organised a mini quilt swap. It all seemed very far away back then in April, but last week I realised that I needed to get this project done and in the post early next week to be sure it would reach my partner on time.

I had lots of scope in this swap - my partner liked lots of the same design elements I did and after having a look through the Modern Blocks book for inspiration I decided on the "3 wishes" block, with stars inside stars. I changed up the measurements a little to bring this up to approx 17" square, which was very simple to do as wonky stars are so easy to work with. My partner likes blues and my FQ basket has a huge selection of blues, so I decided to stick with that. I was able to find prints incorporating other colours and different shades and values of blue and even though I had some doubts about sticking to one colour, I really liked how it turned out. It feels fresh against the white.

I particularly love the tiny star in the centre - this was made with teeny tiny 2" pieces and the block measures only 5" square (unfinished).

I thought about how to quilt it and decided to settle down with some perle cotton and outline the star shapes. I used big stitches, varying the thread colour around each star shape. I like the simplicity of it.

Its bound with some LouLouthi blue and all ready to be posted off early next week to my partner. I hope she will like it! Meanwhile, I must try to finish organising my fabrics for my month as Queen Bee in the new Modern Irish Bee, as they need to go in the post tomorrow. Hope you're having a nice (sunny) weekend!