Saturday, April 30, 2011

Dresden mini quilt - finished!!!

Here it is, my Dresden plate mini-quilt, all finished and looking quite cheerful if I do say so myself!! This was the first quilt-along I've ever participated in, and I really enjoyed it. I can't recommend Lynne's instructions highly enough - it was the first time I've pieced a circle in quilting and she made it a doddle! If you want to do similar yourself, you could do worse than head over to her blog and follow along.

Lily's Quilts QAL

I am glad that I only did the one block mini-quilt. I think this will make a super pretty wall hanging but as the blocks are so big (30" x 30"), I'm not sure if a whole quilt of these big blocks would be entirely my taste, although I'm very tempted to adjust the pattern and do a quilt with smaller size blocks in the same style!

I backed it with plain white cotton. I used poly batting on this one as its for the wall, but its very see-through and anything coloured or patterned would have shown through batting and the white outer circle on the front. And when I came to bind it, although I would have preferred to use the blue or brown fabrics I have in the circle, the only fabric I actually had enough of was the Riley Blake Love Birds, so I used that. It turned out nice though and the blue, green and red running through it coordinate quite well with the pieced circle.

When it came to quilting, I was seriously tempted to do spiral circles all the way round, as in Lynne's original block for the QAL - but I wanted to practise my free motion quilting for the It's a Hoot quilt which I will be starting to quilt next week, so decided to go with this. I'm getting better all the time at the FMQ. It took me a while to get going on this quilt but once I got a rhythm going with it, it went well. I now have a good feel for the speed I need the needle to work at, and the speed I need to move the quilt at. But I need to figure out a better way to move the bulk of the quilt around particularly for the bigger quilt sizes. I was so pleased with the improvements I've made, I even took a closeup!! What do you think, its looking ok, isn't it?

So, all in all, a good Saturday's work! Now I just need to see if my mother really does want this.... if she doesn't, I'll be quite happy to keep it for myself, but I think she just might! I'll be linking this up to Fabric Tuesday and some other great blogs - check out my sidebar links!

Lastly - I want to say a huge WELCOME to all my new followers! I'm stunned and amazed at the response to my giveaway, and so pleased to have so many people join me. I hope you enjoy reading my little blog. I couldn't possibly respond to the hundreds of comments left for the giveaway, but I did read each and every one and I want to thank you sincerely for all your lovely words on my blog and my projects. It was so nice to realise that people had explored my previous posts and liked what they saw. I hope that you continue to read and, please - keep commenting!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Big Scrappy Giveaway

Well, here it is, my big scrappy giveaway! It's all from my own stash and why am I doing it? Well, really, just to say a huge THANK YOU to all my lovely readers for your constant encouragement and inspiration, not to mention the wonderful comments you leave for me which make me smile every single day :-)
What I'm giving away:

A BIG bag of scraps from my stash.  They include:

* Fat Quarters of Michael Miller Daisy Bugs & Momo It's A Hoot - Owls

* An assortment of large, medium and small cotton scraps, some designer, some not. Mostly quilting cotton but some heavier cotton duck & lightweight cottons & seersuckers too. There's a lot in here people!!! Designers include Ann Kelle, Tanya Whelan, Amy Butler, Riley Blake, Laurie Wisbrun, Cath Kidston, Momo, Kaffe Fassett, Michael Miller, Bonnie & Camille and more........

Some of the smaller scraps

* 2 large squares of Minky dot fabric in blue and pink. Perfect for backing a lovely/comforter/blankie for a baby gift for someone.

Some of the larger scraps

* The cute little quilted wedge pincushion, made with the gorgeous Central Park fabric by Kate Spain for Moda. It measures approx 5" x 3" and is stuffed with poly toy filler so that it can be sent anywhere in the post :-) Also 6 coordinating charms I cut from the Central Park fabric - enough for a small scrappy project. All in the top picture!

Here it is, all parcelled up ready for posting. There's a whopping 650g (1.5 lbs) of fabric in here. I will post worldwide.

How to enter:

1. Leave a comment telling me (broadly) where in the world you live - city/state/county/country, whatever you want!

2. Followers of my blog get a bonus entry, so if you're a follower ( a new one, or you already follow), leave a 2nd comment saying so. [You can follow using the "Follow" button on my right sidebar or the RSS "Subscribe in a Reader" button.]

NB: If you don't have an email address on your blogger profile, leave your email address in your comment. Otherwise I have no way of contacting you. (You might think you do, but check out this post if you never get email replies to comments you leave on blogs - it explains it far better than I could!)

And finally - for an extra bonus -

3. If you blog this giveaway, leave a third comment about it. This gives you a 3rd entry for the scrap giveaway and I will also do a separate draw for this lovely Amy Butler bag pattern just from these comments!

Giveaway closes on Monday 2nd May at 6pm (GMT) and I will draw the winner that evening :-)

Good luck everyone!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday WIP once again!

Where did that week go? It just slipped away, one leisurely day after another! So without further ado, here we go with the WIP report for this week.


A few small, fun projects, including, just tonight, this Central Park wedge pincushion, lightly quilted from the scraps I had after cutting my lovely, yummy, scrummy half yards which arrived in the post today. I'm going to be including this in my scrappy giveaway tomorrow so stay tuned :-)

I also did this blanket for my friend's baby girl - its backed with lovely soft minky dot fabric and has a few of my fave fabrics in there.

And this little zipped bag with some scraps:

Work In Progress:

I'm surprising myself with the amount of projects I have on the go at the moment. The list is starting to freak me out ever so slightly, particularly since I have a commissioned quilt I need to start next week. I'm kind of wondering why I joined 2 quiltalongs this week - the Bottled Rainbows (finally!) which I am doing in a mini version - with smaller sized individual blocks as placemats. Here's my red block, I think I like it! Just need to figure out what to use to bind it and it'll be done.


I also joined the Crazy Scrappy quiltalong. I attempted my first block last night and really, its a good lesson in why you shouldn't sew late at night. I'm not that happy with the construction of this block but like the look of it so I'm going to leave it for the moment. I did it entirely from my small scrap basket and really, it would need some wider, longer scraps too. I'm looking forward to doing another and seeing how I get on!

Let me just say that I blame all you bloggy friends who are doing these quiltalongs and cajoled me/inspired me into them! When I fall down with exhaustion I'll blame you! You know who you are!

In other WIPs - I got my mini Dresden quilt basted and started to quilt it with a meandering FMQ which is looking interesting on the poly batting but didn't get far as the kids needed their dinner :-)  I'm thinking this will finish up as a wall hanging.

Finally, my backing and binding fabric arrived (with the Central Park) this morning so I'm hoping to get moving with the It's a Hoot quilt later in the week, I'm keen to get it finished in good time.


I cut my Central Park fabric as soon as it arrived. Isn't it just gorgeous? I love the cool shades and can't wait to get piecing with it. I'll be making Kate Conklin's Skittles pattern with it. So now I have two quilts in the cutting stage (also my Sherbet Pips Pinwheels).

And a little extra.......

So, I take it from all the comments on my last post that a giveaway is in order. Check back in tomorrow for your chance to win some of my lovely scraps, big and small and the little Central Park pincushion in the top photo!

I'll be linking this up to some great blogs including, as always,

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Operation {Stash} Transformation....and a possible giveaway!

I made this cute little zipped bag last night. I used two squares of fabric (trimmed back) that I had to swap out of a blanket I was making (thanks E for scribbling all over the top bits!) and a great little tute I found for making the zipper ends really neat. I was really pleased with how it turned out. I always have issues with getting my zip ends as neat as I would like and this tutorial was really good, I have a couple of things I need to improve on but this is a massive improvement on what I've done previously. It's now residing happily in my sewing basket!

However, searching around for fabric scraps big enough to use as lining completely wrecked my head because my scraps were all jammed into a big hat box in no order and all scrunched up. I know that in blogland most of what is seen is the finished product and pretty perfect. This nice minky-backed pram blanket I made for my friend for her new baby girl, which, with the little pouch above, are my little projects for Fabric Tuesday this week, for example:

But (like everything) few things in my world are perfect. Here's my non perfect little scrap box:

Between not being able to find scraps for lining my little pouch, and dreading the thought of getting started on my Bottled Rainbow mini-blocks because I couldn't actually find any scraps I actually wanted, I decided today it was time to do something about it all. (In fact, this looks a lot better than it actually was, because this photo was taken half way through the sorting when the fabric had a chance to breathe and was no longer completely crushed in there!)

After sorting out my yardage and FQs a few days ago, I decided today to do something about the scrap stash today. I spent the afternoon on Operation Transformation - scrap style! I ironed and sorted, and ironed and sorted some more and this is what I ended up with. Three lovely neat little baskets, divided broadly into warms, cools and neutrals/multi-coloureds.

Now, this doesn't look like a lot of scraps, does it?

Actually, it is.

Here's the warms:

And the cools:

And the multi-coloureds and neutrals:

And these are only my small scraps! I have another big box of FQs, fat eigthts & large scraps. Plus a huge box of yardage.

So why am I telling you all this?

Well, despite all that stash sorting this week, I am waiting for another delivery (Central Park half yards - 6 of them in the blue and purple colourways. Yum yum!) and my wonderful friend H brought a beautiful little gift of Tanya Whelan FQs with her when she came to visit on Thursday:

So I thought maybe, just maybe, I might do a little giveaway from my stash - in the spirit of keeping it under control. And as a little belated Easter gift to one of my lovely readers!

I'm thinking, a scrappy giveaway. Maybe a zipper bag of varied scraps from my lovely stash and a few FQs? And one of my little scrappy pincushions if you're really really nice to me?

What do you think? Are you interested? Let me know!
If you are I'll start putting the scraps together and will post the giveaway & how to enter towards the weekend.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award!

This is a slightly guilty post! I have been nominated by no fewer than 5 great bloggers for the Stylish blogger award in recent weeks and promised them all that I would blog it shortly...but life and sewing seemed to always get in the way. So I want to begin by thanking those people - you should really head over and check out their blogs, they are simply fab!  They are: Mary Jo @ Crafter's Notebook, Val @ PinkPlease!, Becky @ My Fabric Obsession, Pam @ Quilting Square One and - last but not least a lovely new Irish blog - Marie @ Ree Raw

Part of the award is sharing 7 things about myself. As you know I'm a little reluctant to post too much personal info outside of my crafting on this blog but here's a little more info about me!

1.  I have only been crafting and sewing for 2.5 years.  I started teaching myself to knit when my daughter E was a baby in her quiet nap periods and quickly fell in love with all things crafty.I had never sat behind a sewing machine, not even in school, until I took up a night class in September 2008.

 2.  I sew on a gorgeous Pfaff Expression 2.0 machine which I bought last November. I just adore this machine, particularly compared to my previous machine which was an own brand basic entry level one from Lidl - although, I do have to say that that machine did serve me well as a total beginner. I'm still discovering lots about the Pfaff and love all the functionality and the precise controls on it. And it is perfect for quilting :-)

3. I have 2 gorgeous children, a little boy D who's almost 5 and a little girl E who just turned 3. There are only 20 months between them. I'm still in survival mode!

4. I played violin for many many years and was starting to prepare for a teacher's diploma when I found out I was pregnant with D and just couldn't manage the practice any more. It's something I would love to return to when my kids are older.

5. I am a voracious reader (most of the time!) My absolute favourite authors of the moment are Margaret Atwood, Maggie O'Farrell and Kate Atkinson. I'm also a big fantasy geek and have read The Lord of the Rings at least 20 times, and love discovering new series.

6. I work full time in an extremely busy job. People who know me through work are always shocked that I am "creative" in my personal life as they would see what I do as the antithesis of a creative job (and no, I'm not an accountant! :-))

7.  I am constantly frustrated by the limited ranges of fabric and quilting supplies available in Ireland. I buy almost all my fabric from the USA - particularly "designer" fabric. Certainly, it has improved in the last year, but don't get me started on the cost! I dream of being able to walk into a shop in Cork and being able to browse around through LOTS of lovely fabric and supplies and find what I want, at a reasonable cost. (Ooops, sorry, small rant there!)

The other part of this award is to nominate 6 other great blogs for it. I'm nominating these blogs as recipients for this award - they are all blogs that I have come across in recent months, that I really enjoy reading and get lots of inspiration from!

So there you go - some great long weekend reading for you! Enjoy! And thanks again to the lovely ladies who nominated me :-)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It's another WIP Wednesday!

Source: via Amber on Pinterest

I did warn you all that there would be lots going on on my blog this week! I'm having such a lovely week, lots of sewing, lots of time with the kids and Himself...what's not to love!

As an aside, isn't this the most AMAZING April ever? I don't think I remember such warm balmy sunshine in April...ever!! The kids are loving being out in the garden all day, I'm loving being out with them, or in the kitchen with the windows and doors open sewing while listening to them off adventuring as only 3 and 4 year olds can. Is this only a Cork phenomenon or are other parts of Ireland getting it too? Hope it lasts. I might even BBQ this evening!

Ok, so down to business. Unsurpisingly, its been productive here in my little patch!

Completed this week:

Drum roll please.......I finished my Cosmo bag!!! Woohoo!! I almost can't believe that it has left my WIP basket (having accumulated some serious fluff along the way, that navy fabric shows up every strand of thread making it not as practical as I would have thought!) and become an actually-very-nice finished bag. What do you think? It's made with the Memento midnight fabric from Amy Butler's Love range. The green contrast and the lining fabric are from my local fabric shop, I was sorry I used that green in the end as it was slightly heavier than the other fabrics and made the final sewing on the handles quite tricky.

 I do love the bag but there is no way that I would rate it as an "easy" pattern as it is in the "Style Stitches" book. A lot of the construction is very straightforward, but the handles and the curved band at the top are really not beginner level sewing in my opinion, and definitely the edge stitching around the insides of the handles at the end was quite tricky and I poked myself with pins a gazillion times. If I had tackled this a few years ago as a beginner I would never have managed it and I would have totally lost my sewing confidence I think! I didn't have a quite big enough button for the closure, but I think its ok and I like the effect of using the Memento fabric instead of the green for it.


I only did the inside pocket on one side as I ran out of the lining fabric. This is a big, roomy bag and I added some very stiff, cardboard like interfacing to the bottom to strengthen it a little more. I think I'll be using this when I'm out and about, its got good weight and structure and is really very pretty :-)

I also finished this little tag comforter once I got to do the hand embroidery:

In Progress:

I now have 2 quilt tops awaiting quilting - my Dresden from Lily's Quilt QAL

 and my It's a Hoot/Walk in the Woods for my goddaughter.

I really want to quilt the Its a Hoot using free motion quilting so need to get in some more practice in the next couple of weeks before I try it. I was going to do the Dresden in the circular quilting Lynne used on the original QAL block, but now I might FMQ it for practice instead. Still thinking about this one.


Remember a couple of weeks ago I won a giveaway for about half a Sherbet Pips layer cake, courtesy of the lovely Kristie? Well, I have been trying to decide what to do with it for a while now and finally made up my mind this morning. My 3yr old daughter E is insanely jealous of the quilt I'm making for my goddaughter! She keeps asking for her own and loves the picture of this "The Burbs" quilt from Material Obsession

The 'Burbs

(which I plan on doing later in the year), but that would be a detailed and time consuming one to do if I was to do it really nicely and do all the hand quilting and E is not a lady to keep waiting! So I got thinking, and realised that the Sherbet Pips has 3 of E's favourite things - swings, scooters and - mostly importantly - dogs. I showed her the fabric and she absolutely loved it.


This morning I cut the layer cake squares into 5" charms and I intend doing a simple pinwheels design. I will need to cut some more white charm squares to balance the colours but now that I've made up my mind I'm itching to get started piecing!

Still Stalled...

The stupid curtains are the major item still in my basket awaiting attention. Now that I've gotten a lot of progress on other stuff I am determined that I will have made progress on them by next Wednesday.

As always I'm linking up with WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced and some other great blogs!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It's a Hoot quilt top finished!

 Can I just say that I love and adore this It's a Hoot fabric? It's so summery and bright and cheerful. And I love being on holidays from work, I got so much done last night when I wasn't wrecked after a day at the office, and again this morning. So much that I got this quilt top finished!

 You know how I love to put names on my quilts, I can't help it, I just do! So I'm calling this one "A Walk in the Woods" - isn't it apt? I was really pleased with how it came together although I noticed one or two seams that I'm not happy with when I was taking photos, I need to do a little repair work to strengthen them up.


After I put all my blocks together with the sashing, I decided it needed a little something extra and I had lots and lots of scrappy 1.5 inch strips left over from cutting the framing strips, so I pieced them all together randomly to form a little extra sashing line around it. I'll be honest and say that I got the idea from the sashing on the Dresden quilt top I'm doing for the Lily's Quilts QAL so I have to credit Lynne for that! I do think it draws it together though.

And happiest of all, we had a nice day here today so I could get some good pics - I love the ones of it blowing in the wind so apologies for indulging myself with lots of pics! Look at the blocks though, aren't they pretty? I love how the white space in the "tree" blocks creates its own little spatial pattern.

I have ordered the backing and binding fabric but it will be next week before it arrives from the States so I'll put this away for a few days and take a break from it now. I'm linking this up to Fabric Tuesday on Quiltstory and some other great blogs - check out the links in my sidebar!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Better Late than Never

Ok, so I didn't manage to do my Friday Night Sew In on Friday night. My parents were visiting and I could hardly disappear out to the kitchen and sew for hours as I planned! I did it today instead. But that still counts, doesn't it?? Maybe I should clarify: - my plans for the FNSI when I signed up were to finish the inner and outer circle of my Dresden circle for the Lily's Quilts quiltalong.

I was a little nervous about piecing the circle but thanks to Lynne's great instructions, it was pretty straightforward. I had been procrastinating on doing this and now I know why - I wasn't happy with the blue background I had originally chosen.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with it, it works really nicely, it just didn't feel as.... well, as "fresh" as I wanted. So I went with with some Ivory white Kona cotton instead. I do love it and can't wait to quilt it now! And I'm pretty pleased that I've caught up with the QAL too, so I'm all proud of myself :-)

Even though I didn't manage to sew the Dresden on Friday night, I still did some hand-sewing while I sat on the sofa watching the new Harry Potter DVD. I had the bones of this tag comforter sewn up ages ago but it had gone into a pile of stuff waiting for me to do some hand embroidery on it to complete it. I finished off the seams and some decorative embroidery, including the name on the back and it turned out to be a cutey!

With no work this week I'm hoping to get seriously productive on the sewing front, children and life watch this space!  I'm linking this up to Fabric Tuesday on Quiltstory and some other great blogs - check out the links in my sidebar!