Saturday, July 30, 2011

Happy week....

This weekend you find me responsible for not 2 but 3 children! The sudden addition is my gorgeous niece L who at 16 months is possibly the sunniest, sweetest, funniest toddler you could imagine. You can guess how excited my 2 are to have their cousin staying with them for a mini holiday. Its been so much fun, but, my goodness, I forgot how much work they are at that age...exploring everything and so curious. Impossible to leave on their own for even a minute!! But I am so lucky to get this sort of time with L - seeing as how my sister lives at the other end of the country, we don't see each other nearly as often as we would like. And when my sister and BIL get back from their night away tomorrow, they are sticking around locally for another few days to our delight.

So, this visit tops off what has been something of a lucky week for me... with lots of exciting deliveries! The postman has knocked on our door every day this week, much to Himself's disgust. I keep having to tell him they are giveaway wins, not fabric splurges, but I don't think he quite believes me! And what did he bring?

Well, it started with this lovely bag which I won over on Eleni's fab giveaway:

This came all the way to Cork from Athens and I was so delighted when I got it - its absolutely gorgeous! I just love this bag and its already been put to use every day to bring my lunch to work.

Look at the gorgeous lining, isn't it beautiful? Thanks so much Eleni :-)

Next the UPS man knocked on the door with a really special delivery....something you might have seen a fair bit out there on quilting blogs pics but watch out next week for a tutorial and giveaway..........

Then I was one of the lucky first to receive my Japanese charms courtesy of Cindy of Fluffy Sheep Quilting. As soon as I saw the top one I was delighted.....

And when I opened it up, well, I fell in love. Look at this gorgeousness:

what a fab selection of charms. I have been wondering what I would do with these, there's such a diverse selection of colours and prints. And when I was hanging out my daughters duvet covers on the washing line this afternoon, wishing I had a second set (she has a toddler size duvet so its hard to find covers on their own), it came to me. She will be getting a new duvet cover & pillow case for her bed with these, and they're perfect for it!

Next day, I got a package from Sew Fresh Fabrics with my fabrics for Round 2 of Jennifer's Rainbow Charm swap. Look at these pink lovelies - I'm so glad I added on a little extra quarter yard in case of any cutting disasters and am determined there will be none so I get to keep a little extra for myself.

Last delivery of the week was this Honeybun which I won on Brenda's giveaway last week. Not sure what I will do with this and I'm afraid to unwrap it in case it gets out of control! But so cute, thanks so much Brenda.

Deliveries are nearly done for now, just waiting on my prize FQs from the Quilting Gallery comp and then we're done. But I do need to order some Kona solids for the swap I'm doing.... I have a good idea now from the Flickr group of what she will like.

Hope you're having a lovely weekend!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Kaleidoscope Quilt Finish!

Last night I finished my Kaleidoscope quilt and here it is:

Didn't it turn out nicely? I'm really pleased with this one, love the bright colours and LOVE the pattern. I did this quilt as part of Elizabeth's fab quiltalong. It's the first full size quilt I've done as a quiltalong and despite being a week late starting, I am impressed with myself that I managed to finish up on schedule.

The pattern was really great and I so enjoyed making it - all the more so for looking at what other people were doing with theirs. It's so amazing to me how the same pattern can look so different depending on fabric choices and design decisions. If you want to see more, just pop over and have a look at the Flickr group to see what I mean! I also learned lots making this quilt, not having done a lot of work with triangles before. Most important note to self - don't use paper templates again for cutting, after ripping back about 4 blocks a number of times to get my points matching. Even a millimetre or two here and there in your cutting makes such a difference on accuracy where you have so many points meeting.

Thanks to everyone who offered their advice on borders and binding. In the end, I decided to leave the quilt top as it was with no border, to maintain the illusion of those blocks whirling off the quilt. After posting the pics of the quilt top, I couldn't get the word whirligig out of my head. That, and the fact that its for a lovely baby boy influenced how I quilted it. I have a little 5 year old boy myself and completely love how he runs everywhere, with no pattern or meaning, round in circles, retracing his steps, covering about a million miles more than he really needs too. So I decided to free motion quilt it in a meandering, looping pattern, crossing over itself, looping around and around, going back and forth in no particular pattern, to mirror the whirling blocks and a little boy's motion, and I do think I captured that.

I think it works well and I hope my friend N likes it. I will definitely quilt in this looping style again, I love the effect.

I dithered about what binding to go with and dug around through my stash looking for something for quite a while, being too lazy to piece together all the strips necessary for a scrappy binding. I found this lovely blue fabric I had forgotten about and thought, with its red, white and green bubbles, it would work perfectly as the binding and I'm pretty happy with it.

I had this backing fabric in my stash and thought it was perfect for this quilt. Its actually from a small bolt of fabric I bought in IKEA and its a great gender neutral print which blends with whatever colour you put with it.

So, another quilt finished and this one is off to be washed and dried for that lovely crinkly texture before I post it off to N for baby O's room.

Quilt Stats:

Whirligig Kaleidoscope
Made For: Baby O
Fabric: A mix from my stash including Riley Blake's Hooty Hoot, and All Star, Michael Miller Ta Dot, Ann Kelle's Urban Zoologie and Ready Set Go, Amy Schimler's On A Whim II, Saffron Craig's Beetle Bugs and lots more
Batting: Warm & White
Size: 36" x 48" approx
Quilting: Loopy free motion quilting
Pattern: Elizabeth's Kaleidoscope pattern

I'm linking this up to Sew & Tell over at Amylouwho, Summer Fair over at Gen X Quilters and
{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bliss pillow progress....

Thanks to the lovely Susan, I doubled my stash of Bliss scraps yesterday...even better, hers were darker colours and slightly larger scale prints than mine and I was thrilled with them!

So, I got straight to it today, pulled up the Sprocket Pillow tutorial and got cutting. Wow, what a great tute, its so straightforward and very easy - and such a nice result! Really pleased with this one. And I feel my colours and prints are much more balanced than the star pillow.

I really like the button detail in this one - and the scarlet Fresh fabric I used to cover it is the very last tiny scrap I had of this fabric - probably one of my favourites in the line.

I used a solid cream for the side, and its backed with some Freebird fabric (as is the other cushion) which I used to bind my Bliss quilt - its a nice complimentary fabric.

I also quilted and finished the scrappy star cushion. Looking at the V shape of the star points, I decided to try to echo it in the quilting, even though the star "V"s were not totally even. But I think it worked and I was pretty happy with how it turned out. The lines are 1/2" apart.

I put a zip in the bottom seam of this cushion and I made a silly mistake at the start and it took ages to sort it out. I had to put the kids out of the kitchen and close the door so that their vocabulary of choice expressions was not increased hundredfold! But it is looking ok at last!

Here they are sitting on my quilt - looking lovely together I think :-) I'll be making at least a couple more to join these on my two living room sofas. One will be zigzags, one will be from this Cluck Cluck Sew tute.... and I'm still thinking about more! If anyone wants to point me in the direction of a great pillow/cushion tute please do!!

Now, not having been online for more than 3 minutes at a time since Wednesday morning, I'm off to catch up on my blog reading!!

I'm linking up to the lovely projects over at:
Fresh Poppy Design

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Well, I've been a bit absent from the WIP Wednesday club these last few weeks. Managing to post at all with how busy things are at the moment is such a major success, I haven't been able to manage a WIP post as well. Plus I'm not working on quite so many projects as I normally do. But I thought I'd do a little update.

Completed this week:

Eh, nothing really.... except that I was totally thrilled to win 3rd place in the Weekly Quilt Contest over at Quilting Gallery, so thank you to everyone who voted for me, I so appreciate it. I can't wait to pick out my prize FQs :-)

Work in Progress:

I have a few things on the go actually.

I needed a small project to work on to balance the bigger quilts so I decided to make myself cushion (pillow!!) covers for some old cushions on my sofa. I saw a lovely scrappy star block show up on a few blogs for Bee blocks and went and had a look at the tutorial on Moda Bake Shop and then made some adjustments for my cushion cover size and to make it a little scrappier. Here's the front pieced:Link

I still have to quilt it obviously. I'm a bit unsure about this - the colour palette is a bit more pink / pale than I intended, as I only have a small number of Bliss fabrics. (Its to match my Bliss quilt on my sofa.) But my lovely bloggy friend Susan came to my rescue today and is sending me on some scraps which I will use for the other 2 cushions and hopefully they'll all balance out. I do love this quilt pattern - would definitely consider it for my month in the new Bee I've joined (more anon!)

My Kaleidoscope Quilt top is done (or nearly!) Thanks so much for all the advice and suggestions re: borders or not....I'm still mulling it over! Hoping to get this basted and quilted and finished this weekend!

I also have finally made some progree on my bedroom curtains...they're coming along slowly but surely, when I get some sofa time for the hand sewing. This is the fabric I'm using - it a gorgeous, rich, heavy champagne/aqua blue fabric and will blend perfectly in my room where I have a feature wall in a beautiful Laura Ashley duck egg blue wallpaper.

Other Stuff:

I'm really excited to have signed up for some Flickr swaps - the Scrappy Mug Rug Swap and For the Love of Solids. Looking forward to getting my swap partners and doing a little stalking ;-) I find swaps make you think a little differently and force you to be a little more creative, so I can't wait. I'm trying to see if we have enough interest for an Irish swap in the Sew Irish Flickr group - its for a small item so if you're interested, please pop over and let me know on the thread!

I also signed up for Jenna's Sew Bee Blissful which is the first bee I've participate in. Its starting in August. I'm a little nervous but looking forward to it! And lastly, I jumped at the chance to join Jennifer's Rainbow Charm Swap Round 2 having received a lovely bundle in the post last week!

Linking up to Lee's WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced - go check out the talented ladies over there!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Kaleidoscope quilt top finished.... Or is it??

Here's my quilt top for the Kaleidoscope QAL all done. It's for a baby boy and I'm a bit in love with how the colours twirl around it! Keeping the colours blocked in it was definitely the way to go rather than my normal scrappy mix-everything-up style.

I found this quilt quite challenging from a colour design perspective but it was worth it! I also found it challenging from a technical perspective and love how much I learned making it! I havent done a whole pile of work with triangles so far, and getting the 8 points meeting in the block centres took quite a bit of ripping back and re-sewing on some blocks. Now, I'm usually pretty relaxed about things being very precise but even I couldn't leave these go! Plus, it's for my friend's little boy and I wanted it to be right. Me and my seam ripper are best buddies these days!!

I'm still on the fence about adding a border or not. I put the question out on Flickr yesterday and thought I would post it here to get some more opinions from my wise bloggy friends :-) A few people suggested a colour border. What do you think? If so, what colour, one of the fabrics from the quilt or a different one? Or White (which is how I was leaning)? Or none? If I did do a colour border, how about binding then... would you stick with the same colour family? Eeek!!! Too many questions in my mind!
Please, o wise ones, send some suggestions my way... and N, if you're reading, as this one is for you, let me know what you think!!

I'm linking this up to Sew Chatty, Sew Modern Monday, Manic Monday and Fabric Tuesday! Go check them out for other lovely sewing and crafts!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Could I have your votes please?

Could I ask you all a huge favour?

I've entered the Weekly Quilt contest over at the Quilting Gallery. The theme is quilts for little girls, so I entered my "Walk In the Woods Quilt", which I made for my goddaughter back in May.

I would really, really, REALLY appreciate it if you could pop over and vote for me! The link is HERE. My quilt is 2nd from the bottom so scroll down!

Thanks so much xx Sarah

Ps I have edited to fix link, hope it's working ok now!

Weekly Themed Quilt Contests

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Kaleidoscope Quiltalong Progress

This last few days has been all about catching up with the Kaleidoscope Quilt Along. I'm pretty please with where I've gotten to and should be fully caught up by the time Elizabeth posts the next set of instructions on Thursday.

By this afternoon I have half of the blocks for this quilt fully finished, and the other half pretty far down the road. I found it a bit difficult at the start to envisage how this was all going to work and flow together, never having tackled a project like this before, but the Flickr group has been really great to provide inspiration and, together with some great ideas and hints on design from Elizabeth, I am really loving how this quilt is coming together.

I'm doing the baby quilt size for a friend who asked me at the start of the summer to make one for her soon-t0-arrive baby, and I'm hoping that this will be a hit with her for baby O's room. I decided to use some of my nicest boy's novelty prints in variations of 3 strong colours - blue, green and red. I did doubt at one stage that it was all going to work, but decided to go the monochromatic route rather than mixing it up and have fallen in love with it.

I must admit that I have gotten to be best buddies with my seam ripper (and found a few new choice phrases!) in sewing up these blocks, mostly through my own stupidity (i.e. getting too excited and rushing ahead without checking my layout and sewing the wrong pieces together). I've also struggled to get my points matching up precisely on a few of the blocks which is a bit frustrating - this one has been ripped back and resewn about 5 times and this is the best I can get it. I know it doesn't look too bad in the photsos but the points are definitely NOT matching!

This one caused me some heartache too! But I figure that the little imperfections will get lost in the overall effect once I have it pieced together. It's actually reassuring to realise that they don't look as bad even already in the photos! I'm also trusting that the centres of the blocks will flatten out when its all together and quilted. Despite trying to press it into submission with my iron this afternoon, it was not playing!

Here's the layout for the top half of the quilt - isn't it fun? I really like the colour blocks and how the colour moves across it. It definitely draws the eye in.

Fingers crossed that piecing the rest of these goes reasonably smoothly:

I can't wait now to get it all together! I'm linking this up to

{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations and

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mid-Summer check-in - Summer Sewing project!

Well ladies (and gentlemen!) how are you doing with your summer sewing? Lets have a little mid-summer update and see how everyone is getting on. I've updated the button for this - if you want to replace the old one, please do; if you prefer to keep the older version, feel free - whatever you want. Also if you want to join in now, please do! I'll be doing a little giveaway at the end of August for people taking part.

FairyFace Designs

I'm quite proud of my mid-term report card :-) I put items from the original list in green to make it easier to read. So here goes:

1. Finish my Walk in the Woods/It's a Hoot quilt for my goddaughter's First Communion. Yay! This was done, delivered and loved by my lovely goddaughter and her Mammy :-) It also got so much quilt love from my readers, thank you to everyone for all your lovely comments on it!

2. Make a quilt for my daughter, the most demanding customer in the world ever. Oh yes, demanding is the word but it was done. At the time I was a little disappointed by the backing but as it spends most of its time being dragged around the garden I think I was being a little precious ;-)

3. Commissioned "Sophie's Dreams" quilt. This quilt was renamed "Summer Dreams". I fought with this one a little bit at quilting stage but it turned out quite lovely and baby's mum was delighted with it!

4. Quilt for my son D. He's now feeling a little left out of the action and asked me this morning could he have a train quilt. Haven't gotten near this one yet although I have the design drawn and its going to be a simple one. I need to stock up on some solids in charcoal and brown for it.

5. My Central Park Skittles quilt. I've pieced half the blocks for this quilt top but had to put on hold for a few weeks to create some time for the Kaleidoscope QAL! I know a couple of people were curious to see how this quilt is going to be laid out - here's a little preview of how the blocks will work.

6. Finish making my bedroom curtains - they've been sitting half made in my basket for almost a year now and they need to be done! Slowly, slowly I'm getting there. I have one hemmed and the other basted; once that's done I'll be working on the lining. I'll definitely have these done by the end of the month.

7. Baby quilt - I have a pattern idea for a baby quilt that I want to try to make up and if it works, write up the pattern for. Eeek, nothing on this yet and its looking the most likely candidate to get bumped off my list to make way for some other things!

8. Bottled Rainbows QAL placemats. One done, bar the binding, 3 more to go! Haven't moved these on at all but they are definitely still on the to do list.

9. Crazy Scrappy QAL - I'm going to see how many blocks I do with this and then decide how I'll use them. Well, I thought a couple of weeks ago that this wasn't going anywhere for me but I got a flash of inspiration last week and you saw the result on Wednesday. I'm still in love with this!

10. Quilt for my new niece/nephew when he or she arrives in August (please God, all going well). Nothing done yet on this one although I have plans. I also am pretty sure what colours I'm going to be using :-) but won't share that here until baby arrives.

11. Simple Sewing tutorials. I've done a lot of prep work on some tutorials but haven't published them yet. Hoping to get these up and running in the next couple of weeks.

All in all, I'm pretty pleased with my progress so far! I've found my big list really motivating and good to keep the mind focused. I did a few other bits and pieces too which weren't in the original plans, including:

12. I got the Sew Irish Flickr group up and running (thanks to all the lovely ladies who jumped in to join straight away) and its great to see people adding projects every week! I've "met" a few lovely new Irish quilters that I didn't know and we're now planning a meet up at the Knitting & Stitching Show in November. If you're living in Ireland and interested in sewing or quilting, whatever your level of experience, please come and join us!

Sew Irish: Modern Quilting & Sewing

13. I took part in the Rainbow Charm Swap over at Ellison Lane Quilts and can't wait to get my charms - I'm hoping the postman will bring them next week! And I also joined Fluffy Sheep Quilting's Irish/UK Japanese fabric import charm swap and need to get my charms off this week to Cindy.

Of course, I couldn't help but add a few things to the big project list (being unable to resist some of the fab things going on out there in quilty blogland), so are some new projects to add:

14. Kaleidoscope QAL hosted by the very talented Elizabeth at Don't Call Me Betsy - I'm a little behind on this one as it started when I was away on holidays, but I'm busy catching up! This quilt will be for my friend's new baby boy and I'm really excited to see how it turns out, I think this pattern is so striking and I tried to pick really fun fabrics in varied prints in blue, red and green colourways.

15. Secret project - I have a project that I'm totally excited about but still in planning stages so my lips are sealed!

16. Some other commissioned baby gifts/baby quilts for friends :-)

17. Swaps - I'm hoping to sign up for the next round of the Scrappy Mug Rug Swap and the new For the Love of Solids [a modern swap], both of which look like great fun!

Well, I think that's enough to be getting on with! I can't wait to see what you've been working on. Get linking!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Crazy Home Mini quilt

Here it is, my crazy scrappy mini quilt!

When I had done my crazy blocks I got the idea for the centre block. I wanted to display this mini somewhere in the house and have a perfect spot in the hall. I thought it would be a nice "welcome" type quilt to display. I appliqued the letters on and pieced tiny 1 inch squares in each colour around them to tie the quilt together.

For the same reason I decided to use a natural cotton/linen rather than a white solid - the blocks are so colourful that I felt they would pop almost too much against the white for the place I want to hang it and I wanted the tones to be a little muted.

I quilted it in a free motion stippled pattern using a natural cotton thread. I used a poly batting which is a higher loft than my normal cotton batting, which gives it a little extra body.

The binding is a colorful dotty fabric that I spotted on Monday when I went to buy some more white solid fabric at my local shop - its a lightweight cotton and is perfect for binding.

Quilt Stats:

Name: Crazy Home Mini Quilt
Fabric: Scraps & cotton/linen sashing
Batting: Poly
Size: 29" x 29"
Quilting: FMQ using natural cotton thread
Pattern: The crazy block tutorial from Aneela Hoey's Crazy Scrappy QAL.


Another finish for my Summer Sewing list - I'll be posting the mid-summer check in linky on Saturday, so get your posts ready people! This is off to be hung in my hall to welcome us into the house. Its got so many of my favourite fabrics in it, scraps from lots of projects I've made, scraps I've received from friends in swaps - really, this little quilt has a lot of meaning for me.

I'm linking up to The Girl Creative:

The Girl Creative

as well as So You Think You're Crafty, Fantastic Friday at Iron Violet Designs, Feature Yourself Friday at Fingerprints on the Fridge.