Monday, August 29, 2011

Kona Circles Mug Rug

I'm busy busy busy this week with the kids starting school and Montessori and with all the swaps I've got going on. Not to mention the Quiltalong!! Most pressing is the For the Love of Solids Swap which I need to finish and get in the post at the beginning of next week at latest.

Today I finished up the small item for my secret partner. I came up with and discarded quite a few ideas before remembering a lovely stitch-along I had seen a couple of months ago over on Rachel's blog Contented which I thought would be perfect for a small size like a mug rug, and would work great with the array of Kona blues I had for the swap items.

I had a fat quarter of Kona Ash grey (a colour I have totally fallen in love with, to my complete surprise. It has such a lovely natural tone!) which was my starting point, and I played around with the varying shades of blue before arriving at my combination. This was a very straightforward make - I appliqued on the circles using Bondaweb and then handstitched around the edges of each circle, varying between running stitch and backstitch, and matching or contrasting threads.

Then I basted it with a few small stitches in a variety of places, and started to hand quilt it. In the original, Rachel used a variegated thread, which I didn't have. I also had quite a variety of tones in my blues, so none of the flosses I had was quite right for the whole thing. So I decided to make my own 3-tone thread, taking a strand from each of 3 colours. I really really love how the colours change throughout the quilting and how the thread picks up the colour of the circle it is closest too.

This is the first time I've hand quilted and I really enjoyed it, even if it was a little hard on the hands and fingers. I tried to vary the stitch length in different rows of quilting for interest. I love, love the effect of the stitching rippling out from the circles, I think this is an inspired pattern to be honest! So simple, so effective. It reminds me of stones dropping into a lake.

Lastly, I bound it in the same Kona Ash fabric to keep it simple. I'm slightly in love with this mug rug. I hope my partner will like it, I'll find it hard to let it go! If you want to make it, check out this great tutorial series over at Contented.

Linking up with Fabric Tuesday on Quilt Story and Sew Cute Tuesday on Creative Itch:

Fresh Poppy Design Creative Itch

Piecing your Blocks {Across the Sea QAL}

So, I hope you have all been busy cutting your fabric for our quiltalong? Are you all ready to get started piecing? Jennifer has the instructions over at Ellison Lane Quilts today so pop over there to find out how to get started!

I've been busy piecing my blocks ready to show you my layout tips on Thursday. I love to chain piece for projects like this and find it a really quick and effective way to complete my blocks quickly. I started with the arms of each cross, piecing the cross and background fabric for each block, winding up with a little pile of pieced rectangles like this:

I then spent a little time at the ironing board to end up with these:

From there on its super simple to chain piece the rows and complete the blocks!

If you haven't chain pieced before, there are some tutorials listed in the Flickr group to get you started, you'll find them here.

I can't wait to see your blocks appear in the Flickr group. Happy piecing everyone!Link

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Still thinking about joining us?

So, have you started your cutting for the Across the Sea QAL? I hope its going well! I'm really excited to see how your blocks start to shape up next week when we start piecing.

There are some really great fabric choices appearing in the Flickr group where we have 78 members - wow! I am totally thrilled at how many people have signed up to join us in making this lovely quilt. If you are still wondering whether or not to join us - please do!

Want to see some of the fabric choices? Here are a few of my faves:

QAL fabric mosaic

There's such a variety of colours and themes showing up and I LOVE how there are quite a few people making Christmas quilts with this pattern - I think they will be amazing. So, if you've joined up, don't forget to post your fabric choices, and if you're still thinking about it, come join the fun!

Don't forget that if you take part, and link up a picture of your finished quilt by the end of the day, Monday 3rd October, you're in with a chance to win one of the 2 prizes of the $20 gift certificates to our lovely QAL sponsors Sew Fresh Fabrics - they have fabulous fabrics over there, so do check them out! Remember they have also kindly offered to discount the shipping costs for fabric bought for the QAL with free domestic/ half off International Shipping on orders totaling $35.00 or more. Just enter the code FAIRYLANE in Notes to Seller upon checkout and they will refund the shipping via paypal upon shipment.

The original post with all the fabric requirements is here and the QAL schedule is here.

So, happy cutting and I'll be looking forward to seeing your blocks start to appear next week!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wednesday WIP update

Another week gone, where does the time go? August is always a busy month, this year more than ever. Can't believe that my little boy is off to school next week. He is all kitted out with his uniform, his books, and his schoolbag. He looks so grown up with the uniform on! I am torn between excitement for him moving on to this new stage in his childhood and wanting to cry that he is growing up so quickly when I see him!

So here's the progress this week:

Completed this week:

I finished my mug rug for the Haiku themed scrappy mug rug swap and posted it off last Friday. I don't think my partner will receive for another few days, and I don't want to spoil the surprise, so here's a little sneak peak of the front:

And the back:

I must admit to shamelessly stealing the idea for this card from Susan who sent me a similar one with our little fabric swap a few weeks ago. I loved it so much, I've made a few versions for friends, and as I did a rainbow theme for this mug rug, I thought it fit in quite nicely. Inside the card was my (pretty amateurish) Haiku -
"Rainbow of colours
Like a smile after the rain
To brighten your day."

Which pretty much sums up my sentiments about this mug rug. I will reveal all later in the week.

I also finally sat down and pieced my Bee blocks for August - they're here. I really liked this double pinwheel block, once I got over the fear of messing up, and I even had enough leftovers to do 2 nice 6" blocks for the back for Jenna.

In Progress:

Besides the mug rug and the Bee blocks, this week was about two things for me - our Across the Sea QAL, and my solids swap item.

Across the Sea Quilt-Along

We are cutting the fabric for the quilt front this week for the QAL and next week, the fun really starts with the piecing. I really love the simplicity of the block and the way it lets the fabric shine through. Here's my trial block - I just love this print from Just Wing It!

I also made good progress on my For the Love of Solids swap.

My partner has liked some improv blocks showing up in the group pool so I have tried to piece some for her.

In addition to this first one which got a lot of comments at the weekend, I have pieced 2 more. This is going to be a mini quilt, with a Kona coal background. The 4th block element I can't show as I think my partner would realise immediately it was for her.

This is my first venture into improv piecing - I don't really know what I'm doing but I think it looks ok. Would love your feedback :-) I'm sorry about the pics which were taken indoors and the lighting isn't great. There are nine different shades of Kona blues in these blocks, and they do create contrast all by themselves, but I really like the pop of cerise/hot pink.

Last but not least, I'm guest blogging today over at Sara's fab blog Sew Sweetness about essential sewing supplies.

So if you are new to sewing and you want to know what you need in your sewing basket to get you started, head over right now and find out more!

I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced where I know I will be in some super talented company, so head on over there and have a look!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, August 22, 2011

Let's get cutting! Across the Sea QAL

How excited are you right now? Are you ready to get friendly with your rotary cutter? Can't wait to end up with a nice neat pile of fabric like this?

Well then, head right over to Jennifer's blog where the fabric cutting instructions are up!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Blocks, blocks, blocks!

Sunday is a dream day for sewing in this house. After a day off on Saturday and (ususally) a good nights sleep, the extra energy coupled with daylight always give me a boost. So this morning I tackled my Sew Bee Blissful blocks which I have been avoiding for the last couple of weeks for fear of ruining them.

Jenna wanted a double pinwheel block, and, to be honest, it was very straightforward once I figured out what fabrics I was going to use where. She sent me these bright and colourful fabrics and I added a little white as well.

This is the first time I've used starch, strangely enough and I think I overstarched the fabrics for the first block. It very possibly could stand up all by itself (sorry Jenna!). But I think it turned out ok, here it is:

The second one is my favourite:

Jenna asked us to make 6" blocks for a strip on the back of the quilt with any leftovers. I had quite a few scraps left as I used some white, so I made up 2 blocks for her. One a simple pinwheel to echo the front, the other a crazy pieced block. I hope she likes them, I really love how they turned out.

I also got started on my solids project for the swap. My partner has really responded to some improv blocks in the photo pool so I thought I'd try this for her. I've never done it before, but I quite enjoyed it. The unstructured nature of it appeals to me! (Surprise, surprise!) So I did this block plus some other bits - but I can't show them because they would totally give the game away as to who my partner is! I'm using Kona Coal as the background fabric on this mini quilt. Can't wait to get to the next blocks now. What do you think of this? Does it work, or not... bearing in mind that its supposed to be random and improvised? Let me know. (yes, I know its not a regular shape.....that's part of its, eh, charm!)

On another note, are you exited about the Across the Sea QAL?? I know I am. The Flickr group has jumped into activity with over 60 members so if you're still on the fence, come join us! Fabric cutting instructions will be posted tomorrow so check back then :-)

Across the Sea Quilt-Along

I'm linking up to:

{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations

Friday, August 19, 2011

Amy Butler Giveaway Winner!

Ok, lets end the week on a high, will we? This evening I went to to pick the winner of my Amy Butler fabric giveaway. This is the number it picked:

and that number belongs to Melinda:

Congratulations Melinda, I've emailed you and hope you like your fabric.

Thanks so much everyone for taking part and for the great suggestions for tutorials and sewing/quilting resources - lots there for me to explore!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Across the Sea QAL Schedule

I'm super excited at the response to our QAL - thanks so much to everyone who has signed up so far. There's still time, if you are thinking about it, we are not starting to cut fabrics till next week.

For those of you who were having problems grabbing my button for your blogs, here's a working version:

Across the Sea Quilt-Along

Jennifer and I have also set up static pages on both of our blogs (see the page list at the top under the banner header) where all the information including links to each blog post will be available, in case you come to the QAL a little late.

That done, here's the important stuff - the schedule! We will be posting twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays to cover all the instructions. Tutes and blog posts will alternate between mine and Jennifer's blog, so make sure you are signed up to follow us both! I will link to Jennifer's the days she is doing the tutes, and vice versa to make sure you don't miss anything. We will kick off the action with the fabric cutting instructions next week over on Jennifer's blog. Excited yet? I know I am :-)


Week 2 (starts 22nd August) - Cutting fabric for the front

Week 3 (starts 29th August) - Block Piecing tute & Design Layout

Week 4 (starts 5th September) - Border piecing tute & assembling quilt top

Week 5 (starts 12th September) - Cutting & piecing the back including block tutes

Week 6 (starts 19th September) - Basting and Quilting

Week 7 (starts 26th September) Binding and Finishing your Quilt

Week 8 (starts 3rd October) QAL finish - showcase the quilts & announce giveaway winners!

As you can see, there is plenty of time there for all the steps. The Quitalong officially finishes on Monday 3rd October and your finished quilt needs to be posted in the Flickr group by the end of that day to be eligible for the lovely giveaway prizes. By finished, we mean basted, quilted (whatever way you prefer) and bound.

Don't forget to pop over to our QAL sponsors Sew Fresh Fabrics if you need fabric! Remember to enter FAIRYLANE in the Notes to Seller upon checkout to get your free domestic/ half off International Shipping on orders totaling $35.00 or more. They will refund the shipping via paypal upon shipment.

Any finally, a quick reminder to join the Flickr group where people are already posting up their fabric choices.

Any questions? Let me know!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

WIP Wednesday

I haven't done a WIP post in a little while, but this week I'm in the middle of so many - with no completed projects to show off - that I thought it would be nice to catch up. So here we go:

Scrappy Mug Rug Swap: After last week's craft fail, I recut my hexies and am working through the handstitching. Its actually quite pleasant sewing them sitting on the sofa and chatting with Himself, rather than sitting out in the kitchen by myself! Need to get this done and in the post this week so its more sitting on the sofa for me :-) I'm much happier with my hand sewn hexies, they are more even. Still figuring out how to finish this one. I think I'm going to put a cool/warm wonky log cabin block on the back of it to make it double sided, so not sure how best to quilt it to make the most of both sides.....

Sew Bee Blissful August Block: This is my very first month participating in a Bee and I'll be honest, I'm petrified of messing up!! See this lovely fabric Jenna sent me?

I never worry about messing up my own stuff, but the thought of cutting someone else's fabric and it turning out terrible is proving more nerve wracking than I imagined... Need to get off the fence and actually do it - again, by early next week.

Across the Sea Quilt-Along

Yay! I'm hosting my first quiltalong and am very excited about it. Its kicking off this week, so if you haven't checked it out, follow the button to find out more! This is a joint project run by myself and Jennifer, and we would just love if you wanted to join the fun. I'm doing the baby size quilt and have done my first fabric pull - this lovely bunch of Just Wing It FQs.

I'm considering taking away some and adding in a few complimentary FQs from other fabric ranges...need to make a decision as we'll start cutting soon!

For the Love of Solids swap: I have my fabric for this fab solids swap and I'm pretty clear on my idea now. I'm lucky to have a great partner who is commenting lots in the group and its such a help. I can't wait to get sewing with this project, it will put me out of my comfort zone but in a good way. This is the stack of solids I'm using - aren't they pretty? I have to say that I am loving this swap group - its so active, so imaginative and I'm learning lots. Definitely exactly what I think swaps are all about.

The Skittles quilt top is sitting in my basket waiting to be basted and quilted....hmm, I think it will be September before I get to it.

Lastly - don't forget to pop over and enter my blogiversary giveaway for this lovely Amy Butler fabric. You'll find it here!

So, that's my update. Want to see some other fab projects in progress? Head over to Freshly Pieced and have a browse through some of those talented ladies' blogs!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Blogiversary Thoughts and Giveaway!

I still can't quite believe that I have a year's blogging under my belt. Back last August when I started, I had NO idea of where it would take me, or how much fun it would be. I didn't even tell anyone about my blog for a couple of months and then spent quite a few weeks with just 4 followers - two good friends H and L, my sister and her good friend. Not in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that in a year's time I would have close to 2000 followers!

It's been a huge learning process - there have been great times and stressful times. Blogging is fun, but very time consuming - all the more so because I love following blogs myself and all that reading takes time :-)

In the year that I've been blogging, my blog has changed quite a bit. I feel now I have found my niche as I've become more and more obsessed with quilting - and I love the little community of quilters that I've become a small part of, and the great friends I've made - even if I've only met 1 of them in real life :-) Its been so, SO much fun, and I hope it continues to be as much fun next year.

But now to the important stuff! I want to say a huge thank you to every one of you who reads, checks in, and comments on my blog - I really do appreciate your support and I hope that you continue to read and enjoy. So I have a little giveaway! Something nice for your stash :-) Amy Butler was the first fabric designer whose fabric I used to swoon over back when I started out sewing, so its appropriate that I'm giving away some of her "Love" fabric line.

I have 6 pieces of fabric from this range to give away. Each piece measures approx 12" x 20" - a little bit smaller than FQ size.

A nice little addition for your stash - you wouldn't have to add too much to it to make a baby size quilt (like my Across the Sea QAL quilt!), or they would be perfect for a pouch/purse or bag.

I'm keeping this one simple. Enter by leaving a comment if you are a follower - tell me your Linkfavourite quilting/bee block/sewing tutorial or resource.

If you want an extra entry blog/Facebook/Tweet this giveaway and come back and let me know in a separate comment.

I'll leave this open until 1pm on Friday (Irish time) and will draw the winner over the weekend. International entries welcome as always. Please make sure your have an email address associated with your profile (or leave your email in your comment if you're not sure). If there is no email address for me to contact you on, I will redraw immediately. Entry by blog comments only.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Come join our Quiltalong!!!

Hip hip hooray! It's my one year blogging anniversary today. I can't quite believe it - a whole year has flown by and blogging has become such a big part of my life! I'll share my "blogiversary" thoughts more with you tomorrow (along with a Love-ly giveaway!) but I think it's totally appropriate that I am celebrating today by kicking off a great new Quilt Along which I am hosting jointly with my good friend Jennifer of Ellison Lane Quilts.

Ellison Lane Quilts

I “met” Jennifer a few months ago through commenting on each others blogs and we quickly developed a great friendship, chatting frequently over email, despite never having met, or spoken to each other! We began to generate ideas for a joint project - and here it is!! Jennifer and I have lots in common despite the fact that she is living in Charlotte, North Carolina and I am in Cork, Ireland - both with young families, both relatively new to quilting and both drawn to colour and clean, modern design. I love Jennifer’s quilting style - check out her beautiful quilts and how she uses colour and beautiful modern fabrics. I am a bit of a fabric addict myself and only wish I had the funds to match my taste :-) I also love working with fab modern fabrics and love simple, elegant designs. If you want to have a look at some of my quilts, you'll find them here.

I’m so excited to be jointly hosting my first Quiltalong with Jennifer! And we would just be totally thrilled if you would join us.

Why Join In?

This is really a great quiltalong for
beginners or peeps who are quite new to quilting, with a simple but striking block design which is a great introduction to patchwork and quilting. If you've never participated in a quiltalong before and have been nervous about getting involved - well then, this is definitely the one for you! Both Jennifer and I remember feeling that feeling really well - and we have done our best to make this a fun and achievable quiltalong, with step by step tutorials and links to other resources. We are happy to answer lots of questions and help out if we can.

But, if you're a more
experienced quilter, we think you will really enjoy it - it will be a fun, low stress pattern allowing you to focus on the fabrics, colours and design layout - and most importantly the fun!! Plus, you'll end up with a gorgeous quilt.

I’m looking forward to double the fun, with a quilt designed by two friends and made with friends Across the Sea! So please, come join us for the next 8 weeks while we have some fun and make something beautiful....

Let's get down to the detail, will we?

Quilt Size and Design:

This quiltalong is inspired by the Greek cross block and we'll be posting instructions for two sizes - a lap quilt and a baby quilt size. The front is designed by Jennifer and will look like this, with a scrappy border framing the cross blocks:

And I have designed a pieced back incorporating "floating" cross blocks to make it extra special. It will look pretty much like this, although there may be some variations. Some of the cross blocks will have scrappy borders echoing the border on the front:

We will be posting instructions in 2 generous sizes:

  • Lap Size -58" x 70" approx (as layouts above) which Jennifer will be making.
  • Baby Size - 46" x 54" approx which I will be making.

The baby size layouts will look like this:


This is an 8 week quiltalong - we're aiming to finish up on 3rd October. We'll be posting the full schedule on Thursday, but will kick off cutting fabric next week.

Fabric Requirements:

Lap Size -

Cross Fabric - 1 layer cake OR 26 FQs (for no repeats ) / 13 FQs (incl 1 repeat) OR scraps (should be at least 10x10")


  • Front - 22 layer cake squares/20FQs (no repeats)/10FQs (1 repeat)/scraps
  • Scrappy Border - will come from leftovers of all layer cake squares
  • Back - 8 squares of layer cake/6 FQs (no repeats)/3 FQs (1 repeat)/scraps

Background Fabric -


  • 4 yards for the front (Blocks & Borders)
  • 4.5 yds for back (generous sizing to allow for seam alignment)

Batting - 64 x 76

Binding - 0.5 yards

Baby Size -

Cross Fabric- 1 layer cake OR 16 FQs (for no repeat) 8 FQs (incl 1 repeat) OR
scraps (should be at least 10x10")


  • Front - 12 layer cake squares/12FQs (no repeats)/6 FQs (1 repeat)/scraps
  • Scrappy Border - will come from leftovers of all layer cake squares
  • Back - 6 squares of layer cake/4 FQs (no repeats)/2 FQs (1 repeat)/scraps
Background Fabric -


  • 1.5 yards for the front (Blocks & Borders)
  • 3.25 yds for back (generous sizing to allow for seam alignment)
Batting - 52" x 60"
Binding - 0.5 yards

Fabric Shopping!

Need fabric inspiration?
Get yourself over to our QAL sponsors Sew Fresh Fabrics and pick out something lovely for your quilt. They have FQ bundles, layer cakes, solids - you name it! - all sorts of beautiful fabric for your quilt. They have super quick delivery too, my orders from them usually arrive in less than a week here in Ireland. Even better, Peg and Becca have kindly agreed to discount the shipping costs - with free domestic/ half off International Shipping on orders totaling $35.00 or more. Just enter the code FAIRYLANE in Notes to Seller upon checkout and they will refund the shipping via paypal upon shipment.

Alternatively, get shopping in your stash - you could even make this from scraps!

This is what I am using - my FQ bundle of Just Wing It by Moda. I'll be making the baby size quilt for my brand new, 3 day old niece R.

Flickr Group:

We have set up a Flickr group for everyone participating in the QAL - we hope that you'll join us over there to post up your fabric choices, layout decisions, piecing and quilting progress and eventually your finished quilts. Flickr groups are where a huge amount of QAL fun takes place so please make sure you get involved! Its a great source of info and help too.

Giveaway Incentive:

Finally - if you still need an incentive - our QAL sponsors Sew Fresh Fabrics are offering two prizes of $20 gift certificates to be drawn from peeps who finish up their quilts and post them in the Flickr group by the end of the day Monday 3rd October. A great way to increase your stash :-)

Ok, so have you got all that? If you have questions please email Jennifer or I or just leave a comment and we'll do our best to answer! I have a button for your blog too!!

Across the Sea Quilt-Along
Well, are you in??