Thursday, 17 November 2016

IPS Gallery at the Knitting and Stitching Show 2016

So the Christmas demos in the local fabric shop went well (post here) and since all that crazy busy-ness right up to last Saturday, I took my foot off the brake this week and got on with celebrating my birthday and getting the boring housework done! As such, the WIP's are still at the same stage, so I thought I'd share with you, photos from the Knitting and Stitching show in Dublin last month. I had the honour of curating the Modern Gallery of the Irish Patchwork Society's display. My booth was 3 walls of 3 to 3.5m wide so I had to seek 5-6 quilts to fill the space.

Not all the quilts submitted to me for consideration, were what I would call modern in the sense of the MQG definition, but they had modern elements.  In the end, it was choosing quilts big enough for the space and what would hang well together.  It was hard saying no but really lovely saying yes and I have to give a big thanks to Paula Rafferty for the hanging which made the booth look so well!


The modern gallery was 1 of 6 in the display with other categories being Young Quilters (18 and less), Traditional, Art, Bags, and a Christmas display by the South Eastern branch.  I was delighted to see a Rainbow Rose in the submissions and this lovely version is by Imelda O'Grady from Limerick!


Aine Lecky made this lovely modern quilt and had it long arm quilted by the Quilt Shop Tuam. 


The centre piece of the booth was The Aviatrix Medallion made by Erin Case.  The pattern is by Elizabeth Hartman and it is just a beautiful celebration of colour! 


A passerby to the booth commented that you would need sunglasses for our section and his companion said "yes, isn't it wonderful".  Not sure that was what he meant, but it put a big smile on my face!  This gorgeous scrappy colour quilt was made by Sharon Hughes.


Next to Sharon's was Tomomi McElwee's colour play, with Red and White the colours of the Japanese flag, and my quilt idol (see earlier blog post here!)  Ethelda Ellis' gorgeous sunset. 


As always I am in awe of Tomomi's quilting! 


This was the young quilters gallery...


and the bags...


and an early Christmas!


I don't have too many photos of the traditional quilts but I was delighted to see Paula Rafferty's Share Jane.  Over 100 quilters made blocks for this and 2 other colour versions for the Dear Jane anniversary exhibitions this year.  I made 2 of the white blocks in this version based on the colours of the Irish Flag.


One of my favourite pieces was Valerie Mulally's quilt from a block of the month.


I think my favourite block in this quilt is the rabbit - can you spot him?


Of all the quilts in the show though, this was the one that made me smile!  A Zebra made by Elizabeth Brennan for the Art Quilts section.  I would have had this in modern in a heartbeat!


That's the lovely thing about quilting - lots of genres, crossover of styles and opportunities to play!  It was brilliant to be a part of the exhibition and thank you to all the quilt makers who contributed and made our jobs curating such a success.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Small Christmas makes - Fabric Wreath's and Dresden Cushions!


Our branch of the Irish Patchwork Society usually has a demo or two before our meeting officially starts and from time to time I make up a project with step outs to share with the group. In order to try and recruit new members some of us are also doing demonstrations in a local haberdashery shop in town, so I have been making Christmas cushions, table runners and fabric wreaths and step by step bits to show how to put them together!


Last year, it was all hexagons (trees and snowflakes); this year it’s all about the Dresden Plate! Hickeys allowed me to chose a fat quarter selection of 6 prints with a Scandinavian feel and some background fabric to make up a Dresden plate cushion for the demo.  The template is here if you want it and for this 18" finished cushion I used the 5" sized wedge.  If you haven't made a Dresden Plate block before, it is way easier than it looks and gives such nice impact it's perfect for Christmas makes!  Missouri Star Quilt has some great video tutorials on how to make Dresden blocks on their You Tube Channel here.


Using quilting cotton, for a cushion, requires a bit of wadding or fusible batting to give the cushion cover a bit of substance. So, I straight line quilted the front and back and appliqued the Dresden plate and centre circle on top of the quilted surface with just a straight line stitch.


I like a cushion with binding to frame the front sometimes, if the cushion colours are quite light, so I used double fold binding strips made from 2 1/2" wide x length and attached with a 3/8" seam on the back first,  then folded over to the front and machine sticthed in place.  Keeping it simple with a envelope backing, (see tutorial I wrote for the Modern Quilters Ireland Group here if you want to make one too!)


I really like how it turned out and the Scandi style colours are lovely to work with.  The Dresden block is so versatile, you can adapt it to anything really.  I used a red/green traditional colouring on a silver background for the table runner and had fun using up scraps for the 1/4 circles at the corners.
 

I left the binding open so I can show how to close it at the demo.  Wool wadding has given the Dresdens a lovely puffy feel!



Figuring they make nice cushions and Christmas makes don't have to be out of Christmas fabrics, I tried a summery version, with some fussy cut musical fabric too. 


I am liking this one a lot!


The Dresden plates don't take a lot of fabric, so using the fat quarters I made a Christmas wreath too!

During the Knitting & Stitching Show in Dublin, the South Eastern branch had a Christmas display and lots of people admired the fabric wreath hanging on the wall.  The lady who made it advised the invigilators to use a tube made from 5" to 6 1/2" x length of fabric, sew the strips together at the top, stuff with toy stuffing, plait and hide the join with a bow. 

So for our branch November meeting, we normally have just a demo night of Christmas makes. I thought I'd have a go at making a wreath or two, following these general instructions and I wrote up a step by step pattern that you can download here if you like!

 I tired the 5" and 6" widths using fat quarters and prefer the 5" ones over the 6" wreath shown here in the bottom photo.  Because I was using fat quarters I felt that when stuffed they made a circle easier.

I had fun playing with a ribbons, and a bow tie and much prefer the look of the fabric ties so it is worth making your own.  When looking for bow tie widths online I found this tutorial that shows how to make the wreath step by step with a fabric ribbon so maybe this was the post that started the whole thing!


I have to leave you with this photo of Maggie and Wilbur.  While I was busy making for Christmas they were busy dreaming!  Don't worry guys Santa is going to be good to you both!


Friday, 28 October 2016

Finish it Friday - some quilt flimsies using up bee blocks!

In the middle of our holiday we had a few days at home while Maggie, our puppy, was having her neutering operation.  It was a good time to do it, as we had to keep the other two away from her for a few days, in case they would go at her stitches and she was able to keep me company, while I caught up on a few things and not get too bored all on her ownio!

While sorting my stuff to tidy up before my cousin came to visit, I found some stash bee blocks made for me, from stash bee 2014!  I had picked the Spring Blossom quilt block by Charise Creates and didn't really have a plan in mind for them.  As always with Bee's you get unexpected things, sometimes blocks are a little too big or a little too small, or an odd colouring to the other blocks like the navy centre one above.


I had recently bought Amy Gibsons Quilt Block Cookbook with 50 block patterns in it.  Having been a big fan of hers since I learned how to piece blocks on her free Craftsy Class Block of the Month 2012, I knew I was going to really enjoy her book.  The blocks are fun but even better are the 7 layouts she gives for using some of the 50 blocks, to make a not so traditional sampler quilt.  The few pages at the end of the book got me thinking and made buying the whole book so worthwhile.  So I took apart a version of my star crossing block above, in navy and lemon, and used the pieces to frame the flowers.


I managed to get a small cot quilt out of both and really like that the navy in the squares now makes the dark flower centre work!  There are 5 blocks left still, so I had a go at putting them into a flower garden of my own and another of Amy's layouts from the books using columns of colour.


I think I am going to go with the layout from the book below but would like to come back to the garden for another go at it as I think there is something there.  I can complicate designs and sometimes I think simple is best!

Not having gotten around to that one yet, I did revisit the blocks I made in 2012, that were still sitting in a box!  I made the mistake of buying the cheapest fabric I could for my first quilt and not really liking it much, I still liked the blocks but didn't overly love it enough to finish the quilt.  I now only buy fabric I love and try not to think too much on the price (unless its Liberty at 24 a metre!)


Using Amy's celestial layout, I picked the blocks that I thought would work well together and added in a lot of Kona Snow, that I had on hand on a bolt. (I bought a whole bolt of Snow and White and it was the best decision ever as you can get right to making when inspiration strikes!)


At our last branch meeting, I showed my two new finished quilt tops - all from my WIP box and no new blocks needed!


And for the stuff I should have been making?  Finished my Snowflake Shimmer quilt (QAL with Quilting Jet Girl) and there is good chance I will have this finished for Christmas!  Made lots of progress on my round on Erin's Round Robin quilt!  200+ paper pieced sub-units later...


This seemed like a great idea when I first started it.  When I realised how long it would take me, I did think twice but it felt like the right thing for the quilt and I didn't want to let Erin down by doing something not as good so I just had to get on with it!


Nearly there now!


So a bunch of finishes and a lot of work in progress!  Happy Friday everybody!

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Wandering Camera

We are just back from our holidays on the west coast of Clare with the dogs so I though I'd pull together some photos of the pups for this months wandering camera link up with Soma @ Whims and Fancies!  I'll have a sewing update on Friday as it wasn't all play and I did get some quilt tops finished and made massive headway on the round robin quilt to share with you then!  For now over to the furballs:

There was lots of this:

Maggie is now bigger than Charly and at 6 months old is all paws!  Wilbur on the other hand at 10 1/2 is on 5 tablets a day and slowing down massively these days.  I've been calling him Snuffalufagus as slow and steady seems to be the way of it these days!  Poor mite had an arthritis flare up so short walks on the beach is all he could manage while the other two bounced around him!


You can tell when he is not happy as his normally relaxed droopy face gets all scrunchy and wrinkled with the effort of walking.   Feels like this could be the last year we walk him on Doonbeg beach.  So while Wilbur snoozed in the back of the car, the puppy mania continued:


Then Maggie got tired!


But not Charly!  Who's eleven?  Not me!  I'm still a puppy!


In the middle of the break we came home for a few days as Maggie had her neutering operation and had to wear the cone of shame!  She managed amazingly well with it, better than any of our other dogs.  Patch used to get stuck in a corner and just stay there forgetting he could walk backwards!  Maggie had fun running after Charly scooping her up in it and clever dog managed to figure out the cone covered the food bowl so Wilbur couldn't get at it!


Then the humans had a holiday!  My cousin and her husband came to visit from Chicago and we wandered around the loop head peninsula admiring the scenery of the Wild Atlantic Way and finding some really good pubs open for food despite it being October and the end of the tourist season!


Some of my favourite photos - Queen Charly who clearly owns the whole beach!


The two pals!


And the senior citizen having a wander!


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