Friday, 28 November 2014

My Happy Mosaic!

Chelsea @ Patch the Giraffe challenged us today to make a mosaic of things that make us happy and share it with you all.  This was great fun!  I made my mosaic on Big Huge Labs which for some reason is not pulling in the source info this morning.  Apart from my own photos these were found on Pintrest.

Things that make me happy:
  • Tea, tea and more tea (love my morning cuppa!)
  • Dogs, our Wilbur and Charly especially.  
  • Tigers are beautiful and scary, (wrote an essay about one in school that got me an A, thanks Teach!) 
  • Books.  I love reading and learning and just getting lost in a good story.  I'm a Science Fiction Fan mostly and love Doctor Who and books by Ursula K LeGuin
  • Penguins.  Who doesn't love Penguins?  Gordon, my family and friends are represented by the penguin on the bottom offering free hugs.  G is still wearing the crazy beard.  Trust me I am protecting you all by not sharing that picture! 
  • Hobbies.  Apart from quilting B&W photography is Hobby #2 though it's taken a back seat to collecting camera fabric lately!
  • Paddington Bear - just love this little guy and his adventures.  I love to travel too, I've lived in Seattle, Frankfurt, Cork and Limerick and travelled outside of Ireland every year, with work or to explore new places on holiday, but my most favourite place, so far, is the West Coast of Ireland.  That's the Atlantic coast of Clare in the middle picture.  My favourite holidays are walking the dogs every day on a different beach working our way up the coast!  
So what are you thankful for?  What makes you happy?  Want to join in the fun and answer the Chelsea challenge?  Here's to a happy filled weekend!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

WIP Wednesday

Got my camper van cushions finished just in time for my cousin to give as a Christmas present - I just love these and in the new year I'm making one for myself!  The fabric was Kona solids with Essex Linen in Steel and fat quarters from the Tidal Lace bundle I won from Anne@Playcrafts.  Still have a good bit of this bundle on hand and am pondering projects...

In the meantime the Christmas sewing is in full swing! 

I've finished up my three carol singing snowmen.  This is for our branch challenge in the Irish Patchwork Society.  We are to make either a Christmas stocking or a wine bottle cover.  These three guys are singing Rudolph's song where Santa asks him to guide his sleigh.  Now just to come up with a back and a cuff and put it all together!
Finally last week, while writing about the Night Sky Quilt-A-Long that Jana is hosting on her blog, I was struck by the red, aqua and white colour combination of this little star.  I'm still thinking of this for a larger project but I had an idea to use the left over triangles from the large blocks in this Christmas Quilt. 
The 16" blocks use flying geese made with the strip and flip method in the pattern, which gives a nice big leftover triangle.  So instead of putting them in the scrap basket, I'm using them for my Christmas cushion swap with the Modern Quilters Ireland.  We had some last minute join ins and my swap partner changed, so I've been having a rethink of what to do for a cushion top. 
I think this shining star would be perfect, so partner I hope you like it!  I found it while having a browse in Barbara Brackman's Encylopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns while looking for something else.  It caught my eye and I had a go at drafting it up to a 16" size.

I have just enough triangles left over in red and aqua and am using a layer cake square for the ray in fabric similar to the triangles. I think it will be really nice hand quilted.  Here's hoping it all goes to plan!

Linking up to Finish it Friday and
Sew Fresh QuiltsWIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Friday, 21 November 2014

Murphy's Law meets Night Sky QAL

I've been making progress on my Night Sky Quilt this week.  Not a lot of progress it has to be said, but still some!

Jana @ Jana Machado has organised a Quilt-A-Long using Camille Roskelly's pattern Night Sky.  Today is link up day over on her blog and I am pleased to say I have one block made.  Yup, just the one!

The rest are like a giant jigsaw puzzle in pieces up on the design wall!

I'm making a small version of this quilt 48" x 56" from my on hand Christmas fabrics.  Mine is a scrappy version made up of a left over Layer Cake of Joy by Kate Spain, Riley Blake's Santa's Little Helpers and a smattering of Folk Art holiday.

I've added in Kona Snow, Ash and Navy in an attempt to pull the scrappiness together, very similar to the palette in the original pattern made with Bonnie & Camille's new line of fabric, Daysail.

Not using fat quarters, I started with cutting up all the pieces I would need, working out how many of each block and what colours I wanted, whiled away the whole afternoon last Sunday. 
I thought I had everything nice and orderly, then realised the aqua solids I had sewn into my centre 4 patches, were meant to be star points!  I am very good friends with my seam ripper (have 4 of them!)
 So I ripped and laid them out again this time by block!  Much better.
Then got to chain piecing.  All was going fine until I ran out of bobbin thread.  I didn't notice until the last one went through- doh!  
So I wound a new bobbin, decided to be very good and give the machine a clean while I was at it and tried again.
Yup made a hames (Irish term for a right royal mess!) of threading my machine and chain pieced them all like this!  More ripping and redoing.  I didn't swear once, I might have sighed a lot though!  I eventually got this one lone navy block sewn together.
As I was working from layer cakes one of my big blocks is made up of 2 colours of the same print.  I quite like it though it is a bit crazy looking!

I'm loving the large 16" blocks in this pattern.  This red block is my favourite so far.  I really like the red white and aqua colour scheme too.  Must think about that for another project!
So, worrying I wouldn't have much to show you today for Jana's blog hop, only 1 poor solitary star block pieced together, I cleared the design wall and started laying out.  This was tons of fun!  It really is like playing with a big jigsaw!  And look,  I have one piece in the large aqua block, second row, laid out backwards! 
Quite a bit left to do but it's coming together, despite Murphy's what can go wrong will go wrong influence.  Row 3 and 5 will be very similar to row 1, so a really scrappy Christmas looking quilt I hope, in the end.  Eventually!

Linking up to Jana today.  Please head on over there for more of the blog hop and to see her fabulous blocks.  So far Jana has managed to make unique blocks, no two the same!  Some people even have a finished quilt top!  No pressure then, it's not like I have a deadline or anything!   34 more days, plenty of time don't you think?

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Schnitzel & Boo Mini Quilt swap round 3!

So with everything going on, Christmas swaps, Night Sky Quilt -A-Long, writing my second pattern and making table runners and cushions for family, I decided to join another swap!

Received in swap round 1 - thanks Christina!

Made for swap 1

I really enjoyed rounds 1 and 2 of the Schnitzel & Boo Make a Quilt, Make a Friend swap, so I didn't want to leave myself out of this one.  Plus this one is on Instagram and not the usual blog/Flickr platforms, and I wanted to see how that would work in comparison to the last two swaps.  There has been a lot of talk on Instagram taking over from blogs and some people trying to cut down on social media are avoiding Facebook and deleting Flickr accounts in favour of Instagram.  A really good blog post looking at this is Whipstich's I thought it might be Instagram but it looks like its your phone's fault.

Made for round 2
Received in swap round 2 - thanks Lisa!

I like Instagram.  I like the simple picture format and the back and forth one line banter - seems to me a bit of Twitter and a bit of Flickr combined.  I miss the longer discussions though and for me still prefer the blog.  I've been on Flickr since 2008 and have a bit of an emotional attachment to it!  And I like big pictures.  I have a large smartphone Galaxy Note 2 and still would prefer to see bigger images but Instagram is not designed for PC.  Sure I can do the pinchy thing and zoom in but I sometimes feel like I'm missing out on something on Instagram.  So many hashtags, so many images in my feed and I only follow 180 people. Is that too many?  Swaps and de-stashes seem to happen and I've blinked and missed them.    Do I need to be more selective?

Anyway, I'm jumping in with both feet this time around to see what happens and this is my mosaic for my swap partner as inspiration.  I normally try and pick 16 likes and do a 4 x 4 to give a good selection but conscious of this going on IG I made it 3x3 so they wouldn't be too tiny - change in format is already having an influence on me and my decisions!

1. Diamonds mini quilt, 2. beautiful applique, 3. Thimble Blossoms Dwell Mini, 4. sewing machine cover, 5. Forest mini quilt, 6. The Snow Ball Mini Quilt, 7. Girl's Weekend Swap - My mini for Elena, 8. Pretty in Patchwork Doll Quilts, 9. DQS 13 Ready to Send!!

Still I'm looking forward to another mini quilt swap.  The social nature of sharing in progress and making with a secret partner in mind is great fun regardless of platform.  I will keep you updated of progress here on the blog and on IG and for old times sake I'm posting to Flickr too!

In the spirit of being social I'm linking up to Lorna at
Sew Fresh Quilts

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Where do quilt ideas come from?

Reading Molli Sparkles post yesterday, on losing your own unique voice in a sea of social media, following too many people and skimming content as opposed to absorbing a design idea, got me thinking about where creative quilt ideas come from.
No one creates in a vacuum.  We all influence each other.  Social media has a huge influence, for me so too, do Quilt-A-Longs, Challenges, Magazines and what friends are working on.  Sometimes you absorb something and don't even realise.

I was working on my triangle-a-long quilt earlier this year, and while backing up my Macbook decided to have a clean out of quilt patterns I had downloaded and found this Anna Maria Horner pattern.

My first thought when I saw it was, Oh that must be where that came from then!  Though I didn't remember downloading it, I must have and it must have stayed in the back of my mind somewhere when I was colouring in!  I made sure to link to Anna Maria's pattern when writing about my Triangle -A- Long quilt in blog posts.

My nearly finished quilt (still have to bind it!) is also heavily influenced by the Colour Intensive class I took with Stitched in Colour where we explored rainbow colour palettes in detail.

I find it a little odd that some of my favourite paintings and photographs don't have much of an impact but maybe that is because I'm only exploring quilt design a short time and trying to explore traditional blocks and modern quilts is plenty time consuming already for my poor brain.  I do find weight and balance and moving the eye around a space from photography, does influence how I see symmetry and asymmetry in quilts.

One thing that struck me though is that I am haunted by one block in particular that worked its way into my head well over a year ago.  I can't seem to get rid of it.  Like the rainbow colour scheme it doesn't seem to be done with me yet!

I like to play with shapes and colour in drawing software.  Last year, I was working on swoon blocks and large star blocks (Happy Quilting's QAL's) and came up with this star crossing block.

I tested it with whatever remnant fabric I had on hand to see how it would work and then did nothing with it.  I still have this large yellow block on navy in my stash looking for a home.

Then when my cousins 10th birthday came around in October it popped up again and became a cushion using left over jelly roll strips.

Last Christmas the Modern Quilt Guild of Ireland group had a swap and it became a table runner (yes this is the same block - dropped the pinwheel and made it 2 tone in the background triangles.)

Fiddling on EQ7 last week, trying to learn how to use the custom function, I found myself drafting it up again.  I normally do everything in solids but this time around I tried painting in fabric just to see (something I can't do on Touchdraw!)

This is the result, a giant block for a bed quilt.  As I made the block 72", a solid centre would have been too much and Gordon hated the pinwheel in my original design, so a friendship star in the centre seemed to fill the space quite nicely, plus I couldn't resist a few dotted above and below it.

Anybody know which way friendship stars are supposed to turn?  I've seen them go both ways but most traditional blocks I've seen have them spinning the other way to mine!    Now this orange one is calling me to make it.   So much so, I went and ordered Wrens and Friends fabric - yards and yards of it!  Changing the colours again and you get the aqua star in a star (exactly the same block construction only different colouring in the background!)

Having committed myself to a make and a purchase I probably should have stopped there but of course didn't.  I made it a bit smaller and coloured it again.  Here it reminds me very much of the Swoon block that inspired it in the first place!

And a little bit more colouring, some sashing to space the blocks and a different quilt again!  I really like this one too though I'm not sure how the giant hearts would work in scale with the stars.  Only one way to find out, I guess!

After a year and half this block doesn't seem to be done with me just yet!

And I've been telling people I'm not great at making the same thing over and over again.  Ha!  How wrong I've been.

Have you ever had something live in your head like this.  Has it morphed into anything you make over and over again?  I'd love to hear about it!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

WIP Wednesday - Christmas Stocking Challenge

Taking a break from straight line quilting 3 camper van cushions, I decided to get cracking on one of the Christmas challenge/swaps I signed up for this year. 
Our branch of the Irish Patchwork Society set us a Christmas challenge to make either a Christmas stocking or a wine bottle cover.  I chose the stocking and thinking I wanted to do something hand embroidered, I had a rummage through some old magazines and found this Rudolph from Crafts Beautiful November 2013. 

Every Christmas stocking I've ever owned has faced left for some reason so I reversed him onto my fabric and had great fun embroidering him.  He's outlined with a running stitch, satin stitch on his nose and heart, stem stitch and french knots on his scarf and chain stitch on his antlers and tail.

He's about 4" x 6" high so I framed him with some blue Folk Art Holiday fabric I bought from Fluffy Sheep Quilting!

I was nearly going to have just him on his own on the stocking but I really enjoyed stitching him out and in the end, I thought he could use some friends.  So I'm adding some singing snowmen.  I found these guys in this month's Simply Homemade magazine.  I think some stars and musical notes too as in my head these guys are singing the Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer song.  Somehow it's gotten stuck in my head and driving me slightly mad at this stage! 
Not sure what to do with the back just yet!  I'm really enjoying this little project.  I'd forgotten how much fun hand embroidery can be!

Linking up to
WIP Wednesday at Freshly PiecedSew Fresh Quilts

Monday, 10 November 2014

Design Wall Monday - Coastal Cruisers!

I finally got around to the three Coastal Cruiser Cushions my Cousin wanted for Christmas - (sorry - couldn't resist all the alliteration there!)

My uncle spotted the cushion I was finishing for my friend Sarah, told my cousin and next thing you know I had a Christmas order for 3 of them!  In colours close to the original Tula Pink designs made from her collection Salt Water. 

Now I don't have any of Salt Water in my stash (have a little bit of Prince Charming and Hoppy Dot!) so I've been collecting a few fat quarters here and there thinking Camper van, Camper van the whole time, straying somewhat from the brief colourwise!

Then as luck would have it, I won this bundle of Tidal Lace by Windham Fabrics from Anne @ Playcrafts.  

It arrived last week and is really gorgeous!  It's full of sea shells and sea shades including blues, greens and this lovely coral.   Thank you for a great prize!

And it's perfect for Tula Pink Camper Vans!  I added Essex Linen grey and a Kona medium grey as background to this green version.
For the blue I used the co-ordinating solids in the bundle.
Lastly for the orange I had a Fat Quarter Bundle from Fluffy sheep quilting of Kona oranges and yellows and put this dark orange with the paler colour from the bundle to get a set of three!

I have to stitch over the pieces held down with fusible and stitch the logo in the middle and then straight line quilt them.  It is going to be hard parting with these three, I'm loving the colours!

The Tula Pink pattern can be found free here!
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