Wednesday, 27 July 2016

WIP Wednesday: Can’t seem to make my mind up!

I don’t know what it is about the middle of the summer. This time every year, the desire to sew goes on the back burner and instead my eye turns to the house painting and decorating. Maybe its the long days in the summer when its bright at 4am and still bright at 10.30pm that means I’m looking at more of the house or the same bit for longer! Last year was the same, I got stuck in with painting stained wood Jasmine white in an effort to brighten up the kitchen. This year the living room and hall are getting an update and I only realised after getting half the hall done that the colours I’ve chosen are remarkably similar to my fabric pull for Yvonnes’s Snowflake Shimmer QAL! I’m decorating the house to suit my quilt!

In the end I picked a grey with blue and white (Kona’s Shadow, Lake and bright White) but my inspiration image is really close to the Natural Harvest, Pale Peacock and Warm White I've been putting on the walls!  Isn't it funny how the brain works?

It’s been slow going as I am managing a disk in my back but I’m getting there. Trying to remove flaking paint meant taking off a whole strip of paint right back to the grey base plaster so I ended up stripping down one whole wall! Won’t be doing that again!!!

At first I thought the Natural Harvest colour was a little bit boring and not too different from the pale gold colour in our living room but with the addition of the blue it feels fresh and a nice bit brighter! It’s a work in progress (houses always are I think!) but this week coming is a long weekend with Monday off so fingers crossed it gets all done and dusted. 

I’m also distracted by the new puppy at every opportunity! It amaze me how uncomfortable they can look while sleeping - she snores and it's really cute!  We have her bed in the crate so she can get used to it as a safe place.  It is too big for her for toilet training but we are trying to get her used to it as this is what we have in the car for the dogs when we are traveling.  So hopefully she'll be happy to go in and out of it - so far so good.  I keep throwing her toys in and have fed her in there too so I think she's happy out!

I did manage to get my 80” x 80” Rainbow Rose pieced and laid out on the floor for a photo. My back isn’t quite up to basting it yet so my link up to the Rainbow Rose QAL is a finished flimsy!

In writing the posts for the Modern Quilters Ireland group I had a clear idea of what I wanted to include about the colour wheel and the instructions to make it but have not had a clue how to quilt it. It has been brilliant to see how those making the baby version have quilted theirs so I can get some ideas! I am half tempted to hand quilt it and did buy a bundle of rainbow colours of perle cotton on Massdrop. I haven’t hand quilted a quilt yet only added a few embellishments and this could be a fun one to try over the summer!

The other thing I haven’t decided on yet is to add the applique or not – I just can’t seem to make my mind up on it! I keep going back and forth between images and think I have it sorted only to change my mind again! Oh well there is no rush now so maybe I’ll let it stew in my brain for a bit!

Lastly joining in on Cheryls Meadow Mystery QAL I’m still picking my quilt colours. I think I have it down togrey and white for the background and either light, medium and dark toned reds or a buttery yellow, sky blue and pinky coral colour.

I just can’t seem to make my mind up these days at all, at all…

Monday, 25 July 2016

Quilt Idol!

Have you ever admired a quilter so much when you see his/her name on an exhibitors list you go out of your way to see the work on display? Ethelda Ellis is a quilter, doctor and teacher based in the midlands in Ireland. I’ve never met her but I am a big fan!

I’m normally drawn to modern graphic quilts but every once in a while a quilt artist will make me stop in my tracks and I have to examine every last detail. Ethelda’s work hits that “look closer” button for me! 

I first came across her work through an Irish Patchwork Society exhibition called Explorations. She made this beautiful quilt showing the solar system and the Hubble Space Telescope with some lovely details and embellishments and beautiful quilting.  This quilt stuck in my head as I’ve always loved anything space related – I wrote to NASA when I was 7 and got a letter back!

Then I saw her story telling piece in a Hands Across the Border (IPS & Northern Ireland Guild) themed Reflections which I think was voted viewers choice in Dublin.  It was the thread detail in the hands that totally grabbed me!

When it was announced at one of our branch meetings that Ethelda was having an exhibition, in the library in Mountmellick, near Portlaoise , I knew I’d have to find the time to go visit. And it did not disappoint.   From Irish Scenes to South Africa, Confetti quilts to thread painting, this was a visual treat!

And even this month, I got an opportunity to see one more piece! Paula Rafferty curated an invitational exhibit for National Quilting week this year, themed Freedom. It originally exhibited on Spike Island, a decommissioned prison, but Paula brought it to the Hunt Museum in Limerick where it's on show until September. It’s free entry to the museum on Sundays so the Sunday before last, I dragged mum to visit the museum, as Ethelda had a piece in it that I wanted to see. I think this might just be my favourite of hers so far.  Forgive the angle, the quilts are hung in the red stairwell and I'm only 5ft trying to shoot over peoples heads!  This one is called Playtime.

What about you – any quilty hero’s you just can’t pass by?

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Wandering Camera!

Things have been busy!  I'll have more posts soon on the numerous exhibitions that have been on in Limerick but the big news is there is a new puppy in the house!  This is Maggie, another Basset Hound!

1.Sleepyhead 2. Where did that small thing come from? 3. Eating Charly's collar  4.  Big smiles - first day home!
5. This is what I have to look forward to... 6. Pounce! 7.  White sharp nails - not enough calcium in early weeks!  8. Mine!
9. Are step ladders edible?  10.  Cuteness overload 11. Still mine!

I'm supposed to be decorating the front room and the hall this week but my back has given out on me so its spending lots of time in the garden with the pups!

Colours from the Garden!

Quilting wise not much new to report on the making front but I did buy some new fabric to add to the rainbow stash!  Think I need another Ikea trolley!

Rainbow of colours from Ruth's stash! (Did buy some grey toned fabrics to try out..)

Wilbur's not too sure about the little intruder so we're giving him lots of treats and making a big fuss of him.  Charly on the other hand is over the moon to have a little thing to boss about!

Wilbur looking for a spot to bury a bone in the garden.  Charly - who needs a bone when you have ball?
Hair growing back after MRI - way nicer to pet him on the head now!

Be back with photos of Evolution, Distance, River of Dreams and a trip I took to MountMellick to see Ethelda Ellis's exhibit.  Yup, not a lot of making but still a lot of quilty things going on here!  Linking up to

Camera And Photography Linky Party

Monday, 4 July 2016

Essential sewing tool - a camera!

I don't know what it is about the process of making but sometimes you can get tunnel vision in trying to complete a block and when this happens, somehow, I just can't seem to see what is right in front of me. It's only when I go to upload a photo for the blog, that I properly see what I've made.  Sometimes it works our brilliantly and I get perfect points;

but most of the time its because I've gone and done something daft like this:

For the second time last week, I managed to piece some green triangles in the wrong way around!  I didn't notice I had one of the star points made into a mountain instead of a star in this Stash Bee block until I was writing my stash bee post.  It was a case of run to the hall table, take back the parcel, rip it open and start unpicking again!

Of course when I ripped it apart I poked a hole in the white with my seam ripper and had to re-cut and re-sew quite a bit of the block!  Doh!  That's what I get for rushing.

My camera came in really handy on Saturday too as I was out in the Limerick Quilt Centre buying fabric for Yvonne's Snowflake Shimmer Quilt-A-Long.  I wanted a subtle kind of a snowflake quilt so was going for bright white, a frosty blue and a warm grey.  I thought Kona Ash might be too dark so picked shadow and blueberry.

The shop didn't have these but did have Lake and Silver.  In the shop light Silver looked ok but in B&W on the back of the camera it looked far too similar to work.

So its back to the Shadow again!  The QAL has just started and its fabric selection in the first week so I have to get some ordered!  And the silver?  I have plans for that for another Christmas type quilt ... and I may yet go with Ash.  Decisions, decisions.

So after all that fabric selection and unpicking of green HST's it was nice to have a random improv style block to make for Stash Bee July!

This HST block is made by randomly selecting squares, making HST, putting them in a bag (I used a big Ikea basket bag to make sure I didn't peek!), randomly pulling HST out and sewing them together - only rule was one of the triangles had to have a pop of colour suitable for a boys quilt.  I picked green - I was on a roll at that point with green, right?  This block is impossible to sew things in upside down, well you can but it doesn't matter!

Thankfully it wasn't all unpicking for me with this one -back to perfect points - at least in the centre section anyway!  Taking the small victories when they come.

Wilbur on the other hand had enough of me messing about with the camera and the seam ripper!   It might look like he was keeping me company while catching up with Stash Bee but no, he strategically placed himself between my machine and the ironing board and had a great chat with me,  telling me, via whistles, whines and Mutley mutterings it was time for a break and our evening walk!  He also woke me up yesterday morning before 7 to go outside and get his morning tablet for epilepsy (with Philadephia cream cheese!)  Better than an alarm clock. No snooze button though ...

Friday, 1 July 2016

To Border or Not to Border!

That question has new meaning on this green and rainy island of ours after last weeks surprise vote on Brexit.  I am doing my best to think positively and reminding myself that it must be worse for all those who voted to stay in but are now on the way out of the EU. There's a lot of work ahead to protect the peace process here now that we are not all part of the same bigger vision, despite Northern Ireland voting to stay in.  Here's hoping sanity reigns at some point and the open border stays put!

While I can't do much about the geographical border, I can make some decisions on my quilt top.  All along I had intended my Rainbow Rose quilt to be floating in the wide open space of the invisible background fabric borders.  The borders are there but you don't really notice them!  Then I read on the blog of someone making this one block quilt, what was coming next – applique maybe?   borders2

Quite a few people had gotten on with assembling the centre section, I thought that might happen so was sure to add in the bit about rotating the star for complimentary colours if they wished, just in case everyone forged ahead!  Some did rotate the star and some didn’t – depending on the fabric choices it really looked better one way in one block and the another in the next block.  It has been really fun seeing how different they all are turning out.

Feeling that the last post I was writing might be a little bit light in terms of instructions, just assembly and borders, last Thursday, while mum was visiting and hogging the telly to watch Emmerdale, I pulled up inkscape and got to playing.  I had two ideas, a flourish like in calligraphy and some Orla Kiely inspired gradient coloured petals.  This was the end result!

I’m the only one making the larger sized quilt out of 10” squares, most are making the 40” baby quilt version out of 5” squares.  As the border is a little thinner on the larger size, I wanted to make sure the border ideas would fit both just in case someone out there might be doing the same as me or someone in the future comes back to this to make it!  So on Friday evening I made the templates in two sizes!

And on Sunday morning I made the pieces to test the against the quilt!  Now I’m seriously thinking of adding the applique!  I’m stuck between the hexagon flourish or the circle with petals.  That last one seems to add movement and make the block spin and seems very appropriate for the week that has been in it!

What do you think? Flourish or petals?

I quite like this one but the fussy cut circle will have to change.  All I read when I look at it is Air Conditioning!

So while I'm deliberating my choices, hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!
Linking up to Modern Quilters Ireland.
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