Wednesday, 28 September 2016

WIP Wednesday!

So the design wall is still decidedly frosty this week!  I'm getting there with my Snowflake Shimmer that I've been making for Yvonne's free Quilt-A-Long. 

For some reason I didn't expect it to be as big as it is (the bottom row won't fit on the design wall it's that big!)  I have the bottom half pieced and hope to get the remaining rows finished tonight but haven't decided yet how to quilt it. 

Yvonne gave us a nice template to trace with a lovely swirly texture as a result.  Those diamonds though are calling out to me for some reason so we will see, after it's basted.  I'm thinking of a pieced backing with some Christmas fabrics I haven't yet used though I do have a bolt of Ikea Britten Nummer on hand so may just use that instead.  Decisions, decisions!

Speaking of which, our Modern Irish Bee round robin is still going strong.  It's getting close to finished now but the backlog we had at the start is now back with me again and I have 3 of these beauties waiting for the next round.  Hopefully I'll have Erin's teal and pink one done at the end of next week for Mary!

Remember this bear quilt I thought I'd make with a feature panel rather than bear paw blocks? (free quilt a long over at Sew Fresh Quilts)

Well I popped out to the Limerick Quilt Centre on Saturday morning for some blues and browns and came away with greys and blacks!

Karen kindly let me have a rummage through some new bolts just arrived in and my original plan went right out the window when I saw these fabrics (Heartwood by Makower).  Proving to Gordon that blue and brown are a classic colour combo has been trumped by the desire to  make him a manly quilt with a grey and black bear against a background of trees! 

I did manage to pick up this gorgeous feature print from the range for myself at the same time.  So pretty, I think this needs to be made into cushions - I would love to be able to afford this fabric for curtins!

On the way out the door, I succumbed to this new Moda range with matching panel!  It's the bear that did it for me and I am considering using some of this for the back of Gordon's bear quilt but suspect it might just be too nice to have on the rear!  Time will tell!

Linking up to Quilting Jet Girl and Let's Bee Social @ Sew Fresh Quilts!

Monday, 26 September 2016

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Mini Quilt

This little guy just found its way back to me last month at our branch meeting.  I made this to submit to the Irish Patchwork Society's challenge for a mini quilt (12" square) on the theme of the Winter Garden.  It surprised me how happy I was to have this little feisty Robin back so I thought I'd enter him just in time for the Blogger's Quilt Festival over at Amy's Creative side for the mini category.

He is made with a zig-zag stitch and moving the fabric sideways free motion from left to right instead of straight through the machine.  Using 2 threads it gives a denser stitch and is a really fun way to build a picture.

The background is a swirly free motion pattern, in my head I imagine this as wind and it reminds me of the nursery rhyme that says The North Wind doth blow and we shall have snow and what will the Robin do then, poor thing.  He sits in the barn and keeps himself warm and hides his head under his wing, poor thing!

My little guy is sat on a branch as we have a tubby Robin who visits our garden and sits on the fence or on the low tree branches annoying Charly our Jack Russell.   You have to admire that cheeky spirit!

Linking up to Amy's Creative Side.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Thankful Thursday - One Hour Basket Swap

So this arrived in the post!  Isn't it gorgeous?  This is Joanne's (@mojoret4 on IG) take on the One Hour Basket free pattern by @kelbysews. 
The hand stitching in this just blows me away!
And a few extras too - a needle book and pin cushion.
Thanks a million Joanne and Modern Quilters Ireland for another fantastic swap! Follow the link to see more amazing versions of this brilliant free pattern or check out #mqisummerswap on IG!

Now what to put into it?  My dog fabric collection methinks.  Definitely one for storing my favourites!

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

WIP Wednesday - the Frosty One!

I am slowly tackling that finished flimsy pile, one by one I'm making a dent!  This past weekend I basted my Penny Sampler quilt (design by Rachel Hauser @Stitched in Color) so I could get to some hand quilting with my new perle cottons. 
This has been a finished flimsy for over a year as I think I was afraid to quilt it.  Not really knowing how I wanted to tackle it, I only knew I wanted to do some hand quilting.  Looking back over the notes Rachel gave us I remembered she hand tied hers rather than stitch in the ditch and added some big stitch outline quilting on the star.  
 I want to add a bit more hand quilting than that but figured get it basted and tied first and see what springs to mind.  So I spent a few hours last Saturday watching the Jungle Book singing along with Louis and Balou and got her spray basted, hand tied and trimmed to size! 
I'm stuck on a binding colour.  G thinks dark grey to frame it and balance all the pastel but I am considering something lighter as the fabric pick for this quilt was inspired by a frosty Christmas feeling.  Any suggestions?  Binding it before hand quilting is recommended by Rachel and it will feel nicely finished even though I can be adding to it a bit at a time watching movies!
I am making progress on my QAL's too, this week, working on Yvonne's Snowflake Shimmer design.   I've added in more diamonds to my version with Yvonne's blessing and given myself a little bit more work to do but I am having real fun with this one, chain piecing my way through the square in a square blocks. 
When I made my Halloween quilt a few years ago and it had 16 square in a squares I thought I never wanted to see another one again.  This time around I have about 40 and am loving pressing them open.  Maybe its the colours I'm working with.  So frosty, but in a different way to the Penny Sampler above.  The weather is definitely changing and it's nearly time to light the fire and nestle in as the trees change to gold and red and burnt orange- my favourite time of the year!

Friday, 9 September 2016

Friday Finishes

Ned has cousin.  Say hi to Fred!  Hedgehogs are going the right way up.  I gave up on even attempting pattern matching but I think he looks alright! (see earlier post for details on Ned!)

One thing I noticed is that Ned and Fred's shape means they are prone to rolling over when you try and stick a pin in them (well they are hedgehogs after all!) so this time around I put a weight in Fred to keep him upright.

Not having any fancy walnut shells or anything like that I used some rice in a little pouch I made - basmati - as that was all we had in the cupboard!  I'm happier with it this way as I was starting to feel a little bad sticking pins in poor Ned lying sideways!

This week I'm not going to leave with this as the only finish! I did get the baby quilt panel finished and added in some lettering in the quilting to personalise it! First time using a panel and though I prefer piecing a quilt, I think for a quick baby gift they do work well!

And there's more!  I forgot to tell you about the Fat Quarter shop quilts I finished over the summer.  Last year I took part in a blog hop for the Layers of Charm quilt pattern using a layer cake and a charm pack to make a lap quilt.  I picked some grey squares but the fabric went missing in the post so made this quilt using Amy Butler Fabrics.

Eventually the greys turned up and I finally got around to quilting it and the Charm Pack Cherry quilt top I had made the year before!

I chose some variegated thread, 40 wt by YLI and I like to use a plain colour in the bobbin using variegated thread.  If you use it in both top and bobbin you can get some funny colours coming together on the quilt top where the threads change colours.  So, I put a pale grey 50wt Aurifil in the bobbin and played with the tension until I was happy with the results and then using the walking foot I straight line quilted both quilts by echo quilting the seam lines.

 Bound in Moda Christmas Red solid fabic and backed in Ikea Britten Nummer!

Instead of a border I free motion quilted the corners with Layers of Charm, Fat QuarterShop Blog Hop by Ruth Bourke.

I used different colours in each direction of the Layers of Charm Quilt but for the Charm Pack Cherry quilt below I stuck with a blue/yellow/green thread and used that for the whole quilt (second on the top row!)

The quilt is made with Noteworthy by Sweetwater for Moda and with some Essex Linen and Moda Naturals.  The pattern calls for 2 patterned charm packs and 2 plain.  Instead of using all the same colour in the plain I used what I had on hand of creams to light browns and this quilt has to be one of my favourites.  It's all mine, just for me when I want to snuggle in reading a book - Charly has been allowed up on it on my lap so I guess I'm kinda sharing!

I backed it with the leftover bits of Tula Pink Freefall fabric I had on hand and it wasn't quite enough so this quilt got a funny long rectangular label!

Finished at last!  Could get used to this!

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Mod Bear Paw

I seem to have a love/hate relationship with the Bear Paw block. I've never been really drawn to it as a traditional block on its own, preferring the round surround blocks like the Dutch Rose (aka Swoon) and the star blocks like the Ohio Star (probably my favourite traditional block ever!)

When preparing for the class I gave in Cork this summer on Traditional Blocks Made Modern I deliberately chose it as a challenge to play with and see what happened and the result was Big Bear, Little Bear!

So colour me surprised when I saw Lorna's version of a quilt with the Bear Paw Block and I instantly loved it!  Lorna has a real talent for making fun and cute animal blocks and very generously gives the instructions away for free on Quilt-A-Longs.  I have to admit Dog Gone Cute is still my favourite but there is something about the bear climbing in and out of the grid below that appeals to me!
Sew Fresh Quilts

What doesn't appeal to me though is the 20+ Bear Paw blocks I'd have to make.  It took me 2 years to finish up Swoon and it has only 9 blocks! Knowing me and my temperament, I decided to have a good look at Lorna's design and see what bits about it really resonated with me.

The bear for starters!  So I took out all the blocks not touching the bear and tried to fill in the space with a woodland print by Westfalenstoffe, I previously bought from  In the larger bed quilt, Lorna's use of  the paw print border is really clever and fun! So I added it in the middle to break the fabric join up a bit.  Looking back on Lorna's bigger quilt, I really like how she frames the bear with the borders and thought to be truer to her design to add some of that back in so came up with these in the end!

Feeling happy with this I bounced the idea off of Gordon:
"Yeah it's nice but it clashes a bit!"
"What do you mean clashes?"
"The colours, the blue and the brown."
"But that's a classic colour combination."
"No it's not."
"Yes it is!"
"On what planet?"
"This one!  Blue sea, brown sand."
"I prefer the pink, it goes better."
"Pink? "

So this is as far as I've gotten, I'm not sure I want to make a pink bear quilt! Still I really like that fabric which is Enchanted Forest by Natrual Wonder also at

I'm planning on this going on the single bed in the boxroom and am still gravitating towards the blue and brown!  The key to making this work for me will be the fabric above the bear.  I think the Westfallenstoffe might be too small a scale so I'm hunting for a medium to large scale woodland scene in blue (or pink!) that might work with a brown bear! If you guys comes across anything that might work I'd be very grateful!

Lorna kindly gives lots of colour options on her blog post so I put in blue and black just to see.  I love the impact of the black but I find him kind of scary!  So I'm holding out for a brown bear still. A grizzly bear, I think!  What do you think?  Clasic or clashing colour combo?

So this will be QAL number 3 on the go at the same time.  I just can't resist.  What about you guys - are you tempted?

Friday, 2 September 2016

Friday finish

It might be a bit cheeky calling this a Friday Finish.  It's a little bit wee and will probably need to be made again!  Say hi to Ned the Hedgehog. Attempt #1!

Our guild is doing a pin cushion swap and I decided, following my success with Patrick the owl, that I would stick with an animal theme and searched online for a Hedgehog template.  I found this one at Makerland.  The template makes a tiny hedgehog so I printed it on A3 paper rather than A4 to make it about 40% bigger.

I should have known when I was cutting the fabric and had the two sides of the body pieced that something was wrong!

The hedgehogs on the body fabric are going the wrong way!

And nul points for pattern matching at the top either!

Still at least he is functional!

The designer of the pattern mentions in the first paragraph that she would consider moving to New Zealand as Hedgehogs are so plentiful there.  Given that and the fact that my little guy is upside down I'm calling him Ned from New Zealand! 

I'm not sure how I am going to do a better job of pattern matching on a curved seam but at least on attempt #2 I can turn the fabric the right way up! For now though I think I'll keep this little guy!

Happy Friday!
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