Tuesday 30 September 2014

Modern Quilters Ireland sewing day

Last Saturday, some of the Modern Quilters of Ireland met in Galway for a sewing day. Cindy had arranged for us to use one of the rooms in the University and had set up tables for swapping books, fabric, treats and baked goods.   There was also a table to donate blue and green 12.5" blocks for Bee Blessed (a group who make donation quilts that our group supports).
Louise & Claire
Erin working hard trimming a bazillion half square triangles!
Louise and Cindy

Claire doing something Christmassy with a pattern from Quilt Now magazine.
We brought our machines, extensions leads and projects to work on for the day.

While everybody looks really busy I can't say I was the most industrious, rather spending the morning nibbling on home baked chocolate yummies, browsing through books, chatting and cutting fabric for 2 blocks for Bee Blessed.  Wilbur (project previous post) didn't get anywhere near the machine, and I brought my triangle quilt to finish too - I was aiming a bit too high I think!

We had the opportunity to browse through some fabric and accessories from Fluffy Sheep Quilting, PippaBlue and Wrap it, and I did pick up a few fat quarters and some Handmade with Love wooden buttons.
Anneliese being really productive despite popping in and out to pick up the kids.  She brought along Patrick the owl pincushion I made for her in last years swap.  Quite a few of us had our swap pincushions with us!


My hard work for the day!

And they came wrapped up in this!
More Goodies!

Thanks to our goodie bag suppliers for being so generous and thanks so much to Cindy, Anna and all who helped make the day happen!

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Library Project Update : Ticker Tape Wilbur

Our online group of Modern Irish Quilters are having a sewing day in Galway this Saturday. I’ve been trying to figure out what I should bring with me to work on. Having had a glance at my Finish-A-Long quarter 3 goals I’ve had a bit of an oh oh moment. It’s not that I haven’t been busy, its just that I’ve been busy on other things… Bit of a theme across all 3 quarters this year so far!

As its Library project up date week too, (make something from your books and magazines instead of browsing through them and putting them back on the shelf!), I decided to dig out Wilbur and finally get around to choosing and sewing down the scraps to make up his body. He’s had a head for a while now and is the opposite of Nearly Headless Nick, more like Floating Headed Dog so I’ve been chopping up scraps and matching them to the contours of his body.

It’s been some time since I looked at this project and a previous photo where I had roughly laid out some scraps came in really handy for jump starting me again.  The idea behind Ticker tape projects is to sew down the pieces one at a time and build it up as you go.  That kind of randomness wasn't quite what I had in mind.  I wanted a strong Basset shape with some kinda sorta Basset Hound shading in terms of colour placement.  I'm not being too true to Wilbur's colouring, using it more like a guideline!

Basset's can be any hound colour - most are brown and white.  Wilbur is a Tri-colour Basset (black, white and brown) so I'm using blue to give a hint of the black and cream for the white with shades of mustard, pink and a bit of red/orange for the rest of him!

Last February I started this project with a hand sewn perle cotton outline and have written about the ticker tape process in this earlier post. The idea is to sew down your scraps through all three layers at the same time. As I ran out of fusible paper earlier this week making Japanese applique motifs, I'm hoping Steam a Seam fusible tape will keep these scraps in place while I sew and some of the smaller pieces I've glued down with Guetermann fabric glue. 

I've spray basted the 3 layers together and am using a zig-zag stitch to secure the pieces.  I plan on quilting over the whole thing with horizontal wavy lines as in the Elephant Ticker tape quilt that inspired my Basset Hound Version. I hope to do the final quilting on Saturday if I can get all these little pieces down before then! 

I like the way it’s coming together though it hasn’t used up as many scraps as I thought it would.  The piece is 40 inches wide and Wilbur only takes up a third!  Might have to make a matching one of Charly our miniature Jack Russell. I have quite a few scraps of this fabric (Karavan by Valori Wells) left.  I may have to buy some binding fabric as I used up the bit I had intended for this on my Colour wheel swoon!  I'm thinking it has to be orange!  Wilbur, the real one has a lovely red/orange brown shade to his coat

Every time I work a little bit on this small project I think about other shapes to try this on like a turtle, rabbit, hot air balloon, or a butterfly.  I'm imagining a Rudolph or Christmas tree version!  So many possibilities and fun too, I think it would be a great project to work on with kids.    Linking  up to

WIP Wednesday at Freshly PiecedSew Fresh Quilts
Chezzetcook Modern Quilts

Monday 22 September 2014

Design Wall Monday–Oriental Applique Motifs


Remember, I mentioned that I wasn’t sure I liked my work in progress on the pattern, Fat Quarter Fizz, applied to Oriental Traditions (fabric range by Robert Kaufman).  Some of the fabrics I really like in this range and some not so much.  I got some really helpful suggestions in the comments on my last post – thanks so much everybody for all your help and encouragement!

_DSF5772Robin suggested not being bound by the pattern and changing it up a bit.  My mum took one look at it and suggested swapping some of the cream squares out for red and Claire dug out two Japanese quilting books and brought them to our Thursday night sewing group.  Since then my head has been spinning.

Claire’s book “Japanese Inspirations” has been very helpful for imagining how to add a bit of red and change it up a bit.  The book gives templates for seasonal motifs that can be used to make stencils for fabric painting, embroidery or applique.

As soon as I saw these plum blossoms in the book, I really wanted to make them and hoped they would add some oomph to the quilt.

I really like the cut out lines and how the parts come together to make the flowers.

I had a red & gold print fabric in my stash, that I bought last year at the Irish Quilt Festival in Galway, and like some of this bundle I wasn’t too keen on it (no idea why I bought it!) but it fits in with the oriental theme and I finally found a use for it!

In the book, the plum blossom is a winter flower and I learned that the motifs anticipate or herald the coming season not reflect the actual season that is in it.

 I’m probably breaking all the design rules here but I picked out a few motifs across the seasons to use. 

I have the cherry blossom for Spring, the Butterfly seems to cross over Spring and Summer and the House Martins are a Summer motif in this book.  They remind me of swallows here in Ireland which are associated with Autumn so I think I have the four seasons covered, at least in my head anyway!


I don’t think I’m going to add any more to it.  5 and 7 are lucky numbers (3 plums, 1 soaring bird and 1 turning, 1 butterfly and the cherry blossom cluster).  The design wall was great for this and helped massively with the applique placement.  I gained an extra foot in width too!  My uncle saw me using it and thought 4ft x 7ft was just a bit too small so last week he arrived up to my house with an extra 1ft x 7ft to bolt onto the frame – perfect!  I am seriously so grateful for this.

Traditional Oriental with Applique-5791

_DSF5827I’m still going to practice free motion quilting in each rectangular block so this will be an on going work in progress and definitely not a quick finish!

To do that though I need a back.  I had some leftovers from the fat quarters used above (4.5” squares) so I put them up on the design wall and thought they’d make a nice back, with maybe Kona Ash on either side?

Then I took a break, made a cup of tea and started reading the second book I borrowed from Claire. 

This is a fantastic book with lots of hand stitching patterns to learn Sashiko.  There are variations on squares, diamonds, circles and some complicated looking patterns and one stitch patterns too.  I think I’m going to have to buy this one!


_DSF5829Of course, reading while sipping my tea, I had another idea!

How about taking those squares and making a chain of 4 patches?

I could then use the blank squares in between to try a different Sashiko design.  It would make a small sampler style quilt, with coloured thread on a warm grey like Kona Ash or a beige.

What do you think – quilt back or Sashiko Sampler?

So that’s the design wall today, the head is still abuzzing with Japanese inspiration.  Think it could be time for another cup of tea!

Linking up to Design Wall Monday and
stitch by stitch

Friday 19 September 2014

Finish it Friday - Bye Bye Love Bag

Yesterday I finished my first proper bag!  If you asked me within a half an hour of sewing the last seam if I'd make another I would have said not on your nelly.  Today though, I might be tempted.

This is the Bye Bye Love bag from Sara @ Sew Sweetness.  I got the pattern as a part of a 6 month bag of the month subscription.  (There will be another bag of the month offered on Sara's blog next January).  The variety of bag patterns given to us month by month was really good, from clutches to beach bags, but I've only made this one from January!  Yes I am a bit of slow coach.

Making bags is completely new to me and there were times I wished I had stuck with quilting but in the end, a bit of just get on with it, a few curses through gritted teeth and 2 seams unpicked with the seam ripper, I made it across the finish line!

What surprised me was the amount of interfacing every cut piece needed.  I used a lightweight stabiliser and some puffy fusible interfacing from Vilene, 3 yards of 3 different fabrics, hoops, magnetic clasps and 2 zips!  I did have to search a bit for the bag hardware bits and bobs and eventually bought them from Vibes and Scribes in Cork - where do you buy yours?  If you have any online recommendations I'd appreciate it!

My very first zipper.  It's not perfect but it opens and closes and I'm happy with it!

I really like the details of the bag tabs and the pleated front pockets.  If I was to make another (see I'm not sworn off bag making yet!) I'd change the pockets to the contrasting grey to not have so much floral!  The fabrics are from the Limerick Quilt Centre and I got them in the January sale, the lining was 50% off - score!

I chose a bright looking lining fabric to help me find things that end up at the bottom of the bag.  I hate looking into a black interior trying to find change or car keys!

The interior has 2 pockets with a seam dividing them in two - plenty of room for phone and wallet etc.

The instructions were brilliant with lots of photographs and even though this was my first time using zips I got them in with not too much difficulty.  The large zip going around the top of the bag was easier than it looks!

I think I will have to invest in wonder clips though as I stuck myself sewing the halves together quite a few times!

The only really tricky bit for me was to sew in the zipper tapered so the pieces came together at the side.  I know I'd do better next time.
The pleated pockets were much easier than they look and they are secured with the magnetic clasps.

The pattern is for sale outside of the 6 month club here if you are interested in making one for yourself.

So there you have it, one finished tote bag. I'll be using it for work, it fits my laptop perfectly. Just have to scotch guard it as the weather has turned awfully wet today!

Hope everyone has a happy Friday and a lovely weekend,  Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts and

Sunday 14 September 2014

Make Modern Blog Hop

Welcome to my stop on the Make Modern Magazine Blog Hop!  Make modern is a new online magazine from Australia, with patterns and articles for Modern quilters.  Lara, Jane (Where Jane Creates) and Kirsty (Quiet Play) have put together a great first issue and today I get to show you my contribution to the magazine.  

This is Storybook, a quilt pattern using pre-cuts to make a colour block quilt.

This was my first time using a brushed cotton and even though you can't see it in the quilt it is super soft (a little like flannel) and perfect for a baby quilt.

I used 2 charm packs of Storybook by Kate & Birdie for Moda for this very quick to piece baby quilt. My cousins in Chicago have just had a baby girl so I may just have to make another one!

As this was also my first pattern published in a magazine I asked my friend and fellow Just Threads (Sewing group) member Paula Rafferty if she would like to quilt it for me on her longarm.  She did a fantastic job quilting the cow jumping over the moon (keeping with the storybook theme!)  I love it to bits!

I think Teddy does too!  Not having any kids ourselves (just the 2 dogs!) I used this teddy bear as my model!

One of the things we were asked to think about, when writing our patterns, was to include options so things can be changed up a bit and add a bit more value for the readers.

I scaled my pattern up to a layer cake to make a bed sized quilt for my mum.  Since I began quilting, I've not made a proper bed quilt for my mum.  She has 'borrowed' 2 pieced cushions, a mini-quilt and I am under orders to make her a Christmas table runner but no proper big quilt.  Feeling a bit guilty about that I thought this was a good opportunity to finally make her something for the winter.

This version of the pattern uses 2 layer cakes and the layout is included in Make Modern with the baby quilt above.  The fabric used is from the Limerick Quilt Centre and is called Table for Two.

Photographing this was a little tricky.  It was quite windy so Gordon had to stand on the tripod legs to keep this from blowing over while I grabbed a photo.  It blew down 3 times and we got some funny smiles from the neighbours walking across the green with a bed quilt draped over a photo stand!

The back was made with a a panel pieced horizontally and I quilted this on my home machine using a wiggle stipple.  I just have to label it and then it'll be on it way to mum this week!

If you would like to see more of Make Modern there is a preview here on Issuu and if you would like to buy the first issue or subscribe you can do so here on the Make Modern website.  The Make Modern blog is worth having a look at with many guest posts and interviews with the contributors.  

The blog hop is continuing throughout September and there is more to see on the following:

1st September                   Make Modern
3rd September                   Kristy @ Quiet Play
5th September                   Where Jane Creates
7th September                   Gina @ Party of Eight: Our Story
9th September                   Molli Sparkles
11th September                 Juliet @ The Tartan Kiwi
13th September                 cat&vee
15th September                 Ruth @ Ben and Charly’s corner
17th September                 Kelly @ Kelliotmagic
19th September                 Alyce @ Blossom Heart Quilts
21st September                 Serena @ Sew Giving
23rd September                 Melissa @ Ms Midge
25th September                 Anne @ Hudson Valley Quilts
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