Thursday 30 October 2014

We have a winner!

To celebrate 225th post on this blog (I didn't notice I had gone past 200 for a week or two - doh!) we had a giveaway post last week and the winner is Joy who left comment number 11!

Congratulations Joy, I've gifted your choice, Designing Modern Quilts with Weeks Ringle, through Craftsy.  You should have an email in your inbox - hope you enjoy the class as much as I did!

Thanks to all entered and thanks for your lovely comments!

Wednesday 29 October 2014

WIP Wednesday - Christmas swaps!

I know it's Halloween week and I shouldn't really be mentioning Christmas sewing until at least Saturday, when the chocolate is eaten and the barm brack has been toasted! So I'm breaking my own rules here with an update on Christmas swaps as the deadlines were last Friday and this Friday!

1. Christmas Ornament Pillow, 2. Winter pillow for Julianna (1), 3. CIMG9075, 4. Pillow-cover, 5. ChevronPillows - QuiltDetail, 6. Rear of my christmas pillow, 7. Aqua and pink christmas pillow, 8. Christmas Gifts, 9. Christmas FussySquares sewn together, 10. Christmas Snowflake ...a better photo and a little QAL, 11. Christmas pillow front, 12. paper pieced Christmas pillow, 13. Savvy Seasons pillow cover, 14. patchwork pillow cover, 15. pillow cover - christmas, 16. Christmas pillow

The Modern Quilters Ireland group are having another Christmas swap. Last year it was a table runner and this year we are swapping cushions! This is my mosaic of favourite picks from Flickr, to help my swap partner figure out what I'd like in a swap item. It seems that this year, I am drawn to Christmas decorations and can't go wrong stars and Christmas trees! Last year, I was all about the penguins and polar bears and to be fair I still love those guys (especially the penguins!)

Sign ups are open until this Friday and anyone resident in Ireland and a member of Modern Quilters Ireland can participate. Membership is free, if you want to join us in our Christmas swap! I've written a tutorial on how to make an envelope backed cushion for the swap here.

A second swap I joined in was Round 11 of the Fussy Cut Square in a square swap. This one was themed a Holiday swap. Amanda @ What the Bobbin organises swaps based on a 4" paper pieced economy block throughout the year with different themes for each round. This is my second Christmas round so last year I received 12 blocks and this year I made 12 more to swap.

The idea is to use a fussy cut centre and add coordinating fabrics for the outer rounds. You make and send 12 and you get 12 different ones back. It's a lovely way to be social and it gives you variety in your project that you might not normally have making all the squares yourself. I used fabrics from Riley Blake's Santa's Little Helpers, Joy by Kate Spain and Nancy Halvorsen's Holiday Favourites. Hope my swap partners like them!

I made a spring, summer autumn, winter cushion with 12 squares I received last year in a non-themed swap (added 4 more of my own to make 16!) This year I have a plan for a Christmas I spy type baby quilt with my 24. We'll see how I get on with that!

If you fancy making some of your own Amanda has the template available for download here.

Linking up to
My Quilt InfatuationWIP Wednesday at Freshly PiecedSew Fresh Quilts

Monday 27 October 2014

Design Wall Monday

Trying hard to clear the to do's to make way for Christmas sewing, I managed to get this scrappy quilt top together from my leftovers of this applique one on the right.

Yes, I know Halloween isn't over yet and I normally try not to mention Christmas until 1st November but it's a bit of a list this year and I could use one or two of Santa's Elves helping out!

The 4.5" squares have been up on the wall for a few weeks with no change so this weekend I got to stitching them up.

On their own they were a little bit small so I added a border.  I tried a 4.5" border at first but it didn't work so an 8.5" border is what I went with in the end and now I'm thinking of hand stitching that too!  Fair warning though, apart from embroidery I'm not the most patient person for hand sewing!  The plan is to Sashiko stitch a different pattern in each of the blank squares.

I think I might be more excited by the scrappy leftover one than the Fat Quarter Fizz version above!

I've been choosing the Sashiko stitch patterns I want to use for the larger blank squares from a book Claire lent me a few weeks ago.

It's going to be hard to switch gears from Sashiko to Christmas sewing so I hope to get this basted up today and hopefully buy some orange, yellow and red thread at the Knitting & Stitching show in Dublin next weekend.  The plan is to do a bit here and there over the next few months.   I have to buy perle cotton for my Penny Sampler too so the shopping list is growing!

Linking up to Design Wall Monday and
stitch by stitch

Friday 24 October 2014

Finish it Friday - a pretty simple cushion!

Before Halloween next week and the Christmas sewing starts I thought I'd better get a few to do's off my list that have been hanging around a while.  So I have a small simple finish to share with you today.  

My friend Sarah wanted cushions to spruce up her new living room and earlier this year we made the Tula Pink Camper Van.  To go with this Sarah picked a dog applique pattern by Lynnette Anderson which reminded her of her old Labrador Holly.  I finally got around to finishing it off as a cushion for her last night!

I have a tutorial written to post next Monday on the Modern Irish Quilters blog for how to make an envelope backed cushion if you want to see how I made this one.

For quilting, I straight line quilted the white outer border all the way around and stitched in the ditch around the dog as Sarah didn't want too much fuss around Holly.  A tip I learned on Craftsy's Creative Quilting with your walking foot, is to mark a little distance away with some masking tape to give yourself a straight line to follow.  I found myself a little off from time to time and corrected it on the next line moving the masking tape up an inch or two as I went along.  This meant I didn't have to risk any markings still showing on the white fabric and was easy to see.

Sarah liked Holly as is without any embroidery but I couldn't resist adding a little wooden button.  I hope she likes it.  When the Modern Irish Quilters met in Galway last month I bought a selection of wooden buttons from Christina's shop Wrap it and couldn't resist adding the heart to this project.

So a simple finish but I really like it.  I hope she does too!

Don't forget I'm giving away a Craftsy class to celebrate over 200 posts on the blog.  Please see below to enter if you would like a chance to win either Designing Modern Quilts by Weeks Ringle or Amy Gibson's Twisted Irish Chain.

Linking up to Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts and

Thursday 23 October 2014

Post number 225 and a Crafty Class giveaway!

My 200th blog post came and went and I didn't even notice!  This is in fact my 225th.  I've published 212 posts on my blog and guest posted 13!  A lot of advice given to new bloggers is to be featured or write a guest post for another blog.  Partly because it pushes you to create your best content and partly to talk to new readers who might not know you.
Modern Quilt Guild of Ireland
I've been writing for the Modern Quilters Ireland (formerly Modern Quilt Guild of Ireland) for about 7 months now and I've enjoyed it a lot.  It's been a really fun exercise to think of topics I wouldn't normally write about on my own blog, maybe for fear they wouldn't be read or of sounding like I know a lot more than I really do about quilting!  I'm still learning lots myself and like to share this aspect of learning by doing on my blog. 

Trying to think of topics that would appeal to people who have been quilting for a while and attract beginners too, in addition to people like myself, who like to play with colour and design has been quite different.  I've been thinking of them as explorations rather than articles to be written and in the exploring I have learned quite a bit.

I've learned that there are more than 10 ways to make Half Square Triangles and had great fun playing with layouts with just 16 of them!  I learned the Dutch Rose/Swoon block is over 100 years old and that the Log cabin block is probably the most versatile block there is!

So to celebrate 225 posts, 22 months blogging, just under 3 years quilting and the fact that I'm still 40 not 41 for another 3 weeks, (no I'm not having an age crisis - went through that when I was 25!)  I'm having a giveaway!  In keeping with the love of learning and exploration theme, I am gifting a Craftsy class of your choice from Designing Modern Quilts by Weeks Ringle or Amy Gibson's Twisted Irish Chain.

I've chosen these two as Weeks Ringle's class encourages explorations in colour & composition and I really loved the lesson titled Beyond the Block.  Plus my cousins in Chicago live near week's Studio and gifted me some of her fabric and Week's husband Bill wrapped it up in a fabric bag with a hand written note! 

I was gobsmacked when she gave the bundle to me and so was she when I pulled two of their books from my bookshelf!  Perfect present.  So I am paying it forward by selecting Week's class as an option for the giveaway!

I love Amy Gibson - I learned much of what I know about quilting through her Craftsy Block of the Month class in 2012.  She has a block of the Month club too called Sugar Block Club that I subscribe to and has a lovely friendly website in

So to win either of these two, please leave me a message telling me which class you would love to receive.  No need to follow my blog but if you do that's great!  The giveaway will stay open until midnight Irish time next Wednesday and then random number generator will pick the winner.  Good luck and thanks for entering!

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Wild Atlantic Way

Just back from a weeks holiday driving around the Irish coast following the Wild Atlantic Way with cousins from Chicago! Last weeks posts were scheduled so I have some catching up to do replying to comments and following up on the blog posts that I have missed.

We didn't buy much, the obligatory distillers reserve Whiskey at Bushmills for Gordon (no photos allowed there!)  And I've been wanting a tea cosy for our stainless steel teapot for a while (since I saw Yvonne @ Quilting Jet Girl make her own).  I couldn't resist this fox by The Ulster Weaver's as it reminded us of how Charly our Jack Russell curls up to sleep!  Oh there was a stop at Ikea where I bought a whole bolt of fabric but that's for another day!  Google maps says you can do our route in 16 hours - we took a good few days to wander around and enjoy the scenery. 
We were blessed with good weather!  Above Cliffs of Moher with O'Briens tower.  There is a lovely walk along the top of the cliffs and we are planning on going back to do more!
Poulnabrone Dolmen (megalithic burial site - older than Newgrange, Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids!)

Croagh Patrick in Wesport, where we made our base to explore Achill Island and down into Connemara.
No chance of an indulgence from the Pope for climbing it in October!
(Gordon says he is keeping the beard for Christmas - fingers crossed it's gone by January!)
Great Famine memorial.  An amazing piece of work showing the ships that carried a mass emigration from the west in the 1840's to the UK, USA and across the world.  In school we called these coffin ships.

Kylemore Abbey in Connemara, Galway.  Originally a castle built by Mitchell Henry, then a boarding school and now an Abbey with an open house and gardens.  Even in October, flowers blooming and some creative pieces along the walks - gotta love these sheep!
Gothic church built by Mitchell Henry in memory of his wife Margaret.  Instead of the scary Gothic gargoyles this church is a labour of love decorated with flowers and angels using local Connemara marble inside. 

Our last destination on the trip was the Giant's Causeway in Co. Antrim right at the top of Northern Ireland. This was amazing!

My version of a selfie, shadow on those hexagon rocks!  Legend has it that the Giant living in the causeway challenged a Giant across the way in Scotland and the causeway was built so they could meet and fight.  The Scottish giant was huge so the Irish giant pretended to be a baby in a cradle.  The Scottish giant figured if that is the size of the baby he didn't want to see the father and broke up the causeway on his way home to separate the two again.  Volcanic activity  and crystalline cooling is the actuality but I like the story better! 
One of the iconic images of Northern Ireland is the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.  Now I don't have a photo of the bridge except for this because I was holding on with both hands crossing it!  Some people stopped to take Selfies, not me!  I got across by looking at one spot and keeping going - totally ignoring the drop to the Atlantic, the gusting wind and the swinging bridge - thankfully it is a short enough bridge and much easier to do on the way back! 

So that was the Wild Atlantic Way heading North from Limerick.  Normal quilty updates will resume later this week.  For now I'll leave you with this scenic shot while I test out Mr. Fox's ability to keep my tea warm and cozy!
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