Thursday 22 October 2015

Catching up to myself!

I am a bit behind myself this week - this was meant to be a work in progress Wednesday post!  Poor Wilbs had a seizure and frightened G, I must admit that the longer it was going on I thought it was curtains too but thankfully the dog popped out of it as if nothing happened, and straight away went to his food bowl looking for dinner!

If you've never seen a grand mal seizure in dogs, its quite a thing.  He fell onto his side, eyes wide open, neck arched and mouth chomping while his little legs were running like crazy.  The danger is in overheating so if it happens again we have to make sure his temperature doesn't go too high and stick valium up his butt - I kid you not!  He's 9 and pushing on, poor mite.  I must say though he his loving all the extra attention we've been giving him!
I did get my Dog Gone Cute thank you cushions finished and wrote about quilting them here on the Modern Quilters Ireland blog for a book review of Christina Cameli's book Step by Step Free Motion Quilting

Most of the rest of the week, when I've had a chance I've been playing with Hexagons.  There must be something in the air as I've seen a few Hexie posts this week.
Our branch of the Irish Patchwork Society are having a hand sewing night making Christmas themed projects.   I thought this might be good time to play around with Snowflakes.  Messing around with hexagon I came up with a few layouts that use 60-90 hexies.  Am I a crazy to try making some of these?  I found some bead designs on this web page at Bead Merrily and thought they'd make great patchwork placemats so worked them out with 3/4" hexies too. 
They would be nice as cushions but I think I need a little break from cushions at the minute!
I know red and green are the traditional colours but I quite like a frosty Christmas scheme so ended up with all these variations in blue and white and some bigger and simpler 2" Hexagon designs at the end.

Then I started playing with spacing the hexies and found a Star of David pattern. Not sure the religious connotations on this one!  Still, I like it with the darker grey background on the top left.
Finally I came up with a quilt design, I am really tempted to try!  I have a to do list longer than both arms but this one, like Wilbur is begging for attention! Only 19 2" Hexies and 35 1"Hexies appliqued per star- should be a quick make, right?
Maybe a reversible quilt with a night time version on the back?  I think I need to stop playing now, but wouldn't this be a fun thing to do with star constellations?  Funny where you end up from the first idea isn't it? 

I know its nearly Halloween but if you are in the mood for more Christmas inspired projects, Ho, Ho, Ho and On We Sew  is being guest hosted this month by Sandra Sews and Ella & Nesta's Little Room!

Sunday 18 October 2015

Sunday Stash - More dogs!

I'm sure you are tired of dog posts by now but I have to say a few more thank yous this week as somehow this lovely lot of dog themed fabric found its way into my stash!

While commenting on polaroid blocks made for Helen in our Modern Irish Bee by Angela, I admired this doggy fabric and Angela gifted me some in the post - thank you so much -I love the generosity of quilting peeps!

My generous cousin we visited in Chicago, to celebrate her wedding, also gifted me dog fabric.  As soon as I saw this I knew it was the range Best in Show.  I have been eyeing this up for ages!

Looking for some backing fabric to finish 2 thank you cushions I found this range in the Limerick Quilt shop and I couldn't resist adding to the growing haul of dog related fabrics!

Last week, during our October meeting of the Irish Patchwork Society I gave a talk on modern quilting and was given these scottie dogs from the shop on the night, Seams So Simple as a thank you from the branch.  Don't they know me well!

I was a bit nervous giving the talk as some of our members are really experienced quilters and I'm quilting just about 4 years now.

We have members of all ages and some prefer traditional, some art quilting and even though modern isn't to everyone's taste (I was told by one lady its not for her though my display was lovely),  they all listened attentively.  I felt like I was talking for ages and ages but they were all really great.

I brought almost all the makes I had not given away as presents to use as examples, some finishes and lots of WIP's.  I really need to get a move on and finish up some stuff!

Thank you ladies for the Scottie dog fabric,  I will put it to very good use!

Linking up to Sunday Stash @

Friday 16 October 2015

Thankful Thursday - a little late!

I had intended in getting this posted yesterday for a Thankful Thursday post but its been a busy week so a Frightful Friday post instead!  Earlier this year I took part in a fairy tale themed swap on Instagram and my swap item from Marika got bounced about a bit in the post.  I had a lovely surprise when I got back from holidays last week and found this squeezed through the letterbox.
Thank you Marika for a brilliant mini - perfectly timed now for Halloween.  I love how the trees were done and it gives it a perfect spooky atmosphere!
We thought Marika's parcel was lost for good so @Mara_Makes stepped in as an angel and sent me this arty take on Little Red.
 Aren't those teeth cool!
Mara also sent me a sewing kit with a scary wolf eyeing up his dinner and I love this to bits and use it all the time.  Little Red Riding Hood and the Princess and the Pea (which I made) were the most popular fairy tales in our group in the swap for some reason.  Thank you both for my mini quilts and all the extra bits you both included - thrilled to bits to be so lucky to receive these!
My sewing friend in our Thursday group entered this mini into the Birmingham Quilt Festival this year and the colours reminded her of me so she gifted this to me to brighten up my sewing room. 
Thank you Suzanne!  I love the fabrics by Zen Chic and teeny tiny 1/2" piecing!
Didn't I do well?  Thank you everyone for your lovely swaps & gifts!

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Dog Gone Cute & Simple Free Motion Paw Motif Tutorial

It's my turn on the Dog Gone Cute Blog Hop today!  I've been looking forward to this one for ages.  Like many of us in blogland, when I first saw Lorna's pattern I was totally hooked and knew I had to make it.  After all these pups are the spitting image of our Jack Russell Terrier Charly.
And like many more when I first saw this pattern it reminded me of all our past pooches too and I was determined to make a memory quilt of sorts.  Using the smaller blocks in the pattern I made a block for our two previous JRT's Toby & Patch as well.
Same but different!
Over the last 28 years we have only ever had 3 weeks where we without a Jack Russell Terrier.    Toby was our fist Jack Russell and he used to have 1 ear up and 1 ear down so I modified one of Lorna's blocks for him.
When I was a teenager Toby used to sleep under my bed.  I woke one night and could hear breathing and you know when its dark and you just freeze and have to force yourself to be brave and look under the bed, well that's when I saw the furball snoring his head off!  That became his favourite spot and was very comforting, after the first shock to realise he was there!

When Toby died, a week later we got Patch who had a shamrock shape patch on his back when we was small.  It changed to a smudge as he grew so not the best choice as a name really! We had him for 15 years and it was funny, we babied him more as a senior citizen than we ever did as a puppy.   I'd put on an extra handful of pasta just for him!
I used to travel quite a bit with work and every time I'd Skype home, the first question I'd ask was how's the dog?  I didn't inquire about anyone else! 2 weeks after putting Patch to sleep we got Charly.

Seriously!  How does he fit in there?
Working out the design
Charly used to sleep on my stash until Wilbur stole her bed.  My blog is named after her as she is my little pal and finds a space where ever I am, usually on my lap or on the chair next to me when I'm sewing!

She is a very inquisitive dog and when she hears a noise she can't make sense of will do the really cute thing that dogs do: the head tilt .  She's super cute when she does it and I had to include it to make her personality stand out on my quilted cushion.  I oversized the block with background fabric and cut in on an angle.  Not sure if I shouldn't have given her more of an angle - it is quite extreme when they do it!

As we have only had 3 JRT's so far I put 3 hearts in the last corner as we love our dogs to bits!  G did ask which one the big heart is for and I may have given him the death stare look.   3 hearts for all 3 dogs not a big heart for anyone in particular...(not that I'll admit but I think you can guess!)

Charly went on holidays to 2 different houses while we were away in the states and neither would accept anything from me to thank them for minding her.  So of course I'm going to make something!  Originally I had planned on making Dog Gone cute for myself using aqua and pink on charcoal but have since decided I'll be making the pattern as a thank you,  I've only just started the cutting and will be a while yet (hopefully before Christmas!)

So here's my finished Dog Gone Cute Memory Quilt turned into a 24" cushion! 
And of course I couldn't leave Wilbur out.  I have all the instructions written up for a Hound Block and made some changes after making this one.  I've narrowed the head and widened the ears and just need to test some of the angled pieces for the ears this weekend.  I should have the block ready to share before the blog hop ends on October 29th in case anyone wants to make a long earred furball to go with their puppies too!
Wilbur I quilted with a meandering loopy all over pattern.  I think it gives really lovely texture in the face and reminds me of fur.  Something I plan on doing with the bigger Dog Gone Cute Blocks.
For my cushion using the smaller blocks, I just stiched in the ditch the faces and got brave and tried  an all over dog paw pattern in the background (previous post here).  It is a very simple free motion pattern and I thought those getting started with free motion quilting might like to see the steps I used to get this look, so have a short tutorial below:
Free motion quilted dog paw meander!
Start with a wiggle /meander and come to a stop
From there stitch around a mushroom shape
Trace around mushroom to approximately half way up one edge
From the stop point in step 3 stitch a circle or oval to make the first toe.
Repeat for all 4 around the top of the paw.
Stitch all the way back to the start point and meander off again for the next motif.

If you want to keep this for later I have a downloadable version available here as a PDF.

Thank you Lorna for allowing me to be a part of this hop and celebrate Dog Gone Cute.  I had great fun playing with it and love my happy looking sofa!

To see more today check out my fellow blog hoppers at :
Tanya of Tanya Quilts in Colorado
Laurel of Quilts by Laurel
Kathy of Kathy’s Quilting Blog
Deb of New Creative State

Sew Fresh Quilts

Friday 9 October 2015

Visiting Quilt Shops in Utah

Our family holiday to Chicago for my cousins wedding was the perfect excuse we needed to extend our trip and go and visit G's sister who lives in the suburbs of Salt Lake City.  Being quite a distance from Ireland it made sense to do a hop skip and a jump and fly via Illinois!
Knowing my love of quilting, we stopped off at a place just outside Salt Lake City called Gardner Village to get some coffee and cinnamon rolls and while the lads were enjoying the break I got to wander around and take some photos!

Halloween preparation was in full swing and this display caught my eye and brought me to a quilt shop selling finished traditional quilts.  I was intrigued by the pricing as I don't know about you but I find pricing quilts really tricky.  I generally don't do commissioned quilts and tend to make just to make and have fun exploring design.  I tend to give my finished quilts as presents rather than sell them, though at some point that will probably have to change as my finishes gather.  (I'm a slow finisher but I can dream of having a bunch of finished quilts!)
I loved the crafty Halloween touches all around the shops in the village! 
Then I stumbled upon Pine Needles and was in quilty heaven for a bit!
This was more like it!  Lots of colour, beautiful fabrics and inspirational makes dotted all around the place!
I asked permission to take photos and kind of got carried away as you can see! 
Pine needles offers quilt and bag patterns, kits, quilt of the months and lots and lots of gorgeous modern fabric!
I love the Christmas display...

but seemed to spend almost all my time and dollars in the Halloween section!

I made quite a few purchases...

 and whole heartedly agree with these sentiments as afterall:
No truer words were said!
Utah was great fun and we spent quite a bit of time catching up with family and out and about hiking down Snowbird mountain, learning about dinosaurs and homimids...

and we got to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir rehearse too (all 300 of them!)  We had a nice wander around Temple square.  After all when in Rome... I'd go back again tomorrow and not just for the quilt shop!  I loved the dinosaurs but G loved the mountains best.  The sunshine was nice for a change too!
Borrowed a hat - still got sunburned wearing factor 30!
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