Monday 25 April 2016

A finish - Darth Vader mini glow in the dark quilt!

Last week was a mental busy week, but Lord Vader, not known for his patience at the best of times insisted on being finished on time for the #maythe4thbewith you swap on instagram! 

He is now winging his way across the Atlantic as part of #MQSteamSith.  I picked the light side and was paired up with the dark so I chose Vader - he really is the best baddy - sorry Kylo Ren is not a patch on the grand daddy!

This was a real experiment in terms of technique and materials and I'm happy to report my adventures with glow in the dark fabric & thread and Lara's Crafted Applique method worked out a treat.
I received my copy of Lara's book last week and will be taking part of the blog hop next Month when I'll have a copy to giveaway to a lucky reader.  I couldn't resist diving in straight away and using this new method for Vader.
I don't normally pre-wash fabrics but Lara recommended it for the type of glue I was using for my applique work. so Vader was treated to Lotus Flower, Lily scented!  Persil small & mighty might have been a bit more apt but I was determined to put some light side of the force in there somewhere, and while he is scowling down at my swap partner, at least he'll smell nice!
Pre-treated fabric dried in no time!

The most fun I had was making the templates.  He's modelled after Lego Star Wars and for some reason I gave him batteries in his hands.  No clue why.  G did ask me why I made him look so angry - but well he's Vader!  Not exactly known for his smiles!

Using Lara's method I was able to get very thin cuts in his body armour for the detailing and glow in the dark to shine through, with out worrying about fraying - this made everything so much easier!
Quilting him was a bit of a pain with the glow in the dark thread.  It's a 40 weight and not a huge amount on the spool.  Straight stitching close to the edge worked out really well but the free motion had the top thread shredding a lot and lots of breakage.  I figured the layers, including the glow in the dark fabric, which is a poly something or other and quite thick, might not be helping so I switched to a Jeans needle and plain sailing from there - makes me think I might try a bigger needle for regular free motion too to see if that helps at all.
Finding glow in the dark fabric was a bit of a hunt online.  First lot didn't glow, second glowed nicely but with a pattern in it that really didn't suit Vader and the third try was clothing fabric from Romania, bought on eBay - worked out OK in the end!
Bound him in dark grey and wrote on the back instead of a label, as he glows front and back and I didn't want to break the silhouette the stitched applique created.   A really fun project in the end!
Last week was the week we had Wilbur up at the Veterinary College in Dublin for tests.  Thanks to everyone who enquired about him!  We had to get him there last Monday for 9.30 which meant an early start.  Wilbur is not a good traveller in the car and made his displeasure known vocally for the whole trip up!
Still he was a very good patient and put up with the blood tests, MRI, and shaving of various parts of him!
Charly didn't miss him one bit!  She loved being the only dog in the village and with the weather being so good had tons of fun chasing the blackbirds, starlings and her ball in the garden for hours and hours!
We collected him last Thursday and the news is no sign of infection, parasite or most importantly tumours that could cause seizures.  With his age they strongly suspected cancer but thankfully all clear and it's lifelong meds for Wilbs to control the epilepsy.  We are very relieved at the result!
On the way home we stopped off in Kilkenny for me to give a talk on Modern Quilting to the South Midlands branch of the Irish Patchwork Society.  Wilbur smelled the sights of Kilkenny with G for an hour and a half while I talked about quilting.  Some members got to make a fuss of him in the car park afterwards - after all how could you not love this face?
Did the long walk keep him quiet for the journey home - not a chance!  Still all back to normal now thank God!

Saturday 16 April 2016

WIP & Wandering Camera

If it seemed quiet around here for the past week or so its because of this!  I may have bitten off more than I can chew when I decided to machine quilt Flower Power by myself on my Janome.
You might remember this one from the 2 1/2" squares swap our IPS branch did last year.  We swapped 375 squares +25 of our own to make a challenge quilt.  I pieced this over Christmas while my Janome was in the repair shop and finally got around to basting this monster bed quilt.

I chose wool batting as I had it on hand from a massdrop buy last year and it was ginormous so no piecing batting!  It's my first time using wool and though it takes a lovely stitch it is quite puffy.

It's been a right pain wrangling it through the machine but it has given my Janome a really good work out and I discovered a few things in the process of quilting this already!
My aurifil pink 2410 (favourite thread!) kept breaking when I moved the quilt back upwards to the left - I changed to a new titanium needle, rethreaded everything, cleaned out every bit of lint and still had breakage in this direction only!  I think it might be because moving in this direction for some reason, I am sewing down on the thread more than any other and I think I might be the cause of it shredding.   Once I finished sewing on the hexagon strips, the free motion background work went really well with no issues so, even though I still hear a clicking sound from time to time in the bobbin, I think the repair has worked and my machine is good to go.  I'll definitely know by the time I've finished quilting this one!
Backing is Tula Pink Freefall 108" extra wide and it took ages to pin through all the layers.  My glutes got a good workout on this one pin basting on the floor!

In other news, a rotten head cold followed the flu which hasn't helped much in getting things done on my to do list- I'm doing a great impression of red nosed Rudolph at the moment!  But it's not all been sneezing and sniffling!  I made some more blocks for my Traditional made Modern course in June - a nested churn dash and some wonky bento blocks - they are keeping it bright and happy by Lara's mug rug portrait of Wilbur and Charly which to be fair can do that on its own.  It makes me smile when I see it!  Lara's new book Crafted Applique is on the way and I'll be taking part in the blog hop in May and can't wait to try her technique.  She has gifted me a copy to give away so stay tuned for more or check out Amazon for a copy for yourself!

I have a Star Wars applique project to get cracking on this weekend too.  My glow in the dark fabric and thread arrived so I'm all set to give Darth Vader a go!  More on that during the week - ship date is Wednesday!!!!

Finally for wandering camera I have the usual monthly update of the furballs and some St. Patricks day photos to share!
My mum and aunt enjoying the parade - 1916 rebellion celebrations featured big with kids dressed up in short pants and the usual groups of girl guides, scouts and community groups kept it really bright and colourful this year!
Back in the day you weren't allowed get married during lent, so my Mum and Dad got married on St. Patricks day!  Yes it is in lent,  but every Irish person knows it's a day off!  Sweets and chocolate you've been saving in tins are broken into, mint flavoured ice cream and shamrocks impressions on pints of guinness are consumed and the priests would allow a wedding or two!

It made it really easy to remember Mum and Dad's anniversary.  My Dad died the week before my 24th birthday which was quite some time ago but had he lived they would have been 50 years married this year so we made a big fuss of Mum.  Our St. Pat's day consists of Mass for some who get up on time(!), parade, pints and dinner at mums!  Even though its her anniversary she insists on cooking!

She does love her cards and its a bugger to find a card suitable as most of them are something like: to you both on your special day....  So this year I found this card of a boy and a girl cow and gave her that with a big 50 and happy anniversary written inside - my aunt thought it was very funny! Mum smiled and put it with the other cards of for you both etc... on the mantelpiece.  Next year I think I'm going to have to come up with something better!

On the furball front Wilbur has been sleeping.... a lot...
Having to steady Wilbs on the sofa as he is prone to falling off at the moment!
Even his eyebrows are going grey now!
We've had to increase his meds as he is still seizing in his sleep - 2 last week.  So now he is on Phenobarbital as well as the expensive, less bad for you, stuff!  We are taking him up to the veterinary college in Dublin next week to see if there is more he needs but for the moment it's seeing what dose works for him.  The meds create a barrier in the brain but they also suppress normal brain activity too so, too much and his hind legs go all wobbly and he's like a dog after a few pints too many - not enough and its grand mal seizure.  Still at the current dose he's been snoring his head off on his favourite spot on the new sofa - yes on the sofa - he has me well trained!

Charly doesn't know what to do - when he seizes she gets confused and tries to attack him so we have been keeping an eye on her too.  Thankfully she is happy once you throw the ball for her.  Though with rain, hailstones and snow this March/April she is less inclined to venture outdoors.  Can't blame her really!  Garden needs a miracle this year!  If there is any chocolate left I think I might try bribing G into cutting the grass!

So thats it for the moment - still here - still catching up on reading blog posts (up to the end of March now and onto April)!  No rest for the wicked - unless your Wilbur!

Camera And Photography Linky Party

Friday 1 April 2016

Friday Flimsies!

Things are cracking on here with the Traditional Blocks Made Modern preparation I have been doing for June.  Despite the flu this past week I have managed to finish 2 really simple quilt tops.

I had fun with this one choosing four 12" blocks and floating them in some background fabric and sashing with a skinny 1" strip to make a cot sized quilt.  For a change I went to design seeds, and found this colour palette that I really liked.  I used it to colour in my design and uploaded a photo to Playcrafts palette builder to see what Kona colours they could be matched to.  I then ordered Peony, Rose, Smoke and PFD Bleached White from Fat Quarter Shop!
 I really like the soft colour palette and love that smoke for a background colour!  Matches the design really well too, I think!

Despite coming up with some of my own blocks my favourite has to be this classic Ohio Star!

Yesterday evening I struggled against the wind  and constrasty evening light to photograph my Colour Blocks quilt.

Eventually the sun went behind the house and I got a lovely shadow falling over the fence.  Excuse the state of the garden - needs quite a bit of tidying up after the winter weather!

I really had fun with this one using a mixture of Kona and Moda Bella Solids from the Limerick Quilt Centre.  The background is Mango and some of the colours in the blocks are Kona Cadet, Coral, Leaf, Cloud, Orange Buttercup and Moda Bella Christmas Red and a purple I don't know the name of!

This was a really fun and very quick quilt to make and I have to admit I really, really like this Kona mango colour.

Yes quilting this one is going to be a challenge - thanks to all who left suggestions on Instagram!  Thank you too to those who have volunteered to pattern test some of the blocks for me for the upcoming workshop.  I am writing the last instruction and have these two quilt designs included too.  Still open for testers if anyone wants to try them.

Lastly I couldn't resist making a doggy version of my modern economy block.  I've pulled out all my dog fabric and am going to find it hard to resist making anything other than dog blocks this evening!
Hope all have a wonderful weekend!
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