Tuesday 30 August 2016

Credit where credit is due!

This is my swap item for the Modern Quilters Ireland Summer swap. This year we are making baskets for each other based on the free pattern by @KelbySews called The One Hour basket. Full disclosure, this little basket took me quite a bit longer than 1 hour!

It’s funny the way things come together in your head or maybe the universe is practicing synchronicity but I was working on a talk for our guild on trends in online quilting and jotting down notes on how popular pieced animals are, some animals never seem to go out of style like deer and butterflies (I was thinking of the Tula Pink butterfly quilt in particular) when I stumbled on a paper pieced butterfly on Instagram called Take wing. So much happens on IG that I feel I blink and I miss things so I never deliberately look for blocks or patterns there, preferring instead Pinterest and google images. But this one caught my eye and clicking on the hashtag it took a bit to find the designer and the pattern and eventually I ended up here on Craftsy where I could purchase the mini version or the larger 24” one.

The one hour basket uses front and back pieces that are only 10 1/2” tall and this includes the bottom section too – reading through the pattern I found that the mini would still be too big so I reduced the print out and resized it to 6 1/2” tall by 10” wide and added background fabric to bring it up to the right size for the basket.

This little butterfly took all afternoon last Sunday to piece. I made 2 mistakes so he’s not quite symmetrical but I’m telling myself very little in nature is truly symmetrical anyway! This was a really good scrap buster and originally he was going to be blue and green and purple but the sun was shining so he ended up mostly red, orange, pink and yellow! There is a free pattern offered by the designer for smaller blocks if you want to make something smaller and quicker!

Having gotten the front panel made the rest of the bag went fast enough and I had a basket made in about 2 hrs! I’ve seen these used to hold fat quarters and WIP’s and I think they would make great scrap baskets too so can see myself making lots more of them!

So having made my basket and processed my photos, I set about writing this post so you could have the link to the basket and butterfly pattern if you wanted to make one. I stumbled into a war of words on copying between the butterfly designer and another quilter I much admire. I thought oh crap – hows that for timing? I’ll be posting links for everyone to click onto right into unpleasantness!

I thought about not writing this post, thought about ignoring the argument and then probably because I was watching Star Trek on Netflix, while making my basket, thought about how similar designs do pop up from time almost as if there is a collective consciousness like the Borg that we all tap into. In a previous post pondering where quilt ideas come from, I wrote about my triangle quilt and how I noticed when tidying up files on my computer, how similar it was in a much simplified way, to Anna Maria Horner's free pattern. I didn’t remember seeing AMH’s pattern but I must have because I had downloaded it to keep for later.

Colouring in the blank triangle template, the Sassy Quilter gave us for the QAL, I must have been influenced by it, then again it is based on a rainbow and rainbows quilts are everywhere and I am really drawn to that colour scheme so who knows? Favouring the side of caution I am attributing the incluence to AMH! She has a really fun lesson on Creativebug about selecting fabrics and choosing a colour scheme if you are interested!

Another link I wanted to share with you is this one from Craftypod, a hexie quilt influenced by the traditonal Grandmothers Flower garden but simplified so as not to take years of your life to make it! That was the exact same thought going through my head when last year,  I was making something out of our guild’s 2 1/2” squares swap last June. I was on a hexagon kick last year (lots of people were making the La Passacaglia and New Hexagon patterns). I was making snowflakes for hand quilting demonstrations and heavily influenced by the Flowers for Eleni quilt, I had made 3 flowers with black centres -idea by Jodi@Tales of Cloth and I loved how they looked) and wanted to make more, but use them differently so as not to make the exact same quilt.

Around the same time Quilt Now gave away some hexagon templates perfect for 2 1/2” squares so mum and I settled in for the night watching TV and sorted the 375 swapped squares into colour families. The challenge deadline was January, I ordered beautiful green, white and pink woodland fabric by Dashwood Studios from LoveFabric.ie thinking I’d use the green or white as a background and scatter the flowers onto it. I made a mistake and didn’t order enough of either so I had to rethink my plan. I ended piecing the three colours to give the white fabric bordered by grass at the bottom and a pink sunset sky at the top. I had two really strong lines going across the quilt where the colours met so needed to camouflage them a bit.

I had bought this lovely grey from the Limerick Quilt shop to make a Jen Kingwell quilt with a box of Modern Solids but ended up using the grey in Flower power to hide the join lines.  Then it made sense to echo that in the rest of the quilt!  Stumbling on Craftypod's pattern they are so very similar, I wonder if I had seen it before but them again geometry is geometry, so who knows?  The backgrounds are different, one is vertical the other horizontal, one uses 1 size flowers, the other 2 different sizes, one is a double bed quilt the other a lap quilt. Even so, I bought the pattern, partly curious as to how Diane made hers and partly because they are so similar maybe I did see this or something like this before and it stuck in my head, buried way down there with AMH’s triangles! Favouring the side of caution I paid the 9 dollars! We are all sponges and maybe somewhere down in the spongey part of my brain obsessed with quilts all these ideas bang into each other until one floats to the top! 

Someone left a comment on the blog of one of the designers in the dispute that if you are going to release a pattern, you should check it’s not been done before. Sure the pattern instructions might be written differently and you can’t copyright a technique but if someone else got there first then fair enough! So I won’t be writing up Flower Power but if anyone wants information on how I made my quilt just drop me a line and I am happy to answer any questions or the link to Craftypods pattern is here if you want to download step by step instructions and templates.

Hope this didn’t ramble too much, second wordy post in row!  Thanks for sticking with me – amazing what happens when all you want to do is make a butterfly!

Friday 26 August 2016

Confessions of a Guilty Blogger: One Lovely Blog, Aspire to Inspire & Giving back

There are some lovely things that stick around blog land and some really lovely new ideas that pop up too.  Stay around long enough and you will see the nice ones like Pay it Forward and One Lovely Blog come around again!
Image shamelessy borrowed from Quilting Jet girl and Red Delicious Life!
A few years back Chelsea @ Patch the Giraffe did a thankful Thanksgiving mosaic instead of the black Friday madness and I loved that idea.  Yvonne @ Quilting Jet Girl had Thankful Thursdays for a while and I loved that too and I tried hard this week to make this a Thankful Thursday post but the week got away from me so its a Friday post instead.

My Happy mosiac from 2014
I have to say thank you to Lena @ Quilt Art and Abigail @ Cut and Alter for the nomination.  Just over 12 months ago I wrote this One Lovely Blog post thanking Marly, Lara and Judy for the nomination.  At the time I nominated these blogs and I am happy to say that almost all are still blogging!

A Quarter Inch from the Edge
Ella & Nestas Little Room
Fluffy Sheep Quilting
Just Jude
Pennydog Patchwork
Neros Patch & Post
Slaney handcraft
Sew Fresh Quilts 
Sew Giving
Sew Me

Things do change - change is inevitable!  I know there are less bloggers overall writing regular updates and a lot of people are having lots of fun on Instagram.  We talk about this from time to time (most recently Rachel's post @Stiched in Color)  but I can honestly say that most of the blogs I follow and the bloggers I consider friends and must not miss are very active.  So much so if I miss a weeks reading I have over 100 missed posts in my feedly feed!

I feel guilty sometimes not being able to leave a comment on all the blogs I read.  I even save some for later to deliberately come back to if I am reading on my phone or my iPad but I seldom do go back.  Bad, bad follower.  I am rubbish at writing comments with my phone and I have a nice phone - I really just prefer the laptop keyboard.  My ancient Mac has a lovely keyboard and I am dreading the day it dies on me!

I am also guilty of placing hearts and not leaving as many comments as I could on Instagram - again laziness on my part with my phone!  I tend to browse while waiting in the car after work for G to drive home together or just before bedtime when I'm not quite awake and paying as much attention as I should. 

Someone I admire for always supporting us with comments and encouraging participation is Yvonne @ Quilting JetGirl.  Yvonne's commitment to her blog, support of QAL's and new bloggers and thought provoking topics give so much back to our community I wanted to follow Diana's lead and thank Yvonne for all the support since I first met her on the 2013 new bloggers hop! Diana's post Aspire to Inspire has had me thinking of how I've been inspired by others and how I can give back.
So instead of telling you 7 new things you might not know about me this post has become a thank you and also a confession of sorts on how I probably could give back more.

Evolution quilt with strips from Massdrop fabric purchase and background from LQS
At the beginning of the month, Weeks Ringle wrote a piece on her blog Craft Nectar about supporting the shops that give back to the quilting community rather than the big box stores like Fabric.com and Massdrop.  Confession, I shop at Massdrop and also sales at Craftsy.  I also shop at my local quilt shop, support the pop up shops that come to our guild meetings. buy from friends like Fluffy Sheep Quilting and Slaney Handcraft and also from online retailers like FatQuartershop and LoveFabric.ie.  I try hard to spread the love around.  The money I save on some of the Massdrop and Craftsy purchases I spend locally.  Something I could do better is buy books locally.  It never occurred to me to buy direct from the author and having had a friend write and get a book published this has hit a chord with me.  Instead of the convenience of Amazon, if the shipping is reasonable I can try and buy direct from the writer.

In the comments in that post there were lots of ideas on how we could come together more for our craft and the quilting industry.  Some enduring themes seem to come around like being more welcoming at our guilds regardless of age and taste -  I know we are fighting human nature in that it is natural to form groups and cliques but its not easy being new.  Our hobby is expensive, fabric is not cheap (about $18 a yard here in Ireland) nor are good sewing machines and some had the idea of making a welcome package for young or new quilters.  I love this idea and think it is a very fun way to pay it forward!  Our guild is starting back in September so I'll be hoping to give back offline as well as online.  Welcoming the new, encouraging and supporting our corner of blogland and thanking those that inspire, that to me, make for one lovely blog!  I hope you will spread the joy by visiting those blogs in the links above and join me in thanking them and you all for reading, commenting and sharing over these past 4 years!  Thanks a million!

PS: Pets on Quilts voting is open over at LilyPad Quilting!  We're sharing the joy celebrating the furballs are there are prizes to be won so please click on the button!

Pets on Quilts 2016
PPS: Wilbur is #19! In case you were voting!!

Monday 22 August 2016

Design Wall Monday–Making progress

So the design wall looks like this today! I’m finally cracking on with the border from Quilter's Cache for my turn in our Round Robin for Modern Irish Bee. This is Erin’s quilt and it has been in my possession far longer that it should. Paper Piecing this border is going a lot slower than I thought it would!

I do like the dark and light grey colour combo – it is a bit stark! I think it gives Mary an opportunity to go wild with colour on the next round – what do you guys think? Scale wise it might be a wee bit big! The pieces are 3 1/2” unfinished and to make one diagonal set you have 4 squares made up of HST so end up piecing 8 sections for every 6” of border. I probably should have thought of that before getting stuck in but I’ve started so I’ll finish….. might be a while!

In other news a new home store opened up in Limerick and I splurged on this plastic storage for my fabric. I spent all Saturday evening tidying up and sorting fabric by colour and it seems even with the new tower, every thing's full up and I don’t have any extra space! How that happened it beyond me but the place does seem a little tidier!

I did manage to catch up with overdue items. Stash Bee blocks completed!

Another tick off the to do list:  Fabric choice made for Cheryl’s mystery QAL over at Meadow Mist Designs! 

I went with the more coloured version for my fabric pull in the end and Cheryl assures me solids will work so here is Kona White+Silver for the backgrounds and Lake, Melon and I think Buttercup for the piecing. For some reason this reminds me of Neapolitan Ice-cream!

All cut up and ready to go!

Lastly I got my Snowflake Shimmer QAL cut up too!

Using more solids, again Kona White and Lake but this time with Kona Shadow for the background. Hoping to piece the square in a square units in between paper piecing diagonals! Not sure I can make it in time for the link up at Yvonne's @Quilting Jet Girl but I'm going to try! It’s going to be a busy week in the sewing room this week. How about you? What are you guys up to?

Monday 15 August 2016

Pets on Quilts

It's Pets on Quilts time again! 
Pets on Quilts 2016
Last year we struggled to get Wilbur onto a quilt and managed to get just his tail on - this year we couldn't get him off it!

Even with our new puppy Maggie and Charly playing like mad all around him, he had a good roll around in my layers of charm quilt from last years blog hop.  Barking his head off, he was happy to tell the other two this ones not for sharing!  I think I'm going to have to let him keep this one and put it on his spot on the sofa!

Maggie snuck up on him a few times - puppies are like that, they ignore you and keep trying until they get tired!

Or meet a face like this!

This was as far as she got!  It's funny how she plays with Charly but snuggles up to Wilbur.  He's getting used to her and they now sleep in the big bucket together while Charly sleeps in her basket.

Even with a new puppy in the house Wilbur always manages to find a way to be the centre of attention!  In our previous entries he has stolen the show with action shots and photo bombing Charly.  This time around though after all the initial mayhem, we tried to get a proper portrait.  So this is our entry to Pets on Quilts, a Wilbur year... again!

After the year he's had with all the tests and seizures it feels right to give him his day in the sun.  He has been brilliant and thankfully the latest dose of meds seems to be working.  Hopefully with a little bit of puppy training (we started puppy classes with Maggie last Saturday!) I am aiming for a family portrait of sorts.  If I can manage to have all three sit still on a quilt with mum and G that would be fantastic - aim high I say!

Please pop on over to Pets on Quilts and say hi to all the furballs.  Wilbur would very much appreciate a vote if you were so inclined!  There are lots of prizes to be won so don't miss it!

Pets on Quilts 2016

Friday 12 August 2016

River of Dreams - then and now!

I promised you posts with photos from the exhibitions that have been on in Limerick these past few months.  Every year the Limerick Quilt Centre (biggest quilt shop in Ireland) puts on an exhibition called River of Dreams.  (Limerick was founded on the banks of the Shannon River, also the largest in the country!)

I finally got some time on the computer to process the photos and found that I hadn't shared photos of last year's exhibiton at all, even though I had a quilt in it!  So here are some of my favourites from last year and this year, all in one post.

The exhibition is held in the old chapel of the convent that is now the Limerick School of Art and Design.  It is a really beautiful bright airy space.  Last year a brass bed, dressed of course with a quilt, was in the centre of one of the 3 display areas.  This year a wooden hand quilting frame filled the space, while the frame was nice I just loved the old brass bed!

This is me in front of my Layer Cake quilt I had published in Make Modern Magazine.  It is the only quilt I made specifically for mum who normally 'borrows' those I make for myself.  The exhibition was in July last year and last September, sitting in Boston airport, while on our way to the states for my cousins wedding, mum asked me when she was getting her quilt back.  I had a blank face for a bit thinking mum's quilt??? and then it dawned on me - I had forgotten to collect if from the Limerick Quilt centre after the show!  Luckily Karen had been minding it for me and I got it back in October.  Wouldn't have wanted to explain to mum if it had gone walkabout!

Somehow I managed to misplace the guide from last year so don't know who made these beautiful bargello quilts.  I've signed up for a bargello workshop with our branch of the Irish Patchwork Society this November so am really looking forward to giving it a try.  I really like the solids version and the depth the black gives.

Paula Rafferty's quilts - I love the skull!  It makes me quite dizzy if I look at it too long!

Meg with her husband Dan admiring this amazing landscape quilt with improv fields, fussy cut horses, bridge, sheep and the Fastnet rock lighthouse in a beautiful purple sea!

The heart quilt below was made by Imelda as a Valentine's present for her husband and I really liked the colours in these two different house sampler quilts.  The Limerick Quilt Centre offers classes and quite a lot of people start with the house quilt on point below.  My first quilt was a charm pack sewn together but quilts 2 and 3 were both sampler quilts too.  Seems like a rite of passage somehow!

Tomomi's beautiful stained glass quilt with close up!

Onto 2016 and in working through the photos I found a big difference in the show, while still quite traditional in nature, there were more modern works and a bigger variety of works this year.  This vase made from 1/4" hexagons really caught my eye and my mum loved to bits this beautiful Peacock wall hanging!

by Gwen Cottis
by Regina Moloney

I really liked the little birds that were dotted about the place too.  A lovely touch and a fun element to the show.

Some of the more modern pieces.  This drunkards path blew me away with all the work in it and I love how the border meets the centre baubles!

by Amanda Kenny
by Ann McInerney

Hard to resist a scrappy quilt! I think the Ohio star is my favourite traditional block and I really like how it was used here within the bigger star.

by Susan Hogan

Maya's Storm at sea, another traditional that I am drawn to very much!  Hoping to make one for G's mum as a wedding present! Another Ann McInerney quilt.

Maureen Talbot's squares quilt from a Brigitte Heitland (Zen Chic for Moda) design and I really like the freshness of the colour palette in the lone star by Anne Merrigan.

Star of the show for me though is Tomomi's amazing bookshelf quilt.  Now I might be a little bit biased.  Tomomi is my friend and I am in constant awe of her beautiful quilting.  This quilt started out as a bee block for Modern Irish Bee over on the Modern Quilters Ireland blog and we each made 2 blocks for Tomomi using Kona Ash and the fabric as a theme on the bookshelf.  I made a photography section using cameras and a horror section using Halloween fabric (both on the second row).  Tomomi added the bookends and bookshelf framing and I love it to bits!

Below are the results of a project my friend Suzanne Pass did with her son's class.  They made a block each with HST and had brilliant fun visiting the show and finding their block.  I must be a big kid as I did the very same thing when I saw Tomomi's bookshelf quilt, went straight for the ones I pieced!

Mum really enjoyed the show and told me off for not having anything in it this year!  I didn't get Flower Power finished in time but hopefully next year ...

Thank you Limerick Quilt Centre and all the makers for a wonderful show again this year!
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