Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Bits and Bobs

Summer has officially started here in Galway...at least as far as we have summer.  The days are long and it's less rainy.  That's summer.  I have been spending lots of time camping, reading on the front porch, walking Molly on the beach and starting my very own garden.  Happy happy happy.  Very little time with my sewing machine, though.

I did start a new cross stitch project.  It travels with me so easily, so it is nearly irresistible.  This hoop began as a gift for someone special who has a big day in their near future.  I will give you sneak peeks between now and the "unveiling" to keep it hush hush.  


This is my first time using blue aida. It's quite difficult to see the holes while indoors, so I am a slow, sloppy stitcher in front of the TV.  The blue background is super outside as the sun shines through from the back.  Live and learn.

I also did a little test goose block the other day.  This paper pieced block by Jeli Quilts is such a treat to make so I look forward to diving in and making block after block after block for my medallion quilt.  I think I now know to what size I need to precut my scraps to minimize waste.  It's a good place to start anyway.  


That's the news.  Nothing earth shattering, mostly just puttering around and enjoying a bit of quiet time.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Modern Quilter's Of Ireland Exhibit

Last Thursday was the official launch of our Modern Quilter's of Ireland exhibit!  This is our first exhibit, so it was very exciting for all of us.  Personally, it was the first time any of my quilts was shown publicly, which I found to be quite surreal. 

Modern Quilter's Of Ireland (well...those who came on the day).

It was really a wonderful day.  About 15 of the Modern Quilters took the day to travel to Dublin.  Some of us had met before, but many of us had not.  We only knew each other through blogs, email and Instagram.  It was so wonderful actually putting a face and real life personality with my online friends!
Tomomi's stunning wall hanging

At the exhibit opening, both Paula and I had the opportunity to say a few words.  I wrote mine out, so I still have a copy of what I said...or what I intended to say as I never really remember these sort of things accurately. I'll paste it below with a smattering of photos from the day in no particular order.  Many of you significantly contributed to these ideas/words via the blog or Instagram.  I thank you so very much for the inspiration and quotes included below. 

Paula's tryptic

Sarah Flynn and I started the Modern Quilters of Ireland in 2012.  At that time, I think we had met once over tea in a Bewley's hotel, but we already knew each other through and through just because we shared a common core.   Superficially, we are completely different: She's Irish, I'm not.  She live s in Cork, I live in Galway.  She's married, I'm not.  She had two - now three - children and I have fur babies.  But we shared a love of quilting, which meant we were one in the same.  

Ruth's bee quilt

We sew because we love to create.  We love the color and texture of fabric, the warmth of the finished quilt, and the pride or sense of accomplishment in a finished project.  We love the meditation in the process of sewing with time by yourself, concentrating, expanding your horizons.  

Fiona and her giant plus quilt

Somehow sewing attracts people who love to share, to teach, to gather and support one another.  It's much the same as what I saw with my mother and her gardening friends, or with my partner and his motorbiking buddies.  You find a common interest, and somehow you are immediately part of a community who watches out for one another.

My own Startazing bee quilt.

Our mission in starting the guild was to create that community.  We wanted to support and encourage the growth of modern quilting, but we had to somehow do that from different parts of the country.  With the Internet, the concept of community has fewer geographical limitations.  We could share an online community regardless of physical location.  

Claire's scrappy wall hanging.


Through blogs and social media, we quickly found a group of over 100 like minded individuals in Ireland, which still shocks me as I was sure there were only 3 of us into modern quilting when the guild launched.  

My bee quilt...over hanging the tea station!

In the words of Helen, "Our quilting community is just that: a community in the best 'old fashioned' sense of the word; people who support you through the tricky times, celebrate the good times alongside you and extend the hand of friendship to all newcomers." We cheer on successes like Fiona's quilt that was published in a magazine, the birth of Erin's beautiful children and Geraldine's newly remodelled kitchen.  We invited ourselves over to Anna's new house for a retreat, and we will celebrate a certain someone's 40th birthday next week!   

Partial Exhibit Overview

We support one another through difficulties.  It may be simply listening to one another complain, checking in on each other when someone goes quiet and (of course) sewing quilts for each other when we don't know what else to do.  We simply support and encourage one another because we are makers.  It's a friendship bound through creativity.

Sarah's quilt for her daughter.

I asked everyone on Instagram last night what the quilting community means to them.  I think this was my favorite response: "A place where I am accepted and wanted because of my creativity. It doesn't matter how old or young I am, how pretty or plain I am, how fat or slim I am.  My (online) quilting community includes me because I share my joy of creating with them and they share their joy and creativity with me."

Ana's EPP stars.

With this group, we are understood and accepted.  So many of us do not tell people that we quilt.  It's what your granny does, or for American pioneers.  Within our community we are free to ask questions, show our failures, ask for help, teach one another.  We inspire and encourage, serve as unconditional support, laugh together and distract one another in times of personal struggles.  

Tomomi's sampler

When Fiona and Sherrie presented our guild with the wonderful opportunity to exhibit our quilts, I started digging through the quilts on our beds, in my hot press, stacked up in the living room arm chair looking for a favorite or two to share with you all.  Two of my favorite quilts of all time are here.  It is only after they were shipped to Sherrie that I realized why I love them so much.  

Sarah's medallion

Yes, I love bright colors and repeating pattern, but these quits are quits made by this quilting community through quilting bees.  When I curl up on the couch to watch a movie, I look down and see a friend next to me.  I know their style of sewing, their favorite colors,  what fabric they have in their stash.  We created those quilts together, and I love that I have a bit of each of them in my home.

Ruth's triangle quilt.

I can't thank you all enough for what you do.  I'm privileged to be part of such a great community!

Liz's square in a square in a square.
Anna's own design.
Irina's bee quilt.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Eclipse - The Third Block

My third (of four) Eclipse block is well under way!  This one will be soft pink in the center and green along each arc.  I have pulled out several of my precious pinks as these blocks are a great way to showcase my happiest prints!


The arcs are finished.  I love sewing arcs as I can pull my favourite charms from my stash and mindlessly chain piece them. So satisfying when they turn out with such crisp points!


I have my inner pie pieces and the outer background fabrics cut and ready to go!  Now just to find a few quiet moments to stitch.....



Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Re-Joining Sewing World: Quick Little Purse

I am pretty sure it was 1683 when I last sewed. At least it seems that long ago.  We are through the craziness now (or we think we are!) and I think I can finally dust off my beautiful Pfaff for some quality time together.  Thank. Goodness.



For two months I have been driving around with a printed Clover Bag pattern in the back seat of my car.  There are also umbrellas, a patient leaflet on cardiac procedures, Love Patchwork and Quilting issue 19, a wool hat, a pair of knee high black boots, hexies and a travel sewing kit back there.  Anyway, I saw the pattern released on Michelle's IG feed and fell in love immediately.  I bought it, printed it and then progress came to a screeching halt.


This past weekend, though, I pulled it out of the car and brought it up to my sewing room.  Oh, the glory!  I love little hand held bags that fit just keys, a phone and my wallet for a night out.  I have about a million of them in black, one AWESOME one in green, but I wanted one in navy blue as that seems to be sneaking into my wardrobe a lot.


A lot of preparation goes into making this bag, but when you have that sorted it comes together quite quickly.  I used two Country Girls fat quarters and still have a reasonable amount left over.  I love how the fabric looks, dig the green zipper and tabs that coordinate with the lining and love the size of it.  The little pleat on the side is adorable.  The pattern is, for the most part, very clearly written with tips and tricks along the way.  The photos included in the pattern are very helpful.  The only downfall for me was inserting the top panel of the bag that holds the zip. I could understand the instructions getting the fabric one either side of the zip (that went surprisingly smoothly!) but getting that attached to the outer shell and then for the outer shell to attach to the lining was a total disaster for me.  Lots and lots of puckering and loosing sharp points (second photo, upper right corner) because you are sewing partial seams and can not see properly where corner seams lie with the fuzzy fleece.


Usually I can say that I would be better at a difficult step next time having done it this time.  I do not see how that is possible here.  It is good it's a super cute bag - I am sure there will be many in my future because of the cuteness and ease of the other steps.  Boy, though, that zip was a killer.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Birthday Sale!

Today is Fluffy Sheep Quilting's third birthday!  I invite each and every one of you to celebrate with me at the shop's the birthday party.  It is only with your continual support and encouragement that the shop continues to grow, so who better to share the big day with?  Let's party!

In celebration, we will have a 15% off SALE in the online shop. Just click over here to have a peek at the pretty fabrics, pile your favourites into the cart and use the code birthday at checkout to receive your discount.  The coupon is good on all products including Kona solids, Aurifil threads, DMC perle...even the newly arrived fabrics!  The discount code will be good through the weekend (to 17 May).


I thank you all for making this adventure so much fun.  I thank you for the laughs, the encouragement, the cheers when I feel overwhelmed and for your suggestions along the way.  The spirit of our wonderful quilting community continues to shine through and brighten each of my days. Thank you.

Note: the quantities available in the small bolts may not be entirely accurate.  I will fill orders first come first serve.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Modern Quilters of Ireland Exhibit!!!

I am SO excited to spread the word about the Modern Irish Quilter's exhibit to be held in Dublin the 25 May - 26 June at St Patrick's Hospital on St James's Street.  It is just a 5 minute walk from Heuston Station with lots of parking available if you choose to drive.  Be sure to jot it down in your diary right now...we'll wait.  So many of our Modern Irish Quilters have been stitching like crazy, creating our own patterns and quilting our hearts out in preparation.  You will not want to miss seeing all of their amazing finishes gathered together in one place.


*********************************************************************************
What I really want to tell you about is the launch on 4th June.  I have the great pleasure of speaking at our launch as the co-founder (with Sarah) of the group along with Paula Rafferty, a member of the group.  I want to talk about our quilting community, its importance to me in terms of support, inspiration and encouragement.  If you are so inclined, I ask you to share your thoughts about the quilting community and what it means to you.  I would love to incorporate the voice of the community in my launch speech beyond babbling on about myself and my own views.

Thank you!
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Monday, May 11, 2015

Eclipse: The beginning

Sewing has not been top of my priority list, so it is taking me ages to piece or quilt anything.  Today, though, I finally finished a New York Beauty block that has been bouncing around in my head for weeks.  It's so incredibly satisfying to finally see it in real life.  


Do you remember at the end of March I took a NYB class?  I finished one block in red and yellow. The one I finished today is navy and orange, shortly to be followed by pink and green and finally aqua and purple.   The idea is to make a 36x36 inch "mini" using four NYB blocks.  It will be called Eclipse as the blocks remind me of the eclipse I saw on my way to the my NYB class.  It was inevitable really.



Love it.  You will see it is not perfect, but I am absolutely getting better.  By the fourth I will have this malarkey mastered  I am sure.  My pinks and greens are pulled and ready to go.  Just need to make a few more arc templates and I am ready to roll!


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