Thursday, April 28, 2011

All Is Quiet Here

I have been traveling a lot recently and have therefore found it difficult to quilt.  What do you do when you are off traveling?  Do you have a mini-travel sewing machine that you bring with you? Or do you bring hand work? I am at a loss here as I do not have a small machine and I hate hand sewing.  Anyway, there is little to report here today as I have not been home lately.

I will share with you, though, one of my favorite photos. This was taken while I was off traveling in Dublin several weeks ago and I did bring my machine. What could make you happier after a day out than a delicious Guinness and your happy machine?  If you ask me, nothing at all.


Now, since I have little to share, I will point you in the direction of Fairy Face Designs. Hop over to http://www.fairyfacedesigns.blogspot.com/ as she has a fabulous give away on right now.  After you sign up, page down a bit.  She creates beautiful quilts, bags, etc. that are absolutely worth a peek.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Community Swap

Would you, the Fluffy Sheep Quilting community, like to participate in a fabric swap?  I am not ready to propose an actual swap just yet, but want to throw a few ideas out there.  If I can get 10 or more people interested, I would love to organize it.

Generally speaking, I would like to make this as inexpensive as possible.  So, we can do this from fabric you have in your stash at the lowest possible postal rates.  I still have to work out the details, but first need to know if anyone is interested.

Option 1: We swap fat quarters.  You toss into the virtual pot as many FQs as you would like to, and you will get the same number in return.  Now, this is not for your ugly, unwanted, left over FQ from your guild Christmas party.  This is for pretty, bright, happy FQs that you would love to have in your stash yourself. I posted a photo here of 6 that I have floating around in my stash that I would be happy to toss into the swap.

Option 2: Do you have either solids or tone-on-tones in your stash?  Something you have left over from a past project?  They'd be great stash builders for our fellow readers.  What if we swapped 1/4 yards of solids or tone-on-tones as described in Option1?

Option 3: A scrap swap.  What do you have left over from your last quilt?  Toss all reasonable sized scraps into a bag and we swap from there.  Maybe we choose a size (say, 3 inch squares) and a number (by the dozen) and swapped evenly between readers.  It will give each of us a new pattern to include in our next scrappy quilt.

If you are interested in participating in a swap, leave a comment below or email me at fluffysheepquilting@gmail.com and let me know what your favorite option is.  I am looking for at least 10 people for any one exchange before organizing further.  Leave your comments or thoughts by Monday 2 May and we can take it from there.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts! 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I'm Back!

Hi all!  I have been on vacation in the Netherlands for the past 5 days. It was fantastic! We went to see the tulip fields in bloom. I won't bore you with my photos, but post one to give you a flavor. Try to imagine fields and fields of pink or yellow or purple.  Spectacular. 

I tried to keep Fluffy Sheep Quilting going while I was gone, but it was a bit tricky while away. Two posts were a bit out of order, so take a little time to page down and read the interview with Sandy and the review of the Quilting Answer Book. 


Many thanks to my other half, Brian, for keeping the blog running while I was away.  You're the best!

Now, to get us back track.  I was away, so there was little quilting going on.  But, I now have the last bit of fabric I need for my Mystery Quilt, so I will get to cutting and piecing that tonight. You'll have an update tomorrow with photos of my new blocks.





I spent a lot of time on the cross-Ireland bus yesterday trying to get home from Dublin airport. I was working on my embroidery piece until the sun went down.  I spent a lot of time on my knots and got to backstitching at dusk. You can see that I couldn't really follow my guide on the vine on the left. I'll pull out a few stitches and smooth out my rough corners. Serves me right for stitching in the dark :)  You see I gave up mid way through the second green vine...


I hope you are all well and I am happy to be back blogging!  Let me know what you are working on.  What did I miss this week?

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Chat with Sandy from Quilting...For the Rest of Us

I was lucky enough to have a nice virtual chat with Sandy, from Quilting.... for the Rest of Us podcast and blog.  I really enjoy Sandy's podcasts.  Each week there is a general Sandy update, but she then goes to a great effort to cover an educational topic.  These could range from product reviews, to interviews with guild members or artists, to quilt labels and appraisals.  Each episode is happy and well thought through, making it a joy to listen to.  


There is a short version of our interview posted here and the longer, full version will be posted under the Interview section of Fluffy Sheep Quilting. You can navigate to that page with the tab above.  Now, off to the interview! 











Are you a regular follower of blogs?  What are your favorite two and why?
I follow a ton of blogs; most quilt-related, but some are related to my job and other interests. How do I choose which are my favorite? Even though I often get far behind in my blog reading and have hundreds of unread posts waiting in Google Reader for me, I always make sure I read my listeners’ blogs  and other quilty-podcasters’ blogs. In the vast list of general quilty-related blogs I will always read Taniwa’s posts. She’s from Japan and she talks a lot about life in Japan—great cultural education as well as quilty-goodness. I also always read “Nancy, near Philadelphia. She and I have some life circumstances in common so I can relate, and I just appreciate her writing style. If I’m allowed to sneak a third in there, it would be “block-a-day. She’s Australian and her photography is just wonderful. But sheesh—I feel like I’m probably leaving about 20 other faves out of this list!

What first attracted you to quilting and what do you get from it today?
When I was in high school and college, my stress-reduction technique was to color in geometric design coloring books. Nothing I loved better than a brand new box of 64 Crayolas! My mother had taken up quilt making when I was probably 10 or so, and I loved going through her quilt magazines and picking out quilts she could make for me. By the time I was out of college, Mom would respond by raising an eyebrow and saying, “You know, you could learn how to do this yourself!” Long story short, eventually I did. I still love the interplay of geometric design and color—I love seeing secondary designs emerge, I love seeing how colors play together. I love the feel of fabric. I spend most of my day working in words—it’s really a nice change of scene to get to work in color and shape and texture instead.

What quilting experience would you never repeat?
Huh. This is a tricky one. My single worst quilting experience wasn’t really about the technique at all but about the fact that I was a rank beginner and was a bit over my head. The first class I ever took was a Stack-n-Whack class that was billed as a beginner class but was really intermediate. Bethany Reynolds has several stack-n-whack patterns that would be more appropriate for beginners than the one our class tackled (it’s even labeled an “intermediate” pattern in her book). I’d only done a couple of simple wall hangings before that and nothing that would’ve prepared me for what we did in the class. And now that I’ve taken a lot more classes with a lot more teachers, I’ve also come to understand that the teacher for that class wasn’t a particularly good teacher, either. Very nice, would sort of show us what to do, but didn’t give a whole lot of guidance other than that. And I was too new to know what questions to ask, or even that I was going wrong before it was too late. So I had nothing but problems from the get-go, and it took me 7 years to finally finish the dang bed quilt. If I could have a do-over, it would be that one—taking a different first class that would have been far less frustrating, and with a smaller project! I’d love to do a stack-n-whack again now that I actually know what I’m doing. It’s a really fun technique.

How would you describe your crafting space? 
I love my sewing room now—especially compared to the little corner I had in our old house that always got stacked with everyone else’s stuff. In this house, we finished the “bonus room” over the garage and it’s half sewing room, half home office—literally divided in half. The right side is completely designated for my quilt making and, for the most part, everyone else respects it. I only occasionally have to clear someone else’s something-or-other off my cutting table, but usually it’s my own mess. The computers and my home office space are all on the left side. Now that the kids are heading off to college, we’ve removed their old computer and computer desk to get a little more elbow room. Yes, my quilt making is likely to start invading the left side of the room too. Lighting is a bit of an issue—another long term project.


Do you have a plan to conquer your UFOs?  Are you working on one now?
I didn’t have a ton of UFOs until my mother passed away and I put my own projects on the back burner to finish many of her UFOs so they could be shared with family as she would have intended. She had a lot of UFOs! I think I did an episode on that topic, too—talking about how I chose which to finish, which to give to other quilters, and which to just donate. That being said, I co-facilitated UFO challenges two years running in my guild, so I’ve really whittled down the number of UFOs I have left to finish. I still have maybe two or three of my own, and one of my Mom’s. I have one of my own on my design wall as I ponder quilting patterns for it—that may make it on my sewing machine next while I also start cutting out my next new project. I’m at a very comfortable point with my UFOs—they no longer feel overwhelming! Mostly, now that I’m back into my normal groove, I tend to finish what I started so I’m not really creating new UFOs for myself.

You seem to always have a challenge on to motivate your listeners.  What was your most successful challenge and what do you see in your future?
I figure that I’m not the kind of podcaster who will be posting tutorials or pattern designs or who will have an Etsy shop. But I can challenge people! I love doing creativity challenges because they’re so open-ended. In fact, in all of my challenges I really prefer to be “inclusive” rather than “exclusive.” In other words, I go rules-lite. Not only do I want as many people as possible to feel like they can participate, but the fewer rules I set up, the more I get to be surprised by the results! I love seeing the wide variety of ways that people interpret a challenge. If you judge success by the number of people participating, my most successful challenge to date was probably the first quarter of the stash mystery challenge in which people had to do something related to flowers and use two fabrics from their stash. I think I had something like 15 people participate in that one and I loved seeing their photos. I’m continuing the stash mystery challenges through 2011—the current quarter’s theme is “inspired by children’s artwork.” I’d like to do another creativity challenge using the inspirational photograph again—I enjoy those even though fewer people tend to participate--and I’m pondering one that has a tie-in with charity quilts.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Work In Progress Update

Hi guys!  I am sad to say I have very little to report in the way of quilty progress.  That being said, I have learned a bit about myself this week.  It seems the weekends are incredibly important in my crafting. I get at least one good, solid day of quilting or stitching done each weekend and it seems that momentum keeps me running all week.  You see, if I can start a job with several hours to dedciate, it makes things so much easier for me to continue on in my evenings after work.  When I miss that weekend of quilting, my evenings are dedicated to smaller, piece-meal tasks.

I am sad to say, last weekend was a non-quilty weekend.  I have little quilting to show today.  I finished the hand binding on my sampler quilt with the exception of the 3 inch span that I blogged about on Monday.  That still needs to be fixed and the quilt is ready for washing.  Fixing that binding error is a big job in my head, but an easy Saturday task! 

I have high hopes for next week.  I have my mystery quilt fabric arriving over the weekend and I am really excited to start piecing the remaining blocks.  That will be my happiness next week, so you'll have a good show of new, pretty things on Wednesday.

Although my quilting progress is not mighty this week, I have been messing with my Tree of Life embroidery.  I mastered the French Knot last night with much happiness!  It's not finished yet, but here is a picture of my progress.  Thanks for the encouraging nudge, Claudia :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Running A Little Late

Monday is usually embroidery update day, but I was just so excited about the give away (and confounded by my binding mistakes) that I was distracted yesterday. So, here we are a day late.

I recently started to embroider plain linen with a design by Carina of Polka & Bloom that caught my eye.  This pattern is called Tree of Life and I think it's absolutely beautiful.  If you look at Carina's blog, it's the heading design with stitching that will far surpass mine. 

I love Polka & Bloom designs, but have realized that I need to interpret them my way.  By that, I mean Carina's stitching is beautiful and precise and mine is not.  She provides patterns that can be directly placed on transfer paper and that may be the wise way to go as you can directly follow the lines.  Recently that seems like too much work and my iron transfer patterns have been sitting unused in a pile.  I have not been stitching if there is too much prep time, so I have to give up some precision in the transfer.

Lately I hold the pattern to the window on a sunny day and draw on the fabric with a water soluble pen. With that, you loose the exactness of the pattern, and therefore I can't follow the lines when stitching.  I am sure I'll get better at the transfer process, but for now I need to be happy with the colorful thread, the pretty design and the content-ness of having something handy to do when watching TV at night. 

I am embarrassed to show you my progress thus far as it's really spotty.  Maybe in tomorrow's update?  A cliff hanger ;)

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Quilting Answer Book: A Friday Review

 The Quilting Answer Book is a fantastic resource for any quilter.  Written by Barbara Weiland Talbert and published in 2009, this manual contains both how-to instructions as well as fix-its for many problems you  may encounter.

The book is written in question and answer format, which makes it very easy to find the information you need.  How do I prepare my fabric for rotary cutting? How wide should a border be? Are there any guidelines? Why choose double over single layer binding or vise versa? Each response is simple and complete and regularly involves very clear, instructional diagrams as you see in the image below. 

I bought this as a beginner quilter when really I had NO idea of what to do. After reading the first 50 pages or so, I had a good hold of the basics.  Great beginner topics include: Quilter's Anatomy 101, Patchwork Building Blocks, Best Quilting Fabrics and Fabric Selection Strategies.  It will take you from the basics of batting and thread through to binding.  A really good guide for any beginner.

If you move a bit further into the book, you'll find it is also resource for the intermediate quilter.  Applique, foundation piecing, quilt design, free motion quilting, hanging sleeves and yo-yos are all covered.  There's a really nice section on quilt embellishment to discuss prairie points, piping and edge trims and embroidery. 

Now, as a resource for the beginner through the expert, there is an entire chapter on quilter's math.  Thank goodness!  Decoding needle sizes, bias binding calculations, cutting charts, quilt size guidelines and reducing or enlarging a quilt pattern are covered.  It is really fantastic to have a resource like this handy.

At just over 430 pages for a suggested price of $15, this is a deal.  I would absolutely suggest that any quilter pick up a copy to have in their sewing space.

And The Winner Is...

There were 10 entries into our celebratory fat quarter give away last week.  Many thanks to all of those who entered.  Using http://www.random.org/ we found our winner...lucky number 7! 

Everyone, please meet Allison (AKA Yorkie Mom).  She is from Michigan and is currently creating a birthday quilt.  I was in touch with Allison on Friday and she is very excited to win our packet of FQs.  Allison, enjoy them and please do send in a photo of your final project.  We look forward to seeing what you create! 


As you know, I am working on my sampler quilt.  I am so, so, so close to finished!  I have nearly finished the binding except for a 3 inch piece where I found a mistake!  When I layered the quilt, I was short on the backing on this side, but I did not realize it until it was too late (i.e. quilted and the binding on).  So, when I was hand stitching the binding, this piece pulled out from under the machine sewn side.  Oh no! 

Does anyone have an idea of how to fix this?  I can undo the machine binding and have not finished the hand sewing on the other side, so I can still "deconstruct" a bit in this area to (somehow?) fix it.   You can see in the photos below my problem :(


To make things worse, I was trimming the loose threads from the quilt top and my scissors slipped!  ARG!  So now I have a mini hole in the sashing as you can maybe see in the photo below. Its between the quilting and the pin.  Again, does anyone have an idea of how to patch this? Its a little too difficult to deconstruct the quilt at this point to replace the sashing.    

That's the news, guys.  I'd be thrilled if anyone could give me a way to fix either of these problems. Until then, I'm a little stuck.  Here's hoping your projects are a little smoother than this one :)  Happy quilting.

Friday, April 15, 2011

To What Are You Listening? (v1)

It's review Friday!  I imagine most of us listen to something while quilting.  What music fills your quilting space while cutting?  What podcast occupies you while piecing those strips?  I will cover this topic in two posts: the first as a review of non-quiltly podcasts (v1) and second as a general Tuesday rambling of music I listen to while quilting (v2).

I first and foremost always try to catch up on my quilting podcasts while at my machine.  You will see a list on the right of the blog of my current quilting favorites.  Still, there are other topics to explore beyond quilting (gasp!).  Would you think about trying these?



1. BBC's A History of the World in 100 Objects.  Each episode is about 15 minutes, in which they take the listener on a tour of the British Museum.  A few objects are modern (circa 2010) spanning to 2,000,000 BC .  Each episode includes an incredible description of the object, such that you can imagine it, and details on the culture during the time it was made.  What was the community like?  What was their interaction with neighboring cultures?  How might that be influenced by foreigners?  And on and on.  There is a supplementary, interactive website with photos and details of any object you care to further investigate.

2. Sixty Second Science. Now, this is for nearly any goober.  That being said, this excites many of you out there in quilty world!  Produced by Scientific American, this give you a sixty second (obviously) snapshot of a recent scientific advancement.  The presenters comb recent journals ranging in topic from insects to physics to psychology and give you the highlights of recent findings and a application for the discovery. Really great.

3. Crafty Pod.  My interest in this comes and goes. They appear to be very focused on the semi-professional crafter. By that I mean anyone with an interest, knowledge and craft-related skill that is transitioning this love into a full time occupation.  Topics may include starting a shop, marketing, etc.  Some episodes catch my interest and others I flip through quickly. It may be your thing, though.

4. BBC Best of Natural History Radio. This is new for me and I am really excited to tuck into it.  I know next to nothing to share with you here, but it's on the agenda for this evening :)

Does anyone have another non-quilty podcast to suggest? I am always open to listening to something new and would appreciate your suggestions!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Big Question

Here is the big question I have been thinking about for days:  Do I buy a second seam ripper? 

You see, I used mine over the weekend, but it has gone missing. I searched my sewing space, under furniture, etc. I thought maybe the cat thought it was a toy and batted it under baskets, etc.  Nope, not there. 

I am not a person surrounded by clutter.  This is important on two fronts: 1) I do not want a second anything until I am sure the first is broken or gone and 2) I am tidy enough that I should be able to find lost things quickly.

So, here is the question: Do you generally have doubles of important things like seam rippers or rotary cutters?  Where do you draw the line between keeping well supplied and running out of space in your sewing room?

Note: I would put a little picture of a seam ripper here to brighten up the blog, but I can't find it :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Work In Progress Update

Well, I feel like I have been quilting like mad, but I have little progress to report.  It makes me a little sad, to be honest. Lots of work and little to show :(

Before I forget...a work in progress is the Fluffy Sheep Quilting give away. To enter just leave a comment under the post: http://fluffysheepquilting.blogspot.com/2011/04/celebration.html  The drawing will be this Friday.





Brian's Tetris Quilt
The top is finished and has been layered with the batting. See the little pins?  I made a test mini-quilt over the weekend using cotton squares and old scrap batting.  You see, Brian wants decorative stitching on the top to show shading, so I used the mini-quilt to optimize.   Now I just have to do it.  This next week I will quilt the top to the batting and will then (in the way future?) I will work out the overwhelming applique back.

Forgive the side-ways photo, please ;)



Sampler Quilt
This is where most efforts lie. The quilt is fully quilted and the binding half on (by machine) and is currently being hand finished. I have not hand quilted a binding before, so this is taking me FOREVER. I pretty quickly worked out the stitch to use based on fabulous tutorials posted online.  Now, I tried to do it first with invisible thread as I thought this would be best to hide the stitches.  WRONG!  I could not get it to pull tightly enough to hold the binding onto the quilt without gaps. I will now rip out all of the invisible thread stitching (was about 1/3 of the around the quilt) and have started again with good old cotton thread matching the binding fabric.  It's so much better. I'm about 1/4 of the way finished with the cotton thread, so I hope to be done by the weekend.  Lots of work, but little progress that is obvious.

I have to give it a little trim to get the stray threads (as you'll notice in the photo) and find a laundry mat. Details, details.



Lattice Illusions
Have not touched it at all this week.

Mystery Quilt
The needed fabric has arrived, so I will be back to this in another 10-14 days with any luck. I am really looking forward to it!  Hope you are good at guessing mystery patterns!

Bali Pop Quilt
Yes, I found a pattern!  I am using an Irish Chain pattern from the Moda Bakeshop by Melissa Cory.  I have to get the white fabric that will make up most of the mass.  I also want to finish off one of the other ongoing projects before I start this one.

Until then, my current "stats" have been updated....

Completed Quilts (2010)
Roisin's Baby Quilt
Mom's Birthday Quilt
Catherine's Christmas Quilt
Currently Binding
Sampler Quilt
Currently Quilting & Tops Awaiting Bottoms
Brian's Tetris Quilt
Currently Piecing
Lattice Illusions Quilt
Mystery Quilt
Ongoing Planning
Irish Chain (Bali Pop)
Moda Jelly Roll Quilt (looking for pattern)
Fat Quarter Quilt (looking for pattern)
Confetti Scrap Quilt (collecting fabric squares)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Small Preview of 2012?

Are you thinking of coming to Ireland for the quilt festival in 2012? Here is a highlight of what the members of Quilter's Guild of Ireland displayed in their annual exhibit. Will this entice you?

Celebration of Colour by Aibhe O'Callaghan

 



Dreamtime by Beryl Cadman




Irish Celebration by Yvonne McKee



Celebration Star by Robyn Fahy



Monday, April 11, 2011

Save the Date: International Quilt Festival of Ireland

The International Quilt Festival of Ireland will be held from 7-10 June 2012 right here in Galway at the National University of Ireland!  Please mark your calendar and make this your excuse to visit Galway if you have not already done so.  This is the first annual festival that will include a Quilter's Village, 16+ international celebrity instructors, quilt and craft exhibits, workshops, entertainment, music and more.   Take a few minutes to visit their website (http://www.iqfoi.com/) and have a look around.  I know I will be there!

Have you been to Galway?  If not, a few photos of the university and town are below. It's a spectacular place.


National University of Ireland, Galway

Downtown Galway: Quay Street









Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Celebration!

I am completely excited!  As of yesterday there have been over 1,000 Fluffy Sheep Quilting views!  Oddly enough, my posting this brings us to 1,111.  To celebrate this Fluffy Sheep Quilting landmark, let's have a giveaway!  I have 3 fat quarters that I would love to send to a Fluffy Sheep Quilting reader. Just leave a comment below letting me know your home country and what fabric-oriented project you are working on. On Friday 15 April at noon (Irish time) I will toss all entries into http://www.random.org/ and will email you if you win.

Thanks so very much to all of you for making Fluffy Sheep Quilting such a happy place.

Friday, April 8, 2011

British Patchwork & Quilting: A Review

 
I generally try to be a positive person, but boy am I disappointed!  I bought my first copy of British Patchwork & Quilting yesterday to flip through during my lunch.  I was on a magazine high after my recent read of Irish Quilt and Craft Magazine, so I thought I would give this a try too.

There are several highlights that need to be mentioned.  My favorite being the givaways galore!  You could win Moda charm pack, books and fat quarters to start.  There were also nice articles on a quilt shop, photos of a batik challenge (with several beautiful submissions by readers) and two stories work mentioning: 1) about a quilter heading to teach classes at the Quilt Market Schoolhouse in Houston and 2) a summary of the American Quilter's Society Quilt Show and Contest in Paducah.  They were so nicely written I nearly feel like I was on the same adventure.  The accompanying photos of the Quilt Market and AQS stands were happy, bright and inspiring.  Really well done.

Now, there were more cons than pros for me.  The suggested projects were simplistic and uninspired: a pillow with a stitched bunny, Easter greeting cards, an elementary organizing pocket made from your old jeans.  Once you are finished with your old jeans, do you really want to decorate them and hang them on your wall or door knob?  Even once they are overdone in embellishments?  Me neither.

Most of the articles were reasonably written, but the topics were not interesting.  For example, four full pages were dedicated to highlighting a specific crafter. Now, I really like this idea, but the projects they chose to highlight and discuss were not to my taste. There were two pretty quilts briefly mentioned, but the 2+ page layout was classified as "English Romantic", which as far as I can tell translates to "Overdone in Lace".  Lace glued to shoes, picture frames, lamps, bottles and tissue boxes.  It just was not to my taste.

This magazine cost 6.50 euro at my local book shop.  Otherwise stated, this magazine is the equivalent of two fat quarters.  I will certainly suggest that you spend your hard earned cash on fabric instead of buying this publication.  Do you disagree with me? Or have you too been disappointed by British P&Q? I am happy to hear your thoughts too.  Maybe I am completely off base and should give it another try?  Let me know.

You may like to know I had a helper when taking photos this afternoon.  Here is his contribution :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lattice Illusions Class

Recently I had the opportunity to take a class with Christine Porter to make a quilt (or wall hanging) based on Italian cathedral floors.  She has translated these 3D illusions into quilt patterns in her book Viva Venezia.  There were several pros and cons to the class, but I am not interested in discussing them here.  What I am interested in discussing is color/fabric choices made by my class mates. 

The success or failure of this pattern is based on the juxtaposition of light and dark fabrics. Some people chose patterned fabrics (vs my solids) and others chose colors (vs my gray, navy, brown).  I tried to take as many photos as possible as a way for me to reflect on fabric choices. Why did some of these work so nicely when others (in my opinion) were a bit flat.  I thought maybe you would like to see the many variations of the same pattern too.

What works to you?  What can be improved? Do you like the patterned fabric or solids?  Batiks vs not.  I'm curious to hear your analysis.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Work in Progress Update

I had a pretty fragmented, but productive quilting week.  Here is the story...

Brian's Tetris Quilt
I finished piecing the center of the quilt and added two borders - one dark gray and one light gray. The last gray border was not planned in our overall pattern, but the quilt was not quite big enough to fully cover Brian (or myself) on the couch for TV watching.  So, I had to add a thick light gray border. It is a little scrappy as it was not planned, but it will be OK.

I ordered the batting and will start to quilt the front to the batting next week (with any luck), then start the applique back. It is moving along, anyhow.  I am learning that applique scares me and that I would rather work from a pre-tested pattern, but that's the uptight goober in me.

Sampler Quilt
I finished the back with a pretty simple piecing of scraps and layered the quilt yesterday. I hope to start quilting tonight. I think the quilting will be very geometric - squares around each block and straight along the border.

Lattice Illusions
I have about 80 blocks finished now, but still the quilt is too small!  Even when I calculate in the borders, this is really only a lap quilt and not the full quilt I want. I have to do a bit of re-thinking and stock up (again) on more fabric if I am going to continue to enlarge the center.
Mystery Quilt
I did not have the right fabric purchased when I started this quilt, so I placed an order earlier this week for what was outstanding. I finished 12 of my 36 blocks this week, but am now a little stuck.  Stinks.  Come on, Fed Ex!

I will spend a bit of tonight looking at my books for a jelly roll pattern to start on my new projects at the bottom of the list.  Until then, my current "stats" have been updated....

Completed Quilts (2010)
Roisin's Baby Quilt
Mom's Birthday Quilt
Catherine's Christmas Quilt
Currently Quilting
Sampler Quilt
Tops Awaiting Bottoms
Brian's Tetris Quilt
Currently Piecing
Lattice Illusions Quilt
Mystery Quilt
Ongoing Planning
Bali Pop Quilt (using a Moda Bake Shop Pattern, need to get white fabric)
Moda Jelly Roll Quilt (looking for pattern)
Fat Quarter Quilt (looking for pattern)
Confetti Scrap Quilt (collecting fabric squares, Mary was a great help!)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mail Rarely Makes Me So Happy

I came home from the other day and what did I find?  A little unexpected envelope-packet with my name on it.  Hummm....was I internet shopping at night and forgot?  Oh, no. It's better than that.  This little envelope is filled to the brim with FABRIC! 

I met a lovely woman, named Mary, at a recent guild meeting.  She was showing a spectacular scrappy quilt at show-and-tell that was a white background and a gazillion little 2 inch squares in a sprawling geometric pattern.  I loved it!  She used the Confetti pattern from http://www.teaquilts.com/.  You can view a gallery of finished quilts here

Anyway, as part of the pattern you will need (are you ready?) 1,328 little 2 inch squares.  WHAT!?!?  Not to worry!  Mary was kind enough to start me off.  She must have sent a hundred to me in the mail today.  What a fantastic surprise!  Quilters are such nice people, aren't they?

I would be grateful if anyone else was willing to donate a few 2 inch squares to my quilt project. I have been quilting for just over a year now and just do not have a big enough stash...and I am sure you have a stash you want to be rid of. I am looking for brightly colored fabric. Nothing white/beige as it would blend into the background.  If you have a few squares to spare, would you leave a comment below?  I will get in touch with you.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Camping Time

The nice weather has arrived, so I have started to plan camping trips for the summer.  I started making a tea towel for our camper.  I know it is completely impractical being white and all, but what could be better than a campfire, roasting hot dogs and marshmallows on a stick at my little camper sink?  On this end of the towel I stitched a shiny lantern, a tent and moon, and a campfire with a percolator, steaming hot dog and toasty marshmallows on a stick.  They're all so happy!

On the other side (a future Monday report) will be a camper, a canoe with fish and fishing rod and another happy camp fire. 

I found this pattern (and the towel) at Sublime Stitching. There is a great selection of more modern patterns, most of them being iron on.   Although I do like several of their patterns, does anyone have another source of young/modern/fun patterns?  Please leave a note below to expand my search a bit.

Another favorite spot of mine for patterns is Polka & Bloom. Over the weekend I started one of their patterns, but didn’t get too far. Carina has beautiful patterns and has been a great source of inspiration for me.  I am just not ready to show you quite yet ;)

Happy stitching!  Please do leave a note if you have another source of fun patterns.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Thanks, Guys

A quick note to say thank you! We are just under 1 month into Fluffy Sheep Quilting and as of today there are 500 views!   I am so glad you are interested enough in my blabbing that you keep coming back :)

Irish Quilt & Craft Magazine

I was lucky enough to recently discover Irish Quilt & Craft Magazine (vol 6, issue 1, spring 2011).  I am already looking forward to my next issue!  I know many of you are fans of Irish Quilting, a completely professional and respectable magazine, but I think it targets an audience older than me.  Irish Quilt & Craft is young, bright, hip and cheerful!  We are going to be friends for a long time - I can already tell!

The magazine is small and portable, about 6x8 inches. It perfectly fits into the outside pocket of my purse.  It is bright, colorful and, appropriately enough for spring, it filled with pastel colors. Having it near will brighten any space you are in.

Inside you will find a mix of articles, 7 quilt patterns, instructions for 2 projects, glimpses of new fabric collections, a gardening column and recipes. That's a lot for 40 pages!   Included also is a map of quilt shops in Ireland for a shop-hop anywhere in the country.  There is also a great calendar of local events to ensure you get your quilty fix anywhere in the country. 

The quilt patterns are either published in full or are highlighted in the magazine and download-able from the magazine website. I like several things about these patterns.  First, they are fun, uplifting and attractive to a young audience.  Second, they are adjustable depending on the final size you would like (twin, queen, etc).   Third, there are several quilts in the issue for each skill level.

For a bit of fun, there are three competitions and a mystery quilt - along.  The competition prizes are fantastic: a set of 40 fat quarters, a slow cooker, etc.  Brilliant!

The magazine is a Fennel Shed publication, edited by Gaye Grant of the Fennel Shed quilt shop in Donegal.  Reasonably priced, each individual issue is 5 euro, or you can get a subscription for 15 euro for 4 issues.  You can subscribe by post or online and pay by credit/debit or paypal.  Do pick up an issue and give it a try!

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