Saturday, May 28, 2011

Thank you!

Guys, I am overwhelmed with your kindness.  I have just received a pile of scraps for the Community Quilt and, once again, I am so grateful for this kind, friendly online quilting community.

Thank you to Vicki, Judy (AKA Mom) and Marlene, three readers who do not have blogs of thier own, but jumped right in there to contribute.  Ladies, correct me if I'm wrong, here and I will happily add a link. 

Thank you to the many bloggers who chipped in: Frances (Off Kilter Quilt), Mary (Quilt Genius), Kari (Craft-Happy), Mirja (This Busy Mommy), Sarah (Fairy Face Designs), Anneleise (Cheeky Monkey), Jodi (On Forward Motion) and Rhonda (Quilter in the Gap).  If you have not already been to their blogs, do hop over and have a peek.  They are all fabulous with great pieces of eye candy :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

We have a winner!!

Thank you so much to all of those who entered the Fluffy Sheep Quilting giveaway as organized by SMS.  There was an incredible respose with 217 entries.  Some of you were simply hysterical in your comments and others have very interesting crafting interests that I want to try ASAP.  Thank you all for such a fantastic first experience with SMS.

And the drum roll, please......


Our winner is number 179, Macca!  She makes really cool clothes for kids.  I have her address now, so the bag will be on its way to New Zealand this afternoon.  She has a blog too, and you can check it out here if you are interested.  This is now a truly international bag as it was made by an American living in Ireland and will spend its live in the southern hemisphere. 

As it turns out, I am a lucky winner too!  I won a bundle of fabric from Mary that is just perfect for the Community quilt.  Thanks, Mary!


What about everyone else?  Has anyone heard that they won a giveaway yet? 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

WIP Wednesday Already?

What a week it has been!  I feel like I am all over the place, but standing still at the same time.  As usual this Wednesday, I am participating in WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.  Use the button on the right of my blog to hop over there and see what other quilters are posting.  Each week I find a new blog that brightens my day.

Starting Up
Community Quilt
I am absolutely thrilled with the response this project has received.  Many, many thanks to all of you who have contacted me and are planning to contribute squares. I have started to receive fabric from some folks and have been diligently cutting 2 inch squares over the past two evenings.  You guys really have adorable scraps!  I am having a great time peeking into your stashes :)  If you are interested in contributing, you can email me at fluffysheepquilting@gmail.com to participate. I am so very grateful, once again, for the generosity of this quilting community! 

Several Others
Birdie Stitches, hosted by Little Miss Shabby, and my batik Irish Chain (fabric left) will start up next week.  I was mostly fabric shopping for them this past week.  It's funny how long it takes to buy a white background. Tone on tone or solid? White, eggshell, snow or cream?  Whew!  The options are endless!  Good old Kona.







Currently In Progress
Sew Mama Sew Giveaway
Like so many of you, I am participating in the Sew Mama Sew giveaway. You can just page down a bit or click here to take your chances winning a patchwork bag (photo right).  The drawing closes Wednesday night and even I am excited to see who wins! Blog hopping has taken a HUGE amount of my time this past week and it has been fabulous.  Hope you are having fun too!

Project Linus Quilt Top Donation
I have my Mystery Quilt top (below) all packed up and ready to go to Project Linus on Friday.  I think what they are doing is so great, so I wanted to do something special for them.  I spent a lot of time tonight going through my stash finding fat quarters to donate along with my quilt top.  I hope the Project Linus quilter likes them!

Lattice Illusions
I spent a good amount of time on Friday buying more fabric, cutting little squares, craeating borders, etc for Lattice Illusions.  You can page down if you want to see the details.  Long story short, the project is moving forward, but a little slowly this week.  I am still really enjoying this quilt, which is nice. 

Lattice Illusions was the focus of my first Friday Night Sew In, hosted by Handmade by Heidi. I had a great time on Friday night sewing away. If you have not already participated, I suggest you give it a try next month. I will be back!

That is the news at Fluffy Sheep Quilting. A lot of running around and organizing, but little actual sewing. Let's hope that changes next week and I have something beautiful to show you!  Happy sewing, guys!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Whew.

Are you visiting Fluffy Sheep Quilting looking for the Sew Mama Sew giveaway?  Just page down a small bit or click here to enter.  Thanks for stopping by!

I'm exhausted.  Are you?  How many blogs did you look at yesterday?  I wish I was actually counting.  This was my first Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day and I am overwhelmed!  It was great searching through so many new blogs.  Some were fabulous, some gave me great ideas and some were lovely sources of inspiration. 

While I was searching blogs yesterday, I came across Sewn by Leila.  Starting on 17 June, Liela will be kicking off her "We Can Do It!" program aimed at taking the "scary" factor out of new skills.  This way, many online friends can learn a new skill together and get over the mental hump stopping you from trying that extra special block.  Each 12 inch block will teach the maker a new skill ranging from beginner skills of cutting and triangles, then advancing to wonky blocks, foundation and paper piecing and eventually moving onto the daunting hexie and curve! 

Are any of you thinking of joining in?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sew, Mama, Sew Giveaway Day!

Today is a big, big day fellow quilters and crafters!  It's Sew, Mama, Sew's Giveaway Day!  Be sure to check out Sew, Mama, Sew and have a blast browsing through the list of participating blogs and shops for goodies. 

I am really happy to offer my giveaway: this lovely handmade (by me) bag.  It is a quilted bag with a patchwork exterior and a chocolate brown lining with little delicate flowers.  The bag is 16 inches across and 11 inches deep.  There is one pocket on the front of the bag (left photo) that is a good size for your keys or your mobile phone.  The back is similar patchwork and quilting.  There are two large (8.5 x 8 inch) pockets on the inside of the bag to keep special things handy (right photo).
















To enter the Fluffy Sheep Quilting giveaway, leave a comment below and tell me what sort of things you like to make.  If you are a follower, leave a second comment giving yourself another entry into the giveaway.  I will chose the winner at random on Wednesday 25 May at 10PM Galway time (or 5PM for the eastern coast of the US).  Be sure that I can reply to your comment or leave your email address as part of the comment.  I will contact the winner by email to arrange shipping, domestic or international, later in the week.  Good luck!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Friday Night Sew In #1

Last night I took part in my first Friday Night Sew In organized by Handmade by Heidi.  I had a fabulous time rockin' out to my little iPod with my sewing machine hummin' like mad.

The evening started with a trip to the quilt shop.  Alright, I know it's a sew in, but it had to be done.  I have the glorious delusion that this Lattice Illusions top is nearly finished.  Each time I think I am close to finishing, I re-think the design and it grows a bit more....and there's another trip to the quilt shop for more fabric. 

Anyway, I was in the mood to start with half square triangles.  I had 66 made from earlier in the week, but I need 96 for the border.  I made the other 30, pressed them, trimmed their little ears and created four strips of 23 ensuring the colors are somewhat randomly spaced.  Two are pictured below.  The strips are pressed and ready to add once the center is finished.  Or should I say if ever the center is finished....


I paired up about 20 of the center blocks, which is not difficult at all.  However, at the center of this seam several points join and its difficult to keep the points sharp when pressing 8 layers of fabric.  I remembered Sandy discussing the exact point on Quilting for the Rest of Us and she mentioned pressing the seams open to keep the point sharp.  This worked beautifully!  Thank you, Sandy!

I need 27 more center blocks (consisting of 4 smaller squares each), so I started piecing strips again.  I did not get too far as it was getting late, but I am happy to have the strips assembled ready to cut into sqares.  This is pretty easy to pick up again on Saturday when there is a quiet minute. 

All in all, I had a great time tonight and am looking forward to the next Friday Night Sew In.  Did you join?  Will you jump in next time? 

Friday, May 20, 2011

And We're Off!

I am participating in my first Friday Night Sew In this evening, hosted by Handmade by Heidi.  You can use the button on the right of the home page to have a peek and the other bloggers participating today, but really you want to jump back on Saturday when we have all posted our final products.

I might start in with this pile of goodness!  Or I may move on with my Lattice Illusions quilt.  We'll see what strikes me when I sit down this evening.

I'll be back with an update tomorrow.  Until then, let's get sewing :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Community Quilt

Did you know you are part of a fantastic online community of quilters?  Well, you are.  We are kind, encouraging and helpful folks who, without a second thought, pass out complements on fabric choices, praise on finished quilts and suggestions when someone is trouble shooting.  I love this community and turn to it often for inspiration.

I am organizing a Community quilt.  I mentioned this several times earlier in passing.  I wanted, though, to really discuss the community it stems from and what shape the quilt will take over time. 

The Fluffy Sheep Quilting community has now extended through both North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.  This is incredible in such a short period of time.  The most frequent visitors are from my two homes, the United States and Ireland.  Quickly following is Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Norway, Brazil, Netherlands and France.  Our infrequent visitors include Argentina, India, Iran, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Poland and Sweden.  We're a regular UN of quilters with a shared love (or obsession) for quilting.  How great is this? 

We often use quilts to mark someone or something that is important to us at this time: a biography of sorts.  A wedding quilt, a baby gift, a quilt for someone who needs a bit of happiness.  Well, right now this community is incredibly important to many of us and I would like to mark that.  Who knows, blogging about quilting may be passe in 10 years time and we can laugh at it when remembering 2011. 

So I am looking for donated squares from any quilter willing to participate in my project.  Several of you have volunteered already, and for that I am thankful.  I am looking for donations of 2 inch squares of any quilt shop-quality fabric.  I request fabric of color or with a pattern.  In other words, not a solid white or cream that will be lost in the background.  Each little 2 inch square needs to "pop".  If you are interesting in contributing squares, please email me (fluffysheepquilting@gmail.com) or leave a comment below.  I would ask to have your fabric in the mail to me by Tues of next week ensuring it arrives by Fri (27 May).

The pattern I intend to use is from Tea Quilts.  You can view a gallery of finished quilts here.  If this goes well, I would like to enter it into the International Quilt Festival of Ireland to be held in Galway next year. 

As always, I am grateful for your generosity and support, online friends.  I love the idea that this quilt could include folks from all over the world with varied taste in colors and print style, but we can all contribute to something beautiful. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

WIP Update

I hope you made quilty progress this week!  I am taking baby steps recently, but sometimes you need weeks like that.  I am participating in WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced today.  Use the button on the right of my blog to hop over there and see what other quilters are posting.

Starting Up
Community Quilt
The aim of this quilt is to create something that incorporates fabric from bloggers, blog-readers, podcasters, etc; the internet community that has provided many of us with great inspiration.  This is such a special community of people.  I love the idea that this quilt could include folks from all over the world with varied taste in colors and print style, but we can all contribute to something beautiful. 

I hope you all will participate!  I am looking for donations of 2 inch squares of any quilt shop-quality fabric.  I will request fabric of color or with a pattern.  In other words, not a solid white or cream that will be lost in the background.  Each little 2 inch square needs to "pop".  If you are interesting in contributing squares, please email me (fluffysheepquilting@gmail.com) or leave a comment below.  I would ask to have your fabric in the mail to me by Tues of next week ensuring it arrives by Fri (27 May).  I am completely grateful for your generosity! 
I would like to make a scrappy Confetti quilt using a pattern from Tea Quilts.  You can view a gallery of finished quilts here.  The pattern calls for 1,328 little 2 inch squares that I will place on a Kona Snow background fabric.  If this goes well, I would like to (maybe) enter it into the International Quilt Festival of Ireland to be held in Galway next year. 

Currently In Progress
Lattice Illusions
I am working on piecing my blocks together and making a half square triangle border this week.  I will need to get more fabric for the central blocks, but I have 22 of 30 finished and in pairs.  The center of the quilt will be 5 blocks by 6 blocks, so I will start making strips of 5 until I finish off the outstanding 8 blocks. 

There will be two solid borders around the central 30 blocks, then a ring of half square triangles.  I was getting bored of piecing blocks together, so I started in on the half square triangles this week.  It was a nice break.  Only a few more to make!


Stats
New Projects: 0
Completed Projects: 0
Currently In Progress: lots, but 2 this week
On Hold: 1

Monday, May 16, 2011

Trudging Along

The past 2-3 days have not been the pinnacle of my quilting experience.  But, we continue on.  Right? 

I really wanted to get my sampler quilt washed to call it really, officially finished.  To find a washer to fit a quilt is very difficult around here for a variety of reasons, but today I finally could get it to the one and only laundrette in town.  This was my big chance for the wash!!!....and I failed.  There was a line 3 deep for the one and only washer that would fit the quilt and by the time it was my turn the shop would be closed.  Humph. 

So, I went home, drew a bath and washed it by hand.  I do not know if this was the smartest idea.  I am awfully stubborn and when its time to do a job, it is time to do a job.  At least the quilt is now washed and out on the line drying.  Phew.



I have also been working on my Lattice Illusions quilt.  The success (or failure) of this quilt will really be based on my seams lining up perfectly, so I have been paying super-attention to pressing my seams to create locking pieces.  I made the blocks pretty easily, but when I went to join two blocks together I blew it.  I had all of the seams perfectly aligned, but forgot to pay attention to the block orientation!!! The block on the right was turned 90 degrees....so they all had to be pulled apart.  I could not bear to put them back together again, so instead I cut little squares that will eventually be an hourglass block border. 


All in all, these are minor bumps in the road and it will all be just fine.  I'll keep working on :)

I am participating in Sew Happy Geek's Manic Monday and Canoe Ridge Creation's Modern Monday this week.  Use the button on the right of the home page to jump over there.  You may meet a new blogger that inspires you, so have a look!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Sketching Lattice Illusions

The past few days have been rough for those of us with Blogger blogs.  I could not access the blog for a while, and then posts started to disappear!  Anyway, it seems Fluffy Sheep Quilting is back on track.

What was I doing yesterday?  Well, sketching.  I have strayed from the original Lattice Illusions pattern and have started to create my own pattern that is a little larger than the original.  I decided to make as many blocks as I could and now have the odd number of 21.  Now I really have to figure out where the quilt is going.  Yesterday I started sketching the center panel and adding on borders (solids and hourglass blocks).  From here I can work out the math of how much fabric I need and then head out to the shop.  

How do you plan quilts?  Do you sketch on grid paper or use fancy software like EQ?  I am always up for a new idea, so let me know your thoughts!

I am heading out today to the Irish Patchwork Society meeting.  It is always a nice way to spend the morning. I will participate in the show-and-tell for the first time by showing my sampler quilt.  Eeek - I am a little nervous, but they're a friendly group so it will be fine :)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Quick Hello

This will be a brief hello, folks. I would really love to spend the night assembling blocs for the Lattice Illusions quilt.  You see, once I get organized to post, I start checking for updates on every other blog I follow and quickly my evening passes without quilting at all. 

So, a quick hello and I'll check back again tomorrow.  Happy sewing :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sampler Quilt: Finished!

This sampler quilt started last summer as a class with the local quilt shop owner.  I wanted to learn how to make a half square triangle.  Here it is finally finished!  I really like this quilt. I like the colors, the fabric patterns, the variety of quilt blocks.  There are many mistakes, but I have learned from them and hope to not repeat them again in the future.  That's the whole idea, right?

If you are a regular reader of Fluffy Sheep Quilting, you will remember that I had an issue with the backing slipping out from under the binding.  This was a mistake I made when layering the quilt (getting too close to the edge of the backing with the batting and top).  Thank goodness that Luci of Thymely Stitches spoke up with a suggestion to fix my problem.  I spent last Sunday fixing away and am thrilled with the results!

I also had a small hole in the sashing. I have tried my best to put Steam-A-Seam under the hole to secure it and then re-quilt the area.  I think it will not unravel when washed, but you will still be able to see the hole.  So it goes.  There just was not a good way to applique on top of it and the idea of un-binding, un-quilting, un-stitching the block, and replacing that part of the stashing was just too much for me to handle.  Finished is better than perfect, right?

That being said, I am truly happy with the result.  I am thrilled to be finished and move onto another project, but the completion of this gives me great satisfaction.  It is a wedding gift for my friends and I am sad to see it go :(

I am participating in Fabric Tuesday over at Quilt Story.  You can use the button on the right of my home page to hop over and have a look at what the other creative bloggers have posted.  You are bound to find someone new to follow :)  I am in love with what Not-So-Plain-Jane posted last week!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mystery Quilt Top: Finished!

Whew!  I am finished piecing the Mystery Quilt top. It was not difficult, but it just took me a while to get the fabric together.  Anyway, here it is!  I wish I could get it outside to get a photo, but its raining like mad.  Here it is on the spare bed instead. 

Well, what do I think?  Shall I be honest?  I am not incredibly impressed with it :(  Please keep in mind its a mystery quilt, so I did not choose the pattern or have the option to match the fabrics (colors or prints) to the pattern in advance.  So, here it is finished and it is not to my taste at all. 

I like the fabrics (below). I am really looking forward to using the scraps in the future, so there is a saving grace.  Technically it is reasonable - not perfect, but reasonable.

Here is the question, though.  What do I do with this top?  I am not inclined to spend the money and time on batting and a backing.  What do you guys do with your let-down tops?  Does anyone want this one?  I am happy to give it a happy home elsewhere.




 


I am participating in Sew Happy Geek's Manic Monday and Canoe Ridge Cration's Modern Monday this week.  You can check out many more posts through the buttons on the right - you may meet a new blogger that impresses you, so have a look!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Book Review: Fat Quarter Quilts

I am looking for a new pattern.  See how distracted I am already!?!  I just made my list of summer goals only yesterday and this was not included at all.  Anyway, it's fun to see what may come in your quilty-future. 

I bought these fat quarters several weeks ago from the Fennel Shed, the Farmhouse Retreat line.  I am having trouble, though, envisioning them in a quilt.  I found Fat Quarter Quilts (here on Amazon) in our guild library.  Authored by M'Liss Rae Hawley, I thought this would be a winner as she is the "Queen of the Fat Quarter" according to her book bio.

The book is 78 pages long with an introduction to quilting taking the first 16 pages.  I know this is snarky, but when a reader is looking at a quilt book with a specific focus like fat quarter-focused quilts, do we still need to include the basics of what is a seasonal print or how to use a rotary cutter?  I think it is not necessary here.

There are 8 patterns included with material requirements, cutting instructions and instructions on completing a block.  Although I have not made a quilt from this book (an indication of where I fall in this book review) the instructions appear to be very clear and a photo or simple diagram each step of the way.  Really nicely done. 

Each pattern also is demonstrated with several fabric choices, which was very helpful for me when trying to envision my fat quarters in these quilts.  Also helpful is the suggested quilting pattern, although they are better suited for a professional or long arm quilter than an ammature like myself. 

Now, here is my problem.  I can not picture my fabric in any of these quilts.  Right now I really like the idea of open, neutral space to focus your eye on the pattern and color of the fabric used.  The quilts in this book seem to require specifically for solids, tone-on-tones or batiks that are solid-ish due to the lack of neutral space.  It's odd, the quilts presented here did not even stimulate me to buy appropriate fabric, so I guess not one pattern was attractive to me.  Odd, I know. 

Long story short (-ish) I am sure this book is great for someone, but I am not your gal.  I am glad that I took it from the library and I will happily return it.  It is worth having a look, but be sure you can envision your fabric in the presented pattern before buying the entire book.

I am still looking for suggestions for my fat quarter quilt.  Anyone have a fat quarter-dependent quilt pattern to suggest?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Summer Sewing Plans

I have been inspired in many ways by Fairy Face Designs but most recently by Sarah’s Summer Sewing Linky.  You can find the details here (or use the button on the side bar) if you are interested in joining in too.  So, instead of our usual Wednesday work in progress update, this post is more goal-focused to finish off those projects and start new!  I have big, big plans for the next few months apparently.  I thought I would list them all and then hope to achieve 85% of them.  Here goes:

1. Finish my Quilting Guild of Ireland Mystery Quilt
I am nearly finished piecing the top, so by August I would like to have it quilted and bound.  Right now I am thinking it is really as ugly as ugly gets even though I love the fabric and each individual block. Let’s hope my attitude changes ASAP. 

2. Fix and Finish my Sampler Quilt
This is so nearly finished, but I have two mistakes that need to be corrected by the end of May to pass it along as a gift.  I just need a Saturday afternoon to focus and do it right.  I am nearly there!

3. Carry on with Lattice Illusions
Right now this is living on my design wall semi-perminantly as individual blocks.  I am struggling here as I have deviated from the pattern,  It always takes me longer to work out what I should do when the pattern-creator is not there to instruct me J  I would be thrilled to have the top finished by August.  In all reality, it will not be quilted and bound.

4. Birdie Block of the Month
This is a new discovery for me, so I am just getting started this week. I have ordered the fabric (Moda It's A Hoot) and am waiting for it to arrive. I will have, by August, the 12 blocks made and the embroidery finished on the June, July, August.  With a bit of luck, I would like to have 2 of the January-May blocks done too.  

5. Begin Piecing an Irish Chain
This is a quilt for me and I am completely excited. This will use a pack of 2.5 inch batik strips (below).  I am holding off starting this until I finish off one of the projects above.  By August, I would just like to start this project (i.e. finish off the others allowing me to start this project).


6. Start and Finish a Bag
This is a shoulder bag that I have the pattern and a set of charms for, but just need to start and finish it.  I think I am completely capable, but need to dedicate the time to work it out.  It will be finished by July.

7. Take a Precision Quilting Class
I have looked all over Ireland for a precision quilting class, but have failed to find one.  Sandy (over at Quilting for the Rest of Us podcast) positively reviewed a DVD that I am going to try.  I tend to be a very detail-oriented person (oh, my parents and brother are just giggling up a storm right now as that is the understatement of the year) so this would both sit well in my soul as well as help my quilting.  

I am really looking forward to each of these projects.  I think it is a great idea to set up this list of goals and share progress with others through Fairy Face Designs.  Thanks, Sarah, for organizing – this will be a great time!

In other happy Fluffy Sheep Quilting news.... I am obsessed with Fluffy Sheep Quilting stats.  We have now achieved over 2,500 views in 2 months and I am completely thrilled.  Thanks, guys!  I am also in line to be a guest blogger in July, so keep an eye out.  I will post a link when the time comes. I am flattered to be included in this fantastic opportunity!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Birdie Stitches Block of the Month

I am SO excited! Although this started several months ago, I have found a quilt along/block of the month that I am completely excited about!  Hosted by Little Miss Shabby, this BOM offers the chance to combine my two current favorite crafts: quilting and embroidery.

Do you want to join in with me?  We are going to have to get running pretty quickly.  The links we'll need are posted on the Little Miss Shabby site, but I've included them here too:

1. The supply list  is pretty basic. I am sure its stuff you already have in your stash, but my stash is pretty small. I am going to have to get a fabric order in over the next few days.

2. The quilt layout.  It is pretty cute, huh?  Maybe it would be a nice baby quilt.

3. And the block embroidery patterns. They are themed for the month they are released:
January: a little chick-a-dee with a snowman friend
February: love birds
March: a perfectly appropriate spring rainbow
April: our little birdie enjoying the budding trees
May: my favorite with a little bird surrounded by spring flowers
We can join in the BOM any time. Just hop over to Corey's site at Little Miss Shabby and you can find all of the links on her side bar. Just look for the little Birdie icon (above) and the links are listed below.  I hope you will join me!

Monday, May 2, 2011

One Step Closer to Solving Our Mystery

This past weekend I went camping with friends.  We had a fantastic time!  Camping is not really an activity that enables me to bring my sewing machine and fabrics, so I have little to show from the weekend.  However, today is a day off from work, so I buckled down and finished as many blocks as I could for my guild Mystery Quilt. There are 8 types of blocks, each repeated 4 times in the quilt with the exception of one that will appear 8 times.  I am nearly finished - have 7 of my block sets done and the 8th will be completed tonight.

Now the real mystery begins. How are they assembled?  I still don't know!  I was expecting an email from our course instructor to decode what goes in what row, but I have not received one. I have a photo of the quilt she made for our guild retreat so I may have to take her quilt apart mentally and try to work it out.  Anyway, the mystery continues.  Maybe by Wednesday's Work In Progress update you'll see a finished quilt top!


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