Tuesday, January 31, 2012

And they keep coming!

Stargazing blocks are flowing through my mail slot.  What could make a quilter happier?  

I received two from Nicky and two from Wendi this afternoon.   They are AWESOME!  The first two are from Nicky.  Do you see that adorable wee frog in the first and a happy little sheep in the second?  I love them!

And the second two are from Wendi.  I love the colors she chose to use.  They're so nice and bright!  I am thrilled to see a bit of orange as I'm seriously lacking there.

So, here's the design board so far. It's coming along pretty well I think.  I can't wait to put this top together.  I even have an idea of how to quilt it!  

I am so sorry this photo is this blah. The sun was going down :(

In other news, we also have a winner!  The winner of the Flutter from.Kat pattern giveaway is....

Lovely Miss Debbie.  And here's what her winning entry:

Hee hee!  It's so good to know the patterns are going to a big Kat fan where they will be used and loved.  Enjoy, Debbie!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Birdie Stitches: Top Finished

As you may know, I have a love/hate relationship with my Birdie Stitches blocks.  I love, love, loved them in Jan through May, but then became a little disillusioned in June through December.  I kept stitching because I can not stop once I commit, but with each month I was getting more and more unsure what I would do with the finished quilt.

When December came, I finished off my last block and happily put them all away in a little stack.  I was thinking I would give the entire stack to Project Linus as I really think they will make a great quilt for a pre-teen girl.

But then with a bit of nudging from you guys, promises that I'll fall in love once I finish the top AND with Sarah's Winter Stitching Goals, I FINALLY sat down to piece the top of Birdie Stitches.

You know, I'm pleased with it right now.  Not pleased enough to layer and quilt it, but I like it enough that I would absolutely think about coming back in a few months to finish it off as a gift (or even still for Project Linus).  You guys were right...new happiness did come with the finished quilt top.  Thanks for the nudge!  xx

Friday, January 27, 2012

New Sewing Room

It is nearly finished!  Do you want to have a peek?  Please forgive the fuzziness of the photos.  It has been difficult getting photos when the sun is out.  Even when it is out, its rare to shine directly into this room.

In one corner there is my sewing space.  I have a few lights, my radio and my sewing machine.  The basket there is for Chaos pieces that I keep trying to piece from the scraps just above it on the table.  And then, of course, there is the Community Quilt that I am actually, really, honestly trying to quilt right now.

And then if you turn around, at your back is the new design wall and my ironing board.  I also have a working 1911 sewing machine there. I would love to restore it  have someone else restore it, but that's SUPER far down on the to-do list :)

See on the design wall a little rectangle of piecing? It's eventually going to be part of Chaos too....

And then on the long wall of the room, I have two bookshelves and a CD tower to fill with books, fabrics, baskets, etc.  They just wouldn't fit in one photo together!  Anyway, on the left there are two baskets that hold ongoing projects, like the Birdie Stitches top, for example.  There's thread, ribbon, etc.

The tower holds my pretty small FQ collection in the middle.

And then on the right are my books, IKEA fabric mini-bolts and little storage bins.  They will eventually be placed on the wall on a peg board organizer thing.  The little bins hold my scissors, bobbins, basting pins...and on, and on, and on.

In the bookshelf on the right I have my stash. It's pretty tiny, so it fits in there just fine.

And that's it!  That's my quilting space.  I still have  things to get up on the walls like my peg board organizer, a white board that holds my to-do list, etc.  They might go up this weekend.  Really, though, I would love to just spend this weekend breaking in the new space!  Can't wait!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Winter Stitching Goals: Mid-Way Update!

It is light later in the evenings. It is not raining nearly as much and it is nearly getting a little warmer!  What does that mean to you?  It is time for our Winter Stitching update, of course!  If you haven't heard the story of Winter Stitching, jump over to Fairy Face Designs for a bit of background.

Birdie Stitches
The goal was to finish off the top of Birdie Stitches this winter. I have finished all of the blocks and just need to add it the sashing.  I've been struggling with this project lately as I just can not envision it as a quilt to give away or to use in our house. Either way, it needs to be finished off.  This will be done by the end of Feb.  Absolutely.  

Brother’s Mixer
Done!  I love how this turned out.  More importantly, so did my brother.

Sister-In-Law’s Bag
Well, I made a bag.  Not THE bag.  Still, I love this bag.  This will have to do until I get paper piecing under control and can make THE bag.

Blankets of Love
Done!  And these are cuties if I do say so myself.  Now, I made the tops and backs and sent them to Kat.  She finished layering, quilting and binding them.  They're off with their new homes keeping someone nice and warm.  To learn more about Blankets of Love, hop over here.

Done, but continuing on.  The goal was to contribute to Bee Blessed and Sew Bee Blissful, offering my hive buddies their blocks on time each month.  Well, it's grown to include Do.Good Stitches and Sew & Bee Happy bees, which I love just as much.  I'm a crazy block making bee buddy right now and I love it!

One is done, one is just starting.

I finished off the Modern Christmas Table Runner Swap just before Christmas.  It was a bit of a struggle as we were moving at the time, but it went out and I was happy in the end. 

I also launched, with my friends Susan and Hadley, the Mouthy Stitches Swap which is in full swing right now.  I am hoping to make something as lovely as these pouches for my super top secret partner.  Fingers crossed! 

Done!  Whew, this was a beast to quilt, but it is finally finished and in full use on the couch.  We LOVE it!

The Community Quilt is layered and I've started quilting it, but have not finished it.  I am hoping to do so this week to show it off at my next guild meeting.  If it kills me, this will be finished before the winter is out.

Chaos is taking me FOREVER to piece. It's so scrappy, so SUPER scrappy, that it's still just a pile of scraps.  I'll keep plugging away and hope to have something to show you.  Still, I will not by any  means have a finished top any time soon.

Stargazing is coming along well. This will be my bee quilt for 2012, I think.  Right now I'm working on it with my hive in Sew & Bee Happy and they've been spectacular in contributing blocks.  I think I am going to keep contributing blocks myself, but then also ask my hive buddies for a little help too in March.  We'll see.  So far, it looks like this...

I love this quilt, so I'll keep plugging away at it.  Hope to have a top by the early spring to show off to you all!

International Quilt Festival of Ireland
This is a continuing project, but will be done before the winter is finished.  I have the top fused and am just doing a satin stitch around each individual piece.  I will have it stabilized and quilted by the end of Feb I hope!   

Guest Post
This is still ongoing....I am so happy to be invited to contribute a tutorial to a series this fall, so I will get my tutorial tested, written and photographed by mid February.  I’m a bit nervous, but this will be a great jump for me.  

Free Motion Friday
The goal was to continue FMF through to the end of December.  With an unexpected move in mid-December, I had to give up on this fun practice-a-long a bit early.  Still, I am so happy with the number of folks who jumped in and gained a little FMQ confidence along with me.  Thanks, girls!

That's it!  I guess I am all over the place.  A few projects are done, a few are on target to finish and a few have been left by the way side.  That's life, though, isn't it?  I am going to focus on quilts from here out as I can not wait to finish a few of these beauties off!  

Off to link up with Sarah's Winter Stitches party.  Have a peek at what the other ladies have accomplished.  There is amazing eye candy over there!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Flutter.by Kat Giveaway!!!

Warning!!!  This post is entirely filled with cuteness!!!  Are you ready?

Kat, the author of Diary of a Flutter.Kat blog and creator of absolute cuteness for Flutter from.Kat (the shop), is a good friend of mine.  She is generously offering a giveaway for Fluffy Sheep Quilting readers that you are going to love.

To give you a flavor of what Kat creates, she has generously offered to giveaway two patterns to the giveaway winner. This super awesome zipper pouch pattern, which would be FANTASTIC for those of you participating in the Mouthy Stitches swap...

AND this pattern for a scrappy pouch.

Flutter from.Kat (the shop) is always changing, so stop back again and again!  Kat will be expanding the shop to include an adorable children's clothing patterns, a reward chart pattern, a zipper purse and a quilted cushion, so be sure you stop back regularly to see what was recently placed in the shop.

To enter this giveaway, just leave a comment below.  For additional entries, choose as many of the following as you'd like:

1. Head over to her Facebook page and "Like" it.
2. Become a follower of Diary of a Flutter.Kat (the blog).
3. Visit Flutter from.Kat (the shop), find your favorite pattern, handmade gift or piece of clothing, then come back here and tell me what you chose.

I'll choose the winner with a random number generator on Friday night (27 January) around 5PM my time, or noon on the east cost of the US.  Please be sure I am able to reply to your comment, so if you are a no-reply blogger include your email address in your comment.  I will email both patterns to the winner on Friday evening.  Good luck!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Rainbow Charm Swap

Somewhere Over The Rainbow Charm Swap

Who could resist a charm swap hosted by the lovely Emily of Strawberry Patch?  Apparently I can not.  I love scrappy rainbow charm swaps so much that I signed up for two rounds!  Woo hoo!

I was assigned red for the first swap, so I chose this Woodlands print with little red and aqua flowers.  Sorry for the stinky photo - it's night time, so the lighting is bad and you can't see the adorable little aqua guys. For the second swap, I picked up this 1001 Peeps jewel print.

Hope my swap buddies like them!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Perle Cotton Extravaganza

Recently I have been a little obsessed with hand quilting.  Or really the idea of hand quilting.

I have not hand quilted anything before, but really like the look of hand quilting echoing a block.  I like the uneven, wide stitches.  They make me happy.

I need to just dive in and give it a go.  Susan has been kind enough to give me Hand Quilting 101 lessons via email, so I am feeling more confident.  Confident enough to have a little shopping spree.  I picked up this bunch of delicious colors as a package deal and couldn't be happier.  Isn't this a nice little punch of color for your sewing space?  I love it!

Now I just have to give it a go....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Yippee! A Design Wall!

I am now lucky enough to have a whole room to myself for quilting.  I know!  A whole room!  I still have not finished moving in and setting up the furniture, but I wanted to make a design wall.  Just because I have room for it.  I saw this tutorial from Oh, Fransson ages ago, so I used it as a guide.  Want to see how it was made?

We bought three sheets of polystyrene insulation that were about 2 ft by 3 ft.  They're nice and light, making it easy to hang.  Now, if I had a choice, I would choose a solid white board so the little speckles don't show through, but this was the one and only option we had.  We went with it.  It was really inexpensive, about 6 euro for the three.  Go splash out.

I laid them out, aligned the edges and used packing tape to keep them together.  I used that packing tape that we all hate - the tape with little strings running through it so you can't open it without a knife.  I hate that on a package, but loved it here!  One strip down the seams will do you.

For the back story...I wanted a design wall. My other half wanted me to make it by myself.  I, of course, wanted him to just make it and for it to magically appear on the wall.  So, I brought the materials into the living room to make on the only large-ish floor we have in the house that's semi-clear of boxes (oh, don't fake like you can't see the mess that is my living room!  We're still unpacking...) while he was watching TV....and then he couldn't resist getting up and helping out.  He left his little spot on the sofa and leaving my quilt in a little ball behind him!  No respect.

But here it he is!  Yippee!  The DIY master.

So, we taped up the seams and then taped along the edges to kind of protect the corners a bit in case I drop it.  And I will.  I'm a bit clumsy.

We found a bit of wood laminate that was maybe 1/8 inch thick and 2 inches wide, so we ran that along the top and bottom edge (the long sides) to support the seams and ensure the boards remain even.  We stapled them into place, then taped over them again to hold them down.

See his little Spiderman Band Aid?  Awww....

We put two more strips of this left over laminate on the back for hanging.  I want to be able to flip it from landscape to portrait (taking words from Microsoft Word, but you get the idea).  

And again, they were taped into place.

 We found the center of each side and marked it...

...to drill a little hole.

We then used the ottoman, but you could use a coffee table, to get it off of the floor.  I spread the Warm and White over the top, and then spread it evenly along the front of the board taking out the wrinkles.  We cut it so there was enough to cover the edge of the board, then wrap around by about 3 inches.

The Warm and White lightly sticks to the board, so once its there you can gently flip it over onto the ottoman.  Very very lightly pull it (without creating puckers) and pin it into place.

I used little plastic headed pins that are about 1 1/2 inch long to really secure it  in place.  They are about 3 inches apart, which might be overkill looking back.

And it went up really easily because it it so light.  I was just dying to get my star blocks up and arranged a bit, so B took the camera and started snapping away.  Here's me in my Sunday best - a Phillies sweatshirt.  At a whopping 5 ft 2, I can't reach the top of the board.  I will have to get a step stool :(

A 4 ft x 6ft quilt center will fit pretty well on there, but not boarders and binding.  So it goes.  I am already thinking of making a second for the other wall.  At 6 euro to get the three boards it is a steal.  I still have TONS of "left over" Warm and White that I could use, too.  You might see another in the near future!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Starry Eyed

As you may remember, I am Miss January in the Sew and Bee Happy bee.  This is my first time being a queen mama bee, choosing a block, finding the background fabric, etc.  It was a bit bumpy at the start, but I think we're rolling now.  As we are truly international, some folks received their packages within the week and others are still waiting for them.  So it goes.

Much to my surprise, the first few bee packages are already returning to me!  Want to see what arrived recently?

These beauties are from Judith.  I am really digging yellow right now as it brightens up the long, chilly January Irish nights.  Can you see in one block there's a little embroidered flower?  And the cute little dogs and giraffe in the other?  They're just fantastic.

And this beauty is from Emma.  I just love the bold colors she used.

I was so jazzed by the arrival of these goodies I made a few of my own....

To create the quilt I have in mind I'll need 36 of these lovely blocks.  I have 9 done...only 27 to go! 
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