Monday, July 30, 2012

July Bee Blocks - Round 2

And the bee blocks for July continue on!  A few weeks ago I finished off blocks for three of my bees, but there were still blocks waiting to be made this month!  Yes, 4 bees for July.  I could not let the last day of July come before having finished them all off.

A friend within my CARE circle of Do.Good Stitches is having a difficult time at home, so I volunteered to do her bee blocks to take a bit off her to-do list.  I am not able to cook or take care of her children when she needs it, but stitching I can do.  Hopefully this allows her to focus her time/energy on her family and home instead of being worried about that bee block that's lingering for the month.  This month our circle is using this tutorial to make two blocks.  I just love this tute and was more than happy to make a few more!

For my Sew Bee Blissful bee, Kris wanted pin wheels using this tutorial by Sew Happy Geek.  This is a well written tute, so do give it a try if you have not already.  There are lots of ways you could play with your fabric choices to give different effects, so have a little think before you start cutting.  So, with Kris' fabrics, I made two of these for her:

And finally, I cut up my charm squares for Jennifer's (of Knotted Thread) I Spy swap.  They're already in the post flying off to sunny Hawaii where they'll be re-packed and distributed.  I can't get over the fact that my charm squares will have more of a summer than I will!  Humpf.

I'm nearly done quilting Granny Mania!  Fingers crossed I can show you a photo this week!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Non-Quilty News

I do tend to focus the blog on quilts or stitched crafts, but I thought today I'd tell you a bit about the other bits and pieces going on around here that make me super happy.

Two lovely ladies have moved into the back garden.  That's right!  We have two totally free range hens.  They're named Dora and Penny.  Penny is the confident leader and Dora the sweet but shy gal.  Together they are best friends and the spend every minute within 2 feet of one another.  They even sleep cuddled together in one nest box.  They are about 4 months old now and have just started laying eggs. That's right....we're collecting two eggs a day and already are overwhelmed with the number.

Penny knows snacks usually come in the orange tea cup.

Once Dora saw Penny checking out the cup, she came out from under the tree to look for herself.

Yep.  Dora agrees that's the snack tea cup.  Indeed.

So they finally had a look around the grass to find the corn.  Happy, happy chicks.

In other news, I've had the urge to knit again.  I just wanted something portable to go with me camping and on long drives.  I find stitching hexies a little much for my eyes when the car is moving, so the knitting needles become my best friend.  If you remember, I did try knitting once before.  It was a super basic repeated knit stitch that didn't give defined pattern.  Still, I like it and enjoyed the process.  That scarf is still not finished only because I don't know how to get it off of the needles.  I'll work that out eventually.  In the mean time, I've started another scarf.that has a basic rib pattern.  The ends will be stockinette stitch and the a repeated knit two, purl two to get the rib.  So far I'm loving it.  I do really need to get into a class or something...You Tube can only take me so far.

Here's a small bit of semi-quilting for you.  Jennifer of the Knotted Thread is hosting an I-Spy charm swap through flickr.  Come join in the fun.  You just have to follow this link to flickr and join in the group.  Post a photo of the fabric you're tossing into the swap and Jennifer will take care of the rest.  Easy peasy.  I am using the wellies print from Fluffy Sheep Quilting.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Modern Quilt Guild Miniquilt Swap

My mini quilt has finally arrived in Atlanta!  I didn't want to post before Pam received it so as not to spoil the surprise but now I'm in the clear!

After signing up for the swap, I was nearly immediately totally overwhelmed and freaked out.  My assigned partner was the fabulous Pam.  She is VP of the Atlanta Modern Quilt Guild, author of Hip to Be a A Square blog and host of Hip to Be a Square podcast.  Oh wow I'm in WAY over my head now.  She's an extraordinary quilter and I was really worried that my skills would not compare to hers.  She's a master piecer, fab at appliqué and has been giving classes on FMQ.  What could I make that avoided any of those talents?  I needed to find something unique....

I thought of the Portholes class I took in London at the Fat Quarterly Retreat.  That could be something new for Pam!

What fabric will I use?  Well, Pam is a fan of Star Wars.  What if I used a space theme?  I wanted to make a quilt that was her view out the window of the Millennium Falcon.  I decided to use Ash as a background (isn't the inside of every air plane Ash colored?) with batiks that were vibrant, but looked like the swirling surface of a planet.  Come on...any of these planets or moons could be made of batik fabric.  Of course, I didn't have any brown batiks (!!!) but I had vibrant oranges, yellows, reds, etc.  Now we're onto something...

Borrowed from
And then, of course, I had to add in a few space ships and satellites.  Right?  I found this print from Hoffman.  Brilliant.  What would be better than 3D space ships!?!?

The only problem was that I couldn't get this print anywhere in Ireland or the UK.  It had to come from the US.  But then the shipping over to Ireland was out of this world (har har)!  Enter the fabulous Rhonda.  I emailed Rhonda and asked for her help.  She could get the fabric sent to her house, then send it onto mine for a fraction of the price.  She's the best EVER!  Thank you, Rhonda!

Once the fabric arrived, I started stitching little portholes...  

Until I had a finished little mini quilt.  It is about 16 inches square and much less wonky than it looks in the photos.  Or so I tell myself.

It's backed with the Hoffman 3D print so you can get the full effect of its 3D-ness.

It was packed up and sent onto Pam with two pair of these:

If you haven't already seen the quilt that Pam sent to me, have a look here to meet Moxie!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Trying something new...

I have a quilt in mind that I would like to make.  Sure, there are several other quilts that I should be finishing for the FAL or even cutting as I have the pattern and fabric purchased.  Oh, no.  This is one of those quilts that has just occupied my brain for the past week and I need to get stuck in.

In all honestly, this quilt has been bouncing around in my head for well over a year.  Two maybe?  It's just recently, though, that that voice in my head went from a rumbling "that would be nice" to "how will I go about this?".

This quilt will be all appliqué.  I nearly just heard you all shout WHAT!?!?  Yes, appliqué.  As you know, I wasn't exactly blown away with appliqué when making Cúchulainn, but that was mostly because of the mind numbing satin stitch  Here I want use a raw edge appliqué.  Problem is, I've never done that before.

So, I made a little mug rug mock up of a portion of the quilt...

It's Galway so we always have a little rain out there.  We have a little airport too, so you couldn't leave that out....

And a little bird, a snail and happy trees.  

All in all it went reasonably well for a first try.  I really need to practice, but I think I can get there.  The things that are really bothering me about the mug rug are things that will disappear as the idea is scaled up.

Here's where I need your help.  Could you guys tell me: 

1. When you do raw edge appliqué, do you use a fusible or interfacing?  I mean, do you use a double sided Steam a Seam and just weld it all together or do you use the single sided interfacing type fusible that you might use to stiffen a purse?  I like the softer flexibility of the interfacing in a final project, but the Steam a Seam would be great to hold everything in one place. Do you hold the interfaced piece down with glue?

2. How do you stitch down each piece?  I went with FMQ using invisible thread.  I'll use a matching cotton in the final quilt, but for simplicity here I went invisible.  Anyway, I used a FMQ through the center of each object to echo quilt the edges.  Now, I know folks use a stitch like numbers 35-39 below.  What do you use?  

Thank you all so much for your help.  If there are any good tutes out there, please do point me in the right direction.  I can use all the help (and practice) I can get :)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Meet Moxie

I am not sure I can tell you how much I love her in a blog post, but I will try my best. 

Moxie is a mini quilt created by Pam of Hip To Be A Square blog and podcast fame.  When Sarah and I started the Modern Quilt Guild of Ireland, Pam contacted us asking if we'd be interested in doing a mini quilt swap with the Atlanta Modern Quilt Guild.  What a fab opportunity!  Of course we will!

As it turns out I was lucky enough to be "randomly" assigned as Pam's partner.  If you listen to her podcast, her selection wasn't incredibly "random"...  anyway...  I was delighted to be Pam's partner!  We've chatted several times in the past and I'm a huge fan of her podcast and her sense of humor.  I felt like I was connected with an old buddy when partner assignments came in.  

We both agreed to stitch in secret to not spoil the surprise for one another.  Pam has not yet received my quilt (where is it!?!?) so that will have to be another blog post.  Today is all about Miss Moxie.

Moxie is 14 inches by 17 inches and filled with bright oranges, tangerines, lime and a splash of aqua.  It's just delicious!  (Just as I typed that I realized I haven't had lunch yet...must find a bit of food.)  In the center is a hand embroidered scissors and seam ripper with a No Regrets banner. I'm not sure if I've ever gone public about my thoughts RE the shop, but No Regrets summarizes it nicely.  The perfect motto and a little visual reminder at times would not hurt.

The quilting is just amazing.  It's a mix of stippling, pebbles, straight line and hand quilting.  Amazing.  Pam's the queen of FMQ.  I have SO much to learn from her.

Can you see the quilting here?  The seam ripper is even made from sparkly grey embroidery thread so it nearly looks sharp!  

On the back are these delightful hanging corners.  I'm not sure if many of you have been through the pain of stitching on a hanging sleeve.  I've only done it once and have vowed to never do it again.  What a great idea these little hanging corners.  Now that I can easily do!

Moxie is up on my design wall today.  I really want to hang a line in the shop so I could hand the gorgeous creations I've received from so many of you.  Hopefully sooner than later.

Pam, thank you!  Thank you so very much.  I hope you receive the quilt I made soon!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

July Bee Blocks

This month I need to make blocks for 4 bees.  I am missing the fabric from one bee, so I just started sewing for the other three.  These three queen bees are three of my good bloggy friends.  It was so fun to make blocks for someone I know!

I started with my Do.Good Stitches blocks.  This month was hosted by Karen.  We were to make blocks using this tutorial with a white background and red/aqua fabrics.  This was a super easy to follow tute that made the 2 block in as much effort as it would take to make one.  I do really hope to use this again in the future.

Next I moved on to my Modern Irish Bee blocks.  This month our queen bee was Sarah.  She sent out two sets of scraps in two color ways, each with a pop of a contrasting color.  She asked for one larger block and one smaller block.  The blocks could be square or rectangle...what ever your organically created.  Sarah asked that we follow this tute.  I've been a little intimidated by it for a while now, but with Sarah's push I gave it a try.  This method is also super easy once you dive in and get the hang of it.  I'm not sure I'd create an entire quilt of mosaic blocks, but I did enjoy making these two!

Finally, I jumped to Nicky's block for Sew & Bee Happy.  She wanted improv pieced text blocks with a solid color and a contrasting small print.  Nicky gave us a list of quilty words to choose from and two tutorials to create the letters we needed.  I picked "bind" from the list.  Making this block forced my brain to go in directions it wasn't used to.  It was a great challenge.  I can't wait to see what Nicky's final piece looks like!

So, one more set of blocks for Sew Bee Blissful and I'm done for July.  Can't wait for that little parcel of fabric to arrive!

Monday, July 16, 2012

And the winner is....

A great big thank you to all of you lovely folks who created mosaics for the Kona bundle competition.  You have such fantastic taste and were incredibly creative with the colors given.  The linky was just filled with eye candy!

To give you the voting results....

The overall winning mosaic with the greatest number of votes is Sunrise by Susan at Canadian Abroad.  She will be taking home 2 yards of Kona Solids to add to her stash.  Fluffy Sheep Quilting will also offer Susan's bundle for sale starting in August of 2012.

The runner up in the warm category was the gorgeous Bahama Mama by Jennie P of Eclectically Delicious, filled with oranges and reds but with a smattering of pinks included.  What a great combo!

Within the cool category, the mosaic with the greatest number of votes was Under the Palm Trees by Jennie P of Eclectically Delicious.  Jennie also created the runner up mosaic called Something About the Sea.  Fluffy Sheep Quilting will recreate Jennie's Under the Palm Tree bundle next month!  Well done, Jennie! 

In the pick-a-mix category, the greatest number of votes went to An Amish Girl created by Laurie of West Texas Threads.  

This mosaic was quickly followed in popularity by the Beginner's Toolbox by Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts...

...and Mermaid Splash by JL Verde of Just Something I Made.  Again, all 3 pick-a-mix winners will be new Kona solid fat 8th bundles available at Fluffy Sheep Quilting.

Again, thank you all for jumping in and contributing your creativity to make this a fabulous competition.  You've made this great fun!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Saturday Shop Update

I am really trying to keep the content of my blog filled with personal updates of my stitching adventures.  I don't want it to become an advertisement for the shop.  But really, it's silly to not share with you all of the gorgeous things that are arriving at the house and making my heart flutter!  So, I am hoping you will indulge me while I give you monthly updates of the new goodies at Fluffy Sheep Quilting (the shop).

Fabrics are arriving by the bolt load around here.  I can hardly keep the shop updated they're arriving so quickly!  Here are a few highlights....

Summersville.  What shop could resist this line?  It's perfect for so many different projects.  I have a few bags in mind for several of these prints.  Or you can personalize it like Needles Pins and Baking Tins or Fairyface Designs.

Jack and Jenny.  These just make me smile.  I fell in love with these prints when I saw Svetlana using it here and here.

Serenade.  This has just arrived and is calling my name!  Kate Spain.  Who can resist Kate Spain?  I just love the purples and blues used here.  Delicious.

Echino.  Finally, two Echino prints have arrived.  They are the traditional thicker cotton:linen mix perfect for bags.  I just love the rich variety of color offered between these two fabrics.  A must have for every stash.

Charm Packs
Pre-cuts are incredibly difficult to find here in Ireland, so I will try to stock them any time I can.  I now have two lines that make me smile: Vintage Modern and a Kona Bright Pack.  I just love the colors in these lines.

Sale!  Sale!  Sale!
The Fruit Slice and Soul Garden lines are now discounted to 2.50 euro/FQ.  They are great stash building, color blending lines.  Hop over to the Sale section to have a gander.

Soul Garden Fat Quarter Bundle

Fruit Slice: Sliced Citrus

Fruit Slice: Fruit Salad
That's the news around here.  If you'd like more regular updates of what's going on in the shop, you can "like" the facebook page or follow me on twitter.
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