Thursday, May 30, 2013

Fat Quarterly Classes

Like so many of you, I am starting to get REALLY excited about the Fat Quarterly retreat that is quickly approaching.  Our class lists were recently circulated so now we know what I'll be doing over the weekend (other than chatting with bloggy friends, running around London and just having a wonderful time in general). I was that pain-in-the-bum girl who had to switch a few things around, so I am a bit late sharing my class schedule with you.  Thank you, Tacha, for helping me re-arrange my courses!

First up I have Photography with Judith Dahmen.  Judith has a wonderful blog filled with eye candy so I am thrilled to have a chance to talk about photographing quilts with her.  If I could even come close to what she creates I would be a happy girl.

Judith's Folks and Friends quilt.

On Saturday morning I will take Eraser Stamps with Tacha.  I would love to make a little fluffy sheep stamp of my own.  With a little googling I found a few other ideas that I like, too!

From Random Acts of Art

I then move on to hand quilting with Mandy.  I have dabbled in hand quilting as an embellishment, but can't quite work out how to quilt a full quilt.  The stitches on the quilt back go all funny and sideways.  If I could ever create something like my two hand quilting heroes, I'd be thrilled.

By Susan of Canadian Abroad.
Stitched by Sarah of FairyFace Designs.
And finally on Sunday morning I will learn Cathedral Windows from Brioni Greenberg.  I would love to make a table runner (or something small) anywhere near as pretty as this.

From the IMQG.

I have high hopes, then.  I know the weekend will be fantastic, but if I could learn and improve a bit more I'd be thrilled.  If nothing else, the retreat is always a great source of inspiration and new friends.  That alone gets my heart fluttering.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A (Least Favorite) Finish (...Ever?)

A finish is a finish.  Finishing a project of any kind should be celebrated.  However, when I finished this one my first thought was how much I did not like it.  At all.  Not even a small bit.

I found this pattern on Ravelry over Christmas and it just struck me.  It is intended to be a bag for all of your knitting stuff.  The good things about it are: 1) I learned a new stitch; 2) it does feel good on my shoulder; 3) it's a good size; 4) it opens quite widely so everything can fit inside easily.

What don't I like?  Well, it will need to be lined to keep the knitting needles from falling through the holes in the sides.  I did watch Miss Lucy back a crocheted blanket and I don't fancy the idea of putting myself through similar steps. 

I think in the end it is just not me to carry a knitted purse.  I like the color. I like the stitch.  I like all of the things listed above, but I just do not see myself walking out of the house with a knitted bag.  Live and learn, I guess.  I am right back to knitting scarves for now.

Another FAL Q2 2013 project checked off the list!  Next up: Charm Swap.  The last set of charms arrived on Tuesday night so I can't wait to start sorting!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Little Star Baby Quilt

You know how a quilt idea can get stuck in your head and that's all you think about for days?  Thursday evening I started thinking of this little baby quilt top and the idea just kept festering for hours and hours.  I even had a dream about it Thursday night!  By Friday I was fit to burst, so I got home from work and started sewing immediately.   IG followers (@fluffysheepquilting) have already seen the photos, but I wanted to toss this out for all to see and comment.

In a little sunny corner of my kitchen I pulled out the Chaos  home made scrap fabric and a bit of Kona to create a smaller version of the Giant Star Quilt.  I just used 8 inch square blocks (with a 15.5x15.5 inch center block) to either make a full baby quilt top (finishing at 30.5x30.5) or one quarter of a four star lap quilt for myself.  

I was feeling pretty good about making either one of these before Kat chimed in on IG suggesting it's really the start of a medallion quilt for myself, growing border after border.  Man!  Now there's yet another idea festering in my head...all weekend long!  

I am curious to hear what you guys think this should become.  Right now my heart (and out of control quilty brain) have kind of settled on this becoming a shop baby quilt (with the addition of another border) and I start a medallion quilt for myself using a different, more neutral background print.  What do you think?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Cutting...But Not Much Sewing

It has been a bit quiet here on the sewing front for the past two weeks.  You see, I get 99% of my sewing done on the weekends as I just can not find the time or energy in the evenings after work.  Most of what you see during the week on the blog, then, is a product of a happy Saturday or Sunday stitching away.  It works pretty well for me that way.  However, the system breaks down as soon as I need to focus on the shop in preparation for a show or festival.

To be in tip-top shape for the International Quilt Festival of Ireland on the 7-9 June, I have been cutting fat quarters of every print in the shop and am trying to find some pretty way to display them all.  I think I am going by rainbow order instead of by fabric line. It just looks prettier that way.  I have them all cut now and tucked away in little baskets ready to display.

I am also trying to make Kona Solid fat quarter bundles for the show.  I have eight colorways and I want to make several bundles each, so I have just been cutting and cutting and cutting.  This is what 220+ Kona fat quarters look like:

I just have 4 of Bone and lots of Tomato to cut yet, then I will be ready to start making bundles.  I like that part...with the ribbon and all.  

That is the news around here.  More fabric line bundles (Boho, 2wenty Thr3e and One for the Boys) tomorrow night and I am cutting a stash of Kona FQs for yet another basket.  I need another rotary blade ASAP....

Friday, May 17, 2013

Fluffy Sheep Knitted Hat

Finished!  I knitted a hat from fluffy sheep hand-spun wool.  Months and months and months ago the amazing Judy saw that I was just learning to knit and was struggling to find a natural wool to knit my first cap.  I looked high and low and I just could not find the type of wool that suited me.  The kind and generous Judy created an amazing blend of natural wools and spun them into the most gorgeous, soft, warm, perfectly tactile wool I have ever worked with.  Amazing.

Anyway, I set off knitting a little hat.  And then I just barely ran short of wool.  I was missing all of 5-6 feet of wool to finish off the crown to my little cap.  Judy to the rescue!  She had a second skein of wool sent to me over Christmas to finish off this little project.  It took the past five months to get myself together and finish this project.  I packed it up and brought it on the flight with me from Dublin to Copenhagen this week.  There was no way I was returning to Ireland with this hat unfinished.

Want to finally see the finished hat?  Ta-Da:

It's quite hard to find a place to photograph a brown hat.  I first tried the picnic table as at times the weathered grey and lichen look nice with darker colored stuff.  Not so much today.

Now, as many of you know, brown is not at all my favorite color when it comes to fabric.  This brown, however, is just a beautiful chocolate brown that matches my brown leather gloves perfectly and compliments my orange winter coat like they were made for one another.  I even have a little brown and orange striped scarf to tie the look together.  Love it.  

And off to a traditional-looking West of Ireland rock with green little moss.  The only thing not traditional here is the ray of sunshine.  Where did that come from?

And finally here in the grass.  This had to be a fast shot...before Molly the pup became interested!  

Anyway, there's my finished cap.  Another finish for the Q2 finish along, making it my third this quarter.  It fits my head so perfectly, covers my ears to keep them warm and isn't so tight it messes up my hair.  Judy, thank you.  I love it.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Modern Stitching Bee Blocks: May

This month in the Modern Stitching Bee, Miss Rhonda (our fearless organizer) asked for two different bee blocks.  They are both from the Modern Blocks book that we use as a guide, so you can easily find the patterns here.

First up is Diamond Ripples made from scrappy bits on a white background.  Honest, it is a white background.  The photos do not do it justice.  There are lots and lots of HSTs in this block, so it is a perfect choice for a bee block.  I would hate to square an entire quilt of these little guys on my own, but I am quite happy doing a block-worth for a bee buddy.  I truly enjoyed stitching this one together, Rhonda.

Second in line was the Checkers block, again with scraps and a white background.  In the center of the block, Rhonda asked that we each insert something (be it by appliqué  embroidery, cross stitch...what ever) that is personal to each of us bee buddies.  I, of course, choose to create the Fluffy Sheep logo through embroidery.  I loved doing the backstitch and French knots, but boy satin stitch is not entirely my friend.  That took some effort.  Thank goodness I had time to kill flying to/from Copenhagen this week.  It was a perfect travel buddy.

Rhonda, I hope you like them!  I really enjoyed taking the time to make them.  I even listened to your latest podcast while finishing off the little sheep!  It was like you were here with me each step of the way.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Birthday Party!

Today Fluffy Sheep Quilting (the shop) turns the big ONE.  That is right.  It is our first birthday!  A year ago today I opened the (virtual) doors and each and every one of you welcomed FSQ into your quilting community.  I am so grateful for your support, for the laughs and for your continued custom over the past year. It is only because of you the shop has been a success.  Thank you.

To celebrate I'd like to have a little birthday party.  Want to come?

There will be a sale in the shop today (Tuesday) and tomorrow (well, Wednesday) and I am offering 15% off of any purchase made during both days.  Just pop over here and use the code bigone15% at checkout.

And again, thank you for making this past year so special.  xx

Monday, May 13, 2013

And the winner is...

Thank you all for entering the Fluffy Sheep Quilting giveaway last week!  We had an incredible response from all of you.  Many of you are quite funny with the names you've chosen for your pets!  Anyway, what you want to know is where the Comma charm pack and balls of DMC perle are going.

Today's lucky winner is number 1038, Miss Crystal.

Here's what she has to say:

Crystal, I hope you have a brilliant time making something with these!  Thanks so much for putting your name into the draw!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Pezzy Pizzazz Finish

And she's done!  The happy little Pezzy Pizzazz is finished.  I so loved each and every step along the way with this quilt.  The Fat Quarterly pattern was beautifully written by Svetlana, the charm pack of Pezzy prints brightened my day and I honestly enjoyed quilting the little concentric diamonds.  Woo hoo!

Svetlana's way of making HSTs from the little charm squares was very straight forward and resulted in each and every one of these tiny tiny HSTs working out nearly perfectly.  There was only one that had to be unpicked and re-sewn.  That's not too bad!

I love the variety of color in this charm pack.  There's even a brown that I used.  Seriously!  Lots of gorgeous bright yellows, blues and a teal that is just smashing. 

It was quilted in (semi-) straight line concentric diamonds using one of the diamonds on the front as a guide.  I'd put this in the "organic" quilting category as it was not at all perfect or accurate, but I still love it.  It's quilted with a bright yellow cotton thread that coordinates with the Kona Canary back.  Yum.

If you have no plans this weekend and a nice little charm pack calling your name, do thing of giving this a try. It was so very rewarding.  Check this one off of my Finish Along list!

Quilt Stats
Name: Pezzy Pizzaz
Made for: The shop.
Fabric: Pezzy charm pack, Kona coordinating Snow on the front, Kona Canary on the back and Kona School Bus binding.
Thread: Pieced with Aurifil 2600, quilted with a bright yellow 100% cotton thread with no brand name on the spool.  It's a mystery.
Batting: 100% Simply Cotton.
Size: Approximately 30x35 inches
Quilting: Concentric (kind-of) straight lined diamonds.
Pattern: From Fat Quarterly e-zine issue 12, page 39 by Svetlana Sotak.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

To Boston With Love

If you are looking for the SMS giveaway day post, please just click here.

Boston was my home for three years, the home of my other half for nearly 15 and the home of my brother for over a decade.  Even though we all come and go depending on our phase of life, it is always one of our homes.  When I heard of the Boston marathon bombings it was like the world went into slow-mo.  I just could not believe my eyes!  

When Sarah of the Modern Quilt Guild of Ireland offered each of us a chance to make a flag or two for donation to the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild's exhibition I was thrilled!  I wanted to use this chance to try out a few things that are new to me like raw edge appliqué, free motion lettering and a little batik fabric.  Not normally my style, but a small project like this is a great opportunity to test out new things.  

In the end, this is what I made and sent onto Sarah:

The words of inspiration seemed to suit me personally as Boston will always be one of my homes and I have hope that as a community they can heal and rebuild emotionally.

I like the colors of the batiks, but I am still not entirely sold on using them in a larger project.  I think it's their stiffness that doesn't make my heart flutter.  They might suit an exhibit like this, though, as they were asking for bright, happy, bold colors.  That they are.  They will add a bit of vibrancy and happiness I think.

I needed a bit of practice before finding a method of raw edge appliqué that made me happy.  Now this I did really enjoy and could see myself using more in the future.  Once I had that "mastered" (ha!) the free motion lettering was SO much easier than I expected it to be.  That will absolutely make a re-appearance in the future.

All in all it was a successful experiment for me.  Sarah, they are on the way to you right now.  Thank you so very much for organizing our guild!  xx

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Blocks for the Strawberry Patch

If you're looking for the SMS giveaway day post, just scroll down one entry or simply click here.

First, a super huge hello and welcome to all of the new friends I've met through the SMS giveaway day.  Although we all have a great chance to win a goodie or two, I really love giveaway day for meeting so many new-to-me quilters.  I can not wait to get to know you all a bit better!  If you want a quick summary of me, the best place to look is over in the About Us section of the shop website.  Or stick around and read a post or two :)

Over on Instagram (you can follow me as @fluffysheepquilting), I saw that my friend Emily of the Strawberry Patch  has been a little sad lately because her bee-mates were not returning her bee blocks, even though she's already made for them.  I hate to see a friend left out of the fun like that, so I volunteered to make a few for her.

Emily was looking for a bright, modern Churn Dash, so I had a dig around the trust stash and made these:

I love love love the green dots used here.  They're from Millie's Closet by Riley Blake. I just can't get enough!

The dotty print here is also a favorite, from Amy Butler.  I wish I bought more of this years and years ago.

Emily, they are winging their way to you as I type. I hope you like them! 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Giveaway Day! Giveaway Day!

It's Giveaway Day!  Oh we all love a little sewing treat! And what better way to find new-to-you blogs that will inspire you or make you laugh?  Giveaway Day checks all of the boxes.

I would like to offer a little goodie from Fluffy Sheep Quilting (the shop) as my giveaway to one lucky winner.  Included is a Comma charm pack as well as three coordinating spools of perle cotton (no8) by DMC.   I LOVE this line of fabric, mostly for the rich green, orange and yellow.  I hope you like it too!

There will be one domestic or international winner drawn by RNG on 10 May at 10PM Galway time.  Winning is easy.  There are three different options, each of which will get you one entry into the giveaway:

1. leave a comment below telling me if you have a pet. If you do, what's their name or your favorite thing about them?
2. leave a second comment if you are (or become) a follower of the blog 
2. leave a third comment if you are (or become) a follower of the shop on Facebook 

To be included in the draw, I need to be able to contact you via email.  If you are a no reply commenter, please leave your email address in your comment.  If I do not hear a response from the winner in 3 days (by 13 May 2013), I will draw a second winner and pass the givaway onto them.

Many thanks for coming by Fluffy Sheep Quilting.  Do take a minute or to two poke around the blog and the shop.  You might find something you like!  I wish you all the best of luck in Giveaway Day.  May your sewing rooms be filled to the brim!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Charm Heaven

These charm squares have really taken over the week.  I thought I would show you how pretty they are looking this evening.  Much to my dismay, after I took this photo I found Catherine's charms on the kitchen table!  I forgot to bring them with me up to the shop!  Sorry, Catherine. They're here - honest.

I cut thousands and thousands of charms from shop fabric, which I really honestly did enjoy doing.  I'm not sure I would want to do thousands more right away, but I could see us doing this annually if you guys are up for it! 

And of course the other gazillion charms came cut by our swap buddies.  Ladies, I so love the fabrics you choose to contribute.  They're gorgeous!  I'm not sure the post lady is thrilled with all of the extra work this week, but I couldn't wait to get home each evening and see what arrived!

I have one more piece to cut for the texty charm swap.  It's become a ritual this evening charm-cutting :)  

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