Thursday, 22 September 2016

Thankful Thursday - One Hour Basket Swap

So this arrived in the post!  Isn't it gorgeous?  This is Joanne's (@mojoret4 on IG) take on the One Hour Basket free pattern by @kelbysews. 
The hand stitching in this just blows me away!
And a few extras too - a needle book and pin cushion.
Thanks a million Joanne and Modern Quilters Ireland for another fantastic swap! Follow the link to see more amazing versions of this brilliant free pattern or check out #mqisummerswap on IG!

Now what to put into it?  My dog fabric collection methinks.  Definitely one for storing my favourites!

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

WIP Wednesday - the Frosty One!

I am slowly tackling that finished flimsy pile, one by one I'm making a dent!  This past weekend I basted my Penny Sampler quilt (design by Rachel Hauser @Stitched in Color) so I could get to some hand quilting with my new perle cottons. 
This has been a finished flimsy for over a year as I think I was afraid to quilt it.  Not really knowing how I wanted to tackle it, I only knew I wanted to do some hand quilting.  Looking back over the notes Rachel gave us I remembered she hand tied hers rather than stitch in the ditch and added some big stitch outline quilting on the star.  
 I want to add a bit more hand quilting than that but figured get it basted and tied first and see what springs to mind.  So I spent a few hours last Saturday watching the Jungle Book singing along with Louis and Balou and got her spray basted, hand tied and trimmed to size! 
I'm stuck on a binding colour.  G thinks dark grey to frame it and balance all the pastel but I am considering something lighter as the fabric pick for this quilt was inspired by a frosty Christmas feeling.  Any suggestions?  Binding it before hand quilting is recommended by Rachel and it will feel nicely finished even though I can be adding to it a bit at a time watching movies!
I am making progress on my QAL's too, this week, working on Yvonne's Snowflake Shimmer design.   I've added in more diamonds to my version with Yvonne's blessing and given myself a little bit more work to do but I am having real fun with this one, chain piecing my way through the square in a square blocks. 
When I made my Halloween quilt a few years ago and it had 16 square in a squares I thought I never wanted to see another one again.  This time around I have about 40 and am loving pressing them open.  Maybe its the colours I'm working with.  So frosty, but in a different way to the Penny Sampler above.  The weather is definitely changing and it's nearly time to light the fire and nestle in as the trees change to gold and red and burnt orange- my favourite time of the year!

Friday, 9 September 2016

Friday Finishes

Ned has cousin.  Say hi to Fred!  Hedgehogs are going the right way up.  I gave up on even attempting pattern matching but I think he looks alright! (see earlier post for details on Ned!)

One thing I noticed is that Ned and Fred's shape means they are prone to rolling over when you try and stick a pin in them (well they are hedgehogs after all!) so this time around I put a weight in Fred to keep him upright.

Not having any fancy walnut shells or anything like that I used some rice in a little pouch I made - basmati - as that was all we had in the cupboard!  I'm happier with it this way as I was starting to feel a little bad sticking pins in poor Ned lying sideways!

This week I'm not going to leave with this as the only finish! I did get the baby quilt panel finished and added in some lettering in the quilting to personalise it! First time using a panel and though I prefer piecing a quilt, I think for a quick baby gift they do work well!

And there's more!  I forgot to tell you about the Fat Quarter shop quilts I finished over the summer.  Last year I took part in a blog hop for the Layers of Charm quilt pattern using a layer cake and a charm pack to make a lap quilt.  I picked some grey squares but the fabric went missing in the post so made this quilt using Amy Butler Fabrics.

Eventually the greys turned up and I finally got around to quilting it and the Charm Pack Cherry quilt top I had made the year before!

I chose some variegated thread, 40 wt by YLI and I like to use a plain colour in the bobbin using variegated thread.  If you use it in both top and bobbin you can get some funny colours coming together on the quilt top where the threads change colours.  So, I put a pale grey 50wt Aurifil in the bobbin and played with the tension until I was happy with the results and then using the walking foot I straight line quilted both quilts by echo quilting the seam lines.

 Bound in Moda Christmas Red solid fabic and backed in Ikea Britten Nummer!

Instead of a border I free motion quilted the corners with Layers of Charm, Fat QuarterShop Blog Hop by Ruth Bourke.

I used different colours in each direction of the Layers of Charm Quilt but for the Charm Pack Cherry quilt below I stuck with a blue/yellow/green thread and used that for the whole quilt (second on the top row!)

The quilt is made with Noteworthy by Sweetwater for Moda and with some Essex Linen and Moda Naturals.  The pattern calls for 2 patterned charm packs and 2 plain.  Instead of using all the same colour in the plain I used what I had on hand of creams to light browns and this quilt has to be one of my favourites.  It's all mine, just for me when I want to snuggle in reading a book - Charly has been allowed up on it on my lap so I guess I'm kinda sharing!

I backed it with the leftover bits of Tula Pink Freefall fabric I had on hand and it wasn't quite enough so this quilt got a funny long rectangular label!

Finished at last!  Could get used to this!

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Mod Bear Paw

I seem to have a love/hate relationship with the Bear Paw block. I've never been really drawn to it as a traditional block on its own, preferring the round surround blocks like the Dutch Rose (aka Swoon) and the star blocks like the Ohio Star (probably my favourite traditional block ever!)

When preparing for the class I gave in Cork this summer on Traditional Blocks Made Modern I deliberately chose it as a challenge to play with and see what happened and the result was Big Bear, Little Bear!

So colour me surprised when I saw Lorna's version of a quilt with the Bear Paw Block and I instantly loved it!  Lorna has a real talent for making fun and cute animal blocks and very generously gives the instructions away for free on Quilt-A-Longs.  I have to admit Dog Gone Cute is still my favourite but there is something about the bear climbing in and out of the grid below that appeals to me!
Sew Fresh Quilts

What doesn't appeal to me though is the 20+ Bear Paw blocks I'd have to make.  It took me 2 years to finish up Swoon and it has only 9 blocks! Knowing me and my temperament, I decided to have a good look at Lorna's design and see what bits about it really resonated with me.

The bear for starters!  So I took out all the blocks not touching the bear and tried to fill in the space with a woodland print by Westfalenstoffe, I previously bought from  In the larger bed quilt, Lorna's use of  the paw print border is really clever and fun! So I added it in the middle to break the fabric join up a bit.  Looking back on Lorna's bigger quilt, I really like how she frames the bear with the borders and thought to be truer to her design to add some of that back in so came up with these in the end!

Feeling happy with this I bounced the idea off of Gordon:
"Yeah it's nice but it clashes a bit!"
"What do you mean clashes?"
"The colours, the blue and the brown."
"But that's a classic colour combination."
"No it's not."
"Yes it is!"
"On what planet?"
"This one!  Blue sea, brown sand."
"I prefer the pink, it goes better."
"Pink? "

So this is as far as I've gotten, I'm not sure I want to make a pink bear quilt! Still I really like that fabric which is Enchanted Forest by Natrual Wonder also at

I'm planning on this going on the single bed in the boxroom and am still gravitating towards the blue and brown!  The key to making this work for me will be the fabric above the bear.  I think the Westfallenstoffe might be too small a scale so I'm hunting for a medium to large scale woodland scene in blue (or pink!) that might work with a brown bear! If you guys comes across anything that might work I'd be very grateful!

Lorna kindly gives lots of colour options on her blog post so I put in blue and black just to see.  I love the impact of the black but I find him kind of scary!  So I'm holding out for a brown bear still. A grizzly bear, I think!  What do you think?  Clasic or clashing colour combo?

So this will be QAL number 3 on the go at the same time.  I just can't resist.  What about you guys - are you tempted?

Friday, 2 September 2016

Friday finish

It might be a bit cheeky calling this a Friday Finish.  It's a little bit wee and will probably need to be made again!  Say hi to Ned the Hedgehog. Attempt #1!

Our guild is doing a pin cushion swap and I decided, following my success with Patrick the owl, that I would stick with an animal theme and searched online for a Hedgehog template.  I found this one at Makerland.  The template makes a tiny hedgehog so I printed it on A3 paper rather than A4 to make it about 40% bigger.

I should have known when I was cutting the fabric and had the two sides of the body pieced that something was wrong!

The hedgehogs on the body fabric are going the wrong way!

And nul points for pattern matching at the top either!

Still at least he is functional!

The designer of the pattern mentions in the first paragraph that she would consider moving to New Zealand as Hedgehogs are so plentiful there.  Given that and the fact that my little guy is upside down I'm calling him Ned from New Zealand! 

I'm not sure how I am going to do a better job of pattern matching on a curved seam but at least on attempt #2 I can turn the fabric the right way up! For now though I think I'll keep this little guy!

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Credit where credit is due!

This is my swap item for the Modern Quilters Ireland Summer swap. This year we are making baskets for each other based on the free pattern by @KelbySews called The One Hour basket. Full disclosure, this little basket took me quite a bit longer than 1 hour!

It’s funny the way things come together in your head or maybe the universe is practicing synchronicity but I was working on a talk for our guild on trends in online quilting and jotting down notes on how popular pieced animals are, some animals never seem to go out of style like deer and butterflies (I was thinking of the Tula Pink butterfly quilt in particular) when I stumbled on a paper pieced butterfly on Instagram called Take wing. So much happens on IG that I feel I blink and I miss things so I never deliberately look for blocks or patterns there, preferring instead Pinterest and google images. But this one caught my eye and clicking on the hashtag it took a bit to find the designer and the pattern and eventually I ended up here on Craftsy where I could purchase the mini version or the larger 24” one.

The one hour basket uses front and back pieces that are only 10 1/2” tall and this includes the bottom section too – reading through the pattern I found that the mini would still be too big so I reduced the print out and resized it to 6 1/2” tall by 10” wide and added background fabric to bring it up to the right size for the basket.

This little butterfly took all afternoon last Sunday to piece. I made 2 mistakes so he’s not quite symmetrical but I’m telling myself very little in nature is truly symmetrical anyway! This was a really good scrap buster and originally he was going to be blue and green and purple but the sun was shining so he ended up mostly red, orange, pink and yellow! There is a free pattern offered by the designer for smaller blocks if you want to make something smaller and quicker!

Having gotten the front panel made the rest of the bag went fast enough and I had a basket made in about 2 hrs! I’ve seen these used to hold fat quarters and WIP’s and I think they would make great scrap baskets too so can see myself making lots more of them!

So having made my basket and processed my photos, I set about writing this post so you could have the link to the basket and butterfly pattern if you wanted to make one. I stumbled into a war of words on copying between the butterfly designer and another quilter I much admire. I thought oh crap – hows that for timing? I’ll be posting links for everyone to click onto right into unpleasantness!

I thought about not writing this post, thought about ignoring the argument and then probably because I was watching Star Trek on Netflix, while making my basket, thought about how similar designs do pop up from time almost as if there is a collective consciousness like the Borg that we all tap into. In a previous post pondering where quilt ideas come from, I wrote about my triangle quilt and how I noticed when tidying up files on my computer, how similar it was in a much simplified way, to Anna Maria Horner's free pattern. I didn’t remember seeing AMH’s pattern but I must have because I had downloaded it to keep for later.

Colouring in the blank triangle template, the Sassy Quilter gave us for the QAL, I must have been influenced by it, then again it is based on a rainbow and rainbows quilts are everywhere and I am really drawn to that colour scheme so who knows? Favouring the side of caution I am attributing the incluence to AMH! She has a really fun lesson on Creativebug about selecting fabrics and choosing a colour scheme if you are interested!

Another link I wanted to share with you is this one from Craftypod, a hexie quilt influenced by the traditonal Grandmothers Flower garden but simplified so as not to take years of your life to make it! That was the exact same thought going through my head when last year,  I was making something out of our guild’s 2 1/2” squares swap last June. I was on a hexagon kick last year (lots of people were making the La Passacaglia and New Hexagon patterns). I was making snowflakes for hand quilting demonstrations and heavily influenced by the Flowers for Eleni quilt, I had made 3 flowers with black centres -idea by Jodi@Tales of Cloth and I loved how they looked) and wanted to make more, but use them differently so as not to make the exact same quilt.

Around the same time Quilt Now gave away some hexagon templates perfect for 2 1/2” squares so mum and I settled in for the night watching TV and sorted the 375 swapped squares into colour families. The challenge deadline was January, I ordered beautiful green, white and pink woodland fabric by Dashwood Studios from thinking I’d use the green or white as a background and scatter the flowers onto it. I made a mistake and didn’t order enough of either so I had to rethink my plan. I ended piecing the three colours to give the white fabric bordered by grass at the bottom and a pink sunset sky at the top. I had two really strong lines going across the quilt where the colours met so needed to camouflage them a bit.

I had bought this lovely grey from the Limerick Quilt shop to make a Jen Kingwell quilt with a box of Modern Solids but ended up using the grey in Flower power to hide the join lines.  Then it made sense to echo that in the rest of the quilt!  Stumbling on Craftypod's pattern they are so very similar, I wonder if I had seen it before but them again geometry is geometry, so who knows?  The backgrounds are different, one is vertical the other horizontal, one uses 1 size flowers, the other 2 different sizes, one is a double bed quilt the other a lap quilt. Even so, I bought the pattern, partly curious as to how Diane made hers and partly because they are so similar maybe I did see this or something like this before and it stuck in my head, buried way down there with AMH’s triangles! Favouring the side of caution I paid the 9 dollars! We are all sponges and maybe somewhere down in the spongey part of my brain obsessed with quilts all these ideas bang into each other until one floats to the top! 

Someone left a comment on the blog of one of the designers in the dispute that if you are going to release a pattern, you should check it’s not been done before. Sure the pattern instructions might be written differently and you can’t copyright a technique but if someone else got there first then fair enough! So I won’t be writing up Flower Power but if anyone wants information on how I made my quilt just drop me a line and I am happy to answer any questions or the link to Craftypods pattern is here if you want to download step by step instructions and templates.

Hope this didn’t ramble too much, second wordy post in row!  Thanks for sticking with me – amazing what happens when all you want to do is make a butterfly!
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