Friday, 26 August 2016

Confessions of a Guilty Blogger: One Lovely Blog, Aspire to Inspire & Giving back

There are some lovely things that stick around blog land and some really lovely new ideas that pop up too.  Stay around long enough and you will see the nice ones like Pay it Forward and One Lovely Blog come around again!
Image shamelessy borrowed from Quilting Jet girl and Red Delicious Life!
A few years back Chelsea @ Patch the Giraffe did a thankful Thanksgiving mosaic instead of the black Friday madness and I loved that idea.  Yvonne @ Quilting Jet Girl had Thankful Thursdays for a while and I loved that too and I tried hard this week to make this a Thankful Thursday post but the week got away from me so its a Friday post instead.

My Happy mosiac from 2014
I have to say thank you to Lena @ Quilt Art and Abigail @ Cut and Alter for the nomination.  Just over 12 months ago I wrote this One Lovely Blog post thanking Marly, Lara and Judy for the nomination.  At the time I nominated these blogs and I am happy to say that almost all are still blogging!

A Quarter Inch from the Edge
Ella & Nestas Little Room
Fluffy Sheep Quilting
Just Jude
Pennydog Patchwork
Neros Patch & Post
Slaney handcraft
Sew Fresh Quilts 
Sew Giving
Sew Me

Things do change - change is inevitable!  I know there are less bloggers overall writing regular updates and a lot of people are having lots of fun on Instagram.  We talk about this from time to time (most recently Rachel's post @Stiched in Color)  but I can honestly say that most of the blogs I follow and the bloggers I consider friends and must not miss are very active.  So much so if I miss a weeks reading I have over 100 missed posts in my feedly feed!

I feel guilty sometimes not being able to leave a comment on all the blogs I read.  I even save some for later to deliberately come back to if I am reading on my phone or my iPad but I seldom do go back.  Bad, bad follower.  I am rubbish at writing comments with my phone and I have a nice phone - I really just prefer the laptop keyboard.  My ancient Mac has a lovely keyboard and I am dreading the day it dies on me!

I am also guilty of placing hearts and not leaving as many comments as I could on Instagram - again laziness on my part with my phone!  I tend to browse while waiting in the car after work for G to drive home together or just before bedtime when I'm not quite awake and paying as much attention as I should. 

Someone I admire for always supporting us with comments and encouraging participation is Yvonne @ Quilting JetGirl.  Yvonne's commitment to her blog, support of QAL's and new bloggers and thought provoking topics give so much back to our community I wanted to follow Diana's lead and thank Yvonne for all the support since I first met her on the 2013 new bloggers hop! Diana's post Aspire to Inspire has had me thinking of how I've been inspired by others and how I can give back.
So instead of telling you 7 new things you might not know about me this post has become a thank you and also a confession of sorts on how I probably could give back more.

Evolution quilt with strips from Massdrop fabric purchase and background from LQS
At the beginning of the month, Weeks Ringle wrote a piece on her blog Craft Nectar about supporting the shops that give back to the quilting community rather than the big box stores like and Massdrop.  Confession, I shop at Massdrop and also sales at Craftsy.  I also shop at my local quilt shop, support the pop up shops that come to our guild meetings. buy from friends like Fluffy Sheep Quilting and Slaney Handcraft and also from online retailers like FatQuartershop and  I try hard to spread the love around.  The money I save on some of the Massdrop and Craftsy purchases I spend locally.  Something I could do better is buy books locally.  It never occurred to me to buy direct from the author and having had a friend write and get a book published this has hit a chord with me.  Instead of the convenience of Amazon, if the shipping is reasonable I can try and buy direct from the writer.

In the comments in that post there were lots of ideas on how we could come together more for our craft and the quilting industry.  Some enduring themes seem to come around like being more welcoming at our guilds regardless of age and taste -  I know we are fighting human nature in that it is natural to form groups and cliques but its not easy being new.  Our hobby is expensive, fabric is not cheap (about $18 a yard here in Ireland) nor are good sewing machines and some had the idea of making a welcome package for young or new quilters.  I love this idea and think it is a very fun way to pay it forward!  Our guild is starting back in September so I'll be hoping to give back offline as well as online.  Welcoming the new, encouraging and supporting our corner of blogland and thanking those that inspire, that to me, make for one lovely blog!  I hope you will spread the joy by visiting those blogs in the links above and join me in thanking them and you all for reading, commenting and sharing over these past 4 years!  Thanks a million!

PS: Pets on Quilts voting is open over at LilyPad Quilting!  We're sharing the joy celebrating the furballs are there are prizes to be won so please click on the button!

Pets on Quilts 2016
PPS: Wilbur is #19! In case you were voting!!

Monday, 22 August 2016

Design Wall Monday–Making progress

So the design wall looks like this today! I’m finally cracking on with the border from Quilter's Cache for my turn in our Round Robin for Modern Irish Bee. This is Erin’s quilt and it has been in my possession far longer that it should. Paper Piecing this border is going a lot slower than I thought it would!

I do like the dark and light grey colour combo – it is a bit stark! I think it gives Mary an opportunity to go wild with colour on the next round – what do you guys think? Scale wise it might be a wee bit big! The pieces are 3 1/2” unfinished and to make one diagonal set you have 4 squares made up of HST so end up piecing 8 sections for every 6” of border. I probably should have thought of that before getting stuck in but I’ve started so I’ll finish….. might be a while!

In other news a new home store opened up in Limerick and I splurged on this plastic storage for my fabric. I spent all Saturday evening tidying up and sorting fabric by colour and it seems even with the new tower, every thing's full up and I don’t have any extra space! How that happened it beyond me but the place does seem a little tidier!

I did manage to catch up with overdue items. Stash Bee blocks completed!

Another tick off the to do list:  Fabric choice made for Cheryl’s mystery QAL over at Meadow Mist Designs! 

I went with the more coloured version for my fabric pull in the end and Cheryl assures me solids will work so here is Kona White+Silver for the backgrounds and Lake, Melon and I think Buttercup for the piecing. For some reason this reminds me of Neapolitan Ice-cream!

All cut up and ready to go!

Lastly I got my Snowflake Shimmer QAL cut up too!

Using more solids, again Kona White and Lake but this time with Kona Shadow for the background. Hoping to piece the square in a square units in between paper piecing diagonals! Not sure I can make it in time for the link up at Yvonne's @Quilting Jet Girl but I'm going to try! It’s going to be a busy week in the sewing room this week. How about you? What are you guys up to?

Monday, 15 August 2016

Pets on Quilts

It's Pets on Quilts time again! 
Pets on Quilts 2016
Last year we struggled to get Wilbur onto a quilt and managed to get just his tail on - this year we couldn't get him off it!

Even with our new puppy Maggie and Charly playing like mad all around him, he had a good roll around in my layers of charm quilt from last years blog hop.  Barking his head off, he was happy to tell the other two this ones not for sharing!  I think I'm going to have to let him keep this one and put it on his spot on the sofa!

Maggie snuck up on him a few times - puppies are like that, they ignore you and keep trying until they get tired!

Or meet a face like this!

This was as far as she got!  It's funny how she plays with Charly but snuggles up to Wilbur.  He's getting used to her and they now sleep in the big bucket together while Charly sleeps in her basket.

Even with a new puppy in the house Wilbur always manages to find a way to be the centre of attention!  In our previous entries he has stolen the show with action shots and photo bombing Charly.  This time around though after all the initial mayhem, we tried to get a proper portrait.  So this is our entry to Pets on Quilts, a Wilbur year... again!

After the year he's had with all the tests and seizures it feels right to give him his day in the sun.  He has been brilliant and thankfully the latest dose of meds seems to be working.  Hopefully with a little bit of puppy training (we started puppy classes with Maggie last Saturday!) I am aiming for a family portrait of sorts.  If I can manage to have all three sit still on a quilt with mum and G that would be fantastic - aim high I say!

Please pop on over to Pets on Quilts and say hi to all the furballs.  Wilbur would very much appreciate a vote if you were so inclined!  There are lots of prizes to be won so don't miss it!

Pets on Quilts 2016

Friday, 12 August 2016

River of Dreams - then and now!

I promised you posts with photos from the exhibitions that have been on in Limerick these past few months.  Every year the Limerick Quilt Centre (biggest quilt shop in Ireland) puts on an exhibition called River of Dreams.  (Limerick was founded on the banks of the Shannon River, also the largest in the country!)

I finally got some time on the computer to process the photos and found that I hadn't shared photos of last year's exhibiton at all, even though I had a quilt in it!  So here are some of my favourites from last year and this year, all in one post.

The exhibition is held in the old chapel of the convent that is now the Limerick School of Art and Design.  It is a really beautiful bright airy space.  Last year a brass bed, dressed of course with a quilt, was in the centre of one of the 3 display areas.  This year a wooden hand quilting frame filled the space, while the frame was nice I just loved the old brass bed!

This is me in front of my Layer Cake quilt I had published in Make Modern Magazine.  It is the only quilt I made specifically for mum who normally 'borrows' those I make for myself.  The exhibition was in July last year and last September, sitting in Boston airport, while on our way to the states for my cousins wedding, mum asked me when she was getting her quilt back.  I had a blank face for a bit thinking mum's quilt??? and then it dawned on me - I had forgotten to collect if from the Limerick Quilt centre after the show!  Luckily Karen had been minding it for me and I got it back in October.  Wouldn't have wanted to explain to mum if it had gone walkabout!

Somehow I managed to misplace the guide from last year so don't know who made these beautiful bargello quilts.  I've signed up for a bargello workshop with our branch of the Irish Patchwork Society this November so am really looking forward to giving it a try.  I really like the solids version and the depth the black gives.

Paula Rafferty's quilts - I love the skull!  It makes me quite dizzy if I look at it too long!

Meg with her husband Dan admiring this amazing landscape quilt with improv fields, fussy cut horses, bridge, sheep and the Fastnet rock lighthouse in a beautiful purple sea!

The heart quilt below was made by Imelda as a Valentine's present for her husband and I really liked the colours in these two different house sampler quilts.  The Limerick Quilt Centre offers classes and quite a lot of people start with the house quilt on point below.  My first quilt was a charm pack sewn together but quilts 2 and 3 were both sampler quilts too.  Seems like a rite of passage somehow!

Tomomi's beautiful stained glass quilt with close up!

Onto 2016 and in working through the photos I found a big difference in the show, while still quite traditional in nature, there were more modern works and a bigger variety of works this year.  This vase made from 1/4" hexagons really caught my eye and my mum loved to bits this beautiful Peacock wall hanging!

by Gwen Cottis
by Regina Moloney

I really liked the little birds that were dotted about the place too.  A lovely touch and a fun element to the show.

Some of the more modern pieces.  This drunkards path blew me away with all the work in it and I love how the border meets the centre baubles!

by Amanda Kenny
by Ann McInerney

Hard to resist a scrappy quilt! I think the Ohio star is my favourite traditional block and I really like how it was used here within the bigger star.

by Susan Hogan

Maya's Storm at sea, another traditional that I am drawn to very much!  Hoping to make one for G's mum as a wedding present! Another Ann McInerney quilt.

Maureen Talbot's squares quilt from a Brigitte Heitland (Zen Chic for Moda) design and I really like the freshness of the colour palette in the lone star by Anne Merrigan.

Star of the show for me though is Tomomi's amazing bookshelf quilt.  Now I might be a little bit biased.  Tomomi is my friend and I am in constant awe of her beautiful quilting.  This quilt started out as a bee block for Modern Irish Bee over on the Modern Quilters Ireland blog and we each made 2 blocks for Tomomi using Kona Ash and the fabric as a theme on the bookshelf.  I made a photography section using cameras and a horror section using Halloween fabric (both on the second row).  Tomomi added the bookends and bookshelf framing and I love it to bits!

Below are the results of a project my friend Suzanne Pass did with her son's class.  They made a block each with HST and had brilliant fun visiting the show and finding their block.  I must be a big kid as I did the very same thing when I saw Tomomi's bookshelf quilt, went straight for the ones I pieced!

Mum really enjoyed the show and told me off for not having anything in it this year!  I didn't get Flower Power finished in time but hopefully next year ...

Thank you Limerick Quilt Centre and all the makers for a wonderful show again this year!

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

WIP Wednesday - lots of them!

Flower Power -  WIP from Christmas!

I have never been a work on one project at a time until you finish it kind of girl. It’s not that I get distracted by shiny new things – well ok I do a bit – but its more like I’ve gotten to a point and I’m not sure which way I want to go next so I let it stew for a bit. Usually when I get stuck like that I make a bee block or a swap item and the complete change in project gives me space to stand back a bit and have a think! The problem with this approach is that it can take an awfully long time to get back to some things and the WIP’s and UFO’s start to pile up.

Quilted this beastie on my home machine - next time I have something this big it's getting longarmed!

I currently have 13 quilt tops awaiting backs and basting and 3 more very close to assembled and ready to join the pile. I have no idea how that happened except maybe my impatience to test a design or idea naturally leads me to piecing more than the quilting side of things. I’m also addicted to learning so love trying new techniques and playing so maybe this leads to lots of starts and not as many finishes!
Deciding how to quilt the hexies!

Flower Power stalled as I had no idea what to do with the hexies when it came to quilting.  I made up some actual sized hexies on the computer and printed them out to practice with patterns from Pinterest  Now I know what I am doing with this one I hope to finish this big bed quilt this month!

Now I have plans!  Nice to know what direction to go in.

I do have 2 actual finishes to share – I finished them a while back but didn’t get to photographing them yet and I think Pets on Quilts starting this Sunday over on Lily Pad Quilting might make for the perfect photo shoot! We’ve entered the linky party for the last 3 years and can’t wait to add Maggie our new pup to the wall of fame! 

Charly, our Pricess and the Pea loves layers!
Wilburs tail on a quilt - best we could manage our of him last year!

For the moment, settling back into my sewing space and moving out the paint tins, roller trays and
brushes – keeping the masking tape –(might prompt me to baste some stuff!) I have found that a good tidy up has helped clear the mind and get me back to making again. So here’s whats going on in the get things finished list!
  • Finish Flower Power above! 
  • Add next round to Modern Irish Bee Round Robin Quilt:  I added the skinny back border to bring it up to 36 1/2" square so I can add a paper pieced border - thinking white background with light and dark grey intersecting diamonds!  Templates from quilters cache ready and fabric on hand so no excuse to finish this one and pass onto Mary next!

    •  Baby Medallion quilt for a colleague:  I don't normally do panels but a work colleague had a baby boy and she loves giraffe so this seemed perfect for her.  Panels are quite often not square but this one is pretty good - the only complaint I have is the critters border.  Couldn't they have given you a 1/4" on either side of the cut lines for piecing?  I think some of the butterflies are going to loose bits of their antennaes if I'm not careful!
     Cute backing fabric on hand - hoping this will be a very quick and fun gift!
    •  Hand quilt Rainbow Rose and maybe my Modern Traditional Sampler with these Valdani pearl cottons just arrived in the door from Massdrop - last purchase of the year!  (Fingers are crossed saying that just in case...)

    I just can't stop looking at these beauties!  Is hand quilting 2 quilts at the same time massively daft?  We'll have to see how I manage that one and keep them away from needle sharp puppy teeth.  Maggie can manage to get up on the sofa now all by herself!  oh oh time in our house for puppy proofing!

    So there you have it - bit late with the mid year review and this barely makes a dent in the WIP pile but its a start!

    Linking up to
    Sew Fresh Quilts
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