Thursday, 25 May 2017

Rin A Long - Starting and Procrastinating Already!

I think I might have a little fabric problem!  Yes, I definitely have too much fabric but that's not the problem.

The problem is I can't decide what fabric to us for the QAL with Meadow Mist Designs and Hyacinth Quilt Designs.  It's a needleturn applique project with a special cutting technique to make the rings and a big fabric square to applique them onto.    The pattern called Rin is by Carolyn Friedlander and  calls for 20" squares but I am hoping to eventually make a throw quilt and use up some fat quarters I've not broken into ever.  So I've resized the templates down 10% so I can use 18" squares and fat quarters (not sure this is the best idea as smaller curves are a bit hard to sew but I'm going to give it a try!)

I have a bundle of Cotton & Steel Halloween fabric - thinking weird circles could be fun in spooky patterns.  I also have this bundle of Cuzco - my first proper fat quarter bundle (40 of them!) I bought for myself for Christmas 2012 and still in its packaging.

I love the bold colours and the shapes Kate Spain uses in her fabrics!  Wouldn't they make for great backgrounds with maybe a low volume print for the circles?

And then I have this oh so soft bundle my cousin bought for me from the Modern Quilt Studio.

I am a little obsessed with bird prints at the moment and am heavily leaning towards a delicate quilt after all the vibrant colours I've been working with lately.

Funny how that indecision has crept its way into Kenny the Koala below (yes settled on Kenny for the name, though he is the spitting image of Buster from Sing - thanks Lena for the suggestion).

I wasn't sure to make Kenny in solids or print and pulled out all my prints, really loving these two but don't have enough fabric to make him as a cot quilt!

So I pulled out all my solids and I do have enough of these.  Is this blue too mad for the background? do I have enough contrast in the greys?  Maybe an orange background?  You see how my head is wandering and not settling anywhere at all!  Maybe its the unusual sunshine and warm temperature or maybe its just that is been so busy a year so far, my brain is already on summer holidays.  Whatever the reason my poor noggin is not in the decision making space this week!

Still, when I laid all the >1/2 yard fabrics I had on hand I thought they looked gorgeous together, this bunch is saying sunshine and cocktails to me.  A Mojito sounds quite nice about now...  I can always make fabric decisions later... or go to the quilt shop on Saturday morning ... do I really need an excuse to go to the quilt shop?

So while my brain is wandering through la la quilt land, what do you think? Any of these catch your eye?  Have you been hoarding a bundle or two you haven't broken into yet?

Friday, 19 May 2017

What's occuring?

After looking at the video below I thought Koala needs bigger ears!  Isn't it funny what you only see after you have written the blog post!

What's occurring, I hear you ask?  Lots!
I'm juggling duties as Chair of the Irish Patchwork Society (had to make a speech at an exhibition opening - eek!  More on that next week!) with finishing 4 quilts for exhibition, falling behind on the 1 bee I'm in (at one point I was in 3), love of designing and getting things made, inspiration for doing up the house and of course the full time day job!   In between all that though I did sneak a few moments last night to design this Koala Bear cot quilt.  He needs a name!  Any ideas?

The Limerick Quilt Centre are looking for Cot quilts to donate to a children's charity during their River of Dreams Quilt exhibit over the summer.  The due date is 2nd June so I need to get rocking on this one double quick.

I will be writing it up as a free pattern so if anyone is interested in pattern testing for me please let me know!  I was inspired by the Pandamonium free pattern from Fat Quarter Shop and Lorna from Sew Fresh Quilts blog hop Dog Gone Cute to make a pieced animal (that wasn't a dog!) and as far as I know no one has done Koalas yet so I had a go.  The thing I love about Koalas is their ginormous noses. This guy reminds me of Kenny the Koala who keeps stealing loo paper on the Cushelle ads on the telly!

Thanks to Mary for the dickie bow idea - makes him very cool I think.  So a shopping trip to go buy some fabric is required.  I'm also hoping to put a bed quilt into the exhibit but I haven't finished the one I want to enter in yet.  Still 2 weeks to go - nothing like a deadline to get my butt in gear!

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Guest Posting- Let's Talk About Neutrals!

Today I have a guest post on Modern Quilters Ireland talking about background colours and neutral colours that I thought might be of interest to you.  It's a short post so I'm re-posting it here too!

Let's talk about neutrals!

In modern quilting, neutral background colours are often white and grey.  Kona White, Snow and Bone being really popular in the whites and Kona Ash being the most popular grey.

In the colour intensive course I did with Stiched in Color, Rachel Hauser gave us White, Black, Grey and Brown toned colours as neutrals.  Some of those tones are cream, champagne, beige, and tan.  I know modern quilters usually shy away from brown but when used with bright colours like yellow or neon green it can really work!  Try thinking of brown as dark orange and maybe you might use it a bit more?

Instead of the starkness of black I have loved using Kona Navy and for a while seemed to making only navy based quilts!

From time to time I get bored with solids and go low volume too for a change - I think low volumes fall into the neutral category! 

This past year I have really enjoyed playing with colour trying out Charcoal, Iron & Steel, Orange, pale Blues like Fog or Cotton Sky and even loved the darker purple-grey colour of Smoke.

I stumbled across a free download by Lila Rogers of Make Art that Sells and she identified the neutral colours to include that ground artwork as:
• Cool grey
• Orange
• Cream
• Navy
• Black
• Sky grey-blue
• Olive
• Red

I am happy to say that in the last year most of these I had tried but not Olive or Red.  I'm liking the look of Olive so maybe that might be the next colour exploration.  What about you - any go to neutral you use all the time for your quilt backgrounds?  Tempted to try any of these?

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

North South East & West!

So the sewing room (aka other end of the kitchen!) got an update. My uncle Tony repainted the end wall for me in a pale peacock colour and put up a new light and a new Roman blind.  Taking away the curtains makes this space feel so much bigger now!

Excuse the bright light but its a daylight bulb that gives brilliant illumination over my workspace (aka dining table!)  What was I doing while all the diy was going on?  Figuring out how to quilt my project for North, South, East & West. 

Having seen some amazing show and tell at our IPS branch meeting 2 weeks ago I was inspired by a Compass Rose block our guest speaker, Mary Palmer showed.  She had quilted a circle around hers and I thought that would be perfect to frame my two blocks and give them some symmetry tying them to each other better.

This odd shaped block is a Wind Rose.  It shows the prevailing winds and strengths of Shannon the closest weather station to where I live and represents data gathered over 70 years.

I pulled out every thread colour I own and ended up using a lot of YLI variegated thread.

I even tried some 50wt Aurifil for free motion ruler work and struggled with stitch length consistency moving the quilt and ruler along the special foot edge - I need more practice with this bit!

Another thing I am not too happy with is one of my applique petals moved on me and my centre flower is not exactly perfect - oh well.  Nature is often imperfect too.

I am very pleased with the scrolling spirals in the background but it broke my heart.  What should have taken 20 minutes took nearly 4 hours as the top thread kept shredding.  It is a constant issue I have with my machine and I am getting it looked at in June.  I was so tormented I actually yelled at the machine at one point.  No dogs were spooked with the yelling - they were all outside sunning themselves in the warm weather for a change!

I added in a ship and a dragon and am calling the piece Here Be Dragons!  The idea being navigation in the past was perilous but with science and GPS and accurate maps we have it much better but don't be fooled - all the accuracy in the world (pointy compass rose) won't help when the weather turns against you (asymmetric wind rose)!  Well that's the idea anyway...

I looked at dragons and was inspired by this one and attempted to free motion something similar.  It looks better on my practice sandwich and I had to do a teeny bit of ripping which left a mark.  He is a tad too big, I think but well, the quilt is named after him, so I don't mind him being the centre of attention.

Cross hatching random lines in the outer edges and it's finally done, done, done!

Somehow the bottom doesn't look too square.  Crap!  Still, this was probably the hardest thing I have made so far - between designing the Roses, modifying the idea when all the navy fabric was gone, hours of paper piecing and days pondering quilting, it was a challenge and I learned a lot in the doing.  Imperfections aside it's the best I can do at this point in my skill set and I am happy with that!

Thursday, 20 April 2017

TGIFF: Finally a Friday Finish!

Welcome to Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday!  I'm Ruth and here on my blog there are lots of WIP's and not so many finishes, so it's probably not surprising that this is my first time hosting TGIFF. I am very excited to share a finish and celebrate all of yours at the link up below!  Thanks to Fiona for giving me the opportunity to host the party today!

For some reason, as soon as I have pieced a quilt top, it gets done in my head, for at least a little while.  Very rarely, do I go from finished quilt top to finished quilt.  I made this sampler quilt top last year, for a class I was giving the Cork branch of the Irish Patchwork Society, and only now, almost a year later, is it finished!

I'm entering it into an upcoming exhibition called Fun, with the Modern Quilters Ireland group, due for submission on the 27th, so not only is it finished but it's finished early.  Double celebrations!

I must admit, it took a tad longer that I expected to quilt it.  About 4 days doing wiggly daisies, loops, 8's, E's and O's and Lori Kennedy inspired rows of houses!

 What I really like about getting this one finished is, it has spurred me on to getting another one done!

These are some of the same blocks just with a different colour treatment and I am pondering how to quilt them.  I don't want to do the same again so maybe an all over something or other?  Any ideas?

But for the moment it's celebration time and time to bask in the glow of Friday Finishes!

Now it is your turn to link up so we can all celebrate your finishes this week.   Please share the fun and click on the links to visit your fellow linkers and leave a comment - it will be very much appreciated!   Add a link or the button to your post so that your readers can join us in the Friday Fun too.

Friday, 14 April 2017

The Not A Finish Friday Post!

It may seem quiet around here but there has been lots going on in the background.  I've been working hard on so many things my head is starting to spin! So here's a quick recap!

I've been designing a little bit again and working on a block for a North, South, East and West project due on the 30th. I have a love/hate relationship with paper piecing.  I love the intricacy you can get and the sharp points but I always find a stage in the process where it's like there is no end in sight and I just have to grit my teeth and just get on with it!

 I really struggle getting the pieces to match up perfectly and then there's the paper ripping out bit...  Yes there are Twix wrappers in there.  Eating chocolate helps make the pieces line up! 

But at then end, there is a block you couldn't have made any other way!  I still have the middle to do yet but am relieved to have the biggest bit of the block done finally!  These are hand dyed fabrics I've had since a workshop three years ago on a gradient fabric by Vanessa Christenson.  The yellow seems a bit overwhelming in this amount but at least it will attract attention if it gets picked for exhibition!  This is the bottom of the quilt.  There is another block yet to be made!

I have also discovered that I have a love/hate relationship with EQ7.

It just doesn't suit my way of designing.   I appreciate that it's main strength is in blocks and layouts but I like a blank canvas and like to crop and copy and paste and play with scale.  I found trying to make the paper piecing template for this block so frustrating - no idea why it can't snap to things the way I want the lines to - probably me doing something wrong!   In the end I had to print it and re-mark the colours and hope it worked.  Thankfully it did, mostly!

I've also been working on finishing 2 quilts for the Modern Quilter's Ireland 2nd Exhibition, called Fun and am so glad its a long weekend to get time to get closer to getting them done.  I hope to have at least 1 to share next Friday as I am subbing in for Fiona on TGIFF (Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday) so come back next week to see all the link ups!

Crazy hearts by Claire Lynch
In the background, I have been working on tons of things for the Irish Patchwork Society and getting ready to teach the Eastern Branch my Ticker Tape Pictorial Quilts and the Rainbow Rose quilts in Dublin in 2 weeks time.  Very excited about it!

Especially as I got my Rainbow Rose quilt back from Tomomi  and can't stop looking at it. 

Please pop over to Slaney Handcraft to see the amazing quilting she has done, my words cannot do it justice and it is really worth reading Tomomi's thoughts on the quilting.  I cannot wait to share lots of photos when I get it blocked and bound but for the moment here's a close up of my favourite bit  - our puppy, Maggie, is quilted into it!

Speaking of the dogs we have had a rough month of it!  Charly swelled up after her evening walk with an allergic reaction (we think to a bite) and emergency phone call #1 to vet.  Thankfully with anti-histamines (mine from the cupboard) she recovered very quickly.

Wilbur ate a box of firelighters containing Kerosene and emergency phone call #2 to the vet!  I had to work from home last Friday to monitor him and get activated charcoal into him (10 times the amount of what he had eaten).  He was not a happy camper (frowny face above) and all I could smell for days was firelighters!  Still both are grand now and Maggie has her play pals back!  The vet must think we are the worst owners ever!

Feels like as soon as April is over, I'm going to take May off and enjoy the exhibitions and catch up with the new blogger blog hop, that is going on at Quilting Jet Girl, She Can Quilt and Cooking up Quilts!
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