Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Modern Blocks

It's arrived!  It's arrived!  Ever since I saw this on Flying Blind on a Rocket Cycle I have been obsessed!  Well, I ran to Amazon, but there was a several week delay on shipping. Argh!  Anyway, it's here now and I can not get enough.


It's Modern Blocks: 99 Quilt Blocks from your Favorite Designers, assembled by Suzanne Woods.  Indeed there's a plethora of blocks to choose from.  I keep paging through the book and fall in love with a new one each review.  One to suit every mood.  Some I fell in love with immediately, others I could see I will never use.  Most importantly, those unloved blocks are the minority.

Each block is presented as a full page photograph on the left and then the pattern instructions on the right.  I really wish it was spiral bound so it would lay flat, but I'll work around that :)  I had a hard time finding sneak peeks online, so I thought I'd share some with you but without giving away the pattern details.  Wouldn't want to give away the thunder of each designer!


Do you love it? Want to see more?  How about these:




Now many of these you can just figure out on your own with a little fiddling.  Here's the thing: they have great cutting instructions and easy to follow assembly diagrams.  They make it easy for you!  Now get out to your local bookstore and have a look for yourself!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Jonesing for More FMQ? Or Another Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day?

Today's post is just filled with happy events where you can join in for a little fun.  Hope that's OK.

Are you getting the shakes now that we're not FMQ-ing together?  Well, our friend Laura from Quokka Quilts is hosting a QAYGFMQQAL.  What!?!?  I'll translate: Quilt As You Go Free Motion Quilting Quilt Along.  Are you with me?  Its a great way to use all of the Free Motion Friday skills you've just mastered, so hop on over there.


Did you hear that the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day is scheduled for 12 December?  Get that pile of FQs ready and stitch that 241 Tote ASAP!  I, for one, can't wait as I had such a blast last year.  Lost hours of my life blog hopping...lost sanity after day 3 and had to give up.  There are improvements this time around that might make the searching for goodies a bit easier.  It's all there on the SWS link above.  Hope to see you all there!


Monday, November 28, 2011

Birdie Stitches: November & Moving Photos

It is still November, right? Finished just in time! Since I do not have my sewing machine up and purring, I did a little embroidery on the November Birdie Stitches block.  You know, when these started (Jan - May) I really liked the burst of color in each block, the detail and the variety of things for your eye to look at.  The October and November templates are pretty dull in my opinion. Uninspired and blah.  I will have to go back and spruce them up a bit. Anyway, here we are for now:


In other news, the move is slowly coming along well. The sewing room was packed and has been transported to the new house. It is not unpacked, but will be this upcoming weekend.  It's so sad to see my little projects all wrapped up like this!


This herd of cows will be our neighbors. I was super excited...until Susan got me a little nervous about the noises they make.  Fingers crossed this is a quiet herd!

And finally, lucky number 11 is our winner for the Mod Logs pattern giveaway.  Marcia, of Run to Mama, will receive my (slightly used) copy of the pattern.  I am really excited to see what colors she chooses to use!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Free Motion Friday Week 8: Superstar

Are you a Superstar?  Well of course you are!  This week's Free Motion Friday from the Free Motion Quilting Project is this beauty:


How did it go for you?  Join in the linky below and see what others were up to this week. Spread the encouragement and tips, please!  It's the only way we will learn.  If you need a reminder on the spirit of Free Motion Friday, please read the original post again.

Normally I'd post a new challenge for this upcoming week, but I think our time has come to a close. Our participation each week has reduced and I think it will only continue to do so with the holidays coming up.  I like to think it's because you guys are feeling confident on your own and are off practicing diligently on your own!  So, many thanks to those of you who participated and I wish you happy  FMQ success.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Good News! and a Mod Logs Finish

Happy Thanksgiving!  Are you up bright and early to get that bird in the oven?  I seriously miss Thankgiving - the family gathering, watching football, napping on the couch after the DELISH stuffing, the pumpkin bread, the pecan pie.  I really hate turkey so I just fill up on the starches.  Fabulous.  Enjoy it, guys!  We're having left over Chinese and re-heated frozen pizza.  It's a little American celebration in its own way :)

Thank you guys so much for your help finding little Clarkson.  Your kind words, happy vibes to the universe and your helpful hints made all of the difference.  The little stinker guy found his way home on Tuesday morning. I was up for my 6AM walk and call for him and there he was at the back door meowing to be let in. I've been smothered in licks and cuddles since and we couldn't be happier.  Thank you, guys! 

Want to see what he's doing when I'm usually writing blog posts?  He crawls under the laptop because he likes the heater.  What a little monkey.


Well, quilting world has seriously slowed with the move.  I had to pack up the stash and the sewing machine a few days ago, so it's only hand work that's moving ahead.  I finished my table runner for the Canadian Abroad swap and it will go in the post today.  I wish I took a photo before I packed it up to send.  My mind's not focusing lately.

I also finished hand stitching the binding on Mod Logs.  It's all done and dusted except for a few loose threads that need cutting and a final wash.  There's a larger washing machine at the new house, so I'm holding out 'til we move to get it all crinkly. 




What do do to celebrate?  How about a giveaway?  Would you like the original version of my pattern?  Just leave a comment below and I'll hold a drawing on Monday.  I (by accident) packed it (argh!) already, so it will go into the post in about 10 days time.  Sorry, guys!



Quilt Stats:
Quilt Stats:Name: Mod Logs
Made For: Myself. It's the first quilt of mine to be used in my house.
Fabric: Kona white and Moda Fresh Flowers Jelly Roll
Batting: Warm & Natural
Size: 84"x90" (goodness!)
Quilting: Straight line across the "join" between rows
Pattern: Mod Logs by Della Gardner

Monday, November 21, 2011

Devastated

Warning: this is not at all quilting, craft or happiness related. 

Guys, I am just gutted.  My little best friend, my fluffy companion, my buddy boy has gone missing. 


I was never a cat person before he came along. I'm still not really a cat person.  I just love this particular cat to bits.


For the past 2 years he's stayed either inside the house or in the back yard.  We had a PetSafe collar that would keep him right around us because we live in a housing estate/development wasteland and it's easy to get lost in a sea of similar backyards or hit on the busy roads.  We're moving to the country (1 Dec) and were so excited to give him the space he'd want to run aroud free. 

Please help me find my buddy.  Has anyone lost a cat before?  Do you have advice to bring him home? I'm out calling for him at night and in the morning. I'm distributing fliers in every house in the 'hood today (about 400 of them) and I've emailed posters to all of the local pet stores and vets.  Any other hints, please?  What has worked for you?  Have you had indoor-ish cats re-appear several days later?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Free Motion Friday Week 7: H2O

Decades of scientific training were my downfall this week.  It actually made me incapable of stitching little circles attached to one another by little lines.  Why couldn't I disconnect my right brain from my left?  No one knows.  Stupid education.

Leah, of the Free Motion Quilting Project, made this beauty called H2O.  I have to say, this is visually one of my favorite FMQ patterns.  I really could see myself using this one day. 

OK...are you ready?  I'm not sure you are, but I'll toss this out for a good giggle.


I wish I could do the straight lines as single lines.  I don't like it when my stitching goes haywire and you can see both lines.  I also wish I did the circles A) as circles and B) as single loops instead of tracing over myself.

My brain was stuck on the actual chemical structure of water.  There is one oxygen and two hydrogens.  Two bonds per large circle.  And they shouldn't be linked to one another.  This is just chaos.  My brain couldn't separate the quilting motif from my ancient chemistry lectures. 

Moving on.  I have two apologies to make.  We are in the process of moving to a new (to us) house, so the sewing machine has taken a back seat. 

1: I did not have a quiet minute this week to test out the FMQ goodies I received from Leah.  I am sorry.  I just want to dedicate real time to an honest review of the products, so I chose to not squeeze it into this week of craziness. 

2: I will not be able to practice with you for the next two weeks.  I am happy to host the linky, but I will have to drop out of stitching until early Dec.  I will honestly jump right back in once the new house is up and running.

Right.  So, what's next week?  How about Superstar?


Are you feeling lucky?  Well, get stitching my friends! 




Join in the linky below and see what others were up to this week. Spread the encouragement and tips, please!  It's the only way we will learn.  If you need a reminder on the spirit of Free Motion Friday, please read the original post again.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bee Blessed November & a Christmas Goodie

If given the choice, what Christmas goodie would you make?  I thought long and hard about it.  There's so much inspiration out there!  I love the little embroidered pieces in a hoop hung by a ribbon. I am really liking the tree ornaments that I am seeing on several blogs.  Still, for my partner in the Modern Christmas Table Runner Swap, I wanted to make something that reflected my family's Christmas.  


I used this adorable (or at least I think so) Riley Blake Christmas fabric to make a little re-usable gift bag.  My family has stared making/buying fabric bags to wrap presents in as an alternative to the boxes and wrapping paper that gets tossed or recycled by noon on Christmas day.  So, for those folks that we continually exchange gifts with (parents, brother, sister-in-law) we're trying to move more to re-usable wrapping that then returns the next year and is swapped again.


So, in the spirit of a green Christmas, I made a Pink Penguin gift bag (visit her awesome tutorial).  I hope my partner likes it and puts it to good (repeated) use!

I also made a few blocks for Judith's Bee Blessed.  This month she's making quilts for elderly women, so she asked for soft, vintage log cabins.  I don't really have soft fabric, but this is at least a vintage-type print.  I am always stunned by the beautiful quilts that come from this bee



That's the news here at Fluffy Sheep Quilting.  No more stitching for today.  We're busy packing to move in the next two weeks, so tonight I'll be sorting through books and clothes.  What to keep?  What to give away?  What to toss.  It's really therapeutic!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Do. Good Stitches!!!!


I am over the top excited!  I signed up to join Do. Good Stitches several months ago.  Months went by.  Nothing.  I would check nearly weekly to see if I was assigned to a hive, but no news.  Sad, sad me. 

But not today!  I was assigned to the best hive EVER!  It's called Care and is hosted by the totally creative Karen (McGinty & Me, Listen To The Birds Sing).  She will rock as queen bee.  Along with Karen, our quilters are Kat (Diary of a Flutter Kat) and Annabella (Life's Rich Pattern), my old bloggy friends.  You know this is going to be great fun once these girls join in.  Lucky for me, though, there are also new-to-me folks too, so they will be friends soon enough :)  Hi Labour of Love and KristinPaton!

I feel most comfortable in a stitcher's position until I really understand what's happening in Do.Good Stitches. I am joined with my new-to-me friends, stitchers Lucy Fleur, Daisy & Jack, Nutterbug (love that name!), and Three Honeybees.  We are each to make two 12.5x12.5" blocks every month as designed by the mama quilter.  The blocks are to be made from my stash, so I am really looking forward to digging through and re-visiting my favorite fabrics.

Yippee!  Happy days!  If you have not already signed up for this bee, do go over to Do.Good Stitches on flickr and fill in the super easy form.  See you there!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Still Running....

Maybe not running, but jogging.  Or a slow trot.  Still, I am slowly moving along with my Modern Christmas Table Runner for the swap hosted by Susan (of Canadian Abroad).  I really, really like the idea of this swap and am constantly inspired by the beautiful creations in the flickr group.  I am just having trouble finding chunks of time to dedicate to this project as we're traveling nearly every weekend.  

Enough with the excuses....want to see where I am?  Well, I have nearly finished the top.  My partner wanted bright, light colors that were still Christmasy and she likes lots of white.  I hope this suits her!


To make it a little more special, personal and unique, I am hand stitching a little embellishment in each star.  This is where I am a little stuck as I just ran out of red floss.  Argh!  Can you see it on the third star in?  There's only a small bit to stitch before I can finally layer it and move onto quilting.


I think the top is a little generic as I am seeing lots of this sort of thing in the inspirational mosaics and in what the other swap buddies are creating.  Now, I do really love this theme...don't get me wrong.  I just want my partner to feel special and that she has received something unique, made just for her.  So, I will try to make it reversible so she gets a two-for-one deal.  Hopefully she'll like one side at least :)



In theory they should match up so that I can quilt between the stars.  Fingers crossed that's true!  I still have a Christmas "goodie" to make, but I have a clear idea in my head and the fabric worked out.  It's not what you'd normally associate with a Christmas "goodie" like a tree ornament or a wall decoration, but its something my family has been getting into the past few years and its nice to share that with someone else.   Or at least that's what I am hoping :)  More to come later this week!
  

Linking up with Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story.  Its been ages since joining in the link, so I am super excited to see what everyone else is making.  Use the button on the right to hop over yourself!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sew Bee Blissful: November

Finished my two Sew Bee Blissful blocks for November.  I just loved making these.  We were to use a Wonky Star pattern, but create anything we wanted. Some folks went super scrappy, others with creative center piecing that's a little abstract.  I went for fussy cutting and a classic pinwheel.  I hope Ella likes them!  



I had several arguments with that pinwheel center. There are a few points that are out of control, but it's the best I could do and we're all going to just have to be happy with that...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Knitting & Stitching Weekend

This was my first Knitting and Stitching show in Dublin and I am not quite sure how to wrap it up for all of you.  I went up on Friday morning and stayed through half of Saturday to chat with friends and shop as much as possible.  Here's the story:

The absolute highlight of the weekend was meeting friends.  I met Sarah (of FairyFace Designs) before I even made it to the show!  We had a good long chat over coffee like we have known each other for years. It was so fantastic to finally meet her in person!   I just wish we had a little more time, but our paths will cross again eventually.  I found my way (through a monsoon) to the show and there found Fi (of PatchworkDelights) and we had a shopping spree in fast forward.  She's such a riot!  We were off shopping for fabric, ribbon and glittery glue with a little break for tea and a muffin (the size of my head).  I really had a fab time with her and (again) wished we had more time together before she had to head home. 

Once I finished socializing....whew!...I found my way to the shops.  There were beading stalls, paper stalls, knitting stalls, book shops and a few fabric stalls.  Not as many as I would have hoped for, but enough to entertain me a while.  Most were not really to my taste and sold darker, blander, more granny-ish fabric than what I was looking for.  There were two great exceptions: Crafty Fox (where I found a few FQs) and Pippablue, which was its usual spectacular self.  Ger and Eva are so fantastic to chat/shop with!  With lots of picking to the bottom of display baskets, I found 4 FQs scattered around the show that made me smile.



Recently I have been interested in the idea of dyeing my own fabric.  I have been reading a lot, but not much actual dyeing...and then I saw this!  Colourcraft.  They were great in helping me choose a dye and tools that would work for me.  Now I can not wait to give it a try!



Looking at that last photo you would be forgiven for thinking I took up another illegal hobby while in Dublin.

Just before I had to head for the train home, I met up with Linda (of Sew Nicely) and her adorable daughter for a snack and a chat.  She had a great stash of fabric and yarn that will keep her busy for a while!  I can not wait to see what she creates.  Again, it was really to put a face with her bloggy personality. 

Will I go back next year?  Most likely yes - but really for the socializing and not for the shopping.  Was a bit disappointed there, but seeing my friends totally made it a fantastic weekend.  Thanks, girls!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Free Motion Friday Week 6: Pine Needles

So, have you come to a conclusion?  Are you a curve-loving person or a straight line-kind of person?  I think I may have stitched teams and am now cheering for the curves.  Interesting.  I just can not trace a stitched line to save my life, which seems to be what straight line quilting is all about lately.  Anyway, this week I stitched this crazy thing...



Instead of these pretty Pine Needles by Leah at the Free Motion Quilting Project.  Argh!


I was nearly ready to throw in the towel (or quilting sandwich - what ever).  Not to fear, though!  Leah Day to the rescue!  Out of the blue Miss Leah emailed me (Hi, if you're reading this!) and asked me to try out her Machingers, Supreme Slider and the Little Genie Magic Bobbin Washers and tell her what I think.  Well, of course I will!  (Duh, who wouldn't!?!?) So, she shipped a sample over and I will give them a try using this week's pattern.  I will let you all know my honest thoughts after giving them a try!  I am most excited about the Supreme Slider as the bump in my machine bed seems to always be my problem (or at least my current excuse). 

And how will we test out her goodies?  With this pretty pattern: H2O


We can use this handy-dandy video:



Join in the linky below and see what others were up to this week. Spread the encouragement and tips, please!  It's the only way we will learn.  If you need a reminder on the spirit of Free Motion Friday, please read the original post again.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Knitting & Stitching Show Dublin: Meet Up

Anyone going to the Knitting & Stitching show in Dublin this weekend?  Do you want to meet up on Saturday?  If so, please send me an email today (Thursday) to fluffysheepquilting(at)gmail(dot)com and leave your mobile number so I can text you once plans have been sorted out.  Can't wait to see you there!

Life has taken my blogging time this week.  I'm sorry to be so absent, but I have to say there are great things going on at home that I would not want to stifle.  Anyway, I am indeed still stitching my table runner and binding mod logs...photos will have to come next week.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Free Motion Friday 5: Stomach Lining

Hope you are all well and your stitching is coming along beautifully!  To remind you, this week we were trying to stitch something resembling this Halloweenish Stomach Lining pattern from the Free Motion Quilting Project.


How did you do?  Well, much to my surprise I really enjoyed this pattern.  I have been so scared of curves, but here I kind of got into a vibe.  I was a little lost, though, when I got to an edge and had to loop back (as you see in the upper left corner).  I should have just traveled along the edge a bit and started another concentric circle.  Live and learn.



What's up for next week?  Had enough with curves?  What about going back to straight lines and trying these Pine Needles

We can use this handy-dandy video:


Join in the linky below and see what others were up to this week. Spread the encouragement and tips, please!  It's the only way we will learn.  If you need a reminder on the spirit of Free Motion Friday, please read the original post again.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bits of Happiness

The postman has been so good to me lately.  My mailbox has been filled with happiness.  Want to have a peek? 

This gorgeous package arrived from Nicky at Mrs Sew and Sow.  I met Nicky in our Goodie Swap - thank goodness I did!  She's been a source of inspiration and support since.  She's one of the main nudgers to go ahead with our FMQ practice-a-long.  Not only does she make beautiful quilts, but she also creates her own beaded jewelery, something that I have been meaning to try.  Well, Nicky was kind enough to make a little pouch (and show off her FMQ skillz) and send over pretty pretty beads and string to play with.  The super cool thing is that the back of the pouch is fuzzy so I have a place to put my beads and they won't roll away.  Good thinking!  Thanks, Nicky!  You rock.


We can now show off our Scrappy Swap packages too!  Woo hoo!  Unbeknown to me, my secret partner was Kat of Diary of a Flutter Kat.  It is no secret that I think Kat is really great - creative with a great sense of style and color.  Well, lucky me!  I get a bit of her craftiness here in my home :)  Kat sent this fab pouch with scraps fussy cut to show of little critters, like this little goldfish and bunny on the back...


...and a really cute cat and chicken on the front.  I love it, love it, love it.  Thanks, Kat!



Inside is a little label.  Aren't they cute?  She knows I love for them to be there, but just hidden a bit.  :)


But what about the scraps?  Well.....get a look at this gorgeousness!  I already have a scrappy quilt in mind to use nearly all of them!  Some are super special and I may just pet them a while longer.


When I'm not busy opening my post, I have been stitching away.  Honestly I have.  I made two of my four blocks for the Modern Christmas Table Runner Swap.  Each will be hand embroidered a bit to highlight the stars.  I am hoping it will also be a reversible table runner with little pinwheels and stars on the back - just not quite there yet :)  I hope my partner likes them!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Blankets of Love: Finished (Kind-Of)

Yippee!  This weekend I finished two tops (27x27 inches) and two backs (32x32 inches) for Blankets of Love, organized by Diary of a Flutter Kat's lovely Kat.  With any luck, they will be on their way to Kat in today's post.  She generously offered to add in the wadding and quilt them before sending them off to the local hospital.

This top is for a little girl and it has a matching pieced back. The binding will be Kona coral.


And then I used colors that were a bit darker for a little boy's quilt top and pieced back.  The binding will be a matching denim blue.



I hope they bring a bit of happiness and comfort to their new families. 

I am sorry for the really stinky photos!  With the low winter sun, the short daylight hours and the wind it Galway I am not doing that well this week!
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