Monday, June 25, 2012

Do you love Kona Solids? I do!

And would you like to win 2 yards of Kona Solids to add to your stash?  Well who wouldn't?

Fluffy Sheep Quilting (the shop) has 35 different Kona Solids.   So that each and every one of you can bring home a bit of this rainbow, the shop will offer fat eighth bundles of  8 Kona Solids later this summer.  I would therefore like to open the chance to you, Fluffy Sheep Quilting readers, to create delicious bundle combinations in a mini competition.  Are you interested?

Join in!
Here's what you need to do:

  • Head to the Fluffy Sheep Quilting flickr page where you'll see a photo set of Kona Solids.  Choose your favorite 8 colors that you think would make a fab bundle.
  • Use these images to make a photo mosaic of your proposed bundle of 8.  If you need a bit of help making a mosaic, there's a mini-tutorial below that might help.  
  • Post your mosaic on your blog and then come right back here and link up your post with the linky below.  Please, please, please be sure to list the Kona color names in your bundle somewhere in your post or photo caption.  If you do not have a blog and would like to enter, just email your mosaic to me at fluffysheepquilting(at)gmail(dot)com and I can add it to the linky for you.  
  • You may make as many bundle combinations as you want and link up each and every one of them as a separate entry.  The linky will request unique URLs for each mosaic, so you may have to write multiple blog posts to link several mosaics.  Alternatively, you can upload them in flickr and use the image URL in your linky.

Your Winnings!
The winner of our linky will be chosen by public vote.  Voting will be open on 9 July for 1 week.  You're welcome to tweet, facebook, blog all about the contest trying to drum up votes for your bundle, but in the end the general public will make the final decision of which bundle they like best.  

I am offering 2 yards of Kona Solids to the winner in any way they would like.  If you want a full 2 yards of one color, that's fine by me.  If you'd like a selection of FQs, that's also fine by me.

I will also be offering the top 5 combinations as fat eighth bundles in the Fluffy Sheep Quilting shop under your name.  For example, if I won...which I won't...Fluffy Sheep Quilting will offer the Cindy Bundle.  Or you can come up with what ever cheeky name you'd like...I'm just not that creative with words.

Start linking your mosaics today.  This linky party will be open from 25 June to 8 July (5PM), giving you two weeks to create something spectacular.  On Monday 9 July I will open the voting for 1 week.  The winner will be emailed by me on 16 July.

If you are emailing your mosaic to me, it must be received by Thurs 5 July so I can do all of the behind the scenes stuff and get you into the linky in time.

Short Mosaic Tutorial
You can do this any way you'd like.  My favorite is with Big Huge Labs.  To create a mosaic with them:

  • Follow this link to their website.
  • Choose 3 columns and 3 rows to give you space for 9 images.  You'll only use 8 of them.
  • Go to my flickr page and view the photo set of Kona Solids.  Just click here as a short cut.
  • Click on the color you like.  Click again so it's in a shadow box (black background with just the color swatch floating).  
  • Highlight and copy the URL link
  • Go back to Big Huge Labs and insert the link in the "enter URL" box
  • Repeat this again and again until you've inserted URLs for all colors you like.  
  • You can create/view/edit the mosaic using the buttons at the bottom of the Big Huge Labs page.
  • Be sure to save the HTML code for your photo caption in your blog post OR write out your color choices so we have a good record of your favorites.

There's also a good tutorial here that you might like better than my brief instructions.

Small Print.
This linky is open to all international visitors.  I will happily ship your winnings to you anywhere you may be.  You must leave a working email for me in your linky upload to contact you.  If you do not respond in 2 days after my email letting you know you won, I will go to the second winner.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hum. Is this fix-able?

I wanted to make a pieced back for my Granny Mania quilt.  I like to make pieced backs as it gives me a little room to play with a new idea before committing to a full project.  Today I wanted to try to replicate this border that I liked in the Collaborative Quilting book, but changing the sizes from 4 inch four patch squares to 11.5 inch pin wheels.

I worked out all of the math for cutting and was feeling confident.  I made four pin wheel blocks and was feeling pleased with myself as the points were matching nicely.  Maybe a bit too pleased as quilt karma came back and bit me.  

I wanted to make two strips like this and stitch them directly to one another.  That would give me the four pin wheels in a block with a diamond shape in the middle.  The edge would then be filled in with Kona Coal.  Pretty basic.  A nice little medallion in the center of the back.

But then I started looking at the blocks a little closer.  And I realize the points on the edge of each pin wheel block will be lost when the two strips of pin wheels are put together.

Or worse, that the Coal, when folded back and pressed, did not come to the edge of the block so I am nearly 1/4 inch short in fabric.  

Of course, when I look back at the original image in the book, their points are incredibly close to the edge of the block as well.  I don't know how the authors didn't loose the points when piecing the border onto the quilt.

I have one half of the back to piece yet, and I can already see that the blocks are on track to having a point directly in line with the edge of the Coal.

So, here is the question.  What can I do to fix this?  Do I just rip them apart and pull on the Coal on a bit to extend over the pin wheel point and give me a 1/4 inch buffer along the edge?  The Coal is cut on the biased edge, so there is a little give.  Is there a better idea?  I'm happy to rip it all apart and start over instead of loosing those points, but I don't want to waste the Coal as it's a large amount of fabric to just toss aside.  Any ideas, guys?  Help!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Collaborative Quilting: A book review

I made a mistake.  One of those mistakes that you realize it's just too much effort to fix it so you accept it.

When I was at the International Quilt Festival of Ireland, there was a book stand FILLED to the brim with crafty books.  I had a thumb through the primarily traditional books and found a copy of Liberated Quiltingmaking II by Gwen Marston.  I liked what I briefly saw in the sample copy, so I picked up one of the plastic wrapped for-sale copies stacked behind it and happily paid the nice vendor lady.

You see where this is going, don't you?  Too bad I didn't.

I carried it around all day in the back pocket of my messenger bag and never looked at it again.  When I sat down in the sun with my friend Ester for a coke (me) and ice cream (Ester) I saw a patchwork appliquĂ©d chicken peeking out of the pocket.  I thought that was odd, but quickly justified it as the back cover/advertisement for another book.

Once I got home I realized my mistake.  I bought the wrong book.  I bought this....

Luckily it was still in its plastic wrapping!  So, I contacted the vendor and they were super nice and willing to take it back for a refund.  I packaged it up and brought it to the post office to ship it off.  Here's the snag.  It would cost me nearly what I paid for the book to send it back.  I'd still be out the full cost in total AND would not have a book.  I brought it home and unwrapped it to have a look.

And I fell in love.

How fantastic is this?  

Goodness knows why they put clucking chickens on the cover when the book is CHOCK full of gorgeous modern improv quilts!  They are spectacular!

This book is really on collaborative quilts created by Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston.  There's a large section in the beginning where Gwen discusses design and Freddy discusses color.  The chapter on color was really interesting to me.  Want my two favorite half paragraphs? 

"I am fearless in my use of color.  I feel comfortable with almost every color with the exception of brown, which I consider a non-color.  If there are no bad colors, just misunderstood ones, I can say for sure I do not understand brown."  -Freddy Moran

It's like this book is written for me!  And here's my be this comfortable in quilting:

"Red is a neutral.  I've never met a single color that didn't look better with red."  - Fredy Moran.

If only I could be that bold with quilts.  Maybe some day.  

They take you through their philosophy of color, design and block interplay and show you a glimpse into both studios.  If only we'd all be so lucky to have studies like theirs.  Amazing.  But, possibly my favorite part beyond the eye candy, is the inclusion of some really basic patterns for pieced borders.  This one in particular is interesting for my Granny Mania quilt with a little twist using pin wheels instead of four patches.  Same idea, though. 

I am completely pleasantly surprised by this book.  I will find lots of inspiration in their gorgeous quilts and will happily use their instructions for a little twist on my quilt borders.  All in all, the old lesson rings true.  Don't judge the book by it's cover.  Give this one a second look.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Postie Happiness

The post lady has been so fantastic to me lately.  Do you remember when this table runner arrived?

It was a magnificent sample of Trudi's quilting skills as we were trying to decide on the quilting pattern for Stargazing.  Well, I finished her off recently with a cute little pink binding.  I struggled to find a binding that matched the blue dots or the green star points, but then I finally realized I had the perfect fabric!

I used the little pink strips left from the Stargazing back after squaring it.  I now have the happiest, most intricately quilted table runner I have ever seen.  It's all washed, dried and crinkly now.  I couldn't be happier.  Thank you, Trudi! (PS - I'm so sorry the photos are horrid. Just as I went outside to take the photos the rain started.  So sorry for the stinky inside shots!)

In other news, I received the nicest note from lovely Jerri, the Wool Shop Junkie, asking for more information on the Community Quilt about the quilt and its pattern, I tossed a few of the Community Quilt 2 inch squares into the post for her to start her own.  That's the spirit of the quilt, after all.

And what arrived in the post as a surprise thank you gift?  This cuteness!

How much do I love that card?  Adorable.  There was also a super nice note, but I won't share that with you.    And this!  This little pin cushion!

Oh my goodness I love it.  Jerri made this out of wool scraps wound in a circle and then she decorated the edges with flowers and beads.  How fantastic is that?  Jerri, thank you. You made my day!

Monday, June 18, 2012

June Bee Block

I have just one bee block to share with you this month.  Sew Bee Blissful and Do.Good Stitches have June off, so I get to fully focus on just one bee.  This little guy is from the Sew & Bee Happy scrappy bee, hosted this month by Henny.  She choose a seemingly simple block from the Modern Blocks book where there are 7 strips of fabric cut at 12.5 inches long, then sewn together to make a 12.5 inch square block.  Now, it looks super simple, but it's more difficult than you think.

I had quite the adventure digging through my stash looking for 6 strips of solid fabric within the same color family at least 12.5 inches long.  I kind of cheated and added in one white strip to embroider a bit of text, but it was the best I could do.

Henny asked for one word to be embroidered that reflected the colors of your strip as well as the quilting community.  I chose "hope" as you guys are always giving me hope that I will finish my  monster quilts or that my birds nests will eventually leave my quilting.

In other bee news, I have joined two new bees!  Eeek!  I am already in three bees, but one will be closing this summer and the Sew & Bee Happy bee only asks for 1 block a month.  Maybe I'm nuts to take on two more.  I will give it my best. I have joined the Modern Quilt Guild bee starting in July AND the Modern Stitching Bee which will kick off in August.  I can't wait to dive into them!  They are filled with SUPER cool ladies who will be great fun to stitch with.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Stargazing Finish!

Stargazing is finished!  I am so excited!  So excited!  

This is my first quilt.  No, not the first one made in my house.  Stargazing is the first quilt that is fully mine.  Completely mine to use on the couch or to cuddle in when I am sick.  

What I love most about this quilt is that it is a bee quilt, so it has a little bit of personality from several of my online bloggy friends.  This is a real communal quilt as it was not only stitched by 11 lovely ladies in Sew and Bee Happy, but it was quilted by the amazing Trudi.  I think the swirly quilting finished this project off perfectly.  I couldn't be happier.

As I was out taking photos of Stargazing, a rather large rain storm was rolling in....

Quickly, between the rain drops, I took a photo of the back. It's a 20's repro print by Aunt Grace with little cream colored flowers on a pink background.  The rain was really coming down by now, so these photos leave a bit to be desired.  Sorry!  We'll have a real photo shoot soon.  I promise.

Quilt Stats:
Name: Stargazing
Made For: Myself by the Sew & Bee Happy ladies
Fabric: Kona white and scraps donated by each bee member
Batting: Cotton/poly mix...not sure of the details
Size: 68 inches square
Quilting: Swirls by Trudi of Quilting Prolifically
Pattern: Wonky stars of all shapes and sizes randomly placed where they make me happy

Monday, June 11, 2012

International Quilt Festival Of Ireland

If the Fat Quarterly Retreat wasn't enough, I now have quilt OVERLOAD with the International Quilt Festival of Ireland being held in Galway this past weekend. Were you there?  Did you have fun?  See anything that made your heart flutter?

Spirits in general were high.  We had a gorgeous sunny weekend, so folks could stroll around with an ice cream and soak in the rays.  There were a gazillion different things to do ranging from chocolate tasting to lace making to long arm quilting demonstrations and antique quilt exhibits.  Anything your little heart desired.

I did have a good look around on Friday and found my favorite quilt of the exhibit....

The entire festival was very traditional in nature.  I wish they had a modern quilting exhibit, but no luck.  I also wish they had a exhibit that wasn't themed but instead featured the gorgeous quilts Irish quilters could make.  Again, no luck.  Still, there were quilts there that (if you searched hard enough) would make you stop and gasp.  You know I love color and this is the most colorful one I could find.  It was a mix of piecing and applique with fabulous quilting (that I wish I took a photo of!).  What really stole the show, though, is the Celtic knot that runs its way around the second outer most border.

It even stopped my other half in his tracks to inspect further.  Absolutely beautiful.

So, I spent a small bit of time walking around the exhibits and shopping.  I didn't take any classes as I was kind of classed-out after London.  But, I did spend a good bit of time hanging out at the Irish Patchwork Society booth with these lovely ladies.  We had a great laugh together.

And, of course, there was the Cu Na Mara exhibit (Irish for Sea Hound) hanging in the reception hall.  It was insanely difficult to get a photo of all 20 quilts together.  It was a shame, really, as they all intertwined in/out of one another.  I tried.  Now when I saw the design by the Irish Patchwork Society for this quilt I could easily imagine how spectacular they would be mixing with the panels on either side.  I imagined seeing the exhibit when walking to the building from the outside as the entire opposite wall is glass.  However, the festival put a false front onto the building covering up the glass with a plywood castle front.  There goes our fabulous exhibit.  So, you could kind of see it, but not take it in its full glory.  What to do.

When I was there, the sun was shining in from the roof, so there were shadows of the beams.  I, therefore, shamelessly steal this photo from Anneliese to show off my little part of the exhibit.  She got a much nicer photo!  There's little Cuchulainn getting his day out in the sun.

That's the news from Galway.  I'm heading off to make a few Granny Squares tonight.  Hope you're stitching too!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fat Quarterly Retreat Wrap Up (Pt 2)

Sunday at the Fat Quarterly Retreat was as chock-a-block as Saturday was!  The ladies were in full spirits all chatty and giggly and classes were packed full.  It was fantastic having two full-on days of Fat Quarterly goodness.  What did my Sunday look like?

First I had a freezer paper piecing class with Kerry.  If you have a chance to take a class with her, do it.  She is FILLED with energy and enthusiasm, so it makes the whole class fun.  Kerry gave us several different freezer paper piecing patterns to choose from depending on our comfort and experience level.  They ranged from basic triangles to those with Y-seams.  Each one would make a super cute little pin cushion.

Before we started, though, Kerry tossed out little bundles of Liberty prints for each of us to use/take.  You should have seen the scramble!  Who was in the middle of it all, but Miss Susan?  Couldn't keep that one away from the deliciousness!

Once the frenzy settled down a bit, we got to sewing.  This was my first time using freezer paper, so there was a little learning curve.  Still, it's easy enough to get the hang of it in a morning.  My only problem was that the freezer paper would not stick to my solids.  Argh!  Anyway, some of my seams are a little off as it kept falling off and I kept re-applying it...or at least that's my excuse for now.

There's Susan again, with Laura Jane, right in the front row...

And Fiona (above) and Karen (below) diligently working away....

In the end I made a little hexie pin cushion.  As it's my first time freezer paper piecing AND doing Y-seams I'm pretty pleased.  I do wish I had some rice or something more weighty to fill it with.  Next time.

Next to our class was an English paper piecing class with Tasha.  And who did we find there, but Kat the amazing, who was making hexies and...

Leanne who flew all the way over from Canada!  Goodness!  Leanne was my best "surprise" find as we did not really know one another before this retreat, but I really enjoyed her company.    

There were also impromptu classes throughout the weekend.  Here, Trudi was giving a demonstration on sketching/designing free motion quilting patterns.  To watch her draw was just amazing.  She's incredibly fluid with that little pencil and baking paper!  Later she did a hands on demo with her sewing machine so we could all see how "easy" it was to do!  She was amazing.

There was also a great buzz around the Siblings Together project as they were coming to collect any donated quilts over the weekend.  Here's our lovely Hadley stitching on her label...a little last minute for you, missus.  That's not your style at all!

Sunday afternoon I took a frame purse class with Katy, our tattooed quilter.

Once we cut out our patterns, we were allowed to play with glue!  You should have smelled the toxic fumes coming off of that stuff.  And with some stitching, gluing and scissor-shoving we made a gorgeous little purse.  I absolutely loved the process and can't wait to make a second one.

My class was, once again, filled with fabulous personalities.  Here we have Mary and Trudi distracting Terri, Hadley and Lucy from there stitching....

Lucy keeping her composure to the best of her ability...

Mary with that glue...again...

and Hadley telling us how it should be done.

Ta-Da!  We each made a gorgeous purse.  I love the Melody Miller prints used here.

I went with Echino and fussy cut a few little birds for the front and back.  They make me happy.  It's lined with a lime green solid that suits the flecks of green in the flowers and leaves.

There's my full Fat Quarterly experience.  I had a fantastic weekend with these spectacularly lovely, creative, funny, charming, supportive, encouraging, inspirational women.  I'm already counting down the days 'til next year!
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