Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Wrens and Friends Has Arrived

Some of you eagle-eyed shoppers have already noticed the arrival of Wrens and Friends in the shop.  I wanted to be sure EVERYONE knew, though.  That's right.  Wrens and Friends by Gina Martin (for Moda) has recently arrived.  You can find these pretties right here.

I made up a little FQ bundle of these prints with coordinating Konas (Mocha and School Bus) that you can find here.  Mmmm....

Right - back to the sewing machine!  Happy stiching, folks.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mini Spools Mini Quilt

I have been struggling with the idea of a spools quilt for a few weeks now.  I'm obsessed with the idea, but want to personalize it a bit.  After a few trial blocks that didn't float my boat, and a super chat with Helen I think I have a plan.  More on that later.

Still, to satisfy this spools itch I picked up one of these

and settled in on Friday night with these

There's enough in one charm pack to make several of these little quilts, so I cut enough to make one for myself and one as a gift for a special lady (to be revealed later).  By Saturday night I had a basted mini quilt.  I can't tell you how satisfying it is to have such rapid satisfaction from a little project.  You know yourself, don't you?

It's not perfect, but I do really like it.  I won't tell you mistakes I see, but I do feel better seeing them in the cover photo of the pattern, too.  Not everything has to be aligned, right?

Any way, by Sunday night I finished quilting and had the binding on.  Brilliant!  There were a few problems along the way, but I'll tell you all about that later.  You'll see the finished mini later this week once I have the binding finished off.

My glamorous assistant was with me on Friday night in the sewing room.  She started off all pert, cute and playful chewing on her bone under my ironing board.  

But quickly deteriorated into a snoozy pup.  She can't take the pace of making a quilt in a day.  Bless.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Winner! Winner!

Thank you to who entered their name for my SMS giveaway.  It was great fun getting to know several of you and I look forward to meeting the rest of you with time.

Using Mr Random, number 1198 was selected out of the 1261 entries.  Goes to show that it's worth entering no mater how many folks entered before you!

Much to my delight, I could easily email our winner Stephanie.  

She has a cute blog you can check out too.

Clearly borrowed from Stephanie's blog....

So, Miss Stephanie, this pretty bundle is on the way to you.  Thanks so much for entering! 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Nerdy Cross Stitch Strikes Again

As you may know from my IG feed (@fluffysheepquilting), I have just moved day job offices.  My walls are now totally bare and a really depressing grey.  This is a great opportunity to take a blank canvas and create a happy world of colorful hand crafted goodness to surround myself all day.  I already have my I Love Science cross stitch, so there's a good start. 

I went over to my favorite cross stitch shop, Nerdy Little Stitcher, and had a good look around. Although there are many great patterns available, I wanted something that was bone-focused to suit our laboratory.  Lucky for me, you can contact Crystal (the Nerdy Stitcher master mind) and together you can create your own personal pattern!  

She was super fast in replying to my request, was fantastic at taking my ideas into consideration and worked beautifully with me when I wanted to "funk up" the lettering.  How did she know what was in my head!?!? Needless to say I'm thrilled and can't wait to start stitching.  It's a perfect project for my holiday travels.

In other news, we all know how I'm digging hand printed fabric lately.  Really, I am just stashing it like a little squirrel hiding nuts for winter.  Anyway, the amazing Blueberry Park is kicking off a bimonthly fabric club in their shop.  You can sign up for a monthly or annual subscription in three different sized packs (panels, half panels or charms).  My heart couldn't stand the temptation...I've already signed up for the first charm allotment.  Woo hoo!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Scrappy Mini Stars: A tutorial

Hello to all of my new friends from the SMS giveaway day!  It's so nice to meet you all.  How is your giveaway week going so far?  Meeting lots of new folks?  Found a few super new-to-you blogs?  I hope you are having a blast!  If you are looking for the FSQ giveaway post, simply click here.

Several weeks ago, I posted photos of quilts that caught my eye at the Knitting and Stitching Show.  In particular a quilt by Margaret Cunnanne got Helen and I chatting thinking it would be a great block to request in a bee.

Quilt by Margaret Cunnane of Galway.
I asked Margaret for a pattern, but she did not have luck finding one to share with us.  I thought, then, that I would go ahead and sort it out for myself.

With the idea that this could be made with charm squares, I decided to base everything on a 2.5 inch (unfinished) square.  To make 1 block at 12.5x12.5 inches unfinished, you will need:

4 (white) squares 2.5x2.5 inches for star centers
32 (white) squares 1.5x1.5 inches for star points
8 (scrappy) rectangles 2.5x4.5 inches as the bridge between star points
16 (scrappy) squares 2.5x2.5 inches

I wanted to use my rainbow charms to make the scrappy four patches you see between each star.  You could just as easily do all of this right from your scrap basket.  It's up to you.  All seams are 0.25 inches.

Cut the 5 inch charm into two halves, each 2.5x5 inches long.  

Sew two 2.5x5 inch blocks together (sewing right sides together) and press the seam to one side.  

Cut this in half, creating a 2.5x4.5 inch rectangle comprised of two scrappy squares.  

If you want coordinated four patches, just flip and re-sew the two halves together as you see in Margaret's quilt above.  I went for scrappy look, so I mixed and matched 2.5x4.5 inch rectangles to make a four patch.

Nest the two seams together (fabrics right sides together) to create a sharp point, pin and sew.  Press the seam to one side.

Create 4 four patches for each block.

To create the star points, draw a diagonal line on the back of each 1.5x1.5 inch square.  

Align this square with one corner of the 2.5x4.5 inch rectangle and sew ON THE LINE.  

Cut the extraneous fabric 0.25 inches from the seam and press. (Darn these winter night time photos - that little corner square is white in real life!)

Repeat this for all 4 corners in all eight 2.5x4.5 scrappy rectangles.  They will be like double sided flying geese blocks.  Flying geese are absolutely not my strong suit, so I would normally square them before going further.  

Layout the pieces as arranged below.  Sew the pieces together in rows, pressing the seams of each row in alternating directions.

Sew the rows together into a block.  Pin all of the nesting seams so that you are sure to have a sharp corner, then press press press.

That's it!  A super easy peasy scrappy star block.  Putting two together gives a better idea of the repeating pattern.

If you decide to use this tutorial to make a block of your own, please let me know if there are difficult-to-understand sections or if the math just does not add up for you.  I'll happily adjust the tute with your contributions.

Happy sewing!

Edited: It's just been pointed out to me there's a similar tutorial here.  Click on over and have a peek for another variation with more coordinated fabrics.  Pretty pretty!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Giveaway Day! Giveaway Day!

We all love SMS Giveaway Day!  It's a great way to find new blogs, to peek in new shops and to make new friends.  Of course, Fluffy Sheep Quilting (the shop) couldn't miss out on a chance to giveaway a gorgeous bundle of Scrumptious fat quarters!  This bundle has eight fat quarters (yes, two yards total!) of the yummy Scrumptious line by Bonnie and Camille.

There are a few ways you can enter this giveaway:
1. First, leave a comment below telling me what you like about this fabric line.  Is it the colors? The mix of florals and geometric prints?  What does it for you?
2. For a second entry, become a follower of this blog (or tell me you are one already).
3. For your third (and lucky?) entry, hop over to the shop home page and sign up for the newsletter in the bottom left hand corner or like the facebook page.  Have a look around while you're in the shop.  There are so many new pretties in stock!

Thank you, Sew Mama Sew, for hosting another fantastic Giveaway Day!  Be sure to pop back over to their site for more yummy giveaways!

The small print: The winner will be chosen by random number generator on Friday 13 Dec at 5PM Irish time.  This giveaway is open to international entrants.  If you are a no-reply commenter, please leave your email address in the comment.  If I can not get in touch with you, I will choose another winner.  I will contact the winner via email requesting their postal address.  If there's no response within 3 days, I will choose another winner.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Testing Bee Blocks

I am totally jumping the gun here, but I couldn't control myself.  The Modern Irish Bee starts a second year all bright, shiny and fresh in January.  As soon as I picked February to be queen bee, my brain has been racing with all of the opportunities to try something new.

When trying to choose my block, I have been considering the bee setup.  We have a wide variety of skill levels, so something pretty straight forward would be best.  This is also a scrappy bee, so a block that lets me draw on the stashes of others seems greedy appropriate.

I stumbled upon the spool quilt along hosted by Laura of Adventures of a Quilting Diva.  Each month she posts a new spool tutorial, so there should be about seven available by the time my February month comes along.  That would let folks in my bee choose what they're most comfortable with AND gives me a wide variety of blocks in my quilt.  Love that.

To give it a test run, I pulled (widely) monochromatic, stripey FQs thinking most folks would have something like this in their stash.  I set out making four blocks from the spool quilt along: (left to right) block 4, block 1, block 3 and block 2.

I really dig the first and last block, but the second from the left is a bit bland.  Anyway, I think what I've learned is A) there's a wide enough variety in skills that folks could be entertained without being overwhelmed and B) that I like a darker spool color over the Ash in the second purple thread block.  I'm going to make another set of four this weekend and see where this goes as it gets larger.  I may really dig it as it gets more scrappy, but right now it's looking a little uncoordinated and boring simplistic.

This is also my first time using LV fabrics as a background.  I have to say (in 100% total honesty) I'm not sure I like them.  Folks who are gaga about LVs, can you tell me why this isn't wowing me?  Is there a secret I don't know like you shouldn't use LV in a large space or it should coordinate better with what's going on in your block?  Any insight, ladies?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Stocking Stuffers!

First, a super huge THANK YOU to everyone who came by the shop this past weekend.  If you were just looking or if you were shopping your heart out, I thank you for your support.  I had a wonderful time packing up your precious fabric - it's winging its way to you right now!

Onto sewing news....if you're a member of my family and expecting a gift from me Christmas day, please look away now!


This is the first year in a long time that I am not giving primarily hand made Christmas gifts.  That being said, I could not go cold turkey and only give store-bought stuff. I had to make little stocking stuffers.  Using this tutorial, I made seven pairs of rice filled, microwavable hand warmers.

 There's one for each member of my family to open on Christmas morning.  We always go for a walk Christmas afternoon, so they should keep us toasty!

Now, if I just tossed them into a stocking on Christmas day they'd sink down to the toe.  So I made little coordinating drawstring bags using this pattern to keep them together and 'afloat' atop of the candy and oranges.

I used little elephants for my niece Nieve (trying still not to be too girly for my brother), penguins for my Mom (because she loves them!) and fish for my brother (he would flyfish all day long if we let him).

There are stars for Brian (my superstar), birds for my sister in law (she loves a walk in the woods) and chilli peppers for my Dad (our family cook).

Of course there are little sheep for me.

I am totally digging them.  I hope those who find them Christmas morning think they're fun too!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday Sale

You can take the girl out of America, but you can't take America out of the girl.  Today is Black Friday at home...one of my favorite days of the year.  I loved celebrating Thanksgiving for the family catch ups, naps on the living room floor with my cousins and football on the television.  But on Black Friday I got to hit the shops with my mom, aunts and grandmother.  A day out with the ladies.  My aunts could really sniff out a bargain and my Gram was a great sport hitting up the malls.  I think Mom tolerated the crowds because I loved going.

What better way to celebrate Black Friday than with a Fluffy Sheep Quilting sale?  This Friday, Saturday and Sunday I am offering 20% off everything in the shop with the code BlackSheep....even the new stuff like Scrumptious, Briar Rose, Road 15 and Sunnyside.  Just enter the code at checkout by clicking on Use Coupon Code to the left under the pictures of your pretty fabric in the shopping cart.  Happy shopping!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Shop keeping....

Just a few small bits and bobs to tell you about...mostly fabric happiness from the shop.

First, we have a winner for the Minimalista giveaway.  The creative Rebecca (seriously...check out her blog!) will find this pretty bundle in her post box.

She was lucky number 90 of 179 entrants:

To pick up a bit of Minimalista for yourself, just hop over here.

Second, and still on the Minimalista theme, I cut and packaged up my LV charms for Rachael's LV charm swap at the Floral Suitcase.  I used Confetti Watermellon as my fabric of choice.  Love the cute little bunting-like print here!  Hope you gals like them, too!

And finally, a Sunnyside shop update.  There are now two new Sunnyside prints available in the shop.  They were ordered, didn't arrive, were cancelled, then made a surprise appearance.  It's hard to keep up sometimes.  There will be a celebration of their arrival over on Instagram starting tomorrow (Tuesday), so be sure you're following me @fluffysheepquilting.  Don't miss out!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Galway Food & Craft Fair Recap

Looking for the FQ bundle giveaway?  Click here.
PLEASE be sure you leave your email address if you're a no-reply commenter. I must have deleted 20-25 entries because I can't get in touch with entrants.

As you may remember, this past weekend was the Galway Food & Craft Fair.  Once again, it was an absolute hit for the local crafts people.  We had a wonderful time getting to know the new-to-us folks and seeing old friends from last year. It is always a great opportunity to make new connections, discuss ideas and pick up tips and hints from those more experienced.  

The Galway Enterprise Board did a wonderful job in balancing food with craft and choosing vendors that nicely complimented one another.  There were jewellery makers, knitters, potters, felters, wood turners, bone carvers, boat makers and blacksmiths to name a few. A little something for everyone.  I couldn't resist and did a bit of Christmas shopping myself.  Thanks, Lynsey!

On Friday night I had 3 super fantastic helpers move my display from the back of two jeeps into my 3m x 2m space.  They set up shelves, hung quilts, put up bunting and even arranged my thread in color order.  Who could ask for more?  They were wonderful.  In exchange, I treated them to dinner....at McDonald's across the road.  We had a great laugh together :)  Thank you Brian, Paul and Luke.

The left of my booth was for quilts as folks tend to come from the right.  I wanted that to be the first thing the visitor saw.  The Kona solids threw in a bit of color to catch the eye.  In the little central white baskets there were FQs galore highlighted with little mini hanging lights.  Love them.  Kat, the logo was shining bright on a sign above the stall.  You can kind of see it in the image above.  I didn't forget to brand, brand, brand!  You taught me well...and to use white table cloths.  Genius.

The right of the booth was filled with prints, more FQs, bundles, precuts and perle.  I wish I had a bit more space to cut fabric, but I could not dedicate much more space without compromising the quilter eye candy.

I am so sorry these images are fuzzy.  I was taking them at opening on Saturday morning and I was jittery with excitement.  How childish, right?  I couldn't steady myself!

On Sunday, though I re-arranged the left side of the booth to make the six hanging quilts more approachable and accessible.  I found lots of lookers on Saturday, but people did not want to bother me to take them down...and we all know the best part of a quilt is touching/feeling its softness.  Sunday there were many more hands-on investigators so it was a good move.

It was a wonderful weekend.  It was so great to see many of you, to meet new-to-me quilters in Galway, to renew friendships with local craftspeople and to work on my display for future events.  I thank all of you who came by and made this event such a success as well as the Galway Enterprise Board for hosting.  For you, blog readers, I would love to hear what you think of the shop stall.  What would you change?  What do you think works or does not work?  I am always looking to improve so I am entirely grateful for your suggestions.  Thanks, guys!  xx

Monday, November 18, 2013

Minimalista Giveaway!

Last week was 100% focused on preparing for this past weekend's Food & Craft Gift Fair.  Thankfully my Minimalista order from Art Gallery Fabrics arrived just in time to be included on the FSQ shelves for all of Galway to see.  It was a smashing hit!

While I was preparing FQ bundles for the festival, I set one aside to giveaway to those of you who were not able to pop by.  I can't keep all of the fabric goodness to myself, can I?

To enter, leave one comment below telling me which is your favorite print or your favorite color in this line.  For a bonus entry blog,  instagram or FB about this giveaway and leave a bit of evidence that you did so in a comment.

The small print: I am happy to ship internationally.  I will delete your entry if you are a no-reply commenter.  If you think you may be, leave your email address in your comment.  I will choose a winner on Friday at 8AM Galway time by random number generator.  Good luck!
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