Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Nieve's Stylin'

Soon enough I will be heading to Boston to meet my niece, Nieve.  Of course I wanted to make something special to give to her, but she already has a quilt.  It is not really the time of year for quilts anyway, is it?  Poor girl would be roasting.

Rhonda and Mary started egging me toward making a little dress for Nieve.  The idea of making something A) that's 3D and B) that has to actually fit someone totally freaks me out.  FREAKS ME OUT.  Rhonda assured me I could conquer the pillowcase dress.  Using this tutorial  suggested by Mary I finally gave it a go.

I choose Boho fabric that didn't have a directional print.  The greens/blues are great as my brother doesn't want poor  Nieve to be wearing pink all the time.  The non-directional print was fab as I just couldn't mentally figure out how things came together with this pattern so I needed to make life as easy as possible.  Couldn't have the front right way up and the back upside down, could I?

Anyway, after only a little unpicking (only when I thought I knew how to do something better than how it was described in the tute!) I ended up with this little dress:

I think it's a bit too big for her at only 5 months, but it may be perfect for her next summer.  In the end, though, at least I kind of know what I am doing and I wouldn't shy away from trying another tute.  I hope Nieve (and Nieve's Mom and Dad) like it lots!

Friday, July 12, 2013

FAL Q3 Goals

This list of goals will be very short and simple in the hope of keeping myself focused this quarter.  These three quilts MUST be finished.  There is no reason why they are still sitting around my sewing space instead of being all soft, quilted and in use.  Well, beyond the crazy warm (by Irish standards) weather we have had this week.  I do not want a quilt anywhere near me right now!

Here we go, then.  This quarter I will finish:

1. Liberty Love

This simple top has been waiting draped over the shop door for months.  I need to make the back, layer, quilt and bind it.  I even know how I want to quilt it, so I just need to get a move on.   Its really the design of the back that's holding me up.

I am super duper in love with this quilt top.  Yes, the top is finished.  The back is 85% finished.  It just needs to be layered, quilted and bound.  I am thinking of sending it out to be professionally quilted I am so in love with it.  I just need to figure out how I would like it quilted and then take it from there. 

Now this is just shameful.  The top is finished and I do really dig it...even though it coordinates with nothing that is in the house.  Details, details.  I have no thoughts RE the design of the back at all, so I need to start there.  It too needs to be layered, quilted and bound this quarter.

Fingers crossed I can get these three off my list to move onto a few new projects.  It will be so nice to finally have them as a functioning part of my home.

To join in the FAL fun, hop over here.  Once again, Leanne, thank you for organizing us.   

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Getting to know you...

Fat Quarterly retreat weekend is coming quickly!  It's time that we all post a little bit about ourselves so we kind of have a heads up of who one another is when we get to retreat.  It is a great idea so I am happy out to join in.  That being said, I am quite flustered about writing a post all about myself.  I will give it my best try.

Let's start with the basics, shall we?  I am Cindy.  I live in Galway Ireland with my other half, my cat Clarkson (nearly 4 years old) and my dog Molly (5 months old).

Molly on the beach in Co Clare

Clarkson checking out my Electronica blocks

I am originally from the good old US of A, but moved to Ireland 6 1/2 years ago.  It was here that I discovered quilting, which is funny seeing as I grew up right near Amish Country.  Missed opportunity there!

I love to sew flat things.  Anything 3D like a bag, pouch or item of clothing freaks me out.  Flat things, though, I can handle.  I love to make baby quilts for the quick reward, but always have a few more generously sized quilts on the go.  I like nearly all modern, crisp prints but not into those that are watery or dark.  I am into saturated, bold, bright color but am starting to see there's a place in the world for softer colors. 

Love on the Blocks

I am a full time scientist doing research in regenerative medicine during the day, quilter on the weekends and in the evening (or on a sneaky day off!).  I am also owner of a fabric shop also called Fluffy Sheep Quilting which has been a wonderful adventure!  The shop will be at the Saturday market, so do stop by and introduce yourself.

Community Quilt
I am similar to many quilty bloggers in that I am quite shy and have a difficult time starting starting conversations with people I don't know.  Just give me 5 minutes to warm up and find common ground, then I will be chatty.  Generally groups of more than 4 make me nervous, so the 135 arriving this weekend can be quite overwhelming.  We'll all be good friends in no time I am sure!


Lately my blog posts have been filled with photos/videos of myself so it seems silly (or self centred!?!?) to post another photo of myself, but FQly asked us to so I will oblige.  Here I am just a few weeks ago on the beach in Co Clare basking in the sun.

At the retreat you can find me in creating eraser stamps with Tasha, taking photos with Judith, hand quilting with Mandy or making Cathedral Windows with Brioni.  I can not wait to see my old friends while there and have a good catch up.  I'm also really looking forward to meeting new-to-me friends, no doubt we'll have a wonderful time!  

In the mean time, you can find me on social media in a few different places:
Twitter - @fluffysheepquil
Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/fluffysheepquilting/
Instagram - @fluffysheepquilting

Looking forward to seeing you all shortly!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Modern Stitching Bee Blocks: July

During the month of July in the Modern Stitching Bee, Miss Nicky gets her moment to shine.  She's been thinking hard about what block to ask for and she choose an absolute winner!  Our bee has the option of either choosing an online tutorial for hive mates to follow or using the Modern Blocks book.  Nicky choose the Arrowhead block from the book, but put her own twist on it so that she could make massive hexagons for her quilt top.

We were each challenged with making half a hexagon, about 29 x 13 inches large, that will be a rainbow star on a grey background.  Nicky will then combine our blocks to make gigantic hexie blocks for her quilt.

Stolen from Nicky's Flickr photostream.

We were asked to choose three shades of three colors to make three triangles.  We were then to coordinate these with solids and frame out the hexie with different shades of grey, be it printed or solid.  We were to use tone on tone prints, but I couldn't always adhere given the fabrics I had in house.  I tried my best, Nicky.

When I first saw Nicky's photos, I was convinced these were EPP blocks.  But no.  Fully machined with a sneaky Y seam in the patchwork triangles.

I would 100% suggest that folks who have the book should try this block out. It came together very quickly and has great impact. 

Nicky, I can't wait to deliver these to you in person at the Fat Quarterly Retreat.  I already have them packed up and ready to travel!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fat Quarterly Retreat Shopping

The Fat Quarterly Retreat in London is quickly approaching!  Are you ready?  Have your swap items made, you name badge in the post and your class materials gathered?   

For those of you attending the retreat, Fluffy Sheep Quilting (the shop) is offering a discount code giving you free shipping...and the pleasure of you knowing that I will be your fabric mule bringing goodies to the retreat for you.  Just enter FQRLONDON in the bottom left corner of your shopping cart and shipping will be removed from your order.  Please email me (fluffysheepquilting[at]gmail[dot]com) if you have any questions.

Happy shopping and I can't wait to see you all!

Monday, July 8, 2013

June's Modern Irish Bee Blocks

This month, in the Modern Irish Bee, the lovely Judith is running the show.  She sent to each of us a pretty stack of solid tumblers and asked us to make two blocks each.  She wanted each of us to put in a piece of our own fabric to reflect our personalities.  The block was then topped off with a solid navy frame.

I loved the colors Judith choose for us, so I was really excited to get going.  The only problem is that I had never sewn a tumbler before!  Judith gave us clear instructions (that were very helpful!) in the Flicker thread, but still you need to mess around on your own a bit to get the hang of these things.  With a little trial and error, I made these:

That flower print makes my heart flutter time and time again. I own yards and yards of it in red and blue, so I"ll never ever run out!

And of course there are sheep.  I could not resist.

Now that I am thinking about these blocks again, I remember Judith also sent a mini bar of chocolate. I hid it in my super top secret chocolate spot and then forgot about it!  I'm off to take it out for a munch right now.  Thank you, Judith!  I hope these suit you!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Second Quarter Finish Along: The Results

Back in early April I listed my top unfinished projects that I would like to finish this quarter.  The quarter did not go entirely as I expected, but there are still a few finishes to show you!  I'll skip those that I did not finish as I am sure they'll be added to the Q3 list that you will see shortly.  In the mean time, the happy finishes:

1. Rainbow Charm Swap

I cut and I cut and I cut until this

turned into this

I have yet to hear from someone wondering where their charms are, so I can only assume they have all arrived. Happy stitching, ladies!  It was so fun swapping with you!

This little quilt top

was finished off with concentric diamond quilting and a bright orange binding.

This poor hat had been missing it's little top for ages and ages

She was finally finished off on a bus to Dublin Airport.  Not glorious, but at least she's finished.  I was still wearing her in June, so she is a great addition to my wardrobe!

In possibly the most anti-climatic finish ever this 1/2 finished bag

became (possibly) my least favorite finish ever

Thankfully it has found a new home and will be arriving there shortly.  I won't spoil the surprise...you'll just see it pop up on a blog somewhere in the next few weeks.

Finally, this is one of my favorite finishes of the quarter.  A little cross stitch that went from this

to finished.  It now lives on my desk at work.  My office mates are asking for cross stitches of their own.  I will have to sort out little patterns that suit each of them individually.  That would be hilarious!

There we have it.  Five finishes out of the eight I listed as goals.  There are three quilts outstanding that I would like to finish next quarter, so it's time to get cracking.  Once again, Leanne, thank you for organizing.  I  enjoy this process through and through.  I'm so glad you're always there to give us a nudge. 

To see more finishes, hop over here!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

FSQ Youtube Video

Most importantly, I wish you all a happy 4th of July!  I love the 4th full of friends and family getting together, home town parades and BBQs with no obligation to bring presents.  Just snacks and beer.  I hope you're each celebrating in your own way.  My friends and I are heading out for a burger and fries.  What could be more patriotic?  Ha!

For completeness sake, I thought I would also show you the Fluffy Sheep Quilting video that was made as part of my Rural Innovation Award prize package.  This short 1 minute video was made from an hour long interview.  They then chopped and changed my sentences together to make a concise film.  I don't remember saying things in this exact way, but it was close enough.  

I am a small bit horrified to show you this, but Lynz wanted to hear my American accent so I will toss it out there.  I was chatting with Helen about how embarrassing this is and she's suggested a plan to make this easier:  I will ask you all to wince and alternate between looking at your knees/feet, the corner where the wall meets the ceiling and the top right of the laptop screen.  That way there are fewer eyes me at any one time.

Again, I blush (horribly) showing you this, but maybe you'll have a giggle or two.  Enjoy.

My favorite thing about the video?  Molly at the end, of course!  My least favorite thing...my hair.  What's going on there?!?!  Anyway, hope it gave you a laugh!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Farmer's Journal Feature

I can not believe I forgot to tell you guys about this!  Several weeks ago when I was sick, I received a text message.  I was kind of in a daze when it came in, so I kind of read it and kind of didn't.  

Now that's weird.  I only know one John and he doesn't live in Kerry.  And he wouldn't send me text kisses.  Who is this?  I went right back to sleep.  A few hours later it was still niggling at me.  Who is John?  Ah ha!  I finally realized that Kerry has a booming farming industry and that John (still don't know who he is!) must have seen the Fluffy Sheep Quilting feature in the Irish Farmer's Journal.  

You see, I entered the Rural Innovation awards back in December.  I heard in May that I won second place within the Social Media category.  Great news!  Part of the prize was a film about the shop.  I also won a feature within the Farmer's Journal.  So, I wrote the article ages ago and sent it off...and kind of forgot about it.  Until John texted and reminded me.  Anyway, when I was feeling better I went down to the shop and picked up a copy for myself.  Inside (deep inside...) I found this:

A two page spread on social media covering the basics of why it should be included in your business strategy, the basics on the big players of social media and a center page fold of the business that won first prize in the social media category.  Squeezed over on the right, you'll find a little feature on Fluffy Sheep Quilting.

The rainbow charms were a hit with the photographer!  Even though I totally blush with the unflattering photo of myself in a national newspaper, it's great to have a bit of coverage.  Coming in second in the Rural Innovation Awards has been just wonderful for the shop.  I'm thrilled to have participated and would really suggest anyone starting a shop should check locally for a competition such as this.  It will only make you (and your business) stronger.  Thanks for the reminder, John!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Circle of Friends: Such a Wonderful Surprise

Every day I appreciate my quilty friends.  You guys inspire me, give me a laugh, put life in perspective and remind me how real and touching friendship is, no matter how close or far you live from one another.  Monday afternoon, though, that friendship came into my home in a very real way.  And I broke down and cried in the kitchen. 

Let me (with great humility) show you the most gorgeous quilt that has entered this house: Circle of Friends.  

Goodness I wish I had prettier, more inspired photos to show you.  I was just running around like a loon trying to snap photos before the rain started and/or the sun set! 

This quilt was made for my partner and I by a lovely group of ladies separated by miles and miles (in Ireland, England, Morocco, N. Ireland, Scotland, Australia/NZ, Canada and the USA), but who support one another in any way we can.  I am so grateful to call these ladies my friends: Annabella, Emily, Hadley, Helen, Judith, Lucy, Nicky, Kat, Leanne, Rhonda, Sarah, Sarah and Susan.  We met one another through blogs, swaps and bees but over years became very real life friends.  Many of us have met in person, many of us have not.  That does not in any way diminish the bond we all share.   

You see, my partner and I have been through quite a difficult spring due to illness.  Each day we heal and take one step closer to re-gaining what was our normal life.  This circle of friends popped in/out with well wishes, giggles in the evenings when the house was quiet, and sanity checks when I was pretty sure I was loosing it.  All the while, they were secretly stitching away.  Who knew?

I can nearly mentally assign each block to each buddy with their fabrics shining through.  They were stitched together with love, then quilted in an amazing, symbolic spiral pattern.  The back is an adorable heart print with the biggest (most fantastic) quilt label I have ever seen!

I so wish I had a better photo for the siggy block/label.  Susan (in general) has a way more beautiful, more complete post here you can read.  I'm still scattered and a-buzz with emotion trying to put this post together. Her post is way more coherent.

They even thought to make a gorgeous cushion cover of coordinating blocks in a matching quilted spiral.  Perfect!  It has a super green cord back.  I'd love a skirt in this fabric!  This is going to look so amazing on the couch and I'll think of you guys each and every time I walk into the living room.

Honestly it's prettier in person.  I should have ironed it before taking photos.  Sorry, guys!

Let me tell you, though, of Brian's impression when seeing this quilt.  I had about 30 minutes to mentally digest its arrival and meaning, then I ran outside (ripped the laundry from the line) and popped the quilt up to take photos before the big rain drops came.  Brian came home during the photo shoot and our conversation when something like this:

Me: Come on over here and let me show you something.
Brian: Sure.  Ooo.  That's pretty!
Me:  Amazing, huh?  It's a gift.
Brian: That's way to nice to give away.  You should keep it.
Me: Um...no.  It's a gift from my friends to us.  A little love after our spring.
Brian: Seriously?  Look at the little pieces.  Wait.  Is this all quilted in one continuous spiral?  Holy (bleep-'n) frijole!

He loves it.  I love it.  And we both thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  xx (with kisses and more tears...the good kind)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Season By Hand Guest Post

I am over visiting with Jennie and Clara today at Clover and Violet as a guest blogger.  We are chatting about hand projects that travel with you through your summer adventures.  I will give you an update on this quilt that has been everywhere with me the past few weeks.  Pop on over for a peek at my progress so far!

This post is part of the A Season by Hand series. Find the schedule here. Full details on sponsors and prizes here.
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