Friday, August 30, 2013

Back to School Sale!

It's that time of year again!  The kids on my street are staring school this Monday.  They are half looking forward to seeing their friends, but are already complaining about the homework.  

But what about us? The grown ups.  Maybe you are a parent welcoming the peace and quiet back into your house.  More time to sew!  Maybe you are like me and your quiet work space is about to be invaded by hundreds of students.  We need to sew for sanity!  No matter how you cut it, I think we need a little fabric therapy.

Fluffy Sheep Quilting is having a 20% off sale starting today (Friday) and running through Monday so you can shop all weekend long.  Just enter the code back2skool on the shopping cart page under the pictures of your pretty fabrics.  Happy shopping!  

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Modern Stitching Bee: Quilted

It is with great excitement that I show you my new gorgeously quilted Modern Stitching Bee quilt!  It was recently quilted by Emily on her wonderful frame and I am absolutely thrilled with the results!  Look!  Look!

Photo by Emily
As Emily's frame is new to her, she is offering a basting service to anyone who doesn't fancy loosing their dignity and crawling all over the floor to baste a quilt.  Although she is not taking quilts from the general public for quilting quite yet, she's happy to take quilts from folks who are willing to let her learn/grow in her quilting skills.  Now I know Emily is phenomenal, so I was more than happy to give her my quilty baby.

Photo by Emily
The Modern Stitching Bee was incredibly important to me as I had such great bloggy friends included in the hive.  I loved each and every month we had together for the laughs and the quilty inspiration.  I was Miss November and chose a Depression  Block for the ladies to make.  I was a bit slow contributing my own blocks...still making them in January after the hive blocks arrived!  I needed to add a few extra to bring it up to size.  Since winter, it's been a finished top hanging over the shop door waiting to be layered and quilted.

Photo by Emily
But when making my Q2 and Q3 FAL goal lists, including the goal to finish this quilt (!!!), I realized both Emily and I would be the Fat Quarterly retreat in London.  I thought it would be a great opportunity for us to do a quilty hand off.  I happily gave her the finished top, batting and back (with signature blocks) and we chatted with Leanne to decide how it should be quilted.  We eventually decided on an infinity loop.  I wanted something bubbly to counterbalance the edges of the HSTs, but I didn't want it to be over quilted so that it would remain soft.  The infinity loop is perfect.  Before handing it off to Emily, we took a hive photo at the retreat.  How fun to get nearly half of the hive together!  The folks below are from the UK, Canada, Ireland and the US.  Amazing.

Photo by Leanne and Laura Jane
Susan, me, Leanne, Emily, Nicky and Di
Anyway, Emily has just finished it off and sent it over to Galway in the post.  Today it arrived and I am bubbling with excitement at the real deal in front of me.  I just need to get a binding on this old friend and we'll call it finished.  I am so excited to put it to use watching movies this winter.  Emily, it's gorgeous.  Thank you!!!

 I have just realized I need a name for this quilt.  Any suggestions?  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hand Printed Fabrics

I have a new obsession.  It's still fabric related, of course, but not your normal old fabric.  Hand printed fabric has stolen my heart!

It was only recently that I "met" Karen of Blueberry Park on Instagram and Leanne of The Little House Martin via the Fat Quarterly retreat last month.  (Instagram has opened a whole new world of quilters, artists and crafters and I am simply thrilled to bits. Join me @fluffysheepquilting.)   Leanne and Karen print the most gorgeous fabrics!

I first picked up a rainbow goodie scrap pack from Karen via Instagram (@blueberryathome).  I had been watching Karen for a short while printing away in her happy studio, but when a little fabric pack came up for sale I couldn't control myself!  I had nabbed it and gave Karen my paypal address before I realized what I had done!  Anyway, they arrived at the house and they are more delicious in person.

I have not made anything from them yet...I'm still in the happy petting stage.

Then, at the Fat Quarterly retreat market, I very briefly ran by Leanne's stand.  As I had my own shop that I was supposed to be watching, I could not hover for long.  But then over dinner my friends were showing me the gorgeous charm packs they picked up while shopping and I could not believe I did not have my own!  I hopped over to Leanne's Etsy shop and picked up a bundle for myself.  Happy happy days!

Now here's the question.  I'd love to use these in a single project where each print gets to shine as much as possible.  Any ideas?  Maybe in a quilt like this mixed with matching solids?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Nieve's Bunting

My little nice Nieve now has her own room.  She has a crib, a couch to read books with her mom and dad, a rocking chair and a changing table.  But her walls are still white as they day they moved in.

Nieve at 6 months old
So, while I was in Boston, Nieve's mom and I had a chat about brightening the place up.  We wanted to coordinate what hangs on the wall with both her dream catcher painted by her mom's friend (in aqua on a white background) and her quilt.  Well, how about a matching bunting?

Nieve has a 13 foot interior wall that doesn't have a window or a door.  We thought a bunting might be a fun way to add a little color to that space.  I used the leftover scrappy fabric I pieced for Chaos to make 9 of the flags, then choose a few fat quarters that I thought might suit Nieve for the other nine.  The dark blue with yellow and red flowers (photo below) is from my childhood curtains!  Love that print.  The back is a basic Kona White.

Elephants, sheep, frogs, birds and flowers.
I tried to coordinate the binding (Kona Peacock) with the aqua I remember from the painted dream catcher to pull things together.  I really hope my memory of the color is true and I didn't create something that looks awful!

Leaves and squiggles

Cranes and sheep (of course).

This is about 15 feet long to fill the wall and then have a little extra to droop or swoop as they'd like.  I tried to make equilateral triangles that are 10 inches from the base to the apex.  I'd say they remained as equilateral triangles only about 1/3 of the time.  The rest warped in the process. I don't  think you can tell, but my fear is that Nieve's dad tries to teach her about the geometry of triangles using this bunting and she's scarred for life.

Flowers from my childhood bedroom and elephants.

Flowers and frogs.

Nieve (and family) I hope you like it!  I'm already working on an idea for your other bare wall, but need a little practice before I start in on the "real deal".  Fingers crossed it works out!  xx

Miss Molly.  Photographic assistant.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Best Try at Repurposing

Over the past year I have been more and more interested in bringing the shop to craft markets or local fairs.  Each festival gives a new opportunity to play with fabric display, so I have been experimenting with cake stands, cupcake stands, colanders and suitcases. It has been great fun!  While at a flower show in June, I found these artificially distressed boxes that would be great for the shop.  They just needed a face lift.

I sanded.  And sanded.  And sanded to get as much of the (cheap) paint off of the sides as I could.  The manufacturer could not be bothered to paint the inside or bottom, thank goodness.  (PS I don't really have man-hands.  I don't know why its so huge here!)

I then had the (not so) brilliant idea of priming the boxes using spray paint.  Spray paint!  Who does that in Ireland?  It is so breezy at my house that I had more on my clothes, drive way and in my hair than I did on the wood.  It didn't matter where I stood!  Anyway, the priming layer is quite sparse and thin... which made me think spray paint was not my best choice moving forward.

So I pulled out the old fashioned paint that you apply with a brush.  Oh, the clean up!  Anyway, yellow was my first go-to choice as it is so bright and cheery and just makes the whole shop sing.  I also have a new infatuation with poppy red, so that was a must for painting the larger block.

Three coats later I have boxes that I would be happy to put in the shop!  I do not see a future for myself in furniture restoration. In fact, if I never do this again that would be 100% fine by me.  They are not perfect with bubbles and drips everywhere, but they reflect me and my love of bright colors.  Won't they look so fantastic filled to the brim with pre-cuts?  Yum!

While I am thinking about bringing the shop to fairs, Fluffy Sheep Quilting will be at the Clarinbridge Market Day on 7 Sept.  Come over and say hello!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Fugly Fabric Party

The world famous Fugly Fabric party has perfect timing for me this year, so I am delighted to join in.  I have just been messing around re-organizing my personal stash of FQs and precuts lately.  I pulled out a few that were right for me at one time, but I need to move on.  Would you maybe like them in your stash?  If so, just leave a comment below.  Tell me if you would like giveaway 1, 2, 3 or 4...or any combination of them.  For a second entry, follow me via any one of my social media outlets (listed below) and leave a comment telling me all about it.  Let's get on with the goodness, shall we?

Giveaway 1
A pile of three green FQs or rather larger scraps.  They are from the Stitched in Color line by Malka Dubrawsky for Moda.  I loved this line, but the greens just are not doing it for me any longer.  Might they float your boat?

Giveaway 2
What's left of a jelly roll of batiks.  I still love the colors in this jelly roll, but I never used them in one massive project together.  I have been snipping bits and ends off of strips that I dig for special projects.  Anyway, what I have to offer is about 1/2 a jelly roll of these fabrics:

I will warn you, though.  They've been washed once and they do bleed a bit and their edges are a bit stringy.  Just so you know.

Giveaway 3
Fabrics that never really did it for me.  These FQs were found in bundles, were given as gifts or appeared in the bottom of goodie bags.  I would just love it if anyone wanted to give them a good home. (Edited to add all 3 of these FQs come as one package and will be sent to the Giveaway 3 winner).

Giveaway 4
The "low volume" bundle.  These came to me as part of several larger low volume bundles, but they are either not low volume enough for me or I just do not dig the prints.  Either way, maybe they will find a happy home in your quilts.  They are each untouched (not even unfolded!!!) FQs.  (Edited to add that the 4 FQs come together in one giveaway prize.)

If we're not already social media buddies (for your second chance at a giveaway win), you can find me here:

Thank you, Lucy, for organizing!  You're the best!


Small print: if you do not respond to my email informing you as a winner in 3 days, I will pull another winner and they'll take home the goodies.  International entries welcome - why would you ever restrict fabric happiness?  If you are a no-reply commenter, leave your email address in your comment or I will delete your entry.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Modern Baby: A peek inside

Several weeks ago, my good friend Sarah sent over a copy of Modern Baby for me to flip through.  As you may already know, her gorgeous Modern Shapes Sampler quilt is in this book (page 30), but there are so many other gorgeous quilts that I wanted to tell you about as well.

Inside you'll find 80 pages of quilty goodness.  Seventy-five full pages are focused on quilty eye candy, templates and instructions with only 5 pages of "extras" like the table of contents and a short biography of each contributor.  Nearly every contributor is a blogger, so as a bonus I have found several new bloggers I want to follow.  Score!

Quilt By Amy Smart
From Modern Baby, Martingale, 2013, used by permission.  Photo by Brent Kane.
All Rights Reserved

Inside, there are quilts that are perfect for a small person...

Quilt By Carrie Bloomston
From Modern Baby, Martingale, 2013, used by permission.  Photo by Brent Kane.
All Rights Reserved

...or quilts that I could imagine being scaled up for a lap quilt or twin bed.

Quilt By Shea Henderson
From Modern Baby, Martingale, 2013, used by permission.  Photo by Brent Kane.
All Rights Reserved

No matter what, there are many quilts included that will inspire a weekend project without doubt.  No matter what mood you're in (appliquĂ©, piecing, templates), there is a quilt to suit you.

In all, there are 14 quilts included in this book with very clear instructions for each one.  I like that nearly every quilt is shown in two color ways (to get your imagination ticking!) and each of the templates come at full size (thank goodness!)

Quilt By Lindsey Rhodes
From Modern Baby, Martingale, 2013, used by permission.  Photo by Brent Kane.
All Rights Reserved

I am just thrilled to have this book as part of my quilting library. I think it is a super reference with great pattern ideas and filled with colorful inspiration.  Sarah, thank you for sharing the quilty goodness with me!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Swoon Block 5

Just a short post today to say hello and show you the Swoon block I finished today.  Here she is, Block 5 in all of her DS glory.

I think this is my favorite block this far. I just love that gold bouquet fabric and nearly anything made with it.  I think I have now caught up with the QAL, but I will keep pushing through and will try to finish before our QAL deadline.  Another two blocks to come this weekend.  Woo hoo!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Little Star: A finish!

At the end of May, I started Little Star on a total whim. It was one of those quilty ideas that you had to immediately.  The quilt top came together nearly immediately as I was using the left-over pieced scraps from Nieve's quilt, Chaos.  I then thought it would be a great opportunity for me to give hand quilting a try.  You can read about that adventure in this guest post, but suffice it to say after a bit of a learning curve I did gain enough hand quilting confidence to finish her off.

This quilt has been finished since the first week of July...I just didn't get around to take photos for all of you.  Well, today's the day for her great reveal!

She is hand quilted in teal perle echoing the star, then in chartreuse green in straight lines through the center of the star.  The chartreuse blends in with the scraps, so you really only see that from the back.

I'm quite pleased with this little finish.  I'll happily pop her into the next shop pop-up stall to go to a new home.  Until then, she makes me happy every time I see her!

Quilt Stats:
Name: Little Star
Made for: the shop
Fabric: Scraps (all 100% cotton) in the star, then Kona teal as the background.  Kona medium grey is on the back, then its bound in a Robert Kaufman print
Thread: Aurifil 2600 for piecing (50 wt)
Batting: Simply Cotton
Size: 31 inches x 31 inches
Quilting: Hand quilted echoing the star in teal perle cotton (Anchor no. 8) and then in straight lines through the star with chartreuse perle cotton (Anchor no. 8)
Pattern: A small version of the Giant Star.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Swoon Blocks 2, 3 and 4

I think I have officially caught Swoon-mania.  After getting the hang of it with block 1, I very much enjoying piecing these blocks two at a time.  This weekend I finished off three additional blocks and have a fourth nearly completed.  I think the fourth may be my favorite yet, but until it's finished I'm only revealing blocks 2, 3 and 4.

Block 2 in blues and greens.  I love this block and it gave me hope after crazy block 1 that this quilt will be OK. The blues and greens are just so lovely together and the pattern of one doesn't overwhelm the other.

Block 3 introduces grey with the pink.  I like how the grey cools down the other blocks. It looks so beautiful on the design wall.

Block 4 is another blue and green combo.  This doesn't look as washed out in real life.  The blue is really beautiful and lively.

I'll leave you with a photo of Molly.  You haven't seen her in quite some time and she's growing like a weed. She is 6 months old now and over 50 pounds (23kg).  She brings such life to our home I can't remember what it was like before she joined our family.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Stamp It Up Swap

Apparently I am in a swapping mood lately.  I have also signed up for Nicky and Helen's Stamp It Up swap.  If you want to join in too, head on over to the flickr site and sign up ASAP.  It's getting quite full already!

While at the Fat Quarterly Retreat in London this past July, I took a class by Tasha on creating your own eraser stamps.  It was great fun and could easily be something that becomes part of my happy, crafty life.  I love how you can easily personalize a project or create a card for a special occasion with very little effort.  In the class I started off with some tracing paper, an eraser, a craft knife, a pencil and a little inspiration.

And I tried my best to create a little fluffy sheep stamp.  I initially thought I'd make it easy on myself and make him a black sheep.  That way I didn't have to carve out his middle.

Once I tested him, though, I clearly wanted a little white sheep.  Sadly my knife slipped and I sheered him a little too close, destroying the stamp all together.  With little time left in the class I carved a little puppy paw instead.

With a little practice, though, I think I can handle a swap.  It's a great excuse to sharpen my skills (and my scalpel) and give it another try!  Again, in secret swap style we had to make an inspirational mosaic. 

 I apparently am digging birds (or animals in general) and flowers.  I was also imagining a little sewing machine and pin cushion would be pretty cute.  No matter what comes of this swap its still going to be great fun giving it my best try. I can't wait to see what my partner is into.  How exciting!

Stamp It Up!
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