Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Bee Blessed: April

Clearly this past weekend was focused on bee blocks.  This is my last bee block post this week.  I promise.  I just got a fright on Saturday realizing this is the last week of the month, so I quickly had to kick myself into gear.

Up next are these super bee blocks for Bee Blessed!  Judith and Sarah are looking for Asterisk blocks this month.  They were specifically looking for a matching pair of positive/negative blocks using a white or a modern print in the negative space.  

I pulled out my favourite white on white print that has swirly little dots (don't know where it's from!) giving it some interest without being overwhelming.  It goes so beautifully with this navy print.

To make these blocks, we were sent over to Craftsy for this video tutorial.  The tutorial is wonderfully done, making these blocks very easy to make.  This was my first time using a video tutorial to make blocks, which was quite interesting.  A whole new experience that took me a while to get oriented, but it worked out swimmingly in the end.

The blocks are designed to be oversized, then trimmed to 12.5 inches.  After my Twinkle Twinkle experience with weirdo sized bee blocks, I've purposely trimmed these to 13 inches square so that Judith/Sarah can fiddle with them as needed to fit into the quilt.  I hope that helps the piecing a bit, ladies!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Modern Irish Bee: April

Whew!  April is flying by!  With it, though, has come some beautiful weather.  Would you believe I'm sitting out at night in the back garden writing this post?  Shocking.

This month in the Modern Irish Bee, the talented Miss Anna went for a few wild improvisational blocks using this tutorial as a guide.  She wanted a fussy cut to anchor the block, but wanted it to be off center.  From there we were let to dive into our scrap bins and stitch.

Now, I must have added in additional instructions to Anna's request because in MY mind (apparently in my mind only....) these blocks were to be somewhat monocrhomatic.  Even though her inspirational mosaic clearly has multi-colored blocks.  I wonder if I picked that theme up from the tutorial?  Anyway, everyone else has gone wild scrappy and I'm the only weirdo with monochromatic blocks.  Anna's nice enough to take them for her quilt anyway :)  Thank you, Miss Anna!

When digging through my scrap bins I really only had two piles of scraps big enough to make a block: teal/aqua and pink.  I thought they looked OK as a pair, so I went for it.  The aqua block has a Melody Miller teapot as the fussy cut focus point.  The pink block has a little Hello Kitty, the only thing in a pink vein that I have to fussy cut!

I squeezed in a few DS goodies, a small bit of Liberty, Nordika (because Anna digs it) and a few selvedges.  All in all I'm quite pleased with the result.  I love making these blocks, Anna.  I could stitch these all day long!  

Friday, April 18, 2014

Swoon Top: Finished!

It was nearly a year ago that I started Swooning.  My how time flies.  It took me a long while to start stitching the blocks after I choose my fabrics, but once I started in I LOVED making them.  They are massive, so finishing one block is incredibly satisfying.  However, this (massive) pile of blocks moved right out of my sewing room and lived on the spare bed for months.  I had a sashing mental block.  I don't know why.

Thanks to Miss Katy and the Q1/Q2 FAL I finally dedicated time to finishing my Swoon top.   It. Is. Massive.  My clothes line in not high enough to hang it without dragging on the grass!  The original Swoon pattern finishes at 80 x 80 inches (the cream center portion of my quilt) but I framed it further in two DS fabrics bringing the final top to 96 x 96 inches.  This fits our spare bed perfectly.

I have a plan to piece the back with my fabrics already pulled.  I am just waiting to hear a final word from the long arm quilter as to what size she'd like the back to be.  That's right!  There is NO way I am quilting this on my little domestic machine.  It will head to Cork next week for a bit of tender loving stitching.

I have my binding fabric here in my sewing room, so I just may whip up my binding so I am ready to go for its return.  That would be a lovely project some evening next week.

Since it was such a beautiful day, I had not one but TWO photographic assistants.  They explored, played together, smelled the new spring grass and (Molly) chewed sticks while Clarkson hid in the hedge.  Perfect.

That's the news here in Galway.  Fingers crossed I finish the Swoon back this weekend and send the lot off to the quilter next week!  So close to a FAL Q2 close....

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Handy Dandy Fabric Weights

Lately I have been wrestling with rather large pieces of sashing fabric or a nearly finished medallion quilt top on my cutting table.  Just as I get them on the cutting board and get my ruler aligned, they slide right off and crumple onto the floor.  It has frustrated me to no end.  What's a stitcher to do but stitch up a solution?

I remembered a tutorial on Oh, Fransson from ages ago that got me started.  After a quick read, I fussy cut five 3.5 inch squares of Melody Miller teacups and then the same of a red/white texty print that I don't know the name of.  I also cut ten 3.5 inch squares of batting, matching each one to a top/bottom and securing it with a grid of stitching about 1 inch in from the edge.

I just matched right sides together, stitched three sides and then flipped them right side out and filled them three quarters full with dried soya beans.  Before flipping, I did trim the corners off and cut away the batting that would have really bulked up the seams.  They were then hand stitched closed.  Easy peasy.

I do wish that I used something a bit heavier as a filling, but these will due for the time being.  They do seem to work, though - they can at least hold down a little pile of LV fabrics in a Galway breeze.  That's saying something!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Fluffy Sheep Quilting {The Shop} News

The shop was a-buzz last week with new fabric arriving, so I have not been sewing lately.  Seeing as we are all fabric enthusiasts, though, I thought I would show you what pretties have joined our fabric family. I can not stop petting them!

First up, Vintage Happy.

What's not to like in this fabric line?  There are flowers, little retro geometric prints, hangers, dress patterns, irons and leaves.  The colors are just delicious ranging from a tangerine orange to cherry red, from aqua to golden rod yellow.  Each of the prints below is available from the bolt in traditional FQ, half yard and yard cuts....

But then there's also a complimentary panel available that includes an additional four FQs.  The irons are simply irresistible.  I haven't listed bundles in the shop yet, but they will appear this week at some point.

Next, Rocket Age.

A little boy's dream combining stars, planets, teddy bears and robots.  With a retro twist, these prints bring back the wonder of a comic book's adverts (moon shoes!).  This line beautifully combines a nice denim blue, brick red and cream with splashes of orange and yellow.  Again, bundles will appear in the shop shortly.

Complimenting the fabric pretties, Love Patchwork & Quilting (the April issue) has also arrived!

I only have 3 or 4 copies of this left, so please do let me know via a comment below or an email if you want one sent your way.  Snatch one up quickly...they're flying off the shelf!  The projects in this issue are just wonderful.

And finally, we have a give away winner!  The lovely Miss Nicky has scooped up the 50 euro gift certificate to be spent on anything she'd like in the shop.  Congratulations, Nicky!  I thank you all for your support of Fluffy Sheep Quilting as the Best Retailer in Galway.  I am sorry to say that the shop did not take the win, but we gave the other contestants a good bit of competition.  A huge thank you to all who voted.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Finish Along Quarter 2: The Hopeful List

And the list making has begun!  It's time that we link up with Miss Katy and state out our goals for the next quarter.  I have been working from a relatively small project list lately, which has suited me incredibly well.  I love that I can see progress in each project, that I know what I should be doing the next time I can sit and sew AND that I have an actual hope of finishing these quilts before the quarter is out.  Stars all around.

1. Swoon

To not bore you with the same Swoon photo of my 9 finished blocks
on the line, I mixed it up a bit.  I just don't have a photo of my finished Swoon top.
It's so HUGE!
My swoon top is finished including sashing between the blocks and two additional borders to bring it up to size for our guest bed.  I have chosen the main backing fabric, but need to piece the back together.  This is going to be long armed (no way I'm quilting a 96x96 inch quilt in my machine!) in Cork and returned to me for binding.  That's the plan, anyway.

2. Twinkle Twinkle

This quilt is (lobby) layered and I am currently hand quilting in each of the stars.  Through the quarter I will need to finish hand quilting it, bind and wash.  Here's hoping my quilting will hold it together!

3. Medallion

I don't have a name for this quilt yet.  I guess that's on the Q2 to-do list as well!  My medallion needs this border to be finished (have 2 sides done, 2 to go with 4 corner stones) a small, thin "bonus" border to correct a few size issues (clearly a theme, there) and then one final 6.5 inch border to be added.  I have the backing sorted, so it needs to be layered, hand quilted and bound.  I know its quite a lofty list for myself, but I am so in love with this quilt I just may pull it off.

4. Spoolin' Around

Now here I have a quilt name (from Miss Anna) but not a quilt top.  I have piles and piles of spool blocks that have arrived from my bee buddies, so the top needs to be assembled, quilted and bound.  This is VERY lofty, but I can't be in the run for Katy's winnings if I don't list it here!

Katy, once again you're brilliant for having organized us.  I am hopeful this quarter, so let's get stitching!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Galway Stitching Meetup: April

The Galway Stitchers met up last Thursday in a bright, lovely, hotel lobby to chat about recent quilting classes, basting tools, stretches for your back/neck during quilting and batting options.  It's amazing how conversation flows from one topic to the next.  Before we know it, it's time to pack up and truck home for dinner!  Love those nights.

While we were chatting away I basted Twinkle Twinkle.  I figured the hotel had a huge clean floor space, didn't have little cat/dog "helpers" AND I'd be entertained with the chat to pass the time.  My little plan worked brilliantly.  Gave the hotel staff a little giggle, too.

Annette brought along her husband's knee pads to save my poor bones on the hard lobby floor.  They were FANTASTIC!  I need to get a pair myself.  

There was more than enough space once I (kind of) re arranged their furniture.  Bold, Cindy.  Bold.

In the end, I had a quilt basted and ready to go.  I am currently hand quilting with perle cotton inside the stars, echo quilting 1/4 inch inside the scrappy bits.  I am so completely in love with this process I don't see myself machine quilting another quilt in the near future.  I am nearly done the 21 stars now (4 left!) and will then move onto the squares and diamonds between the stars.  There's a plan formulating of how to tackle them, but I'll need to test it out first.  That's the news ladies.  Quilting away happily here in my part of the world :)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Love Patchwork & Quilting At Fluffy Sheep Quilting

Good news, everyone!  Fluffy Sheep Quilting will now be stocking Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine!  I am so excited I can hardly contain myself....which is why I'm telling all of you!

Borrowed from Love Patchwork & Quilting's website

We will start with supplying the April (issue 7) edition of the magazine.  There will be 15 copies available in the shop, arriving in Galway late next week.  My goal is to ship these pretties to their new homes immediately upon their arrival.  To avoid wasting time, I'd like to start accepting pre-orders now.  Here's how it will work:

Again, borrowed from the Love Patchwork & Quilting website.

1. Each magazine will cost  €6.50, which is nearly €1 less than the cover price at my Irish competitor's shop.

2. Shipping within Ireland is €2.10, to the rest of the world €4.20 per magazine.

3. Leave a comment below (or text me or email me at fluffysheepquilting{at}gmail{dot}com) and let me know if you're interested in reserving a copy.  

4. I will then invoice you via paypal and will ship your copy immediately upon its arrival in Galway.

I know how difficult it's been getting Love Patchwork & Quilting outside the UK, so I am delighted to offer a solution for those of us who want to snag a copy for ourselves.  How fun!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

FAL: First Quarter Wrap Up {2014}

Way back in early January I wrote up an optimistic list of projects I wanted to finish in the first quarter of the year.  Here's a re-cap of what REALLY happened:

1. Swoon 2013
This is definitely NOT a finish. This past weekend I did get my sashing and one of the three borders added, so I hope to have a finished top to show you in the near future.  This will slide onto my Q2 list happily.

A finish!  This little cross stitch is now complete and hanging at my desk at work.  I absolutely love it.

3.  Modern Irish Bee Quilt: Twinkle Twinkle
It's a personal triumph that I pulled this out and started working on it again.  That said, it is 100% not finished.  I have the center blocks pieced and a plan sketched for the exterior 8 blocks.  This too will slide into my Q2 to-do list.

4. Mini Spools Quilt:
No progress what so ever.  Moving on....

5. Donation Quilt for Mexico City
A finish!  It's not my most favorite finish of all time, but I'm delighted that it's done and on its way to its new home.

Two out of five isn't brilliant, but it isn't a total failure.  Two of those that I haven't finished yet have a bit of motivation behind them now and that's what counts.  Linking up with Miss Katy and my FAL friends.  Katy, thanks a mil for organizing us!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

FairyFace Designs Blogger Bundle!

As you may have already guessed from IG, the super talented Sarah, who blogs at FairyFace Designs, created a beautiful fat quarter bundle for Fluffy Sheep Quilting this month!  I can't wait to tell you all about it.

Sarah was the first blogger I followed in the modern quilting world.  She was (and still is) a total quilting rock star in my mind.  I so very clearly remember the day I emailed her (I was so nervous!) to tell her I started a blog and ask her the best way to pick up a few followers.  Her advice was spot on: don't be shy, chime in, comment on other blogs and join in linky parties.  That was my start...all because of Miss Sarah.

Many years have passed since that email.  I'm so grateful to say she's now a real life friend and my co-founder of the Modern Irish Quilters.  There's no better laugh then a Saturday afternoon chat with Miss Sarah. She lets me vent, makes me laugh and is wonderful person to bounce ideas on/off.

Get to the fabric, Cindy! Right.  Sarah's pulled prints from Wrens and Friends, Rapture, Wishes and Scrumptious that work so brilliantly together.  There are 9 fat quarters in this bundle (18x22 inches) retailing at 31.50 euro.  To pick up a bundle for yourself, just hop over here.  If you've missed the other Blogger Bundles earlier this year, you can see Leanne's and Kat's bundles here.

Sarah, thank you for the time, effort and energy that went into building this bundle.  I absolutely love it.  xx

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