Monday, September 29, 2014

Modern Quilters of Ireland {Bee Blessed Blocks}

There is SO much to tell you from this past weekend, but I can not get my brain together to write a full post including all of the hoo-ha.  You see, on Saturday several ladies from the Modern Quilters of Ireland came together in Galway for a day of stitching.  I will tell you all about it in time.

Those of us gathering for the mini-retreat decided to come together and create a quilt top for Bee Blessed.  We decided on a scrappy sampler blocks in blues and greens with white background.  I am just delighted with what the ladies created.  Want to see?

Such a super array of blues and greens, but they work so very well together.  I think so at least.  Great variety in block choice too!

I'm going to put the top together with white sashing, blue and green corner stones and then I'll put on borders.  I already know one border I want to use that's new in the shop.  Can't wait to get cutting!

As you will quickly figure out, there are 13 blocks in total.  That makes for a funny shaped quilt.  I would love to have a 4 block x 4 block layout.  Would anyone else in the MQGI want to send on a blue and green block to be included?

Galway breeze go the best of my churn dash there in the upper left.
You can imagine what that corner looks like...very similar to the other three.  

I'm looking for 3 more blocks that are 12.5 x 12.5 unfinished (12 inches finished).  If you are interested in sending one (or two...or three) to me, please leave a comment below and I will send to you my postal address.

UPDATED: I have volunteers for the three additional blocks we need.  Thanks so much, ladies!

Modern Quilters of Ireland, this is going to be absolutely beautiful.  Thank you so very much for your effort.  What a stunner we will make together!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Aprons for my Helpers

When I brought my shop to the Clarinbridge market last weekend it was a true neighborhood affair.  Not only did the community join in to support local vendors, but the two lovely girls from next door volunteered to help me mind the shop.  They are 10 and 12 years old.  The 10 year old loves pink and purple, loves to perform/sing and can tell a super story playing each roll herself.  The 12 year old is a jokester, an athlete and animal lover.  They are hilarious together.  We visit nearly every day to let our dogs play and hear the news from school.  

They knew I was preparing for the market by cutting fabric and making bundles.  They (in all their cuteness) figured out how they could ride their bicycles the 2 miles over to the next town on the back roads so they could join in the fun.  The night before the market, I get a text from the 12 year old asking if she could help me at the stall for the day.  She (and later her sister) joined me for the day and we had a wonderful time together.  They were chatting to customers, making change, creating bundles, setting up displays.  It was really wonderful to share the day with them and watch them come out of their comfort zone.

Now, what I had not thought about was that I had only one spare shop apron.  In all honesty I expected them to come and mess in the market square for the day.  I did not think they would actually spend it all in the stall as focused shop keepers!  I clearly needed two aprons for my two helpers and I was unprepared.

As a thank you for their time, effort and wonderful company, I made them each an apron of their own.  One in the pinks and purples she loves.  The other in the vibrant teal with birdies, her favorite fabric in the shop.   I used a tutorial from Sew Mama Sew and fabrics from Fluffy Sheep Quilting: Enchanted (pinks and purples) and Kokeshi (birds and teal swirls).  

Of course, this photo shoot wouldn't have been possible without a helper cat.  Clarkson can not resist a sunbeam.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Modern Irish {Scrappy} Bee: September Blocks

It's a rare month that I have my bee blocks finished already!  This month in the Modern Irish Bee, Helen has asked for four happy, bright, loud, clashing Wonky Cross blocks using her own tutorial.  We were to use Kona Solids as the background fabric and then use (non-floral) scraps for the crosses.  

I had great fun making these blocks.  We usually only make two per hive member, but as these were so easy to make I was happy to make four.  

I have to say I was surprised to find four different colors of Kona Solids in my stash.  I was sure I would have to go to the shop and pick up a few FQs.  Lucky me, though...a little dig and I found enough.  They are quite Eastery, though, aren't they?  Sure, when they are mixed in with all of the others from the hive they will be fine.

We were asked to not trim them.  To leave the little crossing strips dangling from the edge.  I feel like I have not finished my job sending them all scraggly.  That said, if you tuck in the edges and align the blocks, you can see they will be quite pretty together.  Helen, I hope you like them.  They will be in today's post.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Clarinbridge Market Stall {2014}

Last weekend I took the shop to the next town over, Clarinbridge, for their annual market.  Every Saturday in September they ask the local vendors to come to the town's square and set up a market stall.  It's quite traditional in that there are farmers vending veg, people spinning yard from fleece and livestock for sale.  You wouldn't believe how hard it was to resist the donkey foal on sale for 40 euro!   If only we had a field.

We arrived bright and early to set up in our assigned spot.  There was a small issue in that we were wedged between two trees.  Thank goodness the weather was predicted to be sunny as it would have been impossible to get the sides/walls up with all of those branches.

Even though we were grunting while setting up the canopy (and even had to do a little pruning!) we were delighted with how the branches and leaves softened the stall and made it more homey.  It was beautiful!  The quilts by Emily, Rhonda, Lynz and Annabella were out front on display to draw folks in.  

Our neighbors were SUPER cute...

and VERY chatty.

The stall was packed full of fat quarters and bundles....

....and more bundles and perle.  Even a few charm packs to liven things up!

Because there were tree branches and we liked the light coming into the stall, we hung the quilts (by Fiona and Lucy) gathered up.  I love how this looked.  People were interested in them, too!  They came fully into the stall, pulled them down, had a full inspection.  I love that they were appreciated.  

All in all, we had a great day.  The weather was spectacular so the entire town was out to have a look, chat with friends, and pick up a delicious treat for lunch.  The stall was packed all day, so we met some wonderful local sewists and quilt appreciators.

I couldn't think of a better way to spend a sunny Saturday.  Thank you to all who came to the market and made it such a success!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mini Star Quilt Finish

A short post to say hello and show you a little mini quilt finish.  I recently dug through my unfinished projects cabinet and found an old test block that I had started to hand quilt.  Are you ready for how long ago I started this?  The text block was in 2012 and I started hand quilting it as part of my 2013 Fat Quarterly Retreat classes.  Goodness how time flies.  Anyway, it was tucked away and I completely forgot about it.  

So I brought it along with me for a weekend of camping.  There I finished hand stitching it and hand stitched the binding onto the back.  I washed it when we got home and it kind of warped a bit (upper left corner).  I think I'll give it a press (can you press out wonkiness?) and will pop it up on the sewing room wall.  Happy happy happy little finish!  

Monday, September 8, 2014

Big Stitch Swap Mini Quilt

Several months ago the Big Stitch Swap, co hosted by myself and Sarah, kicked off with a lovely group of happy stitchers.  The idea was to create something small (think table cover, zippy purse, journal cover) for your partner where hand stitching was a predominant design element.  It was perfect for summer time when everyone was on the go!  

I decided to make a mini quilt for my partner (and friend) Leanne using my recent favorite fabrics by Denyse Schmidt and a pattern from Cut.Press.Sew.Quilt that I have been wanting to try.  It has two perfect opportunities in the body and arm of the machine to personalize the quilt.

Luckily Leanne's blog header and logo are easily converted into cross stitching grids.  I went to my favorite cross stitch designer for help and then ran to the nearest shop for floss.  

I brought these with me to the beach, to music festivals...even to Fat Quarterly!  It was really nice to share my travels with you, Leanne.

The back and binding are coordinating DS prints.  That plaid could be one of my favorite prints of all time!  I'm using it everywhere lately.

And finally, on the back I added two little folds of fabric so that Leanne could easily hang it on her wall with a bamboo post or even a bit of clothes hanger wire.  She has such an amazing wall of minis that are done in her unique modern industrial style, so I hope this doesn't look too out of place.  I had a wonderful time making it, Leanne.  I hope it brightens your sewing room!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Secret Sewing

Now, it's not often that I have a super top secret project on the go.  I am more likely to show you everything in no less than 5 photos from each and every angle.  This time, though, I will play my cards close to my chest for another few weeks and then show you 5+ photos from every angle :)

I was at a music festival last weekend and needed a hand stitching project for the drive down and for lazy mornings over coffee.  I packed up my gorgeous hexie bag (made by Ali as part of the Big Stitch Swap) with pre-basted hexies and hit the road.

To see more of this amazingly beautiful bag, hop over to Ali's blog post. She has lovely photos!  I am so very lucky to have it in my home.  It sits right next to my spot on the couch filled with hand sewing needles, hexie papers and a few spools of thread.  Happy happy happy.

From Ali's blog - it pretty much holds exactly what she guessed it would!
Well done, Ali!

So, over the four day weekend I patiently pieced together hexies using Vintage Happy fabrics.  I have tried to piece hexies in the past and was not incredibly successful.  It honestly frustrated me to the point of anger, then I wondered why I am torturing myself.  However, this time around the hexies are much larger and less fiddly (easier to hold) AND I'm using coordinating thread so I am not as concerned about my novice stitches showing through.  

With my photo assistant, of course.

As I have no idea what I am doing, I pieced three long rows, then stitched them together.  I think for the rest I will instead piece small clusters and then piece together, in maybe two individual "flowers" with a connecting "apple core" of hexies in the center.  

In the end, though, piecing these hexies made me happy!  I could piece sitting in my camping chair waiting for the festival to wake up, I pieced when driving home and I had a quiet few stitches on my couch after my de-mud-ifying shower.  (Gross!)  Loved it.  

That's all you will see of this project for a while.  Check back in another few weeks for the great reveal!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Festival of Quilts :: The Quilts

In looking at the photographs I took at the Festival Of Quilt exhibits, there are clearly three different topics that took my fancy: circular themes, detailed quilting and (of course) those that incorporated biology.  Clearly there were many other quilts at the festival that were incredibly beautiful...but not all of the pretties can fit in one blog post!

Oh, New York Beauty.  Boy, did you shine at the festival.  How have I not tried to make one yet?  The NYB quilts exhibited would inspire anyone to start piecing!

By the London Modern Quilt Quild (50x50 inches)
Traditional NYB by Amy of Crafty Shenanigans (20x20 inches)

I really loved this foundation pieced star, too!  Paper piecing and stars...they get me every time!

What a Gem by Jane Sully entered into the Miniature Quilts category.
 I liked how scrappy this quilt was, but that you could still clearly see several concentric circles in each block.  I wonder how this was pieced.  Has anyone tried one like this before?

I forgot to take a photo of the label!  I'm sorry, quilt maker!

My oh my there were some very talented quilters showing off their skills!  Trudi's work was popping up all over - it always makes me smile.  Two of my other favorites are below: Big Bang and Stack.  Although I'm not gone on the fabric choices (a jelly roll and solids?) or the design in either quilt, the quilting draws my eye immediately.  

Big Bang by C.A. Sanchez and S.G. Medina in the Two Person Quilt category.
The background fabric is white/cream - the lighting in the exhibit was pretty awful.
Can you see how the background sections are each quilted uniquely?  Loops, swirls and clamshells really keep you interested, drawing you closer.
Detail of Big Bang.
Now, this concentric square design in Stacks gets my quilting juices flowing for a few of my current quilts.  I love how it take a solid background fabric and makes it incredibly interesting.

Stack by M. Munroe and R. Dorr, again in the Two Person Quilts category.
Each building block in the stack is then individually quilted again in loops and swirls.  That must have taken forever!
Detail of Stack.

Of course, anything with a bit of biology always catches my attention.  To my delight, there were a few quilts that incorporated orthopaedics!  It's funny.  This past spring my building at the university held an art exhibit where anyone could enter if your work had a scientific theme.  Nothing beyond those old ball and stick chemical structures came to mind, so I couldn't be bothered.  Now, something like these would have been lots of fun!

By Wendy Kennard called The Lost Synapse (Fragments of Memory).
 This quilt represents an x-ray of the quilter's daughter's spine, showing a clear curvature (scolosis).  The background fabric was hand dyed, then stencilled.  It was really beautifully quilted, too.
By Liz Smithbone called Scoliosis
 Ah, brown.  We are not best friends.  I don't know why you'd ever use brown here when you could use a funky funky color.  That said, I love the clarity of the bones in the piecing.  The background was screen printed and the rest appliquĂ©d on top.  It was machine quilted giving the illusion of additional seams around the screen printed sections.
By Sonia Crabb called Them Bones.
All in all, the quilt exhibits had a little something for everyone.  Some quilts I wondered how they were ever accepted for exhibit, others blew my mind with detail.  There were modern ones, super traditional quilts, whole cloth quilts and even a quilted grandfather clock.  Yep - something for everyone.  In the end, we could each take away a bit of inspiration.  I see a NYB or two in my future!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Festival Of Quilts :: The People

So I was lucky enough to head to the Festival of Quilts in the middle of August.  This was my first trip, so it was all very exciting.  I was looking forward to the quilt displays, the shopping...but most of all seeing my friends.

My good friend Susan was kind enough to invite me to stay at her house over the weekend so we could have a good catch up.  I could meet her wonderful family and then we could head into the Festival together.  Who could say no?  I was delighted!  I am pretty sure we talked non-stop from the airport parking lot, through all of Friday, and Saturday until she dropped me again in the same airport parking lot on Sunday.  We had a lot to say, clearly :)

It was really wonderful meeting Susan's family.  Those of you who read her blog know she has two beautiful daughters (Emily and Helen), a quick-witted husband (John) and (at that time) three gerbils.  It was wonderful to meet them all and get to know them in person.  Before going over, I made two little pouches for the girls and stuffed them full of American candy as gifts.

Emily is a Fimo master.  She had a little Fluffy Sheep waiting for me!  It's perfect.  You should see what she can make with clay.  Amazing!

I made tea towels for Susan using Heather Ross prints as per HR's book PRINTS.  I know Susan loves to cook and hates to clean, so these would brighten the kitchen and would (maybe) make it easier to do the dishes.

Stolen from Susan's IG feed.
On Saturday we headed off to the Festival and nearly immediately ran into smiling faces we knew.  Nicky joined us for the day through booth after booth and winding exhibits.  How she did it after her long journey to the festival I'll never know.  It was pure luck, too, that we ran into Mary and Susy.  Look at the awesome array of hand made bags and clothes in that photo.  Super.

With Susan being such a prolific contributor to Love Patchwork and Quilting, we had to pop by their booth for Susan to meet Jenny.  They hit it off, of course.

And like a group of monkeys we had to mess and see if the three of us could squeeze on the LP&Q booth's couch.  It was a good laugh.

Of course, when we got home Susan and I dumped our newly fabric purchased fabric onto the floor to fold/refold and compare.  We had a great dig through Susan's stash, I drooled over her HR collection and then we pulled out several of her finishes that have long been favorites of mine.  It's different when you see them in person.

Sunday I packed up all of my new goodies and said my good byes to the Standen family.  They were so wonderful to me.  To remember my super weekend, especially the fun I had with Susan and her family, I picked up a little souvenir and tucked it into my suitcase.  Lucky me!

What a super trip!  It was so good to see my friends, to pick up a few (*ahem*) pieces of new fabric and to meet the Standens.  There were quilts there, too...I'll tell you all about them in my next post.

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