Friday, October 31, 2014

Screen Printed Totes

I dipped my toe into screen printing recently, but went a little nutters taking pictures in the process.  Weeding through them to write a blog post was too much for me to take.  Things have quieted down now, so I would love to show you what I made if you can tolerate the over-abundance of photos.

Armed with an A3 screen, Karen's book and lots and lots of newsprint, I transformed my kitchen into a screen printing studio.  I had dedicated space to lay the tote down, to place my paint and to lean the screen when it was not in use.  What I had not accounted for was the abundance of printed totes that had to dry somewhere!

Our clothes drying racks and quilt display racks from the shop came in handy!  I quickly took over the front hall as well.

With so much new stuff in weird places to inspect, it was inevitable that miss Molly would also be painted in the process.

I needed 15 bags, so I printed 20.  The vast majority of them turned out reasonably well.  They were stuffed full of shop fliers, Frixion pens, Aurifil threads and fat quarters from local shops supporting our Modern Irish Quilters retreat.

Not all of my screen printed totes were good enough to give out to our retreat members.  There were paint smudges on the back, dribbles at the bottom...and on...and on.  I decided that I would take one of those totes, cut out the sewing machine and make a new pretty tote for myself.  

Using Avant Garden I made a 14x15 (-ish) inch tote with Clover Poppies on the exterior and for the handles...

...and Dot Seeds in Sky as the lining.  These fabrics are so beautifully soft they are a pleasure to sew.  A huge thanks to Eva who caught me assembling the interior-handles-exterior in the wrong order at our retreat.  Without her, it would have been an absolute mess!  

I forgot to cut the selvage off of the handles before sewing them into the lining.  There's a little bit peeking out.  I kind of like it there!

This little tote is already in use bringing your happy parcels from the house to the post office.  Your orders are travelling in style, I can assure you.

It should be noted that Molly, my photographic assistant, was not paying any attention during our tote bag photo shoot.  She was just pure messing.  

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Irish Christmas Cushion Swap

Christmas is quickly approaching!  That's right - it's time we start talking about it, pulling our heads out of the sand/snow drift.  To kick off the season here at FSQ head quarters, I have signed up for the Modern Irish Christmas cushion swap.  As per all of our swaps, an inspirational mosaic was created....  

I don't know why Big Huge Labs has stopped giving me HTML to link to all of these photos, giving credit to the creators.  Has anyone cracked that code, yet?  

Irish folks, signups close on Friday so get your name in the hat today if you want to play along!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Bespoke Baby Quilt

Hello (-ello -ello).  Echo (-echo -echo).  

It has been too long, my friends.  I fell off the blogging wagon for a while, but I would like to climb back on as of today.  Everything is fine here, it is just that life took priority over computer stuff.  You know how it is.

While the blog has been quiet, I have been stitching away.  About three weeks ago I received a call from my friends D&D.  They are expecting a new niece or nephew to join their family this week, so they wanted a small (1 yard squared) quilt that they could give as a baby gift.  As they didn't know the sex, I thought the Mixed Bag line would be perfect for their quilt.  I started playing with HSTs immediately and quickly fell into the pattern of making stars.  Shocker, I know.

With the Sizzix cutting the HSTs, it took very little time to put the 9 blocks together and pop on a border.  For me, the challenge was to quilt this little friend.  This was the perfect opportunity to put my new frame to work.  I have been practising using scrap fabric sandwiches, but have not used it to quilt an actual project.  With lots of deep breathing, I dove in...

...and started quilting a line of circles.  Some looked great, others could use a little help but all in all the effect was pretty super.

I won't lie; the quilting took FOREVER.  I had imagined that this frame would make the machine work some amazing magic and that is simply not true.  Each line had to be created slowly with care.  I learned a tremendous amount in this process and can't wait to try quilting on the frame with my next project.  

With a bit of red binding and a dip in the washing machine, this little quilt is on it's way to its new family.  I love the orange border, love the pop of red on the edge and am delighted with the bubbly texture the quilting has created.

The back is one full piece of Mixed Bag Which Way, pulling together all of the colors on the front.

I am already creating projects in my mind that will let me use the frame to quilt a bit more.  You can be sure you will see a few large Christmas presents appearing here in the near future!  Until then, I'll just keep petting this pretty bubbly friend, content with my first try being (mostly) a success.  Woo hoo!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Oops! Forgot this one!

I completely forgot to tell you about this bit of happiness.  A finish!  I have not had a finish in ages.

I had a orphan block from my Twinkle Twinkle bee quilt that joined me in Jen Kingwell's hand quilting class at the Fat Quarterly retreat.  I recently spent evenings echo quilting the star, straight line quilting the red boarder and then quilting triangles into the outer pink boarder.

I then was stuck.  The star needed more, but it took me ages to find inspiration.  Or for inspiration to find me.  Eventually I remembered that I had stencils for orange peels so I thought I would give them a try between the star points.  And they worked!

The back is an envelope closure of teal blue, coordinating with the front.  This is my first cushion cover, so I could not envision how it would come together.  Now that I have one down, I think I could try a zip in my next version. 

And so it lives on the living room couch.  It has been napped on, curled up on and snuggled by the dog.  It adds a super spot of color and makes me happy every time I see it.  Needless to say, I'm already plotting my next!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Charm swapping!!! Let the fun begin.

Do you love charm squares?  Scrappy pretty piles of charm squares?  I use them all the time for bee blocks or the quick baby quilt finish, so I like having a colorful selection at the ready.  Several of you have used up your charms from our last swap (me too!) and have asked for another to be organized, so here is your chance to jump in and join in the fun.  It is going to be a small bit different this time, so please read this post fully before signing up.

I am looking for 28 people to join in the fun, but would entertain 56 participants if we are so lucky.  There will be one week of signups starting today and closing on 12 October at midnight.  To sign up, leave a comment below.  If you are (or may possibly be) a no-reply commenter, include your email address in your comment.  Myself, or my fellow Charm Fairy Irina, will be in touch with you after signups close to assign you a color.  That email should arrive by 17 Oct.

When you get your color assignment email, you are to run off and look for TWO prints (1 yard each) that are predominately your assigned color, but in two very different shades of that color.  One dark and the other light.  We are looking for modern prints and not solids.  Be sure that the print you are choosing is of a reasonable scale to be cut into charms.  Fabrics must be 100% cotton of high quality - no cheap-o prints that will bleed everywhere, please.

When you choose your fabric, please upload a photo to the flickr group.  To ensure no duplicates, be sure to check what others have uploaded before you buy your fabric.

Being a Fluffy Sheep Quilting sponsored swap, a 10% discount is offered on any fabrics purchased from the shop.  I will send out a discount code in the email with your color assignment.  If you buy from FSQ, I will also cut the charms for you AND you will not have to pay shipping.  Oh, the happiness!

Cut and ship your fabrics so that they arrive in Galway by 22 November.  If you have not cut charms before, use this tutorial as a guide. A new rotary blade and pressing ahead of time helps a whole bunch.  Include in your parcel a pre-addressed return envelope.  No return envelope, no returned charms.    

You will receive in your returned parcel 112 charms, 56 prints in duplicate.  When shipping comes around, I will ask you to send (via paypal) to me the cost of your shipping so that I do not loose out on paypal fees.  I will not be invoicing you, but requesting you send the payment directly to me by email.

Let's get swapping, friends!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Modern Irish {Scrappy} Bee: October Blocks

I totally cheated.  I knew what blocks Tomomi wanted for her bee month ahead of anyone else as I pre-schedule the bee block blog posts to appear on the first of the month.  I cheekily packed up all of the fabrics I needed to make her blocks and brought it with me to the Modern Quilters of Ireland retreat last weekend (27 Sept).

Tomomi was looking for book shelf blocks, but with a twist.  She wanted to blocks 11-13 inches long x 12.5 inches tall with various sizes of books and Ash background.  However, she wanted us to each create a section on her bookshelf with a theme. that's interesting.

I choose to give her a section of bird watching guides:

and a section with cook books:

Tomomi, I hope you like them!  I know several other hive members have started thinking of really super, creative themes for you.  I am sure will you will love what they create!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

New Ironing Board Cover

In packing for the Modern Quilters of Ireland retreat, I said that I would bring an iron, a board, cutting mats, etc thinking that since I was local it was easier for me to get stuff there over someone coming by train or bus.

My ironing board cover is 15+ years old and looking pretty shabby.  It's an American-sized board, so the Irish store bought covers are all too short.  I decided if I was lugging that ugly, oversized thing all the way to our retreat, I would use the extra space in the class room to roll out fabric, trace and make a new cover.  It HAD to come home prettier than it arrived.

With 30 minutes left in our sewing day I panicked and started tracing and cutting.  I brought with me the world famous IKEA hippos that were left over from making a quilt backing and scrappy strips of batting to use as a cushion.  It worked a treat! 

I followed a tutorial as a guide, but really I was just a sewing maniac not adhering to their thoughtful instructions.  My hem is not as pretty as theirs and I had to knot together pieces of scrappy ribbon for the tie.  No one will see it and it does the job just fine.  I'm delighted to have a new pretty cover brightening up my sewing room!  Yippee!
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