Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cushion Cover Tester Block

Thank you all for your suggestions for Mom's birthday cushion covers!  They were incredibly helpful, giving me ideas of fabric combinations that I never would have seen myself.  You guys are amazing.

To give you an update, I found some Spraytime fabric to match Dad's quilt, which is total luck as most of the colors I used in 2011 are no longer available.  I could not get every fabric I used, but four is more than enough for a pieced cushion cover.

In January I picked up a few French General prints to coordinate with Mom's quilt.  That's easier to do as French General never really strays from the same color combination, but instead only varies the pattern they're printing.  Easy. Peasy. 

I have to say, they tone together much better than I thought they would.  That floral French General print has a deep chocolate brown and a mossy green that brings the two lines together.  

Never {ever} thought I'd type that sentence.

With instructions from Sarah, I made a tester block that I like quite a bit.  I think it brings the two quilts together pretty well without being too busy (at Mom's request).  I think I will make another using the French General cream instead of the Spraytime cream as the background fabric.  

If I like that, I will finish off a second and will add on borders bringing them to 18 inches square.  We are well on our way now, ladies!  Thanks a mil, Sarah!  

Monday, February 23, 2015

Cotton & Steel Infinity Scarf

You know what it's like when you see something posted on a blog or Instagram and it makes you gasp?   Well, Susy Dunne rocked my world on Instagram (@susydunne) a few weeks ago with a pom pom infinity scarf.  I had never in my life wanted to make an infinity scarf before I saw that post.  It just so happened that Playful prints by Melody Miller from Cotton & Steel arrived in the shop when this obsession began.  My fate was sealed....

Ta da!  I used Melody Miller's Vintage Floral Lawn print in combination with (rather large) pom poms to create this infinity scarf.  I had the misfortune of choosing an online tutorial that used a MASSIVE amount of fabric and stitched it together in the least direct way possible, but we got there in the end.  If I made another in the future, I'd do it very differently and in half the time.  That said, I'm pleased as punch with how it turned out.  

This scarf (here hanging on my design wall by a knitting needle) measures about 18 inches across and 66 inches in circumference.  It's just that bit too wide and too short for a double neck loop or too long for a single loop.  

The pom poms are only on one side seam which suits me just fine.  No need to over do it.  In the end, I had to use a zipper foot to get these pom poms sewn into the seam.  It wasn't pretty with all of my grunting and shoving, but it worked out well eventually.

In the end, I am happy to have learned a ton and I look forward to wearing it out and about.  Susy, thank you for rocking my world!  

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Celebrating the Year of the Sheep

Happy Chinese New Year!  I have to say Chinese New Year is not a regular holiday in our house, but this year is special.  2015 is the year of the sheep!  Or the ram.  Or the goat.  It's confusing.  I was reading this NYT article about the in-distinction this morning, which only further supported the general confusion.

Is the sheep in the FSQ logo an ewe or a ram?
I think she's an ewe, but that's an issue for another day.
Does she need a name?  Perhaps we see a contest in the future!
I will say every year is the year of the sheep here at Fluffy Sheep Quilting, so we're just glad the zodiac has finally caught up.

What better way to celebrate than a massive reduction in prices in the shop?  No discount codes, no start/end date.  We just spent a ton of time last night reducing the price of nearly every fabric currently in the shop (except 2015 arrivals, Konas and Aurifil).   What was in the sale section is further reduced.  What was not in the sale section can be found there now.  Have a good dig around the website - some fabrics went right from full price to -40% off!

To give you a preview:

In the -10% off section, you'll find Architextures, Figures, and Oh Boy.

At -20% off, we have Riley Blake gingham, Mixed Bag, Paint, Rocket Age, Social Club and Vintage Happy.

There are three pages of prints at -30% off including Enchanted, Rapture, Wishes and Scrumptious.

Finally, there's a bonanza at -40% off  with all Christmas prints, Briar Rose, Minimalista, and all kinds of orphaned prints from Nordika, Simply Style and Boho.  So don't miss out on scoring your favorite prints today - some of these bolts are awfully skinny and will not stick around for long. 

Happy new year, friends.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Hand Quilting Twinkle Twinkle

For way too long, Twinkle Twinkle has been folded and sitting on the shelf of an end table next to my spot on the couch.  Ignored.  I thought surely if I left it next to the couch I'd pick it up some night and start stitching.  Right.  Right?  No.

I can not even really remember doing it, but I had previously echo quilted the center of each star with perle 8 over the summer.  When I pulled it out again this week, I started echo quilting in each diamond shape around the star with various colors of perle.  I am about half way done with them.  

I now need to come up with a plan for each of the larger squares at the four corners of each star block.  You can see I've been sketching out little orange peel-like shapes in chalk.  They're a possibility....  but each time I lay the quilt out to see how I like my orange peels, someone moves in and makes a nest.  It's a weird reoccurring problem with this quilt in particular - she has a special affinity for the teal I think.

I am hoping to have this finished by the end of March (binding and all) so that I can enter it into our Modern Quilter's of Ireland exhibit.  Fingers crossed it's done in time!  A deadline might do me good here :)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Birthday Hand Puppets

 I have been secretly sewing a birthday present over the past few weeks, but I am not ready for the grand reveal just yet.   You will see it all eventually.  Until then, I will show you these little extras that go with her "big" present.  I hope she likes them!

I picked up a pattern (on sale!) from Precious Patterns on Etsy for a monkey, lion and tiger hand puppet.  These are made from felt and embroidery floss, hand stitched and hand embellished.   This is my first time hand stitching anything beyond a hexie or binding, so it was new territory.  Felt is wonderfully forgiving, hiding nearly all of the stitches in it's "squishiness".  Perfect for a first go.  We made some modifications to the monkey's face/head shape and the tiger's eyes, but the pattern was beautifully written, easy to follow and are super cute in person.  I hope our little birthday girl loves them too!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Tiles: A Quilt Finish!

It's been a long long time since I finished a quilt, but the day has finally come!  I had forgotten how wonderful it feels; the sense of accomplishment you have putting in that last binding stitch.  Ah, happiness.  

Clearly Sunday was not the prettiest day for quilt photography.  It was grey, wind-less and foggy.  Really really foggy. The kind of fog that you can not tell if it is raining on you or if that is just the cloud touching your arm.  Weird.  I can not remember the last time I took quilt-on-the-line photos when the quilt just hung there.  It makes for a boring photo shoot if I'm honest.

Tiles began in a class I took with Amy Smart at the Fat Quarterly retreat in July 2014.  The class was wonderful and Amy was incredibly nice.  She had some really simple tips and tricks for rapidly piecing a quilt, which are always handy.  This quilt is from her book Fabulously Fast quilts.  It honestly would have been a fast finish (not a 6 month finish) if I had two weekends to dedicate to it.  

The top is Kona Snow with a variety of scraps from my stash and the shop.  Its a bit more toned down than my usual in-your-face scrappiness, and I like that a whole lot.  The borders are two Denyse Schmidt prints I picked up from Joann's a long while ago.  I love these fabrics, so what better way to incorporate them than as statement pieces like this?  I think they work.  

The back is pieced with a floral that I used on my Swoon called Farmgirl's Garden with a coordinating yellow on yellow polka dot from Social Club by Moda.  They went together so nicely and the yellow coordinated so very well with the Architextures and Vintage Happy yellows on the top.  Ah, I love it when fabrics come together.  I used the scraps of the yellow dot to bind the quilt.

I quilted it on my frame using a pantograph by Golden Threads.  I don't know if you can see it, but this pattern is a wave with a loop nested into the crest of the wave.  Together they reminded me of snowdrop flowers.  It was a bit of a learning curve for me quilting this, but in the end I am SO glad I stuck with it and saw it through.  I love the finished look and learned a tremendous amount.

That's it!  A finished quilt that's already in use on the couch.  It's covered in thread from my current super top secret birthday hand stitching, littered with dog and cat fur and a bit wrinkled.  Already broken in and happy.  Woo hoo for quilt finishes!

Quilt Stats:
Name: Tiles (as it was called in Amy Smart's book)
Made for: use on my couch 
Fabric: Kona snow with Farmgirl's Garden and Social Club dots on the back.   The scrappy top is from Vintage Happy, Weeds, Happy Go Lucky, Flea Market Fancy, Architextures, Scrumptious, Gingham, Simply Style, Technicolor (and a few more I'm sure I am missing)
Thread: Pieced with 50 weight Aurifil cotton in 2600 and 2021.  Quilted with Aurifil cotton 50 weight 201.
Batting: Simply Cotton.
Size: 55 x 76 inches.
Quilting: On my frame with Golden Threads panto pattern.
Pattern: From Amy Smart's book Fabulously Fast Quilts, but really from my class at the Fat Quarterly Retreat in July 2014.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Cushion Covers for Mom

You guys are always an amazing source of suggestions when I find myself stuck for inspiration.  I am hoping you can, once again, toss a few gems my way to get me started.

You see, my lovely mom had a birthday recently.  I thought I would make her a few cushion covers for a new couch my mom and dad just added to the living room.  The furniture in this room is quite neutral (three pieces in cream or beige or caramel golden brown), so we thought adding in a few quilted cushion covers would brighten the room up while keeping them in their decorating comfort zone.

The pop of color in the room comes from the quilts I made them.  Mom's quilt is from 2011 made with French General prints.  I can not find this same line of fabrics in online shops, but thankfully French General is quite consistent in their color choices.  I picked up a two FQs of reds, one of the darker blue and a yard of a small print neutral to use in the cushions, so I am ready to go there.

Dad's quilt was made A) to be a man quilt and B) to coordinate with their neutral living room color scheme.  It's far outside my normal choice of bright rainbow fabrics, but it suits him and the room quite well.  I gave away all of my scraps from this project, but I know this line is a Makower basic that is still available in shops.  I can scoop some up without a problem.

So, here is the challenge given to me by Mom:  to make 2 cushion covers (for 18x18 inch inserts) that combines the fabric from both quilts in one combined quilt block.  

1) Have you ANY idea of a block that would suit these two lines?  Mom loves cathedral windows blocks - she's lost her mind if she thanks she's getting cushion covers with cathedral windows!  

2) What fabrics would you use from Dad's quilt to coordinate with Mom's French General reds/creams? I can't see how I could include the blue, green and grey, but I could work with the browns in combination with Mom's reds/blues.  Would that still be coordinated enough? 

3) Would you make two with the same block or would you make two totally different cushion covers?  
They don't want it too bright or too dark (this is not how they're making a design statement) but they do want it to be a pretty splash of color on their couch.  Any ideas are welcome!  Thank you!

P.S. Mom and Dad subscribe to my blog via email.  They are going to be very surprised to find themselves here in this post.  Hi guys!  Talk to you on Sunday.

9 Feb 2015: Edited to add a comment from my mom:
What a surprise to find us featured on the blog! Cindy did an excellent job of describing the “problem”. We both love our quilts and cuddle up with them every night, so we’d like some colorful pillows that work with both quilts and add a little sparkle to the room. Also, I do love cathedral windows but that’s not a requirement. Thanks to all of you for your suggestions. I’m sure we’ll love our new pillows. Thank you honey.

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