Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Off the beaten sewing track

I Quilt. 

That's what I said, right?  Not this past few days though, I've had all sorts of distractions....all good fun however.  First some sewing for the Youth Club I help out at.  Who could say no to this kind of thing........ you know we've all wanted to be Ariel from The Little Mermaid or wear a Pink Ladies/T-Bird Jacket from Grease...... don't deny it!!  So one of the little dudes was swimming in his extra-large jacket so I had to take the T-Bird Logo from the back and re-attach it to a smaller size.

I'm much more comfortable with straight line stitching and would rather throw an item out than have to mend a hole.  My brain still tells me that I'm not able to do things like that - then my husband reminds me that I have learnt to sew and do own a sewing machine and really shouldn't be dumping skirts that have one inch of hem hanging down!! I did use the hoop for this little job though and did it by hand, it was just easier!

Next I moved on to the Mermaids Tail.  I wasn't sure at all how I was going to do it.  Then, last Tuesday morning, I had 4 workmen sitting in my kitchen - my husband, 2 of his work colleagues and some rep from Dublin.  They were taking up space in my kitchen when the notion grabbed me to make the mermaid right then so I popped out the newspaper, grabbed a sharpie and made myself a template - with the audience looking on, asking what I was doing.........but I really didn't know, I just hoped I would have something relatively mermaid shaped at the end of it!!

As it happened, it was much easier than I expected.  I did have a sprinkle of half broken sequins all over the kitchen floor after sewing the sparkly material but I had two little helpers collecting that "treasure" so that wasn't too bad! 

Less than half an hour later........!

In the meantime, I did get some of my own work done.  I managed to get the name attached to little Donnchadh's blanket and it was gifted to him last Wednesday to a very happy mum, so I'm told :)   With the unusual spelling of her little boys name, she wasn't expecting to receive anything personalised!

I still have not perfected using Minky or Plush fabric but I'll get there!
Every attempt is a learning curve right now and each time, it sits a bit nicer!

It's a sure sign however that you've been burning the candle at both ends though when you wake up one morning and find items in your bed that definitely don't belong there.  And worse still, you slept like a log all night and didn't even feel them, despite them being under the covers with you! I don't remember sewing in bed, because it's one bad habit I don't yet have so I must have brought these to bed with me when I collected my phone and glass of water to head to bed!  Whoops!

I do sometimes enjoy a nice glass of red wine after an evening hard work though so maybe that was to blame!  Speaking of which, what do you think of my gorgeous wine stopper?  Made by the wonderful Thistlepatch.  I got one of these from her last year and I still get a kick out of it when it's in use!  Great excuse to keep a bottle open!

I can't get the daft picture to turn the right way up for me.....it's turned the right way up when I select it to put it on the page but then comes in sideways.........anyone know how to change that?  All input or suggestions gratefully received!

Till next time........!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Pincushion Swap

Weeks ago, I got my details for my swapee for the pincushion swap organised by The Modern Quilt Guild of Ireland.  She gave plenty of information so it should have been a really easy job to choose what to make but I think I picked apart the hints & tips so much and almost viewed them as instructions and in trying to incorporate everything, I ended up making myself very nervous and indecisive about the whole thing. 

I had a couple of non-starters.  Picked out my fabrics and started and scrapped a couple of ideas.  In the end, with 2 days left before the swap was due to be posted, I picked fabrics out once again and went for it......apparently my swapee isn't afraid of a bit of colour so I was able to use some bold prints!
It's not a small design but I think she's going to be okay with that!  I went for a pincushion armchair caddy.  So it has two pockets to hold scissors, fabric pens, thread and other bits!  It was fun to make, lots of colour with funky patterns and simple, little quilt sandwiches!


It came together pretty fast.  I had some left over binding already made from a baby quilt I did a few weeks ago.  The yellow is a bit out there but I liked it against the pink and and colourful pocket fabric! 

I also got to use a decorative stitch on my machine - finally!  I'd forgotten I have so much choice on the machine because they're never used.  It was pointed out to me during the week how many I have, so I thought it was time to make a little use of them! 

This was my first time making pockets - I'm loving these swaps for making me try new things, otherwise I think I'd stick with quilts all the time.  These are fun little projects to get the old brain working and make something that you wouldn't normally give the time to.  In fact, I think this is my first every pincushion too!  I was going to make one for myself now only I'll be getting one in the post from my secret swapper this week....something I had totally forgotten in the whole process!  Love getting pretty things in the post!

The finished product front and back!

Here's hoping my swap buddy likes it!

Friday, 13 September 2013

Friday Finish (almost!)

So, I took the train to Dublin on Wednesday with my sister-in-law.  I had 4 hours of blissful, uninterrupted sewing planned between the journey there and back as I had no children and no husband with me.  Nobody would be asking for a juice bottle, a toilet break, a hug, a clean nappy or a nose wipe...... total peace!  However, it didn't go to plan.  The trip was great, the train was smooth, it was also half empty which helped but I seemed to be having too much fun to take out my sewing.  Who knew my SIL was so unintentionally hilarious!  I haven't laughed as hard in years so it was totally worth it but it did mean that I haven't anything finished today as planned. 

I did make another baby blanket this week and just need to add the little ones name.  So close to being done.  It's another simple charm blanket with a minky back and it's super soft and snuggly.  I used a Riley Blake bundle again this time, I just think it's so full of imagination and whimsy........ just love it!

My 9yr old was helping me lay it out to chose what went where.  He has strong opinions on the layout!  He's pretty good too, he rearranges it over and over until he's happy!
Every night he asks if I'm going sewing, he considers it his "mum & me time" which I love!

I love, love, love these fabrics - they're so....... BOY!

Charm squares are such a joy to sew up, nice and easy! 

Now to add the name, Donnchadh, it's an unusual spelling but I've been reassured that it's correct.  I think I'll add the lettering with a buttonhole stitch and possibly use some solid fabrics so the name stands out good and proper! 


I've been working away on the handquilting for my mothers lap quilt.  I like how it's turning out.......

I may add a few more lines of quilting but as it's basically finished, I started adding the binding...... my favourite part, binding just finally gives it that feeling of being something useful, something cosy - a finished quilt!  I got to use my wonder clips for the first time too.  I had been eyeing these up in the The Quilt Shop, Tuam for ages but didn't think I needed them (needs vs. want, it's a constant battle in my poor brain) but you know what?  They're very handy! 


The postman has visited our house numerous times this past two weeks but because I've been so good in my need vs. want argument in my own little brain, none of it has been for me.  Until today that is!  I came across a super sale online from Vibes and Scribes in Cork and y'know, let's just say it saved me money to purchase my books from them!  At least that's what I'm telling myself! I got a gorgeous delivery of some beautiful books with a flat rate shipping cost of €3.95 no matter how much you buy.  They're worth checking out as they dabble in lots of crafts and as the postage costs are so good, I know I'll be back to them!  Thanks Vibes and Scribes!!

Monday, 9 September 2013


I've been taking part in a quilt-along on Flickr.  I think there are over 100 of us doing the same project.  It's called Swoon and you can purchase it over at the Fat Quarter Shop by clicking here!  It was Fairyface Designs that originally posted about it and I thought I would try it.  It's the first time I've ever taken part in a quilt-along of any type.  It's quite exciting to see everyones progress as they go.  The Swoon is just such a pretty pattern and can be so individual based on your colour choices.  For once in my life, I didn't have any clue what colours to choose this time so I had a bit of help.  I took it block by block, picked out two at a time and some were chosen by the helpful bunch at my Tuesday sewing class! 

Each block took about 2 hours, the first took a little longer but at a finished size of 24.5inches, they were very fulfilling to make!!  I've never seen a quilt top grow so fast!

I ended up with blue/green tones on the first four and red/pink on the second four so I decided to use some of my scraps to make up a scrappy centre block....... I quite like it!

When I had it all pieced together, I put it on my bed to check the size and although it was perfect for a double bed, my bed is a kingsize and I liked the finished product enough to want it for MY BED!!

So, I started a flying geese border using a 3" paper piecing pattern.  It gave me an extra 6 inches on the top and bottom and both sides and once added to the quilt, it made it drape on my bed perfectly!   The border also used up all my scraps from the flying geese triangles.  I added a very small amount from my own stash towards the end but they blend so well, I have trouble spotting them.  I am so happy with the finished product but think I'm a bit obsessed with flying geese now and am constantly googling ideas for another one project I can use them for!

And this is it...... the finished quilt top!  What do you think?  And now I have to decide how to quilt it.  I'm stumped!  

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Working on my PHD?

I was searching for the meaning of something the other day, quilting has so many "terms" and although my husband would insist that I speak it fluently, I am sometimes stumped by a term on a blog or pattern.  Anyway, I found what I was looking for but in the meantime I came across these while searching.  It's a fun list of  "Vital" Quilting Acronyms from the The Quilters Club of America .........I  think I need to adopt some of these, they're fun!

BDNQ - Bad Day Not Quilting

CAT - Creating Artistic Treasures

COP - Creative Ongoing Project

DOG - Deciding Ongoing Gem

FART - Fabric Aquisition Road Trip

FIU - Finish It Up

FUN - Fabricating UNlimited

HSY - Haven't Started Yet

PEBCAK - Problem Exists Between Chair And Keyboard

PEBSMAQ - Problem Exists Between Sewing Machine And Quilter

PHD - Project Half Done (as in, "I'm working on my PHD")

PIGS - Projects in Grocery Sacks

QFH - Quilt from Hell

RUF - Really Ugly Fabric

SABLE - Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy

SEX - Stash Enhancing eXperience

STASH - Special Treasures All Secretly Hidden

SQ - Stupid Quilt

SQUID - Sewing a Quilt Until I Die

UFO - UnFinished Object (unfinished quilt)

TGIF - Thank God It's Finished!

WHIMM - Works Hidden In My Mind

WIP - Work In Progress

WISP - Work In Slow Progress

WIVSP - Work In Very Slow Progress

WIWMI - Wish It Would Make Itself

WOMBAT - Waste of Money, Batting, and Time

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

UFO's (Un-Finished-Object's)

I've been dying to share something for the past week but I seem to have my finger in a lot of pies and have nothing finished and ready for showing.......

After plenty of procrastination, using materials previously bought for this and losing the quilt top for a few months, I finally got my mums lap quilt basted so I started quilting that this week.  I was going to fly through it on the machine but decided that the flannel material would be nicer with a good, thick hand quilted stitch.  I love how it's working out and I'm about 50% of the way through it.  I'm travelling to dublin in a couple of days, I think I will take the bus or train so that I can work away on it.  I can't wait to have it finished, it's so cosy!

I've also been working away on and am basically finished my Beside the Seaside Quilt.  It's been months in the making but I'm just about ready to add binding.  I've enjoyed doing this one so much but every so often had to put it aside for a few weeks because there is so much different quilting patterns and I did it by hand in a really tight, tight stitch so it was labour intensive......

I used a lot of templates but on some parts I just free-styled it and did a bit of a stipple...really just to fill space, FAST because I'm so ready for this quilt to be done as my little boys go mental every time they see it.  They are totally in love with this one!

This is one of my little men doing his usual inspection of my work..... at this particular moment he had found a little add on embellishment of an anchor and decide to "drive" the boat with it!

In the meantime, I got my little boy quilt back from the Tuam Quilt Exhibition and wanted to personalise it a little before giving it to my buddy for her little boy!  I used FairyFace Designs Tutorial on how to hand embroider.

The instructions were super, simple and to the point and therefore, very easy to follow!  If I have to repeat instructions out loud so that I can understand them, I just move on and find something easier..... but you never need to do that with tutorials by Fairyface Designs!

This is the almost finished product.....I'll get better pics tomorrow during daylight but I'm digging this new trick so thanks to Sarah @Fairyface Designs! If any of you ever wanted to try quilting, she has some fab tutorials and a list of basic supplies that you'll need!

In the meantime, I did get some niceties in the post!  I won't lie to you, some of them seem very "curtainy" to me but I love the blues and pinks....... so now I'm looking for another project to add to my list that might incorporate some of these vintage & modern mix prints!

..........but maybe I'll try and finish one or two of my ongoing projects first!