Wednesday, 27 November 2013

It's cushion time!

I'm not good at maths, I never have been.  In our first patchwork class two years, Roisin, our tutor, told us that there was actually quite alot of maths in should've seen our collective faces drop as we snuck a few glances around to see if we were alone in our fear!  I'm pretty sure that I was planning my hasty retreat from quilting immediately until Roisin reassured us that we'd be okay, that she'd take us through it all step-by-step...........and in fairness, she has but I still don't like maths, I like the easy option!

So I guess I was a little daunted when I was asked this week to make a cushion version of a quilt I made a few weeks ago.  How do you make something three or four times smaller when you winged it to begin with?  But nevermind that, isn't it just a huge confidence boost when someone sees something you've made and wants one too?  And when that person is a fellow crafter, it's like a double thumbs-up!  Oooh it gives me the shivers! Good shivers!

So here it is....... the finished product.  Now, I couldn't take a straight-forward picture for you when I heard the meece scurrying in the kitchen.  It seems they heard that the cushion was destined for the home of their creator, Miss Thistlepatch. Well they wouldn't hear of anything less than being involved in the photo shoot, I reckon they're trying to make her come and find them.  I'm going to have to stop them from watching Annie on repeat!

I tried to let the meece out on the grass, thought they might scurry away and I'd get a cushion pic without their noses right in the picture, but they weren't having any of it....they move super fast and manage to look terribly innocent when they make it back just as  I hit "click"!

This is them, making a final "take us home Miss Thistlepatch" plea........... but they don't realise, she has enough meece eating her chocolate, she doesn't need anymore...... in fact, I don't think she can afford to keep anymore, they eat far too much!  So they're stuck with me another while, good think I love their little faces or I couldn't be putting up with this messing!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

I do love to be beside the seaside!

It's been a bit of a go-slow around here.  As in slowly, slowly, bit by bit getting through my hand quilting on my seaside quilt.  I started this back in January or February.  I got the top pieced relatively fast considering is all foundation paper pieced.  I loved the pattern when I came across it online.  Actually it was a similar pattern by the same lady (Lesley Brankin) that caught my eye originally.  That one was Noah's ark and having done that bible story with our kids not long before, I thought they might like it but when I researched her other patterns, I totally fell for this one.  It has tonnes of detail and different sealife to keep the small kids interested!

After I had the top pieced, the lovely tuesday night ladies that I've mentioned before, helped me baste it.  We always have great fun doing the basting when we do it together - takes the tedium out of the job and we can have a laugh and a chat at the same time.  Then I had to undertake my first ever hand-quilting job.  I was armed with the double lap quilting hoop  (I got this from Roisin in The Quilt Shop, they're about €50 but in my opinion, worth every penny), a packet of size 12 clover needles and a spool of variegated thread and told to go for it! 

I was so slow starting.  I had never hand sewn ANYTHING!  This was completely new territory to me but I soon found it very enjoyable.  It took hours (honestly, I think it was 8 hours!) to do one row of rolling 1" waves across the width but it was very satisfying to watch them appear as I slogged away.  Eventually however, I got bored and desperately needed to move onto new and exciting and FAST projects and my poor seaside quilt was folded and put down beside the couch to be worked on "in a few days"............and there it stayed until a couple of weeks ago when a friend enquired about my progress........whoops, "oh yeah, that quilt.......must do something with that"  so the very next day, I resurrected it, dusted it off and got going again.  I had enough of the handquilting done to be able to bind it and that tidied it up no end which helped spur me on to do alot more quilting on it then I had ever planned.  With every stitch though, I'm more pleased with the nearly-finished product!

I counted 103 stitches in each rolling wave along the borderand there is a total of 86 waves around the edges of the whole quilt, that makes around 8850 hand stitches around the border alone....... gosh, I'm glad I didn't work that out before I started or I think it would have been straight lines all the way!  I think I may just have to put a quilt label on the back with an approximate number of stitches throughout the quilt top.......just so my children appreciate how much I obviously love them!  ha ha, maybe not!

 I really enjoyed making this quilt though, it was fun to pick the different colours for the different pieces of sealife.
  My favourites are probably the seahorses and the puffins but I adored using the different yellows and putting together the complex sun pattern too!  It took a good 2 and a half hours to put the sun together but I love the construction of it, you can almost feel the heat coming from it!

It was hard to photograph but in the sand, there are some familiar seaside shapes...... some seashells, a bucket and space etc...... I don't know if you can make them out?


So that's it......... almost a year in the making but it would have been done much faster if I wasn't so easily distracted!  I'm still working on it, I want to add a few little personalised touches for my kids but once the binding went on, the twins quickly claimed it as their own.  It makes it worthwhile when you see how much they love something that you make for them! 

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Knitting, Stitching, Buying........ Indulging!

How come nobody told me about the Knitting and Stitching show before?  I mean, I've been through my fair share of hobbies........ I've made and sold jewellery for a few years, I made cards and bought everything in from abroad except for the few bits I could get locally, I dabbled in glass painting and sold a set of 8 Mickey Mouse drinking glasses to the current President of Ireland and had to make do with the most basic supplies from Easons! Nobody told me that just two hours up the road, there was a major all-under-one-roof craft fest going on once a year!!!  I've been missing out BIG TIME!  The husband has been warned, he's to save his pennies for me if he wants to save the credit card from a bashing next year and beyond!

Impossible to show just how many stands there were........ this was when things had quietened down later in the day.

It was my first time driving in the "bit city", sad I know but my other half has always done the driving when we are away.  I wasn't worried though, I had my trusty side-kick (sister-in-law, Amelia)  in the passenger seat listening to the SatNav which was desperately try to speak Irish and translating for me (it took us until the journey home to figure out "odee's" was poor Mrs. SatNav trying to say รณ dheas).  We danced in the car when we got the exits right and rang the husbands to gloat when we got to the RDS exactly on schedule!  We did a super-happy-excited-dance when we got in the front door and were greeted by a chocolate stand to the right, a wool stand in front of that and it was facing a card stand, backed by fabric, fabric and more fabric!  Hoooooooooray, we were home!  Queue hours of browsing, buying, dropping bits off to the car, more browsing, a bit of haggling (the ol' sister in law is great for bagging a bargain), short lunch break and back to it.  We stayed until 30 mins after it officially closed.

It was lovely to see in reality the shops I've only ever seen online, even better to meet the owners.  I'm totally swayed by friendly shop people and have no hesitation walking away if I don't get a nice vibe from the shop assistant, no matter how much I want something.  There were some English sellers with large stalls and a good variety of stock but it was brilliant to see how many Irish sellers there were and they were just as competitive...........nice to see that we can find what we need at home now! These were some of my favourites - we were greeted with the biggest smiles from the friendliest shop keepers and got some great goodies!! 

I of the Needle, Athy
The Quilt Shop, Tuam
(My sister won one a ticket in her FB Comp and gave it to me so I was delighted to be able to use it!
Fairly obvious who this is!
I got some great value backing fabric here, totally delighted with it!
The Crafty Fox
This little dude gave me a right fright when I was chatting to the owner, I thought it was a little old lady hovering over my shoulder!  Got some beautiful Tilda fabric here that I just can't wait to use!!

 Now, I've mentioned in the past how my sister-in-law can be unintentionally funny but I thought it was hilarious when we're going round the biggest craft fair in Ireland and spending our few quid on fabric and she was worried about being too "materialistic".   Materialistic?  That's EXACTLY what I wanted to be while I was there!  I'm giggling just thinking about it!  She wasn't even trying to pun!  Another of her gems was when she pointed out the "Owl-a Kiely Bags".  Can you see what she saw? 
Let's just say........never a dull moment!

So that was our day at the Knitting and Stitching show and we're already planning next years trip!  We took off through Dublin City traffic afterwards and treated ourselves to a lovely dinner before we hit our hotel and got to look through our purchases and make a fine mess of the room trying things out that probably should've stayed packed until we got home! 

 After a full day in Ikea the next day,  I finally got home to Galway at 11pm the following night so was pretty stiff and tired but it was totally worth it!