Monday, 29 February 2016

Design Wall Monday - Big Bear, Little Bear

Have you ever just had an idea for a quilt, dropped everything and spent a whole weekend making it, just to see what it looks like in fabric form?

Well this weekend that's what happened to me.  Two things seemed to coalesce on Friday evening for me.  I am working on a project for one of the IPS groups (Irish Patchwork Society) on traditional blocks made modern and I have been playing with the some traditional blocks like the Bear Paw block.  I'm not a big lover of pointy blocks (New York Beauty has never been on my wish list!) but for some reason I've been drawn to the bear paw to see what I could do with it.
One of the things I like about about Modern Quilting is the increased use of negative space so I removed some elements of the traditional block (centre square and rounded the paws), then I thought why not really go for it and removed two of the paws, played with colour and changed the rotation a bit.  I like this effect of a bear walking so I played with scale and came up with this design which I'm calling Big Bear, Little Bear.
Then I opened a bundle of fabric I received from with two gorgeous blue prints made by Westfalenstoffe and I thought, they'd be really nice to work with in a bear inspired project. And that was it - my weekend was consumed and the housework went out the window!
I had a little rummage and came up with this brown print I had bought from Slaney Handcraft and this grey/cream print left over from my Flower Power Hexagon Quilt.  They looked like they would co-ordinate well so I worked out the dimensions and set about chopping them up!

Unfortunately they co-ordinated too well and my bear paw has gotten a little bit lost in the forest!

So I made some colour changes, modified my design a bit and came up with this high contrast option!  I moved the centre colour so the paws go over the edges  and got out my Kona Colour card.  I picked Kiwi and Mango as the green and orange colours and thought they'd go well with the celestial blue I had on hand (4 yards if it!)

On Saturday afternoon, I took a quick trip to the Limerick Quilt Centre to buy some fabric.  They had Mango but no Kiwi.  The closest I could find was a leaf colour which didn't quite go with the Mango, so I changed to a carrot coloured orange instead.  It really makes a difference to be able to pull bolts of fabrics from the walls when you need to match tones!
So, second round saw a Kona  grey and some Essex linen for the paws and I was off again - working out dimensions for a bigger quilt and cutting away to my hearts content.

I think this on its own would make  sweet baby quilt but I had all that beautiful blue on hand so it got chopped up and added on too to make a bed quilt! 
Absolutely no idea how I am going to quilt this one - lots of space to be filled in!  Any suggestions?

Very happy with the design now but still loving that Westfalenstoffe Woodland scene and being a tiny bit stubborn, I went back to my test block and carried on, regardless of the disappearing bear paws.   I framed my 28" square blocks with some Dashwood studios woodland forest fabric to lift it a little bit.  It now measures 50" square and could be nice a baby quilt, but I think I'm going to add a blue border and bring it up to 60" to use for the sofa when we sit with the dogs by the fire.
Design wall is full so hanging blocks off fences and picture rails!

Has it stopped me playing with the bear paw block?  Not yet.  Came up with these too and am very tempted!

Especially this one which looks like dog bones to me.

None of these are on my to do list of course!  I do seem to be loving that light shade of blue though which I think is Kona Breakers. That's going on my wish list but not my shopping cart until I finish some quilts first!

Monday, 22 February 2016

May the 4th be with you!

I told myself I wasn't going to do any group swaps this year and then I saw this one on Instagram!

May the 4th be with you!
Seriously how was I ever going to be able to pass up a Star Wars Swap?  I even thoroughly enjoyed making this mosaic for my swap partner!  Star wars droids are my favourites and Lego Star Wars has to be the cutest thing ever!!!!

I even have an idea what to make for my partner who chose the Dark Side - boo hiss!!  It has to be Darth Vader really doesn't it?  I saw this lego Vader on pinterest as a cross stitch pattern and it looked like it came from a vinyl sticker but I can't for sure find the designer.  So not wanting to just "borrow" it as a design for my quilt, I decided to change it up a bit.  I modified the face, legs and breastplate and removed the cool flames in the long coat as that was such a lovely design touch by whoever made this guy that I just couldn't use it as my own.
What's with the green?  The plan is glow in the dark fabric!  This is either going to be epic or an epic fail but I've ordered some white fabric off Finch Sewing Studion on Etsy that is supposed to last for 10 years glowing as long as it charges up in sunlight for a few hours every day.  Fingers crossed this works out the way I hope!

In for a penny, in for a pound!  No more swaps after this until I get a quilt made off my to do list - really this time!  Pinky promise!

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Ho Ho Ho and On We Sew - Giveaway and Free Pattern!

Welcome to my stop on the Ho Ho Ho and on We Sew Blog Hop! Fiona @ Celtic Thistle Stitches hosts a tutorial blog hop on the theme of things to make for Christmas - yes I know its only just over but in case you wanted to get ahead or are looking for ideas on a present to make there are a bunch of tutorials over on the Ho Ho Ho page, 28 in total and I'm adding #29 today.  There is a linkup below for all your Christmas makes and a generous prize.  This month's giveaway is the Christmas Decoration pack from Angela Attwood.

This time last year Pam @ Threading My Way, made some cute 5" drawstring gift bags.  I'm continuing the theme of drawstring bags with a free pattern for my Patchwork themed larger bag measuring 13".   It can accommodate a patchwork block maximum size 6" x 8" so perfect for those 6" blocks like star blocks that you might want to make!

Last year, as a gift for my friend who loves baking and cake decorating I made this version to hold all the little brushes and cookie cutters you gather as a baker.  I tired to write it as a tutorial but it got so long with all the little pieces required  for the cake and bag (7 pages!) that it was easier to put it all into a free download on PDF as a pattern instead!

I just got my Janome back from the repair shop and decided to test it and the pattern by making another bag!   Instead of a cake block I modified Soma @ Whims and Fancies Fields on Camera design so it would fit as a 6" block on my bag.  I was lucky enough to win this brilliant pattern in a draw last year - thank you Soma!  I thought it would make a nice front for my bag as a present for my mum to hold her camera battery charger, cables and adaptors for travelling.

This time around I boxed the corners and again used a 2" ribbon for the drawstring, lined it with a brighter fabric on the inside to make it easier to find stuff inside.

I tried out a few fancy stitches for the applique to make sure my machine was back to tip top working order but am sorry now I didn't satin stitch them as it is a bit rough around the edges this way!

Wilbur is not too impressed either (might be the fact that there is nothing edible inside!)  I think he's right though the applique finish is not up to mum's standards so I just might keep this one for myself  and make mum another one (this would fit my cleaning kit and lens hoods nicely for my new Fuji camera!)

And of course to let me know how he felt about the lack of treats he jumped at my head!  You'd never know he had 3 epileptic seizures in a row only a week ago, would you?  He's doing well on med's now and is loving getting his tablet twice a day with peanut butter.  I might just have to make him a bag for his tablets, one with a big W on it!

If you want to showcase a piece of patchwork and make a personalised bag as a gift the pattern is free to download here.

To enter the draw to win Angela's Decoration pack please link up below:

Thank you to all this years sponsors for being so generous and supporting

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Dear Jane

I'm sure most of you have heard of the Dear Jane quilt or as some like to call it That Quilt!  It's a quilt made over 150 years ago by a lady called Jane A. Blakely Stickle and contains over 5600 pieces.  It's a sampler quilt of 4.5" blocks (169 of them!) with a triangle border (adding it all up to 225 patterns in total). 

What I had not heard of was a Share Jane quilt - get lots of people to make a block and spread the work over many hands!  Great idea isn't it?  So when Paula Rafferty organised an Irish Share Jane Quilting Bee, I joined in and said sign me up for 2 blocks.  I figured 5" unfinished, 4.5" finished, aren't they tiny?  Easy peasy, should be fast as lightning! 

Then I got blocks B7 and B8 in 3 different colourways and had to stop and think!  How on Earth was I going to make these?  ThatQuilt blog came to my rescue and I learned how to do reverse applique, needle turn applique and got to re-visit inset seams. 

Not as easy peasy as I first thought and it has given me a great appreciation for all those who tackle this quilt as a solo project.
For my part I am glad to have learned a lot about blocks from templates and exercising my hand sewing skills.  They are far from perfect but I really like the softness the blocks seem to have from handpiecing when compared to machine pieced.  I have also discovered I love the black on black blocks the most and really want to make a black quilt now!

Thank you Paula for allowing me to share in the trio of Irish Dear Jane quilts!  I wouldn't have tried this otherwise and am delighted to have finished these little but fiddly blocks eventually!

Even though they are only little blocks I'm calling this one a Friday Finish!

Friday, 5 February 2016

Wandering Camera - the snapshot edition

I'm calling this one the snapshot edition, as I had fully intended on making an effort and showing some nice photos to link up with Soma's Wandering Camera linky party @Whims and Fancies but January kind of got away from me.  So here's a little look at my past week or so!

Washed my Lost in London quilt and remembered how much I love that scruchy texture you get from the first wash! 

Took a trip to Ikea to pick up a desk and chair for a friend on the way home from Dublin Airport and discovered I really like black in a kitchen. Plus check out that wood log roller blind!

I would love to change our counter tops to wooden ones.  Really love that look!

And this yellow made me smile though I think my mum would never visit if I did this!

Still loving that turquoise blue in the kitchen - am definitely going to incorporate more of this colour into our house this year - and a hot pink blind - perfect!

Am thinking of recovering the sofa with this darker fabric (5Euro a meter!) Easier to keep clean with Wilbur and Charly maybe? And it would be handy to have a second set so this doesn't happen again!

Still can't notice the lumpy bits on the bottom of the sofa seat where I stuffed it back in - this earned Wilbur the nickname of the Horrible Animal.  We call him that affectionately now all the time!

I love the shape of this chair and could see it re-vamped patchwork style!  Wouldn't that be a fun project though I suspect it would be a lot harder than I think to do!

Very little outdoor snapshots - pretty miserable weather all around!

On the bright side I did buy a new camera and have a photo tip for you.  When a new camera model is announced, quite often the camera manufacturers drop the price on the original model quite dramatically to move stock.  If you don't mind not having the newest, shiniest model this is a great way to buy good gear at reasonable prices.  So with the new X-Pro 2 mirrorless camera on the way the price dropped on the X-Pro 1 and somehow magically it found its way into my amazon basket!

This was my first shot!  Yup accidentally pushed the button when Charly surprised me - made me laugh!
So that's my photo Friday tip and wandering camera snapshot of January!  Linking up to Soma's @

Camera And Photography Linky Party
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