Monday, June 30, 2014

The Canvas Pattern: Now Available in FSQ

I am delighted to announce that She Can Quilt's Canvas quilt pattern is now available at Fluffy Sheep Quilting {the shop}!


You can find the pattern by clicking on the "Patterns and Kits" button on the shop home page, or by following this link.  Currently the pattern is available as a PDF that will be emailed to you after your purchase.    

Created by Leanne of She Can Quilt

Leanne's pattern is very clearly written with a lovely prologue describing considerations when you are designing your own Canvas quilt.  She helpfully includes size charts including fabric requirements, two cutting charts and figures for each step of the piecing process.  

Created by Leanne of She Can Quilt

My favorite thing about this pattern is that you can use it time and time again in different sized projects for different occasions.  Included are the cutting instructions for each of the following projects: mug rug, table topper, napkins, pillow, mini quilt, baby quilt (two sizes), lap quilt (two sizes), queen quilt (two sizes) and king quilt (two sizes).

Made by me!

With a new pattern hanging around the shop, I could not resist giving it a try!  I thought I would make myself a set of four napkins.  For the first time, I cut into my precious Locally Grown fabric for the centers, framed it with Kona Tomato and Kona Bahama Blue and then set off with Le Creme Swiss Dots in red.  They're backed in more Kona Tomato.  Can't have enough red.


They are generously sized napkins, so you can easily square them without them shrinking too obviously.


I think they will be fun for our next picnic.  I would absolutely return to this pattern for my next house warming gift or if I need a baby quilt.  The Canvas pattern offers a great opportunity to personalize each project with the fabrics you use while still offering great impact with its design.  Lovely job, Leanne!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Mini BBQ Invite

The weather in Galway has been phenomenal the past few weeks. It is such a rarity that we felt compelled to take two days holiday from work and head to the beach.  After the winter we had, it is nuts to miss out on the few sunny days coming our way.

We packed up the camper and headed to the coast on Saturday morning with Daisy (the moped) in tow.  If you ever see this camper bumbling around Ireland, do pop over and say hello.  I would love to meet you and chat a bit.


Here we are in Kinvara for a quick breakfast.  Yum!

A weekend camping means a weekend sitting in a lawn chair while chatting with friends, so I had to bring hand work to do.  Recently, I have been thinking of inviting our neighbours over for a 4th of July BBQ.  They are so nice to us, so I wanted to do something fun for them.  Dinner outside on our long summer evenings seems like a great way to spend time together.  This is a classy BBQ - no texted invites.  They are getting a bespoke hand made request to join us.  

I packed up my stamps that I bought in Liberty of London last summer and my blue and red ink pads, then set to work Saturday night after dinner.  It's my first time really stamping at length.  I could use some practice.  There's no confusion that this was hand made, is there?!?

Their surname is cropped off on purpose...don't think I'm that miserable with a camera, please?

It is signed from the dog only because I miss calculated how much space it would take to write out the whole invite, so I couldn't fit on the full 4 names in our family.  I thought since our dog and their dog are best friends, it suited.

On the front, I wanted to make an American flag.  I brought a Kona FQ with me to hand embroider white stars, but I was VERY not impressed with how "organic" they were.  


Instead, I thought I would carve a star stamp and use a silver ink pad to make the stars.  Bad decision.  The silver ink was lost on the blue fabric.  I tried embroidering over star prints that were in the shop, tried to forget the star and instead just do french knots on blue Kona, etc but they all looked pretty awful.


And then it finally hit me!  My Blueberry Park charms might work!  I pulled out a Blueberry Park panel and paired it with Riley Blake gingham to make this liberal take on an American flag.  I love it.  Looking at the photo now I wish I aligned the gingham on the top and bottom, but in real life I am 100% pleased with how it turned out.  It's bound in Kona white with the little invite serving as the backing fabric.


So I pinned it to Molly's collar this evening and let her loose in the neighbour's yard.  The girls were absolutely delighted to have a hand made invitation and wanted to know more about how it was made, how to stamp fabric, etc.  I'll make crafters out of them yet!  Needless to say, the whole family will be joining us on the 4th for burgers, home made ice cream and a few pints.  Molly's friend Oscar is coming too.





Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Big Stitch Swap Signups Are Open


That's right!  In invite you to join into a swap that myself and my friend Sarah are organizing.  The Big Stitch Swap.  Sarah had the super idea of doing a swap where hand stitching of some variety is a significant contribution to the swapped item.  It can be embroidery, hand quilting, cross stitch...what ever floats your boat!


What to make, what to make?  Well, our suggestions would be something along the scale of a iPad cover, a zippy pouch, a fancy notebook cover or a tote bag.  I am in the mood to make a mini quilt.  You get the idea.  The only guideline is that your hand stitching has to be a significant portion of the item's design.  



Want to join in?  The swap is open to 40 people.  The only catch is you need to have participated in two other swaps before joining into this one.  If you have, just click here and complete our entry form.  We will then secretly assign partners.  Know that your partner is not necessarily making an item for you.  While you are waiting for your partner assignment, join into our Flickr group and start thinking about an inspirational mosaic like the one I have below.  I used Big Huge Labs for mine, but you can use what ever works for you.

1. Link 2. Link 3. Link 4. Link 5. Link 6. Link 7. Link 8. Link 9. Link 10. Link
11. Link 12. Link 13. Link 14. Link 15. Link 16. Link

The swap timeline is as follows:
- Signups open today (19 June) and will close on 27 June or when we reach 40 participants.
- Partner assignments will be distributed on 4 July (before my celebratory BBQ!)
- Posting dates are from 4-8 August depending on your postal system and where your partner lives.  


As usual, we ask that everyone actively participate in Flickr conversation threads, drop hints on photo comments for your partner, etc.   If you have any questions before you sign up, please do ask!  Better to ask before you sign up than after...it only makes my life more difficult to find a substitute if you drop out.

I do hope you join us!  This will be so very fun!

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The Big Stitch Swap

Monday, June 16, 2014

Hot pants? No! Hot pads.

Friday night I came home from work and wanted to sew.  I wanted color and a quick finish.  The lowest hanging fruit, then, was to make the hot pads my family had requested.  Super easy and rewarding, right?

I was happily stitching away when my other half came up to the sewing room.  "What are you making?" he asked.  "Hot pads" I replied (thinking if he couldn't tell what they were after asking for them I was in trouble!).  "Hot pants?"  he asked...slightly worried.  Um.  What?  Why would I ever make myself hot pants?!?  "No, just hot PADS."  Goodness gracious!

Photobomb by my left foot.  Thank goodness for that pedicure, Mom!

With a bit of Essex linen (Navy), Denyse Schmidt plaid and a FQ of happy Orla Kiely-type kitchen mugs and pitchers I sat down to use Adrianne's tutorial.  It was incredibly easy to follow and the templates are very helpful.  Adrianne stresses that you need to use biased binding and indeed she is right for those curves.


It was my first time making/using biased binding, so that was a small adventure.  Here I used Dottie Orange - I love how it works with the greens and blues in the other prints.  A bit mad, but I dig it.  I have to say, when I sat down to hand stitch the binding to the back, I was entirely grateful that there was a bit of give in the binding.  So very glad I listened to her suggestions and was not too arrogant to think straight binding would due.


When you google Hot Pad Tutorial, every tute and blog post has a lovely action shot of someone bringing a casserole or cupcakes out of the oven showing you that they do indeed work.  I am not a cook - I mean I can survive if left to my own devices, but I do not enjoy it so I leave it to my other half who loves it.  When it came to taking photos of my hot pads in action, my other half was not around to model them for me!  What to do, but make my own speciality?  Peanut butter on toast.  Bliss.  They worked just fine - no fingers were warmed while making this delicious snack.


The biggest risk in testing out the hot pads was this monster.  She loves peanut butter, so I was full sure she would steal my toast as I was trying to take a photo of it to my surprise, she just hung out in the grass and waited patiently for some of it to drop.  Love her.

Once I finished off my other half's hot pad, I dove into those requested by my folks.  They wanted two individual pads, so I tried to oblige.  I figured while I was making two, I would make four so we had another set for bigger items (like massive pizza pans) that my onesie hot pad would not fit around.  


Saturday  morning I started making improv scrappy log cabin blocks.  I wanted to do a QAYG block, but that proved very difficult given the layer of insulated batting AND the layer of cotton batting.  These are fully from the scrap bin (much to Sarah's delight).  Scrap navy Essex to back, scraps to make the log cabin, scraps of batting (both types) and a bit of binding I had left from another project.


I am quite pleased with how they turned out.  They are a bit wild for my parent's kitchen, but they will not forget who made them :)
 



I quilted them in concentric rectangles, that you can see a bit better here on the back.  I do really enjoy free quilting on a side project that moves through my machine easily.  


The other two (that are staying here in Galway) are pieced and quilted, but waiting for their binding.  I am sure they will be finished off while watching a World Cup match some night this week.  Perfect time for a little hand stitching!

That's the word from Galway.  Rest assured there are no burned figures in our house!





Friday, June 13, 2014

Final Medallion Border: Test Blocks

My medallion top has been hanging on my design wall for weeks and weeks, waiting for inspiration to strike.  What block will I make for my final border?  I wanted it to be 6.5 x 6.5 inches and pieced without templates.  As every other part of the quilt has been paper pieced, I'm getting a little tired of that and have been wanting to just sit and sew.  


As the rest of the quilt is very angular, I thought a basic square/rectangle block might be a nice change.  After a quick vote on Instagram (@fluffysheepquilting) it was decided that I'd start making super scrappy blocks on a LV background.  I went to town and made 8 tester blocks.


But then when I placed them side by side on the design wall, the design didn't pop against the LV prints.  Out came the seam ripper....


And instead I made matchy scrappy blocks on a LV background.  Now these you could see easily. 


Although the rest of the quilt is hog wild scrappy, I sort of like the grouped, color-coordinated scraps in these final little blocks.




I think the coordinated scrappiness jives relatively well next to the crazy scrappiness of the rest of the quilt.You can easily see the block pattern against the background, too.


The one thing I'm not sure about is that there's no secondary pattern between the blocks in the outer border.  They seem quite jarring against one another.  I tried making mirror image blocks and inserted them in between, but that's even worse.


Suggestions are welcome, but for now I'll just keep piecing these little cuties until (again) inspirations strikes and I find a better way to unify the blocks in the outer border.  I have two pretty good sized piles of scraps cut ready for chain piecing, so it's perfectly mindless and rewarding just sitting and piecing a few blocks as I walk by my sewing room.  Happy days.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Bee Blessed: June

When Judith posted her mosaic for her accomplishments in May, I saw a pretty little block there tucked into the upper left hand corner.  Ooo...isn't that pretty?  I must look into that pattern - it would be fun to make!  


But wait!  Wait!  Lucky for me, it's this month's Bee Blessed block!  You can click on over to Sarah's blog to see the details, but long story short these blocks were made with this tutorial.


Much to my dismay, with all of these seams they ask you to use a scant quarter inch seam.  Will I ever escape?  I took your advice from my last disaster and moved my needle one point to the right.  It absolutely made my seams smaller, but not so small I was nervous they'd unravel when Judith received them.


That said, they are barely the right size.  A little small, I think, but totally usable.  I very much look forward to seeing this top finished.  There are several ways you could arrange these with a wide variety of patterns created.  I can't wait to see what final layout they choose to use.  Another great choice in block, ladies!




Monday, June 9, 2014

Clover & Violet's Blogger Bundle


What a delicious bundle I have for you this month!  This month's color-laden blogger bundle was created by the lovely Jennie of Clover and Violet.  Jennie has such amazing taste in fabric, expertly combining pattern and color so that they sing. 


Here Jennie combined natural Essex linen with the Wrens and Friends main floral print and lots of super pretty, color-saturated blenders from Dottie, Architextures, Minimalista and Wishes.  Won't these make a gorgeous hand bag or tote? 


Jennie knows, of course, that they'll be stunning in a project like that.  If you have not done so already, be sure you pop over to her shop where you can see the wide variety of bag patterns she has available in print or to download.  There's a bag there for every occasion!


To scoop up your own bundle, just click here.  They're retailing for 27.50 each, so I can not imagine they will be hanging around the shop for long!  Jennie, thank you.  Your bundle is absolutely beautiful.



Friday, June 6, 2014

Do you have one of these? Do you like it?

As you know, I am bouncing around the idea of bringing a quilt frame into my sewing space.  Your comments, thoughts and suggestions on my last post were incredibly helpful!  I thank you all.  

My other half joined into the search and found a listing for a used Pfaff Hobby Grand Quilter 1200 with a metal Inspira frame.  As I have a Pfaff and love it, this is a very interesting opportunity.  

Here is my question for all of you.  Do you have a Pfaff Hobby Grand Quilter 1200?  Do you like it? If so, why?  Do you hate it and want to sell it on?  Why?  Tell me your thoughts, please.


For those of you experienced in frame quilting, the "bonus" points of this machine are listed below.  Am I missing anything in this model that you have and love in yours?  Or do you think this might be OK?
  • High sewing speed of 1,600 stitches per minute
  • Working area of 9 x 6 inches
  • Straight stitch only, but with adjustable stitch length
  • Separate motor for bobbin winding
  • Pretension adjustment to ensure proper tension before use
  • Instead of dropping the feed dogs, there's a plate to cover them
The Inspira frame is a metal frame that is 10 ft long, but can be "halved" to a 5 ft frame quite easily.  The machine is oriented facing the quilter, so you can see your needle and move it with the attached handles.  That's a bit different than the New English set up, but I like that I can see the needle without bending around the machine.   Included is a shelf for your pantograph printout and above that a laser pointer to guide the quilter.   


The highlights, according to Pfaff, are:
  • Lightweight aluminium construction
  • Easy storage with minimal disassembly (although I have space to keep mine up full time)
  • Easy glide ball bearing weeks on the machine carriage
  • Machine power adaptor unit with comfortable handles for smooth movement
  • Quilt up to 106 inches of length (WAY larger than I'd ever piece)
  • Overhead pattern shelf with laser pattern pointer
  • Levelling feet on each leg
  • Leader fabric and side tension clips with velcro included


Again, do you have one of these frames?  Does it make you happy?  If not, what complaints do you have?  Those of you with other frames, do you see any potential issues here?

Thank you all for your thoughts and comments.  I will stop pestering you after this post...you may never hear me chat of frames again OR the next photo you see is me struggling to set up this behemoth!



Galway Stitching Meetup: June

Last night I met up with two lovely ladies for a little stitching in the sun.  It was absolutely wonderful.

I brought with me my ongoing cross stitch project, but didn't make huge progress.


I filled in a little background on the central "block" and started the blue squares on the third block.  More chatting than sewing, I guess.



Anneliese brought with her the famous triple zip pouch out of which she pulled Liberty hexies, papers and variegated Aurifil to baste to her heart's delight.  Really I think there were only two or three basted...we were too busy chatting and planning summer antics.

Do you see that arm?  A tanned Galwegian is a rarity.

Irina came to Galway for her first meetup, which was brilliant!  It was so nice to catch up with her in person and not (as usual) getting news through email.  Out of her bag, she pulled sashiko coasters she is making as a method of practising hand quilting.  She has a kit that comes with super cool pattern templates and a piece of chalk coated paper so that she can layer them on top of the linen and transfer the guidelines.  On the back, she'll use Japanese linen.  Such a cool, portable project.


Three children joined us, so our picnic table was filled with Fanta, cookies, ice cream and the makings of those elastic band bracelet thingies that are all the rage.


Not one cookie was left!  
We had a wonderful time catching up in the sun.  Ladies, it was so very nice to see you.  I can't wait to do it all again in July!

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