Friday, 31 May 2013

A Global Village!

Firstly a wee note for Helen Jean.  Thank you so much for your kind offer to Bee Blessed.  Unfortunately you are a 'No reply comment' blogger so I have no way of contacting you.  Please could you send me your email address and we can get chatting!!


Many years ago I attended a lecture where the speaker referred to our world as a 'Global Village'!  Attending the lecture were people from 25 different countries! Meeting people from far flung countries certainly makes our world feel smaller!

More recently I'm experiencing the same global community among quilting bloggers. Today I got to meet a quilting blogger from Australia!

Marie & I!
Marie is a native to Belfast, but now lives in Oz.  I'm so pleased she got in touch with me on her home visit.  She came along to my class and fitted right in!

She has made this wonderful quilt in Australian Flora fabrics, and she also showed us her in-progress wedding ring quilt, being sewn by hand!

Isn't it wonderful how complete strangers can become instant friends over the commonality of quilting!

Thank you Marie for taking the short hop across the world to meet me (*wink *wink!).

And you can find out more about Marie's creative makes here on her blog.

Happy Friday!


Thursday, 30 May 2013

Bee Blessed BOM

The recent sunshine here has made it feel like summer could be just around the corner!!

A new month means a new block for Bee Blessed.

This block is called The Woven Block and you can find the tutorial here.  Please keep to plain white for the 4 corner squares and bright fabrics for the woven strips.

Thank you everyone for the lovely 16 patch blocks for May!  I think the name for that quilt could be 'Colour Explosion!' .

I'd like to give a special thank you to our overseas contributors!  We very much appreciate you posting your blocks half way around the world to us! It makes the quilts we make and donate truly international!

I hope to have more BB progress pics for you soon.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Basting for Britain!

No, I'm not talking about the 'turkey in the oven' kind of basting!!

My run on making quilt tops these past few weeks has meant a build up of getting them basted to wadding and backings.

Basted Quilts

I got my Marmalade Table Runner, Brit Bee Giant Star Wallhanging & Pixilated Heart quilt tops fully basted and Vintage Purple & a Bee Blessed Hugs and Kisses quilt half basted (they need pieced backs).

Think I'll give the old knees a wee rest now!

And now that the sun is finally out, that can only mean one thing....

Revising (with help!)

... REVISING!  (even Poppy is out in sympathy!)

Enjoy the sunshine (if you have any!).

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Mitres Mastered!

After a slight delay waiting on more Kona Deep Violet, I've managed to get my Brit Bee '13 (part 1) quilt top completed.

Brit Bee '13 Vintage Purple Quilt top

I'm calling this one Vintage Purple!  Original eh?

The mitred corners didn't turn out to be as tricky as I was expecting - phew!

Brit Bee '13 Vintage Purple Quilt top

So this one now needs a pieced back, made up with the mini blocks I received and siggys.

And after another nifty bit of fabric shopping, I got the rest of what I needed to finish this Marmalade Half Hexie Table runner.

Marmalade Half Hexie table runner May13

I'll explain more about this future class project when I get it finished. It is currently sitting on a growing pile of quilt tops needing basting!  Knee pads at the ready!

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Home Again!

I am home again after an awesome weekend away with some of my best bloggy buds!

Bloggers Shindig May'13 033
L-R: Susan/Emily, Terri, LJ, Hadley, Katy, Trudi, Me, Di
Susan has already written the perfect summary of our day here!

It is such a joy and privilege for me to have the opportunity to meet up with these dearest quilty friends!

We laughed, ate, almost cried, stroked lots of fabric and quilts & ate some more!  Here are some of my favourite pics from Saturday (there are more to view here).

Blogger's Shindig may13
Check out Hadley & LJ's faces in pic no. 4!!!  That's a caption competition waiting to happen!
Sadly a few of our number weren't able to make it on the day!  But you were all very much in our thoughts!

A huge thank you to Susan for being the perfect hostess, and Terri for driving me half way around England & putting up with my snoring (so sorry my friend!).

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Mocha Made It.....

..... into my Brit Bee Giant Star wallhanging!

Brit Bee '13 Linen Star Wallhanging 005
Approx. 64" x 64"
Apart from this needing a jolly good iron, I'm really pleased with out it has turned out!

Thank you everyone for your brilliant feedback and suggestions!  In the end I had to go with what I had available, and as you can get a truer sense of the colours here, I'm hoping the non-mocha voters will be swayed!

Brit Bee '13 Linen Star Wallhanging 007

And today I got sewing with some Marmalade yummies ...

Half Hexie Table Runner (in progress)

... and a bandana for my neck ..... because it is almost summer ...... which means it is freezing!!!!!!

Bandana 001

Well I'm heading off tomorrow for a weekend of bloggy shenanigans!!  No doubt there will be incriminating evidence for you to look at online before I get home Sunday!!

Have a good one!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Going Back - Across the Sea!

Anyone remember the 'Across the Sea' QAL hosted by Sarah and Jennifer in September '11 (was it really that long ago!  Eeeek!)?

Across the Sea QALF front & back

It was a really cute pattern, and I got as far as making the front and back, stalled for a bit, then basted it last year, and stalled again!

Well, one of my sister's staff has had a baby, and I promised her this quilt, should the bundle of joy be a boy!

Across the seas boy quilt 002

A little boy called 'Felix' arrived safe and sound last week, so that was my motivation to finally get it quilted, bound, washed and posted off to big sis!

PicMonkey Collage2

It only took me an evening to finish it!  Why did I wait 18 months?!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

A Linen Quandry!

The Brit Bee '13 part 2 block I referred to yesterday was this one:

Brit Bee Block Feb13

This was the 2nd block I asked my lovely Brit bee-vers to make in February (it's a 2 block Bee), so that I could make a version of this for my bedroom wall:

As one of the blocks didn't make it back, I had to try and cobble another one together, with very little by way of leftovers.

I hope you can't notice which one it is!

Brit Bee '13 star wallhanging 001
Stuck up on my design wall - not yet sewn together!
The background linen here is natural Irish linen and isn't as dark in real life as it looks here. 

Anyway, my quandary is that I don't have enough natural linen to do the outside of the star as well as the pinwheel inside it.  So do I go with some darker, mocha Irish linen for the pinwheel (as shown above) or......

Brit Bee '13 star wallhanging 003

..... a paler natural Irish linen or.....

Brit Bee '13 star wallhanging 002

.... a solid cream (this is actually the wadding of my design board showing through, but you get the idea!).

Brit Bee '13 Star Wallhanging (in progress)

At the moment I'm leaning towards the mocha.  What do you think?

Monday, 20 May 2013

The Power of Purple!

Many of you know that purple is my favourite colour!

I was delighted when I got several vintage purples in the recent Vintage Fat Quarter Swap.

In February I was queenie in Brit Bee and used these vintage purples and some Deep Violet Kona as part 1 of what I asked my buddies to make.

Brit Bee Block 2 Feb13

And like the obedient little worker bees that they are, they all made me a 12.5" unfinished block!

Sadly, one of the blocks didn't make it home (along with part 2 block - more on that another day).  Thanks a bunch Royal Mail!!!

So a change of plan to the final design was needed, along with some extra blocks made from leftover fabric!

Brit Bee '13 Quilt in progress

This is the quilt top so far!  That cute mini pinwheel block was made by this brilliant worker bee, from the leftover cuts from the main block, and several others did the same! 

Brit Bee '13 mini blocks 001

Aren't these so cute!  These will be making their way into the back, along with the siggys (when I eventually get them all - hint, hint girls - you know who you are!).

Brit Bee '13 Quilt in progress

I'm really liking the mitred border on the mini block, and am thinking of mirroring this as an outer border.  This will help to bring the quilt up to size a bit (it's only 44.5" x 53" at the moment).

As for the part 2 blocks I asked my girls to make - well that's a whole other post!

Have a great start to your new week!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

A Quilt to Inspire

It's that time of the year again for the twice yearly Bloggers' Quilt Festival.

This is when bloggers from all over the world get the chance to submit up to 2 quilts across a variety of categories, and bloggers get the chance to vote for their favourites.

One of the categories is Favourite Group/Bee Quilt and I thought a worthy entry would be a quilt recently made by Bee Blessed, a charity quilting bee based in Belfast & supported by International bloggers.  Our Flickr group is here.

Bee Blessed quilt Apr13

The majority of this quilt was pieced by Sarah (co-founder of Bee Blessed).  It was made for the son of one of our Bee Blessed members, who broke his back in December following a skiing accident.  He is making a remarkable recovery, & despite being unable to walk, he has an amazingly positive mindset and is inspiring all those around him. 

Bee Blessed Quilt Apr13

The words in the quilt were chosen to reflect the courage and hope that this young man gives out, but also to spur him on and encourage him in the tough days ahead.

Bee Blessed Quilt Apr13

Quilt Deets:

Name:         Words of Inspiration
Made by:     Bee Blessed
Size:            60.5" x 83"
Fabrics:       Words - varied; Background - Klona Navy
Quilted by:  River Fabrics Long Arm quilting service

Should we have the thrill of winning this category the prize of a fabric voucher will be used to purchase fabrics for Bee Blessed, so we can continue to make and donate more quilts.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Bags for Life!

With the new 5p tax on plastic bags here, I thought it would be good to have an Eco Bag workshop in the summer, so folks could learn how to make their own bags for life.

I've been using my own handmade shopping bags for a while now, and made countless others for friends and family.

So far, I've experimented on 3 designs.  They are a combination of ones I've seen around blogland and my own additions and adjustments.  (Folks attending the one day workshop should be able to get 2 made).

Bags for Life 005

I used a mix of deco weight, cotton and nylon fabrics, to give folks a choice between strength and compactness.  They are all reversible!

Obviously the nylon one (a recycled shower curtain!) folds up nice and small, making it the smallest to fit in your handbag.  This is an unlined bag, with French seams which I based on dimensions of bags I've made before.

Bags for Life
Great for lighter-weight items
Next up, is the largest, which is reversible and folds up nicely into a front pocket.

Bags for Life

For this one I took my lead from this tutorial, but the pattern is not v.detailed, didn't provide the template, only uses 1/4" single seams and is unnecessarily complicated around the handles. So I made it up as I went along!!

Finally, this one!

Bags for Life 008

I will be recommending folks to make this one first at the workshop.  I found the template for it here, it is lined/reversible and the seam attaching the handles are flat fell seams (super strong, like the ones in the sides of your jeans!).   I will be adapting it a little to make it easy to fold up and store.

Bags for Life 010

There are many more styles of eco bags you could make, in as many different materials. I will continue to experiment with a few more before the workshop in August.  (I fancy trying one out from a pair of jeans!).

 In Stitches Bags for Life Workshop: Saturday 31st August.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

And the prize for the silliest face goes to .....

.....  my latest group of Beginners!

Machine Sewing for Beginners Class May13

This lovely bunch of ladies + 1 gent were a joy to teach, eager to learn, and produced wonderful zippered cushions (not all shown).

Well done everyone!  "Keeeeeeeeeeeeep Sewing!"

(The next 'Machine Sewing for Beginners' course starts on 4th September '13)

And here are a few more class finishes from last week.

Foundation Piecing Cushion class May13
Foundation Piecing Techniques - cushions made using this template.

Applique Class May13
Applique Techniques & Cushion course.  Pattern available here.

A huge well done to everyone, for stepping out of your comfort zone and trying some new techniques!  You have done brilliantly and produced beautiful cushions!

And as for me, I managed little bit of sewing today, but don't get your hopes up!

FQR13 name badge swap

This is the name badge for my secret swap partner in the Fat Quarterly Retreat Name Badge Swap!  Because this person reads my blog (hint hint!) if I showed you even a teeny bit of the front, she would know who it is for!

Sorry, I'll have to keep you in suspense on this one til the end of June when I post it off!

Thank you for all your kind thoughts for my daughter.  Sadly she has been fitted with a new moulded thumb splint (she is now giving a permanent 'thumbs up'!) which she must wear for a further 2 weeks.  This means the school are allowing her to sit her exams at home when the splint is off (yey!) and she can have a week off school while all her classmates sit their exams (yey!).  But it also means no sport for another 2 weeks (boo!).