NO GIRLS ALLOWED QUILT BEE – JULY

I’m slowly but surely working my way through my HUGE to-do list, even though new things keep sneaking their way onto the bottom of it!  Quite high up were my blocks for July, August and September’s #NGAQB gentlemen.  Mr July is the lovely Ryan Walsh of Ryan Walsh Quilts, who can be found on Instagram as ryanwalshquilt.

In his own words, Ryan is…

“…a self-taught quilter and quilt designer who enjoys taking classic quilt designs and updating them with a modern twist. He’s employed full-time as a NYS Licensed Funeral Director and manages a funeral establishment in his hometown. A busy dad, the majority of his quilting adventures occur in the late hours of the night after his kids are in bed!

Ryan uses quilting as a vehicle to satisfy his never-ending need to be creative. His work is based around combining traditional piecing methods with free-style construction techniques. As a way to challenge his ability, Ryan participates in several online bees and quilt related swaps every year.

When he’s not quilting, Ryan also enjoys photography, embroidery, collage, crocheting, sightseeing and spending time with his family.  Ryan currently resides in the Catskill Mountain region of Upstate New York with his children.”

Mr. July requested Knee Socks blocks from a pattern by Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Fransson! fame.  I’ve been an avid follower of Elizabeth’s blog since I started quilting.  I used her Mod Mosaic block tutorial when I made the Dinosaur Quilt and was looking forward to trying my hand at these.  The block finishes at an impressive 24.5″ so we only had to do one.  Ryan asked for a scrappy rainbow look with low volume fabrics for the background.  I had great fun rummaging through my endless scraps and picking out little groups of colour.  The great thing about the scrappy version of the block is that scraps as small as 1″ wide can be utilised, and there you were thinking those were destined for the bin!  Heed my advice, keep everything!

Some old favourites joined the block party for his month, including snippets of Tula Pink and Heather Ross.  My love affair with crosshatch continues into these blocks too with Carolyn Friedlander’s widescreen serving as the background.  As much as I love this block and it’s boldness, I do have a confession to make.  My block actually came out a 1/4″ too small.  I’d love to lay the blame at someone else’s door but alas, your boy did bad.  You see, I realised when I’d finished that I didn’t press my seams open, despite what the instructions instructed me to do, and this block has a lot of them!  Add all those up and it’s obvious where my extra length went!  Because he’s great like that, Ryan said he’d make it work, which was good, because by that point I’d scratched it from the to-do list, and once something’s off that, there ain’t no way it getting back on!

Remember to follow along on Instagram with #NGAQB.  The guys are really stepping up their game and making some awesome things!

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(DE) STASHING #8.5

About a week ago, a hashtag swept though Instagram, leaving in its wake a trembling mass of excitable  fabricholics.  It was #thegreatfabricdestash.  A simple conception where by you post a picture of fabric you’d like to sell with said hashtag and anyone wishing to take it off your hands need only comment with their PayPal address.  First come, first served.  Simple.  I watched in awe, constantly refreshing my screen to see the newest offerings.  In the aftermath, there was a lot of commentary from UK-based quilters who were saddened that so much awesome fabric was out of their reach, either due to the sellers refusal to ship international or the sky-high prices of such shipping.  I was fortunate that my amazing American ‘”mum” Debi allows me to use her home as a makeshift post office.  I secured a great deal on a Robert Kaufman ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ bundle, though I could have spent more…a lot more.

The success of the event caught on and a few days ago an Instagram friend, lovestrawberrypatch, suggested a UK destash and I was sold.  Great fabric, without the high cost and long wait of international shipping!  Last night, everyone in the house got fed earlier than usual; me, the man and the dog, for 7pm was the time of the #greatukfabricdestash and I had to have my wits about me.  Who knew what delights might be waiting to tempt me?   I needed funds, and I needed them quick.  A quick rummage through the stash and I had a some things I was willing to part with.  Some of it was duplicates and things I’d bought far to much of, but a few were pieces I really loved, namely some of my Heather Ross Munki Munki.  I thought long and hard before deciding to destash them.  My reasoning was that I’d already sewn with them in some form or another, and unlike my stash staples; the stripes, the crosshatching and the chevrons, these pieces were a one time deal.  I’d used it and now I had to lose it.

The event was a huge success and so much fun!  A frenzied evening of fastest finger first.  There were some awesome things available.  I had my eye on some Heather Ross ‘Mendocino’ but I wasn’t quick enough and they went within seconds of being posted!  Whoever destashed them had more willpower than me; my Mendocino is stored under lock and key!  I managed to sell a fair bit and restrained myself just enough to make a profit.  I scored some great Tula Pink pieces, some ‘Ghastlies’ by Alexander Henry and a few random bits and bobs which I will share with you all in my next stashing post.

Looking at Instagram this morning, there’s  word of a #greataussiedestash so it looks like the idea has gone global!  There are still some great things to be had, so if you’re looking for a bargain or a certain fabric be sure to check the out the hashtags.

Did you get anything great from the great destash?

A HALF SQUARE TRIANGLE QUILT

Merry Christmas!  I hope everyone had a fun and festive day yesterday.  As dictated by tradition, ours was full of far too much food and enough hastily torn wrapping paper to redecorate a small bedroom.  If it were any other way then it wouldn’t really be Christmas, would it?  I was spoilt by no less than seven quilting books which will see me stocked up on inspiration for years to come, as well as fabric given to me months before so that I might “look at it” before it was wrapped.  Let’s just say some wrapping paper was saved…

Now that the man in red has delivered his wares I can finally reveal the quilt I completed a few weeks ago.  As I said in this post, this quilt came about quite spontaneously and wasn’t something that was on my to-do list.  I was asked to make it for a new addition to our family and with the deadline being Christmas, I knew it had to be something quick and easy.

Half Square triangles are one of my favourite block components.  They’re simple to make on mass and can be arranged in so many different ways.  I really enjoyed pulling fabrics for this quilt.  Whilst I wanted to stick to the traditional masculine colours, I love the orange for the zesty pop of colour it adds to the quilt.  The mix of solids, tone-on-tone prints and fussy cut pieces really works for this baby quilt, and there are lots of cute images for the recipient to “I spy” in a few years time.  I couldn’t resist some Heather Ross goldfish and dogs from her Lightening Bugs and other Mysteries collection for this very reason.

The quilting was kept simple, an edge-to-edge stipple, as was the backing fabric, which was the bargain I secured a few months back.  The binding is one of my favourite prints from Architextures by Carolyn Friedlander, crosshatch in black, which finishes off the quilt perfectly.  I’ve already been told that the quilt was the favourite present of the day and is to be cherished forever.  What more reward could us quilters ask for?

A HALF SQUARE TRIANGLE QUILT – WIP

I can’t believe it’s the 4th December already!  I wish I could be a kid again.  Back then, school holidays seemed to last months not weeks and Christmas took forever to arrive.  Now, I blink and a week’s passed!  There’s barely time to fill a bobbin before something or someone is clawing for my attention, be it tree decorating, jam making or opening the advent calender for an ever-demanding dog.  Today however, it’s my half square triangle quilt.

With the Lighthouse Quilt having fled the WIP nest, I was itching to get back to the Gossip quilt.  I’ve been hoarding that backing fabric for such a long time and it was great to finally make progress on the blocks a few weeks back.  All the logs are cut and waiting patiently for me.  Well, I hope they don’t mind waiting a little longer as this has to be the next thing I finish…

This half square triangle quilt was something that happened rather spontaneously and has been a bit of a cloak and dagger project.  I impressed myself when I didn’t have to buy a single piece of fabric for it.  Everything came from stash; handy considering the looming festive deadline.  There are lots of favourites in here, including some of my coveted Heather Ross.  If all goes to plan,  I hope to baste this over the weekend and quilt it early next week.

I could really do with some of those elves right now!

A DINOSAUR QUILT

The dinosaur quilt is finished!  You can read more about this quilt here, here and here.  After much to-ing and fro-ing between different quilting designs, I finally sat down to tackle it last week, deciding upon a wiggly woven lines pattern that I found on The Free Motion Quilting Project blog.  My impatience got the better of me and, despite telling myself I wouldn’t, I quilted the entire thing in one day, taking about 8 hours in total.  Although not a huge quilt, measuring approximately 38″ x 50″, the design is quite close so my arms and shoulders really got a work out, although the texture of the finished quilting made it worth it.

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I’m so glad I get to keep this quilt.  It really is a showcase of the fabrics that I love, particularly my precious Heather Ross, whose colours seemed to compliment the dinosaur backing beautifully.  I also found the perfect thread to use.  This King Tut thread passed through my machine effortlessly and, when coupled with these needles, made even and stress-free stitches.  I recently switched needles after reading a lot of recommendations online and they’ll be my go-to needles for all future projects.

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The binding continues the dinosaur theme, though I didn’t have quite enough fabric.  I added some solid black sections which echo the sashing and the pops of black on the quilt top.

T-Rex seems pleased with the finished product, though I bet he’s just glad to have something warm to see him through the coming winter!

I’m ending this post on a cautionary note.  We all know that free motion quilting uses a lot of thread.  I was almost caught out this time.  I’d ordered the thread online and, rather than play it safe and buy 2, settled for one, 500 yard spool.  It quickly became obvious during the quilting of the last quarter that it was going to be close.  Thankfully, even after winding 5 bobbins, I had enough, though only just.  This is what was left; a paltry amount on the spool and a ball of trimmings.  I won’t be so daring next time!

A DINOSAUR QUILT – WIP

After much arranging of blocks, the dinosaur quilt top I’ve been working on for a few weeks is finished.  More than any of my other quilts this really has been a labour of love, owing to the awesome backing fabric I’ll be using, as well as all the bright and bold colours of the fabric.

I love the fabric in this quilt.  Most were pulled from stash, like the precious Heather Ross pieces that only gets cut into for the most special of projects, but a few were purchased during several of my fabric hunting expeditions as I felt they’d really work in this quilt.  The sashing and larger solid blocks are Kona coal, and the little bits of black in each coloured block is a great, pebble print I got from a local fabric store; it just screamed dinosaur to me!

The top measures 40 X 52, so it isn’t huge, and shouldn’t take too long to quilt.  I’m leaning towards an edge-to-edge free motion design for the quilting, with a preference for something with curves to contrast with the angular nature of the blocks.  I have a few ideas, but I’d love to hear what any of you think might work.  I’m waiting on the wadding to arrive, then I’ll baste.

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