August 29, 2007

Fair Trade

Katy's Cool Wallhanging from My Stash!, originally uploaded by Cathi O'Neill.

I don't have any photos of my progress this week, as a photo of some trimmed HSTs, one DJ block quilted, and more of a sock (ready to do toe on the second sock, nearly done!) just aren't really exciting photos!

But look at what Katy has done in a few small increments of time our kids gave us for crafting, in between all our trips out sightseeing! She took the new Joel Dewberry fabric my friend Carrie got me, some other fabrics that work with it and made this cool wallhanging :) I planned to make her one of my moebius baskets eventually, but kept passing by my own one, knowing that she loved the colors, and just figured, hey, I'll make another one to keep later. So I traded her the bowl for the quilt, lol!!
kate 156

We've been having a great time seeing things locally, going dolphin watching, visiting castles, taking kids swimming... My girls are loving have Katy's two big girls and their lovely son Alex here, they get along really well!! Katy is a great cook too, and has made many of our meals, for which I am grateful, since I suck at cooking for large numbers of people, and am just not a relaxed cook.
Running through Garykennedy Woods The Kids Chilling Out

Katy and I went to my patchwork groups monthly evening meeting last night, what a group of insane fun people, we couldn't stop laughing. I plan on taking her to my local quilt lady to peruse some fabrics on Saturday, when the mom's finally get a few hours out without kids, lol.

Aine starts school on Monday, sniff sniff. Aisling is potty trained. I feel like singing "Sunrise Sunset". Where did the time go?

August 23, 2007

Birmingham Festival of Quilts AKA Where My Credit Card Was Cancelled for Overuse!!

The Girls at Birmingham Festival of Quilts, originally uploaded by Cathi O'Neill.

Well, not really. But it was stopped after a purchase from the Netherlands (really Petra Prins gorgeous stall at the Festival) and one from the UK within 20 minutes of each other, my credit card company thought something must be afoot!! But I wasn't to be held back from my purchases, I left the festival momentarily and got some CASH!!

We had a great day, a very long day (Aisling chose that night to wake up at 3, 3:30, 4 and 4:30am, at which time it was time to go to the airport for my 6:30am flight!) but a wonderful day of shopping and looking at some really wonderful work.

I even saw a black and white Dear Jane quilt, take a look! I set up an album of some of the quilts I saw in Flickr, click here to see!

Black and White Dear Jane at Birmingham Festival of Quilts

Barbara was there with her friend Celine (a French woman living in the UK), my friend Katy was there with her two daugthers, and my new friend Sherry, who I met through this blog and first met at the airport. It was really great to have a chance to chat with all my bloggy friends and to do a bit of retail therapy together. While I was there, Barbara gave me this wonderful bag she made for me! What wonderful friends I have :)!! I also got back my Crazy Quilt Round Robin, it is gorgeous, have a look!
Beautiful Bag that Barbara made me!!
CQ Wallhanging
Closeup of CQ Closeup of Crazy Quilt 1 Closeup of CQ

Sherry and I had plenty of time after the festival while waiting for our 10pm flight to actually get her setup on a new blog. She is a fellow American also with 2 daughters, a fellow quilter, and also married to an Irishman. We had a great time getting to know each other througout the day, and she and Barbara have also become friends now too. Ain't the blogging world great!! Please visit Sherry and welcome her to Blogland, tell her I sent ya, lol!!

I bought so many things at the festival...several kits for quilts, a sewing organizer, a doll, and don't get me started on my search for Japanese taupes...I bought quite a bit! Definitely a new love of mine since Barbara brought over my first taste of them on her visit in May!
Japanese Taupes Petra Prins Kit Fabric from Petra Prins Toy Patterns Trims and Notions Blackwork Sampler Autumn Applique Tablerunner Angel Sewing Organizer Hungarian Folk Art Fabric

No photos of current projects, but am working along on quilting my Dear Jane, knitting my sock and have started a reproduction antique sampler, could it be a new addiction forming?

August 15, 2007

I have a confession to make...

Celine CQ Block 2

I am not really very good at crazy quilting and I don't enjoy it very much. Shhhhh...don't tell anyone. It is not that I don't like it, I admire other peoples work very much and I do like stitcheries with stem and back stitches... I just get paralyzed with so much choice and kinda can't do ribbon embroidery very well. Saying that, I am happy enough with my final blocks for a Crazy Quilt Round Robin that I did with a group of talented quilters and CQers in England and Sweden! I don't think I will be doing much Crazy Quilting in the future, it is just not a passion, and I don't think I'm very good at it! I will post a photo of my quilt when it comes back soon though.

I also suck at doing a proper quilting stitch. Barbara showed me her technique and made it look so easy to get even stitches on the front and back of her quilt. She can quilt amazingly fast. Now looking around I am paralyzed again by the amount of techniques for hand quilting. I am doing well just stab stitching each quilting stitch one at a time for my Dear Jane, probably best for that anyway, as there are so many seams! I'll put in my latest blocks here, just click to see the details! What are your favorite methods to hand quilt? Can you recommend a good book? I'd love to learn a method where I can go a bit more quickly, though I suppose having done 60 blocks since late June isn't too bad! I am aiming to get one done each day and sometimes get a few more...

F5 - Parcheesi - QuiltingI5 - Maria's Majesty - QuiltngC5 - Eye of the Cyclone - Quilting

E5 - Rising Sun - QuiltingD5 - Cathedral Window - Quilting

I am working on the heel gusset for my Pomatomus sock and while chatting with my friend Kathleen while doing a bit of knitting while kids ran wild over the house I managed to totally mess up the decreases. That will show me! No more talking and knitting on a complicated pattern, lol!! I spent last night ripping back to a place I could start again. A few days ago, Kathleen watched the girls for me and I snuck out to the quilt shop to see if I could find some fabric for the snowy mountains on my dad's quilt, and pick up the Jo Morton and Rothermel prints she had on clearance!! There were roadworks that had me sitting on the road for about 20 minutes. Instead of seething, I remembered I had my sock knitting with me and took it out and got a few rows done while waiting to  move again! I should remember to keep it in my bag just in case I have a minute or 2 of found time :) Gotta grab it while you can with 2 small kids!!

I'll leave you with this photo of Aisling who decided she needed a hat, mittens and tea towel bib to eat her spaghetti...gotta love them wacky kids!
Spaghetti Eating Costume

August 10, 2007

The Rhythm of Life

Aine and her first row of her own quilt, originally uploaded by Cathi O'Neill.

Look at Aines first quilt row! I marked little dots on the backs of two squares and she used needle and thread to go up and down through those dots. I untangled threads for her, but she stitched all those squares together herself. We haven't done any more since last week, but she did great!!

Not a huge amount of dramatic photos to show you this week, as I am constantly working in small snippets of time on four main projects. I try to quilt one Dear Jane square each day (count now up to 52 squares quilted!!), I am working on my second sock (up to heel flap now), I am doing freehand fans on the applecore quilt (doesn't look much different from last week!), and I am slowly sewing together my HSTs for more ocean waves blocks.

Pomatomus Second SockBig Stack o'HSTs

Of course while doing all this, I am trying to change the million dress up costumes the girls want changed about every 5 minutes, cleaning toilets, cooking meals, running errands, getting out the few sunny days (it is raining again today!) to the park and friends houses with the kids... It is a nice rhythm of life, and things do get accomplished...slowly!Cinderella and Tinkerbell!

I wanted to show you all the gorgeous batiks that Micki, another quilting "Yank" here in Ireland sent me when we swapped Civil War fabrics for batiks! I'm well on the way to get my dad's quilt started...just need to get some good snowy mountain fabric. Thank you so much for the large pieces of batik!!Fabrics from Micki

We had a bank holiday on Monday, so Dave and I packed the kids in the car and headed for the West Coast of Ireland. We walked along a beach or two, I knit quite a lot of my sock, and look what town we went through, I just had to take a photo for the blog, sad I know!


August 2, 2007

My Cup Runneth Over...

Baptist Fan quilting on Applecore Quilt, originally uploaded by Cathi O'Neill.

First thing, let me show you the baptist fan quilting I've been doing on my applecore doll quilt. I decided on natural thread (thanks for your opinions!) and I am doing the freehand baptist fans I learned about in Tonya's tutorial on Bonnie's Quiltville site. I love the textured look it is getting. Doll quilts are great for practicing too!! It won't take me a year to finish a quilt, like with my big Dear Jane!

There is a new small quilt swap starting up, a four seasons swap, check it out here!

I have also started my second sock and am working my way down the leg now, cool!

Carrie and AlexBut let me tell you why my cup runneth over this week! My good friend Carrie (who I've only met a few times in real life, and keep in touch with mostly via Windows Messenger!), came for a visit yesterday and look what she brought me and the girls. She is the sister in law of a friend I made back in our old area near Waterford, and we bonded because we were both Americans married to Irishmen, and both liked crafting, lol. Carrie, her husband, and her two gorgeous kids came for a quick visit on their way back to Maine yesterday and look what she brought me! Some Heather Bailey, Joel Dewberry, and Amy Butler fabrics, some wool for felting, some dishcloth cotton, a gorgeous felted bag, a magazine, a pattern, a crewel embroidery project...and some great stuff for the kids too!! So wonderful!
My Cup Runneth Over - Gifties for me and girls from Carrie!

Lovely Fabrics from MonicaI am very lucky to have made such wonderful friends both in real life and online. I have sent out some Dear Jane starter packages for a few online friends in the last few weeks, and got a lovely thank you packet back from Monica at Quilt While You're Ahead, some lovely fabrics! Another friend just emailed me today to tell me she's sending me some batik pieces as a thank you to help with my dad's quilt. I sometimes think I get more back from the universe than I send out. Thank you everyone for your generosity!!

On another note...we are having a very wet summer here in Ireland so we've had a few days of sunshine this week and have taken advantage. The girls helped me pick lettuce from our small veg patch tonight for a nice salad. I love being able to make a meal from our own patch of earth.

Picking Lettuce for Mommy's SaladPlaying on the new lawn

Aine has started her own pink quilt. I mark little dots where she should put the needle up and down and she has sewn the square together on her own...will have to get a photo of that!! Aisling has been potty training for the last three days, so we've been staying close to home. The first day was abysmal, but something tweaked yesterday, and she has been doing great since then!! Oh the joys!

I've been contemplating Christmas gifts lately, my dad's quilt, a special thing for mom, and now all this wool yesterday has me thinking of face cloths with the cotton, felted bags...going to start going on those soon so that maybe this year I can get more done!!