Monday, April 29, 2013

Modern Baby: Shapes Sampler quilt and giveaway

I'm very excited and honoured to be hosting a stop on the Modern Baby blog tour today.

If its your first time visiting me here at FairyFace Designs, I'd like to extend a huge big Irish welcome to you. I hope it won't be your last visit! My quilt design was for this Modern Shapes Sampler, pictured in a baby girl's colourway here.

The theme for this book and the tour is Baby Shower. Now, baby showers are only starting to make an appearance in Ireland, so I've never been to one! But new babies are cerainly showered with gifts and since I started knitting and sewing back a few years ago, pretty much every baby that has arrived in my family and circle of friends has received a handmade gift from me as part (or all) of their baby gift. There's something amazingly special about making a gift for a brand new baby!

When I came to designing this quilt, the starting point was in my (overflowing) playroom. Its not the first time I've been inspired by classic baby toys in quilt design, and for this one, it was this simple but classic toy that inspired me: the humble shape sorter.

The various shapes appealed to my quilting eye - I love simple geometric shapes in my piecing and am drawn to how they let the fabric and colour shine through.

When it came to colour and fabric choice, my approach was simple. I only took up quilting after my 2nd child was born, and never had the opportunity to make a baby quilt for one of my own kids, so I imagined the sort of quilt I would love to make were I to have a new baby girl. For this very special quilt, I chose vibrant colours and beautiful fabrics and mixed solids with prints which were perfect for fussy cutting.


It turned out exactly how I imagined it. Babies were definitely on my mind, and shortly after I submitted my finished quilt, I found out I was expecting my third baby, who was born at the start of January this year - a beautiful baby girl, who has been lucky enough to receive a wealth of handmade gifts from my friends and who I have been busy making blankets, quilts and clothes for. I can't wait to get this quilt back, when it has finished its touring with Martingale, to put on her cot.

This quilt design will, however, work really well with different colour schemes and approaches. I did a couple of other colour mock-ups so you can see, not having had time to make an alternative colourway with the pregnancy and new baby. All white solid background in the blocks will give the shapes a floating effect.

And a boys solid colour scheme would work wonderfully.

If I make this quilt again, I will definitely make the shapes in a wonky, improv style which I think would work really well.

Moderrn Baby is packed full of wonderful baby quilt projects, with tonnes of inspiration. And to celebrate its publication, I have an eBook copy to giveaway! To be in with a chance to win, just leave a comment on this post telling me your favourite baby name. Please leave your email address in your comment so I can contact you. I'll choose a random winner next Monday. If I cannot contact the winner, I will redraw.

Don't forget to check out the other great designers who contributed quilt patterns for additional chances to win copies of the book - the full blog tour schedule is here:

April 18, Thursday Jenny, StitchThis!
April 19, Friday Shea Henderson,
April 22, Monday Jake Finch,
April 23, Tuesday Audrie Bidwell,
April 24, Wed Carolyn Friedlander,
April 25, Thursday Melissa Corry,
April 26, Friday Jen Eskridge,
April 29, Monday Sarah Flynn,
April 30, Tuesday Dana Bolyard,
May 1, Wednesday Amy Smart,
May 2, Thursday Carrie Bloomston,
May 3, Fri Victoria Findlay Wolfe,
May 6, Monday Lindsey Rhodes,
May 7, Tuesday Pippa Eccles Armbrester,

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

To Boston with Love

To Boston With Love 

The events in Boston in the last week have been truly shocking. That's why, when I saw the project being coordinated by the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild to make flags for an exhibition, I immediately wanted to take part - its good to feel like you can do something small that might, in some small way, help.

This is a collaborative project to make flags to be displayed in an exhibition in June. There are loads of tutorials on the Vancouver Modern Quilt guild website, or its really easy to make your own. Mine was a very simple little applique heart, made of a few 5" x 1.5" strips of fabric pieced together, then cut into a heart using a template from the heart shape in Microsoft Word. All I had to do then was fuse it to my white fabric and zig zag the edges.

I am coordinating the flags for the Modern Quilt Guild of Ireland, and I will also accept flags from any individual based in Ireland who wants to send one, even if they are not a member. The guidelines for colour palette, size, binding tie etc are here. They are a quick and fun project to make so I hope you'll join me! If you want to contribute a flag to reach me before 13th May, please comment below or email me at fairyfacedesigns at gmail dot com for my address and I can send you more details.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Pay It Forward: Reveal (at long last!)

Back a long (long) time ago, I signed up for Pay It Forward and for my trouble I got a beautiful 241 tote bag from Toni.  I subsequently posted and got my 3 people to make for - Michelle @ The Quilted Tortoise, Erin @ Billy Button Design and Deb @ Life on the Selvage Edge . So far, so good. But my pregnancy and all the issues I had put paid to my reaching my deadline for sending out my goodies late last year, and though I tried, I really couldn't find the energy to finish those projects. The 3 ladies were very understanding and gracious and as soon as I started to get some sewing energy back, I set to finishing their projects as one of my first priorities.

Michelle @ The Quilted Tortoise
Now that their gifts have been received, I can finally do a little reveal. Anyone following me on Instagram will have seen some of my pictures of these earlier in the year, so you can skip. But for anyone else who wants a little bit of eye candy, here are the 3 circles mug rugs that I hand quilted for my recipients.

Erin @ Billy Button Design
All were stitched using Perle Cotton #8. The pink/red ones used a single variegated thread. The blue used an aqua variegated thread, and a combination of a number of other blue shades to try to balance it a little.

These were made using a sew-along tutorial by Rachel of Contented and if you haven't tried hand quilting before, this is a fabulous project to start with - its very straightforward and the instructions are great, and you end up with a lovely mini quilt at the end. This is one of my go-to projects when I need something special - very enjoyable sewing and a big impact because of the ripple effect and texture of all the stitching. I hope my recipients enjoy them as much as I loved making them :-)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Modern Baby: Blog Tour is starting and I'm in it!

I'm very excited to be taking part in my first official blog tour! The blog tour for the newly released Modern Baby book is starting tomorrow, and its such an honour to be on the list of contributors with these amazing quilters.

This is the schedule - I hope you'll pop over to visit each of the contributors and find out a bit more about what inspired their quilts:

April 18, Thursday Jenny, StitchThis!

April 19, Friday Shea Henderson,

April 22, Monday Jake Finch,

April 23, Tuesday Audrie Bidwell,

April 24, Wed Carolyn Friedlander,

April 25, Thursday Melissa Corry,

April 26, Friday Jen Eskridge,

April 29, Monday Sarah Flynn (ME!!!!),

April 30, Tuesday Dana Bolyard,

May 1, Wednesday Amy Smart,

May 2, Thursday Carrie Bloomston,

May 3, Fri Victoria Findlay Wolfe,

May 6, Monday Lindsey Rhodes,

May 7, Tuesday Pippa Eccles Armbrester,

Looking forward to seeing you soon where I'll share a little of my baby quilt inspiration with you :-)


Monday, April 15, 2013

Winner, winner!

Thanks everyone for entering my destash giveaway! Without further ado, the winner was:

who is my fellow Modern Irish Bee member Anneliese.

So these fabrics will not be travelling too far at all! Congrats Anneliese, these fabrics will be with you before the end of the week, I've emailed you!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Triangular fun

Last week I started a new project. It started with this mustard and grey bundle:

Primarily from Lotta Jansdotter's Echo, with a copule of other prints thrown in too.

I want to make placemats as a housewarming gift for my brother. Its long overdue - I should have made them 6 months ago! My brother is not into quilty stuff, so I decided to try and go for a minimalist, modern kind of style that would fit into his apartment. The Scandanavian feel of the Echo and the restricted palette works perfectly for what I had in mind.

I also discovered that I had an equilateral triangle cutting ruler in my sewing basket which I had totally forgotten about until just before Christmas. So it was quick work to cut the 3" triangles. I also wanted to make the placemats in a triangular shape. For no other reason than I thought it would be a bit different. So I added some white solid triangles and went for a random arrangement.

These came together very quickly for me and I soon had 2 done. Each with different fabric arrangements.

I slightly stalled after the first two - more to do with busy family weekend than anything else. I'm halfway through no 3 which was bundled into my sewing box mid way through sewing yesterday afternoon when baby woke up.

But I'm hopeful of getting this and the 4th one done this evening and then I need to decide how to quilt them. I could do a diagonal cross hatch, echoing the seams. Or I could do some type of concentric triangualar pattern. If any of you wise peeps have suggestions I would love to hear them. The one thing I want to be sure of is not to mess up the quilting, because this is the 2nd set of placemats I have made for him and the last lot were ruined by un-rescueable quilting mistakes!

Don't forget my destash giveaway for these FQs is closing this evening so make sure to enter here.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Destash Giveaway

One of the benefits of being at home full time on maternity leave is getting a bit of time to do jobs around the house that normally go on the long decluttering. My fabric stash is no exception and I have been trying to put some sort of order on it in the last week or so. I found I had a number of duplicate FQs and decided that to celebrate being "back" and to thank my lovely followers, I would give them away.

I have 2 giveaways. One is running over on my Facebook page for a bundle of 4 bright FQs. And I'm running a separate one here on the blog to win this lovely bundle of 7 FQs:

All from collections that I have loved.

First two from Hope Valley, middle three from Echo and the two on the right from 1001 Peeps.


To be in with a chance to win, just leave a comment. Tell me what your all time favourite fabric line is!

For a second entry, follow me over on Instagram and leave a comment saying you do - I'm sewfairyface over there.

For a third entry, share this post on your FB/Twitter/Blog/Instagram etc and let me know you did.

Entries will close this Sunday at approx 6pm and I will choose a random winner then. If you do not have an email address attached to your Blogger profile I will not be able to contact you, so please leave your email address in the comments. If I can't contact the winnner, I will redraw. I will post worldwide. Don't forget to go enter the other giveaway on FB too.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Did I mention I love quilting books?

So today was a happy day, because not one, but two stunners arrived in the post.


I order Sarah Fielke's new book Handquilted with Love a couple of weeks ago and have been anxiously watching out the window early each morning since hoping the postman would arrive with it in hand. Today, finally, the van stopped outside my house and I opened the door before he could even knock. And I was not disappointed.

String Sane

The Made to Measure quilt on the cover  is what drew me to it - but there are even more beautiful treasures inside. I took some pics of a few of my favourites - just a few, I love pretty much every quilt in there.

Ups and Downs

This book is stunning. I love quilting books but sometimes I love just looking at them and end up feeling I wouldn't/couldn't actually make any of the patterns for myself. But this is not one of those books. There is just one gorgeous pattern after another all the way through. It's fab.

Lady Marmalade

 My biggest issue now is - which one am I going to make first?


I really can't decide! I think I need a few more days poring over it to decide. Whatever one I pick, I have no doubt that any of these patterns would be perfectly suited to reducing the size of my overflowing scrap box. 2013 is going to be a stash busting year for me, I'm on a mission to clear out my mahooosive stash as much as I can! (Of which, more anon...)

The Bass Line

I also got a book which I have had on my wish list for a very, very long time. Free motion quilting is something that I can do in the most basic of fashions, but I'm tired of looking at fabulous quilting on other people's blogs and not being able to even attempt it. After finding a project that I made a complete mess of last year attempting to pebble quilt it, I decided to order it at the same time.

When the kids were in their music lesson today and I was sitting in the car for half an hour, I sat and started reading it. I am SO thrilled I got this book. It is inspiring and practical in equal measure and I can't wait to start trying some of the patterns.

Check back in tomorrow when I am doing a small giveaway to help my destash process and celebrate the fact that my "sewjo" is back! In fact, I'm doing 2 giveaways. The first is currently running over on my Facebook page for 4 bright and cheerful FQs so pop over there to enter that. And I more to give away here tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Finish A Long Quarter 2 plans

Now that I have rejoined the quilting and blogging universe, its time to get myself organised and finish the raft of projects I left littered in my wake last year. Luckily, Leanne's Finish-A-Long for Quarter 2 is coming along at just the right time so I'm linking up over there and hoping to have some nice completed projects to show you at the end of June.

she can quilt

So  here's my list! Even writing it is making feel excited to get started.

1. First up, my little boy's bright circles quilt. The quilt top was made last summer, but I ran into basting problems and did not have the energy to fix them with a big pregnant belly. Now rebasted and about a third of the way through quilting, this is my top priority project for the next few weeks.

2. A tumbler quilt using Kona solids and a pop of print for Cindy I'm ready to start this very soon, and looking forward to tackling another tumbler quilt as I loved the last one I made.

3. Baste, quilt and bind my Ruby quilt top.

4. Make another peasant dress for baby R in these lovely fabrics, seeing as the first one I made her fit her for all of 2 days!

5. I started (and had a complete craft fail with the quilting on) some placemats for my brother's new place last  year. I took them out and looked at them again this week to see if I can rescue them but one is beyond repair. So although this looks like a new project, really its a replacement finish that I need to do. I have a plan in my head (heavily inspired by Leanne's triangles mini quilt) to make some triangular placemats (using equilateral triangles) using these lovely mustard and grey fabrics, mostly from my Echo bundle:

6. I'm hesitant to add this to the list, but if things were to go very, very well, then I would just love to get my Mod Mosaic blocks from my friends in the Modern Irish Bee pieced into a quilt top and back, and the quilt finished. That's an ambitious one but I'll put it in here anyway, a bit of motivation is good for the soul!

So that's my list. Lots of good stuff on there and I really hope I can get them all done. I'm trying not to be too overambitious, but we'll see :-) Don't forget to head over to Leanne and see what everyone else is planning!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Baby boy quilt finish

As well as having my own gorgeous little new baby girl, I also have a new baby nephew, born just 7 weeks before my darling. So, obviously, he needed a quilt from his auntie Sarah. I picked out the fabrics after he was born  - already dreaming of bright and cheerful spring colours with boyish tones - but was unable to do too much with them.

Last week I pulled them out again and very quickly cut and pieced them.

I used Elizabeth Hartman's baby charm quilt pattern and its definitely one I'll be using again for last minute quilts, so simple and easy and because its about 33 x 40, very quick to baste, quilt and bind too. I decided to embroider his name in the bottom corner, using a simple running stitch in perle cotton. I traced his name using washable marker and it worked very well. I fused a small piece of very lightweight interfacing to the back of the fabric before starting to stablise the stitches a little.

After quilting it using a random stipple with some little hearts around his name, I picked a blue heart poplin print for the binding:

And a green hippo print from IKEA for the backing.

And in no time at all, it was done and ready to give to my sister today just in time for his Christening.

It's good to have my sewing mojo (or my sewjo as I saw it referred to during the week!) back again. I'm busy getting my list of projects for quarter 2 of the Finish A Long ready to post on Monday. Hope you're having a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Learn to Sew: Free online sewing classes

Have you been inspired by The Great British Sewing Bee? Keen to try your hand at sewing, dressmaking and quilting? If so you're in the right place!

I learned to sew in 2008. I did a basic night class (how to turn on a sewing machine, that basic!!) for a few weeks, and then I started reading sewing blogs. Pretty much everything I know, apart from how to thread my sewing machine, and a little bit of basic dressmaking, I learned from free tutorials on the fantastic sewing and quilting blogs out there. I had never done Home Economics/Domestic Science in school, and had never sat behind a sewing machine before I bought a machine in Lidl in August 2008. I'm pretty amazed at some of the things I've managed to make and how many skills I've acquired in the intervening 5 years - I even have a quilt pattern featured in a book being published this spring! 

But more than that, I am constantly amazed at how much I absolutely adore sewing. I really, really love it. I love making pretty things. I love the processes and the satisfaction at getting something right. I love how challenging it is, and how I can constantly push my skill levels to achieve more. The internet is still my go-to source for all sewing related techniques and questions and yes, you can learn to sew from it - I absolutely did!

So - if you are ready to be hooked, what next?

Last year, I ran a very popular series of sewing and quilting tutorials and classes here on my blog for beginners. I called it {Sew} Get Started. It started by explaining the basics and then progressed into a series of tutorials/classes aimed at helping the complete beginner to learn to sew and increasing in complexity as the series progressed. Tutorials were contributed by my very talented sewing friends, who all have blogs of their own.

They're all listed on this page:
FairyFace Designs

If you're not a complete beginner, you might want to dive in with some of the tutorials. But if you just want to learn to sew, start at the top, and work your way down...and then get out there and explore the wonderful world of sewing blogs!