Thursday, January 22, 2015

A photo for today

A really quick photo taken last night. I noticed we had a fingernail moon and the first star was out. When I looked at the photo the outline of the full moon was visible.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

New Year..New Fabric

I was tidying up the workshop,  well really eating biscuits and looking at my fabric and decided I MUST have some more fabric. So for me that means

1. I go for walk down the road and stop at Hanleys Mills and root through the remnants section
2. A trip to IKEA
3. A drive to Maeve and all her staff at The Limerick Quilt Centre.

It was quilting fabric I wanted so Limerick it was.
The Limerick Quilt Centre is located in Maeve's back garden but that doesn't stop people finding her. In fact she often has buses of quilters visit her for fabric and the day I arrived the road outside was full of cars and I was thrilled to discover that she had a sale on (until 19th January).

Lots of colours and fat quarter bundles

There is a vast selection of fabric to choose from and it is sorted by colour and also by collection.  If you are a fan of Moda fabrics then this is the place to go. I was particularly attracted by Kaffe Fasset's collection and will get some next time to make a simple circle skirt as featured online by Sew Magazine.

Kaffe Fasset collection

Beginner (or lazy like me) quilters will find lots of pre-cuts such as charm packs, layer cakes and jelly rolls. They also have fat quarters bundled by collection with feature fabrics and blenders.

I came away with two batik charm packs, 2 yards of something wonderfully spotty, a bright orange blender and 2 big spools of random dyed quilting thread.

Maeve runs classes for all levels of quilter and has very popular visiting specialist classes. The centre is also a great place to go for notions and quilting equipment, patchwork advice and a cup of tea and chat.

You can find The Limerick Quilt Centre at Winander Road, Limerick City (beside Musgraves)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Hot Tea and Cool Crafts

After all the hustle and bustle of Christmas I finally got to spend a day in Limerick last week. As a crafter it is obvious that I always need more supplies and these included lots of fabric, modge podge, beads and an ironing board...the usual stuff. I got hungry and decided to drop into Ruth at The Stormy Teacup for a toasted sandwich and tea.  Now tea at Ruth's isn't any "aul tae" shoved into a pot, nope, you get a menu with a huge selection of black, green and herbal teas to choose from.

Just a small selection of the herbal teas
And the tea doesn't come in small cup but in a pint, yes a PINT mug. Ruth serves the best teas and coffees, and all the coffees are double shots. She has toasted sandwiches, fresh homemade soup, savoury muffins, sweet scones and other treats.

Giant scones for the hungry
The layout is eclectic and eccentric and the atmosphere conducive to just hanging out with mismatched chairs and cosy couches.

Some of you may know Ruth from Nice Day Designs so it will come as no surprise to know that this is a combined teashop, second hand bookstore and craft shop. Craft downstairs and tea and books upstairs. I heard on the grapevine that the craft shop is due for a spring clean so expect lots of new treasures for sale before Easter.

Speaking of treasures I found this one painted inside the bathroom door.

It was strange for me to see Ruth behind a tea counter instead of her usual craft and book stall at The Milk Market but Ruth has taken to this with the gusto and determination that she throws into everything and I have to wish her the absolute best of luck with this venture.

The Stormy Teacup is located in Foxes Bow, Limerick and you can contact Ruth here.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Designing with nature

I love colour, I love strong and bright colours and because of this tend I to use bright colours most of the time.  But I have to remember when making things for others or for sale that not everyone has the same taste as me. And some rooms, such as bedrooms, need "calmer" colours,  This is important when making quilts. 
I want to make a new quilt and would like it to use more natural colours than I would normally pick. So I use a technique that I have spoken about before, taking photos of nature and breaking down the colours.
I was by the lake last week and was attracted by a view of a marshy area against the sky and lake.

A marshy area by the lake

The next thing to do is to pixelise the photo to break down the colours. I use a picture editing program called IrfanView to do this but many free programs are available, most digital cameras come with free software of you can download an App.

I decided I didn't want all of this and zoomed in on an area with the colours I felt worked best.
The next stage is to find fabrics in these colourways so I went to to search for fabrics. I searched for Blenders by colour. Blenders are fabrics that have one main colourway over printed with a similar colour or pattern. I find plain fabrics too "flat" and use blenders a lot. And it can be easier to match them than multi colours or prints.  Remember the purpose of this exercise for me was too use less colour and be more natural.  One of the features of is that you can add fabrics to a design board, this means you can put them alongside each other to see if they match well.  I searched  for blues, greens, beiges and browns and came up with the following fabrics.
A selection of blender fabrics
The next step is to buy the fabrics and design a quilt.  I like simple shapes, just random squares cut out and sewn back together.  But the point of the exercise is not to replicate the pixelised picture above but to use the colour and the saturation of each colour in the quilt.
Now to get started.