Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Some Little Finishes

Words are far away today...

I finished a couple of things at the weekend.

An electronics pouch for our car - to keep spare chargers and the like. Now that we need to build a hurricane kit (eek!).

Some more of my happily won skull fabric came out - thank you, Jill! Of course, electrocuted skeletons are the only choice for an electronics pouch. I used the Fully Lined Zippered Box Pouch tutorial from Pretty Modern (thanks, Gina for keeping tabs on my flighty brain :) !!) - great tutorial, with a lovely result and zero cursing!

I made a second Star Dresden with Constellations background to back the first star dresden cushion! I couldn't think of a single other block that would live up to the star dresden, and whole cloth was just too boring. I used a striped fabric for the star dresden, and dared myself to see if I could match it up and it went ridiculously well! Well enough to be happy to do it again, surprising!!

Anyway, these became a tiny little 14"-ish cushion. It's very cute, the invisible zipper was a re-learning experience, as always! I spiral quilted the second star dresden with the Constellations background. That was a first, the inner-est bit of the spiral went totally wonky and I had to unpick it out to where it started to look normal. I think it would go better with a FMQ foot in there, but I haven't figured out the tension issues enough for my machine yet. So it's the walking foot all the way here.

Lots of other little things plod on, but no other finishes or half-finishes for now. Hopefully back with a little work in progress update in a few days :)

Have a good week, lovelies!

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Giveaway Winner - Deep in the Heart of Texas Roadtrip QAL

The random number generator has spoken and the winner is:

Love the lighthouse block - Palo Duro Canyon is such a beautiful place. And for some reason it is like our best kept secret. Do they still do theater there in the summer? I am a native Texas - glad you got to Texas as soon as you did. Welcome!
Thanks, Teresa and congratulaions! I'm going to drop you an email now, but in case you see this first feel free to send me an email with your postal address so I can let Melissa know where to send your prize!

Monday, 16 June 2014

Amarillo, Deep in the Heart of Texas QAL & Giveaway

Hi all,

Welcome to thREDhead! I'm Aoife, and I'm from Ireland. I've been living in the US on and off now since 2011, and my husband and I moved to Texas at the start of this year. So far we've been loving it, how could we not with how welcoming and friendly everyone is down here! First things first, I'm sure you've no idea how to say my name, well there's a video on my About to page to help with that. No time for the video, it's like Eva, but with an 'f', 'eefa'. If you get a chance after the blocks and the giveaway and want to have a look around, then I recommend maybe having a look at my crazy English paper piecing attempt at a Farmer's Wife Quilt and the wedding quilt I made for Paul!!

So, Amarillo. It was established as a town in 1887 as a stop on the railroad they were building from Fort Worth to Denver City. Originally called Oneida, the name was changed to Amarillo (Spanish for yellow) because of the local yellow wildflowers that grew throughout! Amarillo is the largest city in the Panhandle, and what I think is particularly cool used to be the Helium Capital of the World.

There are three quilt shops in Amarillo. Quilted Bliss, Sisters' Scraps, and Pam's Quilting Corner! They all offer a good range of classes and fabrics, and are all a bit different from each other. They're all really lovely, and very ready to help with anything you might want. The Top of Texas Shop Hop is taking place in July and you can have a look at their newsletters for more details, but it looks like lots of fun and comes with prizes!

Other places on my wishlist to visit in Amarillo are Palo Duro Canyon - totally stunning piece of geology and nature! Texas' answer to the Grand Canyon, and the Lighthouse Rock is the inspiration for my second block option today. Stanley Marsh 3's crazy art installations around Amarillo would definitely also be worth a peep - like the Cadillac Ranch and the mock traffic signs all about town. Amarillo is also on Route 66, something I know my in-laws are planning on doing in the next two years! These are just my highlights, Amarillo has lots of museums, theatres, and restaurants too - enough to fill a holiday of any length!

As you may have guessed already, I've got two blocks for you to choose from today. First I designed a yellow rose block, as Amarillo means yellow in Spanish and Amarillo is apparently known as the Yellow Rose of Texas! However, lots of you took Colleen's Tyler block as the perfect opportunity for a yellow rose block. And I can't blame you - her block was so art deco and gorgeous! It didn't require much push from my brain as I'd completely fallen in love with the pictures of Lighthouse Rock in Palo Duro Canyon. So, you get to make a choice - rose or rock, paper piecing or traditional block!

First up, the Amarillo Rose Block! This one is paper pieced. I often find that whenever I go back to paper piece something I need a refresher on how to go about it, and in fact when I needed to learn how to paper piece this is the youtube tutorial that got me through! This is a pretty straight forward block, the same quadrant four times, just rotated to give a swirling effect. Here are some photos I took along my piecing journey as I made my block!

Your second option is the Amarillo Lighthouse Block! This one is pieced regularly, though you have the option to strip, crazy, or improv piece the fabric for the Lighthouse rock itself. In my block I strip pieced using orange and yellow fabrics, to give the illusion of layers within the rock (that's my inner geologist coming right out there!). The rest of the block is put together as strips, giving you the option to give the background sky a lovely ombré graded colour if you like. I've also gone for a 1970s/hipster-ish thin white photograph frame on the block. I thought it would be fun if it looked like a family holiday snap since this is a roadtrip after all! However, the instructions have options if you don't want to do that!

If you have problems with any of the instructions, or just any questions at any point then drop me a line. You can catch me here in the comments, or on instagram, or by email!

And last but not least, Aurifil has generously offered a pack of designer thread (like the one pictured), a thread color chart (want!), and then a sample pack (a 5 pack of different weight threads in the same color). Jeni Baker's thread is pictured here, but for the giveaway the designer thread is a mystery!!!

If you want to be in with a chance to win this awesome loot, then just leave a comment here - let me know where you live or where you're from, be it Texas or not, and where would be the first place you would want to bring someone who came to visit you!? Paul and I eventually want to do a belated honeymoon roadtrip ourselves in America, so this might get us some stops to add to it - but if you're not in America, we have the rest of our lives to get to you too!

The giveaway will close on Wednesday at 9pm CT, and I'll draw a winner from the commenters at random. If you're a no-reply blogger and I really can't find you, I'll draw again! Otherwise, good luck!!

UPDATE June 18th 9pm CT: giveaway is now closed to entries!

Monday, 9 June 2014

Pick Me Up Coaster

Paul broke his toe the weekend before last. He tripped over a rolled up a rug in the hall, a rug that's been in the hall since February waiting to be donated at Goodwill. It's all our own fault for being horribly disorganised and excelling at procrastination. But either way, his toe is broken, he spent last week hobbling, and feeling sorry for himself, and that made me want to do something cheery for him.

So I gathered all my scraps in his favourite colours (that's be fruit salad colours, i.e lurid pink and solar yellow). And set about figuring out what I could make that he'd use/see every day. Settling on a coaster!

In total pre-destined fate, Heidi at Fabric Mutt posted about making a 4" square 16-patch pin-cushion about 12 hours after I'd settled upon making my 4" 16-patch coaster. This was brilliant, because two reasons; 1.) it reminded me of the laid back awesome Graph Paper QAL she's running this summer, and 2.) she linked to a tutorial on using interfacing to make the tiny piecing much less crazy-making.

Stuck in my head in the middle of the night

This turned out to be a lot of fun to make. Though arranging the fabrics in vague colour order took more tries than I expected.

The project really zipped along, and apart from the binding being super fiddly (I should have just made this so as it turned inside out, and I topstitched the edges) it was easy as pie.

Going quilty mad on something so tiny is also fun, and the grid lets me go straight line mad really easily - I think I'm giving up on trying FMQ for another few months. Testing the limits of straight lines instead, perhaps...

Obligatory tacky mug!

Anyway, I love this little coaster. It's just the pop of hot happy colour goodness that will always make you feel better, and once it was underway I realised it was going to need a supremely tacky mug to go with it. Luckily Starbucks came to the rescue and a super shiny gold ombré mug now lives with this coaster. Totally at odds with the rest of Paul's black office!

Dodgy live action shot of it in the wild.

Linking this tiny finish up to Fabric Mutt's Graph Paper QAL :)

Fabric Mutt

PS The rug has now been donated!