Quilt Tours and Why you should go Part 2

Well, I’ve been back from my first trip to Ireland and have gone through all the photos with relish (and a cup of tea).  So many terrific memories and meeting great people.  So here are a couple of my favorite areas.    Now some people told me that you shouldn’t go to Belfast -too many fights, bombings, etc.  Well, nothing could be further from the truth.  Yes, they have had their differences.  But the people have worked out some differences and the 30′ high gates are open.DSCN0423.JPG.  Here is how one side decorated the fence.  The gates/fence were all about 30′ tall.   This was to keep the Molotov cocktails from being tossed.  You could view this as graffiti or as artwork.

They have the Black Cab tours which are conducted by the locals and give you a tour of the City.  The City is continuing to work out differences and rebuild.   We did tour the Titanic Museum which was sad but very informative.

This photo was taken at Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. (I’ve tried to get it posted the portrait way and not landscape but have failed) Giants causeway 2.jpgThe landscape is truly amazing and that day we had terrific weather.  The stones are not carved.  The shape juts up and is amazing.  You can get an audio tour which tells you the history and folklore of the area.  I could have spent all day there hiking on the rocks and just breathing the ocean air.

From there, we headed back towards Ireland.  Each hotel was top rated, great staff, wonderful food and very accommodating. Now this tour was listed as a Quilt tour but we went to so many historic places, museums, famine ships and castles.  One party was a Grandmother, Mother and 2 daughter group.  Since one of the daughters didn’t quilt, she was able to do a horseback ride while we were at a famine/workhouse tour.  So you can do other things as long as they fit into the time schedule.  Just be upfront with your tour people and things can be arranged.

My favorite city was Galway.  It is so vibrant and filled with art and music.  Again, friendly people, great food and the locals are wonderful.  We went to the Aran Islands (Inishmore) and was able to climb to the top and look over the cliff.  It was the perfect boat ride over and back.  Again, great food, wonderful people and some great shops.Aran island castle.jpg  I just followed the others and got on my hands and knees to creep up to the edge.   However, I did creep to almost the edge for a photo.DSCN0723.JPG It’s a far drop below , and it is a stunning view.DSCN0712.JPG  The photo below is the hike up to the former castle.

We also visited Malahide Castle, Kylemore and the Rock of Cashel.  Each one so full of great photos and history.

If you have the chance, save up your money, get your passport ready and go visit.  I would love to go back right now but have decided to do Scotland next year with the same tour organization (www.celticquilttours.com).  Our group consisted of Canadians and Americans.  We ranged from hand quilters, long-armers, designers, wool workers, appliquers, etc.  Just remember to get pounds and Euro’s before you go and get a Horizon VAT card.  You get money back when you swipe your card at the airport before going home.  Also this trip was made special because we had an awesome driver.  Tony, from Kerry Coaches, knows the roads, the histroy, the jokes and how to keep the tour on time.  He was the best,

So to keep my Irish feel going, I watch Quiet Man, Secret of Roan Inish, The Commitments, and listen to the Merry Ploughboy band (they have a great Pub in Dublin that is worth the visit).  I also have a cuppa Irish Afternoon tea as well.  DSCN0640.JPG  I leave you with this photo of foxglove from the Kylemore Abbey.

Thank you for reading.

 

Challenges

Challenges come with many faces – it could be not biting someone’s head off on Facebook for skewed political statements, song lyrics, etc.  I enjoy challenges – like doing the crossword puzzle with a pen, baking a new and somewhat complicated dessert or even trying to come up with a budget that works.

In one of the AQS brochures, there was a picture of two quilts looked like it was more than straight seams.  The quilts were designed by the Guilty Quilter in Portland Oregon.  And it had my favorite saying on it “No Y seams”.  For non-quilters think of putting another fabric in a 45 or 60 degree angle.  You stitch to 1/4″ from the edge, stop, pull the fabric out and start 1/4″ on the other side.  If not done correctly, you can get a pucker or a wavey mess.Labryinth purplr 2014

The first one I did was Labyrinth.  It is a wonderful 3-D effect,  One thing I found challenging on this was you need to cut two angles – top right and bottom left.  I should have quilted it first and then cut the corners off.  The challenge was getting it  placed on the long arm correctly.  The first try at it was so off, I had to rip out 4 rows of stitching and start over.

The next challenge from the same designer came out like this.  San Marcos  Once you break down the pattern, relax a little, you realize “I CAN DO THIS!”  So my goal was to get this top complete prior to my week up in Oregon.  To quote Rebel Wilson’s character in Perfect Pitch “Crushed it”.

If it seems like you can’t possibly do it, remember to break it down into small bites.  It can be done!  It may take awhile.  The blue quilt fabric was purchased in 2014 and it sat in my sewing room for over a year because the I froze reading the pattern.  Not the right time for this one.  Then I remembered a sign that I use to have in my office cubicle ‘Time to put on your Big Girl panties”.  Sat down with a cup of coffee and read the directions from first to last page.  Got it on the first try……

Challenge yourself and reward yourself.

So much has happened in one year!

Well, it has been one year since I retired from the Fire Authority.  Since that time I took an extended visit to see my mom in Oregon, had the house fixed up (popcorn ceiling removed, professionally painted, new flooring, new window treatments and new dual pane windows).

I also downsized quite a bit – all furniture got donated to Goodwill/Salvation Army, bags of gently used clothing and books donated to Goodwill, fabric was donated to my guild to either sell or raffle off and a few other things.  It’s great to clean up and start fresh.

Fan Dance With that said about starting fresh, this was the first quilt from Road to California 2015 class that I finished.  Some class projects get done in a year or two or just get shelved.  This one is called Fan Dance and the teacher was Nancy Mahoney.  Nancy has a great technique so the quilt was assembled quickly.  Since I purchased the fabric in La Mesa at Rosie’s Quilt, I named mine La Mesa Leslie.

It was quilted on the long arm, binding on in record time and then shipped to my friend Sharon Elsensohn.  Sharon and I had a fabulous friend named Leslie.  We have known each other for more than 25 years.  Well, that damn cancer took Leslie away from us.  Knowing that Sharon was feeling the loss, I sent it to her.  When she’s down, maybe she can think that Leslie is nearby watching over her.

So Leslie, farewell.  Sharon, enjoy the quilt.  Any quilt guilds, think about having Nancy as an instructor.  Quilters could also use this pattern and use the panels of the fans for signatures. When finished you could use it for a gift for a bride, a retiring member of your company or church or a family gift.

More later as I need to put some binding on another quilt.

Thanks for reading.

Puzzle Quilt

Hi – I found this Free Pattern at Jukebox Quilts. It is so easy and all you need is 10 fat quarters, some freezer paper, a little fabric glue, and your imagination.
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Kelly Abbott Gallagher runs Jukebox Quilts and I met her at a Crazy Quilt Conference in Omaha. She and her husband are the Midwest dealers for Gammill Long arm machines.

This is one pattern you really need to pay attention when sewing the blocks. I have made two of these and it really is an easy pattern. Plus I read that some autistic children love puzzles so this is the perfect quilt for them or actually any child.

Have fun with your fat quarters while making this.

Thanks for reading.

Red and White

Red and white

This pattern was in one of the quilt magazines. I do have an electronic reader but I prefer to have the magazine in my hands, a good cup of coffee and my feet up.

Now sometimes you can order a kit which is an easy way to start the project. However, I love to shop in a small store, get some personal help and be able to show the end result to those that helped me. Two of the ladies at Quilter’s Garden assisted me by pulling together 8 fabrics for this quilt. We spent about 45 minutes deciding which fabric would go next to each other.

Saturdays are known as “Shop Small Stores”. Yes, the internet is great and I occasionally order items, but reall prefer to shop and touch the fabric. Today I took in 5 tops to get backing and more thread and was able to book one of the long arms.

Please keep shopping in the small stores, take some classes, and maybe even join a guild. You make some awesome friends.

Thanks for reading.

It’s been awhile and I apologize

Spring and summer are quite busy for me with my regular job – I had 6 commercial high rises to inspect and 3 residential high rises.  This just means my weekends are a little busy and I don’t get a lot of quilting done.  And of course, there are the times I am on firework shoots (most fun and most dangerous).

But while shopping in Quilter’s Garden in Anaheim, I found this great fabric and I immediately thought “I could do another Magic Slice and Dice”.

This is the quilt after completing the squares and sewing into rows.  There are 2 ladies in the So Calif area that worked out a pattern that when sewn looks like this.  (top pic) Then you make 2 slices, resew just 2 seams and this is what you get. (Bottom pic)

It takes on a whole new look.  It appears that it is sewn on the diagonal with triangles on the sides.  I have made this pattern about 8 other times.  In fact, this is one pattern that you can use the ugliest, busiest fabric and it comes out absolutely gorgeous.  It only took 3 hours to quilt on the long arm.

The back fabric is black and I used gold thread on the back so the quilting would really stand out.  Plus it kind of makes it a reversible quilt.  Who gets this one?  Who knows.  It may be a raffle quilt or a gift.  I just quilt because God has given me this talent.  Plus if my hands are busy, then they aren’t stuffing food in the mouth.

Thanks for reading – have a blessed holiday season.