Sunday, November 24, 2013

Galway, Ireland - IPS Western Branch -

On my recent trip to Ireland, I was lucky enough to be in Galway on the Saturday in October when the IPS-Western Branch (Irish Patchwork Society) was meeting.   The IPS was actually founded in 1981 and has 8 branches located throughout Ireland.

My friend, Cindy, from Fluffy Sheep Quilting came by our hotel and picked us up for the meeting, which was a thrill for me since she and I have been cyber friends for a few years now but had never met.  (can't believe as I look through the photos we took, and I didn't take one with her....geez! We'd better rectify that on my next visit, Cindy!)

Arriving at the meeting, I could not have felt more welcome by the Irish quilters.  So exciting as well upon my arrival was getting to meet another cyber friend, Linda, who owns a quilt shop in County Galway called Rags for Linda!  What a thrill to get to meet her in person too!

At each meeting, the local quilt shops take turns setting up a small "store" for those attending to get a little fabric therapy!  What a great idea!  I got to meet another cyber friend (I heart Facebook!), Lynn Naughton, who owns a quilt shop called Seams Sew Simple in County Roscommon.

As with most guilds, the Irish quilter's are no different in that not only is the guild meeting an opportunity to spend time with other quilters and share ideas, but also for those quilters to find a way to give to back to the community.  On this particular Saturday, a presentation was made to a local charity in Galway called COPE.  Check out these ABC quilts made for their new playroom.


 The guild also boasts a library as a resource for their members. 
It was a great morning spent with some very lovely ladies! I made several new friends and  I got to share with them a bit about myself and the quilty things that I am up to as well as share a give away of some Generation Q Magazines. (thanks, Melissa!). (stay tuned for details about my trip and spending time with Irish quilters in an upcoming issue of Gen Q) 

If you'd like to come along with me on an Irish adventure next the link in the upper right hand corner!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Going Back to Ireland - May 15-25, 2014

Many of you remember that just over a year ago, I had the opportunity to go to Ireland, and I fell head over heels in love with Ireland and it's people.  So much so that I have sought out an opportunity to return and I would love to take you with me.  My husband has agreed to come along and see what all the fuss is about.  He's a photographer and would love to share is photography skills with anyone who comes along...and trust me...there is so much beauty your camera will be working overtime.   

And because of my quilting background, I promise to include some quilty goodness in this trip!
Nikki Foley, of The Sewing Shed, has offered to allow anyone interested in our group to join her for a fabric dyeing class. 
Our goal is to provide those who come along with opportunities to spend time with local artisans and really discover the best of Ireland!

And now...for your viewing pleasure....I've added a few of my photos from my journey last year.



If you, or someone you know might be interested in coming along with us, feel free to contact me directly here in the comments....or send me an email at
Also, you can contact Sinead at Brack Tours at  For more info follow this link

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Festival Friends Block Swap...the Reveal

So in my last post, I may have mentioned that I was a wee bit stumped with how I was going to make these eleven blocks and the panel I had chosen, into a quilt.   And not just any quilt...I wanted my quilt to tell a story...or more story.

So for several weeks, my blocks were pinned on my design wall...and then they began to speak to me.  Come on now...don't tell me your blocks or fabrics don't speak to know they do.  Inspired by my friend, Victoria Findlay Wolfe, and her book 15 Minutes of Play, I decided to use some of the blocks I'd received, as fabric, to create new blocks.  I also decided to combine some blocks to show how our lives become "intertwined" with those we meet.
Remember Nikki's block?

And Carol's?
I combined those two blocks to create this one.

And then the Palmer's block...

was joined with Pam's block...
And became this.
Cecille's Block....are you read?
Became this...because quite frankly... my quilt needed a castle.
Peggy's embroidered initials were cut into a heart shape and added to the tree as if they'd been carved there by very special friends.
The heart from Dana's block was added to the root of my healing tree...because true healing begins in the heart...and the pains of life run deep into our roots.
And my Festival Friends Quilt....(somebody play a drum roll please)
I am so incredibly proud of my creation.
a few close ups of some of the quilting....
And there you have it!  My first ever quilt created from a block exchange!  I'm thinking I might like to do this again sometime....
Got Blocks?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Festival Friends Block Swap

You might remember that this time last year I traveled to Ireland for a tour and a quilt festival.  I fell head over heels in love with Ireland and made some very special friendships while I was there, as well as a few seeds of friendship that were planted...and have continued to grow since my return. My trip to Ireland was also such a healing experience for me.  After losing my Dad just a few months prior to my trip, my heart still felt extremely heavy....and I was going to be there on the anniversary of my Mother's death.  Some of you, who know what it's like...when you lose that second not only grieve their loss...but you feel the loss of the first one all over again.  I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't focus on sad things while I was there.  And then, on the night of the anniversary of my Mom's death...I met this wonderful woman named Holly and her husband Jim.  Holly and I were having a lovely conversation about quilts when she asked "Who taught you to quilt, your Mother?"  One simple sentence and I had no control over the tears that followed and slid down my cheek.  When I shared with her the significance of the day, she took my hand in hers and said "You realize your Mother is here with you, right?  She's here and she's shining through you tonight."  In that very moment....I knew that I was exactly where I was supposed to be...hearing exactly what I was supposed to be hearing....and my heart was beginning to heal.
Holly and I

About a month after returning home, I received an invitation to participate in a "Block Swap" with a group of quilters who each had a connection to the quilt festival. I had never participated in one before...I still said yes.  In the beginning, there were 12 of us, each receiving the same one yard cuts of three different fabrics.  Tweedy, by P&B Textiles were chosen in a shade of blue, green and gray.

There rules were simple.  Using at least two of the three fabrics chosen, we were to create a block twelve times over so that we each ended up with one of every one's blocks.  Of course, I wanted to create something that would represent my experience in Ireland.  So I chose a "heart" block.  I decided on using the small Twister template and drew out my pattern.
I used 2.5" squares and created the heart using different shades of green (P = Print) and surrounded my heart in the blue "Tweedy" to represent the sea.  After much deliberation...I decided to add one more little touch of a black and white striped border.

I titled my block "Ireland Captured My Heart" 
By the end of December I had received all of my other blocks for the eleven in total including mine, as someone had to drop out due to time constraints.  These were the blocks I received.
created by Pam Hotle of Wisconsin
created by Kim Caskey of Canada
created by Nikki Foley of Ireland
created by Carol Moellers of Iowa
created by Karen Farrell of Ireland
created by Cecille Flagg of Ireland
created by Michelle Banton of Massachusetts
created by Dana Lynch of Mississippi
created by Chris and Rebecca Palmer of Ireland
created by Peggy Bass of Kansas
A few of us were fortunate enough to meet up in Houston during Quilt Festival to "swap" our blocks.
So now to create a quilt using these eleven blocks.  I will admit freely...I felt stumped.  These blocks were pinned on my design wall for quite awhile.  I kept waiting for that "light bulb" moment to happen.  Occasionally I would move them around a bit in hopes that act would spark some idea. Then one day I was looking through some photos from another quilting event and saw a quilt made with a panel that caught my eye.  I did a search and discovered it was called The Healing Tree by Melissa Marie Collins at Frond Designs...and I knew that somehow this panel had to be a part of my quilt.
So now, you've seen all the of the "pieces" that I would be working with to create my quilt.  Later this week I will be sharing my creation with you.