This top is my flimsy finish for Hands2Help2016! I wanted to make a kid-friendly quilt and only had one charm pack of these lovely rainbow batiks, so I turned them all into HSTs and designed a layout with some black and white batik yardage that would use all of them. It finished at 45in square. This quilt reminds me of a rainbow candy grab-bag with the beautiful colors!

This size is good for a small child's comfort quilt or a floor play mat, and I think it would make a beautiful throw quilt if you made a piano-key style border of those rainbow colors. This one will be going to Happy Chemo. 

I'm planning to do some simple, quick straight line quilting on this one, but I can't decide what color(s) to use for binding - any suggestions?

Can't wait to mail this one off to its new home!

Jelly Roll Slice is a new free pattern available here from Fat Quarter Shop! It uses precuts and is quick to make even for a relative beginner.

The pattern lends itself to bold graphic color choices, so for fun I decided to go against the grain on this one and use delicate fabrics for a hint of the springtime that I've been missing amidst our recent snow and sleet. I used one sushi roll of Lecien's Princess Rose along with some Essex Linen for texture, and quilted echo lines in various pastel threads.

If you'd like to make this quilt, there's also a video tutorial and quilt kit available, and Fat Quarter shop is having a 15% off sale on Jelly Rolls through February 28, no code needed.

I was thrilled to be approached about being part of this blog hop; Fat Quarter Shop writes excellent, easy to follow patterns and it's been a joy to make this quilt.

This pattern looks quite different when made with bold colors! There's some beautiful renditions of it on the blog hop.

Taunja of Carried Away Quilting
Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs
Terri Ann of Childlike Fascination
Eileen of Eileen in Stitches
Cristy of Love You Sew
Hayley of Moobird Stitches
Shelley of The Carpenter's Daughter Who Quilts
Kathryn of Kathryn Jones Quilts

Back in the fall, my grandfather was in the hospital and I had asked for star blocks to help make a quilt for him. I've since been absent from blogging while dealing with an unrelated death in the family, so now that I'm back I wanted to show you all how beautifully this quilt came together!

Roughly half the blocks were made by me, and the others were donated by kind friends from the blogging and Instagram communities including my name-twin Eileen,  Rebecca, Lisa, Sandra, Lalaluu, Cathy, and Julie. I'm fond of how striking this quilt is, but I'm mostly just honored and humbled by the kindness of fellow quilters.

This quilt was given to my grandparents at Christmas and they were delighted with it; my grandfather is doing much better now and has made a full recovery! Thank you to everyone who has made blocks and sent well wishes.

I also finally finished the behemoth Goodnight Irene queen sized quilt for my cousin and his wife in time for Christmas. This one used mostly Denyse Schmidt fabrics and was longarmed by Shannon Parrott of River House Quilting.

I've been quiet on the blogging front lately because I've unfortunately had a lot of family emergencies this year - deaths, serious medical issues, and hospitalizations. This week my grandfather has had two heart attacks.

I'm trying to make him a quilt but I'm a bit overwhelmed handling everything right now. If anyone has the time and is able to make a block for it, I'd be incredibly appreciative. He's never had any medical problems before (barely even a cold all his life) and it's hitting the family very hard.

I'm looking for star blocks in soothing blues and neutrals. I'm making 12.5in unfinished (12in finished) blocks right now but blocks that finish at 6in, 12in, or 18in would also work.

If you're able to contribute a block, just leave a comment or send an email and I'll get in touch with you to give you my mailing address - you're also welcome to repost this elsewhere. Good wishes and thoughts also very much welcomed. Thank you!

On a brighter note, my grandmother (other side of the family) is finally out of the hospital after a very bad fall. She'll be in physical therapy for quite some time but it's encouraging that she's been able to go home. I'd just finished this quilt top for her before the news about my grandfather, and hopefully will be able to baste and quilt it soon.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday and Let's Bee Social.

As I write this I'm having breakfast in this charming hotel in Cork, Ireland that looks like it's straight out of a Ghibli movie. There's even a little waterfall in the back next to the cafe!

I spent my first few days in Ireland in Dublin. The first thing I did was go out and play music in a pub called Cobblestone, which is a very famous traditional Irish folk music ("trad") bar north of the River Liffey. Trad is played in sessions in bars, which are sometimes run by a musician who regularly attends but will be a mix of anyone local who wants to sit down and play. 

(Can you make out the pub? It's towards the left off in the distance, with a red sign.)

I brought my fiddle to Ireland to sit and play in sessions like this one above at McHughes. 

I also visited galleries and museums in Dublin! The National Gallery has several branches (art, archaeology, natural history, clothes found in peat bogs - yes really!) and most are in downtown Dublin with free admission. 

After Dublin I headed south to Cork on a beautiful, scenic train ride. 

After spending a couple days in Cork I'll be heading out to the west coast. 

I had every intention of writing and queuing up quilting blog posts for while I was on vacation, but I'm afraid this is one of those "life gets in the way" moments - my grandmother took quite a bad fall off a second story balcony shortly before I left for Ireland, and everything on my to-do list went out the window. (She'll be alright eventually, but she's broken quite a few things and will be in physical therapy for months; keep her in your thoughts please.)

For the time being I'll be posting every so often from Ireland, and then when I get home early September we'll return to your regularly scheduled quilt blogging! I've got a long to-do list of WIPs to tackle.   

I've finally made my fabric selections for the 2015 Midnight Mystery Quilt-Along being run by Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs. I've gone with four Cotton and Steel fabrics from different collections. The mystery quilt is a new challenge for me in that I don't know what the final design will be, and I've decided to take that one step further and go with a color palette very far from my comfort zone. 

This color palette is bold and masculine, and I suspect at the end of the quilt-along this quilt may be destined for my cousin Will, a stage and lighting designer who just moved out to the midwest.

If you are interested in joining the Mystery Quilt-Along, the details are here. Cheryl will be sending out a new set of instructions for the quilt each month from June 2015 to March 2016 to keep us on our toes so that the final quilt is a surprise. It's never too late to join in! 

Have you ever done a quilt-along? Was it with a local quilting group, or online?

Hello! I'm Eileen, and I'm excited to be part of the 2015 New Quilters Blog Hop. I'm fortunate enough to have a day job that allows me to be creative, doing illustration and freelance art for various clients in NYC. I mainly work in children's media including card games and comics. I've always loved to play with blocks of color and patterning; last year I illustrated and published a book of fashion art that got me interested in fabric patterns and prints.

Since I grew up with a grandmother who lovingly made us all quilts, it wasn't a very big jump from there to learning to sew myself!

I began my first quilt in the fall of 2014, and it's been an interesting learning curve to say the least! I'm very grateful for the internet as a whole and the quilt blogging community for all the invaluable advice and support I've received already. Without all of the great tutorials that are out there, I suspect I'd have given up midway through my first (regrettably queen sized, as I don't do things by halves) quilt.

I started blogging to keep a record of what I'd made, and also to connect to other quilters since it's not a community I have much access to offline. NYC is great and we do have some incredible fabric shops, but quilting is not the most common hobby here!

I haven't made many quilts yet, but I can see how much I've improved already - mainly in speed and confidence as I learn shortcuts from other bloggers. These are the quilts I've finished thus far:

It is incredibly satisfying to be able to see myself improving! I'm becoming more comfortable not only with basics but also with experimenting already Sewing feels almost like meditation to me - I can just sink into the zone when I'm working with fabric.

One of the most useful tools I've found since I started blogging was the Pin It! extension for my browser - if you use Chrome, this extension gives you a little button to automatically pin an image to your Pinterest boards whenever you hover over it. This lets me quickly add pins even if a blogger's website doesn't have a built in Pinterest button on their images. I've also started tagging my photos in Adobe Lightroom, which I use to edit them; this allows me to search my photos as if I'm using blog tags and quickly find anything I need on my computer.

The biggest tip I have about quilting, though, is that sometimes you just need to trust yourself and go with it.

I had bought a fat quarter pack of Anna Maria Horner's Pretty Potent line when I fell in love with the fabric, and then I spent a few weeks staring at it every time I walked by my sewing table. We all know how it goes: you impulse buy some fabric, swearing you'll save it until the perfect project falls out of the sky into your lap... and then it sits there while you can't properly use or enjoy it.

I realized that what I loved most about this particular fabric was the large scale prints, and that I wanted to be able to look at it and use it every day - so one night I walked by it, turned back around, pulled it all off the shelf and just started slicing into it. I cut large half square triangles to keep the pattern as intact as possible.

It wasn't big enough to be a lap quilt and I'd run out of fabric, so I whipped up a border with some grey solid I had on hand and used the few remaining scraps to make flying geese. The small amount of scrap forced me to get creative, and I enjoy the partial border more than I would have a symmetrical full border of geese, so it worked out!

Do you have fabric sitting in storage that's too precious to cut into? Have you ever changed your mind about a pattern or design part way through and worked what you'd already made into a finished quilt you're even happier with? Or are you the sort of quilter who's happiest if you plan everything out ahead of time?

Some final trivia about me:
  • I love reading, but can't stand audiobooks - I can't focus unless I'm looking at it! I envy those of you who can listen to audiobooks while you sew. I do, however, watch detective shows from behind the sewing machine. My favorite classic detective is Poirot.
  • I read a lot of comics due to my day job. If you've never read comics or graphic novels but are curious, I highly recommend Shaun Tan's "The Arrival." It's a gorgeous, wordless sepia-toned story about an immigrant's life arriving in a new town - a fantasy version of Ellis Island.
  • My dream vacation involves going to Ireland again, and I'm making it happen later this summer! I've been playing traditional Irish folk music on the fiddle for the last 20 years, so I'm going to be traveling to a lot of small towns to play music and study with a violin maker. I can't wait!
For fun, I'll leave you with a video of me playing an Irish reel called Maudabawn Chapel.

I'm part of the New Bees group headed by Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs. Our other hosts this year are Terri Ann of Childlike FascinationYvonne of Quilting Jetgirl, and Stephanie of Late Night Quilter.

Please check out the other bloggers in the hop!