Dear Jane

I have continued working on lots of projects since February, so this might get a bit picture heavy, as usual! I also had a lovely 2 nights away to Rome for my 40th birthday celebration (where I knit a sock at all the big sights to give my gimpy foot a rest and for fun!) and got some lovely gifts I’d love to show as well…

Here is a project I am so glad finally have finished, it is years in the making, my felted knitting bag! Here is the size prefelting:
Bag and Pocket pre-felting
Pattern: Constant Companion

Here is the finished product:
My Felted Bag

I have also been working a lot on some hand piecing projects: my usual, Dear Jane blocks, to finish up the blocks for a lap quilt;
Dear Jane Swap and the last few to do...

a drunkard’s path, made from fabrics and template that Barbara gave me as a lovely present when mom was diagnosed with breast cancer; it is really starting to look nice now! This is from a beautiful quilt we both admired on Supergoof.
Drunkard's Path quilt...coming together nicely so far

and another block that Barbara gave me of an 8 pointed star pattern using Japanese taupes, on it’s own the block isn’t exciting, till you realize the lovely star pattern made when you put four blocks together!
Hand Pieced Star block
8 pointed Star Blocks

I have some of these all in my handbag along with my sewing tin so I can pull something out when I have a few minutes and stitch away. I also keep my sock knitting in the bag…it is amazing what this smallish bag can hold!
Handbag o' crafting!

I have started a pair of the very familiar by now Broadripple socks I have made several times for Katy. I used Cascade Fixation yarn, which is cotton and elastic as she is allergic to wool, poor girl! I am making this pair for myself, as I love the colors and I had to buy some spare yarn when making Katy’s and had enough leftover for a pair for me. Here is the first sock…
Broadripple sock for me and second one just started!

Dave and I had a great trip to Rome for my 40th birthday celebration. It was amazing, we walked everywhere, and had great food as well! Like I said before I took along the sock and the hand piecing in my handbag. Wasn’t as easy to hand piece around Rome, but the sock was dead handy to take out when we were resting in the sun!

Here is the progress at the Colosseum…
Sock at the Colosseum!
A little later in the afternoon at the Spanish Steps… (yes I am strange…I can’t help myself!)
Sock at the Spanish Steps
Heading towards evening at the Trevi Fountain…
Knitting by the Trevi Fountain

A sock tour of Rome…

And here is a collage of a few photos around the city…
Rome 2010

My birthday celebrations lasted for weeks and included a little party with my patchwork group, who instead of giving me a voucher for more fabric (I might have a little more than I need, just a little…they mentioned something about “bringing coal to Newcastle?”) they gave me this beautiful fabric art done by local artist Lynn Kenny.
Lynn Kenney - Washing Line

Katy gave me this lovely tree themed quilt, knowing my admiration of the tree as a graphic and as a symbol…she did it for an exhibit a few years back, but gifted it on to me, isn’t it gorgeous?
Gorgeous Tree Quilt from Katy for my 40th

I also got some gorgeous perfumes and some jewelry from friends and a beautiful Nicholas Mosse pottery bowl…I was very much spoiled this year!

In mid-February, I finally rejoined Weight Watchers, and as of last week I have lost 22 lbs. I still have a lot left to lose, but I have made some good progress, and have been doing a lot of swimming that must be helping too…add to that the constant activities of two small girls and lack of energy for big quilting projects, and you have my excuse for not keep up very well with this blog. I will try to be better, but hope you don’t delete me out of your blog list even if my posts are sporadic…

I am lucky that my MS has been very much in the background at the moment. Unrelated to the MS, my left foot is finally going to be seen too…the arch has fallen and it has been more and more painful to walk on it the last few years. I tried to lump it in with the MS, but the neurologist insists that this is a totally separate bit of bad luck, having to do with mechanical damage…wear and tear and bad genetics causing the arch to fall, blah! I will be having an operation to remove the damaged tendon in my left foot, replacing it with another tendon in my foot, ewwww! I’ll be on crutches for six weeks.

So next week I will be bringing down some of my sewing room, as Dave and I are moving into the downstairs guest room to save me hopping up and down the stairs all the time (his idea, how thoughtful, kinda makes up for a few of those golf widow moments…maybe 2 of em…) My right foot won’t be in a cast, I can still press the pedal on the machine, lol! I will also prepare a bunch of hand piecing work to keep me out of mischief!

Until next time!


Tinahely Open Quilt Competition 2009
Woo hoo!! I don’t think I will enter tons of competitions, so this may be the only actual official ribbon I ever win and I am very excited!! My Dear Jane got Very Highly Commended (Bed Quilt category) at the National Open Quilt Competition at Tinahely.
Here are some photos of some of my friends quilts. All the quilts in Tinahealey were gorgeous and some amazing colors, designs and quilting were to be seen.

Tinahely Open Quit Competition 2009

Tinahely Open Quilt Competition 2009

Before the quilt show I went up for a visit to my friend Sherry for a quilting retreat and I finished a quilt top, a very simple one!! Here it is on the guest bed, I will be making roman blinds and doing a backing for the quilt with the fabric on the border. I am thinking of doing free motion quilting myself on it though I am tempted to have it long armed…
Tinahely Open Quit Competition 2009

I decided I needed 2 big quilts since I have two daughters, so I am thinking that I will learn how to do Baltimore Album quilt as my next big project and will start working on my double sided quilt again too… always lots on the go…so many quilts so little time!!

We are going on holiday to Portugal for 10 days but wanted to show you the quilt I did for the wedding we are going to there…I still need to sew the binding on, but the wedding is a week and a bit away so should be fine!
Wedding Quilt...piecing and quilting done...binding and label to go...

I also got this beautiful pinkeep in time for the 4th of July holidays. Thank you so much Barbara for thinking of me.
Gorgeous Pinkeep from Barbara

We had a display at the local Brian Boru festival of all our quilts… My quilt has been going on tour!
Killaloe Brian Boru Festival Art Trail Window - Quilts!

And here is my latest knitting…some Fetching gloves and a Drop Stitch Scarf started with the beautiful Manos de Uruguay Silk Blend yarn that Weronica sent me. Thank you so much again, I love the color and the feel of this yarn!!
Fetching Gloves and Drop Stitch scarf

I’ve got the binding on the quilt, a freehand fan quilting project (my tree quilt wallhanging from last year!) and two knitting project for 10 days, think I won’t have any chance of running out of projects, especially since one is my second try at lace knitting a shawl…that will take ages!!

I have seen this on many of the blogs in my reader, and thought I would join in.
Dear Jane on Display at Home
Many of you won’t be surprised that my favorite quilt is my Dear Jane!! I started this quilt in 2005, and did the quilt entirely by hand finishing May 2008, my probably the only one I will ever do this way (I love hand piecing and quilting, but putting on bias binding around a 92 inch square quilt by hand, not so much excitement there…putting hanging sleeves on by hand….snore!!). I didn’t have any civil war era repros when starting this quilt so traded for scraps and was given some by some generous Dear Janers (other fellow insane people making the quilt!), my quilt has fabric that came from the UK, Australia, Canada, all over the US and even South Africa…I love that part of it!
Mommy and Aine Quilting Together
Before doing this quilt I had never hand pieced, appliqued or quilted anything, it was a real learning quilt and you can see the difference in early and later blocks, but they are all in there.
Dear Jane in Bend Outdoor Quilt Show August 15
I had this in the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show last year, and it won a Viewer’s Choice award at the Bend Outdoor Quilt Show, my first ever award! My parents live in Bend, Oregon, so hence the international showings. I hope to enter it into some Irish quilt shows and possibly the Birmingham show in the UK, I am proud of it, most of my other quilts are machine made and less than perfect, but this one I took my time on and learned a lot!
Girls Hanging out Under the Newly Marked Scalloped Dear Jane
I even still like hand piecing the Dear Jane blocks and am doing a swap with a friend to give an excuse to make more blocks. I will probably always have some hand pieced quilts in progress, though I think from now on, binding can go on by machine!!

I am preparing some Dear Jane blocks this afternoon in preparation for my  trip tomorrow (always bring hand sewing and some knitting on trips), a week with quilty friends, I can’t wait, and I will take photos of any projects or fun shops we find!

Dear Jane in Bend Outdoor Quilt Show August 15
Last Saturday Bend had an outdoor quilt show and Kristen suggested that I enter my Dear Jane again. It is a smaller show but the quilts looked great hanging out in the park.

This show actually has a Viewer’s Choice award, where the Sisters show didn’t…and I WON!! I’ve never won anything for my quilting ever, so I am so excited!

I haven’t been great at keeping up my blog. No real excuse except summer laziness and lots of activities. I helped clean out the house and did a yard sale for my folks last week. Mom is holding up okay with her radiation but she is having digestive issues with it as well, doc says it is because she has a large field for her radiation due to the lymph nodes that were involved. Not fun.

I have been slowly working on knitting projects, and have even started tracing my angel blocks, but they are all packed up now. Tomorrow we leave on an Oregonian road trip. Aine has been obsessed with crystals, rocks and fossils this summer, getting out books from the library and collecting stones. We are heading to the John Day Fossil Beds, then on to family visits in Pendleton and Portland.

Next Friday we are back in Ireland and none too soon, the kids and I are ready to go home, though I will miss it here too!! I might not be back again till Ireland. Will try to get going on some good stuff when I get home…

Dear Jane Hanging at Sisters
The way it is hung it is hard to get a full view of it, but it is exciting to see it up at the show…now I have to sneak in and hope to hear some nice comments about it! The whole family made it up to see it, so I am glad. Here is dad with the quilt!!
Dad and the Dear Jane
We had another lunch with my cousins, mom, dad and bro in Sisters on Wednesday, then took the kids for another play at the park where they made some new friends.

Yesterday mom and dad took the kids for the day and sent me off with my brother and cousins to Crater Lake. I of course used the long drive to get some sewing done. Got three DJ blocks for my swap with Katy done, but here was my setup on my lap in the car!
Sewing Setup in the car

I don’t think you can take a bad photo of Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the States. Look at that blue!! Here is a photo of my and my brother, and a favorite photo of the lake on its own.
Me and My Bro at Crater LakeDSCN1004

I may be heading off a little later today for a shop hop with some blogging buddies, we shall see how that works out, depending on whether the nanas and papas are up for another few hours on their own with the kids!! Will definitely be blogging about that if it happens!!

Kids are sleeping in this morning as it was the last night with the cousins and I let them stay up till 10pm, so am using this time to catch up with my blogging. Poor kids, they will have nothing but momma and the grandparents after this afternoon, how boring is that, lol!! Just for a few gratuitous kid photos, here is Aine with our rock cand crystal growing experiment, and playing a card game with my cousin! That elusive Aisling doesn’t like her photo taken much!!
Our Rock Candy Crystal ExperimentPlaying Animal Guessing Game

And look at what was waiting for me!!
Gorgeous ALQS Quilt!
My ALQS quilt from Toni!!! It is gorgeous!! I love the colors and they are blocks from the Civil War Diary quilt, very cool. And not only did she make me the quilt but gave me all the leftover fabrics that she used in the quilt, very generous!!! She sent pirate duckies for the girls which already have had adventures on the “high seas” bathtub, and some Old Bay seasoning for me to remind me of my Maryland roots!! Thank you so much Toni, you are very good!!
Prize from LIse!!
I also won this gorgeous stitchery prize from Lise, the Chocolate Cat. I think I may start this one over here in the States!
Anni Downs Books
I also got a package with these goodies from Weronica in Sweden. She sent me these and I will be getting a few things from the States for her in return!!

Oregon Coast
We have seen a lot of Oregon so far, a lot of driving since we arrived: a day in Portland with my brother and cousins, a drive to see a high school friend living near the Washington state border and watching her small town of Clatskanie’s 4th of July parade (where the kids received their body weight in candy from folks on the floats, and each got a free stuffed teddy!) and a very short overnight stay at the Pacific shore in Lincoln City (no photos: it rained most of the time!). It was a bit whirlwind as I had to drive another 4 hours over the mountains to Sisters to drop my Dear Jane off in time for a July 5 fiber arts stroll event.
Patriotic Aine

Sunday I tried to take my mom up to see the Dear Jane hanging up in Sisters, but the clock shop that it is displayed in was closed!! She just had her chemo yesterday, and I had wanted her to see it while her strength was better, bummer. We ended up have lunch in town and bringing the girls over to the park for a “Summer Faire”. Girls had a great time on the playground and getting their faces painted.
Butterfly Aisling Aine Getting Face Paint at the Fair

We have cousins here now visiting from St. Louis Missouri, so lots of activities are going on, though minimal quilting ones!! I have managed to hand piece the start of a Dear Jane block for my ongoing swap with Katy, while watching the kids at the local Mc Donalds play area. Will probably make that a once a week activity for them, as they loved the slides there, and once a week isn’t so bad!!

Today the girls and I plan to do a crystal growing experiment (I was too cheap to buy a kit from a toy shop we were in, so told them about rock candy…then spent the next several days fending off their requests to do the candy immediately (never cotton string or wood skewers around when you need them!!)) and possibly some swimming. Cousins, brother and dad have headed off for a white water rafting trip down the Deschutes river today. We plan on going to Sisters tomorrow, so hope to show you the Dear Jane in its display place!

Quilty content in future weeks I promise, but might be a bit sparse for this week!

Sorry that I didn’t do the drawing yesterday. I blame the 28 hour journey across the world and jet lag! The kids were STARS, they did a great job traveling, I am so proud of them. We are even going to visit with a new friend they made on the journey today on our way to the coast for the 4th of July festivities!

Without further ado…the winner is…..
And the Winner is Barbara...

Barbara at Mainely Stitching!!!

Can you send me your address in an email so I can post this out for you next week??

Happy 4th of July everyone!!!!

Daddy is home and has been asleep since 3pm!! Kids will hopefully get a day to play with him tomorrow, lol, cuz then we’re all off to Dublin and DH is off to Brussels for work Sunday night! We leave for Oregon on Wednesday morning, leaving the car for DH to pick up again on his way home from Brussels. Nuts. Crazy. But what can you do!  I don’t regret going home to be with my folks this year, though we’ll miss DH. This is going to be my first 4th of July Stateside since 1997, so I am looking forward to it. My cousins and and Aunt and Uncle (dad’s sister) rent beach houses at Lincoln City, OR and it sounds great!!

First of all I want to say a HUGE thank you to Janet, a great Australian designer and blogging buddy. She not only sold me some of her gorgeous patterns (and some great ones of her friend Cath of Willow Valley Store as well, cute buttons and notions too!), bought me some great magazines and threw in some awesome goodies for me, mom and the girls… but also went to Foothills Fabric shop and collected some great books and goodies for me and sent them to my husband’s hotel so he didn’t have to spend a day on the train getting stuff for me (though bless him, he was willing to do it for the adventure!) She went above and beyond and for that I am really grateful. I really hope the next time you are back in Ireland that we do get a chance to meet! Come down to Killaloe, we’ll have a chat and I’ll bring you over to meet the local patchwork girls! Leanne Beasley kindly went to the trouble to sign her two books for me and I got a very early copy of Rosalie Quinlan’s book Gift signed as well. Thank you very much ladies, you all are amazing designers!! And I am a very happy girl. And Lynette, I got the buttons to make your Saltbox Sampler as well…now I am all set! I think I may have to visit Australia some day to meet all these talented and FRIENDLY folks!! Have a look at all the goodies Dave brought home…and my necessary tea towel and fridge magnet for the collection!
Books and Patterns
Buttons Fabrics and stitcheries
Lots of Aussie Quilt Mags
Tea Towel and Magnet standard souvenir requests!!

Here is my last photo of my DJ till the Sister’s Show, I promise. I like the look of it at the bottom of my bed! Please ignore the over stuffed bookshelf, we need to buy a new one, I can’t give away books!
Dear Jane at home

Aine and Aisling came to my last Wednesday patchwork group as Tuesday was the last day of school for them. Look at Aine’s concentration working on sewing her little quilt!
Aine Hard at Work!!
Aine and Aisling at Patchwork Group

 Don’t forget to sign up for my giveaway if you haven’t already!!


I am not a prolific poster. I have been blogging for over 2 years and have still not reached my 200th post, that may take till the fall, sooooo…since I have enjoyed 2 years of wonderful new friendships and support without once hosting a giveaway, I’m going to do a biggish one.

Dear Jane Wallhanging Giveaway!!

I would like to give away a hand pieced and hand quilted Dear Jane wallhanging. I just finished it!! I machined the binding on this one, but everything else is hand done. It has the 6 inch blocks I did when I first started my Dear Jane. I realized the quilt would be too huge at that size, so stopped after 9 blocks. Some are slightly wonky, as I hadn’t done some of them with my excellent freezer paper method yet!! But the wonkiness gives the quilt has character right??
Closeup of my wonky border quilting

If you would like to give this quilt a good home, please leave a comment here. I will put your name in a draw that I will do next Thursday, July 3rd from Portland, Oregon after we’ve arrived. Can’t believe we’ll be in the States in a week…woh…time flies.

Thank you for everyone who comes by and visits. I’ve made so many amazing friendships through blogging and quilting and am grateful for every one of you!

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