Monday, 12 June 2017

Summer Swap 2017

Sign ups open for our Summer Swap!!!!!

Sign ups are now open for our Summer Swap – Binding or handsewing kit.  I received this fabulous binding kit from Erin as an extra to the summer tote bag swap two years ago. It looks like a fun project for a summer swap!

The pattern is on the lella boutique blog found here

Extras are great fun and always welcome but shouldn't break the bank.  An extra like a nice piece of fabric, a fat quarter, a favourite sewing notion to the value of €5, a fat quarter worth of scraps or a small handmade item would be ideal.  Chocolate is always welcome but if you are going to send sugary goodies please put them in a plastic bag so as not to melt all over your beautiful creation!

The sign up form is here and as always our swaps are open to all sewing levels and is beginner friendly so don't hesitate to join up!

To participate please make a mosaic of items you like, to give your partner an idea of what to make! Our previous post How our swaps work has step by step instructions to make a mosaic using images from Pinterest.

Sign ups will be open until next Sunday, 18th June, and partners will be assigned by Wednesday 21st June latest. You'll then have all summer to make your item for your swap partner, and posting dates will be Monday 4th through to Wednesday 6th September.

You can customise your binding kit with some patchwork or play with fabric choices for a fun project for your partner!  The most important thing is to have fun!

This swap is open to members of Modern Quilters Ireland residing in and outside of Ireland. If you are not currently a member, and want to join up (membership is free) please find the information and link to the registration form here or email us at

Please post your mosaic to Instagram using the hashtag #mqisummerswap.  The sign up form is here. I hope you will sign up and enjoy making for each other this summer!

Swap Mama

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Happy National Quilting Week!

It's the 1st of June and time for National Quilting Week and also time for our Modern Irish Bee block which follows in the next below!

Don't forget our opening of our fun exhibition next Tuesday 6th June at 6pm at St. Patrick's.  We don't get the chance to get together often so please mark the date, we would love to see you there!

On now and coming up over the summer quilt exhibitions like the following:


Modern Irish Bee - June Block!

Hi everyone,

My name is Catherine and I am currently living in Belgium with my husband and 2 young children. I discovered quilting while pregnant with my first who is now 3 and I made a crib size quilt for her. Im self-taught and its only in the last 7/8 months that I discovered various Facebook quilting groups and with their discovery my blind not sure if I’m doing this right world blossomed into I really love doing this and learning basically everything from wadding, thread, needles, fabric types, not to mention the different techniques and myriad of blocks.

I chose a block by Gerri Robinson from her Quilted Living Book. Gerri kindly gave me permission to share her block with you and to resize it. It’s called Tumble and I love how light and summery it appears.
It uses 4 fabrics, 1 white background and 3 shades of one other colour in light, medium and dark to create the tumble effect. You can choose which colour youd like to use based on your stash.  

The instructions can be downloaded here!
Block Size 18" Finished.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Let's talk about neutrals!

In modern quilting, neutral background colours are often white and grey.  Kona White, Snow and Bone being really popular in the whites and Kona Ash being the most popular grey.

In the colour intensive course I did with Stiched in Color, Rachel Hauser gave us White, Black, Grey and Brown toned colours as neutrals.  Some of those tones are cream, champagne, beige, and tan.  I know modern quilters usually shy away from brown but when used with bright colours like yellow or neon green it can really work!  Try thinking of brown as dark orange and maybe you might use it a bit more?

Instead of the starkness of black I have loved using Kona Navy and for a while seemed to making only navy based quilts!

From time to time I get bored with solids and go low volume too for a change - I think low volumes fall into the neutral category! 

This past year I have really enjoyed playing with colour trying out Charcoal, Iron & Steel, Orange, pale Blues like Fog or Cotton Sky and even loved the darker purple-grey colour of Smoke.

I stumbled across a free download by Lila Rogers of Make Art that Sells and she identified the neutral colours to include that ground artwork as:
• Cool grey
• Orange
• Cream
• Navy
• Black
• Sky grey-blue
• Olive
• Red

I am happy to say that in the last year most of these I had tried but not Olive or Red.  I'm liking the look of Olive so maybe that might be the next colour exploration.  What about you - any go to neutral you use all the time for your quilt backgrounds?  Tempted to try any of these?

Friday, 28 April 2017

Modern Irish Bee!

Oops I forgot to post Aprils instructions on the blog!  Those of us in the Bee have been making the Carpenters Star for Gerardine in red & white according to these instructions by Cherie if you are following along!


To make up for the oopsie and as its a Bank Holiday weekend and some might like to get a head start I’m posting Aril late and May early today! 

This month’s block choice is from Genevieve and she has chosen a type of chain block that looks like fun to make.  Would be a perfect block to keep in mind for using up scraps at some stage too and I think its a lovely choice for a bee block!


To make this block you will need :
No half-square triangles or flying geese!! Only 3 inch squares

Overall blue theme– can use small print
Colour Cut one strip (Or shorter strips in multiple of 3”) Cut long strips into 3” squares
Very light blue or white 3” wide by 24” long 8
Mid-blue 3” wide by 57” long 19
Dark blue/navy 3” wide by 66” long 22

Put together with ¼ inch seams. Seven 32 squares across, row by row then join rows.
Press seams open.

Block size around 18 inches un-finished.  17.5” finished when pieced into your quilt.

Happy May Bank Holiday Weekend!

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Meet Longarm Quilter Liz Dunne

Ever wondered what’s involved in getting into Longarm Quilting? MQI member Liz Dunne has just launched a new site to reflect her Longarm Quilting services but also showcase her Etsy shop and media coverage. Liz can be found online at Made in Ireland Quilts and has written a post on getting started with Longarm Quilting for us – thank you Liz!


I have been a longarm quilter for 7 years now and the learning curve was a lot steeper than I ever imagined it would be. Not only do you have to have the machine, which is quite the expensive investment but you must have the tools that go with it. The rulers, marking pens, pantographs, thread, wadding/batting, backings, stencils, preview paper, micro handles and plenty other tools that I won't bore you with, but just to give you an idea.

You need to be spending large volumes of money to be able to get wholesale accounts in Ireland so a lot of money goes into buying the tools you need to keep going. I know some longarm quilters are exclusively longarm quilters and some are longarm quilters that do some teaching. I am a longarm quilter that makes quilts to sell also.

I did a lot of my training in the US as I lived there for a few years but nowadays with Craftsy and, you don't need to be able to physically go to a class. Having said that I know most people enjoy going to a physical class, as there is the social aspect to this too. I personally love online classes because you have them all the time to refer to. I just need someone to give me a kick in the butt to make sure I do them all! I currently have a queue of online classes I have bought to do.

As well as classes, you really must have that hands-on practice and that can be expensive too as you are using wadding/batting and fabric for top and backing and all that thread too. I had the rare opportunity to be able to quilt for a charity in the US and got plenty of practice on quilts that would eventually be given to children in hospitals and sheltered accommodation etc. I took this responsibility seriously and put a lot of effort into those quilts and that effort paid off as I got the practice and am now a comfortable, less nervous longarm quilter.

Longarm quilting to me is an enhancement of a quilt and for that reason I choose threads that blend into the fabrics. You need to be careful not to blend in too much with your quilt top and forget about your quilt back, so choosing a backing colour like your quilting thread choice is probably something a lot of quilters don't really bother thinking of, but it is certainly worth considering.

I did a training retreat in Salt Lake City with Handi Quilter and we all brought in a quilt top to show to award winning quilter Suzanne Michelle Hyland and I would say that 70% of the quilt tops she looked at she suggested using monofilament thread. For those of you that don't know what monofilament thread is it is a see-through thread and Suzanne was suggesting it because if there is too much contrast between your thread and different parts of your quilt then it just won't look right and suggested using see through thread. I'm personally not the biggest fan of the monofilament look as I don't see anything wrong with seeing your quilting thread but traditionally your quilting thread should not be too obvious so as not to take away from the overall pieced quilt top.

There is so much to learn about in longarm quilting and each year they bring out more and more tools and rulers! We can't have them all but practicing as much as we can will keep the skill in check and in tune and progressing all the time.

Monday, 6 March 2017

MQI Sewing Day Recap!

This past Saturday we had our meet up day in Limerick.  It had been over 2 years since our sewing day in Galway so it was really lovely to get to spend the day sewing and chatting with Modern Irish Quilters we might only know through Instagram!
Our venue being in Limerick meant that quite a few of us only had to travel over the Shannon to meet up but some came from Wexford, Dublin and the Kingdom of Co. Kerry!  We were hit with tummy flu and last minute family commitments so our number of 15 signed up for the day dwindled to 7 but we made the most of it!
We spent most of the day talking, and eating chocolate goodies and talking some more!  Having a smaller group meant that most of the chat was all of us together which also meant there wasn't a moment when one of the seven of use weren't chatting!  Seven told us all about his recent visit to QuiltCon and we are all thinking about saving to go ourselves in 3 years time.  Paula filled us in on the European quilt shows and shared with us quilt stories from her recent exhibition in Mexico city. 
We had a brilliant show and tell.  Seven showed us a modern quilt with metallic looking silk fabric and his brilliant I'm OK quilt.  Every block has I'm OK in it in some new from, from text to Morse code to Braille - this was really fun to get up close to!
 Aideen shared with us her paper pieced cushion. 
 I really love this and want to make one giant sized as a one block quilt for our sofa!
Paula showed one of her quilts from Mexico from her Momento Mori series and explained to us the old Catholic tradition of carrying a reminder of death with you to make you live each day to the fullest.  Paula's series of skull quilts are made up of her favourite objects and this one is made up of lots and lots of individual lady birds layered on top.
We also got to see the skull Share Jane quilt that Paula co-ordinated a huge collaboration of over 100 people to make blocks for 3 different versions of the traditional Dear Jane quilt.  This was stunning to see in person.
Rita showed us a modern advent wall hanging for Christmas time and had photos of a fantastic modern quilt she made for her sister.  It took her 6 months to make a double sided wedding quilt.  It took me two years to make a one sided Swoon and Paula trumped us all by taking 7 years to make her sisters wedding quilt!
We all oohed and ahhed over this Fleur de Lis pattern which Rita is making by machine and hand piecing fabrics from her life, like table cloths and clothes.  The softness of the palette and vintage feel appealed to us all.
Louise is working in her Rainbow Rose made with a low volume background and is adding borders to make a bigger quilt.  She shared with us also some fabric printing pieces and her progress on a piece for Aurora, the IPS co-exhibition with the Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild in May
I didn't know what to bring for Show and Tell so I settled for my favourite quilt.  I can't tell you why this little Charm Pack Cherry with Noteworthy and neutral fabrics is my favourite, it just makes me happy when I pick it up.  I like it so much our Basset hounds haven't had even a sniff at it (Charly our Jack Russell may have sat on it once!)  and being only 5ft tall it keeps me warm watching telly but is useless to anyone else in the house!
 My second piece was this quilt I'm hoping to have finished for Fun's April 27th submission date!  It's a play on traditional blocks made modern and I had so much fun with colour on this one.  Only 1 block was left traditional (the Ohio star!), everything else has had a modern slant applied to it.  We decided a dark grey binding might be the way to finish it off.
Suzanne shared her progress on a piece of Jupiter and its moons and we talked about facing rather than binding it in black to not lock in that gorgeous red curve.
And on the day, despite all the talking and eating, I don't know how she did it but Suzanne finished a jelly roll quilt top!
Seven kindly held it up for photographing and we decided we liked it better vertical than horizontal.
Thank you to all who helped out to make our sewing day a success.  Suzanne made tote bags for us all in red and green Cath Kidston fabric, Louise and Seven brought scrummy home baked goodies and Paula kept us well topped up with tea & coffee!
Photos shamelessly robbed from Louise and Aideens instagram feeds!
Given our number we all got spot prizes in the raffle to add to our goodie bags! 
Suzanne, Louise, Aideen, Rita, Seven & Ruth with Paula behind the camera!
Thanks to Aideen too who gave me a box of biscuits all the way from Sneem bakery which I have enjoyed immensely writing up this post!  Hope to see you all again soon!