Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Modern Irish Medallion Quilt Along

You asked for it, you have it: announcing the Modern Quilters of Ireland quilt along!  2013 seemed to be the year of the medallion quilt, which really got my creative juices flowing.  Although there were several gorgeous patterns circulating, like the Marcelle Medallion or Made to Measure, they were not well suited to my quilting interests.  I really do not like using templates and flying geese make my heart clench.  I had to find another way to create one myself.

I started to do a bit of online research to find example medallion quilts that I loved, looking both at the design of the borders as well as the fabrics used.  I created a little inspirational mosaic...that I ogled time and time again when daydreaming of my own medallion quilt.  

1. Red Pepper Quilts, 2. Not available, 3. Red Pepper Quilts, 4. Not available, 5. Not available, 6. Not available, 7. Medallion Quilt detail, 8. Baisakhi Medallion Quilt, 9. 1930s Medallion Quilt

I've been looking long enough.  It's time to stitch!  What if we, as a guild, could create medallion quilts together?  Are you interested in stitching along with me?  I found a wonderful series of tutorials by Catbird Quilts that we can use together.  These tutorials are set up so that we can each create our own individual medallion quilt (depending on our skill level) using Catbird Quilts tutorials on the design-as-you-go process.  Melanie (the brains behind Catbird Quilts) gives two paths to follow in each tutorial.  One path (for beginners) will give block/border measurements for the center square and then for each border.  Alternatively, you can take path two (more advanced) and design your own quilt using Melanie's suggestions on size ratios, etc.  Melanie explains it much better here, so please do click over and read her first post

Here's how this will go:  

First, read this post to get the basic idea of this QAL.  I know this is something that each and every (interested) member of our guild can do to their own skill level AND we can have a great time stitching together, drawing inspiration from one another and learning as a collective group.

Second, search through your fabric stash (or go shopping...what ever makes you happy) and find a palate for this quilt that makes your heart flutter.  Scrappy is most likely best as we don't exactly know how much fabric we will each need.

Third, if you have not already done so, join our Flickr group so that we can all keep updated on each other's makes.

Finally, come back here in two week's time for a linky party.  By 5 February you should have A) a gorgeous fabric pull to share with everyone and B) an inspirational mosaic for your first central block of your quilt.  If you've started stitching, that's even better.  Show us what you've made in your own blog post and leave us a link to check it out!

We will then take each additional border as it comes with shorter intervals between linkies for the first, smaller borders and then giving ourselves more time for the larger outer borders.


If you're into books, I picked up a few inspirational books including border patterns that could be adjusted depending on the project.  Liberated Medallion Quilts  by Gwen Marston is quite inspirational with a WIDE variety of eye candy quilts to keep me interested each step along the way. 

And then Gwen's co-authored book with Freddy Moran, Collaborative Quilting, hit the mark with lots and lots of border ideas that can be scaled depending on the project.  Super!  You can read my Collaborative Quilting book review here if you'd like.

Now let's get stitching!

Monday, 6 January 2014

Bee Blessed - January

If you have not already found Bee Blessed, let me introduce you to the brain child of Sarah and Judith.  Bee blessed is a monthly quilting bee based in N. Ireland with the purpose of creating quilts for local needy people/families/groups.  

Many of you, our guild members, have been asking to create donation quilts as part of our 2014 activities.  With such a wonderful organization as Bee Blessed at our doorstep, it only makes sense that we combine efforts.  After a quick chat with Judith, we decided to bring Bee Blessed to the MQG as our guild's mechanism for making donation quilts.  

This month, Sarah has requested Greek Cross blocks from this tutorial.  There are no restrictions in color (beyond being generally monochromatic in focus fabrics and white as your background) so this is a great block to create right from your stash.  Your time and effort will be greatly appreciated when the quilt is donated to someone in need.

Please contact Judith directly if you are interested in sending blocks onto her.  To learn more about Bee Blessed, hop over here and/or join in their flickr group.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Modern Irish (Scrappy) Bee: January Block

Happy New Year!  Hope all  have had wonderful celebrations.  My name is Ruth and as it's the first of January I get to kick off the 2014 Modern Irish Bee!  Welcome to all the hive members and to all who are following along.   Every month we will have a new set of tutorial links and examples to make blocks up to 12.5".  We will be using our stash of scraps and have the choice of scrappy background fabrics or solids from the the following : Kona White, Kona Ash, Kona Snow or Kona Black.

So to start us off I've used this photo for inspiration at Oh Fransson!  Elizabeth has kindly allowed me to link to her picture of her beautiful Scrappy Rectangle that she made for the back of her quilt.  I would happily have it on the front!  So with that in mind here's a tutorial for 12.5" blocks inspired by Elizabeth's Color Block Happy Hour Quilt Back!

The block is made up of a scrappy pieced square or rectangle using 1.5" squares and 1" white sashing.   I used a patterned background for my test blocks but for the purposes of the Bee I would like Kona Ash please.

Here is a link to a PDF to download showing colour options and 3 versions of the block: a 3x3 scrappy square, a 4x4 scrappy square and a 4x5 scrappy rectangle.

To make the 2 blocks above I used almost 1 fat quarter of background fabric.  I would like 1 square (either 3x3 or 4x4) and 1 rectangular block for the Bee.  I hope to lay them out something like this: 

Playing with colour choices and going with a two toned background like Elizabeth's quilt back would give these possibilities as well:

I'm liking the multi-coloured one a lot.

To make up the blocks above start with 1.5" squares from any colours you like from scraps

For the 3x3 square you will need 9 squares, for the 4x4 you will need 16.

I chain pieced them using a 1/4" seam into rows.

Pressing can be open or to the side.  I pressed to the side with each row in a different direction to nest the seams.

Sew each row together and trim.  The 3x3 square should be trimmed to 3.5" and the 4x4 square to 4.5" square.

The sashing is Kona snow in 1" wide strips and for the squares add it to both sides and then to the top only. 

Using the cutting instructions cut strips from the background fabric.  For the 3" block above you will need 1 strip of 5.5", 4" and 3.5".

Take both the 5.5" and 3.5" width strips and trim down to 12.5" long.

Take the 4" strip and cut a piece 7" long and a piece 2" long.  Cut a strip from the Kona Snow 1" x 12.5" long.

Layout as above and sew the 4" pieces to the side of the pieced square with a scant 1/4" seam.

Sew all 4 rows together with a scant 1/4" seam and square up to 12.5"

And there you have it. One 3x3 block done!  The 4x4 is made in the same way cutting 3.5", 4.5",and 5" strips from your background fabric and sub-cutting as per the PDF. 

The 4 x 5 rectangle is pretty much the same with a few small changes.  Again start with the scrappy 1.5" squares.  This time 20 of them!

Sew together in rows using a 1/4" seam allowance and trim this up to 4.5" x 5.5". Sash both sides with Kona snow 1" strips and then both the top and bottom this time. 


If you are using a fat quarter cut one strip from the background fabric 3.5" wide.  Trim this strip to 12.5" long for the top piece. 

From the 4" strip from the earlier block cut one rectangle 6" x 4" and one 2"x 4" for row 2.  The bottom row is made up of rectangles 6" x 5.5", 3.5" x 5.5" and 2" x 5.5"".  I was able to use the remaining Fat Quarter pieces to make the 3.5" and 2" one but I had to piece two scraps to get the 6" x 5.5 " rectangle which is perfectly fine for this design.   

Assemble the block by adding the Kona 1" sashing to the 6" x 4" rectangle and 6" x 5.5" rectangle.  Do the same for the 2" x 4" and 2" x 5.5" rectangles.  Add the scrappy pieced block to middle rectangle on the last row 3.5" x 5.5".

Sew these 3 columns together using a scant 1/4" seam and then add the top row to finish the block.

Square up to 12.5" and there we have it block number 2!

I hope you have fun making these scrappy blocks.  Please post to Flickr so we can all enjoy and admire them!  Happy New Year and Happy Sewing !