Monday, 22 December 2014

Show & Tell - Christmas swap

Well, I think we can say we have had another really successful Christmas swap this year!  As you know, we were making cushions for each other and there has been lots of eye candy shared on Instagram and Flickr.
Compilation from #mqichristmasswap and Flickr group
Amazing how they all are so different from one another!  For my part, all I can say is thank you Helen, you are some woman for managing to get both dogs and penguins (my fave's) into a Christmas cushion and next year I want quilting lessons from Tomomi!  Beautiful work by all I think you will agree!

So thank you ladies for taking part and thank you to Fiona for being a great swap mama and organising us all so well!  More great swaps next year I hope.  Happy Christmas everyone and I hope you all have a wonderful New Year!

PS:  In case you missed it on our Facebook page, we have 5 members taking the Skill Builder Block of the Month 2015 with Alyssa @ Pile O'Fabric so we qualify for a group discount.  If anyone else is interested in purchasing the BOM to make this gorgeous quilt, please contact me for the discount code!

Friday, 5 December 2014

Modern Irish Bee 2015 Sign Ups Open!

Good morning Modern Irish Quilters!  Sign ups are now open for Modern Irish Bee 2015.

How our Bee works
Online Quilting Bees are usually made up of 12 members, 1 member for each month of the year.  Each member takes their turn at being Queen Bee. The Queen Bee chooses a block she would like the hive mates to make for her and before her month arrives, the Queen Bee writes instructions to make the block.  This typically involves testing the block, noting areas where any changes are to be made or difficulties encountered, to help the Hive have an easier time making the blocks.

Instructions are given to the Hive on the 1st of the month and the hive mates make 2 blocks and post the blocks to the Queen before the end of the month.  Hive mates post images to the Flickr group or on Instagram to share progress.

Choosing a Block
The Queen may design her own block as long as it is tested and instructions are provided to make it.  The Queen may choose a block from a free online tutorial and reference the original tutorial in the instructions and note any changes to be made.  Blocks from published books or paid patterns should not be used, as every hive mate would need to buy a copy to make the block.  Photocopying or emailing a paid pattern is not permitted and infringes on the rights of the author/publisher.  Special tools or fabric required to make the block may not be requested unless the Queen provides them to the hive mates in advance of her turn as Queen Bee.  It is expected that hive mates have access to basic quilting supplies, sewing machine, rotary cutter etc. and are comfortable piecing a 1/4" seam.

Bee Rules
The Bee is open to quilters of all sewing levels.  Beginners may have to learn new techniques to complete the blocks throughout the year.  It is a great opportunity to try new things and blocks you might not normally think of.  We are polling members who want to take part for a shorter 6 month or a full 12 month Bee in the sign up form here, and have asked for sewing skill level in the event we can put more than 1 Bee group together.  We will try and match skill levels where possible. 
This year the Bee is using fabric from our own stash or scrap baskets to make 2 blocks a month for our hive mates.  Blocks may be scrappy or may be made from a chosen colour group and hive mates are expected to pull from their stash the appropriate colours for the block.  Background fabrics may be low volume or any colour family you wish.  A specific fabric or colour from a specific manufacturer should not be specified unless the fabric is being provided.  Please give the hive mates guidance on how to choose the colour for the block for example bright white like Kona white or off white like Kona Snow.  All fabric used in the blocks should be quilt shop quality 100% cotton.
A colour, inspiration fabric pull or a photograph can be very helpful for hive mates in choosing appropriate fabrics from their stash.  If you are unsure of a fabric please post a picture to our Flickr group or Instagram (#modernirishbee) and the Queen Bee can tell you if it will work or not.  It's better to ask than disappoint the Queen who may have to relegate your block to the back as it will not work with the other blocks!

Please post your blocks on time before the end of each month and if for any reason there is a delay please let the Queen Bee know when they can be expected.  It's not fair to expect people to make blocks for you when you haven't made for them.  Please do your very best workmanship and only send out what you in turn would be happy to receive. When sending your blocks in the post please put them in a ziploc or water resistant bag to prevent them from getting damaged in the post.

Join in!
To take part in Modern Irish Bee 2015, you need to be a member of Modern Quilters Ireland (its free - join here!)  Please sign up  to take part in the Bee using this form and if we do not have enough people for more than 1 Bee the first 12 sign ups will be accepted.  Places fill up fast so don't wait if you want to participate.  Sign ups close this Friday 12th December.

For those not able to make the commitment to a full Bee please make the blocks along with us and share to the Flickr group.  All members are welcome to join in the fun!


Monday, 1 December 2014

Modern Irish {Scrappy} Bee: December Block

It is the final month of the Modern Irish {Scrappy} Bee 2014 and it is my month. The time was flying and sadly another bee is over. I am delighted to be Queen and hope to finish this bee with an amazing quilt!

If you ever think having 11 month to get ready helps I have to tell you you are wrong. I changed my plans last month and so now I am sitting here last minute to write the tutorial. Are you ready? I chose a beautiful HST block with a beautiful HST center for the first block ...

 ... and a much more gorgeous fussy cut center for the second block!

These are a lot of HST but at the end they come together quite fast. I had already four of the blocks on my wall and I love how they look together. Thank you so much for helping me making this quilt!

I hope you are not scared now and ready to get sewing! Each of the blocks should end in 12.5''. Please use bright colors and Kona white for the stripes/HSTs and press the seams either open or to the color fabric. Ready? Let's get started :)

Block 1:
  • 16 * 4'' white squares
  • 16 * 4'' different color squares
  • 4 * 2.5'' different color squares

You need to make 16 HST trimmed to 3.5''. I, for myself, make them using 4'' squares. Put them right sides together and sew on the right and the left side of the diagonal line, press the seams and trim to 3.5''. You will get 32 HSTs in this step. You can use 16 for the first block and 12 for the second one. I want this quilt to be scrappy so, if you can, do not use the same fabric more than once in one block but you can use them for the second block.

For the first center you take four of the HSTs you just made. Add the 2.5'' squares right side to the white part of the HST and sew diagonaly. Cut back the seam allowance and press.

Now you only have to arrange the HSTs and sew them together. Make lines out of the HSTs and sew the lines together to make the block. Press the seams open in this step and you are done.

Block 2:
  • 12 HSTs (you can use the ones you made for block one)
  • 2 3/4" center cut (on point)
  • 2 * 1.5'' stripes Kona white, 2 3/4'' length
  • 2 * 1.5'' stripes Kona white, 4 3/4'' length
  • 4 * 3 3/4'' triangles (side length)

The second block only differs in the center. You have the choice to either use the Paper Piece Template or make the block adding stripes to the fussy cut center. I would love you to use a fussy cut center that "represents" you. Feel free to use a fussy cut, stitch or applique. Whatever suits you is perfect. When you cut the center please remember the cut will be on the peak.

If you do not use the paper piecing template this is the construction for the center:
Take the fussy cut and add the 2 3/4'' stripes to the center block on 2 sides. Press and add the remaining 4 3/4'' stripes to the other sides. Press again.

Your finished block should measure 4 3/4''. Finally you need to add the triangles on two sides. Press and add the remaining two triangles to the other sides. Your finished block should measure 6.5''.

If you use the paper piecing template it should be straight forward. I used a leftover piece which I centered at the paper piecing template. After adding two white stripes on the opposite sides I cut back the seam allowance before I added the white stripes to the other sides. After adding the triangles you have to trim the block and remove the paper.

Finally you can assemble the block. Sew the upper and lower line of HSTs together and the HSTs on the sides of the paper pieced block. Add the two HST blocks to the sides of the paper pieced block and press the seams open. Add the upper and lower line and press open again. Done!

I am so excited and looking forward what you are going to make! Have fun and thank you for helping me making this quilt!