Friday, 16 January 2015


We had 12 entries into our giveaway, 11 on the blog and 1 via email  due to blogger feeling a bit peckish and gobbling up the comment, which I entered into the draw as number 12.  Looks like we should all be buying a rotating cutting mat and Clover wonder clips!

Congratulations Suzanne, Annette, Teresa and Tomomi!  I will be in touch by email to confirm addresses except for Suzanne who lives in Limerick and will get her prize hand delivered!

Happy Friday and I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015


Good morning Modern Quilters Ireland!  The weather has turned decidedly frosty and in an effort to combat the January blues we are having a giveaway to members on the blog today.   Whether you are on a fabric diet or  happily spending in the January sales you may want to have a look at our prize. 

Last year we had a very successful sew in day in Galway and had some fabulous prizes donated to make our day extra special.  We have some still on hand and have been given extras so thank you to Fluffy Sheep Quilting, Lisnaweary Quilts, Pilot pens, The Crafters Basket, Vibes and Scribes and Liz's Longarm service for our prizes today. 

We have 4 identical prizes made up of issue 10 of Love Patchwork & Quilting, Frixion pen, Charm square packs, a Fat Quarter of quilting cotton fabric and vouchers to be won.  To enter please leave a comment on the blog answering this simple question.

What is your most favourite, must have,  cannot make a quilt without it, notion or sewing tool? 
(And it can't be your sewing machine!  Tell us what should be on the top of our shopping list for the January sales.)

The giveaway will close on Friday at 12 noon and Random number generator will choose 4 winners.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Bee Blessed January 2015

Our Modern Irish Bee kicked off our blog posts for 2015 but as a group we do our best to support Bee Blessed, a charity quilting Bee that meets in Belfast about every 3 weeks or so.  Those of us scattered around the country can support Bee Blessed by participating in the Flickr group and making blocks for Judith and Sarah.

Every month they take turns choosing a block for Bee Blessed to make and this month is Judith's choice.   Details to make this maple leaf block can be found on Just Jude here.  This is a very quick and fun block to make.  I made two last year for Stash Bee and whipped them up in no time.

Last year during our group's sew in day in Galway we made some blue and green blocks for Bee Blessed and Cindy has made them into a quilt top.  Have a look at Cindy's blog for the finished top - it looks great!  Thanks to Cindy and all who made blocks for all your hard work.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Welcome to Modern Irish Bee 2015

Happy New Year!  Hope everyone enjoyed the celebrations over the last few weeks and Santa was good to you all.  It's the first of January and I get to kick off our 2015 Modern Irish Bee!

Mini Quilt, pattern Little Houses by Miss Rosie's Quilt Co.
Welcome to our new Bee members and welcome back those returning for another year.  Even if you are not participating, I hope you will follow along and make a block or two as they catch your eye.  We had a fantastic Bee last year and the Bee blocks can be found on this page.  I'll be adding 2015 as they are released every month.

This year we are using fabric from our stash, including scraps to make Bee blocks and though specific fabric can't be requested we are giving each other an inspiration image and guidance on colour choice.

Last year I came up with a block and posted instructions on how to make it.  This year I'm going a bit more informal and letting you guys use your imaginations to make House blocks using any technique you like.  They can be wonky or straight up and down, pieced, paper pieced or appliqued.  The only requirement is to have fun!

I'd like 1 house block 12.5" x 12.5" and you have the choice of making a second or adding a piece 6" to make a 12.5" x 18.5" larger canvas.  If you choose the larger canvas please add something to the house that you would find in the garden or neighbourhood.  It could be a tree, a birdhouse, dog kennel, washing line, clouds in the sky, kite or balloon flying away or anything you like!

Please use warm, bright and happy colours and the background can be green for the grass, light blue or cream or low volume fabrics for the sky.  Just before Christmas I took part in a Quilt-A-Long for the Night Sky pattern by Camille Roskelly and saw this beautiful version @ Quilt Jane's blog.  This is the happy feel I'm going for with this project, similar to my little houses quilt above.

One technique you might like to try is some sketch stitch applique.

I learned this technique from Rachel @ Stitched in Color when taking her Penny Sampler course and much admired the blocks made by those doing the Hello Moon and Hello Sun Quilt-A-Long with April Mae designs.  You can use it on applique or as a way to add some dimensionality to your House blocks by creating a 3D roof or embellishment such as a cloud.

First take some scrap fabric or calico(muslin) and place your fabric right sides together.  Mark the shape on the back of the scrap fabric, a triangle for a roof or a curvy shape for a cloud.
Sew along your shape outline

Snip the scrap fabric taking care not to cut through the main fabric and make an opening wide enough to turn right side out.

Snip the corners and around the curves taking care not to cut your stitching and turn right side out.  I like to poke the corners our with a crochet hook or a knitting needle.  Take care not to use anything too sharp or you'll poke a hole in your piece.  I've done that!
Press and you should have a nice neat 3D piece ready for applique.  To secure to your block it's a good idea to use fabric glue and I like to use lots of pins!
 Whatever line you want to be dead straight sew that one first.  Quite often the pieces want to move when you are sewing and the fabric glue helps but I get the best results choosing which side I need the straightest and going with that one first.
 For sketch stitching sew with black or contrasting thread 1/8" approximately away from the edge. 
 Make three passes around your shape trying not to be perfect.  Sketch stitching works best when you cross over your lines.  For these blocks Wonky is good!

You can sketch stitch with different colour threads; here are some black & white versions. The black is the most dramatic and gives a lovely contrast effect.

If your background fabric shows through like in the orange heart you can cut away the back fabric behind the heart carefully 1/8 to 1/4" inside the sketch stitching and it won't show though your finished block.

This is a fun technique and it can add a lovely cartoony effect to your blocks that is really cute or use it as a way to make the block elements stand out from the background!

I look forward to seeing your blocks on our Flickr group Modern Irish Bee and on Instagram #modernquiltersireland #modernirishquilters.
Hope you have fun with these blocks and this technique!

Thanks in advance!