Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Tutorial- Quilting with rulers on your home machine!

Good morning Modern Irish Quilters - we have a brilliant tutorial for you today!

Tomomi has kindly shared her process of quilting with long arm rulers on her home machine sharing tips and lots of photos.  Thanks a million Tomomi, this is something I have been wanting to try for ages!

If you want to see more of Tomomi's gorgeous quilting head on over to her blog and webiste Slaney Handcraft and if you are in the Carlow area looking for a class Tomomi teaches from her studio and has drop in classes midweek too!

Free motion quilting with a ruler:

Hi, I'm Tomomi of Slaney HandCraft and here to talk about free motion quilting with a ruler.

If you haven't heard about free motion quilting with a ruler (call it ruler work from here on), it is a method which a lot of longarm quilters do for quilting clean straight lines or certain shapes and it involves using special rulers. There are lots of different shaped rulers available from doing simple straight lines to making special shapes. And now more people are doing it on the domestic machines. I think most reliable info you can get is from Amy Johnson of Amy's free motion quilting adventure whom I am following a while and she has released Craftsy class about the ruler work this autumn. If you are interested, you should check it!

What you need for ruler work is some acrylic rulers and a ruler foot. Rulers for ruler work is twice thicker than cutting ruler in order for foot to slide along. And the foot itself needs to have some thickness to do so. Mine look like this.

My Janome free motion foot is convertible and I can just change the actual foot part as you can see on the second photo (The free motion foot with main part and ruler foot are sold separately by the way). Some sewing machine manufactures are producing ones now and also there are universal feet to fit various machines. Do check with your machine manufacture.
The circular part of ruler foot is 1/4” tall or so and if I drop the needle while foot is up, the bar holding the needle gets stuck. Always drop the foot first!

And this is how it looks on the machine.

I have a 6” straight line ruler and a set of half circle rulers. Both are from Handi quilter. Those white dots on the ruler are anti-slip stickers I put on and I couldn't hold it in the position without them.
I haven't got any special shaped rulers like feather and wavy lines. I wanted to have a straight one because I wanted to quilt nice clean straight lines while free motion quilting. Of course you can quilt straight lines with walking foot but it is slow and I have to turn the quilt a lot. With free motion, I can go any direction and I don't have to turn the quilt on every corner. The semi-circle ones are doing curves without marking and getting wobbly!

Now quilting in action!
You hold a ruler against the foot and move the quilt and ruler together along the foot. You can place the ruler left, right or front of foot and any angle as you like. Technically you can place it even behind the foot but I don't do it because it is beyond awkward.
The foot's diameter is 1/2” and your quilting line comes 1/4” away from the ruler. When you are doing ruler work, you need to have it in your mind(talked later).
With a straight line ruler you can quilt parallel lines with various distance. If you want to quilt parallel line 1/2” away from the previous one, you place the 1/2” mark of the ruler on the previous quilting line and quilt it. It is not precise 1/2” and it's ok because the purpose of ruler is creating straight lines, I think and it doesn't matter as far as they are kept same distance away.
This is me quilting parallel line to green square and starting from the corner of purple one. I put the needle down on the corner, placed the ruler beside the foot and made sure ruler is parallel to the green square.

Now I am trying to finish this quilting line on the corner/target and I place the ruler 1/4” away from the corner/target.
I still put a lot of registration mark in order to know where I should stop or turn the quilting line.
And this is the finished product.
All free motion quilted without wobble.

Of course you can mark all the lines before quilting and just follow them but I find myself getting wobbly and concentrating a lot to stay on the line and still wobbly which annoyed me so much.

Ruler work needs bit more concentration and slower than free hand for me but way faster than with walking foot and neater than free hand. I think it is slightly different department of free motion quilting skill but very useful one to know.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Modern Irish Bee 2016 Round 1

Welcome to 2016 Modern Irish Bee!

Apologies for the delay to those who have signed up for 2016 for the late start. As quite a few people are taking a break from Bee's this year, we have re-formatted our Bee to suit a smaller group and are trying out a Round Robin format.
In a Round Robin Bee, each hive member makes a block and passes it to the next person who then adds to the block e.g. purple makes a block (round 1) and sends to red who adds a bit (round 2) and sends to green who adds a bit (Round 3) and so on until eventually, on the last round the quilt top gets back to purple who finishes it up into a quilt.  At each turn the hive mate is working on a different quilt that keeps growing with each round e.g. while red is working on purples block from round 1, green is working on reds round 1 block and black is working on greens.   Clear as mud?  Don't worry it will explain itself in the doing!

Sarah's quilt from Happiness exhibition
Quite often round robin quilts are medallion quilts with a square centre block surrounded by borders but they don't have to be!

Liz's quilt from Happiness exhibition
We are working with a block maximum 18" finished on the longest size to keep the rounds reasonable as they will get bigger as we go along.  Your block doesn't have to be square but can be if you want to!
used with permission from Serena @ Sew Giving
This block below arrived to Serena with the middle arrow as a long rectangular block.  She kept the arrow idea but split the ones she made and added to top and bottom only and then sent it on its way to the next person.

used with permission from Serena@  Sew Giving
Try to be kind with the size of the starting block having sides 12.5, 15.5, 16.5 or 18.5 including seam allowance.  This will allow the next person to add to it easily by keeping the maths simple.  The block can be any design, applique or pieced and can be any fabric from your stash.  The more colours used in the first block, the easier it is for the next person to pull inspiration from it and choose fabrics to compliment the quilt block. 

Carla's first round block used with permission from Granny Maud's Girl

We will be doing 6 rounds and maybe 7 depending on the resulting size of the quilt. The intention is that each person ends up with a quilt top measuring 60-70" so perfect for a lap quilt. The quilt can be made bigger by adding to it again if desired. The intention is to finish up around the end of September just in time for a Christmas quilt a long we have planned so mark your diaries for that coming up!

To keep us on track, Fluffy Sheep Quilting is sponsoring our bee and offering a prize. To be in with the chance of winning the prize you must complete your round on time and add a photo to our link up which will be in the next Modern Irish Bee post in February!

We will be using our Facebook group Modern Irish Bee to share ideas, brainstorm fabric choices and post progress. Members of Modern Quilters Ireland are welcome to join our bee group and quilt a long with us and join in the conversation!

For now, Modern Irish Bee 2016 hive members please make your first block for your quilt and have it completed to send to the next person on the list (I'll be sending this by email along with addresses shortly!). Please post to your nominated hive mate by 19th February and link up a photo on the linky party which will be open for 1 week up to the 26th. The draw for the prize will be awarded on our leap day this year February 29th!

If you have not signed up for the bee please feel free to quilt a long with us on your own quilt top, made in rounds, this year and join us on Facebook and Instagram #modernirishbee #modernquiltersireland and here on Flickr!


Friday, 8 January 2016


We have some winners to announce today!  We had 18 entries into our draw for prizes (discounting duplicate entries as blogger seemed to be acting up on New Years Day).

Using the random number generator comments chosen were #7, 9, 2 and 8 so congratulations to Suzanne who wins the charm pack Quilters Garden and to Raz, Emma and Sarah Carey for winning the magazines! 

I will be in touch shortly by email with each of you to confirm postal addresses, except for Suzanne who lives in Limerick too and will get her prize hand delivered!

It was lovely to read what you guys are all up to - big plans for 2016 it seems!  Hope all have a productive and fun filled sewing year.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Have you seen...

Morning all!  Our Bee block posts are a little delayed this month as we are reformatting our Bee into a Round Robin and I will be posting instructions for Round 1 this weekend.  In the meantime if you are looking for block inspiration here are some of the free and paid for Block of the Month's (BOM) and Quilt-A-Longs (QAL) that caught my eye this week!

First up, a heads up on a brilliant online course offered by Rachel @ Stitched in Color.  Rachel is one of my favourite bloggers and I have taken both the courses she is offering this month.  Closing date is 7th so if you want to sign up be quick!

In Color Intensive, Rachel describes an approach to colour theory using emotional words, the seasons, the colour wheel and how to build an effective working stash.  I loved this course and the first project showing you how to cut up a Kona color card and use it more effectively is something I use all the time!  The second course is Angled and offers 5 patterns of increasing difficulty showing how to use angles and triangles in your quilts.

Free blocks you won't want to miss is Amy Gibson's Sugar Block Club.  Amy blogs at Stichory Dickory Dock and is a big part of  the reason why I quilt today.  Her free class on Craftsy,  2012 Block of the Month shows you step by step how to make 2 blocks with a different technique every month.  I loved every bit of this and learned so much about accuracy and 1/4" seams that I can't recommend it highly enough.  Craftsy have a new free BOM every year but this still remains my favourite!

Following on from this Amy offered a BOM club on her blog called the Sugar Block Club and for the first 2 years it was a paid for subscription - this year it's free.  Go ahead and sign up, you won't be disappointed!

Fat Quarter Shop have new free patterns  with videos every few months or so but they are also hosting the Moda Sampler Shuffle blocks.  Don't be put off by the traditional fabric used, they would be really lovely in modern brights too!

Speaking of modern brights, Janome are in the middle of a 100 blocks in 50 days and you can find some really fun free blocks created by fabric and quilt designers on their website here.

Don't call me Besty has paid for BOM using a really colourful design and blocks of different scale and you can sign up here for $30.00

 If you are not looking for blocks but a design challenge instead check out the monthly challenges on Le Challenge Website.  A paid for challenge called the Mighty Lucky Quilting Club is being offered by Lucky Spool this year and features some well know quilters and designers like Jacquie Gering, Alison Glass, Sarah Fielke and Carolyn Friedlander.  It costs $5 a month or $50 for the year.

If you have anymore or favourites you think we should look at please leave a comment here on our blog or on our facebook page.  Happy New Year everybody, hope whatever new projects you start in 2016 will be lots of fun!

Friday, 1 January 2016


Happy New Year!  Hope everyone enjoyed the Christmas and New Years celebrations and Santa was good with the quilty gifts this year!  If the quilt related gifts were lacking, don't worry we have some really nice prizes for 4 lucky people to give away.

First name out of the draw will get this charm pack of 5" squares from Lynette Anderson's collection the Quilters Garden.

The next three names will win a copy of Love Patchwork & Quilting Magazine issue number 11 which has a kit to make yourself a keyfob and this brilliant target pattern by Lynne of Lily's Quilts. I keep seeing this one as a giant colour wheel and keep wanting to make it so maybe this year I'll get it done!  First 2016 quilty resolution.

Kindly donated by Cindy@ Fluffy Sheep Quilting.  Thank you!
To be in with a chance to win please leave us a comment on the blog by following the link or commenting below telling us what your must make quilt project is for 2016.

I look forward to seeing what you guys are eager to make this year!  Winners will be announced here next Friday 7th January.