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!


  1. Happy New Year delighted to be part of the 2015 hive ! Here's to creativity and fun !!

  2. Can one of you lovely ladies please forward me the email that has the addresses and the list of who has each month. I can't seem to locate it in my inbox and I need to post some blocks.
    Thanks in advance


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