Friday, 6 January 2017

MQI Christmas Swap 2016

This Christmas I had a new experience. I moderated, jointly, not all on my own, the MQI Christmas Swap 2016. (Modern Quilt Ireland). This time last year volunteers were being sought to update the MQI blog, the FB page, be a bee organiser. Now, my organisational and techy skills are such that I wouldn't inflict myself on anybody, but I did say I could rattle off a few emails to people or write a book review.

All of a sudden it was September and I saw I had volunteered to help coordinate  the Christmas swap. Cue momentary panic, but life is all about new challenges and pushing the boundaries.

I must admit, I couldn't have had a cushier introduction. There were about 20 participants and Ruth from Ben and Charley Crafty Corner led the way. We had about ten people each and I couldn't have been luckier. Everybody was way ahead of the game. In fact I was probably near the last to finish my project and post pictures.  What also made it lovely was I felt I already "knew" most in my group, either through previous bees, swaps or instagram. And the couple of people who were new to me, turned out to be lovely too. What a nice community this is!

 As is the norm, we each made a mosaic of our inspirations and posted  on instagram.  No point in making somebody a velvet flowery notebook if they absolutely loathe velvet and flowers. The swap was of course a secret swap. We posted progress photos without identifying the recipient.

But what did we make you ask?

Oh yes, it was a covered notebook, and a little extra, maybe a Christmas decoration.

This is what I made for Marion.

My notebook was from IKEA, sized A5. I used some kona grey as a background and added Liberty along the spine, creeping towards the edges. I was tempted to use kona white, but thought it was too impractical. I also fancied adding some embroidery to the front but in all honesty couldn't think of anything that would work! So, I added an additional stripe of Liberty.

I faced the inside covers with a soft brown peacock Liberty.

Previous years I have sewn a primitive style tree decoration but I tried it several times yet it was just too primitive. Trying to keep the rustic shape of a tree, I kept trimming a little off. It became like a child's fringe, way too crooked and far too high. In the end I cut my losses and made Marion a mini mini quilt, or a coaster from Liberty fabrics. I included a few strips of Liberty fabric as well.

And what did I receive? I was so delighted to receive this from Lorraine.
All beautifully tied together with ribbon.

 My notebook is linen and Liberty! Do you guess yet I love Liberty fabric?  And Lorraine's embroidery, as you can see, was very successful! She has raw appliqued and embroidered ME!

 And I'm holding a book, and thinking about books. Lorraine has been attentive - when I record my "books read" on instagram, I use the hashtag #bookishhelen. This means I can search under the # and see the list of books I have read this year. In 2016 it was 56 in case you are interested.

And not only was Lorraine spot on with her book, but she very generously included a pouch for me, again in Liberty and linen. I love it so much too. I think she may have realised that by now.

Rather scarily that has been my 4th MQI Christmas Swap and I look forward to next year's. Bring it on.
Helen x
linking up with Finish It Up Friday and Crazy Mom Quilts, taking a slight liberty here, finished but not previously blogged about. 


  1. You are so organised 😀 very impressed. And the gifts made and received are beautiful. And thanks for explaining the #tag thingy... I often wondered what they were for and now I know. It is to find the pics . I will be using this now on IG .
    And yes, what's not to lurve about Liberty, scrumptious 😀 xx

  2. Good on you - you did a great job with your organisation skills! Beautiful gifts, both sent and received.


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