Thursday 3 March 2016

Bee Block update!

It had to happen - the popularity of this block on Stash Bee really meant it was going to come up sometime! Last year one of my hive mates was thinking about it and changed her mind.  I breathed a sigh of relief, this year in this month of all month's my hive mate picked the Union Flag.  Without wanting to offend anyone let me try and explain why there may have been a few groans when I saw this months choice of block.

As most of you probably already know I'm from Limerick in the mid-western part of Ireland. The island of Ireland is made of Northern Ireland (6 counties) and Ireland (26 counties).  Not Southern Ireland please!  We had a colleague from South Africa and a few in the office really enjoyed getting people to ask him what part of Australia he was from.  He knew it was a joke but watching him turn red in the head and trying to bite his tongue was regular entertainment in the office.  I get that same emotional reaction and have to try my best to bite my tongue when Ireland is referred to as Southern Ireland.  Usually happens when I'm trying to give my delivery address to some poor customer service person in the UK who tells me they don't deliver to Southern Ireland.  That's nice I think to myself, but I don't live in Cork!    Identity is a funny thing and we are emotional creatures that surprise even ourselves sometimes.

Carla's paper pieced instructions make all of  these little lines so easy to keep straight and crisp!

The relationship the whole island of Ireland has with the Union Flag is complicated.  Helen@Midget Gem Quilts also in Stash Bee, who has made this block twice, lives in Northern Ireland and has written about it here and here.  In the North, there are regular protests about the flying of the Union Flag and its the National Flag.   On our side of the border, some see the Union flag as a symbol of imperialism, colonialism, the destruction of the Irish language - flags are powerful things.  Tomomi who lives in Carlow joked that she would have to go into hiding to make that flag and she's Japanese!  I in turn joked with Helen, saying if it came up, I might have to ask her to make it for me!

This month we have St. Patrick's day our National Day and we are celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the 1916 rising.  The rebellion against British rule in Dublin on Easter 1916 is credited as a pivotal event in the road to Ireland's independence.
The Union Flag is made up the flags of St Patrick, St Andrew and St George but is not symmetrical!
There were a number of rebellions but the Easter 1916 rising declared Ireland an independent Republic calling Irish people to her flag which is a tri-colour modeled on the French Flag but in colours Green, White and Orange.  Green to incorporate the old Nationalist flag of a gold harp on a green background, Orange for the Orange order, a protestant group founded in memory of King William of Orange and white to symbolise peace between the two.

In the spirit of that aspiration for peace, much has been done to respect the past and find a way forward.  A really big event was the Queen's visit to Dublin in 2011.  She made a speech with some opening sentences in very well spoken Irish and laid a wreath at the Garden of Remembrance, (a memorial garden that honours those who died in pursuit of Irish freedom, including those executed for their part in the 1916 rising).  That was a really big gesture.

So if the Queen can take Irish lessons, then I think I can make a Union Flag block, especially in these colours.  When I told G I had to make that block the first words out of his mouth were not in those colours though?  See, it's complicated!  I showed him the finished block and he did admit it looked good.  So this is on it's way to America!  I find that quite funny for some reason too!

My not so complicated bee choice of the Clover and Violet Scrappy Star block in low volume fabrics have been arriving in abundance and they look brilliant!  Thank you Hive#4 and Yvonne who crashed last month and sent me an extra!

I'm loving this one in not so low volume colours and think it will make a brilliant focal point for my quilt!

Finally, the last of the blocks for February included the Murder Mystery QAL over at Whipstich.  This month we got more clues, a possible attempted murder and instructions for the second block!  So far a car park and a waterfall.  This is going to be one interesting quilt!


  1. Those flag blocks are a lot of work (I made two for my stash bee hive last summer)! We'll see if I end up needing to make more this year (I hope not...). And it was my pleasure to crash and send you a block. I look forward to seeing how it comes together for you. :)

  2. A bit like the sordid history of our Confederate flag over here. Thanks for the lesson. I made one of these blocks also for stash bee and was glad to have it over with! No historical complications just fiddly!

  3. A bit like the sordid history of our Confederate flag over here. Thanks for the lesson. I made one of these blocks also for stash bee and was glad to have it over with! No historical complications just fiddly!

  4. Well done for writing this and making beautiful blocks. He is not remotely sentimental about nationalism but there is a line. Ha! I still want to make it but still probably hide it.

  5. Those star blocks look beautiful together. I love the lowish volume with the brights.

  6. Thanks for the brief history lesson. Very interesting. I've been seeing those blocks...hoping I don't see it in my Hive. I love the print you used.

  7. Does it help if you think of it as a corner of the Aussie flag?
    Will you still talk to me when you learn that I am English born? I should have problems with it too as I am half Welsh. Do you see a dragon anywhere?
    My one Irish ancestor was from Cork, southern Ireland. :)

  8. National identity is a powerful thing isn't it Ruth! I get very indignant when people refer to England when they actually mean the whole of the UK :)
    Your low volume blocks are lovely I am looking forward to seeing them all together

  9. Well hi there Ruth from Northern Ireland . I enjoyed your post , it is somewhat ironic for this to crop up in April 2016. And now I get sentimental . Although from a different prospective I love that I count you as a quilting friend over and above our differing cultures.

  10. That was a great history lesson, thank you. Your blocks look great too!

  11. As a person with two nationalities (Israeli and Canadian) my respective flags carry some serious baggage, as does the one of the country I live in (Germany), which is the last place I imagined I'd find myself living given where I was born.

    So glad my block got there safely and can't wait to see it front and centre in your finished quilt!


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